For the second time in as many weeks, the Fantasy Premier League ushers in a four day weekend of football with Manchester United opening proceedings. It’s a rare night of Friday night action, and it changes the landscape of the FPL in terms of organisation and strategy. After an opening Gameweek that left the majority with a blank week, The Hype Team once again puts on its investigative hat as we attempt to claw out the diamonds in the rough. The players that could perform in Gameweek Two.
The curtain has been drawn back, and most are scratching their heads at an opening weekend that offered much action on the pitch, but dilemmas for those glues to their computer screens as the scores roll in. Four days of FPL action can be too much to bare. Having to wait so long, looking at that status of your mini-leagues, releasing that it doesn’t mean squat until Tuesday morning. We’ve one of these weeks yet again (the last being QPR and Aston Villa’s Double Gameweek last season, culminating in a 3-3 draw, with happy Austin and Benteke owners), and if we stress one thing heading into round two it comes in the form of one word.
We’ve seen a lot of teams on Twitter, and there’s nothing wrong with them. The season will stabilise, and by that, we mean that big four teams will rely more on their star players as the season gets deeper and deeper into the mud. It’ll be Hazard and Aguero and pull your burning body out of the building on a Gameweek where it’s going all so horribly wrong.
With that in mind, the three of us that run the show and our scout picks didn’t do that badly overall. Below we’ll leave a small assessment of Gameweek One, and where our picks from last week went right and wrong.
Gameweek One Scores
1) Sam (Facts): 48
2) Bob (Pownage): 42
3) Phil (Sweat): 38
Keep in mind, these aren’t our actual picks, and for the record only one of us actually reached the 40 point mark this week. Sam was the convincing winner this week, purely down to his three defenders pulling rabbits out of the hat. The trio of Clyne, Azpi, and Cedric, amassed the Facts 17 points. Sam also captained Pelle (as he did in his actual team), gaining 10 points. His midfield gained nothing but appearances points and two clean sheet points, whilst his other attackers, Lukaku and Rooney both bagged an assist.
Pownage’s points came from an inspired midfield call in Ross Barkley (and what a goal it was on Saturday), and David Silva whilst captaining Rooney gained 10 points. Where Sam got points in his attack, Pownage’s gamble on Wilson and Giroud was a dud. Giroud literally collapsed before been given the opportunity to do anything in front of goal.
Phil, aka the Sweat, was bottom of the standings, only managing 38 points. Captaining Rooney gained 10, Clyne drew 7 points to the board, but the rest of the defence gained nothing. Silva was the only points scoring midfielder, and should have seen more points to the points had they awarded him the first goal against West Brom. Lukaku also bagged an assist, with PJ and the rest of us questioning Lukaku’s prolific nature in front of goal. It’s another case of putting your chips on a striker against a relegation favourite and doing absolutely nothing.
How did the Hype Team get on?
Perhaps worst of all, our experiment team, based purely off selection %, the Hype Team gained only 27 points – and that’s an actual team in the FPL! The hype players did nothing, but the biggest insult was that the two first subs, Deeney and Azpi, actually gained 6 points and 6 respectively, but we couldn’t play them because Jagielka and Berahino are selected by a higher percentage.
Here’s the team’s performance laid out.
GW2 Scout Picks: @RealHypeTrain
The entire squad in unchanged, because people are still banking faith with their initial picks. Depay, Henderson, Sterling, and Hazard are unmoved, as are the back four. Due to the popularity of five defenders, the formation remains at a 4-4-2 with Benteke and Berahino both up top, with Deeney and Azpi once again on the bench.
In terms of how the team will get on, we’re expecting returns from the Liverpool duo – Benteke and Clyne – and also expect Berahino to get amongst the points should West Brom shape up for the Watford trip. Jagielka will have it hard at Southampton, whilst Ivanovic and Hazard and 50-50 in regards to a points return. Chelsea visiting the Etihad usually results in a score draw, so it’s a big old question mark on their returns. We’re hoping for a slender Chelsea win for the sakes of all of our teams, but wishes often never come true in our world of fantasy. Sterling clashes with the Chelsea duo, as does Fonte with Berahino. Cech travels to a giant-killer in Crystal Palace.
In general the team can’t do worse than it did this week, so we’re estimating that the squad will hit the 40 point mark, but not get much higher. Clashes mean that returns will be slim, and because Hazard is the captain and away at City, we’re not sure how many points he’ll be able to acquire for over half of the FPL.
Here’s the team in its entirety.
GW2 Scout Picks: @SamAustin45
Facts has once again opted for a 3-4-3 formation, and has put an emphasis on Liverpool’s defence with the arrival of Bournemouth. As a Liverpool fan, Sam is keen to tell the rest of us that Liverpool just don’t concede goals against Bournemouth. With Mignolet and Clyne in the team, it’s a statement that nothing is set to change (but now you watch Wilson score a screamer). Sam’s also gone for the ‘Hype’ player in Matteo Darmian, expecting clean sheet returns against both Villa and Newcastle in the coming weeks. Sam’s also an avid believer that you shouldn’t trust the Spurs defence, and thinks Stoke are good value for money, proven with the inclusion of Glen Johnson.
In midfield, it’s an all home affair. Lens of Sunderland has already gotten off the mark, and could do damage against a Norwich team that didn’t look sharp at the back. Then again, neither did Sunderland, so there could be goals at the Stadium of Light. Or, as this author’s throwing out there, the first 0-0 of the season. Payet and Tadic also offer solid set-piece options, with West Ham now at home twice on the bounce, Payet would be a shrewd acquisition for FPL managers. Andre Ayew is vice-captain for the week, with the Swans facing Newcastle at home. Sam’s a firm believer that Newcastle could be relegated this season and thinks Ayew will march on McLaren’s misery.
Up top sees a second Swansea inclusion in Gomis, a striker on the way back to the starting 11 in Aguero, and captain Benteke, who looks set to grab his first Liverpool goal(s) on Monday night to round off the Gameweek.
GW2 Scout Picks: @sweatymongoose
There is a familiar feel with the Sweat’s team to that of Sam’s factual line-up. Repeat inclusions include Benteke, Clyne, Ayew, and Gomis. All for the same reasons listed above, PJ has gone for convincing wins for Liverpool and Swansea, but what’s paramount is the inclusion of FOUR Man United players. For future reference, we’re going to stick to three options per team, but Phil’s adamant United are getting a result at Villa Park.
Mata, Smalling, Rooney, Romero (on the bench) indicates this. Smalling is o.5 more expensive than Darmian or Shaw, so may not be in contention for actual teams, but under Van Gaal he is assured of game time. Shaw and Darmian face competition. Smalling also scored in patches and should benefit from the increase of bonus points for central defenders.
The Sweat’s also banking on two players high on the FPL radar right now, Coutinho and Albrighton, as they face potentially favourable opposition. Rounding out the eleven is Cresswell and Ruddy, who both are differentials in terms of the scout picks this week.
GW2 Scout Picks: @RobboAustin
Ayew, Clyne and Benteke are the ever present trio in all three teams in the starting teams. All three have gone for a 3-4-3 formation, reverting to familiar tactics applied in the 2014/15 season.
Pownage has opted for Fabianski in the sticks, and a different Man United defender compared to Facts and the Sweat. Shaw offers a slightly cheaper price than the newly increased Darmian now at 5.6m. Cresswell and Clyne will also offer interesting attacking potential for this second round of fixtures, whilst in midfield Mane gets the nod ahead of Chelsea midfielders. Cazorla is still on penalty duty, and actually scored a pen last season at Selhurst Park.
In attack Pownage has gone for his actual front three, a trio of Rooney, Benteke and Deeney. On our Twitter account, we’ve hyped Deeney as being a potential captaincy option. Watford are looking strong on the attack, with Troy at the tip of the action, it’s the perfect occasion to start his scoring campaign. From an FPL point of view, we’re all kind of expecting Deeney to be this season’s Charlie Austin or Harry Kane, and even though we’re asking for a lot, the potential is there. The only thing keeping Deeney back? His discipline. Yellow cards will haunt players as the season progresses. Expect a few suspensions.
On the bench for all three is Layun – Watford’s FPL defender playing his trade in CAM. We tipped Layun to be a potential hit should he play, because we knew he’d play in an advanced role, but with Berghuis and Abdi potentially coming back into the mix this week, we’re half doubting his inclusion, but have nonetheless taken the punt on him.
If you'd like to delve into Gameweek Two a little bit more, or looking for that killer differential for this week, take a read of our 'Weekly Wildcard' article now. Click the image to be taken to the article.
General GW2 Conclusions:
• Most picked players: Rooney, Clyne, and Benteke feature in all four scout teams.
• Most common teams: Swansea, West Ham, Liverpool, and Man United feature in the three scout teams.
• Scout Pick captains: Benteke (Pownage, Facts), Rooney (Sweatymongoose), Hazard (Hype Team)
• The potential differentials: Leicester could go to West Ham and shock again. Albrighton is taking everything and could be a killer difference.
• GW2 Formation: The 3-4-3 formation is used for all the scout pick squads, whilst the Hype Team operates with a 4-4-2 for a second straight week.
• Outside of the squads, what do we think will happen?: Tight affair between City and Chelsea, United and Liverpool to both end the GW with 6 points, Newcastle to get undone quite badly at Swansea, and Arsenal to potentially lose two on the spin (though they will score). All other fixtures are up in the air, with randomness most likely to ensue over the course of the four days.
• How many points will FPL teams get this week?: We’re expecting the average to raise to just below 40, whilst most will reach the 50 point mark. It’s still early in the season though, so it could be another week of chaos and low scores. Preferably the former, probably the latter.
Players that may have missed the first hype train leaving the Gameweek one station are numbered, but with a good reason why they may have missed out on the long trip. Here are some of the players and the reservations we had on selecting these players.
• The Hurrikane: For a second straight week, all three of the Hype Team have excluded Kane from their scout picks. The reason? We’re still not convinced with Spurs. The price-tag is also 1m than Benteke, who faces Bournemouth. Despite their loss to Liverpool, Stoke are more than capable at grabbing all three points at the Lane. There won’t be many goals in the game, just like the Liverpool outing, so Kane has been side-lined, but we’re expecting involvement later on down the line.
• Eden Hazard: The main man in the FPL plays away at Man City, and there is a concern that early season form is replicating last season. We’re hoping for the best, but with better options in the form of Payet and Ayew, Hazard doesn’t make the cut.
• Costel Pantilimon: Fantasy Football Fix are predicting that 3 Point Panti has the potential to be the best GK option this week, but Norwich looked good going forward and might pose the Romanian a few problems in a potentially open game at the Stadium of Light.
• Raheem Sterling: Has the potential to run Ivanovic and Azpi ragged, but just isn’t clinical enough in front of goal. This has been evident long before Sterling’s move to the Etihad. At Liverpool, Sterling was wasteful without Sturridge, Gerrard, and Suarez feeding him chance after chance. Silva is the better option, playing in a central role, but he also misses out because of the big clash. We’d rather avoid the City vs. Chelsea fixture.
• Christian Eriksen: Inter-linking play with Kane at Old Trafford was sublime at times, but for exactly the same reason as the Hurrikane, Eriksen might not see much room to play in with Stoke shutting up shop at the Lane.
• Alexis Sanchez: Potentially playing, but there are still questions marks on his inclusion. FPL proven, but like Hazard there are better options for this particular week.
• Adrian: We’ve hyped Adrian as the man to replace Courtois in FPL teams, but with Cresswell pipping him in our attention, Adrian just misses out.
• Saido Berahino: Moved out to a wide position against City essentially helps ruin his FPL potential. Watford away though means the Englishman was high on our list of attackers, but misses out because of where he’ll play against Watford throughout the 90 minutes.
In closing, we’d like to remind you all that the deadline is at 6:45pm Friday (tonight, GMT time). You probably already know, but there’s always that one. With any luck, we’re all looking for green arrows this week, not just in our scout picks, but for every team that has the real competitive squads out there.
Until then, it’s going to be a long four days, and we hope that we’d potentially shed some light on any dilemmas you may have heading into the Villa/United game.