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Weekly Picks

AM's Week 20 Player Picks

by Nik Argiropoulos
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Welcome to Week 20 of my player picks for the Yahoo Fantasy Premier League game, which sees us pass the the half-way point of the season as all 20 teams play on New Years Day. Week 20 is also Round 2 of The Rotoworld PL Cup - you can check whether you qualified here.

 

Check in with Rotoworld.com for news, analysis and fantasy predictions all season

 

Week 19 was an absolute disaster for AM FC as I faltered to an all-time low weekly total of 42 points. Three zeros didn't help after no-shows from Yaya Toure, Martin Kelly and Steven Taylor, while Jores Okore was on the bench and Thibault Courtois returned a negative. David Silva returned FIVE points despite scoring my only goal and nobody returned double digits - a shocking end to 2014. It's forgotten now though, as we enter 2015.

 

Week 20 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
Hull City v Everton
Liverpool v Leicester City
Man City v Sunderland
Newcastle v Burnley
QPR v Swansea
Southampton v Arsenal
Stoke v Man Utd
Tottenham v Chelsea
West Ham v West Brom

 

We have three teams with clear stand-out fixtures in my opinion - Manchester City at home to Sunderland, as the Champions look to bounce back from that disappointing draw with Burnley, Liverpool, who will be looking continue their upward momentum with a win over bottom side Leicester, and West Ham, as the Hammers attempt to end a run of two defeats against manager-less West Brom. These matches should all end as comfortable home wins, so loading up without at least one representative from each side comes highly recommended.

 

Aside from that I like Chelsea away at Spurs, Newcastle at home to Burnley, Manchester United at Stoke and I feel Everton can get back to winning ways at Hull. Southampton and Arsenal could play out an entertaining draw, while Aston Villa v Palace and QPR v Swansea look too close to call.

 

With that in mind please click over to the next page to view my Week 20 player recommendations.

Check in with Rotoworld.com for news, analysis and fantasy predictions all season

 

KEEPERS
Thibaut Courtois - Sadly (as a Spurs fan) I can see Chelsea winning the New Years Day London derby to nil, so Courtois remains my top keeper choice.
Adrian - Man-of-the-match for West Ham in the defeat to Arsenal, Adrian is having his best spell in English football and should find things a bit easier at home to West Brom this weekend.
Simon Mignolet - It seemed as though Mignolet's Liverpool career was over just before Christmas, but an injury to Brad Jones has thrown the door open again and the Belgian should keep his place at home to Leicester after back-to-back wins.
Jak Alnwick / Joel Robles - Two goalkeepers priced at £1million, with Newcastle's Alnwick at home to Burnley and Everton's Robles at Hull - both winnable matches. It's always a risk going with a cheap keeper, but it can bring high reward as it allows you to pump extra cash in to your attacking line-up. Just make sure you spend it wisely.

 

DEFENDERS
Alberto Moreno - Essentially playing a left-winger in this new Liverpool system, Moreno grabbed his second goal of the season against Swansea and with more chances to attack at home to Leicester he appears to be the top premium defensive option for Week 20.
Aaron Cresswell - We all know what Cresswell can do, and the majority of us hold him at a huge discount, so just put him in the starting XI for the West Brom match and wait for the points to come in.
Ryan Bertrand - The top points scoring defender in the Yahoo game despite missing last weekend's match with Chelsea due to the terms of his loan agreement, Betrand will be raring to go against Arsenal.
Mamadou Sakho - Some fantasy managers won't be able to afford Moreno but will still want to cover the potential Liverpool clean sheet against Leicester, so Sakho is the more affordable alternative. Kolo Toure is another option with Martin Sktrel suspended.
Martin Demichelis - The cheapest way to get in on the Manchester City defence as Sunderland visit the Eithad. The calamitous Mangala is the far more likely to lose his place if captain Vincent Kompany is passed fit.
Jores Okore - Reports suggest Okore was rested rather than dropped for Villa's home draw with Sunderland so I would expect to see the central defender restored to the starting XI after a string of strong performances.
Paul Dummett - Quietly impressive all season for Newcastle, Dummett seems to have the full-back spot tied up at the moment and is priced around £6million for the home game with Burnley.
John Stones - Everton's defence has been a mess this season so I would expect Stones to get the nod to start if he can get over the minor injury that saw him miss the defeat at Newcastle. Fine value for the trip to Hull if Ben Dinnery's injury reports suggests a return.
Paddy McNair - It seems Louis van Gaal prefers McNair over Chris Smalling as part of his back three right now, with the young Northern Irishman starting against both Newcastle and Spurs over the Christmas period. An extremely cheap option as Manchester United travel to Stoke.

 

MIDFIELDERS
David Silva - Four goals in three games for the little Spanish magician, although his fantasy returns were severely reduced by a yellow card in Week 19. Still, with Sergio Aguero injured, Silva is standing up for the team by adding more goals to his game and should prove a constant threat to Sunderland.
Stewart Downing - In his MMM midyear review, Neal named Downing as one of this season's most improved players and it's impossible to disagree with that assessment. The winger-turned-attacking midfielder can provide another bumper week against struggling West Brom.
Philippe Coutinho - With Raheem Sterling potentially set for a suspension after throwing a pathetic slap at Swansea's Federico Fernandez you'll probably need to look elsewhere for a Liverpool attacking representative. Look no further than Coutinho, who is starting to show the form that helped the Reds mount a title challenge last season. Obviously if Raheem gets away with it then he's also a superb selection.
Yaya Toure - A surprise omission from the clash with Burnley and City missed his drive in the second half as the Clarets mounted an impressive comeback. Manuel Pellegrini says a slight groin problem was the reason for the rest, but Yaya should be fit for New Year's Day. If I was 100% certain he'd be top of the list due to free-kick and penalty duty.
Adam Lallana - After a difficult start to his time on Merseyside, Lallana finally put in the performance reminiscent of his finest Southampton form against Swansea, and he appears to be thriving in this new system. Work rate, ball recovery, set pieces, creativity and an eye for goal made him one of the best fantasy options around, and it's great to see him back on song.
Cesc Fabregas - Again, Eden Hazard is just too expensive at £18million for an away game (the goal at Southampton was his first away strike of the season), so I'd go for Fabregas if you're looking for a Chelsea midfielder against Spurs; 13 assists and counting.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - Another goal against Liverpool moves Sigurdsson to four for the season, and when you combine that with his eight assists the Icelander has been one of the most productive players in the Premier League. Swansea have a tough away game at QPR, but Siggy has proved he can score well - win, lose or draw.
Kevin Mirallas - We've touched on Everton's struggles, but through it all Mirallas has been pretty consistent from his left wing position, and the Belgian scored again in defeat at Newcastle. He should provide the biggest attacking threat as the Toffess travel to Hull, with Ross Barkley still proving frustratingly inconsistent.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - With Mikel Arteta, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere all injured and Olivier Giroud banned, the Ox will be needed over the next few weeks and he has been superb for the Gunners this season. It's nothing more than a hunch, but I sense big fantasy returns for him against the Saints.
Ashley Young - An away match at the Britannia seems like a tough one for Juan Mata to stamp his authority on and Angel Di Maria is still struggling with injury, so Young would be my choice if you want a Manchester United midfielder for Week 20. Playing as a left-wing back but still getting plenty of chances to attack, his crossing has been impressive and he's priced below £9million.
James Ward-Prowse - Tipped to replace Lallana in the Saints starting line-up back in the summer, Ward-Prowse's season has been blighted by injuries but he returned to fitness prior to Christmas and has been performing well when given a chance. The suspension for Morgan Schneiderlin should ensure a start against Arsenal and then Sadio Mane is off to the African Cup of Nations, so the young man must seize these opportunities.

 

STRIKERS
Alexis Sanchez - Back playing as the central striker in Giroud's absence, Sanchez's pace is sure to cause problems for a Southampton defence that has looked decidedly shaky over the past month or so. It's just a shame that he's probably permanently lost penalty duty to Santi Cazorla after the miss against QPR.
Stevan Jovetic - A pre-Christmas injury has led to Jovetic being used sparingly over the festive period, but he looked bright in his cameo against Burnley and the Sunderland match would seem like an appropriate time for him to be granted a start by Manuel Pellegrini.
Charlie Austin - It was a surprise to see QPR's talisman fail to find the net against Crystal Palace but it would be a shock to see it happen in back-to-back home games. Swansea have just conceded four at Anfield and Austin will look to prey on a potentially vulnerable defence.
Andy Carroll - Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has been rotating his strikers over the Xmas period but Carroll seems the most certain of the three to start along either Diafra Sakho or Enner Valencia as West Brom visit Upton Park.
Diego Costa - Dilemma. I mentioned in my Week 18 picks that Costa needed to perform well soon and he promptly provided a goal and an assist. I'd rather he didn't perform well against Spurs but it feels like the sort of game the Spaniard will score in.
Ayoze Perez - With Papiss Cisse suspended for three games it should fall to young Perez to lead the line for Newcastle against Burnley and he's shown he can score goals at this level. 17-year-old Adam Armstrong is also worth considering for your bench if you field a 3-5-2 formation.
Romelu Lukaku - Rested against Newcastle but Lukaku should be back in the starting line-up for the Hull match, and the £28million record signing needs to put in a big display to help his struggling side.
Radamel Falcao - On another day Falcao could've (should've) scored twice against Spurs but unusually his finishing let him down. Still, the Colombian is getting in to the right positions and the partnership alongside Robin van Pesie - with Wayne Rooney supporting from midfield - is looking promising.
Christian Benteke - Villa's best player by a country-mile, Benteke is due a goal and he could find it against manager-less Palace.
Wilfried Bony - The Swansea man ends 2014 as the Premier League's top scorer for the calendar year and he'll be keen to start 2015 on a positive note before heading off to the African Cup of Nations next week. QPR beware.


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So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 20 Yahoo team. Please make sure you check back here on New Year's Eve for Ben Dinnery's outstanding team and injury news column, where he'll run through the fall-out from festive fixtures so far.

 

I haven't started looking at my XI this week but I expect it to be heavy on Liverpool, Manchester City and West Ham players, with the Sterling suspension decision playing a big part in shaping the line-up. If you follow me on @nikarg I will try to tweet a potential XI on New Year's Eve once the team news becomes a bit clearer.

 

How's your Week 20 team looking?

Nik Argiropoulos
Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for Rotoworld and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.