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Fantasy Football advice: Week 17

Sports Mole looks ahead to the 17th week of the Premier League from a Fantasy Football point of view.

Aside from Phil Jagielka's failure to help Everton to a clean sheet against Queens Park Rangers on Monday, we continued our impressive form on the Fantasy Football front to help you make progress up your respective league tables.

Robin van Persie and Eden Hazard were both on the score sheet, while the doubts over Rickie Lambert and Eric Dier's selection turned out to be correct. Our other 'who to avoid' pick - Fabricio Coloccini - proved so "successful" that he has made another appearance in our selections for this weekend's action.

Below, Sports Mole has made six selections for the final set of fixtures ahead of the Christmas period.

Who to pick

1. Frank Lampard

Despite not being guaranteed a start against Crystal Palace on Saturday, we feel that Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard should be topping your selections for week 17. The former Chelsea man has proven to be a valuable asset to Manuel Pellegrini this season, with his goal at Leicester City last weekend helping his team keep pace with the leaders in the Premier League table. With a hectic schedule just around the corner, it remains to be seen how Pellegrini will use the 36-year-old but if he is given the chance from the start at the Etihad Stadium, it's hard to back against him adding to his current tally of six goals for the season.

2. Harry Kane

With Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor ahead of him in the pecking order at White Hart Lane, it appeared as though it was going to be another season on the substitutes' bench for Harry Kane, but the England Under-21 international has used the first four months of the campaign to establish himself as Tottenham Hotspur's first-choice striker. Only three of Kane's goals have come in the Premier League but nine in the Europa League and League Cup respectively have ensured that head coach Mauricio Pochettino is likely to trust him in the top flight over the next few weeks.

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Hull City at KC Stadium on November 23, 2014© Getty Images

3. Winston Reid

One of the reasons for West Ham United's rise up the Premier League table has the consistent displays of centre-back Winston Reid. The New Zealand international, who has attracted interest from some of the top-flight's big guns, has netted just once in 16 appearances but he has been part of a backline that has combined well to complement the improvement in the final third. Clean sheets have been a problem - just two have come when Reid has featured - but with Leicester City the visitors to Upton Park on Saturday afternoon, the Hammers will be confident of improving that statistic at the end of the match.

Who to avoid

1. Nathaniel Clyne

Six weeks ago, Southampton were being tipped to gatecrash the Champions League places at the end of the season but their recent form has shown that it doesn't take much time in football for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction. Five defeats in a row, including the setback in the Capital One Cup to League One outfit Sheffield United, has seen the storm clouds descend over St Mary's and although manager Ronald Koeman is under no pressure regarding his position at the club, he needs to find a way of preventing his side from falling further down the standings. An Everton team looking to make inroads in the top half of the table provide the opposition on Saturday and unless Southampton can cut out the mistakes at the back, the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley could get themselves on the scoresheet.

2. Fabricio Coloccini

Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini stands dejected with his side two down at Man City on August 19, 2013© Getty Images

It was only a few weeks ago that many fantasy football managers up and down the country had started to include defenders from Newcastle United but that trend has come to an abrupt end. Injuries to senior goalkeepers Tim Krul and Rob Elliot have resulted in Jak Alnwick being thrust into the first team and although he performed impressively on his debut against Chelsea, his inexperience has been exposed in four-goal defeats to Arsenal and Spurs. The 21-year-old is also an injury doubt ahead of the North-East derby with Sunderland on Sunday afternoon, leaving the possibility that 17-year-old Freddie Woodman could start the contest, and although manager Alan Pardew is attempting to secure an emergency loan, you would be well advised to stay clear of any of Newcastle's defensive options.

3. Brad Guzan

Like Newcastle, Aston Villa have proven a tough nut to crack in the past month with the West Midlands club conceding no more than one goal in a game since November 2. Considering that they have had to deal with injuries to Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos and Nathan Baker, that's an impressive record for a team who had seemed in free fall during September and October. However, with an in-form Manchester United the visitors to Villa Park at the weekend, the mean defensive run could come to an end. Louis van Gaal's side still look shaky in defence but finding the back of the net isn't a problem with 12 goals being netted in their past five games.

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Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge on November 1, 2014
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Fantasy Football advice: Week 16

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