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Fantrax Player Picks: Game Week 3

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Below are my finalists for your GW3 Fantrax side

Fluminense v Vitoria - Brasileirao Series A 2016
Don’t recognize this guy? Meet Richarlison, Watford’s new forward.
Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The Fixtures

Bournemouth vs Manchester City

Crystal Palace vs Swansea

Huddersfield vs Southampton

Newcastle vs West Ham

Watford vs Brighton

Manchester United vs Leicester

Chelsea vs Everton

West Brom vs Stoke

Liverpool vs Arsenal

Tottenham vs Burnley

The Picks

Goalkeepers

Ederson (MCI, 6.37): The GK for arguably the league’s best team faces a side that hasn’t scored yet. He hasn’t exactly convinced as a save-maker, but Bournemouth should be an easy test for the mighty Citizens. I’ve had him since GW1 and see no reason to drop him this week.

Jonas Lossl (HUD, 5.64): With two victories, two clean sheets and 9 saves so far, the Danish net-minder is currently the highest-scoring player in all of Fantrax. Southampton will give him a challenge, but the impressive shot-stopper should provide a buffer of save points even if HUD finally concede. This guy is just as good in real-life as he has been in fantasy.

Wayne Hennessey (CRY, 5.01): He has been beaten to-nil twice, but Hennessey makes saves: 12 against Liverpool and 4 against Huddersfield. Goalless Swansea come to visit on Saturday, so this could be the weekend that Hennessey finally gets a win and maybe even a clean sheet. Not a bad play, especially if you barn-doored him at 2.45.

Heurelho Gomes (WAT, 5.34): Toothless Brighton is another team who are yet to score. But only Manchester United have tallied more goals than Watford, and the Hornets should dominate this match. Congratulations if you barn-doored Gomes at 4.34, but even at his current price he should reward you this week.

Hugo Lloris (TOT, 9.99): TOT conceded 2 goals in the loss to Chelsea, and Lloris had zero saves. The result was a return of -8, which dented his price. Consider that a one-week sale on one of the league’s best GKs. If you want him, strike now: his price will surely be on its way back up after the visit of Burnley.

Defenders

Vincent Kompany (MCI, 6.82): When healthy, Manchester City’s captain is still one of the best center backs in the game. He’s healthy this week, and he faces struggling Bournemouth.

Patrick van Aanholt (CRY, 10.67): Double digits in both game weeks so far, despite a clean sheet in neither.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah (CRY, 5.43): Like teammate PVA, he’s putting up solid returns without clean sheets. But TFM is half PVA’s price, and Palace won’t get many better chances for a CS than when Swansea come to town this week.

Christoper Schindler (HUD, 5.46): A Fantrax top-ten defender, he is also the cheapest route into a Huddersfield defense that hasn’t allowed a goal yet. Even if the streak of clean sheets ends against Southampton, given his price, how disappointed could you be?

Jose Holebas (WAT, 7.76): A prolific crosser who is integral to Watford’s attack, he should have a field day when toothless Brighton pay a visit.

Phil Jones (MU, 9.84), Daley Blind (MU, 11.17): These gents are MU’s two highest-scoring defenders, and neither has relied on goals or assists to do it. Between the two players, I give the nod to Blind, who takes corners and has Fantrax points for 5 “accurate crosses” so far. That source of revenue should cushion the blow if Leicester find a way to breech the walls of Jose Mourinho’s fortress at Old Trafford.

Harry Maguire (LEI, 8.45): A goal, an assist, and a clean sheet across the last two games have placed Maguire second among all Fantrax defenders. The prospects for a CS away to MU look dim, but this guy can return points in a variety of other ways.

Ahmed Hegazi (WBA, 8.52): Will the good times continue to roll for the #3 defender in Fantrax? Home to Stoke, I don’t see why not.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV, 2.31): To the dismay of many, TAA was rested on Saturday after scoring a stunning long-range free kick in Liverpool’s Champion’s League playoff game the Tuesday prior. Now recuperated, he should slot back in, and at his price the young set-piece taker is a low risk investment with high upside potential.

Ben Davies (TOT, 9.13): Tottenham’s highest-ranked defender, he managed to scrape together 13 points even in the losing effort against Chelsea. Burnley’s visit holds the promise of further returns.

James Tarkowski (BRN, 4.56): Another inexpensive defender who puts up good returns without clean sheets. So far, there is no indication that Burnley will buy a replacement for Michael Keane, so Tarkowski seems assured of starts as long as he’s healthy. He’s in my team at his barn-door price, but he’s still value after the price adjustment.

Midfielders

David Silva (MCI, 9.80): Silva has looked more dangerous than the disappointing Kevin De Bruyne, and has delivered nearly the same fantasy returns at two-thirds the price. I sold KDB for him after Monday’s game.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CRY, 5.69): Swansea’s visit should offer further opportunities for Palace’s best midfield Fantrax producer to showcase his talents.

Tom Carroll (SWA, 5.99): Carroll collected 9 points in the away loss to Manchester United. This week he travels to Crystal Palace where he should find it much easier to prosper.

Aaron Mooy (HUD, 7.54): The heart of Huddersfield Town’s offense, Mooy has put up 33 points in two games to rank #1 among Fantrax midfielders. Bring him in while he’s still a bargain.

Christian Atsu (NEW, 4.89): A winless Rafa Benitez will have to pull out all the stops at home against West Ham. Atsu has been Newcastle’s most dangerous-looking midfielder and should be the one most likely to profit.

Michail Antonio (WHU, 8.37): Antonio returned from injury to put in 68 minutes against Southampton. That’s all the time he needed to rack up 10 points, including 3 SOTs.

Paul Pogba (MU, 15.14), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MU, 11.59): Both of these men are on streaks: Pogba has scored in each of the first two games, and Micki has notched two assists in each. The streaks won’t last forever, and Leicester will be a tougher nut to crack than were Swansea or West Ham, but the MU attack is firing on all cylinders, so including one or the other man seems prudent.

Cesc Fabregas (CHE, 7.85): Fabregas has served his suspension and is eligible this weekend to host Everton at the Bridge. The Chelsea 11 that defeated Tottenham looked better than the squad Fabregas joined against Burnley, but I’m betting Conte will want the Spaniard’s creativity for the home game this weekend... and the red card has dropped his price.

Chris Brunt (WBA, 7.89): Classified as a midfielder but playing as a left back, he’ll get forward plenty at home against Stoke. A clean sheet is a genuine possibility for West Brom too, and Fantrax has been awarding Brunt credit for them. [Editor’s Note: Good catch on Brunt’s Fantrax CSDs. I’ve just added ‘D’ position eligibility to Brunt in the +Bench League so managers can play him on defense.]

Sadio Mane (LIV, 16.10): Mane is Liverpool’s highest-scoring attacker, and you can get him without having to give up a precious spot in your forward line. He’s not cheap, but he is dangerous, and Arsenal are loose at the back. This game could be a shoot-out, and if it is, Mane’s pistol will be blazing.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ARS, 8.98): Probably Arsenal’s best player so far, the “Ox” has accrued 29 points over the first two games with neither a goal nor an assist. Arsenal will not enjoy as much possession as they had against Leicester and Stoke, but the Ox should still be value for money.

Dele Alli (TOT, 14.77): Alli has yet to return his cost, despite scoring in GW1. However, Tottenham will be looking to respond after losing to Chelsea in front of the home fans, and hosting Burnley seems like the perfect opportunity. I predict good times on Sunday for the young Englishman.

Christian Eriksen (TOT, 18.09): Spurs will push for their first win at Wembley when Burnley visit, and Tottenham’s Danish string-puller will be in the middle of it. Eriksen will have to go big to justify his price, but the circumstances seem right.

Forwards:

Gabriel Jesus (MCI, 12.71): Cheaper than his strike partner Aguero, but just as likely to produce. The victim of a tactical substitution at halftime against Everton, Jesus will be well-rested for the trip to Bournemouth and looking to show Pep that he subbed the wrong guy.

Christian Benteke (CRY, 7.29): He usually trolls me, and he certainly hasn’t rewarded investment this season. Home to Swansea however, he could break out... and his price is right.

Joselu (NEW, 5.89): The new signing debuted in the loss to Huddersfield. In his 38 minutes on the pitch he accumulated 4 SOTs and 9 points. Newcastle need to win this weekend, and Joselu will get chances.

Javier Hernandez (WHU, 11.15): Chicharito is a proven Premier League talent, and he will lead the line for West Ham as long as he’s healthy. Hopefully you barn-doored him before his 28 point haul against Southampton pushed up his price, because West Ham have a fine run of fixtures ahead. I brought Little Pea into my team this week, and he’ll probably be staying there for a while.

Richarlison (WAT, 7.27): Don’t know the name? Well you will. The 20 year-old Brazilian sensation speaks no English. He had never even left his own country before transferring to Watford from Fluminese this summer. But he has settled right into the EPL, opening his account with a goal against Bournemouth. Brighton will probably hide behind their shields when they pay Watford a visit, so Richarlison should have room to run wild.

Pedro (CHE, 8.52): The Spaniard returned from an ankle injury last weekend to replace Willian with 12 minutes remaining against Tottenham. That’s all the time he needed to register the assist for Alonso’s game winner. Now that he’s healthy, he should slot back into the starting lineup. Conte will count on his cutting edge, since new-boy Morata is still finding his feet despite scoring in GW1.

Jese (STK, 8.26): After just a single full training session with the Potters, Jese scored the winning goal on his home debut to defeat Arsenal. The talented Spaniard is on-loan from PSG and could prove to be Stoke’s most dangerous man this season.

Mohamed Salah (LIV, 9.18), Roberto Firmino (LIV, 14.23): If Mane is not in your squad, one of these guys needs to be. Firmino is on penalty duty, but Salah is cheaper, and his pace and movement will give Arsenal’s defenders fits. It’s hard to know which of the three Pool attackers will score the best, but I wouldn’t go into the weekend without at least one of them. Note: Liverpool faces Hoffenheim in the second leg of their Champion’s League playoff today, so their roster versus Arsenal could be affected by rotation and/or injury. Be sure to follow team news.

Harry Kane (TOT, 17.60): He’s left his investors bitterly disappointed so far, drawing a blank in each of Tottenham’s first two matches. But he’s heating up, registering 3 SOTs and hitting the woodwork in the loss to Chelsea. Tottenham will be on their front foot to make amends for the home defeat, so I think this will be the week that Kane shakes off his August curse. He’s in my team.

Additional Thoughts

Chris Wood, Burnley’s record-signing striker, will be one to watch. The 25 year-old transfer from Leeds was the Championship’s leading scorer last year (27 league goals), was named to the PFA Championship Team of the Year, and was a finalist for Championship Player of the Year. This season, he picked up right where he left off, notching for Leeds on opening day before withdrawing from the team to join the Clarets this week. I’m not going to pick him in his debut away to Tottenham, but I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on him. Sam Vokes will be too.

Alexis Sanchez could return to Arsenal’s squad for the trip to Anfield, but until we get solid team news that he’ll start, his status is too uncertain to merit investment.

Wayne Rooney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have been excellent this season. Rooney has scored, and DCL has assisted in each of Everton’s games. But I expect Gylfi Sigurdsson to enter the starting lineup on Sunday, and away to Chelsea is not the week I’m going to gamble on the ripple effects of his addition. I’m avoiding all of them for now, but I’ll be watching with interest. By the way, I have a real-life man-crush on DCL. I think Sandro will have his work cut out for him to win his job back from the youngster.

Finally, let me address the elephant in the room. Not only did I not recommend Lukaku, but I didn’t name any of the Manchester United forwards. I have no doubt that one or more of Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial will score well this weekend. But Lukaku has not been accumulating phantoms, meaning he might need a brace to return his cost. That’s a risk I’m not willing to take with 20% of my budget. And between the other two, I can’t be sure of who will start, since Martial has twice come off the bench to score and could now be rewarded with a start over Rashford. So between the risks and the uncertainties, I’m avoiding all of them. For my preferred routes into the MU attack, I’m choosing Pogba and Micki: They’re more secure as starters than the Englishman or Frenchman, and better value for money than the Belgian.

So what do you think? Have I made choices that miss the mark? Have I ignored someone who deserves mention? State your case below!