- James 'The Coach' gunning for a fifth straight win.
- Matt 'The Expert' relying on Bentaleb and Lewandowski.
- Flo 'The Scout' still chasing a maiden Project 50 victory.
There is currently no stopping James 'The Coach' Thorogood in the 'Project 50' challenge, after he secured a fourth straight victory on Matchday 14.
Project 50 is simple enough to play, even if it has proven rather trickier to win! With a 50M budget, our trio of Official Fantasy Bundesliga experts have to choose the five players – two defenders, two midfielders and a striker – that they believe will notch up the biggest points tally over the Matchday.
All five of James' players scored points last week, but Robert Lewandowski was a particularly inspired choice – the FC Bayern München striker's double against VfL Wolfsburg lifted 'The Coach' to a fourth straight win. Can he make it a fantastic five in the final Project 50 of 2016? Or will there be Christmas cheer for one of his rivals: Matt 'The Expert' Howarth and Flo 'The Scout' Reinecke?
James 'The Coach' Thorogood
Fantastic four! While I'm taking nothing for granted after making it four straight wins in Project 50, I do feel like I now have the freedom to take some big risks in the hope they produce big rewards… and a fifth win!
- Thilo Kehrer (DF, FC Schalke 04, 1.7M): With Naldo suspended, Matija Nastasic injured and Sead Kolasinac a doubt due to illness, Kehrer, who impressed against Leverkusen, represents the best low-budget option available this weekend.
- Wendell (DF, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 12.4M): Up against FC Ingolstadt 04, Wendell, who averages over 11 challenges won a game, could also be given a chance to rack up points in an attacking sense against a deep-lying opponent.
- Michael Gregoritsch (MF, Hamburger SV, 10.5M): Gregoritsch has picked up 57 points in his last five outings and, even if he does move back into midfield to make space for Bobby Wood, should still perform well against 1. FSV Mainz 05.
- Yevhen Konoplyanka (MF, FC Schalke 04, 10.6M): Like his teammate Kehrer, I'm expecting Konoplyanka to benefit from FC Schalke 04's lengthy absentee list. The Royal Blues are without a recognised striker against SC Freiburg, so expect the trigger-happy Ukrainian to improve on his eight-point return from Matchday 14.
- Douglas Costa (FW, FC Bayern München, 14.8M): I am confident Carlo Ancelotti will rotate his side and I believe Costa will be a benefactor on the road in Darmstadt. He has all the qualities needed to deliver big rewards on Matchday 15.
Matt 'The Expert' Howarth
I've experimented with several players since my three-game winning streak came to an end last month, but now it's time to bring the big boys back in!
- Gotoku Sakai (DF, Hamburger SV, 7.5M): HSV's skipper has clocked up double figures on both of the last two Matchdays. The Red Shorts are unbeaten in four in the league and I'm expecting them to continue that run at Mainz, meaning Sakai could score big once again.
- Nico Elvedi (DF, Borussia Mönchengladbach, 7.4M): Elvedi not only helped the Foals keep a clean sheet against Mainz last time out, his 13 successful challenges earned him a total of 12 points on Matchday 14. I'm hoping the Swiss picks up where he left off against an FC Augsburg side that has scored just once in four league matches.
- Stefan Ilsanker (MF, RB Leipzig, 8.3M): Deployed as a defender by Ralph Hasenhüttl, Ilsanker was unable to prevent Leipzig from slipping to their first league defeat of the season at Ingolstadt. The Austrian international won the majority of his challenges (15 in total) at the Audi Sportpark, however, and I fully expect him to do the same against Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
- Nabil Bentaleb (MF, FC Schalke 04, 9.85M): The Algerian international should return to the Royal Blues side against Freiburg after being rested in the 1-0 defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen last Sunday. One of Schalke's standout performers this season, Bentaleb will be looking to get the Gelsenkirchen club's campaign back on track with a goal or two at the VELTINS Arena.
- Robert Lewandowski (FW, FC Bayern München, 16.55M): He helped me win three rounds of Project 50 on the bounce earlier in the season, and I've struggled ever since I got rid of him! The Poland international, who signed a new five-year deal with the Bavarians on Tuesday, has four goals in his last two league outings. Another brace on Sunday would do nicely, Lewy!
Flo 'The Scout' Reinecke
It's now or never for me this week! After nine unsuccessful attempts, the time has come for me to land a maiden Project 50 victory. Luckily, I have spent this week analysing some of the overlooked Fantasy stars in the Bundesliga, and four of the five players in my team featured in the article. James and Matt won't know what hit them!
- Thilo Kehrer (DF, FC Schalke 04, 1.7M): Yes, I know, James is also relying on Kehrer, which means that he must have read my article! His reasoning is spot-on, though – at just 1.7M, the Schalke defender is an absolute bargain.
- Matthias Ostrzolek (DF, Hamburger SV, 8.55M): Ostrzolek has clocked up the highest number of Fantasy points (36) over the past two Matchdays, and he will have been boosted by Hamburg's back-to-back wins over Darmstadt and Augsburg. I'm expecting him to score big again in Mainz.
- Fin Bartels (MF, SV Werder Bremen, 10.95M): The all-action winger is currently on a hot streak, and arguably playing the best football of his career. I want to make the most of his purple patch as Bremen take on a 1. FC Köln side who haven't won in three outings.
- Hakan Calhanoglu (MF, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 14.8M): The Turkish attacking midfielder wins a lot of challenges, and you can usually rely on him to pop up with a goal or an assist. With a low-budget option in defence (Kehrer), I can afford to bring Calhanoglu into my team.
- Stefan Kießling (FW, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 12.65M): After he scored a late winner in the Schalke game, I think there's a good chance Kießling will find the target again when struggling Ingolstadt come to town. Even if he doesn't, there should be bonus points up for grabs for back-to-back wins!
Watch: The Expert's star pick Robert Lewandowski commits his future to Bayern: