Three weeks in and we’re already starting to get a feel for things this season, aren't we? Not a complete picture by any means, but we now think we have a fairly good idea for which players are must-haves and who are definite drops. Of course, after this week, we’ve got an international break to mess things up, so enjoy this feeling while it lasts! With that in mind, who looks prosperous in Week 4?
Ederson (£5.6, Manchester City v. Newcastle United)
Alisson has three clean sheets and 19 points, and his price has held steady at £5.5. Meanwhile, Ederson has only one shutout and 15 points to his credit, yet his cost has ticked up to £5.6. Methinks it has less to do with the keepers’ performances and more to do with fantasy managers bailing on the injured Kevin De Bruyne or rotation risks such as Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sane, and David Silva, allowing the addition of another Citizen. That said, Ederson is an outstanding play at home against a Newcastle squad that has scored only twice so far.
Alisson (£5.5, Liverpool at Leicester)
Liverpool’s offense sputtered in the 1-0 victory over Brighton, but the defense kept humming with its third straight clean sheet. A fourth is certainly not locked in stone, but you’ve got to keep rolling the dice.
Petr Cech (£5.0, Arsenal at Cardiff)
Arsenal’s defense has been extremely suspect (that’s a polite term for shambolic) so far, particularly in the center, forcing Cech into making a league-leading number of saves while shipping no small amount of goals. And they’re not at the Emirates. But Cardiff hasn’t scored yet from six shots on target, so the Gunners may not be troubled much in this one.
Jordan Pickford (£5.0, Everton v. Huddersfield)
Everton’s defense has been disappointing so far, conceding five times and failing to keep a clean sheet. Michael Keane’s injury could make things even more difficult. But this one’s at Goodison Park, and Huddersfield’s anemic offense comes to town after scoring only once total in its three tries... and that’s not just three games, it’s also a mere three shots on target. So if you don’t mind watching Pickford picking daisies, go for it.
Wayne Hennessey (£4.5, Crystal Palace v. Southampton)
Hennessey has stopped 13 of the 17 shots on target that he has faced. Meanwhile, Southampton has only scored only twice from 12 shots on target. So the Eagles’ net minder may not nab as many saves as he usually does, but he has a strong chance at the shutout bonus, especially given that this fixture is at Selhurst Park.
Of the five highest FPL earners, one is a midfielder (Sadio Mane), one is a goalkeeper (Neil Etheridge), and THREE are defenders (Alonso, Mendy and Robertson). In case you’re bad at math, that also means that none are strikers. So while that positional breakdown in the fantasy leaderboard will not be expected to last too much longer, it’s still a reminder not to be afraid to pay up for premium defenders who offer both offensive and defensive returns. They’re worth it!
Marcos Alonso (£6.7, Chelsea v. Bournemouth)
What do one goal, four fantasy assists (including two penalties drawn), and one clean sheet add up to? 35 points, the most of any player at any position in the official fantasy game. A defender, not an expensive forward or midfielder. He has taken eight of the nine possible bonus points! (For comparison’s sake, Sadio Mane had eight bonus points all of last season.) At Stamford Bridge against the visiting Cherries, there’s no reason for the magic to vanish.
Benjamin Mendy (£6.4, Manchester City v. Newcastle)
Like Alonso, Mendy has four fantasy assists. But whereas Alonso has only one standard assist, Mendy leads the league by himself with three. (“What is an assist?” is clearly a major metaphysical question with no simple answer.) Again, this is a defender, not a midfield maestro as would usually be the case when it comes to play-making prowess. In case you were wondering if those assists were a fluke, do you want to know who leads the league in crosses with 25? Monsieur Mendy, oui.
Andrew Robertson (£6.1, Liverpool at Leicester)
On a Liverpool team stocked with talent such as Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, James Milner, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson, it’s actually Robertson who leads the way so far among Reds players with six bonus points.
Kieran Trippier (£6.0, Tottenham at Watford)
The right wing back has notched a goal, an assist, a clean sheet, and five bonus points which have translated to 22 points... in only two games! Watford has gotten off to a wonderful start, and this one takes place at the Hornets’ nest, but I’ll believe Trippier can be stopped when I see it, not a moment before. Of course, one person who can stop him is the physio; Trippier went off with injury after 75 minutes at Old Trafford on Monday, so be sure to keep an eye on fitness news as the deadline approaches.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.1, Crystal Palace v. Southampton)
AWB (or OWB if you prefer the Star Wars parlance) disappointed a plethora of fantasy managers with his red card and -2 score in GW2 followed by suspension fulfilled last weekend. But he’s a dirt cheap fifth defender, so it’s easy to shrug off, as he should slot straight back in for temporary placeholder Joel Ward. Against the lowly visiting Saints, this is a week you could even put him back in your starting line-up and figure on some sweet, sweet redemption.
Eden Hazard (£10.6, Chelsea v. Bournemouth)
If Hazard got points in Official FPL for fouls drawn as he does in Fantrax, it would be a crime not to have him in your fantasy sides. Alonso earned the three bonus points in the Newcastle game last weekend, but we all know that the real star was Hazard, who got only one bonus point even though the Magpies’ strategy completely revolved around hacking down the Belgian superstar at every opportunity. Never mind what I said before; at home against the Cherries, it is a crime not to have Hazard in your team even without the foul points.
Pascal Gross (£6.9, Brighton v. Fulham)
Gross curiously came off the bench last week. Hopefully that was with an eye to fixture congestion due to the midweek Carabao Cup tie (that Brighton lost to Southampton), and Gross will be back in the XI. Gross scored all seven of his goals and notched six of his eight assists at home last season, and Falmer Stadium welcomes a generous Fulham side that has allowed seven goals already.
Theo Walcott (£6.7, Everton v. Huddersfield)
Walcott was a bit of an afterthought entering the season, with Richarlison, Bernard and Andre Gomes coming in and Gylfi Sigurdsson returning to health, making for an awfully crowded midfield. Besides, Walcott had only three goals last season, admittedly in limited minutes, but still not much to brag about. But Theo’s in form, he’s priced to move, and the Toffees have attractive match-ups coming: v. Huddersfield, v. West Ham, at Arsenal, v. Fulham, at Leicester, v. Crystal Palace.
Pedro (£6.7, Chelsea v. Bournemouth)
When Hazard finally made it into the XI last weekend following two appearances from the bench, Maurizio Sarri chose Pedro over Willian to stay in at the wing. Unfortunately, the Blues didn’t score until after Willian replaced Pedro, and then they did so twice. That said, I expect Sarri to keep rolling with Pedro, and if so the Spaniard should do well. Of course, you may not want to go all in just yet if you don’t already have him in your team, so keep an eye on team news.
Ruben Neves (£5.1, Wolverhampton v. West Ham)
Neves leads Wolves with nine shots so far, though he’s only gotten two on frame. Finding the target shouldn’t be a problem this time, as Lucasz Fabianski has been peppered with 25 SOT so far. Neves has been quiet since scoring and assisting in the opening game, but this is the time to get loud again.
Sergio Aguero (£11.3, Manchester City v. Newcastle)
Kun loves scoring against anybody and everybody, but he really loves torturing Newcastle. Aguero boasts nine Premier League hat-tricks to his credit, and two of those have come against the Magpies. One of them was this very fixture in January, while the other was a five-goal explosion in 2015. Those of us who captained him for his GW2 hatty against Huddersfield are not going to hesitate doing likewise here.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.0, Manchester United at Burnley)
Last season, Lukaku continued his trolling ways, scoring only one of his 16 goals against “Big Six” competition. Last week, he kept that story going, failing to convert either of his two beautiful chances against Tottenham, missing a wide open goal early and then later forcing a great save from Hugo Lloris. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic just came off bullying Burnley for a header brace, and Lukaku will be licking his chops against a weary Clarets squad short on confidence after conceding seven goals in its last pair of games.
Wilfried Zaha (£7.1, Crystal Palace v. Southampton)
Zaha has two goals in three games, and now faces woeful Saints at Selhurst Park. Not much more needed to say, is there?
Marko Arnautovic (£7.0, West Ham v. Wolverhampton)
Arni has scored both of the Hammers’ goals, and this fixture comes at London Stadium against a Wolves side that has allowed five so far. While he was taken off injured last weekend (knee), early news points toward a return to fitness in training, but keep an eye out for any changes as the deadline approaches.
Raul Jimenez (£5.5, Wolves at West Ham)
Jimenez has only scored once, but he has been lively with seven shots (three on target). However, table-bottom Hammers are the league’s leading exporters, having shipped a whopping nine goals already, so chances are that you will be able to get your minimal money’s worth here.
I scored 73 and 83 points in the first two games, then painfully slipped down to 51 points in the third. Indeed, it was quite the falloff. But overall I’m in the top 6% of official fantasy teams worldwide, so thankfully I have no need to panic and use my wildcard. If the third week hit you like a ton of bricks, though, surely you have no shortage of company. So if you are considering using your first half unlimited transfer wildcard chip, be sure to read about the pros and cons of playing the wildcard now. After weighing everything, if you still think you might pull the trigger, check out the team David compiled using his wildcard and see if a makeover along those lines would be worthwhile.
How many changes are you making to your FPL teams this week? None, one, two, three, or the whole shebang? Which players have you reaching into the grab bag, and who are you dropping like a bad habit? Let us know in the comments!