DEFENCE: Fabricio Coloccini, Newcastle – £4.5m (Home v Crystal Palace)
A huge haul of nine Fantasy points from Newcastle’s goalless draw at Aston Villa made Fabricio Coloccini the only winner of that game, certainly amongst all of us who had to endure watching it.
The Argentinean isn’t always the soundest Fantasy pick, but on a tough weekend to call he should marshal a United defence which stands a good chance of keeping out a Crystal Palace side now under the stewardship of Neil Warnock, whilst the Geordies have got some decent fixtures coming up too.
MIDFIELD: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea – £6.3m (Home v West Brom)
The Iceman Gylfi Sigurdsson continues to see his price rise as his second spell at Swansea begins with a bang.
It’s West Brom at home for the Swans this week, and although that is then followed by a trip to Chelsea, the next five fixtures look pretty kind.
FORWARD: Stevan Jovetic, Manchester City – £8.0m (Home v Stoke)
After shooting down Liverpool by scoring a brace against them for third time in his career (once in this pre-season and once for Fiorentina five years ago) Stevan Jovetic is suddenly a man in form.
With Edin Dzeko not quite firing just yet it will be interesting to see what would happen if Manuel Pellegrini opted to field Jovetic upfront with Sergio Aguero. Interesting, and undoubtedly tough for Stoke City.
THE OUTSIDER (a player with less than 5% ownership): Cheikhou Kouyate – £5.0m (Home v Southampton)
Not so much an outsider as a way outsider, combative midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has completed 90 minutes in both of West Ham’s game’s so far, registering an assist against Crystal Palace.
He’s not going to win you masses and masses of points, but sometimes you just want a player who you know you’ll get an honest stint out of, and the Senegalese could be your man.
THE CAPTAIN: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City – £12.0m (Home v Stoke)
After his brief and remarkable cameo appearance against Liverpool, surely Sergio Aguero is now ready to make his first Premier League start of the season as City host Stoke at the Etihad.
Granted, the champions face two tricky looking fixtures in the immediate aftermath of this one, but even if he’s on the bench the Argentinean has proven to be a huge goal threat when he comes on.
Can you afford to keep ignoring him?
After our Gameweek 8 focus on some of the men who ply their trade at the back, the case for the defence has been reopened ahead of a weekend which is likely to see defenders prove as important as ever.
Scrappy Gameweeks 13 and 14 saw clean sheets and defensive bonus points become vital, and if you can get your hands on a player who will provide both as well as offering an attacking threat then it’s wise to hold onto him. Fortunately there is one currently stationed on Liverpool’s left wing.
Just how long Brendan Rodgers continues with his efforts to transform Jose Enrique (£5.9m) into the new Gareth Bale remains to be seen, but the Liverpool manager’s selection of the Spaniard ahead of converted left-back Stewart Downing in his side’s last two games shows that this is an experiment which is set to last.
Ever since taking up the left midfield role in the second half of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea in Gameweek 11, Enrique has carried a greater goal threat than any other Reds player bar Luis Suarez. He almost scored in that Chelsea game, provided a goal and an assist in the win over Wigan, had an effort controversially disallowed at Swansea and came close numerous times in Wednesday’s loss at Tottenham.
With Southampton visiting Anfield on Saturday the home crowd will be expecting their underachieving team to both create plenty of chances and keep it tight at the back, two elements of their game that could see Enrique pick up plenty of points. He could even be a left-field left-sided captaincy choice for the brave and the bold amongst you.
Whilst the former Newcastle man is a familiar face to Fantasy players thanks to his five-and-a-half years in the English game, there is also a relative newcomer who could also be worth considering this weekend.
Manchester City’s Matija Nastasic (£5.5m) will need no introduction to Joleon Lescott after the young Serbian took the England defender’s place in the City team, and after starting City’s last six league games the 19-year-old looks here to stay.
The champions have kept five clean sheets in those six matches, and whilst Nastasic’s team-mate Pablo Zabaleta (£5.8m) is another name to consider as an alternative to the expensive Vincent Kompany (£7.2m), the Serb’s price only looks like rising throughout the campaign as City’s title challenge seemingly grows stronger. City’s defenders do come with a warning of a fixture list which sees them face Everton and Manchester United in their next two matches, but Nastasic might just be worth the risk.
Elsewhere as we continue our look at the men at the back, perhaps the weekend’s best chance of a stalemate – Gold-dust when we conduct these cases for the defence – comes at Loftus Road where QPR face Aston Villa in a contest which will see Ryan Nelsen (£4.0m) marshal the home defence and Villa’s Matthew Lowton (£4.5m), Ciaran Clark and Eric Lichaj (both £4.4m) all feature for the visitors.
Manchester United left out Rio Ferdinand (£5.9m) for the midweek win over West Ham at Old Trafford, with full-backs Patrice Evra (£6.8m) and Rafael (£6.5m) perhaps the only two certain starters for their Saturday evening trip to Reading, whilst Chelsea seem to have no problem keeping clean sheets under Rafael Benitez, with Ashley Cole (£6.5) certain to be a key part of the attempt to keep a third in a row as they go to West Ham.
If you need a cheaper option though then it might pay to head to North London, where Per Mertesacker (£5.3m) has started Arsenal’s last eight matches and popped up with a goal in the Gameweek 12 win over Tottenham.
The Gunners have only kept two clean sheets in those eight matches, but they’ll expect to be on the front foot as Swansea visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, whilst the return from suspension of Fabricio Coloccini (£5.0m) should shore up Newcastle’s back-line for Monday night’s visit of Wigan.