The biggest news ahead of Gameweek 8 is on the injury front. West Ham United are set to be without first-choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski for an extended period due to a thigh muscle injury. The loss of Fabianski is a big blow for fantasy managers since the Poland international is a top-five goalkeeper. Fabianski has three clean sheets and more points than any other keeper since the start of September. With summer signing Roberto is expected to take over the starting job, fantasy managers should wait and see how he plays this weekend before bringing him in. Roberto made two nice saves on Callum Wilson when he came on for Fabianski against Bournemouth, but the Spaniard had a poor outing in the 4-0 Carabao Cup defeat by Oxford United. Sean’s Super Subs, meanwhile, shined in Gameweek 7. Chris Wood, Anwar El Ghazi, and Aaron Cresswell all scored goals. Joel Ward, my sleeper streamer of the week, claimed a clean sheet and finished as DEF 13 with 12 points. Diego Rico’s offensive numbers improved, with the right-back posting a season-high six key passes.
As always, this column provides weekly player recommendations for Fantrax leagues using Togga scoring. Players on this list must be available in over 50 percent of leagues on Fantrax.com. Players will be recommended as adds for 10 or 12 team leagues and be assigned one of the following classifications. These include streaming options, (one-week adds), short-term/long-term adds (worth holding for a specific duration of matches), and must-adds. Players can also appear on this list for multiple gameweeks. For example, if there’s still value in a player from one gameweek to the next and he’s still available in over 50 percent of leagues, you can expect multiple appearances. Finally, the positional distribution of the players included will fluctuate based on the number of attention-worthy performers on a week-to-week basis.
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Dean Henderson, Sheffield United (19%): If you’re looking for a streaming option in Gameweek 8, Henderson is your best bet. Sheffield United is unbeaten on the road this season and Watford has been shut out in each of their last two matches. Henderson has stopped 15 of the 19 shots he's faced in the previous four games. The run includes a six-save effort against Southampton, as well as a three-save clean sheet at Everton in his last away outing. The 22-year-old also enters Gameweek 8 averaging 10.75 points per match against clubs currently sitting eighth or lower in the league table.
Aaron Cresswell, West Ham United (23%): For the second match in a row, Aaron Cresswell finished as a top-20 defender. The Englishman retained his place at left-back following his free-kick strike against Manchester United and once again produced a goal, this time from open play. It was a good-looking team goal, too. Andriy Yarmolenko cut onto his left foot to cross to the far post for Felipe Anderson, who nodded down for an onrushing Cresswell to fire into the net. His 10.5 points against Bournemouth has propelled the left-back to third in the defender scoring charts over the last two Gameweeks. Manager Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to stick with Cresswell suggests the left-back will keep his place when West Ham host Crystal Palace on Saturday. Palace travel to London Stadium sitting last in big chances created (2) and second bottom in total goal attempts (22) on the road this season. Cresswell can be a streaming play in leagues with ten or more teams given his offensive upside.
Fikayo Tomori, Chelsea (50%): Chelsea has a good run of matches over the next five Gameweeks. Frank Lampard’s side faces four of the five lowest-scoring clubs so far this season, including promising clean sheet opportunities at home against Newcastle (GW9) and Crystal Palace (GW12). Tomori has solidified his place in the starting XI and could easily be a top-20 defender for the favorable run of matches. Over the last three Gameweeks, the center-back leads all defenders in interceptions (11) and ranks eighth in points (32.5). Given his current ownership, Tomori represents a good investment for 10-team leagues.
Matthew Lowton, Burnley (39%): The Burnley right-back is my sleeper streamer for Gameweek 8. Burnley host an Everton side that has lost four of their last five matches. Burnley has kept clean sheets in each of their home outings against clubs currently sitting outside the top half. Everton, meanwhile, has managed just one goal and eight shots on target on the road this season. Lowton has at least one key pass in six of his seven starts and has an assist from four key passes in his last two matches. The right-back currently ranks 11th among defenders in points, joint-third in accurate crosses (7) and joint-fifth in key passes (9). Lowton has top-10 defender potential if Burnley can keep a clean sheet this week.
Tom Cleverley, Watford (37%): It struck me as odd that Cleverley was still under 40 percent owned, as he’s been consistent over a good chunk of matches. He’s scored at least eight fantasy points in four of his five starts and ranks 11th among midfielders in total points since Gameweek 3. Cleverley should be owned in 12-team leagues given his role as the central attacking midfielder in Watford’s 4-2-3-1 formation. He’s also one of the better streaming options for 10-team leagues this week since Watford host Sheffield United. Cleverley has made three key passes in each of his home games and posted a career-high with 25.5 fantasy points last time out against Arsenal. He should produce enough from shots and key passes to be a fringe top-20 midfielder this week.
John Fleck, Sheffield United (2%): A top-30 midfielder over the last three Gameweeks, Fleck’s high-floor makes him a deeper league consideration. During that span, the Sheffield United midfielder has finished no lower than MID 28. His 27.5 points are fourth amongst all midfielders available in more than 50 percent of all leagues. Finally, his 9.17 points per game average are third of all midfielders without a goal or an assist. Form favors Fleck for another solid outing against a Watford side that has conceded more goals than any other club at home (8) this season. He's someone to start if you're missing a midfielder this weekend.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton (31%): With goals in back-to-back starts, Calvert-Lewin has done enough to get an extended run in the starting XI. Everton is in a slump, but their next three matches are appealing from a fantasy perspective, with Burnley (a), West Ham (h) and Brighton (a). When you look at the pool of forwards available in more than 50 percent of leagues, the case for adding Calvert-Lewin is even more apparent. He ranks second in goals (2), joint-first in shots on target (4) and fourth in shots (6) among all eligible forward. Fantasy managers in 12-team leagues should value DCL as a short-term add.