All reference to draft leagues uses the scoring system of playtogga.com which has increased scoring options.
Watford vs West Brom: 3:00pm BST 15/08/15
Goalkeepers: As expected, Watford went for Gomes in goal, and he had his moments but it was always going to be tough against a good Everton side. This matchup is easier and Gomes becomes a low end starting option, but not too high because West Brom did show flashes against City. Myhill had a tough night against Man City but then equally looked good at times. I am not sure his defence offers him enough protection to make him a viable option however.
Defenders: Holebas is the number one draft league option and perhaps the only really useable one in the group for Watford. Miguel Layun has bonus value starting in midfield, but I am not sure clean sheets or goals will be common enough to make him worth it. For West Brom, I wasn’t overly impressed with the defence and I struggle to highlight anyone that I desperately want to use this week even with a potentially better match-up.
Midfielders: I really want to see more from the Watford defenders before I commit to them hugely, but Jurado is the one name I would consider because playing just off the central striker he should get some decent opportunities. Craig Gardner looked lively on Monday but right now that is probably the extensive list of West Brom midfield options.
Strikers: Deeney was really good throughout on Saturday and Ighalo was impressive when he came on, but with Deeney locked in as the starter Ighalo’s value is extremely depressed. After the ‘failed experiment’ of starting both Lambert and Berahino on Monday, and now with the arrival of Rondon, suddenly I am worried for the prospects of these West Brom strikers. I am a big fan of Berahino and I like Lambert as a deeper option, but someone has to miss out and potentially even two could.
Out: Ekstrand – ACL, Cabrera – Suspended, Arlaukis – Suspended, Doyley – Neck, Foster – ACL
Question Marks: Abdi – Knee (75%), Burghuis – Muscle (75%), McAuley – Calf (50%)
West Ham vs Leicester: 3:00pm BST 15/08/15
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Goalkeepers: Adrian made a couple of good saves against Arsenal but credit must go to his defence who kept him largely untroubled, making his life a lot easier. This week against Leicester should be a better match-up, but, then again, Leicester were amazing last week. However, I still have Adrian comfortably in my top 10 keepers and deem him a must start in draft leagues. At the other end, Schmeichel didn’t have a great game as he shipped two against Sunderland. And against a West Ham team with a lot of attacking talent I will avoid him this week.
Defenders: Reid, Ogbonna and Cresswell must be locked in and Cresswell for sure is a usable option this week in both formats. The right back spot is up for contest between Tomkins and Jenkinson, but for now I would have to avoid them both. The other wild card is whether Oxford will once again get the chance in the centre of midfield, in which case at £4.0m I love him in SC leagues and in draft leagues; his passing means you should at least consider picking him up. For Leicester, Jeffery Schlupp is my favourite option but I still don’t trust the clean sheet potential, making it hard to use him SC leagues. But in draft leagues where creating chances and beating players are valuable he has a low end defensive role. As for the others I cannot say I am interested in them with only Wes Morgan even on the radar.
Midfielders: Kouyate stole the headlines last weekend with his goal, but the headline should perhaps have gone to Payet, who controlled the midfield creatively and got an assist on the first goal. It was good to see Nolan, Noble and Jarvis all have a part to play, but their usage may be too infrequent for me to trust them fully. Riyad Mahrez was frankly amazing on Saturday, and being the penalty taker is a massive bonus. Mahrez is one guy who I would go chasing in both formats after a good week one because he had good spells last year as well. Marc Albrighton is someone I will hesitate and see how he follows up last week’s stormer. As I said, the potential was there for Albrighton but he never blossomed and maybe now he is starting too.
Strikers: Diafra Sakho will continue to be the main man until Carroll or Valencia are fit and ready to compete with him. He should have plenty of opportunities with a creative midfield behind him and is a must in draft leagues. This week he has captain potential in SC leagues for me as well. Zarate also started Sunday and impressed by scoring the second goal for the Hammers. At £5.55m he is intriguingly priced, but I would hold off. In draft leagues he is definitely someone I will consider on waivers next week if he starts again. Vardy was the star of the show as he caused havoc among the Sunderland defence but the information that came out the next day was ugly and could lead to him riding the pine this week, making it really hard to trust him. Okazaki didn’t score and so got a bit lost, but he had a solid game and is someone that intrigues me going forward in draft leagues especially. Away from home I think they might plump for the extra defender if Vardy doesn’t play so don’t get carried away expecting Nugent, Ulloa or Krameric.
Out: Valencia – Knee, Carroll – MCL, Obiang – Muscle, James – ACL
Question Marks: O’Brien – Knock (50%)
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal: 1:30pm BST 16/08/15
Goalkeepers: McCarthy got the nod over Hennessey last week in a pattern I expect to see repeat itself this week. However, I don’t see Arsenal laying a dud against a team which got ripped apart at times by Norwich last weekend so avoid. Cech didn’t have a great PL debut for the Gunners but he is a class keeper who will come back stronger this week and a clean sheet would be exactly what the doctor calls for. A top five option for me this week in both formats.
Defenders: Ward and Dann were the two names I expected to talk about in this defence all season but it turned out to be Delaney and Souare last week, which was fun. However, this week is tougher and they did struggle at times last week. Ward might get a game in draft leagues for me but there is no one I am chasing this week for SC. It was very interesting that Debuchy was selected over Bellerin last weekend with Bellerin’s injury being deemed too bad for him to start and it will be equally interesting to see if that is a pattern. Safe to say neither are usable this week. Monreal looks to be the first choice left back but I’d like to see it a few more weeks of that before I really buy in. Koscielny and Mertesacker however, are two players that are in the must use categories of draft leagues with Koscielny may favourite option but Mertesacker is that fraction cheaper if he need a high clean sheet guy.
Midfielders: Cabaye is a lock and has some low end value in both formats. Puncheon should be a lock and is a must use in draft leagues. Zaha impressed but they go for Bolasie over him this week in a tougher matchup and Bolasie another week fitter. Hard to trust either this week but both are worth looking to see if they are available. Saying that they both could play if Pardew chooses to dispense with Mutch in the centre but Mutch doesn’t interest me fantasy wise so hopefully it’s the other two who play in a creative three behind the striker. McArthur will loikely be the other central guys and he is creative enough that you could consider him in draft leagues but don’t go chasing him unless you really need midfield help this week. Cazorla is another lock who is a must in drafts and a consideration in SC. Ozil just doesn’t excite me but is a must in draft leagues as I expect him to play regularly. Chamberlain may get to start one more week if they feel Sanchez needs a fraction more time, but both are really hard to trust this week. Naturally, Sanchez is the guy I would prefer, but he is very expensive considering his lack of match time lately. Ramsey will play and will make forward runs so becomes a draft must have, but his SC value is so 2013 right now. Coquelin has next to no value given his role as I would rather use Oxford as my gamble this week for a cheap SC play.
Strikers: Murray got the nod last week with Wickham featuring, but this situation is messy with Bamford also involved! Hard to throw your confidence behind any of them, but gun to my head I say Pardew sticks with Murray for now. Beyond that it could be any of them and it’s so tough to bank on anyone to even stash on the bench. For Arsenal it is likely they will use Giroud up top initially with Walcott coming on late to provide the pacey option. Giroud is a must start in draft if not a little too middle road in SC for me but Walcotts value is on the floor in my eyes unles she can start every week.
Out: Appiah – ACL, Speroni – Finger, Campbell – Hamstring, Wilshere – Leg, Welbeck – Knee, Rosicky – Knee
Question Marks: Chamakh – Hamstring (50%)
Man City vs Chelsea: 4:00pm BST 16/08/15
Goalkeepers: This is a crappy match-up in the extent that its two good defensive teams who could end up in a slug fest but chances are that it isn’t going to go that way. Hart is a top end keeper but Chelsea have great attacking options who can score at any moment. If your other options are not amazing then Hart is a reliable fall back option. Begovic would have decent value in other match-ups but against Aguero, Silva, Toure and co. he could concede multiple goals. Of the two Begovic is the bigger risk reward and is someone I will likely stay away from.
Defenders: The same said for the keepers applies here and the situation with Man City has got even messier. The potential readiness of Zabaleta and Demichellis throws a little bit of doubt over the defensive line-up. Kompany and Zabaleta are the men I trust to start and are the ones I would be happiest using in non-auto sub leagues. For Chelsea the line-up choices are much simpler as Ivanovic, Terry, and Azpilicueta are virtual locks with the only question being over the selection of Cahill or Zouma for added pace in the centre. Of course they could always use Zouma as an extra central midfielder so all five could have value because Mourinho will look to make this tight.
Midfielders: Silva was the main act in town last week and showed his class and why he is a must start in all formats. Sterling showed moments of class and his pace will be a constant threat given the way Ivanovic struggled last week and again he is a viable starter in both formats. Toure has questions over his groin and that could be an issue when choosing whether to start him this week. Navas was also impressive last week and is a real sneak option for me at just £6.5m. I love him in draft leagues and I’m tempted to find a way to use him for SC. The Toure injury opens the door for a Fernando Fernandinho partnership in the middle which has very little fantasy value. Hazard wasn’t at his brilliant best last week but he does have a habit of turning it on when it matters most and this will be one of those weeks. Stick by the Belgian and you will be rewarded. Willian and Oscar both started and had hands in goals either through an assist for an own goal or a goal himself. Both are draft league must uses with Willian my preferred option considering I am worried that Mourinho only uses one of Oscar and Fabregas. Fabregas is the most likely of the two in a creative role given his ability to pick a pass out of nothing. Matic and his controlling style will have value in draft leagues but not so in SC.
Strikers: Bony was good – if not great – last week, but with Aguero probably going to start this week Bony’s role could be reduced to coming on off the bench to make an impact, which hurts his value. I would also hesitate choosing Aguero because there is no guarantee he starts this week. Unbelievably it appears Costa will be fit two weeks running and therefore is a must use in draft leagues because a fit Costa is guaranteed to start.
Out: Delph – Hamstring, Clichy – Ankle, Courtois – Suspended
Question Marks: Toure – Groin (unknown)
Liverpool vs Bournemouth: 8:00pm BST 16/08/15
Goalkeepers: I cannot help but love Mignolet this week against the newly-promoted team who struggled to score last week. Liverpool’s defence looked solid last week and Mignolet is a very good keeper so he actually tops out among my goalkeeping options this week. Boruc doesn’t get the same weight of endorsement behind him in this match-up and is a guy I am definitely avoiding.
Defenders: Love all four defensive options this week with Skrtel, Clyne, Gomez and Lovren all must starts in draft leagues, and Gomez having really nice value in SC as well. All four can be used in SC but obviously if I am looking to pick one up it is the cheapest option of Gomez right now. I do not see a Bournemouth defender I am using this week especially with the question marks of Mings.
Midfielders: Coutinho is the headline act who, at £8.0m, is a must use in both formats. How they go with the other attacking options is till something we need to see settle with Lallana, Ibe, Can, Firmino and Markovic all in the picture. Hopefully the cheap Ibe can get the nod this week, but I am a little scared of any of them in non-auto sub leagues. Henderson and Milner are locks to play for me but there value is only in draft leagues and not anything more right now. Matt Ritchie still stands out as the main option here given his set piece role for the team, but this week I am hesitant to use him given I can see Bournemouth struggling to score.
Strikers: Benteke is a top end captain option this week after looking reasonably good last week. He should be able to dominate this inexperienced Bournemouth defence, and could grab a couple this week. Ings may be regretting his move and right now he had no fantasy value. Wilson is the guy I like the most in this attack given his pace, but he will need to show better finishing than last week if he is to keep fantasy value as the season progresses.
Out: Flanagan – Knee, Allen – Hamstring, Sturridge – Hip, Harry Arter – Hip
Question Marks: Atsu – Back (50%), MacDonald – Toe (50%)