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Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 17

No winter break is just one of the many appealing factors of the English Premier League.

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

No winter break is just one of the many appealing factors of the English Premier League.
For Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, however, that means no rest over the festive season as the games just don’t stop.
In FPL, one needs to keep a tab on the latest updates from club and players for it is an extremely dynamic environment and you could be left trailing before you can scream goal!
Each week, thestatesman.com will help to make the right moves on the FPL with a comprehensive article on who to buy for the impending gameweek.
The indicators are:
Teams in BOLD are top 4 contenders.
Prices marked with a (+) indicate an increase in Base Price.
Prices marked with a (-) indicate a decrease in Base Price.
Goalkeepers
Hugo Lloris
Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Fixtures: Burnley (H), Southampton (A), Watford (A), Chelsea (H), and West Brom (H)
Price: 5.5
Score: 58
Ownership: 7.3%
Why yes: Spurs have the joint-best defence in the league and a major reason is their outstanding custodian. Fixtures are quite easy on paper at least and Lloris should pick up a couple of clean sheets.
Why no: Spurs have some quality defenders, who give points on both ends of the pitch. Should you have Walker, Rose or Vertongen, buying Lloris would be a risky strategy for sure.
Defenders
Daley Blind
Team: Manchester United
Fixtures: West Brom (A), Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (H), West Ham (A) and Liverpool (H)
Price: 5.4 (-)
Score: 49
Ownership: 6.4%
Why yes: With Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly struggling with injuries, the versatile Dutchman is a sure-shot starter for the next couple of games at least. Fixtures look good and he may just pick up an assist or two. United do seem to be putting together a string of results and that bodes surely well for their defence.
Why no: Should Shaw return to full fitness, Blind will drop to the bench. United aren’t exactly out of the woods yet, and perhaps a game or two later one will be able to truly judge their resurgence.
Aaron Cresswell
Team: West Ham
Fixtures: Hull (H), Swansea (A), Leicester (A), Man Utd (H) and Crystal Palace (H)
Price: 5.3 (-)
Score : 18
Ownership: 0.4%
Why yes: One of the finest full backs in the league, Cresswell will pick up points on both ends of the pitch surely. Hull and Swansea are relegation contenders which only adds to the left-footer’s appeal.
Why no: The Hammers haven’t been in top form of late and games after Swansea look tough.
Midfielders
Alexis Sanchez
Team: Arsenal
Fixtures: Man City (A), West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (H), Bournemouth (A) and Swansea (A)
Price:  11.8 (+)
Score: 122
Ownership: 35.7%
Why yes: Joint top-scorer in the league, there is little Sanchez cant do. City-Arsenal is expected to be a goal-fest and one can bet Sanchez will be key in most of Arsenal’s strikes. Fixtures after City make him even more appealing.
Why no: Much more expensive than his Arsenal teammates and isn’t much of a differential. Should City cut off his supply, may not be able to wreak much damage.
Raheem Sterling
Team: Manchester City
Fixtures: Arsenal (H), Hull (A), Liverpool (A), Burnley (H) and Everton (A)
Price: 7.7 (-)
Score: 62
Ownership: 8.1%
Why yes: Fast and direct, Sterling has impressed in patches this season. After a brief rest due to manager Guardiola’s rotation, expect the jet-heeled youngster to get back among the goals against an Arsenal defence which could get stretched.
Why no: City are without the suspended Sergio Aguero, a striker who is among the league’s best. Aguero’s loss does impact their attacking stats for the whole team, such is his importance. The pricier but consistent De Bruyne is expected to shoulder most of the offensive responsibilities and makes for a strong case in the City midfield.
Forwards
Divock Origi
Team: Liverpool
Fixtures: Everton (A), Stoke (H), Man City (H), Sunderland (A) and Man Utd (A)
Price: 6.8 (-)
Score: 42
Ownership: 7.4%
Why yes: Most impressive streak of his Liverpool career, Origi just can’t do wrong at the moment. His form augurs a must-buy status especially considering his price. Admittedly, his fixtures are tough, but Liverpool do perform at their best against the ‘top’ teams! He is a big differential which could prove key during the busy festive season.
Why no: Most FPL managers will have either Firmino, Coutinho or Lallana in their squads and for them Origi is a risky-pick. It remains to be seen if this is simply a purple patch or a permanent scheme of things.
Andy Carroll
Team: West Ham 
Fixtures:  Hull (H), Swansea (A), Leicester (A), Man Utd (H) and Crystal Palace (H)
Price: 6.1 (-)
Score: 10
Ownership: 1.8%
Why yes: The injury-prone striker is back from yet another layoff and against strugglers like Hull and Swansea could bang in a few goals! West Ham have sorely missed his talents up top and his return is to be underestimated at your own peril. A huge differential should he fire.
Why no: Injury-prone is an understatement at times, as this is the man who has made only two starts this season. Michail Antonio and Dimitri Payet are worthy midfield options from the Hammers stable, and much lower on the risk rating in comparison.
PS: The Gameweek  deadline is 11.30 am GMT/5 pm IST, so make sure all transfers are completed before that!