This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.
2:45 p.m: Bournemouth v. Chelsea
2:45 p.m: Southampton v. Crystal Palace
3:00 p.m: Liverpool v. Leicester
3:00 p.m: Tottenham v. Watford
Liverpool are the biggest favorite Wednesday and should be the biggest focus for every roster. In fact, it wouldn't be a terrible strategy to go with their three forwards: Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Not only did the Reds get rest in the last week, but Leicester have struggled defensively, allowing eight goals in their last three matches in all competitions. Salah should be the top forward, with multiple appearances on the score sheet in four of his last six starts. Firmino has the next best odds to find the back of the net and had eight shots on goal in the last four matches, though his floor has been low. Mane has been the most unpredictable of the three and is least likely to have a monster outing.
Given the other forwards, Eden Hazard has to be considered again even though he doesn't have a shot on goal in three of his last four starts. At the least, his floor is in the double digits due to completed passes and fouls drawn, and that's more than most. Teammate Willian hasn't been as good or consistent, but in a good situation his floor should be near 10 fantasy points. It may make as much sense to back Wilfried Zaha against Southampton because he could be lower owned while also having the same kind of floor. The downside is that Zaha hasn't scored since September.
Fernando Llorente is technically in the conversation too after 9.4 fantasy points with the help of five shots and five clearances last match. Due to the matchup, he may be safer than guys like Troy Deeney, Callum Wilson and Jamie Vardy, all of whom need goals to hold fantasy value in difficult matchups. The stretch may be Danny Ings and hope he gets a few looks against an unpredictable Crystal Palace back line.
It's not a great situation in the midfield, with most of the top options being defensive players who stock up on defensive stats and completed passes. Christian Eriksen is one who doesn't, and he could be in more of an attacking role due to Tottenham's various injuries. He should reach 10 fantasy points at a minimum, with 50 completed passes close to a guarantee, though he has plenty of upside with multiple shots and chances created expected. Watford's defense has been better, but Spurs are still expected to score close to two goals. Of course, Harry Winks is also in the mix because not only did he score last match, but he's completed more than 85 passes in three of his last four starts, leading to double-digit fantasy performances in almost every start. He's not an exciting play, but neither are most of the midfielders on this slate.
That goes for Jorginho, Luka Milivojevic, Wilfred Ndidi, Etienne Capoue and Jordan Henderson. All five could easily hit 15 fantasy points, and I rank them in that order. Jorginho ranks the best because he's in a good matchup and also averages almost 90 passes per 90 minutes. If you want to mix things up, there are other places to go with more upside. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has at least 17 fantasy points in each of his last three starts and is home against Crystal Palace. On the other end of that, Andros Townsend is usually good for double digits whenever he plays a weaker side. He should rack up enough crosses to again be near 15 fantasy points. I'm not keen on many others, with players like Ryan Fraser difficult to back in tough matchups.
DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPERS
While there are only four matches, this may be one of the easiest slates to select a defender because Chelsea and Liverpool are loaded and have good matchups. Andrew Robertson stands out the most for the Reds because he has an assist in two of his last three starts, while the other three rely more on completed passes. The tricky play may be to roll with Joel Matip because he has at least 18 fantasy points in all four starts this season and will likely be the least popular of the bunch. As for Chelsea, David Luiz< should bounce back after flopping at Arsenal. Prior to that match, he had at least 19 fantasy points in three straight games. Similar to Liverpool, the other three Chelsea options are locks for double-digit fantasy points, though Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta have slightly more upside.
Ricardo Pereira is in the mix, albeit harder to trust. He produced in recent matches against Man City and Chelsea, but that was because of a goal and huge defensive numbers. He's playing well, but there's a chance he rarely touches the ball if Liverpool are on their game. Otherwise, it's a toss-up with the rest, as you'll be hoping they reach 10 fantasy points. Steve Cook and Adrian Mariappa have been the most consistent as of late and both should get plenty of defensive work.
The top goalkeeper will likely be Hugo Lloris since he's been forced to make saves no matter the opponent in recent games (four at Fulham, three at Cardiff). If he can grab a clean sheet and make a few saves against a decent Watford attack, that's the ideal situation. Alisson will be popular with the best odds for a clean sheet, but he hasn't surpassed nine fantasy points in his last four starts. The other options are complete unknowns because they are either big underdogs or unreliable like Julian Speroni (or whoever starts for Crystal Palace) and Alex McCarthy. My money is on the simple choice of Lloris.