After a very exciting first week of the new Premier League season, it is time to make the first tweaks to our fantasy lineups. Some big-name players have yet to see the pitch (looking at you, just about every regular starter for Arsenal), while some cheaper players made a major impact on their season debuts. We also have a few new additions to the player pool, while some players are already out a while on the physio's table.
While it is easy to overreact to some of the performances from the first matchday, it is important to remember that an overhaul this early in the season is not always needed. Often, a little adjustment here and there is all that is needed to set yourself up for a strong start. Here are some players and teams that you should look to avoid this week, as well as a few faces you might want to slide into your lineup, however possible.
Week 2 Fixtures
Watford v. Chelsea
Leicester City v. Arsenal
Based on the matchups above, here is who I recommend you should avoid (Pass), as well as which players you should consider pulling the trigger on (Shoot).
The Gunners Defense
Liverpool absolutely gashed the Arsenal defense this past weekend, and that doesn't look like a fluke. The Gunners are missing large parts of their lineup due to the Euro fatigue issues, and it will likely take another week or two for that to change. Without their usual dominant possession stats, it puts added pressure on players like Calum Chambers. While it is possible that Laurent Koscielny could return, it is highly unlikely. This is not good news for a side that will be facing the pacey counter-attacking style of Leicester. I expect Jamie Vardy to recover from an absolute stinker against Hull, and Riyad Mahrez--fresh from turning down a move to the Gunners with a four-year deal on Wednesday--will look to hurt them on the break.
A Tiger Doesn't Change It's Stripes
Yes, Hull City won. Yes, they beat Leicester City. They are still Hull. They still have barely enough players to field a starting XI, and not enough to fill a full bench. It will be tempting to pick up Robert Snodgrass and Abel Hernandez. Do not fall for the trap! Hull is still going to be a horrible team this season in the Premier League. The matchup against Leicester was a terrific one for the Tigers, but their upcoming fixture list sees them face Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea in their next six matches. Avoid them, or rue the decision later.
No Cherries On This Sunday
With the return of Dimitri Payet to the starting XI this Sunday, it will not be an easy day for Bournemouth. Add to that the fact that the Hammers will be christening their new home in the Olympic Stadium, and the defense that got gashed by Manchester United may find themselves put to the sword yet again this weekend. While the loss of Andre Ayew (likely out through the end of the calendar year) will hurt the home attack, the return of Payet, along with possibly the debut of Sofiane Feghouli (if he can get fit in time for the match), will make for a dangerous attack. After falling late to Chelsea on Monday, look for the hosts to come out fired up and playing much better this Sunday.
Glory, Glory, Man United's Attack
Zlatan Ibrahimovic not only played extremely well in his Premier League debut, he did so without the full compliment of talent that will surround him this week. Manchester United's attack looked the most dangerous it has in three seasons, and that was in large part of the play of the Swedish superstar. Without the likes of Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the lineup--both of whom should make their first starts on Friday--he still dominated the play for the Red Devils. Anthony Martial did not disappoint either, racking up two assists on the day. While Southampton played well their first match, you won't find many who will bet against the potent attack of United getting goals on the road. Whether it is Pogba, Zlatan, Martial, or Mkhitaryan, I would make sure to have exposure to the United attack this week, if not two of the players mentioned.
Jermaine Defoe simply won't stop scoring goals. After nearly single-handedly carrying Sunderland out of the drop zone last season, he picked up right where he left off, scoring against the Citizens and putting in a stellar performance. At a cost of only 7.0M on the official FPL game, he is a solid choice to put beside a higher-priced forward like Zlatan or Sergio Aguero.
Santi The Assist Maker
With the loss of Aaron Ramsey to injury, and the possible absence yet again of Mesut Ozil, it should be the Cazorla show when Arsenal take on Leicester. While we told you to stay away from the defense, it is hard to argue that Santi is not a great play this weekend. Coming off the bench against Liverpool, he racked up two assists in the 4-3 defeat, and whether Ozil returns or not, he should have a high number of touches on the day. If Olivier Giroud decides to make an appearance, it makes him an even more attractive value play.
What players or fixtures will you be looking at this weekend, as you adjust your teams for Matchday 2? Discuss in the comments below!