Following on from the introduction to the game last week, it is time to look ahead at week 2, and who we can expect to put in good performances this weekend.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all impressed on the opening weekend, whilst Liverpool laboured to a draw and defending champions, Chelsea lost 3-2 at home against Burnley. The champions were 3-0 down by half-time and down to 10-men, before clawing two back in the second half. Gary Cahill was sent off in the first half and things got from bad-to-worse as Cesc Fabregas was also given his marching orders.
Chelsea will need to find something else this week, without two of their key players as they play last season’s runners-up, Tottenham in the 16:00pm (GMT) kick-off on Sunday.
The rest of the top-4 contenders have some softer match-ups this week, with Liverpool hosting Crystal Palace who were on the end of a shocking 0-3 defeat as they hosted newly-promoted Huddersfield Town, whilst Arsenal travel north to face Stoke City who lost to Everton on Merseyside last week. Manchester United travel to Wales to face a Gylfi Sigurdsson-less Swansea City after Everton finally got their man, stumping up £45m for the talismanic Icelander. After labouring to a 0-0 draw with Southampton and creating just 4 shots, none of which hit the target, it is clear Swansea will struggle if they fail to replace their key man.
Let’s take a look at who stands out as interesting options this week in Yahoo! Daily Fantasy.
David De Gea (£16)
De Gea is the joint most expensive goalkeeper this week but for very good reason. Swansea struggled to create chances last week against Southampton and will likely do so again this week against much tougher opposition.
Should Swansea find a way through the Manchester United defence, they will still have to beat the best goalkeeper in the league and any saves De Gea makes will add to the Spaniard’s fantasy points.
He made just one save last week against a lacklustre West Ham, but should United win and keep a clean sheet as I expect them to do he can eclipse the 11.5 points he accrued last week. Whilst Swansea don’t look like a strong attacking outfit, especially now Sigurdsson is gone, they should at least get some shots away in their first home game of the season.
The Value Play:
Jonas Lossl (£13)
Huddersfield made a successful start to their first season in the top-flight since 1972, when playing away at Crystal Palace last week and The Terriers looked to have successfully solved their goalkeeper issue, again opting for a loan move instead of buying a player to wear their #1 shirt.
After taking Livepool’s Danny Ward on loan last year, David Wagner looked abroad this time around, taking Jonas Lossl on loan from Mainz 05, a club he knows well from his time as a player as well as his time coaching at Borussia Dortmund.
On his Premier League debut, Lossl kept a clean sheet away from home, making four saves in the process. This week, Lossl will come up against fellow promoted-side, Newcastle United and will be playing in front of his home fans for their first time this season. If Huddersfield and Lossl can perform as admirably as they did last week or hopefully even better, picking Lossl could save you some vital £’s in your salary cap this week.
Fraser Forster (£14)
Fraser Forster finished tied for third with De Gea last year for clean sheets (14) and got off to a good start last week, keeping his first of the season in week one.
A home game against West Ham United gives Forster a very good chance to keep a second clean sheet in two weeks, as West Ham managed just one shot on target out of the possible nine attempts on De Gea’s goal.
West Ham do have some good attacking options, including summer signings, Javier Hernandez and Marko Anautovic so they may well test Forster’s resolve at St. Mary’s this weekend but should the England International keep them at bay, it could be another good fantasy week for him.
Marcos Alonso (£17)
Yes Chelsea play Tottenham this week and yes Chelsea conceded three at home to Burnley this week, but Marcos Alonso still offered what he always does going forward.
Alonso’s attacking threat helps him secure a solid benchmark of points each week, even if the defence as a unit fail and I cannot see Chelsea playing as bad two weeks in a row.
Without the influential Cesc Fabregas on the field this week, who misses out through suspension, Antonio Conte will be looking for his wing-backs to create, maybe even more than usual.
So with this in mind, Alonso looks likely to at least repeat his performance from week one and hopefully better it, should Chelsea’s defence improve in week two.
Tottenham struggled playing at Wembley last season and whether it was the competition (Champions League) as opposed to anything else that caused their issues, there are still question marks over how they’ll play at their make-shift home this season.
Chelsea are always up for this fixture and there is a possibility star-man, Eden Hazard may well be able to feature in some capacity this week, as his nears his return from injury. Hazard played 90 minutes behind closed doors in the week, so the signs are promising, and with him in the side, Chelsea are undoubtedly are better team and can help put Tottenham on the back foot.
The Value Play:
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£12)
Trent Alexander-Arnold started against Watford last weekend and also against Hoffenheim mid-week, and it was against the latter that Alexander-Arnold scored his first senior goal for his boyhood club.
On his European debut, Alexander-Arnold curled in a free-kick which gave his side a vital lead in the away tie of their Champions League play-off and it is that sort of moment that will give the 18-year old the confidence to build on his good start to his senior career.
Liverpool play Crystal Palace at Anfield this week and with the latter without the influential, Wilfried Zaha they look like a team that will regress, even on their performance from last week. They lost 0-3 at home last week to newly-promoted Huddersfield Town and without Zaha they will offer even less on the attacking front.
Despite Christian Benteke being the type of striker keen to put one over on his former employers, I believe Liverpool and Alexander-Arnold have every chance to keep a clean sheet in front of their own fans this week. Couple a clean sheet with a win and you have a good basis for fantasy points, before adding in other parts of Alexander-Arnold’s game.
At £12 Alexander-Arnold may well be the best value of the week defensively, giving you plenty of freedom for the rest of your line-up.
Cedric Soares (£14)
Cedric Soares has always been a solid fantasy option and this season should be no different. Much like Alonso, he likes to get forward and help create and he generally does so over the course of the season.
The Portuguese International put in eight crosses last week, exceeding his highest single-game output from last season, but unfortunately none of them connected. Southampton fired 29 shots last week against Swansea City last week, but were far from clinical, with only 2 shots hitting the target. If the strikers can up their game this week, and especially get on the end of some of Soares crosses, the right-back could score a solid amount of points this week. Soares still scored 7.6 points last week, even without any of his crosses amounting to anything, largely thanks to the clean sheet they kept and that feat can repeated again in their first home game of the season.
West Ham are the visitors to St. Mary’s this week and whilst they played tougher opposition in Manchester United last week at Old Trafford, they look poor going forward during their 4-0 drubbing.
The Hammers do have some good options in the final-third but they need to create chances for them to be taken and I expect them to struggle once again this week, so Soares and co. will be hoping for a second consecutive clean sheet and a better effort going forwards.
Sadio Mane (£27)
Like Alonso, I am opting for Mane as my Stud play for the second week in a row, mainly because they both offer safe options, with huge upside.
Mane duly delivered last week, scoring one of Liverpool’s three goals away to Watford and after another big performance against Hoffenheim, both Alexander-Arnold and Mane shared Man of the Match plaudits between them across various news outlets. Arnold generally got the nod thanks to his spectacular goal, and the fact it was such a big performance on his European debut but Mane contributed consistently throughout the game, despite not scoring.
A great match-up at home to Palace this week presents the Senegalese international with a chance to get on the score-sheet once again and he will no doubt be a focal point in Liverpool’s attack once again. Like last week, Mane will have to share chances with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah but Mane may just slightly edge it as the most impressive of the three, so far this season.
The Value Play:
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£10)
When you look at the £10 range you start finding players who are either players who get limited minutes off the bench or those that are not involved in the squad at all, so it is a pleasant surprise to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek available at said price this week.
As already noted, Palace have got a tough game this week, away to Liverpool but Loftus-Cheek was the only bright spark in an otherwise dreadful showing from The Eagles last week.
Loftus-Cheek was the most fouled player last week (6) and after adding three tackles won, 2 interceptions and a corner won, it is easy to see that Loftus-Cheek got himself about against Huddersfield. Palace fans were delighted with Loftus-Cheek who was making his loan debut, and will be hoping for more from the Chelsea loanee this week.
With Zaha out, Loftus-Cheek may be asked to use his presence in a more attacking manner at Anfield and if he can get some shots on goal and make a nuisance of himself again, he has the potential to far out-score his salary this week.
Riyad Mahrez (£20)
Usual service resumed for Riyad Mahrez in the first game of the season, setting up one of Leicester City’s three goals against Arsenal last week, as well as taking two shots himself and he should be able to emulate that effort this week.
Mahrez and Leicester will host Brighton & Hove Albion this week, who got off to a tough start to Premier League life last week, eventually losing 0-2 to Manchester City, but in truth it could have been more.
Leicester showed a lot of life in scoring three goals at the Emirates last week and in front of their own fans, and whilst Brighton are likely to sit back and absorb pressure as they did last week, Leicester have enough attacking prowess to break down their defence.
It was a valiant effort from Brighton’s defence last week, but they did eventually cave to City’s attacking power and with the likes of Mahrez and Jamie Vardy posing a noticeable threat, it could be more of the same this week.
Mahrez takes a lot of set pieces and also tends to be on the same wave-length as Vardy with the two often inter-changing to score goals, so I expect a good attacking showing from The Foxes this week and Mahrez and Vardy in particular.
Alexandre Lacazette (£25)
It took Alexandre Lacazette all of 90 seconds to introduce himself to the Premier League, scoring with a well-placed header against Leicester City last week.
Even when fellow countryman, Olivier Giroud was brought on for the last 25 minutes last week, Lacazette was not withdrawn opening up the possibility that Arsene Wenger might opt for both up front if he can find a way of them working together.
When Giroud came on, Lacazette was moved to a wide position, where Wenger was impressed with his efforts, but it is down the middle that us fantasy players like to see the prolific goal scorer.
It looks as though Lacazette will get the nod to spearhead the attack again this week and unless he proves otherwise as the season goes on, he looks a viable fantasy option most weeks. A man with his obvious knack for scoring a goal is always going to be someone you want on side and he will enjoy taking on a Stoke City defence that surrendered a goal to Wayne Rooney, who was making his first Premier League start since returning to his boyhood club, Everton last week
Stoke will be the hosts this week, but I don’t think this will bother Lacazette or this Arsenal side as a whole, who like previous years gone by look to be a free-flowing attacking force once again.
The Value Play:
Sam Vokes (£17)
Many wondered how Sam Vokes would cope with the pressure of being the main attacking outlet last week, without the presence of strike partner, Andre Gray who made a move to Watford earlier in the week, but he answered those questions and then some.
Burnley were very impressive as a team away to defending champions, Chelsea where they won 2-3 but it was Vokes’ individual effort that really stood out. He scored a brace against a top-4 defence in the league at their own ground, proving he is a capable goal scorer, even at the very top level.
Dating back to last season, Vokes has now scored in his last four Premier League appearances, an impressive feat for any player. The first game of that impressive run was against the side they play this week, West Brom and he will be hoping for more this week. Vokes scored two in that game, before scoring one against both Bournemouth and West Ham in his next two games to end the season with 10 goals.
Going up against a side he scored two against last season and on a high from last week’s shock away win, Vokes should be full of confidence on his first start at Turf Moor this season.
At £17 he looks a snip and until Burnley bring in anyone as viable competition for his spot, Vokes will continue to get the nod in Sean Dyche’s team, that continue to impress.
Jamie Vardy (£23)
Like Mahrez, I think Jamie Vardy is a very viable fantasy option, especially as he is available at a discount in relation to the top-tier strikers this week.
Vardy got off to a quick start in his fourth successive Premier League season, scoring two goals against Arsenal at the Emirates on the opening fixture of the new season.
Despite getting off to a slow start last season, as Leicester City struggled with the pressures of being defending champions Vardy managed to claw it back, finishing with 13 goals in the Premier League, nine short of the 24 he scored in the title-winning season.
Ever since Craig Shakespeare has been in charge, Vardy has looked every part of that player he was the season before and at 30 years of age, he will be keen to make this his best season yet. Whilst at 30 he is by no means the oldest striker in the league, for a player that relies so much on his pace to succeed he will want to make full use of it, whilst it is still as explosive as it is.
Mahrez and Vardy should cause Brighton problems this weekend not to mention summer signing, Kelechi Iheanacho who is waiting in the wings for his chance to impress. I expect Leicester to win this game, extending Brighton’s tough start to Premier League life, so it makes sense to have their main goal threat in your line-ups this week.