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Week 2 Pre-Deadline Chat: Fighting the Falloff

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After Week 1 offered loads of points, it may seem like there is nowhere to go but down in Week 2. But not if we don’t let that happen!

Kieran Trippier - England - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Kieran Trippier is the third-most dropped player in FPL. What if he starts and stars this weekend?
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

385 teams in the Official FPL “Never Manage Alone BTB” league scored at least 75 points in week 1. 109 teams in the Fantax “Never Manage Alone” league notched 100+ points. If you were in that group, you could rest on your laurels. But I know you don’t want to do that. I’m sure you’re not going to give in to what seems like an inevitable decline. And if you missed out on the joy, now’s your chance to turn things around. Either way, don’t go down without a fight!

But what do you need for GW2 success? Information, of course! What news is out there now, and what still awaits as the deadline approaches?

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Cardiff v. Newcastle

Following their 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth, Cardiff have a home opener. Speaking of the Cherries, Neil Warnock has midfield loanee Harry Arter available for selection, which could push Sol Bamba back to his more natural position in central defense. Kenneth Zohore has passed fit, but is likely to see action as a substitute at best.

Defender DeAndre Yedlin is doubtful after injury suffered in the GW1 defeat to Spurs, with Javier Manquillo or perhaps young academy product Jamie Sterry filling in if necessary. After failing to make an appearance last week, newcomer Fabian Schar is pushing for a start in central defense. Similarly, West Brom loanee Salomon Rondon looks to displace Joselu up top, while transfer Yoshinori Muto may be more likely to be a substitute in offering Ayoze Perez a reprieve. Then again, following the opening home loss, Rafa Benitez has no reason to be shy about making changes. Perhaps Joselu and Rondon will pair up top together for an offensive boost against a susceptible defense.

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Everton v. Southampton

Phil Jagielka begins the first of a three-game suspension for the straight red card last weekend. Incoming transfer and fellow central defender Yerry Mina is out with injury, as is midfielder Andre Gomes. That leaves Mason Holgate or newcomer Kurt Zouma as possibilities to replace Jagielka and pair with Michael Keane. Fresh-faced wing midfielder Bernard could also feature, but is more likely to come in from the bench. Leighton Baines has likely shrugged off the challenge to his starting wing back spot from Lucas Digne — at least for the time being — while Richarlison has gotten over his late injury in the opener.

Mohamed Elyounoussi is more likely to miss out from injury than to make the team, but he was only a sub anyway. As for modification to the XI, Danny Ings is pressing for a start, and would likely displace either Charlie Austin or Nathan Redmond.

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Leicester v. Wolverhampton

After scoring as a sub against Manchester City, Jamie Vardy is expected to start in the Foxes’ home opener at King Power. While new central defender Caglar Soyunco is not yet fit, Jonny Evans could challenge Wes Morgan for the spot next to Harry Maguire.

Winger Ivan Cavaleiro remains out injured for Wolves and late-arriving midfielder Leonder Dendoncker is still not ready for action, but fellow winger Adama Traore is primed for his debut, perhaps at the expense of Helder Costa.

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Tottenham v. Fulham

After Fulham v. Crystal Palace, this is already the second London derby of the season, so the Cottagers may be getting sick of these already. With all of the Spurs’ roster uncertainty, the controversy regarding the new stadium delay, and rumors about Pocchettino succeeding Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, this game certainly has plenty of story lines threatening to overshadow the on-field action at Wembley.

Son Heung-min is away at the Asian games all month, leaving Lucas Moura likely to start in his spot again, but Erik Lamela looms as an alternate option should Mauricio Poccettino go in that direction. Other than Jan Vertonghen, much is unsettled in the back line. Serge Aurier started at right back in GW1, but could be replaced by Kieran Trippier who rested following his World Cup exertions. Similarly, Toby Alderweireld could slot in for Davinson Sanchez, while Danny Rose could displace Tom Davies at left back. However, Alderweireld and Rose are among the players who are rumored to exit Spurs and the EPL before the August 31 sales deadline, so that would seem to point to them not starting, and perhaps not even featuring at all. Because when you’re the first team ever to not add any players over the summer, sure, get rid of some of your best ones, who needs them?!

Aflie Mawson and Tim Ream remain out in defense for the traveling Cottagers, as Fulham could very well field an unchanged side from last weekend, at least for the 10 field players. The big question mark surrounds the goalkeeper choice, with Fabri (who looked horrible last week), Sergio Rico (Sevilla loanee) and last season’s #1 Marcus Bettinnelli (who was injured in pre-season) seemingly all in contention.

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West Ham v. Bournemouth

After the tough away loss at Anfield, Manuel Pellegrini makes his first managerial appearance for West Ham home at London Stadium. Andriy Yarmolenko is expected to get his first start, joining Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic in the three-man offense. This could send Michail Antonio to the bench, unless he is pushed back in midfield at the expense of Declan Rice. Wing back Aaron Cresswell has passed fit, as Arthur Masuaku could make way. Recent newcomers Lucas Perez and Carlos Sanchez will likely make the 18 man squad as substitutes.

Diego Rico serves the second of his three game suspension, with Charlie Daniels’ wing back spot safe for now. New defensive midfielder Jefferson Lerma would love to get a crack at things, but may have to settle for a spot on the bench; either way, he’s a defensive midfielder (and a yellow card machine at that) so you shouldn't be considering him in your fantasy teams.

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Chelsea v. Arsenal

The third London derby of the season! Alright, I’ll calm down now. With six London teams, it’s really not that huge a deal, is it? Yes it is, it’s Chelsea v. Arsenal, with both featuring new managers, very exciting!

Chelsea’s offensive line-up remains largely a mystery. Everybody in the world expected Eden Hazard to start this game following a substitute appearance in the opener. Everybody, that is, except perhaps Maurizio Sarri, who seems to be on the fence, hinting that the Belgian superstar may remain an impact sub for the Blues’ home opener at Stamford Bridge. If Hazard does start, he could come in for Pedro, or he could occupy the false 9 role, which would push Alvaro Morata to the bench. Then again, Morata could lose out instead to Olivier Giroud. Incoming loan Mateo Kovacic is expected to be on the bench, coming in on either side of midfield if he makes a sub appearance.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been ruled out for a couple months, leaving Nacho Monreal and Stephan Lichtsteiner to battle for the left back spot. Lichtsteiner played well after replacing AMN last week, but Arsene Wenger’s regular Monreal has returned to health. Midfielder Lucas Torreira has a good chance of starting after coming in as a sub in GW1, with Granit Xhaka perhaps the likeliest to make way. The main question up front is whether Alexandre Lacazette will remain a sub or earn a starting spot next to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

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Burnley v. Watford

Sure, Joe Hart kept a clean sheet in the opener at Southampton, but Tom Heaton has to be the choice now that he’s healthy... according to news out of Turf Moor, maybe not. Am I crazy or is Sean Dyche the one who’s off his rocker? Or does it simply not matter who the keeper is, anyone from Nick Pope, Tom Heaton, Joe Hart, or Barney the Dinosaur could keep a clean sheet for the Clarets, right? With new striker Matej Vydra lacking match fitness, the team should remain fairly familiar; but as always with Dyche, there’s the question of 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 and whether Ashley Barnes or Sam Vokes would partner Chris Wood in the latter.

With Burnley in the unusual throes of Europa League action, Watford will look to take advantage of possible weariness. Among those failing to pass fit for the traveling Hornets, Gerard Deulofeu is probably the only one relevant to fantasy. Javi Gracia will be expected to keep the same players and formation as seen in the opening victory over Brighton.

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Manchester City v. Huddersfield

With Kevin De Bruyne’s unfortunate injury (no surgery, but two to three months out is the latest estimate), chances for an unchanged XI following the comfortable GW1 win at the Emirates increased immensely for the Citizen’s homecoming at the Etihad. Ilkay Gundogan, whose spot was likely most at risk, might breathe the biggest sigh of relief. However, with at least eight players remaining to fight over the five offensive spots (Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, Leroy Sane, and David Silva), rotation remains a distinct possibility. I say “at least eight” because Phil Foden has emerged as a possible ninth, but beyond that rumors that City could try to bring someone in from elsewhere in Europe for even more added depth have been dismissed. The defense also could see some shuffling; Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker would seem to be the safest in defense on the wings, though of course Fabian Delph wouldn’t mind a crack at things. Danilo is not ready yet, but is expected to be so soon. Similarly, in central defense Americ Laporte and John Stones will be looking over their shoulders at Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Phew!

Zanka misses out for Huddersfield, throwing a wrench into David Wagner’s plans. But really, if you’re considering anybody for Huddersfield at the Etihad in fantasy, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

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Brighton v. Manchester United

Wing back Bruno is out for the Seagulls in their home opener, with Martin Montoya expected to fill in. Otherwise, Jose Izquierdo is the only other fantasy-worthy absence, and that’s already stretching it.

Jose Mourinho confirmed that Paul Pogba will have to pass the captain’s armband back to Antonio Valencia when he returns to health, so enjoy it while it lasts! After his goal-scoring performance, Luke Shaw is expected to keep his wing back spot, though Ashley Young is fit enough to challenge. Romelu Lukaku is available to start in offense, while Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic are not yet ready to return.

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Crystal Palace v. Liverpool

Defender Max Meyer and winger Andre Ayew are expected to make their Palace debuts, but likely not as starters. Roy Hodgson could stick with the same line-up that delivered last weekend’s victory, but given the match-up, he might decide to strengthen the defensive spine.

Dejan Lovren remains out with injury, so Joe Gomez should remain Virgil Van Dijk’s partner in central defense. Jurgen Klopp could reward Jordan Henderson or Fabinho with a start, but the romp over West Ham may point to an unchanged XI with James Milner and Gigi Wijnaldum instead.

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What rumors, speculation and news have panicked you, and which have soothed your nerves? What are you still waiting to hear about? How settled are your fantasy sides, and what moves are you still considering? Please be sure to share any late-breaking news in the comments!

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