EPL Week 17 Fantasy Preview

Clive Brunskill

Taking a look at who to play and who to bench for Week 17.

I drove from Auburn to my parents' house in Kentucky last night, arriving early in the morning.  I thought it would be a good idea to recreate the famous Folgers commercial, hoping that the smell of the freshly brewed coffee would wake everyone up and they would come down the stairs happy to see that I had made it home for the holidays.  Nothing.  Nobody woke up.  I don't even drink coffee.  That Folgers commercial is a LIE!  I now hate Peter and his family.

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Some major news occurring in the EPL this week.  Dempsey is almost back at Fulham, Suarez just signed an extension with Liverpool and Andre Villas-Boas run at Spurs ends.

How will this affect Week 17?  Let's take a look:

Goalkeepers

  • Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham) - Ooof! Coming off giving up four goals to Everton, Stekelenburg now goes against a Manchester City squad that can basically score when they want. Luckily for him, Sergio Aguerro is out at least. (VERDICT: BENCH)
  • Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) - Kept Spurs off of the score sheet. Expect him to do the same to Cardiff this week. (VERDICT: PLAY)

Defenders

  • Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) - Will Wenger stick with the German? Arsenal's defense has been downright horrid at times. Also, their #1 fan Joe Swart has already given up on them winning the Champions League after drawing Bayern. In a text, he rationalizes "I would rather Ajax win the Europa than Arsenal win the Champions League 10 X." Ummmm, okay then. I am guessing he would also rather have Auburn win the N.I.T. than the NCAA Title in basketball. (Neither will ever happen.) (VERDICT: BENCH)
  • Jose Fonte (Southampton) - Spurs are struggling right now and do not look like a side that can score. Look for Southampton to give them trouble again this week. (VERDICT: PLAY)
  • Dean Moxey (Crystal Palace) - What a name! Too bad that is the only thing really going for him this week. (VERDICT: BENCH)
  • Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) - Let's face it: Ray Guilfoyle and I could play defense against Fulham right now and keep them from scoring more than two goals. (Ray is a dirty tackler!) (VERDICT: PLAY)
  • Seamus Coleman (Everton) - I wish my name was Seamus. Look for the Irishman to have a good game again this week against Swansea. (VERDICT: PLAY)

Midfielders

  • Steven Nzonzi (Stoke City) - I am not giving up on the mighty Stoke yet! I do feel like they will pull out a win against Aston Villa this week and Nzonzi will have a good game. (VERDICT: PLAY)
  • Eden Hazard (Chelsea) - Apparently Jose Mourinho has some issues with both Hazard and Ashley Cole. I'm going with Hazard shutting up those issues with a brace this weekend against Arsenal. STULTZ GUARANTEE OF THE WEEK! (VERDICT: PLAY)
  • Michael Carrick (Manchester United) - IF HE RETURNS, look for Carrick to step back into making some plays for United. Did you know that no United player has played in all 16 matches this season? Talk about continuity. (VERDICT: PLAY, if returns)
  • Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) - We would ALL be so lucky to have a Steven Gerrard on our team.  Unfortunately, he is injured.  (VERDICT: BENCH)

Forwards

  • Luis Suarez (Liverool) - New contract? A lot of hype? THIS IS THE GAME WHERE HE COMES BACK DOWN TO EARTH! (VERDICT: BENCH)
  • I am already regretting the advice above. Let me have it Liverpool lovers!
  • Pick ANY Manchester City striker and chances are you will have a goal this week. My poor Fulham boys.
  • Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) - Annnndddd the Arsenal ship starts to go down. I'm not sure why Arsenal fans don't like Giroud more than they do. (VERDICT: BENCH)
  • Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) - He is not the player he once was but he still an angry "everyone is out to get me" type guy that wants to prove he is better than van Persie. (VERDICT: PLAY) (NOTE: ROONEY MAY NOT BE FIT FOR SATURDAY'S MATCH.)

I hope all of you have a great holiday and, as always, feel free to tweet (@brianjstultz) or email me (brianjstultz@gmail.com) with any questions.

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