Telegraph Fantasy Football 16/17 tips: Which players will benefit from the start of the FA Cup?

SOCCER Wembley 100030
Credit: PA Wire/Andrew Matthews

One of the many things that makes Telegraph Fantasy Football 16/17 so unique is the inclusion of the FA Cup. 

While managers in other fantasy football games are sat around twiddling their thumbs this weekend, TFF managers can sink their teeth into 16 FA Cup matches, starting with West Ham v Man City on Friday night (see the full list of fixtures below).

All 20 Premier League sides are in action, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool all at home to lower league opposition. The Gunners travel to Preston and Palace are away at Bolton, so there could even be some FA Cup upsets on the cards.

To make the most of the FA Cup, you'll want to pick the players that are likely to feature, as squad rotation is usually rife. For example, last season Saido Berahino started all of West Brom's FA Cup matches, despite rarely featuring in the league, scoring once in the Third Round and three times in the Fourth Round. 

With that in mind, we take a look at the players who could help you take advantage of the Cup in Week 22.

Juan Mata (£5.1m)

v Reading (Saturday 12:30)

Manchester United's Spanish playmaker has fallen out of favour in recent weeks, only making substitute appearances against Middlesbrough and West Ham in Week 21.

He'll be pushing for a start against Reading, a side that have only beaten the Red Devils once in 19 attempts. Combine that with the fact United are on a surge of six successive wins and it's hard to see anything but a home victory.

Coral new customer offer: Man United to beat Reading in 90mins - 25/1

For those thinking that this could be a waste of a transfer, a positive performance from Mata will likely see him force his way back in to Mourinho's plans, as he did after scoring the winner against Manchester City in the EFL Cup earlier on this season.

Lucas Perez (£5.2m)

v Preston (Saturday 17:30)

Arsenal's £17m summer signing has made just two starting XI appearances this season, featuring five times from the bench. With Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud both ahead of him in the pecking order, it's likely the striker will be given an opportunity to show what he can do when the Gunners travel to Preston on Saturday night.

He scored twice against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup in September and bagged a hat-trick against Basel in the Championship League too.

What's more, he also scored a fantastic volley against Bournemouth last time out, coming off the bench and helping Arsene Wenger's side scrape an unlikely 3-3 draw away from home.

If he can continue to find the net it's only a matter of time until he gets a run in the starting XI, so he could be worth a gamble in the FA Cup this weekend.

Matt Phillips (£3.2m)

v Derby (Saturday 15:00)

If you're burning through transfers and want to be cautious with the Cup, West Brom may be worth considering. They're currently eighth in the league and look very comfortable, so why wouldn't Tony Pulis have a crack at some silverware?

The Baggies host Derby on Saturday afternoon and midfielder Matt Phillips is the man to look out for. He's already produced 10 key contributions this season and has three goals in his last six outings, so it seems likely Pulis will keep him in his starting XI.

Despite a tough trip to White Hart Lane to come in Week 23, WBA then face Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (A), Stoke (H), West Ham (A), Bournemouth (H) and Crystal Palace (H) in their next six - a very favourable run of fixtures for the Baggies.

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FA Cup Third Round fixtures


19:55 West Ham v Man City


12:30 Man United v Reading

15:00 Bolton v Crystal Palace

15:00 Everton v Leicester 

15:00 Hull v Swansea

15:00 Millwall v Bournemouth

15:00 Norwich v Southampton

15:00 Stoke v Wolves

15:00 Sunderland v Burnley

15:00 Watford v Burton

15:00 West Brom v Derby

17:30 Preston v Arsenal


13:30 Liverpool v Plymouth

15:00 Chelsea v Peterbrough

15:00 Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday

16:00 Tottenham v Aston Villa

View all Telegraph Fantasy Football fixtures here >>