Wayne Rooney a key man for Man United, Toby Alderweireld top defender
A frenzied four weeks of festive fixtures is finally finished and only four teams have anything but the league to worry about for the next few days.
As a result, the enemy of every ESPN FC Premier Fantasy manager -- squad rotation -- is unlikely to be an issue outside of the Capital One Cup semifinalists. So be selective when considering Man City, Everton, Stoke and Liverpool players, but otherwise, we're just about back to business as usual.
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Everton will look for home goals against a Swansea side that has kept just the one clean sheet on their travels all season.
There's been a slight drop in ownership for top five midfielder Ross Barkley (£8.0m), who has gone without a goal or an assist for three straight gameweeks. The England man's longest drought this season was a four-match run from mid-September and the Swans look ill-equipped to help history repeat itself.
Everton have the worst home defensive record in the league, with 20 goals conceded. However, in Leighton Baines (£7.2m) and Ramiro Funes Mori (£6.4m), they have two defenders with real attacking threat. The former recorded two assists last week, the latter a goal.
Newcastle's away form has been woeful this season, securing just seven points from a possible 30.
But they travel to a Watford side in serious decline. The Hornets have lost four on the bounce, while the Magpies have four points from their last two fixtures and are finally finding some attacking purpose, with their offensive stats massively improved over the past four gameweeks.
Second-ranked midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum (£7.8m) has two goals and an assist from his last two starts, although he is yet to score away from home.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.2m) is a striker poised to go on a good run. Over the past six gameweeks, he has had more shots than any other striker bar Harry Kane, his 20 penalty box attempts leads the way and his 46 touches in the area is matched only by Chelsea's Diego Costa.
At the back, Daryl Janmaat (£5.9m) notched his third assist of the season in the win over West Ham.
Liverpool will travel to Norwich keen to exploit the league's third worst defence -- 38 goals conceded.
Like most first-team players, Roberto Firmino (£6.8m) played no part in the Reds' midweek FA Cup replay, so should be fresh. Unlike most first-team players, Christian Benteke (£7.8m) played the full match against Exeter and took a lot of flak for his profligacy in front of goal.
But the Belgian does have two goals and an assist from his last five league outings, three of which were from the bench, and he remains the club's top scorer in all competitions.
Norwich have struggled for home goals all season, so a Liverpool defender might be worth a punt. The cheapest option who is likely to start is Mamadou Sakho (£5.6m).
Wayne Rooney (£7.8m) has five goals in his last four outings in all competitions and is well up the rankings for attempts, penalty area touches and minutes per goal. A home match against Southampton suggests more of the same.
Romelu Lukaku (£9.4m) hasn't scored in three, but the fixtures were tough. He did manage an assist against Spurs and has scored or assisted in each of his last six home appearances. Swansea beware.
Toby Alderweireld (£7.0m) remains the top-ranked ESPN FC Premier Fantasy defender and a trip to Palace will hold no fears for him.
The Eagles haven't scored for five consecutive matches while Spurs have allowed the fewest big chances (two) and the third fewest shots in the box (22) in the league. They've also allowed the fewest open play attempts in the league over the last four (21) and are conceding chances every 10.5 minutes -- no defence is more miserly.
A PUNT OR TWO
Sunderland are either winning or losing big of late, but their home form remains their saving grace, with just 10 goals conceded in 11 matches at the Stadium of Light -- the league's fourth-best figure.
Having said that, the Black Cats haven't kept a clean sheet, home or away, since late November. But in Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m), they have a defender who brings a huge amount of attacking threat.
The Dutchman has scored in the Black Cats' last three league outings. Add in an assist, and the fact that Van Aanholt has conceded seven goals in those three matches means his 32-point haul is all the more impressive.
Jermain Defoe (£6.3m) has five goals in his last three matches, making him the top scorer over that time frame. He's also clinical, scoring from nine attempts for a 55.6 percent conversion rate that leads the league, as does his 56.8 minutes per goal average.
Bournemouth have three clean sheets from their last five fixtures, but they've kept just two away from home all season, conceding a fourth-worst 21 goals along the way.
Defoe looks well-placed to punish such generosity.