Hola from Santiago, Chile ladies and gentlemen! I have embarked on my next world tour and will be reporting to you from South America for the next 4 months! The World Cup hype has dimmed since the final, but it is very much still fresh in the minds of many South Americans. Is it a coincidence that my arrival in Chile coincided with Alexis Sanchez scoring his first Arsenal goal in the Champions League? Does this bode well for the weekend fixtures? Id like to think so! So enough about me, lets jump into what really matters, the player picks!
Burnley v Man United
Man City v Stoke
West Ham v Southampton
QPR v Sunderland
Swansea v West Brom
Leicester City v Arsenal
Tottenham v Liverpool
Obviously Week 3 looks solid for Manchester City, United, and Arsenal. However Newcastle, Swansea, and Southampton also have interesting match ups that could result in solid fantasy production. Id be focusing on the first 3 teams here, and peppering in some players from Newcastle, Swansea, etc. I am generally going to avoid Everton v Chelsea as it seems like a trap match filled with Yellow Cards - Diego Costa owners beware! Tottenham v Liverpool is an interesting one, with Liverpool playing their second successive away match against top opposition. For those that hold Sterling Id advise you hold him if not possibly finding room on your bench, but I would not go over-board with players from Liverpool this week, likewise with Tottenham. Lets take a look at which players may be of value to your starting 11!
T. Courtois - Many of us took advantage of the young Chelsea shot stoppers low price of 5mil and he paid back his owners with an outstanding 18pt haul last game week. Even with Chelsea facing a tough away match to Everton, Courtois is the only player I can recommend in your starting 11 for this fixture. Given his price and undoubted quality, Courtois looks a season keeper regardless of match up. Even if Chelsea give up a goal, Courtois should make enough saves coupled with a possible win to keep his points positive this week. For those without Courtois, you may want to get on the bandwagon soon before his price sky rockets into space.
Joe Hart - My premium keeper pick for the week with a solid match up at home. Man City look nailed on for a convincing win and clean sheet if they can play the way the did in the second half of the Liverpool match. There was some concern about Joe Harts starting status given that Caballero played much of pre-season, but for now the spot looks like his. Hart will set you back 11.87mil but should have the best chance of returning value this week in the keeper position.
Tim Krul - The Newcastle keeper is an interesting pick this week. Although Newcastle have yet to fully click, Crystal Palace minus Tony Pulis looks primed for the taking. At only 6.20mil, Krul is a rather inexpensive way into a possibly fruitful home match. A good alternative for those who are without Courtois.
R. Green - Have we forgotten Greens infamous World Cup gaff which gifted Clint Dempsey a goal and saw the United States draw England which saw us move on to win the group? No, it is still fresh, and those Americans like myself who love futbol probably wont let you English live that one down! But Green merits at least a discussion for this week with QPR hosting Sunderland. I can easily see this match being a 0-0 or 1-1 draw and for only 1.90mil, Green seems worth the risk if you can afford more premium players elsewhere.
Caulker - His price has risen significantly since his introductory price of 7mil and now sits at a staggering 13.35mil. But Caulker deserves such a high price given the quality he possesses. If you have the funds to afford him, Week 3 looks good for Caulker to return a decent haul of points. He is my premium defender pick for the week.
Aly Cissokho - Not exactly a success during his loan spell at Liverpool, but Cissokho as quietly been performing on the fantasy front for Aston Villa. At only 6.55mil, Cissokho has already amassed 20pts this season. With a home match up against Hull City on the cards for Week 3, Cissokho has a good chance of a clean sheet coupled with the bonus of attacking phantoms from his bursting runs down the flank. Certainly worth the funds this week.
R. Bertrand - Picking up where he left off last season as a super cheap but consistent fantasy player, Bertrand looks a steal at his barndoor price even with a tricky away match to West Ham. Even at his current price of 6.16mil, Bertrand offers solid defensive and attacking phantoms while not relying on the clean sheet bonus. A solid buy for this week and beyond.
V. Kompany - While he has not been putting up the same fantasy numbers as before, Kompany is still the rock in the City defense. At 9.58mil, Kompany is far less expensive than his defensive partners. With the risk of rotation facing the likes of Clichy/Kolarov/Zabaleta, Kompany looks your safest option for this week if you fancy City can keep the clean sheet, which I do.
Robertson - Not exactly the best match up given Hull City play away from home, but Robertson is another player quietly racking up fantasy returns. At 7.11mil and playing in the wing back role, Robertson has been very productive on the phantom point front. Even without the clean sheet bonus, Robertson should return his value this week.
Cresswell - My budget defender for the week and nicely priced at 2.48mil for the home clash against Southampton. A great enabler and should easily return value this week. An even bigger bonus if West Ham keep the clean sheet.
Aaron Ramsey - My premium midfield pick of the week and going to cost you a cool 16.30mil at current price. But Ramsey has started this season exactly as he started last season, scoring goals and returning major fantasy points. Currently sitting at the top of the midfield points column, Ramsey is a must have pick for this week. If you have him at his entry price then even better, but most managers should be planning a way to get him into their team this week.
Sigurdsson - After his initial opening day goal and haul of 25pts, many of us jumped on the Icelandic midfielder for Week 2. Although he assisted the only goal of the match, Sigurdsson managed to get himself booked which dented what would have been a decent fantasy return. Still nicely priced at 9.55mil and taking kicks, Siggy looks a solid buy for this week. Most of the Swansea attack will flow through him, so I expect a decent return on my investment here.
Juan Mata - Having opened his account for the season in last weeks 1-1 away draw to Sunderland, Mata is my United midfielder of choice for this game week. Although the deal for Di Maria has been completed, I think this week is still a bit early to see Di Maria make an impact. So much of the midfield coordination will have to flow from the Spaniard. Even at 13.13mil, Mata is worth the price away to Burnley. We are all just thankful he has finally been classed properly in the fantasy setting!
Jack Rodwell - The young Englishman had disappeared from view after making him move to Manchester City from Everton. There was a lot of hype surrounding Rodwell after his stellar performances for the blue half of Liverpool which prompted his move to City. But after a series of injuries and so many other players ahead of him for a starting spot, Rodwell was essentially frozen out of the team. With his move to Sunderland completed in the summer, Rodwells future looks bright and scored a peach of a goal against United last match. At 3.07mil, Rodwell is a perfect starting enabler that will chip in a decent return of fantasy points this season.
Yaya Toure - The Ivorian has not scored yet this season, but a home match against Stoke has Yaya written all over it. Call it more of a hunch pick this week with the likes of David Silva probably more preferable, but tricky players usually have trouble against hard hitting Stoke. That is why I am opting for Yaya this game week, as his power on the ball, free kick ability, and lung bursting runs from midfield should see him return fantasy gold. You should take at least one City midfielder so find the funds for either Yaya or Silva.
Joey Barton - It is hard to like Joey Barton given all of his social media out bursts, punching kids, and generally being a flat out thung on the field. But Barton has been performing quite well on the fantasy front for QPR this season. At only 6.69mil and having already racked up 20pts, QPRs home clash with Sunderland looks primed for Barton to continue his fantasy rise from the ashes. Boasting free kicks in his locker, Barton could just be the dark horse you are looking for this week.
Fabregas - It is hard to leave a player like Fabregas on the bench if you have him at 5mil, but that is what I am probably going to do. I just dont feel Fabregas will get as much time on the ball against Everton as he did in the opening two matches. I certainly would not be picking him up at his current price and you cannot drop him at 5mil, so the bench seems the best option for this week. UPDATE: The Costa training injury has forced my hand to play Fabregas.
Alexis Sanchez - I landed in Chile and Sanchez scores his first goal for Arsenal, is this fate? At a ridiculously low price of 4.71mil, Sanchez is a must have for this weeks clash against newly promoted Leicester City. This game will have goals and after getting off the mark in the Champions League win over Besiktas, Sanchez will be licking his lips to jink and twist around the Foxes defense. I predict a brace from the young Chilean.
Diego Costa -
I am having the same problem with the former Atletico Madrid striker as with Fabregas. After getting both players for 5mil, dropping either one of them is a foolish move. However the match up away to Everton has fouls and Yellow Cards written all over it so I am having trouble deciding which player to move to the bench. Given his role as the focal point of the attack, I am leaning towards keeping Costa in a 3-4-3 formation this week and keep Fabregas on the bench. UPDATE: Thanks to Sidewinder for updating me on Costa and his training injury. He is now a doubt for the trip to Everton but has not been fully ruled out for the crucial clash. I have now opted to a 3-5-2 formation with Fabregas in for Costa, which i am not exactly pleased with.
Rooney/RvP - Both were woeful for Uniteds poor draw with Sunderland last week, but a trip to Turf Moor might just reinvigorate one or both strikers. At 18.84mil and 12.56mil respectively, Id opt for RvP given his lower price this week. He will also likely retain penalty kick duties as well. But until United really show some form, I would not get too heavily invested. The match up is right however.
Jovetic - Coming off the back of his stellar performance and brace against Liverpool (I am still crying...) last week, Jovetic should again have plenty of opportunities to score at home against Stoke City. Currently topping the list for points totalled out of Citys strikers and still far cheaper than Dzeko and Aguero, 9.78mil seems a fair price given the match up this week.
W. Bony - Although the imposing Swansea striker did not score last week, he still returned a very positive 10pts of phantoms. At a price of 12.59mil and a juicy match up at home against West Brom, Bony looks a great differential for Week 3.
Riviere - The Newcastle striker is another player that hasnt found the back of the net yet but given his price of 5.30mil and the home clash against Crystal Palace, signs look good for an opening goal. Certainly another possible differential pick for Week 3.
My team is currently at: Courtois, Bertrand, Cissokho, van Aanholt, Mata, Siggy, Yaya, Ramsey, Fabregas, Sanchez, Jovetic. Costa, Kelly, Moore, and Gazza on my bench. I am pretty pleased although I might still play around with my defense. The Costa injury has forced me to put fabregas in my starting 11, which I am not too happy with given the match up, but at 5mil he should at least return value.
How are your teams shaping up? Who do you believe will be the top scorer for Week 3?