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Fantrax EPL GW-2 Player Picks

GW-2 is here! Time to tweak those Fantrax squads!

Pep Guardiola - Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Denis Doyle - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

I’m going to make two things very clear before we even get started today:

  1. Fantrax is new to me this year (although I am something of a former Yahoo connoisseur).
  2. I am 15th out of ~180 active teams in the current NMA-17 League, so I like to think I have a good idea how this works.

Now that you’re probably going to ignore everything I'm about to write from this point forwards, lets take a look through GW-2 and how best to approach this to earn some major points.

Unlike the official FPL format, you can always make as many transfers in Fantrax as you like, so this is all about picking the best players for the coming week — within budget, of course. However, if you bought a bunch of bargain-priced producers before the “barndoor” closed, then you may feel locked into those bargains — So Fantrax squeezes us in a different way.

If you need some help with the Fantrax rules, or tips on how to play the game, see commissioner Jeff’s strategy & tactics article. This was referenced in our GW-1 article but will certainly be something we try to push you towards to ensure all players have any help they need. You can also get answers by asking in the comments to our articles, especially the most recent Fantrax article available at any moment.

GW-2 has seen a major price adjustment, so I hope you did good business on the “barn door”. For starters, the minimum price is now $4 ($3 in NMA-17). That means that if you were shrewd like myself and bought a certain guaranteed Nottingham Forest goalkeeper for $1, then you could be settled for the entire season. But given his 10.5 point haul that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I am going to approach this article from the standpoint of NMA – 11 since that is our flagship Fantrax platform, so that will be the price points I’m referring to. However, they will be proportionally similar to NMA - 17.

Note: The Fantrax transfer deadline is just 15 minutes before the first game each round, so you will usually be able to see confirmed starting lineups for the week’s first kickoff(s). This week you get to see the Aston Villa and Everton lineups with a couple of interesting options I like in that game.

OK, buckle up as I now take you on a harrowing journey into my brain and thought process ahead of the upcoming game week.


Tactics Talk Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

James’ Process

So, I thought it might be useful to start by going down the rabbit hole and looking at my process for team selection.

First, I like to review the fixtures for the upcoming week and see which teams I ‘like’ from among those matches. For example, most weeks Liverpool and Man City are going to be teams I look towards. Having a solid core from those teams is a good idea, though the two times a year they play each other will cause my system serious headaches. After Liverpool and Man City, other teams I like this week are:

- Villa v Everton — The Toffees are a mess, so I will back any team playing against them at the moment. The Villans had a shaky GW-1 too, but they have enough players to get excited about from a fantasy perspective.

- Arsenal v Leicester - Arsenal looked good in week one, and I think we saw the soft underbelly at the heart of Leicester’s problems. The Foxes won’t be pushovers, but still I see Arsenal being comfortable this week.

- Forest v West Ham - West Ham is very strong from top to bottom, and Forest is another team that is a bit of a mess. I expect a victory and good performance from West Ham, so defenders and attackers are the way forward.

I then look at the other fixtures for teams or sections of teams I can get behind. For example, Brighton v Newcastle – Both teams attack well and will have chances, so don’t be scared of some players from either of those teams.

Southampton v Leeds will be similar; Leeds looked very creative against Wolves in week one, and Southampton scared Tottenham until the last 30 minutes when Spurs ran away with it.

I am going to try to stay away from the rest of the teams. Tottenham v Chelsea is a coin flip of a game for me at the Bridge. There could be value players (e.g. busy defenders or a difference-maker in attack, Son, Sterling etc). But it will be more luck than judgement. Brentford could cause Man United any number of headaches, and United looks about as reliable as an English summer.

Wolves v Fulham could have some good options if you are lucky enough to have Mitrovic at his GW-1 price (and if you read Jeff’s article or comments, then you did your business before prices changed). But I won’t be jumping two footed into that fixture either.

Finally, in the scary world of me, I look at my players from the previous week and players I class as ‘can’t get rid of them’. In Fantrax, because prices change, if you buy someone a fantastic bargain and he continues to score major points, you run the slight headache of getting stuck on him because if you drop him, then you might not be able to afford to bring him back for his next favorable fixture.

For example, in my team, I’ve already mentioned my Dean Henderson steal. He is in my team at $1 and after netting 10.5 points from seven saves last week, I see no way I will let him go all year barring injury. Even then, I may keep him as a zero-point option. He has jumped to $3.94 and will probably rise further, so it would cost at least $3 to drop him this week and buy him back later... It’s not in my tight Yorkshire bones to commit to that sort of funding deficit.

Now that we’ve reviewed our fixtures, identified the teams we hope to select from, ignored the rest (who frankly are ten minutes wasted on Match of the Day), and have reserved players whom we can’t let go, let’s do the fun part… Whom do we buy to continue our drive for first place?


West Ham United v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Goalkeeper

Fantrax dealt us some strangely low prices for this week’s keepers, so I can simply sit back and chose keepers I think will do well. Based on last week’s points, we are looking for clean sheets or multiple saves to generate a high goalkeeper points return. Given current price levels, anyone you choose here could be your #1 for most of the season, so chose wisely — These prices may not be around long.

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Ramsdale - $8.73 - Arsenal v Leicester - This is one of my liked fixtures, and Ramsdale could prove a goalkeeper worth having. A GW-1 win + clean sheet and a couple of saves earned a whopping 18.5 points. I can see a 15+ haul this week too. He could be a regular for the full season ahead.

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JM’S Choice - Ederson - $6.49 - Man City v Bournemouth - Another team I’ll back most of the year. With his crazy value this week, get on board the Ederson train now. He will rack up wins most weeks, and he can get a clean sheet often enough to always be interesting. Man City is slightly more susceptible at the back, so he could have more to do from a saves perspective, so I’d edge him over Alisson. But there really isn’t much between the two. 14 points week one means that he can be a guaranteed pick at this value.

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Alisson - $4 - Liverpool v Crystal Palace - $4 is a steal, but the tie plus two goals conceded meant a negative 2.5 haul in GW-1. Liverpool just didn’t look themselves in that first half last week, so I see Alisson doing better moving forward for the rest of the season generally. As mentioned above however, Ederson edges it for me this week.


Fulham FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Defenders

Now on to some normal pricing. We all owe Fulham FC a massive debt of gratitude as the opening weekend’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool means all the Reds are suddenly quite affordable rather than being priced beyond belief. As a result, I’ve pieced together a list of potential high scorers, but do the right thing, buy Trent!

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Zinchenko - $12.32 - Arsenal v Leicester - GW-1 was a great first week as a Gunner for Zinchenko, raking in a healthy 20.5 points. I think he will get increasing game time, so as long as he makes it to that 60 minute mark, he is in line for clean sheets too. Leicester may score here would be my only concern, so I don’t count on a clean sheet bonus this week, but still, look at Zinchenko for a strong 15+ this week due to his general output levels.

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Joao Cancelo - $11.83 million - Man City v Bournemouth - He’s amazing. I won’t say much more, he’s practically a right-winger, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Citizens keep a clean sheet too. City will control the ball all game, so don’t be scared to buy Cancelo.

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JM’S Choice - Trent Alexander-Arnold - $11.3 million - Liverpool v Crystal Palace — TAA is such an attack-minded player, similar to Cancelo, that any team would be improved for having him. That said, his GW-1 return of four measly points is well below his norm. For my eye, that makes him an absolute must-have as he is not going to score so low again, possibly even all season. Add into the mix a favorable fixture, and the fact that Liverpool will be going hard against Palace to avoid falling too far back, means TAA is my main choice in this position this week.

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Aaron Cresswell - $9.91 - Forest v West Ham - A reasonable price, a reasonable performance, a reasonable choice. $9.91 for a player who scored 8 points isn’t groundbreaking, but you can’t always get groundbreaking. You will need to have reliable players too, and I like Cresswell for that. I believe he will give us 8-10 points most weeks, so a spit under $10 is ok. This week is a fixture he could be slightly stronger in too, so go on, live a little.

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Lucas Digne - $10.58 - Villa v Everton - Admittedly you don’t want to be silly and chose him over TAA, but if you have $10.58 million to spend on the former Everton man against his old club, this could be money well spent. I don’t like the look of Everton, even at home, and Villa could be a win-to-nil kind of game this weekend. 10 points last week means he’s a solid choice.

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Ryan Sessegnon - $7.76 - Chelsea v Tottenham - Okay, this is a bit left field, but given his amazing 13.5 point haul last week, Sessegnon could be a solid selection at a touch under $7.76 million. Now be warned, he scored, and defenders who score always have bloated, hard to reproduce earnings, so I am a little nervy visiting Chelsea at the Bridge. That said, Sessegnon won’t be benched after that performance, and for the price could be a solid option before the price rises again.


AFC Bournemouth v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Midfielders

Revolutionary choices so far... Liverpool’s most creative defender and Man City’s fancy-foot keeper, really breathtaking picks! Well hold onto your hats, because here comes a Brazilian!

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De Bruyne - $15.37 million - Man City v Bournemouth - He’s a big price at $15.37 million after earning only 10 points last week, but I think we all know KDB is a solid and reliable point scorer. I certainly don’t anticipate that Joelinton will average 8.5 ppg more than him come the end of the season. And against Bournemouth this week, I expect Man City to dominate. If so, the Citizens will need a little touch of creative flair and nobody offers more of that than the magical Belgian midfielder.

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Rodrigo - $9.4 million - Southampton v Leeds - The diminutive Brazillian looked lively and got on the scoresheet in Leeds’ opening day victory over Wolves. 12 points on the opening weekend and a goal means the Brazillian could be well worth your time, and at $9.4 million, not too bad a cost.

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Lanzini - $4 million - Forrest v West Ham - I hear what you are all saying here: “James put down the pint glass and let’s be serious. This guy earned minus 1 for the first week. Why would we risk that...?”

Well, I’ll tell you why! Firstly, GW-1 he played Man City, Pep’s free-flowing, ball-controlling, crowd-stifling Man City. So none of the midfield with the small exception of Declan Rice even got much of a kick for the entire game. This week will be very different. Against a new and disjointed Forrest team, West Ham will be much improved. Lanzini will likely be afforded more ball, space and an actual platform from which to generate points.

Don’t be too down on a gap week against Man City — The Hammers will respond and get their season going. The only reason Lanzini didn't make my pick of the week at this price is... Will he definitely start? Benrahma came on for him around the hour mark last week, and that could reduce his playing time weekly, but if you can hold your nerve here, Lanzini could be a steal at this price.

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JM’S Choice - Coutinho - $6.89 million - Villa v Everton - Here’s the Brazilian I promised you. You all know what I think of this fixture. I expect to see a lot more creativity and attacking intent from Villa this week, and that will play nicely into the little Brazilian’s hands. Admittedly, the performance against Bournemouth wasn’t awe-inspiring, but I expect to see a rebound in GW-2, so if Villa does win, expect this crafty magician to be right at the heart of it.

For $6.89, Coutinho averaged 8.2 Fantrax ppg in half a season last year. At $6.89 million to an average 8.2 points, if every player you had in your team earned a points to price ratio of nearly 2:1 you would score 200 points every week and be a guaranteed Fantrax league winner. At double points to value expected and potential of even more than that if he can generate a goal or assist, do I need to say anything other than chose Coutinho?

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Bowen - $11.4 - Forrest v West Ham - Along with the rest of his West Ham colleagues, Jarhead Bowen had a hard day at the office last week against Man City. Despite that, he still racked up an admirable +6 points. This week against Forest, I expect him to have a bit more of an attacking chance and that should bring points. He’s not pick of the week due to the fact that his $11.4 million price tag is relatively steep. He’ll probably need a very good game to get to the 12-13 point yield I’d like to see at this price, but he could be a good difference-maker among teams with some spare cash.


Manchester City Media Day Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Forwards

In Haaland I trust! Most of us bought him either for GW-1 or as soon as we heard that he scored two goals, so we have him at the preseason default price. I have nothing more to add.

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Nunez - $12.58 - Liverpool v Crystal Palace - He was so good coming on the last two games, scoring in both. Surely the scene is set for Darwin to start this week, and even if he doesn’t, we know he will just come on and score. An easy choice for anyone with a cool $12.58 to spend.

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JM’S Choice - Haaland - $18.36 - Man City v Bournemouth - The mere prospect of the giant Norwegian in full flight is enough to make defenders tremble and Fantasy managers’ mouth water. I think at $18.36, his price is only going up from here. He has confidence in buckets and was the third highest earner in the whole Fantrax game with 23 in GW-1. Get on board the Haaland express before you are priced out. Scarily, he also missed a couple of chances last week, so he could have scored even more.

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Neto - $10.89 - Wolves V Fulham - Now this guy excites me. Before last season, he was a really exciting prospect for Wolves and I think they missed some of his craft and guile last year. Those serious injuries now look to be behind him and I thought he looked good in the defeat to Leeds. 12 points last week for someone who did not score is very admirable and he could be a nice option at $10.89 million for any fantasy manager.

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Martinelli - $8.12 - Arsenal v Leicester - Another player who was solid but uninspiring week one. That said, ten points is a nice return, and I think he could again be heavily involved against Leicester. At $8.12 million, I believe he will make a lot of teams this week.

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Bailey - $7.70 - Villa v Everton - Week two and the Villans are not up against the random nature of a newly promoted team. I expect to see Villa back on the front foot this week, especially against an Everton team I have no faith in. Bailey was probably the pick of the Villa outfield players against Bournemouth, and despite losing and playing quite poorly, he managed an admirable +6 points. A favorable fixture and nice price means Bailey isn’t a bad option at all if you have a midfield hole and only $7.70 million left to fill it.

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*** Avoid *** Mitrovic - $28.66 - Wolves v Fulham - I’m just going to add this here and say I for one will not be getting on board the Mitrovic train at this junction. He would have been a great GW-1 psychic purchase, but following his 2-goal, 41-point first week haul, his price shot up to $28.66 million, making him more expensive than Son at 19.11 or Salah at 18.42.

Now I do like Mitrovic, and if I had bought him in GW-1 for the default, I’d say hold, but at current retail he needs to average somewhere ~30+ ppg, and I just don’t see that happening. We have also been here with him in previous seasons in the premier league, and I think we all know he will end up with 10-15 goals by the end of the 2022-23 Premier League season. Good player yes, but don’t jump two footed into the Serbian action if you are not already there is my advice!


Addendum

Although player picks are important when we’re approaching a game-week deadline, I think we Fantrax managers also need a “barn-door” player-picks phase so we can do critical transfer business before prices change each week. We usually need to flip a few players, so we need to see who’s exploded onto the scene — perhaps new to the league or jumping in for an injured player — but before their exploits boost their prices.

NMA doesn’t have a separate article for that, so Fantrax managers should tune into the NMA Live Chat late in any game-week to exchange info on which surprise players are worth grabbing before prices change. And if you don’t see your Q or A, then log in and ask.


For rules, tips, and tactics for our Fantrax leagues, please check out our Compleat Guide.

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And be sure to follow us at www.nevermanagealone.com for daily fantasy footie content!

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Sources: Fantrax.com and bbc.co.uk/sport/football

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What do you think of my picks? Have I overlooked important value? Are there any who shouldn’t have made my list? What are your strategies going to be in Fantrax? Did you get on board the Dean Henderson train? Is Haaland going to be the joyful points machine I think? Please let us know in the comments below.

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