Fantasy Football advice: Week 16

Sports Mole looks ahead to week 16 of this season's Premier League from the viewpoint of fantasy football managers.

Okay, hands up, we've been in a poor run of form where the fantasy football advice has been concerned of late.

Of the four players that we backed last time out to find the back of the net, only Swansea City's Nathan Dyer registered a goal, while the likes of Wayne Rooney and Olivier Giroud let us down. What's more, Costel Pantilimon shipped three goals in his two outings between the posts for Manchester City.

We did slightly better when it comes to which players to avoid, particularly John Ruddy and John O'Shea, who were part of rearguards that shipped five and six goals respectively.

So, here it goes - another chance to redeem ourselves with our selection of who to select and who to steer clear of for gameweek 16.

Who to pick

1. Fernando Torres: There have been signs this season that the return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea has had a positive impact on Torres. While he has not been able to rediscover the clinical form that he once showed at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, he has at least posed a threat to opposition defences. He has only scored five goals this term, but his season has been hampered by both suspension and injury. On Saturday he comes up against a particularly leaky Crystal Palace side who have shipped 22 goals, 12 of which have come away from home.

Fernando Torres of Chelsea celebrates scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on October 27, 2013© Getty Images

2. Gary Hooper: The English frontman's form has coincided with a recent upturn for Norwich City, who have won three of their last five matches. During that period, Hooper, signed from Celtic in the summer, has scored three times. He showed against West Bromwich Albion last time out that he only needs one opportunity to find the back of the net. He could well fancy his chances of improving upon his recent tally against a Swansea City side that have let in 20 goals already.

3. Ben Turner: Cardiff City have been alarmingly dropping towards the relegation zone recently. Scoring goals has been a real problem for Malky Mackay's men, but they have also conceded nine up the other end from their last five encounters. This weekend they have a real chance to get back on track when West Bromwich Albion visit the Cardiff City Stadium. The Baggies struggled to create chances against Norwich last Saturday, so a cheap gamble on Turner could well be worth it.

4. Gerard Deulofeu: In recent weeks, the Barcelona loanee has started to show some of his potential at Everton. Manager Roberto Martinez has often left the young Spaniard on the bench for away encounters, but in recent weeks he's been unleashed at Goodison Park and proved his worth in the process. Next up for the Toffees is a home clash against Fulham, who have conceded 26 goals in the Premier League this term. What's more, they are not overly blessed with pace in the full-back position, which may well see Deulofeu prosper.

Everton players celebrate after Everton's Spanish striker Gerard Deulofeu scored an equaliser during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Everton at The Emirates Stadium in north London on December 8, 2013© Getty Images

5. James Ward-Prowse: Southampton have been dangerous from corners, crosses and the like this season. A large reason behind that has been the right foot of Ward-Prowse, who has recently been compared to David Beckham. The Saints travel to Newcastle United - a side that more often than not provide the opposition with opportunities. While he may not score many goals, it would not be a surprise to see the 19-year-old claim an assist or two.

Who to avoid

1. Julian Speroni: He's back! After letting him off the hook for a few weeks, Crystal Palace's goalkeeper Speroni has returned to our players to avoid list. Again it's nothing personal - after all, he's a more than an adequate goalkeeper. His side are playing Chelsea, though, so it would be no great surprise if the Argentine spent a lot of his afternoon picking the ball out of the back of his net.

2. Olivier Giroud: The French striker has earned a whole host of plaudits for his performances to date and quite rightly so. Having said that, the 27-year-old has scored just two goals in his last eight outings for the Gunners in all competitions. In that sort of form, the last team place you would want to visit is Manchester City. At the Etihad Stadium, City have conceded just two goals in seven outings.

Arsenal striker Oliver Giroud reacts afetr missing a shot at goal against Vietnam during the international friendly match between Vietnam and Arsenal FC at My Dinh National Stadium on July 17, 2013© Getty Images

3. Roberto Soldado: Whatever way it is dressed up, the Spaniard has struggled since he arrived at Tottenham Hotspur from Valencia during the summer. To be fair to Soldado, some of his problems have been attributed to Spurs' style of play, which has often seen him cut an isolated figure. With that in mind, manager Andre Villas-Boas has opted to use the more mobile and speedier Jermain Defoe in Tottenham's last two encounters. The smart money would be that Soldado will remain on the bench for Sunday's clash with Liverpool.

4. Michael Dawson: Staying with Tottenham, but this time switching attention to their defence. Against Sunderland and Stoke City they shipped one goal in each clash, but in the previous matches that saw them take on the two Manchester clubs, they let in eight goals. They face another of the division's better sides in Liverpool, who boast the in-form Luis Suarez up front. His agility and pace is likely to have Dawson worried - those are two attributes that the Tottenham skipper often has issues to dealing with.

5. Dimitar Berbatov: The Bulgarian was a joy to watch for most of last weekend's clash against Aston Villa, where he scored one goal and proved to be a real thorn in the side of the opposition's defence. On that sort of form, Berbatov is major asset. The problem is that the former Manchester United centre-forward has had a poor season to date, with his attitude called into question on more than one occasion. This weekend Fulham travel to Everton, who are likely to have more of the possession. Berbatov is not the sort of striker who will work hard for the cause, so there is a fair chance he could be largely anonymous.

Peter Crouch of Stoke celebrates after scoring a goal to level the scores at 1-1 during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on December 7, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City87102942522
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd86202121920
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs85211551017
4Watford84311313015
5Chelsea8413138513
6Arsenal84131210213
7Burnley834186213
8Liverpool83411312113
9Newcastle UnitedNewcastle832398111
10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom824279-210
11Southampton823379-29
12Huddersfield TownHuddersfield823359-49
13Swansea CitySwansea822458-38
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224610-48
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8224814-68
16Everton8224513-88
17Stoke CityStoke8224918-98
18Leicester CityLeicester81341013-36
19Bournemouth8116412-84
20Crystal Palace8107218-163
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