The beginning of every season brings with it the hope that anything can happen for your club and your fantasy team (also, Arsenal are sitting top of the table right now)!
But I also think that the opening week is the hardest in any fantasy season (at least until week 2). New seasons bring new expectations, systems, rotations, and especially new players and teams. One isn’t quite sure what to expect.
Four teams, including both teams from Manchester, are without games this weekend, so it limits our choices slightly. We get the Fulham and Arsenal confirmed lineups in time to buy some sure starters and see how the Gunners lineup against a newly promoted side.
I am looking to go with players whom I’m fairly certain will be in the starting 11, plus a few whom I think could make an impact this season at bargain prices.
GW 1 Fixtures
Saturday, 12 September
Sunday, 13 September
Monday, 14 September
[Note on prices: The dollars (why not pounds?) cited are from our Fantrax NMA-11 league. NMA-17 uses the same scoring, so it has the same reasons for wanting players, but Fantrax discounts NMA-17 prices about 25% to enable buying 17 players. YMMV.]
Rui Patricio (WOL vs CRY, $11.94):
Emiliano Martinez ( ARS @FUL, $4.00 ): The Gunners face a newly promoted side (the weakest of the bunch), and min-priced Martinez was outstanding during Project Restart, and he’s expected to start, and we will see the confirmed lineup before the deadline just in case. [Which turned out to be critical, because Bernd Leno starts in goal.]
Lukasz Fabianski (NEW @ WHU, $5.15): Another cheap option if you are looking one, though one a little less sure than Emiliano. The Hammers are home against a Newcastle squad that struggled mightily on the road last year.
Alisson (LEE @ LIV, $11.04): It’s hard to argue against the Liverpool keeper at home. Leeds are an unknown quantity at this level, so anything can happen. But if you’re looking for a premium keeper, this is where I am looking hardest.
Aaron Ramsdale (WOL @ SHU, $7.00): Ramsdale begins his time as SHU’s keeper. Dean Henderson was one of the top keepers last year playing behind the Blades’ defense. Can Ramsdale carry that forward? He is a differential pick if you’re looking for one.
Gabriel (ARS @FUL, $7.00): Like Martinez, except we expect this new signing’s price to crash after the barn-door closes, giving back cash to spend next week.
William Saliba (ARS @FUL, $4.00): If you can’t afford default-priced Gabriel, then at least find room for min-priced Saliba (and confirm his start in the count-down hour chat here at NMA before the deadline). Kieran Tierney remains a third option at the same price if you’re looking one.
Kyle Walker-Peters (SOU @CRY, $4.00): Expected to start and priced to sell. Jannik Vestergaard may be a less chosen (but still cheap, $4.72) option but someone who also ended the season well.
Willy Boly (WOL @ SHU, $7.18): Boly is a known quantity at a price that is tempting. Not sure what to expect from SHU this year offensively, so the matchup is interesting as well.
Timothy Castagne (LEI @ WBA, $7.00) The new signing seems a sure thing to get the start against West Brom. We know that Rodgers likes his wing-backs charging forward, so Castagne should have the same opportunities. I’m eying James Justin ($4.56) too, but it’s hard to know 100% if he will get the start, as young Luke Thomas is waiting in the wings.
Andrew Robertson (LEE @ LIV, $15.82): Any Liverpool defender could do here. Robertson ended the season well. A favorable match-up and a chance for a clean sheet make him a worthwhile consideration.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS @FUL, $19.51): Why have you bought our other bargains to raise cash? This apex predator tagged as a midfielder and worth season-long investment is facing the weakest team in the EPL, that’s why! I’ll be checking the confirmed lineup to see if he starts ahead of (or in addition to!) Nicolas Pepe ($11.20), who is capable of big games, especially against lesser opponents. Be here at NMA in the pre-deadline chat for count-down hour to settle accounts.
Adam Lallana (Chelsea at BHA, $4.00): He may be facing one of the top teams in the EPL, but he was a KDB-quality PFA player of the year when last allowed to start regularly, and now he is min-priced. If he can shake off past injuries, Lallana is a buy-and-hold for the whole season.
<Bruno sub here>: Bruno Fernandes would be a no brainer except he has a blank in GW-1. Buy a one-week-only middie to hold his place until the barn-door (and have about $9.97 free at that time).
Mason Mount (CHE @BHA, $13.03): Hear me out... with the new midfield signings and Christian Pulisic not fully fit, Mount may be Frank Lampard’s top choice for set pieces and corners in a solid matchup. Not saying I’m going here, but something to think about.
James Rodriguez (EVE @ TOT, $7.00): I believe he could start immediately for Everton. He should be the central attacking figure in a much upgraded team. This could pick and keep for the season type player.
Jarrod Bowen (NEW @ WHU, $6.59): Bowen is involved heavily in the Hammers attack. He seems to do a little bit of everything with translates well on the fantasy score sheet. I would understand if you opted for Michail Antonio ($12.06) (or both!) who also ended extremely hot is a forward available in the midfield position. How much cash can you splash?
Timo Werner (CHE @BHA, $7.00): Werner is default priced, looking to become the apex of a sharpened Chelsea attack, and facing a lower-half side. Barring injury, he is a buy and hold for the whole season, with the only wrinkle being the expected price collapse after the first salary recalc.
Mohamed Salah (LEE @ LIV, $22.25): If PEA was one reason you bought bargain players, Salah may be another. A home match-up against a newly promoted side for last year’s top forward is always a good choice. I’m looking at him and/or Sadio Mane ($18.66) as strong options.
Che Adams (SOU @CRY, $4.07): He was a big signing a year ago, but then he fell away. Then in Project Restart he made a comeback. Still priced cheaply and now flanked by quality new signings, Adams could be a big differential.
Harry Kane (EVE @ TOT, $15.76): The guy can just score goals. I’m not changing my lineup to fit him into my team, but if I had the money, he’d be high on my list of upgrades. He ended the season on a hot streak, and we know he can score in bunches. Spurs are home and might be worth a punt.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE @ TOT, $11.63): He’s just under premium price, and with the additions in the squad that have been added, I think he’ll have more chances to capitalize. He was a solid player last season and could be an underappreciated player this weekend.
Where are you economizing? Where are you splashing the cash? Who else is worth our attention? And are you excited yet?!? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
And if you haven’t already, please join NMA’s Fantrax leagues:
[If new, please register at Fantrax and then...]
NMA-17 Fantrax League
NMA-17 allows you to expand your roster to as many as 17 players. Each week, your best 3 forwards, best 4 middies, best 3 defenders and best keeper that week will add to your cumulative season earnings.
NMA-11 Fantrax League
NMA-11 limits you to exactly 11 players, no subs. However, you may choose from a range of allowed formations.