Greetings, everyone! Before I get into anything more, let me make an announcement: 

We Talk Fantasy Sports 2nd Half League!


It’s our official Fantasy EPL league, starting in Gameweek 20 (January 1st)! Here’s the entry code: 101853-723911. It’s head-to-head, I’m in it, and it concludes with playoffs between the top 4 teams.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way (and you’ve signed up for the league) let’s discuss week 17 of the Fantasy Premier League:

Injuries/Suspensions


First of all, Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, arguably favorite to win the Golden Glove for the league’s best goalkeeper, is listed as out…set to return on December 22nd…the day of their next game. While this policy is ambiguous and rather stupid (we don’t get points for anything other than playing, so tell us his status for next game, not today), I would suggest not picking him up, and making sure you have a solid backup if you already have him on your team. With Petr Cech as backup, Jose Mourinho isn't going to take risks with Courtois.

Courtois’ fellow Belgian, Vincent Kompany, is listed at 25% to return for Manchester City’s home fixture against Crystal Palace. He did good against Leicester, getting 8 points, but I would expect the central-defender to be rested until they face better opponents.


Speaking of quality sides, Arsenal’s Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey is going to miss a second straight game as the Gunners head to Liverpool to take on the struggling Reds this weekend.

Good news for Everton, yet bad news for Southampton, is that two Saints midfielders (Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin) are suspended for yellow card accumulation. The Toffees will have a better chance of succeeding (and their players a better chance of getting fantasy points), while Southampton’s players could either do better in a bigger role, or be swamped by a potentially stronger Everton team. The Saints have been better this year, and they’re at home, so I wouldn’t panic too much.

Also, the 11.6% of people that mind-bogglingly still have Sergio Aguero on your team: drop him now. He’s out until January 10th, and with his price you can make major improvements to your team by simply letting go.

Is Yaya Toure the best midfield option?


Short answer: probably not. But I’m not here to give “short answers.” I’m here to be comprehensive, like so:

Yaya Toure has 3 goals and 35 points in his last 5 games. That’s very good, and strikingly different from his much-criticized season’s start. Manchester City as a whole is a good team to invest in if only due to their schedule: they face Crystal Palace, West Brom, Burnley, Sunderland (all deep in the bottom half of the table), followed by a struggling Everton side. Even without Aguero, City should do well.

But will Yaya, priced at £10.8, do as well as some might think? The question to ask when a player scores loads of goals (for our purposes, 3 qualifies as “loads”) is this: will they keep doing it? Well, Toure scored 20 goals last year–an impressive feat, but probably an anomaly; at least, if you look at his 3 seasons before that: where he scored exactly 6 goals on each occasion. It’s more likely that he’s closer to that rate (6/season, not bad but not enough to warrant splashing the cash to get him) than the rate of 20/season.

The biggest reason, in my mind, why Yaya Toure is not a great fantasy pick is the alternatives: the obvious one is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, who has an astonishing 11 goals+assists in his last 9 games. He leads the entire league in points this season, at 107 (2 more than second-place Aguero), and is only £0.6 more than Toure at the price of £11.4.

You want someone cheaper than the Ivorian? Look no further than the third best player in the game, based on fantasy points: Chelsea’s Eden Hazard at £10.6. Words of warning: the Belgian is much better at home (55 points in his last 5 at Stamford Bridge, a mere 12 in his last 5 away), and 3 of his next 4 are on the road, including this week’s contest with Stoke.

Another midfielder, who I am going with (as you will see shortly), is Christian Eriksen. The Dane has 84 points, tied-3rd among midfielders, and comes in at only £8.1. His club, Tottenham, have a couple fairly easy matches: against Burnley and Leicester. Surely there are more points for Eriksen in these.

My Team


Fantasy Premier League Roster

As you can tell, I’ve gone with a couple interesting moves. For one thing, I’m captaining Charlie Austin. Here’s why: he has 5 goals in his last 4 home games (QPR are at home this week) and he’s well-rested after serving that pesky red card suspension last week. He’s ready to score.

My other perhaps controversial move was to drop Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is the second-most-owned player at 49.8%. Why did I get rid of the Swansea midfielder (in exchange for fellow Nord, Christian Eriksen)? Because he’s been doing poorly. Since October the 4th, he’s only gotten more than 4 points twice, and has failed to get at least 3 points more times than not. This isn’t good enough. His great spell is over, people. It’s over! You want a bargain? Get someone cheaper. You want a player who will get you tons of points? It’s probably not Sigurdsson.

Oh, and last week I dropped Leighton Baines for Daryl Janmaat. I'm dropping Baines because Everton isn’t doing that great in he back. They’re shipping goals so much that the back of their net has its own zip code. Janmaat is good, and at a much lower price.

I’m sticking defender-heavy, and I’m honestly not sure why. Eh, whatever. They’re all playing at home, except John Terry, and he’s John Terry, the anchor of one of the league’s best defenses for over a decade.

I think it’s a good team. A bit thin on depth, but good nonetheless.

That’s it! Check in next week for more FPL action, but in the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter (@DH3soccer) and check out Another MLS Blog, my site related to that league. Oh, and I’m now on Soccer Yanks! I’ll write about MLS and a bit on the US national teams and probably some EPL on that site, so it’s a space to watch. 

Don’t forget to join the We Talk Fantasy Sports 2nd Half League 

(code: 101853-723911)