Fantasy Premier League Week One Preview: Part One

Rooney

Knowing what a manager is going to do is hard enough week to week sometimes, but when doing it for a Fantasy Premier League week one preview it is close to impossible to be sure just what a manager is thinking. Just because Manager “X” finished the season playing a certain tactic with Player “Y” in that position means nothing following the summer transfer window and preseason. Of course there are some players we can be sure of but often it’s the ones we have to take a risk on that can lead us to fantasy glory, be it in draft or salary cap (SC) leagues. Each week I intend to preview all the games for the coming game week highlighting key players in both formats and also drawing your attention to the injury concerns and whether certain players could feature this week.

All reference to draft leagues uses the scoring system of playtogga.com which has increased scoring options.

In part one I will feature five of the games with part 2 following tomorrow.

Man Utd vs Tottenham: 12:45pm BST 08/08/15

What a stunner to start of the season! We get a first-hand look at some of United’s new additions whilst also getting to see if Tottenham may have solved there defensive issues or if Harry Kane is going to start the season on fire.

Goalkeepers: The news that Lloris could potentially play in week one has destroyed all confidence in the Tottenham goalkeeping situation, but this doesn’t look like a week where it will matter as I cannot see Tottenham keeping a clean sheet. On the other side it is looking more and more like David De Gea will be the opening day starter for United, but even so this isn’t a match up I would be desperate to use him in unless I had no other alternative.

Defenders: Predicting Man United’s opening day defence is tough but I see Darmian and Shaw starting out wide with both being solid options in draft leagues but maybe a little overpriced for SC. In the centre it will either be Jones or Smalling, probably accompanied by Blind. And, honestly, I don’t want to touch any of them in either format. For Tottenham I like Trippier, Rose, Vertonghen and Alderweireld to start, with Trippier and Rose both locks for me in draft leagues but at £5.5m maybe not in SC. Alderweireld is my preferred centre back of the two in both formats and could have sneaky value as I see Tottenham having big periods of pressure to withstand.

Midfielders: Tough on the United side with there being a number of potential conundrums; Depay is set to play and is a lock for me in both formats; Mata is also someone I would consider this week but I’d choose Depay over him; Herrera and Schneiderlin are two players I would be tempted to use in draft leagues especially. For Tottenham I love Eriksen with Chadli and Lamela on the fence in SC and locks in draft leagues. Centrally, I like the sneaky potential of Bentaleb and Mason in draft leagues where the defensive midfielder is rewarded.

Strikers: Wayne Rooney is perhaps my favourite player of the season entering the year as I expect him to regain sole possession of the main striker job and be very successful doing it. Harry Kane is a little overpriced potentially in SC leagues as I expect a slight regression but is still a lock in draft leagues.

Injuries:

Out: Fellaini – Suspended, Rojo – additional time off,

Question Marks: Mason – Ligament Injury (50%), Townsend – Shoulder (50%), Hernandez – Shoulder (50%), Lloris – Broken Wrist (50%)

Bournemouth vs Aston Villa: 3.00pm BST 08/08/15

This isn’t on of the more juicy match-ups, but should give us a clue how each team is going to approach the season in terms of selection and formation.

Goalkeepers: A little bit of intriguing value here for a Bournemouth keeper, given how blunted the Villa attack will be without Benteke. However, who is actually going to start is somewhat of a mystery meaning you cannot select either. On the Villa side, Bournemouth proved to be an attacking adventurous team last season and I can see them scoring a goal so I think there are multiple better options than Guzan this week in all format

Defenders: Micah Richards looks the main lock to start the season in the Villa defence, but who will accompany him isn’t so clear cut. I fancy Hutton at right back and Cissokho on the left, but I am not willing to gamble on any other options in this Villa defence, until I know more. I would use Richards as a low end defender in draft leagues. I don’t know enough about Bournemouth right now to know who will start, but I would expect Distin and Mings to be on the sheet. Mings especially is someone who interests me greatly in draft leagues with Distin being a bit below Richards for me.

Midfielders: The Villa midfield is an interesting group with Sinclair my stand out option entering the year. Sinclair is likely to have a point to prove after his move away from City and could be a real diamond in the rough. With Jack Grealish out the options that excite me this week in this midfield are low. Christian Atsu was my pick of this midfield but with him in doubt the headline act is set piece take Matt Ritchie, who could bag a few goals this year and could take advantage of a Villa defence, which looks weak. The arrival of Max Gradal may be a fraction to late to see him start this week leaving a very unexciting group of options right now in either format.

Strikers: Agbonlahor’s injury means we could see Gestede start, but neither of them are good enough to be worth speculating on right now. With 20 goals last season Callum Wilson is set to start upfront for the Cherries this year and could be a real big upside sleeper at just £5.5m. However, initially I am not gambling on him in an SC format although I might be tempted to use him in draft leagues where all starting forwards are often relevant.

Injuries: Out: Harry Arter – Groin, Jores Okore – Knee, Gary Gardner – Ankle, Jack Grealish – Hamstring, Jose angel Crespo Rincon – Knee, Carles Gil – Knock

Question Marks: Christian Atsu – Back (50%), Yann Kermogant – Calf (50%), Gabriel Agbonlahor – Ankle (75%)

Everton vs Watford: 3.00pm BST 08/08/15

Romelu_Lukaku_3156402b

After a poor year last season this game offers Everton a chance to prove a point by hammering the new boys. Watford, on the other hand, will see this as a chance to announce their arrival with the defeat of a quality squad.

Goalkeepers: I had all the praise in the world for Tim Howard last year, rating him among my top five keepers to start the season, but he ended up having a messy season. However, this game against Watford offers the potential opportunity to kick the season off with a few saves and a clean sheet. Howard could be a sneaky option this week but there are a lot of good options worth £5.0m. I am expecting Gomes to start but I am not using him especially in this match-up.

Defenders: If it wasn’t for the injury of Stones this would be easy. Baines is the stud in both formats, Jagielka and Coleman are must starts in draft leagues with potential SC option in this match-up (Jags is cheaper but offers less upside). If he starts then Stones is a must in draft leagues but if not then Ty Browning could be a cheeky pick and play with clean sheet potential. I am going to be watching the Watford line-up intently to see who starts for future reference but this week I don’t see value in anyone even if I could accurately tell you who would start.

Midfielders: Mirallas’ injury means that he cannot be used in the SC format this week given his relatively high end price but is an option in draft leagues with auto sub feature. Barkley is a lock in draft leagues for me but not someone I would use in SC and Cleverley is my sneaky draft league play in this group. The Watford midfield is an intriguing group of cheaper players with Ben Watson my sleeper. However, with no sure knowledge of who startsI am not risking anyone this week.

Strikers: Lukaku is looking more and more raring to go and therefore is a must in draft leagues but I’d prefer to use either a more expensive more ‘sure-fire’ option in SC leagues as my #1 or save the money and get a slightly cheaper option as my number two. Naismith could be a cheeky draft league option but there is no guarantee he starts damaging that value. Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra excite me as cheap options but not enough to use in either format this week. I would be tempted to try and pick one of them up in draft leagues for the starting strikers being gold later in the season aspect.

Injuries: Out: Joel Ekstrand – ACL, Miguel Cabrera – Suspended, Lloyd Doyley – Neck, Tony Hibbert – Knee, Aiden McGeady – Hamstring, Darron Gibson – Foot, Muhamed Besic – Hamstring, Gerard Deulofeu – Hamstring,

Question Marks: Jurado – Muscle (75%), Almen Abdi – Knee (75%), Romelu Lukaku – Hamstring (75%)

Leicester vs Sunderland: 3.00pm BST 08/08/15

Two teams that fought off relegation last year square off in this one, and both will hoping to get off to a good start whilst remaining solid at the back. This could just as easily be a stunner as boring as hell.

Goalkeepers: Schmeichel looks to be first choice for Leicester entering the year and this is a potential match-up where the cheap (£4.5m) keeper could be used, but he isn’t a top ten option even then. Pantilimon is a lock to be the man at the other end for Sunderland and given Leicester issues at times last season he is an intriguing option this week even if he is more expensive than the guy at the other end (£5m). If I own him in draft leagues I am definitely using him.

Defenders: Wes Morgan’s lack of match fitness opens this up for a few options, but there are only a couple of guys I would even think about. Robert Huth is a lock to start and in this match-up has potential low end draft league potential. Jeffery Schlupp was exciting last year, but at £5m his value lies more in draft leagues (low end option) than SC. However, I have him above Huth in the draft format. Patrick van Aanholt is my must start option in draft leagues from this group with Younes Kaboul my must own (but probably on the bench) in SC leagues given his low salary and almost guaranteed starting position. A sleeper here is Matthews at right back especially in draft leagues and is a name you may hear more often as the season goes on. O’Shea and Kaboul are both potentially useable as low end options in draft leagues

Midfielders: Marhrez is the stud option in this Leicester group, having had a great year last year and at £5.5m is a good, cheap option in salary cap leagues. Honestly, there isn’t anyone else in either format for me right now but we will see how that develops over the season. With the departure of Wickham, the situation in the Sunderland midfield just opened up a little bit. Now we may see Larsson pushed out wide which I can only see benefiting his value and making him a sleeper in both formats. Jermain Lens should also start this week but he is a draft league guy only for me given he is more expensive than Larsson who I like more. Jack Rodwell is another guy I like for draft leagues where his role is more heavily rewarded. With Gomez likely missing for a few weeks and Johnson’s legal trouble on going this midfield may take time to settle which could give Giaccherini some sneaky value in draft leagues in an attacking role.

Strikers: Who Leicester will go with is an intriguing conundrum right now because there are some intriguing options. Okazaki is my favourite and is someone I may gamble on in draft leagues with an auto-sub feature. However, for SC leagues the real bargain lies on the other side of the pitch. I am going to live and die by the Jermain Defoe sword this season it appears. I literally own him everywhere given his £5.5m price tag, late round ADP and the fact he will start every game for Sunderland when healthy. A must start in draft leagues and a cheap squad filler with upside in salary cap leagues.

Injuries: Out: Matt James – ACL, Jordi Gomez – Knee

Question Marks: Wes Morgan – Additional Time Off (75%)

Norwich vs Crystal Palace: 3.00pm BST 08/08/15

Nathan Redmond

This match won’t be thrilling but could tell us a lot about these teams and we will get to see how Alex Neil and his newly promoted side decide to play whilst also getting a feel for where Crystal Palace are at in this early point of the season.

Goalkeepers: There is no doubt that John Ruddy will start for Norwich when healthy and although he is a top class keeper his value is limited by the Norwich defence which looks set to line-up in front of him. This makes him really tough to use in any format and I would steer clear for now. With Speroni out the door is open for Wayne Hennessey to step in and at a very cheap £4.0m he has some intriguing sleeper potential especially in this weeks match-up.

Defenders: The acquisition of Andre Wisdom on loan was an inspired one as right back is Norwich’s weakest position. Now I expect him to start most games and be reasonably effective down the right wing but a lack of clean sheets will make him hard to trust even at a dirt cheap price. The two Norwich centre backs of Bassong and Martin have next to no value to start the year in either format. I expect Robbie Brady to start this game at left back and for the foreseeable future until Olsson returns but whilst at left back he doesn’t have much value. On the Palace side Scott Dann and Joel Ward are locks to start and both have draft league potential in this match-up against Norwich. Ward has increased value in draft leagues given his ability to get forward and cross the ball. The other two spots look set to go to Hangeland and Kelly but they are more on the fringe of usable given there is some doubts over their play time.

Midfielders: Nathan Redmond is the star name in this Norwich midfield and is someone I see who could have the potential to be a cheap star at just £5.5m in both formats. The other players I feel are locked in to start this week are Johnson, Hoolahan and Howson with their draft league value being in that order but extremely low for all of them. The injury to Mulumbu should open the door to ensure Alexander Tettey starts and he could have some sneaky value in draft leagues if he can play consistently. If Bolasie was fully fit then he would be a lock to start and one of my favourite players in both formats given his superb year last season. Jason Puncheon is a sure thing for this week and is a lock in draft leagues whilst also a sneaky option in SC. The other midfield spots are tough because of the injury to Cabaye who would be a lock in draft leagues but his and Bolasie’s injuries open the door to Zaha, Gayle and Jedinak.

Strikers: I feel like it will be Cameron Jerome who will start this week but there is enough uncertainty there about whether it will be him, Hooper or van Wolfswinkel to prevent me using him in any format. The Palace forward situation is also intriguing after they added both Wickham and Bamford this summer whilst also keeping Murray and Chamakh. As a Chelsea fan I want to see Bamford but right now you cannot commit to any of these guys until we know what combination Pardew is going to go with.

Injuries: Out: Martin Olsson – Shoulder, Youssouf Mulumbu – Foot, Kyle Lafferty – Knee, Julian Speroni – Hand, Frazier Campbell – Hamstring

Question Marks: Yohann Cabaye – Thigh (50%), Yannick Bolasie – Hamstring (50%)

N.B. All injury information correct at the time of writing. Check premierinjuries.com for any further information as the weekend gets closer.

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