Fantasy Football First brings to you a refreshed and new look Game Week Review section to give you the best Fantasy Football advice possible. Leon looks at the changes from the predicted formations and line-ups. We take a look at injuries and suspensions, as well as the performances of newly added players through Zaid, whilst Jimbob brings you a recap of what MOTD and the newspapers had to say. Last but not least Wallace and his 3 Week Player Watch section analyses the performances of 3 players with ownership over 30% and 3 players with ownership under 10%.
Leon’s Changes in Formations and Line-ups
Gameweek 1 was a week full of surprising lineup changes and many managers will be looking to make some early transfers to catch the price rises and avoid the drops. This article will highlight the most important lineup and formation changes and how they will affect teams for next weekend.
Maybe the most surprising lineup change of all was Pep’s decision to start WIlly Caballero (£5.0) over Joe Hart (£5.5) for Man City’s 2-1 win against Sunderland. This must have come as a big shock for those 5.6% of managers who were certain Hart would be in the starting XI. We don’t know if Pep’s decision was a one-off or if Hart might have to battle for his spot but what can be said is that a goalkeeper like Joe Hart will not be happy sitting on the bench. Secondly Hugo Lloris (£5.5) came off after 30 minutes at Goodison Park during the 1-1 draw against Everton. The latest news says he will be out for around 4 weeks with a hamstring problem. This means that those 8.2% of managers will be almost forced to find a replacement.
Finally on the goalkeeper list is Jack Butland (£5.0) who suffered an injury at the training ground and could be out for 4 weeks with an ankle problem.
So what about replacements? Well in the £5.5 price bracket are Courtois and De Gea who both failed to keep clean sheets last weekend and had pretty standard games. My advice would be to wait to see which defence improves with all the new signings settling in.
Stekelenberg (£5.0) warrants a lot of consideration taking in mind his performance for Everton at the weekend and their favourable run of fixtures till GW10. Ben Foster (£4.5) is also worth consideration. He returned a 10 point haul and West Brom have 3 home fixtures in the next 4 games. Finally a word for Eldin Jakupovic, a bargain at (£4.0) and almost guranteed gametime for a few weeks, at least until McGregor returns. The only problem is Hull’s injury-laden team but they looked comfortable against champions Leicester.
First of all I’m saying (and was saying before GW1 after watching the International Champions Cup) STAY AWAY FROM THE LEICESTER DEFENSE! (Although I accept no liability for broken computers or phones when Morgan scores a hatrick next week). But on a serious note there are better options out there considering we don’t how they’ll perform without Kante.
This brings me onto the Swansea Defensive Dilemma. Who else bought Ashley Williams and didn’t swap him out when he moved to Everton? (NB I did) This was a mistake as he got no game time whereas if I had gone with an alternate Swansea defender I would have been richly rewarded. I was lucky my bargain sub Amat (£4.0) was auto subbed for a respectable 5 points. Both Kingsley and Amat sit at £4.0 and could be great value. However, be aware that left-back Kingsley will struggle to keep his place when Neil Taylor (£4.5) returns after his sound performance at the Euros. Also, after Hull at home next week, they endure a run of terrible fixtures so proceed with caution.
Robertson at just £4.5 is also worth a mention. With good attacking threat (playing as an attacking wingback) he will suffer almost no competition for his spot as he is their undisputed best left back.
A lot of people (7.3% of managers in fact) will be disappointed after forking out £9.5 for United’s Mkhitaryan and only receiving 16 minutes of game time. The simple fact is the United first XI is just too congested with quality players. Pogba’s arrival has complicated the problem further. Man City have exactly the same problem so it’s hard to predict who will start and who to get. De Bruyne (£10.5) looks solid for now (if not a bit pricey) but Leroy Sane (£8.0) and Gundogan (£5.5) will give managers a real headache once they start.
So who can managers rely on? Well Hazard (£10.0) is always fantasy gold when firing on all cylinders and is almost guaranteed to start. Sanchez (£11.0) is the same for Arsenal. Also consider Willian (£7.5) and Walcott (£7.0) as alternatives capable of producing a decent points return. Martial at £9.5 is basically a forward but is listed as a midfielder and is definitely benefitting from United’s new look. Who knows what him and Zlatan can do in the future?
Finally in the midfield section for managers looking for a replacement for an exhausted Payet or others, I predict Sadio Mane (£9.0) to be a hugely influential player this season. He has really gelled with the Liverpool team and with his electric pace and great eye for goal and could be a great pick this season.
It was interesting to see Everton playing without an out-and-out forward with Lukaku (£9.0) lacking match fitness. A good prospect is the talented youngster Batshuayi (£9.0) who got an assist on his debut, but may struggle for gametime. Negredo at £6.5 looks like a budget alternative with a pretty much guaranteed starting position and solid fixtures in the next run of games.
Zaid’s Suspension, Injury and Newbie Watch
With the dissent rule changes, we have seen quite a few players pick up a cheap yellow card already. We will keep you updated of anyone who is close to getting suspended and those returning from suspension. Dembele remains the only player suspended at this point in time, whilst Huth and Pogba return.
This week should see quite a few notable players return from injury but question marks remain over whether they will be fit enough to complete the full 90 minutes. For Liverpool we can expect Milner and Sturridge to be available, possibly seeing Moreno relegated to the bench if Milner plays at left back. Lukaku is due back for Everton which could spell the end for Deulofeu in such an advanced position. Ryan Bertrand may well be back for Southampton which could spell the end of Targett’s time in the side.
Newbie/ Returning Player Watch
Hull City’s Abel Hernandez was a key figure in their attack against the reigning champions Leicester. He managed to take 3 shots inside the box in a side expected to not have a chance. With Swansea away and Manchester United at home, he remains one for the watchlist should Hull continue to cause upsets.
Leicester City’s Robert Huth will make his return from suspension this week. Their defensive players are worth keeping upon Huth’s return as they have 2 home games next against Arsenal and Swansea.
Swansea’s Llorente was immense in his debut taking 6 shots with 4 being on target. As the Swans look to replace Ayew and Gomis, Llorente will be a key figure in their attack.
A popular pick in this years fantasy football is Burnley’s Gray who came close to finding the net but lacked the decisive final touch. Burnley will add signings to give them extra creativity, indicated by the recent signing of experienced midfielder Defour. Watchlist for now, or hold if you have him.
Redmond made a remarkable debut scoring a crucial goal for the Saints and having another disallowed for offside. Playing as a forward, he took 5 shots and created 4 chances. If he continues to play in that position, we will have a bargain on our hands.
Manchester United’s Ibrahimovic didn’t make quite the Premier League debut as expected but he still managed to find the net. Throughout the game it was noticed that he was dropping deep to recover possession and link the play. If he continues this trait in the future then his price of 11.5 may be hard to justify, but the likes of Rooney and Martial who play around him may well benefit greatly.
Jimbob’s MOTD and Newspaper Recap
Although the main talking point from this weekend’s MOTD were Gary Lineker’s pants, there were a few important points highlighted from the first round of matches.
Leicester City were expected to get off to a great start but they struggled to break Hull down. Hull sat deep and kept narrow, denying space to Vardy, Musa and Mahrez. Leicester also looked a little bit shaky at the back which was unlike the side from last season. Teams know all about Leicester’s style of play and how they like to get Vardy in behind the opposition’s back 4. With the addition of Musa the gameplan seems to be the same. A plan B may be needed if they are deprived of space like they were on Saturday.
Middlesborough have a strong spine and they rely a lot on the centre forward in their system. Negredo is a good signing and he got off to a good start with his debut goal on Saturday. He could be vital to Middlesbrough’s season.
Arsenal fans were pessimistic enough with the lack of signings before Sunday’s game against Liverpool. They now have such an important 2 weeks in the transfer window. With their first choice centre-halves injured they must try and bring in a least one top quality centre half. It will be worth keeping an eye on potential Arsenal in-comings before bringing in one of their players.
Many fantasy football managers will have put Joe Hart straight into their team to get guaranteed points from a world class goalkeeper. Pep Guardiola though opted for Caballero who has impressed over pre-season with his better distribution. If Hart doesn’t start against Steau Bucharest on Tuesday then the writing could be on the wall for Hart.
It seemed Diego Costa would go back to Atletico Madrid this summer but Conte has made him his number one striker for the start of the season. Costa played well and scored the winner against West Ham so he may well stay and find his best form again.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the focal point of the Manchester United attack this season and the likes of Rashford, Martial and Rooney will have to find roles around him. It could be one of Zlatan’s more memorable seasons who has 2 goals in 2 games already.
Wallace’s 3 Week Player Watch
Ownership of 10% and under
The newly signed Saints attacker impressed on his debut, registering five shots (two shots on target) and scoring his side’s lone goal. His bright spots of form in previous seasons, cheap price tag of 6.0, and his current position of joint striker alongside Shane Long make him a standout choice. Redmond’s four key passes and advanced positioning suggests more points returns coming.
Lamela was a tipped player before the gameweek one kick-off, and investors of the Argentine were rewarded. Being more involved in play compared to past performances, Lamela’s underlying stats were definitive enough to warrant analysis over the next three weeks. Two shots on target out of only three total attempts overall bodes well for the winger’s future efficiency. With only two long balls attempted, two crosses and three dribbles, it seems as if Lamela has a more direct attacking mindset entering this campaign.
The ageless wonder scored in yet another season, this time for the side he secured top flight safety for last season. Sunderland are by no means an attacking powerhouse, meaning all attempts mustered will be vital. In total against City, Sunderland had only seven shots, but two of them came from Defoe. We all are familiar with Defoe’s poacher-like playing style, so we are not expecting any changes in attacking tendencies. In highlighting the Englishman though, analytic emphasis will be placed upon the quality of his teammates service and the efficiency at which Defoe converts. The early signs are promising.
Ownership of 30% or more
Although Rooney showed a slightly higher average position up the pitch, the mercurial Swede will be monitored the next few weeks due to his tremendous opening popularity. So far Zlatan has impressed, though his underlying stats were nothing spectacular against Bournemouth. Only two total attempts came from the striker, and apart from De Gea, Ibra had the fewest amount of touches out of United’s starting eleven. But it only takes a single opening for Zlatan to make an impact, as evidenced by his superb strike from distance. If service into the box improves, expect Ibra to become a definitive “must-have”.
Arsenal’s popular full back was back to his ways of last season of advancing high up the right flank. Unfortunately, the Gunners were badly exposed at the back and Bellerin’s attacking efforts yielded very little. With a trip to Leicester upcoming, Arsenal will need to improve at the back to persuade FPL managers to invest. With tricky upcoming fixtures, we will be keeping him only on the radar.
The golden boy of last year’s miracle campaign, Mahrez opened up his account on the opening weekend. Although streaky from the spot last season, the Algerian had no problem converting this weekend. At 9.5, Mahrez is no longer a cheap midfield option, so instead must be treated as a premium option. If he is not performing, he is dead weight and must be sold. Against Hull Mahrez was lively on his usual right flank position, registering five shots with two on target. He received plenty of the ball – he had almost four times as many touches as Vardy. Musa was a clear provider as well (four key passes), thus supplementing Mahrez’s ability to latch onto through balls in open space.