First XI: Early Week XI Picks

Jeremy Spitzberg
Galin Dragiev explores some extremely cheap options that are worth keeping on your bench

Fantasy PL Bench Options

Galin Dragiev explores some extremely cheap options that are worth keeping on your bench

What a crazy week in the Barclays Premier League!

Manchester City scored a touchdown in a 7-0 win over Norwich City while benching their first-choice keeper. Stoke's Asmir Begovic is tied as the club's top scorer after basically sending the kick-off over Artur Boruc's head and into the Southampton net. Hugo Lloris was knocked unconscious by Romelu Lukaku, and it was the Everton man substituted with an injury. Arsenal won their top-of-the-table clash with Liverpool, while in the Wales derby Cardiff beat Swansea. Southampton and Manchester United were the only road teams to even score a goal (!), and while the Saints could only draw, the Devils thumped Fulham.

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Let's see if we can make some sense of it all, and pick a provisional squad for next week's (hopefully as wild) action:

Sergio Aguero - Hard to bench him after a goal and two assists. Manchester City have be great at home, and fairly poor on the road. But against a Sunderland side that, bar the Northeast derby, have been pretty poor pretty awful, you have to like City's chances for another big win. Rotation is always a fear with City, like with Chelsea. Pelligrini has put out the full-strength team again today against CSKA Moscow, and wouldn't you know it - Kun with two goals and an assist already. But with the international break looming, what would be the point in resting his stars? He has no interest in resting them to the benefit of Argentina, Romania, Spain, Ivory Coast, Brazil, France, or even England.

Though in truth, he's doing a pretty good job of resting his English players.

Romelu Lukaku - He's cooled off after his hot start to his Everton career. And he's carry a knock that he picked up on the side of Lloris' head. But he should be fit, and Everton travel to Crystal Palace, who are even worse than Sunderland.

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Luis Suarez - At Fulham. Where an off-color Manchester United put three up in thirteen first-half minutes last weekend. Suarez is nailed on captain, and I wouldn't be against fielding him and Daniel Sturridge. I'm leaning Lukaku instead (see above), but it's a close run thing.

Mesut Ozil - Not thrilled with his returns. Bar week 8, when he put up nearly 30, he hasn't done much. Of course, he doesn't cost much. That's not an issue so much this season but it is nice to have at least one player returning value and helping fund 10 other big names. I'll be tempted to sell him, as I was last weekend, but probably won't.

David Silva - Seemingly the key to Manchester City's performances. He's returning points at home, and not so much on the road. However, at Sunderland... well, it's hard to see past Silva.

Phillipe Coutinho - Expected to start, and possibly play "in the hole" behind SAS. There were glimpses against Arsenal and surely some of his passes will pay off against Fulham.

Yaya Toure - Taking free-kicks and invariably landing them in the back of the net. He's a remarkably consistent fantasy performer and worth the money.

Curtis Davies - Another good week against Sunderland. Southampton will be a different challenge, but Davies seems to get points regardless of Hull keeping a clean sheet. Though that's possible too. And they get Crystal Palace after the international break, so it's not time to sell just yet.

Jose Fonte - On the flip side, Fonte will also be looking for a clean sheet, at home to Hull. Last week, Asmir Begovic's "wonder strike" ruined the day for Southampton defenders, but this should be a bounce-back week for another consistent fantasy performer.

Razvan Rat - West Ham have become even more West Hammy recently and their defenders have reaped the fantasy rewards. They've kept a ton of clean sheets, and are especially tough on the road. If I had just a bit more cash, I might go for Winston Reid, but Rat is a cheaper way in without sacrificing too many points. Norwich City will be out to forget their embarrassment against Manchester City, but West Ham is the wrong team to face at home right now.

Artur Boruc - That goal. That wind. But still returned fantasy points! It could easily have been a clean sheet for Southampton, bar the incredible. At home to Hull looks another chance for a clean sheet this week. I'm tempted by Costel Pantilimon, but for now I'm avoiding that drama and sticking with the Boruc.

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