Here are some key stats to consider as we look ahead to the top La Liga fantasy options this weekend.
Fresh off being snubbed in the Ballon d'Or final voting, a rested Lionel Messi will be looking to prove himself as a Tier 1 forward this week in the "derbi barceloní" against Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium. Despite not scoring last week, Messi still finished in the top 10 among all players with 22.8 fantasy points and remains atop La Liga fantasy leaderboards with 293.1 points this season -- 70 points ahead of Celta's Iago Aspas in second place among outfield players.
Girona's Cristhian Stuani is also deserving of consideration on the road this week against a struggling Athletic Bilbao team that has allowed the fifth-most goals at home in La Liga this season. Stuani leads La Liga in goals (11) as well as road goals (6) this season.
Loren Morón for Real Betis could be a sneaky Tier 2 forward pick this week at home against bottom-three Rayo Vallecano. Quique Setién has his squad playing well of late and Morón will be looking for a bounce-back performance. Espanyol's Borja Iglesias could also get involved in the scoring against Barcelona this week. Barcelona has conceded 19 goals this season and will be without injured defenders Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti.
Although Gareth Bale hasn't scored in 10 straight La Liga games, we are going against the grain and banking on him as our Tier 1 midfielder this week against last-place Huesca. The Welshman had 10.4 fantasy points last week -- his most since Sept. 15 -- and put two shots on goal, which is more shots on target than he had in his previous two La Liga outings combined. Real Madrid have been clicking offensively under Santiago Solari, averaging exactly two goals per game under the Argentine.
Valencia's Dani Parejo makes for a solid Tier 2 midfielder selection this week at home against Sevilla. Parejo trails only Eibar's Joan Jordán -- who is suspended this week -- for the most fantasy points (141) among Tier 2 midfielders this season. Sevilla's defense has allowed 10 goals in seven La Liga road matches this season. Parejo has also netted at least 15 fantasy points in four of his past five La Liga matches.
Betis is dealing with an injured Andrés Guardado this week, but Junior Firpo presents a lot of value as a Tier 3 midfielder with a favorable matchup against Rayo Vallecano . Firpo has averaged over 16 fantasy points per game in his past four La Liga matches, including three goals over that span. The 22-year-old is playing well under Quique Setién and has been rewarded with the most playing time by any Betis midfielder this season.
Sergio Ramos leads Real Madrid in fantasy points (208.8), leads all La Liga defenders in fantasy points and has the fourth-most points among outfield players this season. On Sunday, Ramos will look to continue raking in the points against a Huesca team that likes to commit fouls in the defending third (tied for third-most in LaLiga), which bodes well as it relates to Ramos' penalty kick and headed goal opportunities.
Barcelona's Gerard Piqué also presents an intriguing choice for Tier 1 defender this week. Piqué, who has a knack for pushing forward (regardless of game situation), has scored in consecutive games across all competitions for the first time since 2016. And what's more, Espanyol has conceded three goals from corner kicks this season -- only Rayo Vallecano has conceded more (four).
Valencia speedster José Gayà could be poised for a big week against Sevilla as a Tier 2 defender. Sevilla has allowed the third-most created chances from left defenders this season and are dealing with injuries to Aleix Vidal and Jesús Navas, who each play on Sevilla's right side of the field.
Not only did Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois finish as the top-ranked goalkeeper in the 2018 Ballon d'Or voting results, but he's this week's top-ranked goalkeeper in La Liga, as well. Courtois has kept a clean sheet in five of his six matches in all competitions under Santiago Solari and gets to face last-place Huesca this week. Though he likely won't garner too many points from saves this week, Courtois is a near lock for a clean sheet.
Miguel Ángel Moyá, Real Sociedad's goalkeeper, could also prove to be a boon between the posts this week in a home matchup against Real Valladolid. Real Sociedad has allowed just one goal over its last four La Liga home games combined and no team has given opposing goalkeepers more fantasy points this season than Real Valladolid.