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Fantrax EPL Gameweek 2 Player Picks: Attention Kmart Shoppers

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This week the trick isn’t finding the bargains, it’s deciding which ones you want.

Patrick Bamford - Leeds United - Premier League
Could Patrick Bamford be primed for stardom in Gameweek Two?
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Holy smokes! If you haven’t checked out the updated prices in our Fantrax leagues, you’re in for a shock. While GW-1 heroes skyrocketed, prices have crashed to seemingly-impossible lows for many of the biggest names in the game (not just GW-1 duds, but all did-not-play men as well). The pricing algorithm is notoriously capricious after the first game-week of the season, but we haven’t seen carnage like this since the old Yahoo game. This year it appears that Fantrax’s 2020-21 leagues don’t have access to 2019-20 data, so the calculations ran on zeroes and spit out fire-sale prices. It’s like shopping at a high-end Costco, but with coupons and someone else’s money.

Consequently, finding hidden value isn’t going to be our challenge this week. The difficulty will be choosing among the obvious values — there are so many that you can’t have them all (sorry Jeff!). Also weighing on your mind will be whatever players you hold at preseason prices now way below new sky-high salaries. To make room for $4 men, do you have the fortitude to drop any of your $7 men who now sport $18 tags? Answer: If there’s a $4 man expected to earn far more points over the course of the season, then you should say yes, especially since you’ll soon have enough bank to pay retail for a few overpriced stars each game-week for weeks to come.

Additionally, you’ll have to decide when and where you’re going to prioritize price tag over potential. For instance, Willian was imperious against Fulham and bagged three assists. But at $14.84 is he a better choice than say, Mason Greenwood at $4.00? If you have cash burning a hole in your bank, then the answer might be yes.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you navigate your way through the bargain banquet. As a reminder, quoted prices reflect our flagship Fantrax-11 game rather than our Fantrax-17 game (although you should be playing both!).

Also, keep in mind that this is a shopping guide intended to assist fantasy managers who are in the market for replacement players to buy. It is not necessarily a list of the best players to own. For instance, if I held Mo Salah or Jamie Vardy at their GW 1 prices, I might consider hanging on to them for this round. If you happen to hold a $19 GW-1 hero at a $7 preseason price and expect him to be among top points earners at the end of the season, then you may hold him as a differential. However, players currently at high prices are too expensive to recommend purchasing for this week (in my opinion, anyway), especially since we need to make room for this week’s bargains before they’re recalculated again.

Note as well that the Everton-West Brom match is the week’s opener, so we should have confirmed lineups for that game ahead of the Fantrax transfer buzzer. Be sure to log in to NMA’s GW-2 Pre-Deadline Chat for those S11s as well as all of the other team news you need.

Let’s get to the fixtures, and then the picks. In addition to the usual recommendations for the upcoming game-week, I’ve also identified some players who you might consider picking up on the barn-door as long-term holds.

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Saturday 19 September

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Sunday 20 September

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Monday 21 September

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Goalkeepers

GW-2 Plays

Illan Meslier ($4.00, LEE vs FUL): Leeds looked very comfortable and composed in their first game back in the Prem. Yes, Liverpool put four goals past them. But that was Liverpool. This week it’s the Cottagers, major difference. Plus, club captain Liam Cooper is set to return to the center of the Peacock’s defense.

David De Gea ($4.00, MUN vs CPL): DDG is struggling for form but could be worth the risk for the home match against an Eagles side that is often short on end-product.

Matt Ryan ($4.00, NEW vs BRI): Only seven goalkeepers earned more points than Ryan last season. There will be saves in this one even if Ryan doesn’t keep a clean sheet.

$4.00 Barn-Door Buy-and-Holds

Nick Pope (BUR): The top-producing Fantrax goalkeeper last season.

Ederson (MCI): Last year’s Golden Gloves winner.

Hugo Lloris (TOT): Statistically he may the best goalie in the Prem.

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Defenders

James Tarkowski (LEI vs BUR, $4.83): Not a fantastic match-up this weekend, but for the price it doesn’t need to be: He averaged over 10 points per game last season.

Liam Cooper ($4.32, LEE vs FUL): The Peacocks’ club captain is back in the frame for the weekend, so he should be money against Fulham.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (CHE vs LIV, $8.19): Are you kidding me? Just buy him — he scored nearly 500 points last season. And he’ll get forward against Chelsea even if ‘Pool can’t keep a clean sheet (and I don’t think they will).

Aymeric Laporte (WOL vs MCI, $4.00): City’s best defender and the one whom Pep is least likely to rotate.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (MUN vs CRY, $4.09): Obi-Wan is a Jedi master at both ends of the pitch. He’s got a tasty fixture this weekend, and at this price you could easily set-and-forget.

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Midfielders

GW-2

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($13.64, ARS vs WHU): A marquee Fantrax asset and perennial Golden Boot contender, he faces a Hammers defense that conceded 62 goals last season.

Jack Grealish ($5.55, AVL vs SHU): He thrives in Fantrax’s points system, and if GW-1 is any indication, SHU’s defense isn’t what it was last year. The 25 year-old just put pen to a five-year deal at Villa Park, and you may want to consider bringing him in for the long haul as well. (M,F)

Richarlison ($11.64, EVE vs WBA): The 23 year-old Brazilian put up 13.5 points away at Tottenham without any goals or assists, so imagine what he can do when the Baggies visit Goodison Park. (M, F)

James Rodriguez ($6.58, EVE vs WBA): In GW 1 he showed glimpses of the player we remember from the 2014 World Cup. As he continues to settle in, he should only get better.

Kevin De Bruyne ($6.44, WOL vs MCI): All I can do here is laugh (just as many did when he returned from injury last season). Unfortunately, he’ll be a universal purchase this week, so don’t expect this screaming bargain to set you apart.

Phil Foden ($4.00, WOL vs MCI): Unlike his superstar Belgian teammate, Foden could be a true differential this week. (M, F)

Marcus Rashford ($4.93, MUN vs CRY): I’m laughing again. (M, F)

Bruno Fernandes ($7.08, MUN vs CRY): And now I’m laughing so hard I’m getting stitches in my side.

$4.00 Barn-Door Buy-and-Holds

Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz (CHE): Pulisic and Ziyech both have injury asterisks next to their names right now, and Havertz wasn’t exactly scintillating in Chelsea’s season opener. But they’ll each ultimately play a key role in an offense that is shaping up to be one of the Prem’s most fearsome, so monitor them over the weekend for potential barn-door moves. They could be season-keepers at $4.00.

Also keep a weather eye on the horizon for Gareth Bale returning to Tottenham. As soon as his deal is finalized, the call will go out to have him added to Fantrax, and that could conceivably happen before the barn-door closes.

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Forwards

Willian ($14.84, ARS vs WHU): Hopefully you grabbed him before the barn door closed on his 3-assist, 18.5 point, MOTM performance against Fulham, jacking up his price. But even if you didn’t, all the $4.00 boys on offer this week should leave plenty of room in your budget for Arsenal’s newest star.

Timo Werner ($12.61, CHE vs LIV): Although he didn’t score on his debut in a Chelsea shirt, he caused all kinds of problems for Brighton. I think Frank Lampard will play this match to win, and Liverpool have kept only three clean sheets since Project Restart launched. Werner’s speed could prove deadly against the Reds’ high defensive line.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin ($11.77, EVE vs WBA): Scored in the Toffees’ season opener, and with Carlo Ancelotti’s upgraded midfield now supporting him, he looks primed for more.

Patrick Bamford ($9.24, LEE vs FUL): Leeds and Fulham split the spoils in their two Championship meetings last season. But Bamford scored in both of those games, and he has already opened his account in the Prem.

Sadio Mané ($7.06, CHE vs LIV): Say goodbye to a quarter of your budget if you want to bring in Mo Salah this week, but his Senegalese teammate, quiet in GW-1, can be yours for just a shade more than $7. There will be goals in this game, and away from Anfield Mané tends to outperform the Egyptian anyway.

Raheem Sterling ($5.21, WOL vs MCI): Another crazy GW-2 bargain. One can almost forget Pep Roulette at this price (and in NMA-17 with its extra players for cover, we certainly can).

Anthony Martial ($4.50, MUN vs CRY): And another.

Harry Kane ($7.15, SOU vs TOT): I agree with Chris and Ken that José Mourinho has thrown a wet blanket over Tottenham. But King Kane for $7.15 is still a compelling proposition.

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How many fire-sale superstars are you bringing in? Are you willing to compromise your GW-2 squad to lock in long-term holds at these dime-store prices? What random-bargain differentials are you holding from GW-1? Whom are you already eyeing on the barn-door? Have any of my picks missed the mark? Have I overlooked anyone? Please share your thoughts (and your current lineups) in the comments below!

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Poll

Who is the most essential Fantrax asset for game-week 2?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Kevin De Bruyne
    (15 votes)
  • 26%
    Bruno Fernandes
    (15 votes)
  • 7%
    Mo Salah
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Sadio Mané
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Timo Werner
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    Trent Alexander-Arnold
    (2 votes)
  • 16%
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    (9 votes)
  • 3%
    Richarlison
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Marcus Rashford
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Anthony Martial
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Willian
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    Dominic Calvert-Lewin
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Raheem Sterling
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Harry Kane
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Jamie Vardy
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Other (specify in Comments)
    (2 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now