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FPL Gameweek 2 preview: Captain Auba, avoid Bamford, hold onto Werner

With gameweek 2 of Fantasy Premier League on the horizon, let’s preview the upcoming round of games with our tips and advice for captaincy, transfers, which players to avoid and who to take a punt on.

On the latest episode of The Fantasy Faithful podcast, Ste McGovern was joined by Harry Diamond and Fulhamish contributor Dara Curran to get their thoughts on second week of FPL action. Here are some of the key points we made on the show.

FPL Gameweek 2 preview:

Lock of the Week

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£12.0) was the Lock of the Week on this week’s podcast. The Arsenal wide forward only took three shots against lowly Fulham on Saturday, but he did score a wonderful goal to kick off his campaign at Craven Cottage.

Aubameyang is as reliable a fantasy asset as they come, and this week the Gunners are hosting a West Ham United team who looked abject in their 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle United. And with the ink barely dry on a lucrative new contract, he could be in the right mood for a big haul.

While Dara and Harry plumped for the Gabonese international, I went for a slightly riskier pick, and that was Son Heung-min (£9.0). Spurs didn’t look at their best against Everton, but I think the Korean winger could take full advantage of Southampton’s full-backs, who stay incredibly high up the pitch.

That said, Spurs are coming off the back of a narrow Europa League win in which Son played the full 90 minutes. So watch me get egg on my face this weekend when the Saints win 3-0.

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Captaincy pick

Naturally enough, we’re giving our Aubameyang the nod for the armband. The striker is obviously a phenomenal player, but he’s also a flat track bully who loves to rack up goals against the weaker sides.

“They’re just not great defensively,” Dara noted on episode four The Fantasy Faithful podcast. “Aside from the three promoted teams, they had the worst expected goals against (1.68 xGA according to Opta) of any team last week. West Ham are there for the taking.”

If you don’t have Aubameyang or have already sold him to bring in Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5) or Raheem Sterling (£11.5), then we also recommend looking at Mo Salah (£12.0) away to Chelsea and Bruno Fernandes (£10.5) against Crystal Palace.

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Bandwagons to avoid

Looking at the list of the most transferred in players this week, there are some obvious names there. Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, Mo Salah and so on. But there were two names that really stood out to me that looked completely kneejerk.

The first is Patrick Bamford (£5.5), who scored Leeds United’s opener against Liverpool and his price has increased to £5.6m thanks to over 300,000 transfers – the most of any forward. This seems like a classic example of people seeing a cheap player score and not looking any further into their viability.

Yes, Leeds looked good against the Premier League champions, but despite it being a pretty open game, Bamford only took two shots. On top of that, he was taken off after 61 minutes. That’s a major red flag for me when considering players for your lineup; you want guys who playing 90 minutes or at least as close to that as possible.

Bamford is also famously inconsistent, passing up tonnes of good chances despite an uncanny knack to get into great positions. With Rodrigo waiting in the wings for an opportunity, he is a hard pass.

Up next is Jeff Hendrick (£5.0), who had a terrific debut for Newcastle United when he provided a goal and an assist against West Ham. That was enough to make 158,000 managers bring him in during the week, an astonishing number for a player who has never been a serious FPL asset in his four years in the first tier.

The Irishman was getting into much better positions last Saturday than he usually did for Burnley, but the chances of him replicating that performance are slim.

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Players to hold onto

On the flip side, a number of players in the most transferred out column caught my eye. The first two are Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5) and Danny Ings (£8.5), two players who were absolutely sensational last season. The Liverpool full-back had a mare against Leeds, but we know exactly what he is capable of. Clean sheets may not be as abundant this season, but the assists will come.

Ings will also deliver, even if Southampton have endured a rocky start to the season. Their opening weekend defeat to Crystal Palace was followed up by a League Cup exit at the hands of Championship side Brentford. But their upcoming opponent’s Spurs were also poor in their first game and offer an opportunity for returns. Don’t forget that Saints’ fixtures are also pretty enticing; they only face two of the traditional Big Six teams in the next eight gameweeks.

The player dumped by more managers than anyone else, though, was Timo Werner (£9.5), despite the fact he made the assist for Jorginho’s spot kick. The dead leg he suffered as a result of the challenge that led to the penalty obviously makes it easier for managers to ditch him, and Anthony Martial’s availability makes the Manchester United forward a very straightforward swap.

However, Werner looked very sharp against Brighton, was a goal scoring machine last season, and I would expect him to be fit and ready for Liverpool on Sunday.

Team to watch 

Following their 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, Everton have become a very popular side all of a sudden, with many of their players seeing their transfers soar this week. A lot of people have jumped on Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.1) and Lucas Digne, but the two Toffees on my watchlist are South American duo Richarlison (£8.0) and James Rodriguez (£7.5).

While Calvert-Lewin scored, he only completed two shots and one key pass, whereas Richarlison had seven shots, five of which were inside the box, and one key pass. The Brazilian also had a glorious chance to score after rounding the goalkeeper, but he took it too wide and scuffed the chance.

Rodriguez is obviously Everton’s biggest signing in a long time, and he showed why against Spurs. He was elegance personified when he was on the ball and Spurs seemingly had no way of curtailing his effect on proceedings, making five key passes on the day – no Premier League player made more in the first week.

On The Fantasy Faithful podcast Harry Diamond reckoned their backline could also be worth investing in. “They looked so much more solid against Tottenham. With that new midfield, there are clean sheets there.”

With so many exciting new players on board, Carlo Ancelotti in charge and an attractive style of play to boot, the Merseyside outfit are definitely the ones to watch in the coming weeks.

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One week punt

Each week on the pod we are going to pick out one player who would be a good signing for that gameweek and that gameweek only, regardless of their future fixtures or viability. We’re going to base our picks on recent form and the immediate match facing them.

For gameweek 2 we’ve chose Jack Harrison (£5.5) of Leeds United. The Whites were impressive against Liverpool in their first Premier League match for 16 years, losing admirably on a 4-3 scoreline.

Harrison was one of the most impressive on the day, pressing high to win the ball and get himself fouled in dangerous areas. His underlying statistics are not amazing, with just one shot and no chances created, but it was against the league champions and he did manage a brilliant finish with that one opportunity. According to Fantasy Football Hub, he also has an expected goal involvement of 34 xGI for this season.

“He gave Trent (Alexander-Arnold) a torrid time,” Harry pointed out on the podcast, referring to the way in which he turned the full-back inside and out before scoring at Anfield. “They’re playing Fulham this weekend, and at £5.5m I think he could be a decent shout for a one week punt.”

This was my ‘Under The Radar’ pick on the show, but since then The Scout has recommended Harrison on the official FPL website, sending his transfers racing upwards to almost 150,000. So much for that.

What transfer to make ahead of gameweek 2?

Harry Diamond: Saving a transfer.

Dara Curran: One of the Everton players to target the West Brom game.

Ste McGovern: Bruno Fernandes.


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