This article is part of our FPL Bargain Bin series.
By the time the Premier League kicks off this weekend, it will have been over 300 hours since the last set of games. While you have been giving your fingers a rest from setting your fantasy lineups, some of the players have kept their legs warm while playing for their respective international teams.
Unfortunately for Manchester United and Liverpool, "keeping warm" also means subjecting yourself to the chance for injury. The Red Devil defense was decimated over the weekend as it saw David de Gea dislocate his finger, Daley Blind injure ligaments in his knee, and Michael Carrick injure his groin. The damage to the Manchester United back line during the international break will leave a depleted list of players that includes a couple more that may be forced back from injury early for this weekend's matchup against Arsenal. This could lead to Arsenal attackers having more value than you would expect against a team fighting for a Champions League spot.
While Manchester United saw their defense crumble, Liverpool watched as their attack succumbed to injury. Hopes were high with Daniel Sturridge looking to return, but another thigh injury will delay him. In addition, Mario Balotelli is dealing with a hamstring injury of his own. While he is expected to play this weekend against Crystal Palace, his injury could limit his effectiveness and time on the field. These injuries could open the door for some other Liverpool players to step up and see additional playing time against what will be an easy schedule over the next couple of weeks.
These are just a few of the story lines heading into the weekend. There are nice matchups for Leicester City, Newcastle United and Stoke City that could strengthen a player pool beyond the usual suspects from the top-tier clubs. It is important to keep all this in mind as you get yourself reacquainted with the Premier League after a long break and set your team for Gameweek 12.
Tim Krul v. Queens Park Rangers ($5,000 – DraftKings, $6.3M – Mondogoal)
After a tough start to the season, Krul has rebounded nicely. Over the last four league matches, Krul has allowed just one goal while keeping three clean sheet and making nine saves. Saturday will bring Krul a great opportunity to keep a third consecutive clean sheet as Queens Park Rangers come to St. James' Park. QPR have scored the fewest away goals per match and put the lowest number of shots on target on the road. Krul may not be asked to do much this weekend, but a clean sheet is what is important from your goalkeeper.
Notes: While Manchester City struggle defensively away from home, they play much better at the Ethiad. They will be home against a Swansea City team that does not pressure the goal much and Joe Hart ($5,100 – DraftKings, $6.7M – Mondogoal) should have some good value. Asmir Begovic ($5,100 - DraftKings, $5.8M - Mondogoal) is home against another team that has averaged the fewest goals on the road this season and will have a good chance to keep a clean sheet against Burnley.
FPL:Simon Mignolet has only kept one clean sheet since August but has a nice schedule coming up in the next four matches (at Crystal Palace, v. Stoke City, at Leicester City, v. Sunderland)
Gael Clichy v. Swansea City ($3,800 – DraftKings, $7.4M – Mondogoal)
Clichy has been in Manchester City's starting XI the ;ast four league matches. Two of those were home games against Tottenham and Manchester United in which Clichy and the Citizens held their opponents to just one total goal. The Manchester City defense performs much better at home and will be there this weekend against Swansea City, a team that has struggled to get off shot attempts this season and have scored just one goal in their last three road matches. Clichy would be in line to keep a clean sheet this weekend, but also gets value from some of the other things he does. He leads all Manchester City defenders in tackles and interceptions and has also picked up an assist, while sending in the second-most crosses among the defenders. Clichy will have a chance to return more value than his cost.
Notes:Ryan Shawcross ($4,000 – DraftKings, $6.5M – Mondogoal) is the Stoke City defender to have against Burnley this weekend due to his high pass total and his chances to take shots each week. Daryl Janmaat's ($4,100 – DraftKings, $8,7M – Mondogoal) 22 total chances (12 shots, 10 assisted shots) are fourth in the Premier League among defenders and give him more value than just a probable clean sheet this weekend.
FPL:Dejan Lovren should be able to take advantage of an easy schedule and will be an option for clean sheets over the next four matches.
Danny Drinkwater v. Sunderland ($3,800 – DraftKings, $6.1M – Mondogoal)
Leicester City have struggled on the attack recently. The Foxes have managed to score just two goals during their last six matches and those all came in one game. However, the schedule during that run has not been kind; four of the five goose eggs were away matches and each of the last four were against top-10 defenses, including the two best defenses in the league. This weekend will be an easier go as Leicester City will host Sunderland, who have allowed over two goals per away match so far this season. Drinkwater has yet to record a goal or an assist this season, but continues to put himself in position to get on the score sheet. His 10 shot attempts rank third on the team, and he will have plenty of opportunities to get his first goal of the season this weekend.
Notes:Sebastian Larsson ($5,800 – DraftKings, $7.0M – Mondogoal) leads Sunderland in assisted shots and is second in shot attempts and will face a Leicester City team that allows nearly two goals per match at home. Victor Moses ($6,300 – DraftKings, $8.9M – Mondogoal) faces a Burnley team that allows the fourth-most goals and second most shots on target during away matches this season.
FPL:Emre Can has started three of Liverpool's past four league matches and even chipped in a goal their last time out. The upcoming schedule should give him an opportunity to add to his total.
Connor Wickham v. Leicester City ($4,400 – DraftKings, $5.2M – Mondogoal)
Leicester City have allowed multiple goals in seven of their 11 matches this season. It does not matter if they play at home or on the road, they struggle to keep their opponents out of the net. Their 1.8 goals allowed per home match rank second-worst in the Premier League this season, meaning you should not be afraid to play Sunderland's attackers against them this weekend. Wickham leads Sunderland in shot attempts and will likely get plenty of opportunities Saturday. The fact that he has only one goal this season is attributed to the fact that only four of his 29 attempts have been on target. That should not be an issue this weekend, as only one team in the Premier League has allowed more than the 5.2 shots on target per match the Foxes have allowed.
Notes:Ayoze Perez ($6,800 – DraftKings, $8.1M – Mondogoal) has scored in three consecutive league matches and faces QPR this weekend. Andy Carroll ($3,000 – DraftKings, $8.1M – Mondogoal) saw action last weekend and was able to heal up more over the international break. He put a shot on target in limited action and should see more playing time this weekend against Everton.
FPL:Fabio Borini stands the most to gain with injuries to his front-line teammates and could see additional playing time over the next couple of matches.