Premier League Fantasy Football: Who do I need and who should I drop?

After a six-week break, the Premier League is back with a full round of eagerly-anticipated fixtures in Gameweek 17.

ere are our picks for who you need this weekend, who to drop, and an Irish pick to drive your team up the leaderboards.

And don’t forget, all fantasy managers can make unlimited transfers up until the Gameweek 17 deadline (11am December 26).

Who do I need?

Darwin Nunez (Liverpool) £9.0m

The Liverpool forward started in each of Uruguay’s three group games at Qatar 2022, but before the World Cup, Nunez was one of Liverpool’s best performing players, with nine goals and two assists in 18 appearances. The striker hit the net in three consecutive Champions League ties, and netted a fine brace in their win over Southampton right before the World Cup.

Over half a million users have signed him this week, and with Aston Villa keeping just one clean sheet in their last eight, the 23-year-old is expected to pick up where he left off.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) £6.7m

Rashford is a player reborn this term. Under Erik ten Hag, the forward has already hit as many league goals as he managed in the whole of last season (4), while he’s also netted five goals in League cup and Europa League action.

The academy graduate was one of England’s standout stars of Qatar, finishing as their joint-top scorer with three. United face Nottingham Forest and Wolves next, both of whom have struggled at the back this season as they sit in the relegation zone.

After a stunning solo goal in their League cup win over Burnley last Wednesday, over 560,000 users have signed him up and are hoping Rashford can continue his purple patch for the Red Devils.

Who should I drop?

Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest) £4.8m

The right-back featured in Wales’ three group games in Qatar as they failed to make it out of the group. Williams has been struggling in the top-flight lately though, scoring just three points in his last three games combined. He has also yet to contribute a goal or assist so far, and with rock bottom Forest facing Manchester United and Chelsea next, now may be the time to cut ties with the 21-year-old.

Dark horse

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) £7.5m

The winger has stood out for the Eagles so far this term, with six league goals and two assists before the World Cup break. Zaha achieved a career high of 150 points last season, and his six goals this term is double that of any other teammate.

Zaha ranks first for his side in attempted shots, shots on target and big chances, while he also netted a fine brace in a friendly win over Real Valladolid last week. With newly-promoted Fulham and Bouremouth up next, the Ivorian may prove a shrewd buy this week.

An Irish pick

Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur) £4.6m

Doherty has been in and out of the Spurs side under Antonio Conte this season, but his impressive displays in their mid-season friendlies may earn him a start on Stephen’s Day.

The Irish defender failed to start in any of Spurs’ four games before the break, but has hit four goals in three friendlies against Nice, Peterborough and Motherwell this month. With Ryan Sessegnon still nursing an injury, and Ivan Perisic recovering after a gruelling World Cup, Conte may opt give Doherty the nod against Brentford.

Who to captain?

Erling Haaland (Manchester City) £12.2m

The City star is now back fit and will look to continue his frightening form as the league resumes. Fully refreshed after not featuring in the World Cup, the 22-year-old is set to add to his stunning tally of 23 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola’s side face a Leeds outfit who have not kept a clean sheet in 11 games, and the Norwegian is a safe bet for the armband this weekend.

Top Irish player

In Gameweek 16 before the mid-season break, Noel Higgins topped the Irish leaderboard with 92 points. Harry Kane and Darwin Nunez both found the net up front, while Miguel Almiron and Gabriel Martinelli scored well in midfield. Higgins’ bench boost made the difference though, as Danny Ward and Rodrigo Moreno added an extra 24 points.

Don’t forget!

The Second Chance league has now launched, giving users the chance to compete in a new league which starts on Stephen’s Day. All teams will begin on zero points, and it is a great opportunity to get back involved in Fantasy Premier League if you missed out before the mid-season break.

Gameweek 17 deadline: 11am Monday December 26.

Gameweek 17 fixtures

Monday December 26

Brentford v Tottenham 12:30

Southampton v Brighton 3.0

Leicester City v Newcastle 3.0

Crystal Palace v Fulham 3.0

Everton v Wolves 3.0

Aston Villa v Liverpool 5.30

Arsenal v West Ham 8.0

Tuesday December 27

Chelsea v Bournemouth 5.30

Manchester United v Nottingham Forest 8.0

Wednesday December 28

Leeds United v Manchester City 8.0

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