Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday
11:45 AM UTC
Game Details

Dimitri Payet and Riyad Mahrez star for ESPN FC fantasy managers

Gameweek 29 of ESPN FC Premier Fantasy was another belter, although Newcastle boss Steve McClaren can be excused for disagreeing following yet another desperate defeat.

Leicester did just enough, sparing us too much drama as they collected another vital three points in their 1-0 win at Watford.

The same could not be said for Spurs and Arsenal, but even a cracking north London derby ended up being overshadowed by a remarkable comeback from West Ham, who triumphed 3-2 at Everton having been 2-0 down.

Here's what we learned ...

Weekly wonders

Dmitri Payet (£7.6m) was the main man behind that Hammers' victory, his 12 points coming from a goal and an assist. He now has 35 points from his last four Gameweeks and is eighth in the midfielders' chart despite missing seven matches through injury.

Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels (£6.3m) did nothing for McClaren's job prospects as he leapt to second in the defenders' table with a goal and 11 points against Newcastle.

A raft of players also hit a goal for 10 points: top midfielder Riyad Mahrez (£9.4m); leading defender Toby Alderweireld (£6.9m); Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.6m), who has six goals and an assist from his last 10 matches, and Virgil van Dijk (£7.1m), whose late equaliser against Sunderland took him into the defenders' top five.

Teamsheet talk

Attempting to second guess Mauricio Pochettino's full-back selections is a mug's game. Kyle Walker (£6.8m) and Danny Rose (£6.7m) got the nod this week, but midfield matters were more pertinent.

Mousa Dembele (£6.1m) and Dele Alli (£6.4m) started against Arsenal, with the former proving something of a talisman for Tottenham -- they've not lost in the Premier League with him in the team since the opening day of the season.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also rolled the dice, bringing in Danny Welbeck (£7.0m), Kieran Gibbs (£5.2m), Mohamed Elneny (£5.4m) and David Ospina (£5.0m).

But it was his decision to use Aaron Ramsey (£7.3m) in a more advanced role that really caught the eye, the Welshman scoring and firing in three shots in a fine performance.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini also rotated his squad, benching Aleksandar Kolarov (£5.5m) and Pablo Zabaleta (£6.2m) at the back and Raheem Sterling (£6.4m) in midfield, although the latter came on and scored almost immediately.

Wilfried Bony (£6.4m) started his first league match since Boxing Day in a 4-4-2, but his profligacy in front of goal means that he might not start again for an equally long time.

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman is another who likes to keep ESPN FC Premier Fantasy managers on their toes, particularly with his defensive choices.

Matt Targett (£5.8m) didn't even make the squad for the 1-1 home draw with Sunderland despite a strong 2016 showing that has seen him score 33 points from five starts.

His days would normally look numbered, but Jose Fonte's (£7.0m) red card means another defensive re-shuffle is on the cards.

Up front, Graziano Pelle (£6.1m) lasted a full 90 minutes for the first time since just before Christmas, while Dusan Tadic (£6.8m) put in a full shift for the first time since Nov. 21. Amazingly, the Serb remains the Saints' top scoring midfielder, with 112 points.

The numbers game

Last week, we highlighted the need for Man City players to bolster your team for GW30's reduced schedule with the following words:

"Selecting three City players for GW30 still looks a given. Deciding which three that will be is not nearly so clear-cut."

Assuming that Sergio Aguero (£10.0m), who has nine goals and an assist in 2016, will be a nailed-on pick, the other two main contenders have now produced compelling arguments for their inclusion.

David Silva (£7.6m) and Yaya Toure (£7.2m) excelled against Villa. The former recorded two assists and created six chances, while the latter scored and created four chances.

The duo's new-found form makes them attractive GW30 options, as do three other factors. City visit Norwich and although their attacking stats away from home are underwhelming, the Canaries' defensive record at Carrow Road -- only two teams have conceded more than the 22 goals they've shipped -- is ripe for exploitation.

The ownership stats of the pair - Silva at 7.4 percent, Toure even lower at 6.4 percent --offers managers the chance to gain a real edge over competitors.

And City's Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev next week does not invoke the usual worries about squad rotation. With a 3-1 lead to defend, including two away goals, Manuel Pellegrini is likely to field his strongest team in the Premier League in what is a must-win match.

If Arsenal make it through this week's FA Cup replay against Hull, GW 30 will involve only five matches, ensuring that Aguero, Silva and Toure look poised to make major contributions.

By The Scout from Fantasy Football Scout -- the tips, news and views site for Premier League Fantasy Football managers. @FFScout on Twitter.


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