Much of the gameweek 2 debate was about who was going to haul bigger, Mo Salah against Burnley at Anfield or Bruno Fernandes against Southampton at St. Mary’s. After impressive double digit hauls in the opening round of the season, another big-time return was only a question of time, right? Right?!
Well, the Premier League wouldn’t be the Premier League and the FPL wouldn’t be the FPL without throwing millions of fantasy managers (no player in FPL history had ever been more captained than Salah last weekend) a serious curveball when they least expect it. Instead of a bunch of goals and assists, Salah managed just a clean sheet for 3 FPL points. And Bruno? Well, he didn’t score, he didn’t assist and he didn’t record a clean sheet, but he did get a yellow card for arguing. One point for Portugal.
Instead, the outstanding fantasy performers of the weekend were Chelsea’s Reece James (18 FPL points, now part of 10% of all teams), West Ham’s Michail Antonio (16 points, now part of 38.4% of all teams) and Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings (15 points, 9.9% of teams now). With Gabriel Jesus, Mateusz Klich and Aymeric Laporte, the Team of the Week also contained three players with ownerships well below 4% at the time of playing. It’s easy to focus our attention on the premium fantasy assets in a season in which budgets seem more restricted than ever, but gameweek 2 was mainly one for the non-premium picks and the differentials.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 3 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, August 28th. Also do check out the Premier League Injury Table and Predicted Premier League Line-Ups before finalising your teams.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per August 26th, 2021)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Martinez (AST), Schmeichel (LEI), Foster (WAT)||Lloris (TOT), Raya (BRE), Schmeichel (LEI)|
|DEF||White (ARS), Shaw (MUN), Digne (EVE)||Duffy (BRI), Tsimikas (LIV), James (CHE)||White isolated, Duffy and Tsimikas budget options, Shaw and Digne lack of returns|
|MID||Salah (LIV), Saka (ARS), Barnes (LEI)||Benrahma (WHU), Pogba (MUN), Jota (LIV)||Saka flagged, form of transferred-in assets|
|FOR||Toney (BRE), Iheanacho (LEI), Richarlison (EVE)||Antonio (WHU), Lukaku (CHE), Ings (AST)||Lukaku debut, Antonio and Ings goal-scoring form|
With many of the popular premium fantasy picks preparing for difficult fixtures in gameweek 3, we have shifted our focus to the encounter between Spurs and Watford. The two London sides face each other on Sunday afternoon and with the continued uncertainty regarding Harry Kane’s role in Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, underlined by the fact that he has played just 18 minutes of PL football so far, we feel his partner up front Heung-Min Son (£10.1m) could haul big this weekend. Spurs have been far from free-scoring in the first two gameweeks of this campaign, winning both games one to nothing, but the Korean did score one of those goals, in GW1 versus Manchester City. Watford, on the other hand, have conceded two goals in each of their opening games. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Son make it two consecutive home games with attacking returns against the Hornets.
After 3 goals and 3 assists in the first two league games of the season, it’s kind of impossible to ignore Michail Antonio (£7.7m) for West Ham’s home game against Crystal Palace. At the moment, no player in the entire game has recorded more than his 29 FPL points. His starting price of £7.5m is already starting to look like a serious bargain and it’s no surprise that the Jamaica international looks set for a third price rise in just two gameweeks. Palace boast some of the worst underlying defensive stats in the league after two rounds and confidence is not exactly high after starting the season with a (calculated) defeat against Chelsea and a draw with newly-promoted Brentford, and no goals in their favour. West Ham’s story is quite different, because the Hammers have started their 2021/22 campaign with two victories versus Newcastle and Leicester, and 8 goals scored. More goals should be on the menu on Saturday and Antonio will likely be involved once again.
The budget enabler
Budget constraints as a result of expensive players in all categories are marking the start of the 2021/22 Fantasy Premier League season, but at the same time, an unprecedented number of budget-enabling defenders have emerged, some more permanent than others. We had Kostas Tsimikas as Andy Robertson’s replacement, while currently £4.0 assets Shane Duffy and Daniel Amartey are racking up playing minutes as well in the absence of one or more of their team mates. The budget enabler we would like to highlight this week though, is Southampton’s Tino Livramento (£4.0m), who is probably the safest extreme budget pick on the long-term. The Saints are far from the most defensively solid outfit in the league and the 18-year old Livramento has accrued just 3 FPL points so far, but he does seem to have the right-back spot nailed down. The Chelsea academy graduate hasn’t missed a minute so far and looks to have taken Kyle Walker-Peter’s spot in the starting eleven, seeing as the latter has been fit since the start of the campaign. His determined performance in the draw with Man United certainly earned him praise from the fans. With Newcastle away coming up this weekend, there could be some freedom for forward-oriented Livramento on the right flank, but the main argument for bringing him in is his starting berth at just £4.0m, making him a very good option as the fifth defender in your squad.
One young man who has been going under the radar over the past weeks is Dele Alli (£6.5m). Now, we know that more than a few fantasy managers will experience light symptoms of PTSD when mentioning his name due to his tendency to disappoint in a big way in past seasons, but the Spurs midfielder has had a more than decent start to the current campaign. Dele scored Tottenham’s only goal against Wolves in GW2 and he scored it from the penalty spot, which is interesting. Should Kane return to the Spurs fold soon, then penalty duties will most likely shift to the star forward, but Dele taking the spot kick last weekend inspires confidence. His new manager Espirito Santo has kept the England international on the pitch for 90 minutes in both league games so far and the attacking midfield spot seems his to lose. Against a Watford side that has already conceded 4 goals in two games, he will be looking to further cement his role as key man for Spurs this season. With an ownership of 2.9% at the moment of writing, the differential value here is more than considerable.
After overwhelming captaincy numbers for Salah and Fernandes in gameweek 2, we expect armbands to be a lot more spread around this weekend for the GW3 FPL captain. The Egyptian is always an option, but he does face Chelsea at Anfield this weekend, while the Portuguese playmaker visits Molineux on Sunday. At the same time, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are hosting new boys Watford, and that’s where we’d recommend to leave the armband. With Kane’s situation unclear still, our preference goes to Son, who could easily book a few attacking returns against a Hornets side that has already shipped 4 goals in two games against Villa and Brighton.
Outside of the more premium bracket, Michail Antonio at home to Crystal Palace and Dominic Calvert-Lewin away at a Brighton side that is vulnerable in the air look like excellent options for the armband. If you’re willing to play Pep Roulette, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish and even Gabriel Jesus are interesting options as they host a weak Arsenal side. Jamie Vardy could haul for the first time this season as Leicester visit Norwich, while the ever-dangerous Callum Wilson might find the net against Southampton, just like Bamford and Raphinha at Turf Moor or Ings at home to Brentford who are yet to concede.