So, with the opening fixtures out of the way it is time for a week 1 review to see how individual players performed, and see what we learnt. Each week I intend to go match by match and briefly bullet point some key stand outs, and also highlight any major injuries that popped up. In addition, I will also talk about whether the selection we saw this week is likely to be consistent as consistent selection is the best route to fantasy points in many leagues
Man United 1-0 Tottenham:
- The absence of Trippier was a surprise that throws that right side into doubt, especially given Kyle Walkers strong showing despite his own goal. Trippier’s value has decreased massively and I would sell in SC leagues but keep in draft for now
- A game dominated by defence saw Toby Alderweireld and Chris Smalling the main men. Both these defences look good and the only imminent change I can see coming is the return of Danny Rose for Ben Davies, who struggled at left back
- The choice of Juan Mata in central midfield was an interesting one but his fantasy relevance is lower when he isn’t playing as the main central option in midfield
- Memphis was a touch disappointing but he needs time to settle into the Premier League style. Stick with him in draft leagues, but you in SC leagues I am less sure I want to ride out the bumps.
- Rooney didn’t set the world on fire but his game would have looked pretty good if he had got the goal that Walker stole from him. Stick with him because as a lone striker he could be a beast.
- No start for Lamela was a concern as Dembele got the nod and raises massive concerns over Lamela for me. If he doesn’t start next week he could have no value to you.
- Ryan Mason should come back into the frame when healthy but he is a fringe option you aren’t concerning with generally. Lloris should be back in the next couple of weeks and will return to a number one keeper option
- Schweinsteiger’s main role at home is as sub but on the road where United may look to play more on the counter and be more solid, he could start. Limited value until we know more.
- Tottenham badly need a second striker but I cannot see them starting two so his value will be reasonably low.
Everton 2-2 Watford
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- A number of stand outs for Watford with Layun, Deeney and Ighalo all crucial in the making and scoring of goals.
- For Everton Lukaku and Barkley were the expected stars with Arouna Kone the unexpected gem off the bench.
- Lukaku and Barkley are both high end fantasy options whilst they are fit as they develop more into this team.
- No Baines was the headline of the line-up news with Brendan Galloway starting and struggling in his place. Bryan Oviedo is next in line if Galloway is deemed overwhelmed.
- Stones and Jagielka had decent games bar Stones getting tied up for Ighalo’s goal. But the fact they conceded two to Watford is a concern for their fantasy value.
- For Watford we got a glimpse of how they will line-up and play with Troy Deeney alone upfront with Jurado just off him and then two banks of four.
- Watford played free-flowing exciting football that should be fun to watch. Deeney has some low end fantasy value as does Jurado. Layun scored his first goal in three seasons so don’t expect goals to be a regular thing
- I cannot see Watford’s defence keeping enough clean sheets to really have high end fantasy value, but Holebas has a value based on his ability to get forward and not only provide crosses but also take shots.
Leicester 4-2 Sunderland
- Leicester blew Sunderland away led by the stunning Riyad Mahrez, who had the game of his career. The fact one of Mahrez’s two goals was a penalty means he has increased fantasy value as a penalty taker. Oh, and he looks pretty special as well! £5.5m is bargain so jump in now.
- Another game of his career went to Marc Albrighton who had two assists in a goal continuing on from his strong finish to last season. Albrighton has value as a speculative add given his low price tag in SC and the fact he is on the waiver wire in draft leagues. Don’t expect this every week but he had potential a few years back and this could be the start.
- Vardy was superb once again cementing his value as a mid-level striker who can have some stunning games. Okazaki missed out this time but given the way Leicester started this year he should have plenty of potential going forward in draft leagues.
- Defensively I cannot see Leicester keeping many clean sheets as I think they will seek to outscore opponents to win.
- Sunderland defence was pathetic but one positive may be that Adam Matthews now has the chance to be the number one right back as he cannot be worse than Jones. Kaboul and Coates weren’t goof either but I think Kaboul survives this while we could see O’Shea come in for Coates. Either way I need to see some better performances before I’m trusting this bunch (including Pantilimon) in the coming weeks.
- Going forward there was some promise in the second half with Johnson playing well and Lens providing an assist.
- Defoe started and scored and I still think he is a great option at a bargain price that I urge you to go and get now before he costs nearer £6m in a few weeks. Fletcher may get the chance to start after Cattermole was hauled off and he also has some low end option but in draft leagues.
Bournemouth 0-1 Aston Villa
- This game wasn’t a thriller and frankly we didn’t learn a huge amount from it other than Tim Sherwood has a lot of shiny new toys and Bournemouth could be fun to watch.
- Callum Wilson looked fast but the end product wasn’t there and he was dispossessed a lot. Joshua King failed to make much more of an impact and Bournemouth need more from their strikers. Kermogant is the next option but beyond Wilson I don’t see much significant value.
- The ineffectiveness of the midfielders means we could see Max Gradel and Christian Atsu get a chance to show their talents in the coming weeks and they would be decent cheap options.
- Matt Ritchie didn’t get a chance to showcase his talents particularly and at £6m I am worried he is a bit overpriced given some of the exciting £5m options in other teams. However, don’t panic as a few set pieces could have his value rocketing in the coming weeks.
- No Mings is an interesting development which I hope his reversed soon as I like his potential as an attacking full-back. Coo and Elphick did well enough to hold Distin and his experience off for now.
- Villa showed a lot of grit and to see Rudy Gestede kick his PL career off with a goal is quite exciting. At £6m there is no way I’m using him over Defoe in SC leagues but he has low end striker quality in draft leagues
- Midfield wise I still like Sinclair and I think this Villa team can be good when they get together as their new players settle in. Sinclair needs to get rolling before I would use him in either format given the depth of the position for fantasy.
- Richards and Clark were no real surprise and Bacuna shouldn’t have been given how he finished last year. Amavi however, was a surprise and he was fantastic and really impressed all around. If this level of performance can continue then the Villa defence could have some great value but don’t jump on them until we see some sterner tests.
Norwich 1-3 Crystal Palace
- Both of these teams looked impressive with Norwich dominating large periods of the game and Palace looking really good on the counter
- As I expected clean sheets are going to be an issue for Norwich because they just lack that stand out player in the back four. This makes them impossible to use on a regular basis.
- In midfield Nathan Redmond’s goal stands out but you would like his highlights to be running at and beating defender rather than long goals if you want solid fantasy production.
- Lewis Grabban upfront was a surprise and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go back to Jerome who can hold the ball up and let the midfielders run off him. Grabban should be used as an impact sub for best results for Norwich. No fantasy value here just yet but if Jerome or Hooper can nail down the starting spot Norwich look capable of controlling the ball and could give them plenty of opportunities going forward.
- For Palace they looked good on the counter but how they perform at home when they have to make the running will tell you more about this team.
- The Palace defence was rated well but if Grabban hadn’t missed a sitter and Jerome’s goal had counted and they would have looked like they had an awful day. Joel Ward and Scott Dann are the main keep your eye on guys in this defence with Souare being just on the fringe.
- Midfield wise Cabaye bossed the game and got a goal late on. He should be a threat going forward all year and has #3/4 midfielder value going forward.
- I would expect Bolasie to come back in probably at the expense of Mutch or Zaha when he is fully fit and he and Puncheon should be really solid options in both formats in this team.
- Striker wise we need to see how it plays out with Murray, Bamford and Wickham as to where the fantasy value lies. Muraay earned the first shot last year but Pardew won’t hesitate to go to the younger Englishmen.
Chelsea 2-2 Swansea
- Chelsea looked good going forward but had a few issues at the back as their lack of pace was exposed by a very exciting Swansea team
- To see Oscar not only start but also score was a really good sign with some question marks being raised in pre-season about his role
- Willian and Hazard will be first choice to start out wide and both should cause defenders fits. Hazard is naturally the main threat but Willian will offer sneaky value
- A great sign was that Costa started because when he is roaring fantasy is more fun but his rustiness showed and I expect him to grow into the season. Health is always an issue in SC leagues that will prevent me pinning all my hopes on him. In draft leagues if I own him I am using him when I can.
- At the back Ivanovic looked good going forward but struggled defensively against Montero and that could be exploited which will damage his value going forward as the season progresses. Terry and Cahill didn’t do a huge amount wrong for either goal as Willian was dragged back and played Gomis onside for the penalty. Az was his usual reliable self at left back.
- Courtois will be disappointed to be sent off and will now miss three games more than likely including the one at City next week. At £5.5m you should really move on for now but in draft leagues just get yourself a solid back-up for the next couple of weeks. Avoid Begovic this week
- Now for Swansea who were the stars of the show with Ayew, Montero and Gomis causing havoc all over the pitch. All three looked really good and have all jumped up into fantasy relevance. In sC leagues I love Montero’s value at £6.0m and Gomis at £7.0m is great stiker 2 territory. Ayew is a little more expensive but if he scores regularly then he will be worth every penny. All three are must own in draft leagues
- Sigurdsson had a quiet day for his standards but he didn’t do anything wrong and Swansea played largely down the wings. It was always going to be tough against Matic so don’t judge him on this.
- Ki came off early for Jack Cork which left Shelvey to run the show in midfield and he did a fantastic job. Shelvey has some low end draft league potential usage.
- At the back Swansea did well considering the group they were playing. Hopefully they can show their class in the coming weeks because there is some good value in their defence in both formats if they can prove solid at the back.
- The injury to Ki looks a concern but the injury to Montero looks like it should be OK going forward
Arsenal 0-2 West Ham
- This was a stunner as West Ham jumped all over Arsenal to shock them in the first week led by the impressive Dimiti Payet. The debutant performed extremely well and provided an assist for the first goal from a free kick. He should comfortably be a must use player in draft leagues and has great SC value as well at £7.5m
- Zarate joined Sakho up front for this game and with a strong performance he could be a fixture until Carroll is fit. Zarate is worth a speculative add in draft leagues with the potential of supply from Payet all season. Sakho was also impressive and is a must start in draft leagues.
- Kouyate and Noble got the nod in just behind Payet with Kouyate the main option of the two but only for draft leagues as there are other options for £5.5m (and even a couple at £5.0m who can get the nod over him.
- Behind them Reece Oxford is classed as a defender and is priced at just £4.0m so could be a real bargain buy in SC leagues who will get rewarded as a 5th defender for clean sheets whilst also having an increased chance of assisting.
- I expect Carl Jenkinson to come in at right back for Tomkins and then we should see a fairly settled West Ham side who proved Sunday they can shut teams down. Adrian is also someone I was hesitant on but another performance like this and I may look to grab him.
- For Arsenal it was just a bad day as they were bossed by Oxford and had a couple of defensive howlers. Cech won’t make mistakes like that regularly and Chamberlain’s ball out of defence was pathetic so don’t give up on this Arsenal goalkeeper and defence combo.
- Debuchy and Monreal started at full back but I am not sure I trust either until I have seen them play a few games. Koscielny and Mertesacker do look safe to me though and are good options in both formats.
- In midfield Sanchez will come back in for Chamberlain but other than that this is the midfield we should see. Cazorla was controlled by Oxford but that won’t happen often so don’t panic on any of them. Ozil and Coquelin are the two I wouldn’t consider owning in SC but I would consider Ozil in drafts but as a lower end option.
Newcastle 2-2 Southampton
- This was promising for the fantasy aspects from both teams as we saw Wijnaldum get off to a flyer and Jay Rodriguez starting for Southampton just to name a couple.
- This defence is one I like for Newcastle and I think they will keep a lot of clean sheets this season with Janmaat and Haidara also able to make an impact going forward. At £4.5 Haidara has real SC value and perhaps overtakes Janmaat as the best fantasy option in this defence going forward.
- Colback and Anita don’t offer much value in either format in the middle of the park.
- Wijhaldum looks really good and could be a real difference maker at a relatively cheap £7.5m. On the other side Obertan looked pacey and caused problems simultaneously looking good value at £4.5m whilst ruining the hopes of Rolando Aarons owners.
- Sissoko behind Cisse is how I see Newcastle going early this year until they feel Mitrovic is fully settled. Both could have really nice seasons and won’t break the bank at £6 and £6.5m respectively.
- On a side note it was nice to see Siem de Jong who has struggled massively with injuries but until he starts regularly he doesn’t have any value
- For Southampton it will be concerning that both Soares and Targett looked slow defensively and if Martina plays well defensively it could cut into Soares time. Targett doesn’t look ready to unseat Bertrand just yet. Soares was really promising going forward and his assist will be music to owner’s ears at just £5.0m. A must own in draft leagues also.
- In the centre Koeman went for Yoshida over Caulker which throws that second central option for Southampton into doubt and making it hard to trust either.
- Wanyama and Davis started in the defensive spots with Jordy Clasie out and I would expect Wanyama to be the one to keep his place. At £4.5 Wanyama is an interesting midfield option for bench use and has low end potential use n draft leagues.
- Jay Rodriguez started out wide but didn’t look comfortable. I would expect to see him move more centrally as he gets fitter but a lot depends how Mane, Tadic and Pelle are linking up. No space for James Ward-Prowse was an interesting development and to not even see him come off the bench was concerning.
- Pelle got his season off to a great start and hopefully he can still be stud even with Jay Rodriguez back. At £8.0m Pelle is a decent number two option. Shane Long has low end potential off the bench with his pace but you really need him to start before you use him.
Stoke 0-1 Liverpool
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- Coutinho’s thunderbolt from the blue settled a game that didn’t really offer much of interest
- Benteke started upfront with Danny Ings on the bench in a formation I expect to see Liverpool utilise heavily this year. Benteke looked pretty much there but just needs to settle and then he could be a good #2 option. When he gets rolling he will be unstoppable
- Jordan Ibe started out wide with Firmino still not fully match fit and whilst he looked good early his effectiveness decreased before he was replaced by Firmino. At £5m I really want Ibe to lock down an every week spot where he could be a fantasy gold mine.
- Lallana didn’t offer anything special before being replaced by Can and I don’t know where I see Lallana going fantasy this year and I don’t want to deal with it for SC. Saying that Coutinho wasn’t amazing other than his goal and could easily have been withdrawn earlier. Coutinho however, does have a back catalogue to fall on if he struggles whilst Lallana has failed to make an impression since his move last summer.
- Henderson and Milner in the centre doesn’t look to be fantasy exciting but they should be solid and will have value in draft leagues with their distribution.
- The only urprise across the back was Joe Gomez who looked really good for a centre back playing left back. Clyne looked good, Skrtel was Skrtel and even Lovren looked solid. This could be one hell of a defensive unit they you may want to consider buying into including Mignolet at £5m. Gomez at £4.5 is very tasty and will be in high demand this week.
- Stoke showed signs of promise given they were missing a couple of key options but that central midfield with Adam and Whelan doesn’t look great. Van Ginkel in an attacking role was interesting but when Bojan etc. are healthy he may find himself sliding back to solidify the defensive midfield.
- Diouf upfront looked good supported by Walters and Afellay who both looked sharp. Whether Afellay can keep that spot with Odemwingie getting fitter, Arnautovic returning and Bojan getting healthier is debatable. Diouf and Walters however, look locked in at £6.5 and £6m they should be decent buys this week. (I still prefer Defoe to Diouf though and he is cheaper)
- With no Shawvcross the Stoke defence held up well marshalled by Geoff Cameron and even managed to look strong after losing Erik Pieters. There’s no defenders I would explicitly target in this group but the start offers promise for Jack Butland as £4.5m price keeper to have a decent season.
West Brom 0-3 Man City
- In the main Man City looked razor sharp on their first game of the season with the ever fantastic David Silva leading the charge. Silva dominated the match and although the goal wasn’t initially awarded to him he should get a goal credited to him
- Wilfried Bony started upfront for City and while he didn’t stand out as being fantastic he did grab an assist and had a couple of sights at goal. Whether he starts next week against Chelsea I am unsure because Silva is so good in that central role. Bony should have a part to play this year for City but whether it is big enough for fantasy players is a concern.
- Navas and Sterling started out wide and both looked really sharp, if not quite at full steam. Sterling should have had a goal had he not scuffed the opportunity and looks lively and free playing for City so should have plenty of opportunities. Navas currently has an assist but that will likely go to Toure if Silva gets credited with the goal but the prowess Navas showed is promising and is a relative bargain in this midfield at £6.5m.
- Fenandinho and Toure started in the centre and Fernandinho looked to be a liability at times with his fouling whereas Yaya looked close to his best. Yaya was part of every city attack and caused Darren Fletcher fits as he ran from deep into spaces and caused havoc
- Defensively City looked solid and whilst I think this centre back pairing is the one for them I am not sure on the full back combinations going forward. Hart looks to be a great option at the back even if he is expensive in SC leagues
- West Brom were just blown away by a really good team but they did have their bright spots especially with the movement of Berahino. West Brom’s best chance fell to Berahino from a ball over the top but he fluffed the shot and it rolled tamely to Hart. At £6.5m Berahino is great value and is really nice cheap options as #2/3 striker.
- Lambert struggled with lack of service but he showed flashes and will be a good combination with Berahino and the new signing Rondon.
- Gardner provided good service going forward and was the only midfielder to stand out for positive reasons. Brunt’s attacking ability has been blunted by the move to left back where he has next to no value what so ever.
- It won’t be this tough every week for Myhill but you would have to be pretty desperate to own him