Premier League Fantasy Preview: Week 23

With the FA and League Cup breaks over, there are 10 Premier League games over two days in Week 23. Hull vs. Newcastle is the earliest match of the weekend so fantasy players can check lineups and make tweaks if necessary for that match before kickoff -- when ESPN's Premier Fantasy locks lineups.

Saturday, Jan. 31

Hull vs. Newcastle

Hull have some of their walking wounded returning after a warm-weather camp in Portugal but face the cold reality of relegation danger.

Newcastle have slim pickings when it comes to fantasy points producers. Ayoze Perez (5.8) has done nothing since Papiss Cisse (5.5) left for the Africa Cup of Nations on Jan. 5. Cisse is now back and could play.

Crystal Palace vs. Everton

Crystal Palace are unbeaten in four games and have their tails up under new manager Alan Pardew. Dwight Gayle (4.9) is delivering goals and midfield newcomer Jordon Mutch (4.8) could feature.

Everton are winless since Dec. 15 and wait to see whether Kevin Mirallas (5.7), Muhamed Besic (5.5), James McCarthy (5.7), Darron Gibson (5.0) and Sylvain Distin (5.4) can play.

Liverpool vs. West Ham

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games but crashed out of the League Cup. Daniel Sturridge (8.8) is in line to return after missing 19 games.

West Ham's Diafra Sakho (6.1) has eight goals. Stewart Downing (7.7) with five goals and seven assists is having a career season.

Manchester United vs. Leicester

Manchester United are stale with Wayne Rooney (9.5) goalless in four games. Robin van Persie's (9.4) last score was on Boxing Day. Radamel Falcao (6.6) is disgruntled and Angel Di Maria (8.8) is in a funk with no goals since early October. Adding to the misery was a goalless 90-minute FA Cup match with Cambridge.

Leicester's survival hopes have improved with Jeffrey Schlupp (5.4) who was held out of the Africa Cup of Nations and scored the FA Cup game winner against Spurs. Unfortunately, for fantasy managers, he has been reclassified from a defender to a midfielder.

Stoke vs. QPR

Stoke have won three of their last five matches. Bojan Krkic (6.1) scored a wonder goal against Rochdale in an FA Cup victory but later left the match with a season-ending knee injury.

QPR, losers of 10 straight on the road, have conceded 39 goals but have 13-goal man Charlie Austin (7.6) ready to strike back.

Sunderland vs. Burnley

Draw specialists Sunderland went 0-0 in their FA Cup match with Fulham and are level on points with Burnley, one gasp clear of the drop zone. There aren't any players worth picking up in fantasy for this match.

West Brom vs. Tottenham

After two goals in two games, Saido Berahino (6.6) looked lost against Everton. Beyond him, the Baggies offer little fantasy value.

Christian Eriksen (7.1) got back to goal scoring against Sunderland and then registered a brace against Sheffield United to send Spurs to the Capital One Cup final. Harry Kane (6.8) has six goals in his last seven games.

Chelsea vs. Manchester City

Before their humbling 4-2 FA Cup ouster by Bradford, Chelsea thrashed Swansea 5-0 and were clicking on all cylinders. However, big problems came after the League Cup semifinal 2-1 aggregate victory over Liverpool.

Diego Costa (10.1), with 17 goals, is suspended for three games for violent conduct in that game, and Cesc Fabregas (9.5) with 15 assists and Branislav Ivanovic (7.9) are doubtful for Saturday's match.

Oscar (7.5) has three goals and two assists in the past three games. Petr Cech (5.3) has two straight Premier League clean sheets but leaked four in the Bradford game, while Thibaut Courtois (7.1) was impressive in the Liverpool match and should start.

Manchester City looked flat in the 0-2 loss to Arsenal and then lame in their FA Cup crash against Middlesbrough. In the Arsenal loss, Sergio Aguero (9.7) was anonymous and David Silva (7.5) could not pull the right trigger.

Sunday, Feb. 1

Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (7.4) is in top fantasy form as is Olivier Giroud (8.2), but Alexis Sanchez (10.5) is an injury doubt. Goalkeeper David Ospina (5.3) has restored order in the nets. Arsene Wenger's side got goals from Theo Walcott (7.5) and Mesut Ozil (7.2) in their FA Cup advance at Brighton.

Aston Villa's sorry offense has only 11 goals, but there is hope in newly acquired Carles Gil (5.1), who scored in Sunday's FA Cup victory over Bournemouth.

Southampton vs. Swansea

Southampton's Eljero Elia (5.8) is worth considering. The newly signed midfielder had a brace in his second game for the third-place Saints.

Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson (7.5) is out for three games after his red card in FA Cup play, further weakening a team that recently sold Wilfried Bony (7.5) to Manchester City.

Recommended fantasy captains: Rooney, Kane, Giroud, Cazorla, Elia