Fantasy Premier League 2013: Projecting Optimal Lineup for Week 17

Joseph ZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Captain Luis Suarez of Liverpool looks on through the rain during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on December 15, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That should apply to your fantasy Premier League team.

Although you're allowed to rotate players in and out of your team without having to worry about another owner grabbing them up, it's smart to rely heavily on the best performers each and every week, interspersed with some of the players who have favorable matchups.

With that in mind, here's a look what could be the optimal lineup for Matchday 17, with many of this season's top players, and sprinkled in are a couple of wild cards.

Note: All fantasy values are according to ESPN FC.

 

Goalkeeper: Asmir Begovic (6.4)

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Asmir Begovic of Stoke looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Sunderland at Britannia Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Asmir Begovic has been one of the most consistent fantasy goalkeepers ever since he moved to Stoke City in 2010.

While the 26-year-old isn't barraged with a ton of shots to pick up save points, he is usually able to keep a clean sheet. Aston Villa have had problems scoring, and at the Britannia, Begovic and the Stoke back line should keep Villa off the scoresheet.

 

Defenders: Kyle Walker (7.5), Seamus Coleman (7.1), Ryan Shawcross (6.2)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Seamus Coleman of Everton celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Fulham at Goodison Park on December 14, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Paul T
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

The goals have dried up for Southampton to an extent. Only once in their last seven matches have they scored more than once in a game. Considering how organized Tottenham's back four has been all season, Spurs should keep Saints off the board, giving Kyle Walker the clean sheet.

Seamus Coleman has been the highest-scoring defender, according to ESPN FC. He's got the right combination of strong defending and an ability to score the occasional goal from a set piece. Swansea aren't a great home side, so Everton should take all the points and keep the score low.

Ryan Shawcross will piggyback on what will hopefully be Begovic's clean sheet. If that doesn't work out, don't count on Shawcross scoring a goal to boost his output. At least he comes with a relatively low price tag.

 

Midfielders: Jordan Henderson (6.7), Aaron Ramsey (8.8), Leroy Fer (6.9), Yaya Toure (10.0)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium  on December 14, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

As long as Steven Gerrard is out, Jordan Henderson has plenty of fantasy value. Gerrard's absence means Henderson drops deeper in midfield and runs from box to box, rather than playing out on the flank. He's a threat to pick up an assist or two against Cardiff City, and the 23-year-old may even snatch a goal.

One of the best Premier League midfielders all season has been Aaron Ramsey. While the Arsenal star hasn't been able to maintain his otherworldly early season form, he's managed to maintain a high level of performance. Although the Gunners have a tough matchup against Chelsea next Monday, anything they do in the attack will go through Ramsey.

Sunderland maintain the worst defense at home, having conceded 16 goals in eight matches. That's good news for Leroy Fer, who's been by far Norwich's best fantasy performer in midfield.

Despite his immense talent, Yaya Toure is a wild card this weekend. He has a habit of falling asleep against lesser sides, as he did in City's 1-1 draw against Southampton. Although Fulham is a favorable matchup, he could play down to the competition.

If he plays up to his potential, Toure will beast this game.

 

Forwards: Alvaro Negredo (8.7), Luis Suarez (11.0), Wayne Rooney (10.2)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Swansea City at Etihad Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Sergio Aguero will be out for at least a month, per Sky Sports.

That means more of the goalscoring load will likely fall to Alvaro Negredo. The 28-year-old is one of the signings of the summer, providing a direct option in City's attack. Against a weak Fulham defense, Negredo should have opportunities to score.

Much like the inclusion of Ramsey, putting Luis Suarez here needs no real introduction. He's on an unbelievable run of form, and there's no sign of him slowing down any time soon.

With Robin van Persie out, Wayne Rooney will again be the driving force of the Manchester United attack. Danny Welbeck's brace last week is encouraging, but make no mistake about it, Rooney is the better option of the two.