After an entertaining second weekend, we have a look at the players who are primed for FPL glory in the third Gameweek.
Gameweek 2 Deadline: 27th Aug, 11:30 (16:00 IST)
This may be a bit of a surprise after Ben Foster (£4.6m) shipped two against Everton last weekend but with Middlesbrough visiting the Hawthorns, I feel the fixture demands him to be on this list. With nine saves already from two games, the former Manchester United keeper also offers another viable points route should he concede again. He looks the best stopper option for less than £5.0m.
Another option is Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m). The Leicester City stopper was excellent against Arsenal and earned himself a clean sheet, a save point and a bonus. He plays Swansea City at home this week and with Burnley, Southampton, Crystal Palace, West Brom and Middlesbrough in next five home games also makes him a great prospect.
With Arsenal’s fixtures, Petr Cech (£5.5m) should also come into the picture and could be played in every game up until Gameweek 12. And finally, there’s David de Gea (£5.5m). The Manchester United man has always been a solid FPL bet, but should be even more of an asset with an organised defence in front of him.
All the defenders on this list offer the prospects of points at both ends of the pitch. Having scored in Crystal Palace midweek EFL Cup win over Blackpool, Scott Dann (£5.5m) looks in the mood to replicate his five-goal form from last season. Palace host Bournemouth this weekend, so a first clean sheet is a big possibility. The fixtures that follow are brilliant, too, so so Dann, who is also a differential this week, looks a shrewd ploy at the moment.
Value also plays a part and that brings John Terry (£5.5m) in this list. The Chelsea skipper’s starts may eventually come under threat with the return of Kurt Zouma, but for Gameweek 3, he seems certain to be on Antonio Conte’s teamsheet for Burnley’s visit. The Clarets will likely play safe at Stamford Bridge, promoting the chances of a first clean sheet of the season for the Blues. Terry is the cheapest option in Conte’s back line and also offers an attacking threat at set-pieces.
Southampton’s home clash with David Moyes’ injury-hit Sunderland has brought their entire rearguard into view. Simply put Virgil van Dijk (£5.5m) is the premium option with an eye for goal having found the back of the net three times last season. But if you are willing to sacrifice that goal threat for someone cheaper, then Matt Targett (£4.5m) or Cedric Soares (£5.0m) should be on your radar.
Luke Shaw (£5.6m) really came to the forefront last week with a clean sheet, an assist and a couple of bonus points. Man United featuring Pogba appears to be good news for the young Englishman. Those forward runs will continue and so will the cleans sheets. A brilliant defensive option to have, but don’t write Antonio Valencia (£5.5m) off just yet. The Ecuadorian put in a strong performance in Gameweek 1’s away trip to Bournemouth.
As said above, Arsenal have an excellent schedule and that brings their backline into my thinking. Nacho Monreal (£6.0m) picked up the same number of points as Hector Bellerin (£6.5m) last week and has that value edge on the right-back. However, Bellerin offers more attacking promise than his compatriot and they face a Watford outfit that has registered the least number of attempts on goal this season.
If you simply can’t trust Arsenal (and I won’t blame you), then Kyle Walker (£5.6m) or Gareth McAuley (£4.6m) might be the perfect tonic for you. Both have got things off to a flyer this year and have some favourable fixtures in the next few weeks.
It was a close call between Eden Hazard (£10.1m) and Riyad Mahrez (£9.5m), but with an encouraging start to the season, the Belgian international looks a more exciting option this week than his Algerian counterpart. Burnley’s impressive tally of just one goal conceded masks a frail backline that has allowed more shots than any other side so far this season from both inside and outside the box. With a goal and assist already to his name, a home clash against the Clarets offers him a golden opportunity to add further attacking returns.
Ross Barkley (£7.7m) is the fourth most transferred player this round in FPL with 225,000+ investors and is the prime option in midfield. Having returned a goal and assist so far, he looks to be the most assured cover of the Toffees attack in their Goodison Park meeting with Stoke City. Saturday’s encounter also marks the start of a strong run of fixtures for Everton, making Barkley a shrewd investment for the week and beyond. The hottest non-Zlatan bandwagon right now.
The Southampton attack looks as interesting as ever despite the departures of Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle in the summer. Claude Puel is showing more faith in Dusan Tadic (£7.4m) than Ronald Koeman did and is reaping the rewards with some impressive performances at the tip of the midfield diamond. With set piece duties, he should be at the top of the queue for your Saints pick this week. However, Nathan Redmond‘s (£6.1m) potential as a part of Puel’s front two against Sunderland cannot be ignored. The summer signing has already netted on his home debut and sits joint second for shots inside the box by any midfielder.
Another budget friendly midfielder in this list is Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend (£6.5m). As you read before in my talk of Dann, the Eagles have got some good fixtures coming up, with Bournemouth at home this weekend a particularly attractive proposition. Add to that the new signing of Christian Benteke, Townsend and the Belgian could link up brilliantly, given Alan Pardew’s penchant for crosses.
While his arrival makes Zlatan Ibrahimovic a glorious FPL option, there is a real argument to be made for Paul Pogba (£8.5m) himself. The Frenchman had as many shots as the big Swede last Friday and is already central to everything United do. Santi Cazorla (£7.5m) could also be a real bargain over the next eight Gameweeks. If the Spaniard can secure his starting place under Arsene Wenger, he should rack up the assists. Finally, If you are looking for a bargain in midfield, Adnan Januzaj (£5.5m) and Etienne Capoue (£4.6m) are likely your best bets.
If you don’t have at least one of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.7m) or Sergio Aguero (£13.1), chances are you are not doing so well in your league. With three goals and six bonus points each, they seem indispensable on current form. It is little wonder that both are now owned by more than half of all FPL managers. If you are one of them, you are in good shape.
Looking away from the above two, another player to watch is Harry Kane (£10.9m). Playing against Liverpool would usually be a tricky fixture but their defensive frailties at the moment have led to the Reds conceding five goals in the opening two games. The England striker looks primed to take advantage and open his account for the season.
Love him or hate him (it’s most likely to be the later) you can’t deny the facts. Diego Costa (£8.6m) has scored two in two for Chelsea and so is currently looking likely to continue that goal scoring form against Burnley. The only thing that’s could go against his selection is that the spotlight is now on him and his antics and some might say (including me) that he was very lucky to be on the pitch to score the winners against both West Ham and Watford.
Christian Benteke (£7.4m), Romelu Lukaku (£9.0m) and Olivier Giroud (£9.0m) should be hot on all our radars right now. This weekend’s home clash with Bournemouth, Stoke and Watford respectively, give them the perfect opportunity to kick-start their Premier League campaign. However, I would keep them on my shortlist for now before jumping on the bandwagon.
Finally, talking about the budget options. The Andre Gray (£6.5m) charge from the FA means owners might soon have to join those who began with Andy Carroll in looking elsewhere in that price range. With a goal and two assists in his first two games, Alvaro Negredo (£6.7m) leads that pack. Boro’s next two fixtures against West Brom and Crystal Palace provide the beast with a good chance to continue his current run of form. Salomon Rondon (£6.5m) is another option in this bracket. The Venezuelan is the most likely to trouble a Middlesbrough side that has conceded the most number of shots in the box. From the three, Rondon looks the most likely to score this weekend.
The captain pick is as much as coin toss as you might expect, but like I said last week – when Aguero is fit and is in your team, he should be your captain. It’s as simple as that. United have the easier opposition, but City have home comforts and captaining him is probably the safer bet.
While the majority of the managers will look towards Zlatan or Aguero for the armband this round, Hazard could represent an excellent differential choice as Chelsea host Burnley. The wide man seems rejuvenated under the guidance of Conte and has picked up points in both the opening two Gameweeks. Diego Costa, Kane, Jamie Vardy and Mahrez are other options to gamble on.
This article is written by Shantanu Ambekar, you can follow him on Twitter at @ShantanuAmbekar. What are your thoughts? Let us know by dropping a comment via our comments box below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and like us on Facebook.