Fantasy Premier League 2013 Week 12: Defenders, Midfielders and Strikers to Sign

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 03:  Fraizer Campbell of Cardiff City evades Jonathan de Guzman of Swansea City during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Swansea City at Cardiff City Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Following the international break, fans can look forward to the return of the Premier League this weekend, which also means the comeback of what's truly important: fantasy football.

Last time out, the likes of Luis Suarez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana all shone brightly, but with Liverpool and Southampton playing Everton and Arsenal, respectively, some swaps may be called for.

Staying ahead of the curve in the fantasy game is paramount, and saving a few pennies along the way is just an added bonus.

Read on for a selection of picks you'll want to consider heading into Week 12 with a special focus on ensuring your bank balance doesn't get hurt in the process.

All prices are referenced using the Official Premier League Fantasy Football game.

Erik Pieters, Stoke City

Value: £5.0 million

Erik Pieters has adapted to the English top flight tremendously since moving from PSV Eindhoven over the summer, and Mark Hughes appears to have gotten his hands on a well-rounded asset who likes to help out in attack.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Erik Pieters of Stoke City is challenged by Nathaniel Clyne of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Southampton at Britannia Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Stoke on Trent, Engl
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Sunderland haven't scored in their last three games away from home and, although Hughes' Stoke City are a bit less defensively minded than they were under Tony Pulis, there's a good opportunity for clean-sheet points at the Britannia.

Pieters also has two assists in his last three games and has a superb target to aim for in Peter Crouch, who will look to provide the difference over the Black Cats on Saturday. 

Granted, one of those assists was for Asmir Begovic's freak goal, but at least the defender can see the funny side of things:

Alternative Defence Picks: Nathaniel Clyne vs. Arsenal (£4.7 million); Aleksandar Kolarov vs. Tottenham (£5.3 million) 

Jonathan De Guzman, Swansea City

Value: £5.7 million

With Michu picking up an ankle injury and set to miss out on the action this weekend, it's likely that Jonathan De Guzman will be the man used in an attacking midfield role by Michael Laudrup.

SWANSEA, WALES - OCTOBER 27: Jonathan de Guzman of Swansea City and Winston Reid of West Ham United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and West Ham United at Liberty Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Swansea, Wales. (Phot
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

The versatile Dutchman tends to thrive when pushed into a more advanced position, and it only helps further that the 26-year-old takes set pieces for Swansea City.

Fulham have conceded an average of 1.80 goals per game at Craven Cottage this term and have one of the worst home defences in the English top flight, giving the Swans every chance of notching some goals in West London.

Alternative Midfield Picks: Robbie Brady vs. Crystal Palace (£5.2 million); Stephane Sessegnon vs. Aston Villa (£6.6 million)

Yoan Gouffran, Newcastle United

Value: £6.3 million

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Yoan Gouffran of Newcastle United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park on November 2, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne,
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Yoan Gouffran's first six months in England weren't his most productive, but Alan Pardew is beginning to place faith in his forward and it's starting to pay off.

The Frenchman has started Newcastle's last six games in a row and has one goal and two assists to his name from his last two outings against Chelsea and Tottenham.

It's fair to say that if the 27-year-old can turn up in those high-stake encounters, one can't rule out a big performance for the home fixture against Norwich City this weekend.

Alternative Striker Picks: Romelu Lukaku vs. Liverpool (£8.0 million); Wilfried Bony vs. Fulham (£7.4 million)