After a brief break due to FA Cup action, the Premier League is back to enthral us again and Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers are scrambling to get their teams in order before the deadline.

We are well and truly in the business end of the season and as the stakes get higher on the pitch for teams of the English top-flight, the same applies to the millions who partake in its virtual counterpart.

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A second wildcard is now available, but one must know on whom your hard-money must be spent and The Statesman is at hand with a concise article ahead of Gameweek 23.

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The indicators are:

Teams in BOLD are top 4 contenders.

Prices (in £ million) marked in Green indicates a rise in Base Price.
Prices (in £ million) marked in Red indicates fall in Base Price.

Goalkeepers

Heurelho Gomes

Team: Watford
Fixtures: Southampton (H), Leicester (A), Stoke (A), Chelsea (H) and West Ham (A)
Price: 4.5
Score: 61
Ownership: 2.2%

Why yes: Against a Southampton side that have found goals hard to come by of late and are without the services of Charlie Austin (suspended), the Hornets should be able to register a shutout. Watford are due a clean-sheet and are playing a team that seem to be in free-fall at the moment. Overall fixtures look decent.

Why no: Marco Silva’s men have lost four of their last five games of late and their defensive record hasn’t been great this season, which is attested by the fact that they have conceded 40 goals in 22 games. Plenty of goalkeepers in this low price-range even that are better long-term picks.

Heurelho Gomes, Watford F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
The zany Gomes is a pretty decent shot-stopper! (Photo: Facebook)

 

Defenders

Chris Smalling

Team: Manchester United
Fixtures: Stoke (H), Burnley (A), Spurs (A), Huddersfield (H) and Newcastle (A)
Price: 5.3
Score: 49
Ownership: 2.0%

Why yes: United seem to have broken out of the rut they were in towards the end of 2017 and after a warm weather training camp in Dubai this week, will be raring to go against the manager-less Potters. The Red Devils have been keeping things tidy at the back of late and with their forward line firing again, now’s the time to stack up on their players. Smalling is the cheapest confirmed starter from United’s back-four.

Why no: Phil Jones (£5.7 m) is a worthwhile option, as is goalkeeper David de Gea (£5.9 m). Picking multiple players from United’s defence isn’t the worst strategy, but then your max limit of three players from a club would be exhausted.

Chris Smalling, Manchester United F.C., Anthony Joshua, Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Smalling (L) has been impressive at the back for United this season (Photo: Facebook)

 

Javier Manquillo

Team: Newcastle United
Fixtures: Swansea (H), Man City (A), Burnley (H), Crystal Palace (A) and Man United (H)
Price: 4.4
Score: 43
Ownership: 1.0%

Why yes: Swansea may have appointed a new manager, but the Swans will not be able to transform overnight and an improving Magpies side should be able to keep them at bay. Rafa Benitez’s side have a decent defence and if your’e looking for a bargain defender, Newcastle’s Manquillo is the guy for you.

Why no: Their attack leaves a lot to be desired, which in turn creates unnecessary pressure for the defence often. The Magpies’ fixtures aren’t the best.

Javier Manquillo, Newcastle United F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
The former Atletico and Liverpool fullback has revitalised his career at Tyneside! (Photo: Facebook)

 

Midfielders

Anthony Martial

Team: Manchester United
Fixtures: Stoke (H), Burnley (A), Spurs (A), Huddersfield (H) and Newcastle (A)
Price: 8.0
Score: 86
Ownership: 2.4%

Why yes: While the fuss is all about Jesse Lingard right now, Martial’s actually been quite impressive of late. The pacey Frenchman is now a confirmed starter and has a massive differential, with a majority of FPL managers flocking towards Paul Pogba and the aforementioned Lingard. Stoke’s defence is quite porous and don’t be surprised if Martial nabs a double-figure haul this gameweek. Apart from the Spurs clash, the resurgent Red Devils have pretty routine fixtures ahead.

Why no: Lingard (£.6.3 m) is a far more cost-effective option while Paul Pogba (£7.9 m) starts with more regularity than Martial as well. Romelu Lukaku is a good pick in the forwards’ department and having several United attackers in your FPL squad isn’t the best stratagem as Jose Mourinho’s men are unlikely to return to their free-scoring ways.

Anthony Martial, Manchester United F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Martial’s been coming into his own of late! (Photo: AFP)

 

Wilfried Zaha

Team: Crystal Palace
Fixtures: Burnley (H), Arsenal (A), West Ham (A), Newcastle (H) and Everton (A)
Price: 6.9
Score: 63
Ownership: 5.6%

Why yes: Zaha’s been in fine fettle of late and is a solid mid-price option for your midfield. Palace may be up against high-fliers Burnley in Gameweek 23, but don’t underestimate Roy Hodgson’s unit, who came within a whisker of breaking Manchester City’s unbeaten record. Zaha’s pace and trickery sees him win a number of set-pieces and often he turns a game on his head.

Why no: With the previously mentioned Lingard in such spectacular form, most FPL manager will find it difficult to pay more for a player that are expected to be battling relegation.

Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Had it not been for the misfiring Christian Benteke, Zaha (L) would have accumulated far more assists than his current tally! (Photo: AFP)

 

Forwards

Andre Gray

Team: Watford
Fixtures: Southampton (H), Leicester (A), Stoke (A), Chelsea (H) and West Ham (A)
Price: 6.3
Score: 56
Ownership: 1.7%

Why yes: This gameweek’s first wildcard pick, Gray’s been back among the goals of late. Against a stuttering Southampton side at home, Watford’s record-signing should find plenty of joy. At the very least, a fine third-choice forward.

Why no: Midfielders Richarlison (£6.4 m) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.3 m) are arguably in better nick and having several Hornets players may be a thrifty policy, but is fraught with risk.

Watford F.C., Premier League, Fantasy Premier League, Richarlison, Andre Gray
Gray (L) and Richardson have a lot of potential, but only time will tell whether they will be able to realise it! (Photo: Twitter)

 

Callum Wilson

Team: Bournemouth
Fixtures: Arsenal (H), West Ham (A), Chelsea (A), Stoke (H) and Huddersfield (A)
Price: 5.7
Score: 45
Ownership: 2.1%

Why yes: The second wildcard pick of the gameweek, Callum Wilson, is a worthwhile option to bolster your forward line at a cut-rate price. Arsenal’s defence has been quite leaky of late and the Cherries could just stun the injury-hit Gunners come Sunday. Don’t forget, Arsene Wenger’s side have been poor travellers this season. Another third-choice attacking option, if nothing else.

Why no: Bournemouth are expected to be involved in a relegation scrap this season and it remains to be seen whether they can turn their poor record against the top sides around. Wilson is a bit injury-prone as well.

Callum Wilson, A.F.C. Bournemouth, Premier League, Fantasy Premier League
Wilson is one of the few players to have scored a treble this season! (Photo: Twitter)

 

PS: The Gameweek deadline is 1400 GMT/19.30 IST.