The majority of our staff picks for the opening week of Premier League action didn't go according to plan, as the most highly anticipated games failed to live up to the hype. From a fantasy perspective, Jason's prediction of Aston Villa - AFC Bournemouth was surprisingly the most fruitful (well done, Jason!).
Hopefully the rest of us will be more on-target with our predictions this time around. Here's what we're thinking:
Jason (jasonuk17) - West Ham United vs. Leicester City
While Manchester City vs Chelsea will be the best match of the week, I believe we will discover more about the fantasy season from this clash between week one winners. After the Hammers grabbed a surprise win against Arsenal, and LCFC's drubbing of Sunderland, it will be an entertaining match featuring some players who currently hold prices that might be on the rise soon.
Players such as Marc Albrighton, Riyad Mahrez, and Cheikhou Kouyate will hope to build on their successful opening matches, and both teams will be after three points in a match they should both deem as winnable. I would likely stay away from either goalkeeper, but the attacking players will look to be solid options for this week's fantasy squads.
Charles (the orphanage) - Manchester City vs. Chelsea
It is always exciting to see two Goliaths go after each other early in the season and this one should be especially interesting. The most recent two winners of the Barclays Trophy will be playing to see who gets the early advantage at the Ethihad. As if this wasn't enough excitement, there are several other subplots. Asmir Begovic will deputize in goal for Chelsea following the professional foul committed by Thibaut Courtois in Chelsea's draw against Swansea on Saturday.
Will Kevin de Bruyne sign and even make his debut for Man City, immediately? Manchester City looked in mid-season form in their 3-0 humbling of West Bromwich Albion on Monday. Chelsea struggled, despite the obvious quality against the Swans. At least 10 big fantasy names will be on the pitch trying to make a statement. So, who's it going to be? The winner of this match will emerge as the early season front-runner in the Prem.
Chris (Chris_Manfredi) - Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal
These were two of the hottest teams from the second half of last season but only Crystal Palace was able to carry over that magic into their first game this time around. While Palace should be relaxed and confident, a more desperate Arsenal will feel plenty of pressure to perform at Selhurst Park. Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and company will make every effort to right things on the defensive end, but investment in the attacking positions seems like a more promising strategy.
The home side boasts its share of offensive talent with Wilfried Zaha and newcomer Yohan Cabaye having already cracked the goal line, while the likes of Jason Puncheon and Glenn Murray look to join in on the fun. As for Arsenal, the Gunners simply have too much talent to be kept down. Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud combined for 30 goals last season, while Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott have each reached double figures in recent campaigns, and that's without mentioning the playmaking genius of Mesut Ozil when he's in form.
Norwich tried 17 shots last week and Alex McCarthy should be plenty busy in net again facing an Arsenal side that made 22 attempts against the Hammers, while Palace will make every effort to test Cech in hopes of forcing another gaffe or two. I expect something around a 2-2 or 3-2 score line with plenty of fantasy returns from the mainstays.
Simon (Stall express) - Manchester City vs. Chelsea
Manchester City v Chelsea is the match of the week ahead. With the defending champs dropping two points home to Swansea in week one they would go 5 behind City if they lose on Sunday. The match itself seems an easy one to call with City's mighty attack against a Chelsea 11 drilled all week long on shape, looking to pick them off on the break. I don't see either side keeping a clean sheet this time and Eden Hazard scoring after we drop him.
From a fantasy view Liverpool hosting Bournemouth seems on paper a home win. Two problems for me, first they didn't convince in the away win at Stoke City but more of an issue is who we go with. Christian Benteke, James Milner, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson all tempt, but just who do we pick?
Gavin (Gavin Wright) - Swansea City vs. Newcastle
I bet you thought I was going to say Liverpool - Bournemouth, didn't you? While I am looking forward to seeing whether attackers not named Coutinho can do anything to test Artur Boruc, I'm more intrigued by the performances put in by the Magpies and the Swans this past weekend and how they'll translate to points this time around.
Both teams punched above their weight at the weekend and were able to force 2-2 draws against tough opposition in Chelsea and Southampton. A pair of new arrivals had dream debuts, with both Andre Ayew and Georginio Wijnaldum scoring vital goals for their respective sides. On top of that, last season's underperforming strikers Bafetimbi Gomis and Papiss Cisse returned to fantasy relevance.
It should be an exciting, attack-driven encounter with a lot of shots and hopefully a lot of goals. I'll be staying away from defenders in this one, but all that attacking talent has me itching to restructure my teams. I'll predict a 3-2 win for the Swans in this one.
Which fixture do you think will result in the most fantasy points? Where will you be investing for your team? Did we skip your top choice? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!