Saturday 20 January 2018

These tips should help you nail game week two of the Fantasy Premier League season

Who should you use your free transfer on this week?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the pre-season friendly match at the Aviva Stadium
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the pre-season friendly match at the Aviva Stadium

By Kameron Virk

The second round of Premier League fixtures are fast approaching and the opportunity to fix any mistakes from the first week will soon have passed.

There were undoubtedly some surprises on the opening weekend, both in terms of team and player performance, and that helps explain some of the movement that’s been happening in the Fantasy Premier League this week.

Sadio Mane rules the roost

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graphic showing which players are proving popular in FPL

Official FPL data has been used to create the Press Association’s own metric that determines each player’s “heat score”, showing who’s growing in popularity.

After scoring the first goal for Liverpool last weekend Mane, who comes for a hefty price, is continuing to prove popular. He’s gone from featuring in 17.4% of teams last week to 24.2% this.

This top 10 differs to the FPL’s because it takes into consideration how many people already had each player rather than just how many have added them – and shows a number of people are hoping West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi continues against Burnley in the same way he started. From being in 2.4% of teams last week, the Egyptian now features in 10%. And at just £4.6 million you can see why.

While the front three that started for Liverpool against Watford are all in favour, their number 10 definitely isn’t.

Coutinho’s out in the cold

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Graphic showing out of favour players

With the uncertainty surrounding Philippe Coutinho, who got more points than any of Liverpool’s current front three in last season’s FPL, managers are shipping him out in their thousands.

The injured Alexis Sanchez is also on the list while Crystal Palace’s poor start appears to have spooked some. Wilfried Zaha features in 4% fewer teams than he did last week.

People are also questioning whether Kieran Trippier, Victor Lindelof and Jermain Defoe will feature or have much impact for their teams.

Will you keep the faith?

Manchester United look set for another good week while life is also rosy for Southampton

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graphic showing fixture difficulty

Anyone who paid Romelu Lukaku’s weighty price tag (£11.5 million) – and let’s face it, that’s a lot of people – was rewarded as he bagged two goals on his Premier League debut for United.

The good times look set to stick around with the Red Devils expected to bring home 6.51 points from the next available nine, according to the bookmakers’ latest odds.

They face Swansea (a), Leicester (h) and Stoke (a) while Southampton, who are also sitting very high, have West Ham (h) Huddersfield (a) and Watford (h) to come. Could a few of their players be worth a gamble this week?

Everton, meanwhile, are expected to have a torrid time as they come up against Manchester City (a), Chelsea (a) and Spurs (h).

Newcastle have the perfect substitute goalie but the cheapest defenders should be avoided

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Graphic showing which players have the most value

While anyone out there capable of bringing in points for a cheap price is obviously what everyone is looking for – it’s why Granit Xhaka has proved so popular between game week one and two – it can be difficult not to overspend on midfielders and attackers.

The downside of that often means leaving less money for defence, with unknowns drafted in to an unbalanced team.

Analysis shows that this strategy is likely to backfire, with just one of the defenders who costs less than £4.5m getting any game time last week – and Chancel Mbemba still didn’t pick up any points.

Sacrifices do have to be made and you could do worse than drafting in Rob Eliot, another Newcastle man – the only goalkeeper in the cheapest bracket who got any points on the opening weekend.

It’s not all bad news for defenders – last week the two middle brackets picked up more points than the best performing most expensive defender, so there are gems out there to be found.

Press Association

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