The fixtures are coming thick and fast this festive season, as we look ahead to Gameweek 17 this weekend. Expect to start to see some squad rotations put in place by managers looking to keep their squads fresh. Midweek matches saw Arsenal slip up at Everton, which sent Chelsea 6 points clear at the top of the table – and top for Christmas, which is always a nice milestone. 2 goals and an assist for Liverpool’s Adam Lallana made him the top points scorer for gameweek 16. West Brom’s Salomón Rondón also scored an impressive headed hattrick in their win against Swansea City. The deadline for Fantasy Premier League gameweek 17 is 11:30am GMT December 17th, so ensure you have all your transfers, wildcards and captain nominations locked in before hand. Lets have a look at our player tips for the gameweek:
Top Player Tips
1) Jose Fonte £5.4 (Southampton)
Our first pick for gameweek 17 is Southampton Portuguese center back Jose Fonte. Heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in the summer, Fonte Southampton now have 4 clean sheets in their last 5 league matches. That run also includes a lockout of the leagues top scorers, Liverpool, so it’s not just fodder. Their 7 clean sheets for the season so far gives them the second bests on the league, equal with Spurs. Southampton defenders are a cheaper option than both Chelsea or Spurs defenders. At £5.4 Fonte looks better value than van Dijk (5.7) while still been a guaranteed starter. Southampton talk on AFC Bournemouth (Away) in gameweek 17, which could well be another clean sheet for the saints. There’s a small chance he could be on the move during the winter transfer window, but it’s more likely to happen next summer if at all.
2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic £11.2 (Manchester United)
We included Manchester United defender Phil Jones in our picks for the last gameweek and this week we’ve included Zlatan Ibrahimovic as our second tip. Fixtures & form continue to align well for Manchester United, who are undefeated in the last 7 matches now (9 including other tournaments). Ibrahimovic was both goal scorer and provider in Gameweek 16, who’s connection with Paul Pogba continues to mature. Zlatan now has 9 league goals for the season, including 5 goals from the last 6 gameweeks. He’s a certain starter to lead the line for United up top each week, but comes at quite a cost with a £11.2 price tag for fantasy managers. Manchester United round out 2016 with matches against overachieving West Bromwich Albion (Away), bottom of the table Sunderland (Home) and 17th placed Middlesbrough (Home). So Ibrahimovic would be a transfer in for multiple gameweeks, not just gameweek 17, and could be a more fruitful option than Harry Kane.
3) Marcos Alonso £6.4 (Chelsea)
Our third and final picks is Chelsea’s Spanish wing-back Marcos Alonso. With Chelsea on fire at the moment and 6 points clear at the top of the EPL table, not having a Chelsea defender in your fantasy football team seems crazy at the minute. Chelsea have 9 clean sheets from their first 16 matches, Marcos Alonso has featured in all of them. Playing as a left wing-back Alonso provides the extra cover on defense, as a back 5, while pushing on making overlapping runs down the left flank outside of Eden Hazard. That attacking potential is what has brought Alonso 2 assists and a goal so far this season. In terms of points per game, Alonso’s 6.1 points per match rating makes him 1.2 points per match ahead of the nearest defender in the FPL. Surprisingly his ownership is still down at 8.3%, which means including those clean sheets points in your team may be a big points differentiator than most other FPL teams. Chelsea round out 2016 by facing Crystal Palace (Away), AFC Bournemouth (Home) and Stoke City (Home). Those could be 3 more clean sheets if Chelsea continue playing as they are now.