Five talking points from FPL gameweek 2
Ibrahimovic/Aguero, penalties, price drops, Diego Costa and cheap midfielders are all hot topics after the second FPL gameweek.
Here are the main talking points from the second round of Premier League fixtures from a fantasy viewpoint:
Penalties are king
Sound familiar? It should. Last week, the importance of having penalty takers in your side was discussed, particularly those big hitters that have spot kicks in their lockers.
Now, with the new Premier League clampdown on holding, shirt-pulling and other box offences, it is feared/hoped that a plethora of penalties will be awarded as footballers attempt to come to terms with the new rules.
@premierleague 2016/17 the year of the penalties!— FPL Coach (@FPLCoach) August 20, 2016
It would be wise for FPL managers to invest in teams' designated penalty takers (within reason), while keeping an eye out for those clubs yet to be awarded a spot kick this season.
Manchester means goals
Speaking of penalties and premium assets, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Aguero are likely essential even at this early stage of the season. Both reside in over half of FPL teams, with Aguero (51.7%) just trailing Ibrahimovic (53.3%).
Basically, if you go without these two players and they score points, you're up s**t creek without a paddle. Particularly so as the Manchester rivals look set to battle it out for the captain's armband in FPL most weeks (possibly excepting Gameweek 4 when United take on City at Old Trafford).
With Paul Pogba's majesty added to Jose Mourinho's United while City look all about goals under Pep Guardiola, it could be a straight race between Ibrahimovic and Aguero for the golden boot (injuries notwithstanding). Get them while they're hot.
Six points on the board for Chelsea doesn't tell the whole story. Both goals being scored by a should-have-been-sent-off Diego Costa does, however. The villainous frontman has been up to his old tricks, somehow avoiding even a second yellow for a horrendous tackle on West Ham keeper Adrian in GW1 before falling theatrically against Watford in GW2 in an attempt to con the referee while on a yellow.
Is Diego Costa gonna break a record for most goals scored in a season after he should have been sent off?— Jamie Murray (@jamie_murray) August 20, 2016
This Eden Hazard quote says it all:
Eden Hazard on the least intelligent #CFC player:— Conteholic (@Conteholic) August 22, 2016
"It's difficult...The least intelligent is Diego Costa."
A strong penchant for skullduggery will see the Spain striker banned soon, whether from that red card he's clearly searching hard for or a yellow-card ban. Two bookings in two games is indicative of Costa's bullish nature at present, making him one to avoid from a fantasy perspective.
However, when the inevitable happens, Conte has an extremely well-able replacement in new signing Michy Batshuayi. The Belgium hitman followed up his assist of Costa's strike against the Hammers with the Blues' equaliser against the Hornets. The £9.0m-priced forward even snuck into the bonus points in GW2, despite only featuring for 18 minutes.
Wish Michy Batshuayi would get a start. Impressed every time I have seen him play.— FPL Thunshot (@FPLThunshot) August 21, 2016
Two strikes (albeit against Bristol Rovers) in Tuesday's EFL cup tie highlight a man on form. 10 FPL points in 24 minutes on the pitch is an incredible stat, though it is early days. However, when Batshuayi is given the opportunity to lead Chelsea's line, he may be the one to break the forward template which currently reads something like 'Zlatan-Aguero-£6.5m'.
There will be value
Several of last season's stars have fallen in value as transfers and wildcards are wielded by itchy FPL bosses (though patience is advised on this front). The likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Dmitri Payet have all unsurprisingly dropped £0.1m in price after slow starts to the season:
While some may reckon Vardy's 2015/16 campaign was something of a fluke, there is no doubt that Kane is a 20-goal a season striker (once he plays up front) or that Payet (whose drop was due to him failing to make the bench on Sunday) will plunder the points at some point during the season.
Keeping an eye on these drops, especially in the case of players you feel may make your side at some point in the season, is a useful tactic to jump on these assets before they inevitably revert to their original price (and higher).
Beware the cheap scoring midfielder
Since scoring the winner for Spurs against Crystal Palace on Saturday, Victor Wanyama (£5.0m) has gained almost 84,000 transfers in. Similarly, Everton's Gareth Barry (£4.5m) has been snapped up by nearly 72,000 managers after he sealed three points for the Toffees against West Brom.
These are points-chasing transfers made by bosses without any regard to the fact that these type of defensive midfield players have likely reached their tally for the season already. Wanyama takes up a potentially-valuable Tottenham spot in fantasy squads while there are much better options than Barry in the budget bracket. One of these is two-goal Etienne Capoue, who will now set you back £4.6m.
Unlike the defensive roles played by Wanyama and Barry, Capoue has license to bomb forward within Walter Mazzarri's favoured 3-5-2 system. He won't score every week but the Frenchman at least offers the prospect of points for minimal outlay.