There were only five Premier League games this weekend, but there was no lack of excitement. Liverpool needed a late goal to beat Fulham 2-1 and keep their Premier League title hopes alive on Sunday, followed by Chelsea's top-four hopes taking a serious hit thanks to a 2-0 defeat at Everton.
The three games on Saturday didn't feature any of the "big six" clubs, but they did feature 14 goals and a whole lot of drama. There was Matt Ritchie's 94th minute equalizer for Newcastle in their 2-2 draw at Bournemouth, Wes Morgan's 90th minute winner in Leicester City's 2-1 win at Burnley, and West Ham scoring three goals from the 75th minute onward to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 victory over Huddersfield Town.
Three players scored two goals this weekend, the most prominent being Bournemouth's Joshua King, who is now up to 11 goals on the season -- three more than last year. However, those goals came on King's only two shots of the game, and one of them was a penalty kick.
It's obviously good for King's fantasy value that he takes penalty kicks. But teammate and fellow Tier 2 forward Callum Wilson also has 11 goals -- and six assists, twice as many as King -- despite making five fewer appearances and playing 488 fewer minutes. Wilson had a goal and an assist last week against Huddersfield, his first game since mid-January due to injury. He didn't score this past weekend, but did take two shots, same as King.
It's tough choosing between Wilson and King ... Wilson has been better in open play, but King has the advantage of being on penalties. Both are among the top options at Tier 2 forward, and Bournemouth have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way (six of their final seven games are against Leicester City, Burnley, Brighton, Fulham, Southampton and Crystal Palace). So just keep an eye on who's in better form down the stretch.
Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito, also scored two goals this weekend -- the final two in West Ham's remarkable comeback. But he didn't start the game, which is obviously a big concern when it comes to his fantasy value.
Marko Arnautovic did start, for the first time since Jan. 29, and I was tempted to pick him as my Tier 2 forward, going up against last-place Huddersfield. Boy, was I glad I didn't go through with it. Arnautovic took just one shot before being hauled off in the 68th minute, and heard boos from the home crowd as he exited the pitch.
Arnautovic hasn't scored a goal since Jan. 2, and won't be in my fantasy lineup anytime soon. In fact, I doubt anyone from West Ham will be. Yes, they're a respectable ninth in the table, but they're too inconsistent for my liking -- they lost 2-0 at 18th place Cardiff City last week, and that scoreline was flattering to the visitors. The final score in terms of xG (expected goals) was Cardiff 4.51, West Ham 0.39.
Also, three of West Ham's final seven matches are against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham, and all three of those are away from home. And three of their other four remaining games are against eighth place Watford, 10th place Leicester and 11th place Everton -- not easy.
The final player who finished with a brace this weekend was the most surprising, by far. Karlan Grant scored two of Huddersfield's three goals against West Ham, and the second was a gorgeous strike from just outside the box.
I wouldn't get too excited, though. These were Grant's first two Premier League goals, and they also came on his only two shots of the game. Grant has made just three starts since coming over from League One side Charlton Athletic in the January transfer window. He's only 21 years old and obviously has some talent. But he also plays for Huddersfield, whose relegation is practically assured with seven weeks of the season remaining.
No one from Liverpool or Chelsea finished with a brace this weekend, but it's worth noting that Sadio Mane scored his 17th goal of the season against Fulham. He now has five goals in his past three games, if you include Liverpool's 3-1 Champions League victory at Bayern Munich last Wednesday, and seven goals in his past five games. Mane is now tied for second in the league with Harry Kane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and teammate Mohamed Salah, just one goal behind Sergio Aguero.
Salah, on the other hand, did not score for the seventh game in a row, including Champions League fixtures. But he did take a team-high five shots, with three of them on target.
Eden Hazard obviously failed to score on Sunday, as did everyone else for Chelsea. He now has only one goal in his past five games, and three in his past 11 dating back to Dec. 30.
Hazard has a higher floor than Mane -- due to nearly twice as many passes completed, and more than twice as many chances created, among other things. But Mane's form outweighs that right now, at least for me. Mane only took two shots against Fulham, but one went in, and the other hit the crossbar. He's the hottest player in the Premier League.