Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 12 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Starting in August 2018 I made a point of mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So now, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll now be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
It was a mixed bag when it came to last week's selections, not helped by yet another captain fail (cheers Raheem). However, our defensive pick Sir John Lundstram saved the day with a sensational performance, bagging two goal, a clean sheet and maximum bonus points, with his fantasy returns helping to push my own side back towards the top 10% in the overall FPL standings. On to Gameweek 12 we go ...
Friday 8 November 2019
Norwich v Watford
Saturday 9 November 2019
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Burnley v West Ham
Newcastle v Bournemouth
Southampton v Everton
Spurs v Sheffield Utd
Leicester v Arsenal
Sunday 10 November 2019
Man Utd v Brighton
Wolves v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Man City
Gameweek 12 presents us with another Friday night kick-off as Norwich host Leicester, which means your FPL team must be locked in by 7pm GMT this Friday 8th November. As always we'll focus on players from teams that look set for comfortable wins, with goals and potential clean sheet points on the cards. The stand-out fixture looks to be Chelsea at home to Crystal Palace, with high-flying Leicester hosting Arsenal, Wolves at home to Aston Villa and Manchester United versus Brighton all worth considering. I fancy Burnley to edge out West Ham in a low scoring affair, but Spurs aren't in good enough form to recommend many of their players despite a home clash with Sheffield United. There should be goals in the match-up of the weekend, Liverpool v Manchester City, but it's hard to pick a winner. The remaining fixtures should all be tightly contested affairs but we'll look to identify a player to act as a decent differential. With that in mind, here are the guys to keep in your thoughts ahead of the deadline ...
Christian Pulisic (MF - Chelsea v Crystal Palace) - It's taken a couple of months but Christian Pulisic is finally showing Chelsea fans what he's capable of. The USA international has had his critics despite arriving new to the country and the league back in August but put the majority of these whispers to rest with a hattrick at Burnley in GW10. His overall stats are now very impressive with four goals and three assists in just eight Premier League appearances and his creative talents will be vital for the Blues this weekend with Mason Mount likely to miss out due to an ankle injury picked up in midweek. Priced at £7.3m in FPL he's a genuine bargain.
Raúl Jiménez (FW - Wolves v Aston Villa) - Raúl Jiménez was a favourite of mine last season but I'll admit he's been overlooked this campaign due to his club's gruelling Europa League schedule. Now could be the right time to jump back on the bandwagon however, with Jimenez in-form and likely to have his minutes managed in Wolves' home tie with Slovan Bratislava tonight. The striker has two goal and two assists in last four Premier League games and faces an Aston Villa side conceding more shots in the box than any other team in the league. An honourable mention to Burnley forward Ashley Barnes also for their home match with West Ham, as he very nearly took this slot in the column and I expect to see him on the score-sheet too.
Diego Rico (DF - Bournemouth @ Newcastle) - It's been a complete turnaround for Bournemouth's defensive fortunes this season with Eddie Howe's previously leaky charges showing renewed steel throughout the spine of the team. The Cherries are on a run of three-match clean sheets in a row and visit a Newcastle side that don't score many goals at home. Enter Diego Rico, who has been a sensation down the left flank and takes a wicked set piece. It could be a bumper fantasy weekend for a player that already has a couple of assist to his name this season.
Anthony Martial (MF - Manchester United v Brighton) - Back-to-back recommendations in this column for Anthony Martial, despite the disappointment of a blank against Bournemouth in GW12. That match was the Frenchman's first appearance of the season in which he did not score or assist, and a home clash with Brighton presents the perfect opportunity to get back amongst the fantasy points. The real attraction of the Martial pick is the fact he's listed as a midfielder in FPL yet is set to continue in a forward role under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and that swung it for me to bring him in on my wildcard. Another honourable mention for Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son who was strongly considered as the key player to cause Sheffield United's defence major problems.
Captain: Jamie Vardy (FW - Leicester v Arsenal) - Since Brendan Rodgers took over at Leicester earlier this year, Jamie Vardy has scored 19 Premier league goals - five more than any other player in the division. That is extraordinary and when you combine it with the fact Vardy has a particularly terrific record against Arsenal over the course of his career - bagging eight goals in eight games - then you have to strongly consider him as captain material this weekend. The Foxes talisman is taking the armband for my own FPL side.
That's it for Gameweek 12's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld PL homepage to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend.