Name Your Price - Gameweek 18

6:29pm Dec 23 2016

Fantasy Premier League differentials and premium picks for the Gameweek 18 Christmas fixtures

Luckily for us, Gameweek 18 begins on Boxing Day so fantasy football will not be able to ruin our Christmas day, and if we’re lucky, a Christmas miracle will send us to the summits of our mini-leagues.

The fixtures will be coming thick and fast which at least means that you will have 3 free transfers to burn in the next 7 days, so, be sure read on for our recommendations on how to use them.

However, it does also mean that rotation is likely – it’s therefore important to make sure that your bench players are starters in case of the dreaded ‘rest’.

Costa finally acquired that 5th yellow card that those who held off from buying him were waiting for – as a result, some FPL bosses have flocked to get rid of him; he has already dropped in price twice this week. Those who brought him in at his starting price may struggle to buy him back if they decide to ditch him now; food for thought.

Across London, Harry Kane has disappointed with consecutive blanks against Hull and Burnley and with Aguero still suspended some may be wondering just what strikers are worth owning for this week.

But of course, we cannot be short-sighted in this game so we will be recommending players based on their next three fixtures as always. So I bid thee Merry Christmas, and now let’s get in to it.

Goalkeepers

Víctor Valdés – Middlesbrough

  • £4.5m
  • 5.4%
  • 6
  • Burnley (A), Manchester United (A), Leicester (H)

This isn’t the first time we’ve recommended the former Barca stopper and it l probably won’t be the last. Players have jumped on the ‘Brough bandwagon with Negredo, the 2nd most transferred in player this week and Gibson, the 17th and we don’t blame them.

In terms of defence, only 4 teams have conceded less than Middlesbrough and each of them has a luxury ‘keeper; at just £4.5m, Valdes is an incredibly attractive option.

An away fixture to a Burnley side who rank joint 18th in terms of goals scored, represents a good chance for a clean sheet, whilst a home game against a very inconsistent Leicester team also has clean sheet potential.

Keeping out Ibra and co will be difficult, so, save points anyone…?

David De Gea – Manchester United

  • £5.4m
  • 35.5%
  • 6
  • Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (H), West Ham (A)

This may well be the first time we haven’t recommended Courtois and we’ve some good reasons for this decision. First of all, the Spaniard costs £0.4m less than the Chelsea stopper – money that can obviously be invested elsewhere. Turning Kane in to Zlatan, perhaps?

Furthermore, Manchester United have kept 2 clean sheets in their last 3 Premier League outings and with Sunderland and Middlesbrough to visit, followed by a trip to West Ham at the London Stadium, the potential for more clean sheets is huge in my opinion.

Defenders

Antonio Barragán – Middlesbrough

  • £4.6m
  • 2.0%
  • 6
  • Burnley (A), Manchester United (A), Leicester (H)

There’s nothing better than a defensively solid team with inexpensive assets. For years, it has been West Brom and whilst they stay a decent shout, Middlesbrough is the team to look at this season.

Karanka coaches a strong defensive unit that boasts just two ever-presents in the back-line. One of those is the £4.8m Ben Gibson, but you can save yourself £0.2M and acquire this weeks selection, Antonio Barragan.

A clean sheet in their last game boosts our confidence, as do upcoming games against Burnley and Leicester respectively, so, for those Fantasy Premier League managers looking for a cheap differential defender, look no further.

Héctor Bellerín – Arsenal

  • £6.4m
  • 16.2%
  • 1
  • West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (H), Bournemouth (A)

It’s 8 Premier League games without a clean sheet for Arsenal which makes this pick a risky one. However, the potential reward may be too good to ignore this time around.

The joint second most expensive defender in the game is priced appropriately as he’s one of the most attacking defenders in the league. Attacking returns are a luxury that only the best defenders can give us and the young Spaniard managed 6 assists last season and already has 3 this time round.

Arsenal’s next three fixtures all score 2 on the Fixture Difficulty Ranking (FDR), and it’s not until Gameweek 24 that Arsenal face a team who score more than 2 on the FDR.

The potential is there, but are you willing to part with £6.4m of your precious FPL funds on a defender?

Midfielders

Theo Walcott – Arsenal

  • £7.8m
  • 15.9%
  • 7
  • West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (H), Bournemouth (A)

Inconsistency is a mark of a man who never quite reached the heights that England and Arsenal fans alike were hoping for. That doesn’t mean that Theo isn’t an FPL asset worth considering.

8 goals and 3 assists in 16 matches is a very impressive return for a mid-priced midfielder. On its day, the Arsenal attack can match any other in the league, which means that goals and assists should continue to flow from the pacey winger.

Only 6 teams have conceded more than Bournemouth, one of them is a Palace team that boast a defensive record better than only 2 teams in the Premier League.

West Brom remain relatively tight at the back but these fixtures are just too good to ignore.

Alexis Sánchez – Arsenal

  • £11.8m
  • 37.0%
  • 5
  • West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (H), Bournemouth (A)

It’s another Arsenal player and you should not be surprised to see him on our list. Similarly to Walcott, the fixtures are excellent on paper – not just for the next 3 games, but for the next 6.

One difference is that the Chilean costs £4m more than Walcott and there’s a reason for that. The OOP Arsenal asset has recorded 12 goals and 7 assists this season, which ranks him 1st out of all players in terms of points scored.

Teams without Alexis are bleeding points each week and you really need to plan a way to get him into your Fantasy Premier League sides as soon as possible.

Strikers

Christian Benteke – Crystal Palace

  • £7.7m
  • 10.6%
  • 2
  • Watford (A), Arsenal (A), Swansea (H)

Llorente remains a rotation risk, Negredo has only actually scored goals in 3 of the 17 gameweeks this season and Defoe has gone 3 games without scoring and faces a tough trip to Old Trafford next.

8 goals in 15 matches for Benteke is an impressive return and a trip to an out of form Watford team, and an Arsenal team often bullied by physical strikers looks promising; as does a home game against a Swansea team that have conceded more goals than any other team in the league.

At £7.7m Benteke represents a solid option as your 2nd or 3rd choice striker and is likely to thrive under Sam Allardyce, if/when he’s announced as the new Palace manager.

Zlatan Ibrahimović – Manchester United

  • £11.5m
  • 37.0%
  • 12
  • Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (H), West Ham (A)

The larger than life Swede is the most transferred in player this week thanks to Kane’s blanks and Costa’s suspension at a time when Man City’s Sergio Aguero is unavailable.

11 goals this season and 5 in his last 5 make for good reading, as do United’s upcoming fixtures. Games against Sunderland and West Ham are particularly attractive and you won’t put it past Zlatan to score against a solid Middlesbrough side.

He’s an expensive asset and with Costa and Aguero returning next week, decisions will have to be made – but for now, Ibrahimovic seems like the best option for the festive fixtures.

If you haven’t already read on Twitter, we have teamed up with our good friends at Footie Survivor once again to bring you a FREE TO PLAY weekly survival game, with a copy of FIFA 17 for PS4 or Xbox going to the winner.

It’s completely free to play – simply click the Football Survivor banner below and register a username, email address and then pick which Premier League team YOU think will win each week, starting 26th December for Gameweek 18.

It’s quick and easy to play and great fun so please spare yourself 30 seconds to register, pick a club and help us get over 1000 users in our league by Boxing Day.

Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips: Name Your Price – Gameweek 17’ which was written by @Billy_Hassan

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