This week's optimal fantasy lineup does not have the highest ceiling of all the lineups I've done this year, but it is in contention for one of the safest.
The way the matchups play out this week, there are some quality players on the back end that have the inside track to clean sheets. The front is highlighted by the selection of Luis Suarez, and with Suarez facing Stoke City, he is a strong choice for captain.
This week's matchups actually made the selection process fairly easy. So, have a look at this reliable lineup, and let me know what you think in the comments below.
All values and points via fantasy.premierleague.com.
G: Wojciech Szczesny, 5.9, Arsenal
With just 18 goals allowed, Arsenal is the stingiest team in the Premier League this season. That status isn't likely to change this week. Arsenal is taking on an Aston Villa side that have scored just 19 goals this season.
D: Kyle Walker, 6.1, Tottenham; Michael Dawson, 5.2; Tottenham; Per Mertesacker, 6.5, Arsenal; Jose Fonte, 5.1, Southampton
I'm going to ride Arsenal's likely clean sheet by playing Per Mertesacker. He has 14 combined points in his last two outings and is set to have another strong showing. Also, Mertesacker will undoubtedly be playing with added urgency to help pick up injured teammate Theo Walcott:
I'm also going to jump on Tottenham's matchup with Crystal Palace. Although Crystal Palace have been improving, it's still an adventure for them to score goals. Kyle Walker and Michael Dawson aren't likely to post big weeks, but they offer solid value considering their shot at a clean sheet.
Finally, Jose Fonte and Southampton haven't been producing as they were earlier in the season, but with a match against West Brom this week, Southampton will get a break from what has been a tough recent schedule.
M: Eden Hazard, 10.4, Chelsea; Kevin Mirallas, 7.2, Everton; Leon Osman, 6.2, Everton; Emanuele Giaccherini, 6.3, Sunderland
Eden Hazard is having a wonderful year, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. He has 26 combined fantasy points from his last three matches. With Chelsea taking on middle-of-the-pack Hull City this week, Hazard is a strong bet to continue his pace.
Joining Hazard are a pair of Everton midfielders that bring decent value for their potential. Everton are taking on Norwich City and the Canaries have allowed a second-worst 33 goals on the season.
Wrapping up the midfielders is Emanuele Giaccherini. Sunderland have not been a popular place to look for fantasy success this year, but the bottom-dwelling side has been playing much better of late. With Giaccherini and his mates taking on a Fulham side that have been allowing goals in bunches, he represents good value.
F: Luis Suarez, 13.3, Liverpool; Romelu Lukaku, 8.7, Everton
Luis Suarez has been a fantasy monster this season. He's dumping in goals left and right and this week he will face Stoke, who have allowed 30 goals on the season. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Suarez pick up a brace this week.
Luis Suarez is the 1st player in Europe to score 20 league goals without scoring a penalty. He did this in just 15 games— Uber Football Facts (@UberFotbalFacts) January 4, 2014
I decided to pair Suarez with another Everton player facing generous Norwich City. Romelu Lukaku has a bit of a boom-or-bust tendency about him, but chances are good we will get the boom version this week.