I’ve had a few days, along with numerous podcasts and hours scrolling (not trolling) Twitter, reviewing activity from the opening Premier League gameweek. Finishing with 67 points overall, saw my finish 14 points above the weekly average, but well of the pace of many in the Twitter community. Ranked 834k is one of my better starts to an FPL season. There was a bit of disappointment, knowing I could have scored more, not taking into consideration those players on my bench scoring 20 points.
Defensively, I don’t feel there are any changes required as I look to continue with Benjamin Mendy, Andrew Robertson and David Luiz comprising the core. There is also confidence in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, producing at £4.0, while James Tarkowski of Burnley, rotates nicely with my Crystal Palace defender. At £6.0, David de Gea is expensive and if weren’t for a 90’+2 minute goal, I wouldn’t have any concerns for him. However, looking ahead, getting three Manchester City players in, could potentially mean replacing him to save £0.5, going with Alisson or Ederson.
Every year fantasy managers weigh their decisions on a group of mid-priced midfielders. Honestly, it’s really a crap shoot with those budget players who introduced around your premium assets, such as Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne (now injured). I started with a 5-man midfield, opting for Tom Cairney in GW1 over a fourth defender (Wan-Bissaka, first bench spot). While it didn’t work out, I do have concerns over Cairney as my fifth midfielder.
Breaking down the numbers, Cairney had a good game, leading all £5.0 midfielders in total passes with 93, with 15 in the final third, second only to a sudden uptick in attack value of N’Golo Kante (20), creating one chance. However, Cairney had no attempts on goal. even Will Hughes, OOP on the right flank had three attempts with two in the box.
Up front it was a poor week for nearly ever forward. There was no consideration for Callum Wilson, Raul Jimenez or Jamie Vardy in my starting XI, players who finished as the top scoring forwards. Scores were already high with a majority ownership invested in Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Budget options, Cenk Tosun, Marko Arnautovic and Wifried Zaha didn’t fair much better with the Palace front man netting a 79′ minute goal.
So where does that leave my squad ahead of GW2? First, there was no knee jerk or rage transfer made. While I didn’t score as well as some of my Twitter counterparts, I will gladly take an average weekly score of 67 over a 38-game season! The play of Richarlison, Roberto Pererya, Jose Holebas and Ruben Neves were impressive, but not to the point they have proved themselves a consistent to start the season. Some logic will tell fantasy mangers to “get in early” as we saw with the likes of Riyad Mahrez a few years ago or Pascal Groß, last season.
“Patience” being the keyword this season, I am not considering using my free transfer after just one week of action, opting to roll the FT ahead of GW3 to provide me the option to shift funds and players, after two weeks of action. Had my score been lower than the weekly average, I would have considered activating the wild card. Yesterday, I actually floated the idea on Twitter, with very little follow through, as I feel I have key players that will score over the course of the season.
Alexis Sanchez is highlighted as the first player I will look at moving, initially the plan was to bring in KDB, but his knee injury could have me looking in the direction of Raheem Sterling at £11.0, needing to an additional £0.5 to make this happen. With nothing ITB, it would require Groß to turn into a £6.5 midfielder.
GW2 TRANSFERS TO CONSIDER
For those managers planning a transfer ahead of GW2, I would continue to hold the transfer until Friday afternoon. Could you miss a potential price rise? Yep, it’s possible, we’ve already seen a handful of players increase by £0.1, with some managers increasing as much at £0.4 after just the first week!
Joe Hart | BUR | 5.2 TSB% | £4.5 – After signing with Burnley last week, for less than his FPL price, Hart has two clean sheets in two games. Up next a trip to Istanbul for Europa League action, followed by a home fixture against Watford. Burnley looked to poised for another clean sheet, as the Hornets are winless on the road in their last 12 games, with just two goals scored. Feel with the defense Hart has in front of him, a clean sheet is almost assured.
Jannik Vestergaard | SOU | 0.6 TSB% | £5.0 – Over 737k fantasy managers have brought in Wan-Bissaka, Mendy, Shaw or Holebas. While all of these defenders finished in double figures, I turn to So’ton new boy, a towering figured in central defense. Vestergaard’s 15 CBI was second to Tarkowski (19), as he won 11 aerial duals. An imposing figure (2.00m or 6′-7′) at the offensive end on set pieces, the Dane could provide offensive returns with the likes of Elyounoussi on corners (6) and providing service (7 crosses) from the flank. So’ton has a good run through GW5.
Demarai Gray | LEI | 1.2 TSB% | £5.5 – As noted on my #30SeconReview for the Fantasy Football Academy, Gray post some excellent numbers in GW1, better than James Maddison (at £6.5) including 19 passes received int he final third, 7 penalty touches, 5 successful take-ons, 4 successful crosses and 3 attempts on goal. Leicester host Wolves this weekend and their defense looked a bit suspect, giving up a shorthanded goal to Richarlison. With Mahrez departed, Gray could be a great bargain transfer through GW11.
Danny Ings | SOU | 2.0 TSB% | £5.5 – Ings made his Saints debut, marked by a 34 minute cameo appearance, as they pushed to break the Burnley defense. In his short time on the pitch, he generated 4 penalty touches, with 3 attempts on goal, 2 inside the box. Far and above the best So’ton forward on the day. While there is much love for Charlie Austin, he just has not produced the kind of numbers we’ve seen since returning from the shoulder injury. So’ton struggled in front of goal and Ings might be what the team needs to grab some wins in the coming weeks.