Guy’s 5 Fantasy Premier League Tips For Gameweek 3

Hello again ladies and gentlemen, it’s Guy Sanchez joining you once more on this fine site.  For those of you who may or may not remember, I used to write here for daily MLS articles once upon a time.  After a bit of a hiatus, the folks around here were kind enough to open up a weekly spot for me to give FPL tips a shot.  FPL has been, and always will be, my true fantasy love – we’ll have to wait to see if that love translates into positive tips for you all or not (it will).

This has been one of the most interesting starts to any year in the Premier League in quite some time.  Some people are already getting discouraged with their fantasy squads, and others are looking like geniuses.  The purpose of this article for you then is to help push you into that second group – it’s always better to walk into the office on Monday looking like the smartest guy in the room than it is to have to hang your head in shame (and take your breaks a half hour later than the group to avoid ridicule). 

I’ll be accompanying this article with a short, weekly podcast that gives me a chance to elaborate on each point. Whether you wish you just read the article, just listen to the podcast or do both at the same time, that’s your choice. Underneath each heading I’ll include the time in which I discuss that point in the podcast.

Guy’s 5 Fantasy Premier League Tips For Gameweek 3:

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#1 – The melding of the meta forwards

(3:40 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

Somewhere in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, Hollywood reporters started to blend celebrity couples’ names together.  Anybody remember ‘Bennifer’ and ‘TomKat’?  Not surprisingly, this trend tries to make its way into the sports arena from time to time.  And even when it’s clearly not going to work, people try to make these monikers stick.  Enter Serigo Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  For weeks now you’ve seen people try to make “Ibra-uero” or “Ag-ovic” try to work.  And it’s not working people.  So let’s all just quit it.

But even with the stupid combo-name, the idea behind this union is very important.  At this point, you might even say the pairing is critical to the game in general.  If you started with neither of these forwards in GW1, you may have already just deleted your account in a fit of rage.  If you started with just one of the two forwards (like I did), you probably found yourself in the top third of all players, but nowhere near anything respectable.  No, the right move from the very first kickoff was to own both of these players.  And now that the secret is out, their ownership rates are actually quite a rare sight.

As of the writing of this article, Aguero sits at 51.3% ownership in the game and Ibrahimovic sits at 52.8%.  Each of these guys alone more than double the ownership rates of the rest of the forwards.  The most critical piece of information here though is that this is still very early in the year – so there aren’t many dead teams on either side of that those ownership percentages.  And that means that there are still half of the people playing this game that are refusing to bow down to the meta team and think that they have a better way of going about things.  And that’s a dangerous train of thought.

The meta pairing of these two forwards has the implied risk of having a weaker midfield and defense than is traditionally customary.  And while it’s true that you can’t afford all of the big names that you’d hope to, many value options have stepped up and provided positive points to accompany Aguero and Ibrahimovic.  But the larger point is this, the risk/reward equation is much more favorable going with the pack than it is to try to outsmart everybody by yourself every week.  Even with the higher prices, you leave yourself less exposed to a huge loss in ranks by adopting the meta team than you do by trying to create your own template team of ‘proper balance’ in all positions.  So do yourselves a favor and make sure your first move this week is to have Aguero and Ibrahimovic starting up front side by side.

#2 – De Gea not worth the price?

(8:05 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

Coming in from our first point, to accommodate Ibrahimovic and Aguero, you’re going to need to find a few places to cut some corners.  And in a surprising twist, we find that David De Gea is the most owned keeper in the league by a large margin – and he’s also one of the most expensive.

De Gea is owned by 46.7% of all players in the game and costs a whopping £5.5, and that’s just not going to do if you want to get that better than average midfielder and have the newest power couple up front.  I get it, Man U have the goods – but their next string of opponents are looking to take away their clean chances.  First up Man U will be taking on Hull City in this weekend’s match.  On paper in GW1, that was looked at as a gimme game; but as results have shown, Hull City have seemingly forgotten that they’re supposed to be losing their matches by big margins.  

In no way is anybody thinking that Hull City are this year’s Leicester, but there is a certain ignorance about them that serves them well.  When Hull put up 2 on Leicester in the opener, we blamed Leicester for taking them lightly.  But when Hull put up 2 on Swansea on the road, we still blamed Swansea…but doubts started to form that maybe Hull were not quite as bad off as we had been told.  In any event, should Man Utd beat Hull?  Absolutely.  But will they shut them out completely?  It’s doubtful in my mind.

And then right after Hull, Man Utd play the first leg of the Manchester Derby.  It’s a home fixture for United, but it’s still against Aguero and Co.  In all seriousness, De Gea could be in line to concede 3-5 goals over the next two matches.  Looking ahead there are plenty of keepers that could do a goal or two better in the differential than De Gea, and they’ll probably cost you £1.0 less than what you’re paying now.  Sometimes the pack is right and the meta team is the way to go.  Other times you need to look at the situation and realize that relying so heavily on a keeper at this stage isn’t the way to go.

#3 – “Does the defense’s case hold water?”

(10:38 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

“No, the defense is wrong.”

In case you didn’t catch that, those quotes are from my favorite scene in ‘My Cousin Vinny’, and it’s a clip I probably watch at least once a week on YouTube.  I bring up that quote because many people are feeling like they have their defense completely wrong and they’re worried that fixing their offense is going to leave the backline in a bad way.

But listen, we all need to calm down.  Maybe you have John Stones or Azpilicueta.  Maybe you picked either Valencia or Shaw as your mainstay.  If that’s the case, you must be pulling your hair out seeing that McAuley (WBA), Collins (WHU) and Davies (HUL) are the highest scoring defenders in the game right now.  In fact, if you look at the top 10 scoring defenders in the league right now, only three of the players listed come from last year’s Top 4.  But this is an aberration in my opinion.  The ship will right itself and the cream will rise to the top.  

Outside of Leicester’s surprise defensive payoff last year, the best players from the best teams will usually give you the results you’re looking for by the end of the year.  The danger right now is that many people are wildcarding their teams to fix the front, and in fixing the back there might be an inclination to pick up the current big scorers on the defensive side.  Resist the urge to stock your back full of Hull City, West Brom and West Ham players exclusively.  The Chelsea, Arsenal, and Man City options you picked up to be the core of your back are still the most viable options available to you.  Stay the course and give your defenders some time to settle in.

#4 – The Andre Gray conundrum

(14:16 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

Andre Gray has come under fire this week for past derogatory comments against the gay community.  And unless you’re living under a social media blackout, you’ve no doubt heard all about this already.  What is important is to note that Gray has until the 31st of this month to respond to the charges – but by all accounts, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be punished by his club, Burnley, ahead of the FA decision.

And Burnley’s position can be understood.  They’re a promoted team with a very promising young striker that made these comments four years ago before he was even playing league football.  As callous as it sounds, they need him to play and get points more than they need to punish him for something he did before they ever signed his paychecks.  It might not be the response that some people are looking for, but Burnley seem content to let the FA handle this instead of beating them to the punch.

Whatever your views or ethics tell you about this is completely your business, but this is a fantasy site – and from a fantasy site we can say that Gray is not a good buy right now; the situation is too volatile to make him one of your additions .  But if you already own him, he’s worth holding onto for his positive production.  This week may not be the best matchup for him against Chelsea, but Chelsea seem to be having trouble being a complete defense so far.  In both of Chelsea’s games they’ve conceded a single goal – and with a possible suspension looming, Gray may use this week to try to claim that goal for himself before he’s sidelined.

#5 – Will the real midfielders please stand up?

(17:06 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

We’d all be in a real world of hurt if Aguero and Ibrahimovic were going up against some expensive talent in the middle for points leads this year.  But thankfully, that’s not really been the case.  In fact, out of the Top 10 scoring mids, only Eden Hazard (4th in mid scoring) is going to cost you more than £10.  Crazy longshots at the beginning of the year, Capoue, Fer, Snodgrass and Lallana are just a few of the mids you’ll see dominating the scoreboard right now – and as long as we’re all forced to own the Big 2, you couldn’t ask for a better situation.

But this isn’t a trend that’s going to last forever.  In short time, Mahrez, Payet, Sanchez, Ozil and other big names are going to start to make their mark.  Depending on how you have your mids and your defense set up you will probably only be able to key in on one or two of these guys at a time.  

It’s a sad thing to say, but we always have to remember that Aguero is literally (ok…figuratively) made of glass.  While he’s healthy he needs to be owned and started in all leagues, but you also need to look ahead every week at strong mid replacements for when he eventually breaks down.  Even if you don’t end up drafting in the best mid for weeks on end, don’t get complacent and forget to always mark off which big mid you’d bring in on a double switch if Aguero ever goes to the sidelines.  Having a plan ahead of time allows you to execute the quickest trade to catch the price rises.

My top pick this week for a midfielder is Riyad Mahrez.  If you had to rotate in just one superstar midfielder, it would have to be him.  Mahrez is back on penalties and is still the same player he was last year – and two poor results don’t make a season.  Don’t sleep on Leicester, they’re still potent.  This week Leicester host the woeful Swans – and the poor Swansea faithful are likely going to see two weeks’ worth of frustration unloaded on them.  Don’t be surprised if Mahrez battles Kun and Ibra for top score this round.

There you have it folks.  Enjoy your week, study hard, and dominate you FPL matches this week.

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  1. Liked the pod Guy you made some valid points of which I agree with all 5 tips & have been telling people the same things you talked about. Btw, can’t remember any tips article or pod that I agreed with all the tips provided until now. I have found many people are reluctant to field a team that does not have at least 2-3 heavy hitters in their midfield & as a result started GW1 with players like Ozil, Payet etc. even though many of the big hitters were going to be rested to start this season.

    I went with Aguero, Zlatan & Gray up top to start with Mahrez as my only expensive midfielder. Went with three 5.0 defenders & two @ 4.5 along with Foster & Jakupovic in goal. I figured it would take time to identify who the must have mids will be which turned out to be the case. I think it may take 5-6 weeks before we know who the must have midfield players are so as you said, “stay the course” stick to your original strategy & I’m sure you will find that many of your original picks will pay off.

    As for the Gray situation, I always planned to drop him around GW 4 or 5 which now looks like I will transfer him out for GW4 & since he was a punt for me, I will most likely replace him with another punt.

    I want to add that people should not be worried about a lot of the high scores in the first few weeks since many of them, not all, are due to chips being played. If you have scored in the mid 50’s or 60’s so far, you will be fine & will begin to climb the rankings like you expected to. Sorry for the long post but I had to add my two cents. Looking forward to your next article/pod.

    • Thanks Joe!

      I admit, I’m never sure if a person is going to agree with even a fraction of what I put out there – but I’m glad we’re on the same page. Also glad you enjoyed the pod, Jamie did a great job putting that and the article together.

      Good luck this weekend!

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