We are now two weeks into the season, so what do we know so far? Well, we know that Everton will draw every game this season 2-2, Man United will be relegated without winning a game, and playing three centre backs is the worst thing you can do. Okay, so the last one may prove to be true but the other two are ridiculous statements (although I have seen the second one said a few times).
The point I am trying to make here is that you must not over react to two weeks of Football because your fantasy teams will suffer. Eric Dier will certainly not score every week and Tottenham keeping two clean sheets does not mean they will do that all season, so do not rush to add or trade for Dier expecting 10-plus points a week from him, because it just won’t happen and you will have to give up some pretty decent fantasy player to get your hands on him right now in a trade.
Of course, that isn’t saying you can’t make moves for players in form but they need to be tempered. Of the players who have scored two goals this week Costa is the only one I would try to add with any force but chances are he scores 20 goals this season so rather than the goal a game he has scored so far it is likely your fantasy team will only see a goal every other week. The players you want to target over the next few weeks are the slow starters who could be week to week superstars, because fantasy players often do not play the waiting game and tend to panic after a week or two so may be looking to offload the likes of Bony, Mirallas and Oscar who do not get goals immediately in return for fast starters (Naismith, Berahino). And that is where you can build yourself a solid fantasy squad that should take you to glory without doing much hard work at all. The message in all this is simply: DON’T PANIC,it is a long season and things level out with players over the course of 38 games.
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Now then, let’s get onto the rankings. You will notice this week that I have forsaken the traditional rankings for tiers which I find a much better way to decide who I would start week to week. For some tiers I will provide a little analysis, but for many of the tiers the players speak for themselves so I don’t waste your valuable time by explaining why Hart is an elite option against a Stoke team who look as dangerous as a box of kittens.
The injury advice in this article is aimed at draft leagues mainly, but for salary cap the general rule of thumb is own them the week they come back and not before and only take risks on starting 50/75% players who are absolute studs!
|De Gea||Man Utd||Burnley||3|
Can’t Sit Them
This is a weird one because both teams have shown the ability to attack well but Tottenham have yet to concede so you cannot sit Lloris and Tottenham were prone last year (with the same player group) to disappear attack wise so Mignolet is tough to sit as well.
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All four have decent match ups that could see them produce clean sheets meaning they should all be considered this week. If you have two of them then you have a tough choice to make.
But you had Howard as an Elite option to start this year I hear you cry. Yes, he is a good keeper but Chelsea are a really good team and Everton will not park the bus so I expect Chelsea to score a couple at least. As for the rest they have decent match ups but there are various things holding them back from being in the tier above.
Desperation Starts (a.k.a DO NOT START)
It is quite simple you must have better options. If you own Begovic and have back him up with Heaton or Schmeichel then go for one of them because Begovic could get slaughtered.
Ospina (Arsenal) Thigh (This Week): Won’t play so it doesn’t matter
Love the Arsenal and Man City match ups so the definite for those two teams are here and Ivanovic is so dangerous going forward you have to have him as your #1 Defender even in tough match ups.
These round out your number one options. Jones is the best Man United Defender right now and can play defence splitting passes so has assist opportunities others do not. Baines and Coleman will struggle to keep a clean sheet but are lethal going forward. Terry, Azpilicueta and Cahill are solid bets for a clean sheet pretty much every week.
Solid Match Ups
Hull, Swansea, and Villa all have decent clean sheet opportunities because of the non-potent attacks they are facing. Arsenal have a sweet match up but who makes up their central pairing worries me. Of the three I like Mertesacker the best because I do not see them leaving out a world cup winner.
Number Three Options
Nearly crept into the tier above but I just prefer the match ups above a fraction more right now.
The Match Up nightmares
Tottenham have started hot and I doubt they change a successful formula this week but Liverpool are a dangerous attacking team. Liverpool are almost certain to base their defence around these two but who will join them and can they be more solid this week against another confident team? The Everton pair offer little up front and I expect Chelsea to score at least one.
The Risk/Reward Guys
All decent match ups but who plays out of these guys I just do not know and that is why I have them all the way down here this week. A shame because at least half of them would be top two tier talent this week.
Can I trust them?
I like the match ups but I don’t trust the defensive groups and therefore is hard to go near any of this group unless I’m desperate.
DO NOT START
Three sets of tough match ups and a QPR pair who I just do not have a clue about. QPR look a right mess and until they get it sorted you cannot trust them and it’s a shame because I love Caulker as a fantasy player.
Vlaar (Villa) Knee (75%), Cissokho (Villa) Ankle (75%): Right now I am expecting them to play but monitor this situation
Bardsley (Stoke) Knee (75%): Tough match up so just do not bother this week. Stoke look solid and he is decent going forward so he is worth benching if you own him.
Johnson (Liverpool) Thigh (75%), Moreno (Liverpool) Ankle (75%): I expect them to be available this week but check for updates
Smalling (Man U) Groin (75%): I fear it’s an all hands on deck situation in Manchester but I just cannot be sure LvG will go for him if Evans is fit.
Dann (Palace) Thigh (25%): Left him unranked because it’s not worth risking
Pocognoli (WBA) Knock (75%): I expect he will be available
Yanga-Mbiwa (Newcastle) Knock (75%): If Williamson was suspended he might play but they have looked settled so I don’t expect him this week even if healthy.
Walker (Tottenham) Pelvic (50%): Urgh. I don’t know what to say right now. So much talent but so much injury trouble. If you have the roster space you might as well hold on but if you need to them drop him because I cannot see you getting 25 games from him this year.
Rojo (Man U) Work Permit (Hopefully This Week): I have not ranked him because I don’t want people to see that and automatically put him in but IF he does get a permit I would place him in the Must Start Tier.
Flanagan (Liverpool) Knee (Unknown but Soon): Whether he will get picked immediately is a doubt so not worth starting and I’d be shocked if people are looking to own him.
Jose Enrique (Liverpool) Knock (50%): I am not expecting him but if Moreno is out he could figure
Agger (Liverpool) Knee (This weekend): Should be an option but may not be quite match fit so not worth owning as he doesn’t appear to have a defined role and this is a messy situation.
Jenkinson (West Ham) Hamstring (75%): Not worth starting this week and because it is only West Ham he isn’t worth stashing either.
Chester (Hull) Suspended (Next Week): Just hold him on the bench because Hull are decent defensively.
Gibbs (Arsenal) Hamstring (13th September): I think he is really talented so I wouldn’t put him on the waiver wire yet.
Santon (Newcastle) Knee (1st November) & R.Taylor (Newcastle) LMF (20th September): I wouldn’t own either for now
Shaw (Man U) Hamstring (13th September): If you drop him someone else will grab him so hold on.
Tate (Swansea), Upson (Foot), Lescott (Knee), Oviedo (Leg): Don’t hold onto any of them!
Johnson missed last week with illness but he’s still a really exciting option week to week, so he manages to get in this group.
Number Three Options
An odd group, but a group I feel has real potential to be fantasy week winners this week and should all play consistently.
Exciting Flex Options
|de Jong||Newcastle||Crystal Palace||1|
King has goal scoring potential and should be a regular. Barton creates plenty of opportunities and Remy and Austin will not keep wasting them! The Hull trio all have exciting potential and they should see regular playing time. Downing has started the season hot so it’s worth having him active to see where it leads. Arnautovic really excites me and I think when Stoke click he will explode and a counter attack goal could be a potential this week. The Swansea pair look like their main men out wide to start the season and Sigurdsson is producing opportunities left right and centre. Bentaleb is an exciting prospect and MP seems to love him at the start of this season. Noble will be West Ham’s main ma without Nolan so expect him to run that midfield.
Safe Flex Options
A group of solid options who I expect to play most weeks but will rarely score so they are a safe couple of points each week but probably nothing more on a regular week. Their teams or match up means I see the potential for at least a clean sheet point this week.
Risk/Reward Flex Plays
All options with the potential to have really big weeks IF they play, but that’s not a guarantee so you have to take the risk each week that they will get enough time to make a difference. Chadli is a prime example as he scored twice last week but the first week he didn’t play at all.
Schurrle (Chelsea) Leg (75%): A really exciting talent and I do expect him to play but they have plenty of options so do not be surprised if they rest him.
Arteta (Arsenal) Ankle (This Weekend): I am expecting him to replace Flamini this week as he is the team captain and is a solid midfielder that can anchor the midfield.
Whelan (Stoke) Ankle (75%): Against City it really doesn’t matter because I can’t see him making an impact
Johnson (Sunderland) Illness (75%): I expect him back this week but it is worth checking on later in the week
Herrera (Man U) Knock (This Weekend): Should slot straight back in with Carrick out.
Lingard (Man U) Ankle (This Weekend): Started week 1 but I don’t expect to see him now Valencia is back
Drinkwater (Leicester) Hamstring (This Weekend): I love his potential to be a solid contributor who can score goals but I might hold off on him this week just in case.
Fellaini (Man U) Foot (This Weekend): Nothing more than a bench guy who comes on to add height for me so I don’t want to own him
Moses (Stoke) LMF (50%): Not sure I see him playing this week as they have decent options. Do not own him right now.
Pienaar (Everton) Groin (13th September): Doesn’t excite me on a week to week basis so I would drop him.
Ireland (Stoke) Rib (13th September): I wouldn’t own him
Nolan (West Ham) Shoulder (4th October): If you need the space drop him but if you can then stashing him could offer rewards.
Snodgrass (Hull) Knee (Unknown Return): Out for most of the season so do not own
Atsu (Everton) Parent Club (Next Weekend): If he can nail down a starting place he excites me but probably not enough to store on the bench this week.
Lallana (Liverpool) Knee (20th September): You have to hold onto him because if you drop him someone else will pick him up
Carrick (Man U) Ankle (27th September): Not worth holding onto for me as he will not provide goals or assists in general
Walcott (Arsenal) Knee (13th September): You have to hold him because he could be the #1 midfielder when he plays
Giaccherini (Sunderland) Groin (Unknown): Not worth a bench spot
Barkley (Everton) Knee (Unknown): If you want him on your squad for the whole year you will have to hold him for now.
Gnabry (Arsenal) Knock (Unknown): Exciting potential if he plays regularly but not worth holding onto.
Aguero will feature for some time and he doesn’t need long to score – just ask Liverpool.
Lukaku has a tough match up so slides down a tier and the rest have good/decent match ups. Sanogo fits in here with Giroud ruled out.
Low End Number Two’s
I love Zarate’s potential to be a difference maker for West Ham. Berahino is a talent and can explode like he did in week 1. Naismith has made it impossible to leave him out even with a tough match up. Lambert will feature at some point in this match up. Riviere and Long are exciting and will get the chance to show everyone that.
Safe Flex Options
I expect all of these options to start this week but more than two points cannot be counted on.
Risk/Reward Flex Options
All of these have the potential to be really exciting but there is no guarantee they will start or even play so that severely limits their upside. Vargas, Samaras, and Balotelli are the new signings who are unknowns in their team’s plans.
Dzeko (Man C) Leg (75%): With Negredo out and Aguero being nursed I expect him to feature this week but you cannot count on it.
Lukaku (Everton) Toe (75%): Will be desperate to play against his old club and Everton could really do with a win to get themselves rolling.
Anichebe (WBA) Knock (75%): Probably safest to leave him out this week because it is unlikely you will miss anything spectacular.
Sanogo (Arsenal) Hamstring (75%): I expect to see him this week and I love his potential against Leicester.
Bojan (Stoke) Knock (75%): A tough match up but counter attack goals are possible and he is a great candidate for that.
Vardy (Leicester) Thigh (75%): They have two top options so will not rush him back so he isn’t worth owning unless the league is deep.
Austin (QPR) Hamstring (75%): Cannot see them rushing him while Remy and Zamora are fit and he isn’t worth owning unless your league is deep.
Vargas (QPR) Work Permit (Hopefully This Weekend): An exciting prospect and I am tempted by him but these work permits are tricky.
Samaras (WBA) LMF (This Weekend): A top player in Scotland but this is a big step up meaning Im hesitant on him even if he is sure to play.
Giroud (Arsenal) Ankle (Unknown): Potential broken ankle but yet to be confirmed. Hold for now
Negredo (Man C) Foot (27th September): You have to hold onto him and I think you should.
Donnelly (Swansea), Emnes (Swansea): Neither excites me so do not own them
Cisse (Newcastle) Knee (Unknown): Lots of competition and he struggled last year so not worth holding onto
Carroll (West Ham) Ankle (Unknown): His injury history and ability to go missing worries me enough I wouldn’t hold him
Rodriguez (Southampton) Knee (Unknown): A top ten option every week he plays so you have to hold onto him
Vokes (Burnley) Knee (Unknown): Could be a sneaky top 20 player but that isn’t worth stashing.
Benteke (Villa) Achilles (Unknown): Will be a stud so you have to stash.
So there we have it nearly 4000 words of fantasy rankings and evaluations. I hope that this has helped you but any specific questions between players within tiers can be directed to me Follow
@brolfe1507 on twitter. Now, most importantly, have a nice weekend and enjoy what should be another intriguing week in the Premier League!