20 Teams: 20 Players looks at the best fantasy football options from each team, each week. From the must starts to the best of a bad bunch, here are this week’s picks for Gameweek 3 of the 2016/17 season.
Arsenal (Watford A)
Alexis Sanchez: The remainder of Arsenal’s Euro 2016 starters return in Gameweek 3 but their most able threat could still be Sanchez. In both league games against Watford last season, the Chilean ran riot, claiming two goals and an assist.
Bournemouth (Crystal Palace A)
Joshua King: The Norwegian international was the Cherries most impressive performer in Gameweek 2. Playing behind Callum Wilson, King provided pace and creativity and looks an important member of Eddie Howe’s side.
Going up against an average Crystal Palace side this week King (6 goals and 2 assists last season) will be among the action.
Burnley (Chelsea A)
Andre Gray: Although facing possible FA disciplinary action, Andre Gray is available for selection against Chelsea. The embattled striker will be looking for the kind of showing that got him and goal and assist in an impressive 2-0 win over Liverpool. Two games in and last year’s Championship Player of the Year has already acclimatized spectacularly.
Chelsea (Burnley H)
Eden Hazard: Has he got his groove back? Both Hazard and Diego Costa have started to look their old selves again under the guidance of Antonio Conte, and the wideman in particular has been electric at times.
Burnley were resilient in victory over Liverpool, but Hazard ran rings around Watford’s defence in Gameweek 2. For a side fresh out of the Championship, the Belgian could be a real handful.
Crystal Palace (Bournemouth H)
Christian Benteke: The ex-Liverpool man and Crystal Palace look a perfect marriage at this point in time. A fast and direct side who struggled without recognized centre-forward for much of last season, Pardew’s Palace could show big improvement with Benteke up top. A home fixture with Bournemouth could be the perfect environment for his Eagles debut.
Everton (Stoke City H)
Yannick Bolasie: The new man is likely to receive his home debut against Stoke this weekend and could experience a sizeable uptake in fantasy ownership as a result.
Bolasie will need to display his obviously scintillating attributes with more consistency to win over the more critical fantasy managers. You feel that surrounded by more talented players, and with the focal point of Romelu Lukaku converting his would-be assists, the Congo international will rise to the occasion.
Hull City (Manchester United H)
Shaun Maloney: As the wily player and link man in this Hull City side, anything positive the Tigers manage to muster will come through the feet of this Scottish international.
He was particularly impressive last time out, scoring and turning provider for Abel Hernandez to remind everyone just how good he can be on his day. United could be something of a tall order however.
Leicester City (Swansea City H)
Christian Fuchs: Leicester may be struggling for goals, but they looked teak tough defensively against Arsenal in 0-0 draw, overcoming their Gameweek 1 blip. In that sense, Christian Fuchs could be a wise bet. Add that to the bonus of his set-piece delivery and we see his potential as both a clean sheet and assist contributor.
Liverpool (Tottenham Hotspur A)
Divock Origi: The Belgian has waited his turn at Liverpool, showing flashes of the strength and technique that could make him one of the league’s best.
After Sturridge’s regressive display at Burnley and his public frustrations regarding his position, Origi could get the nod in the starting centre-forward berth. If he performs, he may keep it.
Manchester City (West Ham H)
Sergio Aguero: Many thought it could be a slower start for Aguero as he adapts to Guardiola’s tactical intricacies. Not so. The Argentine has already reiterated himself a fantasy must-have with three goals already. He’s must start even though West Ham will provide their toughest test so far.
Manchester United (Hull City A)
Paul Pogba: Pogba’s price and popularity mean every fantasy manager will be clamoring to sign him in due course. He showed more than just flashes of quality as United ran out as comprehensive victors over Southampton in Gameweek 2.
The assist and goal threat he displayed so ably at Juventus is the main draw, but now his exchanges with the technically blessed Ibrahimovic could add another level to his game. A fantasy superstar in the making.
Middlesbrough (West Bromwich Albion A)
Alvaro Negredo: Negredo has hit the ground running upon his return to the Premier League which poses the question why City shipped him off so quickly in the first place?
In Gameweek 1, we saw a striker rediscovering his goalscoring touch on English shores, but in Gameweek 2 he turned provider twice for teammate Cristhian Stuani to grab a brace. A remarkable start and a bargain of a centre-forward.
Southampton (Sunderland H)
Nathan Redmond: The ex-Norwich man has been deployed as a striker in the opening two fixtures. New manager Claude Puel clearly sees his role as being that of goalscorer rather than wideman, which bodes well for fantasy.
The partnership with Shane Long appears to be based on the Irishman providing the pace and power with Redmond delivering the guile. The 22 year old has the potential to supply both goals and assists in this arrangement. He could get some joy against a Sunderland with defensive frailties.
Stoke City (Everton A)
Xherdan Shaqiri: Stoke’s “Power Cube” has looked like Mark Hughes’ most impressive performer so far this season. This isn’t all that difficult when the rest of his teammates have clocked in relatively subpar performances. Nonetheless the Swiss deserves credit for his early form.
Against a strengthened Everton side, Stoke’s main goal threat is likely to come from Shaqiri as Mame Diouf struggles to lead the line. His goal and four attempts in Gameweek 1 shows his hunger to get on the scoresheet is certainly there.
Sunderland (Southampton A)
Patrick van Aanholt: For a long time, Patrick van Aanholt has been a saving grace for Sunderland in fantasy terms. Chipping in with goals, assists and the odd clean sheet throughout last season he’s already carried that over into 2016/17 with a goal in last week’s defeat to Middlesbrough. An upcoming fixture with Southampton is likely to be a cagey affair, but the Dutchman could prove a decisive factor.
Swansea City (Leicester City A)
Fernando Llorente: It was always going to take time for the big Spaniard to bed into the Swansea set up, but Francesco Guidolin needs him to step up and become the attacking focal point of this side sooner rather than later. Testing the goalkeeper just once against Hull, he never really got close. Expect an improved performance from a strike of his pedigree. However, the fixture list is not kind to Swansea.
Tottenham Hotspur (Liverpool H)
Erik Lamela: The Argentine has come off the back of an impressive pre-season and hasbeen Spurs’ strongest performer with a goal and assist so far. With Liverpool in defensive disarray, Lamela could be the one to capitalize.
Watford (Arsenal H)
Etienne Capoue: Normally the defensive shield of the team, Etienne Capoue has been the Hornets most impressive performer across their opening two games with a goals in each.
In addition to the added goal threat he’s found under Walter Mazzarri, Capoue has racked up points on the defensive front and could be a strong low-cost inclusion to fantasy starting XI.
West Brom (Middlesbrough H)
Salomon Rondon: Rondon wasn’t as much of a impact last time out against Everton, but showed enough in Gameweek 1 with a goal and strong performance to suggest that this could be a breakthrough season for the Venezuelan frontman.
West Ham (Manchester City A)
Chiek Kouyate: Andy Carroll’s injury has only added to the dearth of goal options for West Ham, and with an impressive Manchester City on the cards in Gameweek 3 the likely goalscorers are thin on the ground.
Cheik Kouyate however has a record of coming up with big goals and combined with his defensive attributes, he could be a wise acquisition in PlayON terms.