Gylfi Sigurdsson to bring in points, Sergio Aguero to end City woes?
Gameweek 29 of ESPN FC Premier Fantasy is the storm before the calm. This weekend will involve a full set of league fixtures, but if Arsenal win their FA Cup replay at Hull in midweek, GW30 will be reduced to just five matches.
As a result, a fair bit of forward planning is advisable now to avoid making excessive transfers in the quest to field a full team next week.
Man City will be in action in GW30, and they'll warm up for that with a home match against Aston Villa. The Sky Blues' midweek loss at Liverpool was chastening, but their home form is still exceptional -- the 35 goals they've scored at the Etihad is a massive eight clear of nearest rivals Everton.
Remi Garde's side are the league's fourth worst away defence, conceding an average of two goals a match, making David Silva (£7.7m) and, if fit, Yaya Toure (£7.2m) attractive midfield options.
Villa's woeful away record extends to their attack, which has managed a second-worst 11 goals and a third-worst 130 attempts on their travels. Vincent Kompany (£7.2m) looks nailed-on to start in a defence that has otherwise been rotated in recent weeks.
Swansea will also be involved in GW30, with a home match against Norwich before that. As the Swans have prospered, with 11 points from the last 21 available, the Canaries have slumped to one draw and six defeats.
Only two teams have conceded more than the 31 goals Norwich have shipped on their travels, so attacking midfielder Andre Ayew (£7.1m) and striker Alberto Paloschi (£5.9m), who scored his first league goal at Spurs, offer good value.
The Canaries' weak goal threat on the road, a fourth-worst 12 goals, should also put Ashley Williams (£5.5m), who scored the winner at the Emirates, and in-form keeper Lukasz Fabianski (£5.6m), an astonishing 13 saves against Spurs, on your radar.
No GW30 action for Chelsea, but their form and a home match with Stoke are too good to ignore. The Blues, with three wins in a row and 11 goals scored, look well placed to take advantage of Stoke's poor recent away form. The Potters have the sixth-worst away goals conceded total of 19, with 12 of those coming from their last five trips.
Willian (£7.4m) and Eden Hazard (£7.1m), who notched an assist for the first team since Oct. 3 in midweek, look like strong prospects. At the back, Branislav Ivanovic (£7.6m) is finally finding the form that has made him a consistent fantasy favourite, averaging a solid 4.5 points per match and managing two double-digit points returns in his last six starts.
Sergio Aguero (£10.1m) hasn't scored in two matches, but recorded six goals and an assist in the four before that. He has been particularly lethal at home, with 10 of his 14 goals for the season coming at the Etihad. Villa are unlikely candidates to stop him.
Diego Costa (£9.0m) has been at the heart of Chelsea's revival under Guus Hiddink, with eight goals and four assists since Boxing Day and an impressive 29 points from his last four starts. Hiddink has suggested he might be rested for next week's Champions League tie. If not, he offers the chance of solid returns against a patchy Stoke defence.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.9m) has been equally influential for Swansea in recent weeks, with five goals and an assist in 2016. He came off the bench to set up the winner at Arsenal and will surely start against Norwich as the Swans look to edge ever closer to Premier League safety.
A SINGLE PUNT
Bournemouth midfielder Matt Ritchie (£6.0m) was a popular early season ESPN FC Premier Fantasy pick, but failed to deliver consistently in the first half of the season. Currently owned by just 2.1 percent of managers, his form over the last three weeks suggests his stock will be on the rise again.
Eighteen points secured from his last three matches, on the back of a goal and two assists, is a strong return built on the back of a willingness to get into advanced forward positions, with five shots in the box over that timeframe.
Bournemouth's run-in is a curious mix of matches against top eight sides and those still very much in the relegation mix, but the Cherries' short-term schedule -- away at Newcastle and then home to Swansea in that reduced GW30 programme -- offer Ritchie the chance to continue his fine recent form.