Suffice to say, many people are still reeling from last week. The general consensus is that Round 2 was kind to a few, and so cruel to many. Myself, I went from scoring 86 points in the first week to 28 in the second (24 after a 4 point deduction on transfers).
However, those of us who play know that now is not the time to panic. The year is young, it’s not advisable to get too high or too low right off the bat. Round 3 is nearly upon us, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting week with 2 teams on a bye week (Chelsea and Aston Villa) and every team will be taking the next week off for international play. So there are lots of story lines to focus on this week – here’s what I’m looking at:
1) Can Man City be stopped from scoring?
The short answer is no. Many fantasy owners are pleased that Man City lost last week. They have a dominant team, and they simply let one too many goals by them and came up short with the loss. And common thinking is that they’ll be looking to reassert themselves and win back some of those points this week. And what better way than to play at home against Hull City?
Man City have scored 6 goals in their first two games and Hull has scored only once. So whether you choose to play forwards or defenders, this is a match up you want. Not only are you going to get points, but if you get in early enough, you’ll start to reap the benefits from the price rises of some of these players. Silva has already gone up 0.3M and Dzeko has risen 0.2M – and given this fixture, the prices on these players will only continue to rise.
2) Everton’s Barkley is the best value midfielder in the EPL
Barkley has made the most out of his starts in the absence of Gibson. Already rising in price by 0.4M, he’s still cheap at 4.9M. The worry is that he’ll be replaced when Gibson is healthy, but his call up to the English squad seems to bring tidings that many are aware of his potential. In reality, Gibson may have lost his starting role to Barkley. Barkley is now owned by 18.5% of all players, and even though he went from scoring 10 points to only 2 last week, those that have watched him play know that last week was just unlucky. This kid is a natural scoring talent.
All that being said, it’s still undecided how much Barkley will play this weekend after having play more than 90 minutes in a tight win over Stevenage this week in the Capital One Cup. If you have him, follow his status closely, because he is worth a start.
3) Soldado is raining bonus points
Even though Benteke has 6 bonus points so far this year, he’s done that with three matches. The league leader, excluding the Villa player, would then be Tottenham’s Soldado with 5 bonus points rewarded in just two games.
Soldado has scored in both his first two games, and has netted totals of 9 and 7 points for fantasy owners. He’s priced high (9.6M), but he’s only gone up 0.1M since the start of the year. In this early phase of the game, everybody is still trying to figure out who they want to ride up front for the majority of the season, and Soldado is showing he has the class to play in this league.
This week Soldado goes up against Arsenal. And even though Arsenal showed a higher form last week, they have yet to really look solid in defense – and have given up 4 goals on the year. This may be a week to put Soldado in and see what he can do for you.
4) Speaking of Arsenal, who do you get to replace Podolski?
Podolski has now been listed as out for 8-10 weeks after injuring his hamstring. For many players, he was set to be a constant fixture in their front lines – especially after he ripped two brilliant goals last week. But now, he needs to be shelved and replaced as quickly as possible. Given his current price of 8.4M, who do you replace him with (assuming you’re going to trade straight across and not take a -4 point hit)?
There are a couple of ways to go. You could go slightly lower in price and pick up Dzeko for 7.7M. This would free up 0.7M to invest elsewhere in your team. This choice is pretty obvious, and there isn’t a reason not to do this.
However, given the form, you could take extreme value and pick up Cardiff’s Campbell for 5.6M. Will this pay off long term? It’s too early to say for sure. But Campbell looked really good against Man City – and that type of performance is sure to keep him in the starting XI for a while to come. Giving up nearly 3 million in price would open up doors for you to pick up a truly elite player in the coming weeks. If you were looking for a way to get RVP or even Hazard on your team, this move would help facilitate that.
5) Can you invest in Chelsea forwards at the moment?
We know. The manager is a genius. Even he says so. But for fantasy owners…he’s just a bit of an arse.
Of all the players in the league, none has been dropped more than Lukaku (over 320,000 transfers out). In fact, if you check the stats, for every position the most transferred out player in the league is from Chelsea. GK, D, M, F – every position has more drops at the top from Chelsea by quite a large margin.
And the frustrating thing is that Chelsea is good. We all know they’ll score goals. But there isn’t a pattern or a road map that any of us can follow to know who will or won’t appear and score for Chelsea. And to top it off, they’re still chasing more strikers (Rooney).
Conservatively, the risk is too great to pick up anybody from Chelsea’s front line. There may be a tad more stability with starts in the middle and back lines (not much), but for fantasy players, this is a bust. Really, barring injuries from several key players, there doesn’t appear to be anything that’s forcing Chelsea to play a steady lineup from week in to week out. Proceed with caution.
Good luck this week everybody. We’re (I) going to need it.