Gameweek 1 was certainly a high scoring affair as popular players and captains Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane all delivered double digit returns. This brought a 65 point average – a total across the season that often puts you close to winning the whole thing. More challenging gameweeks are on the way.
Racing straight to the top of the league were teams ‘Midfield Maestro’ and ‘WilshereAFC’, who both managed a very impressive total of 107 points, without using the bench boost or triple captain chip.
Both teams benefited from owning Kane, Salah, Sterling, Ryan and Zinchenko, with additional returns coming elsewhere from the likes of Dunk and Maitland-Niles respectively.
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Gameweek 1 Points
Gameweek 1 brought a very pleasing total of 86 points, with Salah (C) and Sterling justifying their premium price tags to score over half of those points combined. Meanwhile, defensive picks Nick Pope, Virgil Van Dijk, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko and even Lewis Dunk on the bench all proved their worth.
Despite not returning, Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota showed promising signs. The Liverpool defender demonstrated his attacking potential, taking two shots and creating one chance. The only worry is how many clean sheets will follow during Alisson’s absence through injury. But as the fifth most owned player in the game, there are definitely more pressing concerns.
Jota created one chance and mustered three goal attempts, including a big chance, which he dragged wide from the right side of the penalty area when through on goal. With Wolves safely through to the Europa League play-off round, he will be free to start and hopefully directly contribute to a goal or two in home fixtures against Manchester United and Burnley.
More concerning are Ayoze Perez and Josh King, who both had relatively quiet games at the weekend, taking just one shot apiece. Games against Chelsea away (Perez) and Manchester City home (King) in the next two gameweeks are far from ideal.
Gameweek 2 Transfer Thoughts
Much of the talk amongst FPL Twitter users ahead of Gameweek 2 has been to save a transfer with a view to making two or three changes next week. The justification for this is that you set your Gameweek 1 team up with more than one week in mind and want to give those players another go before making any decisions. All things considered, this is a perfectly valid and reasonable suggestion.
However, it is not necessarily one that I will follow. As mentioned, both Perez and King are early concerns. Leicester will be favourites heading into matches against Sheffield United and Bournemouth in Gameweek 3 and 4, making it easier to keep faith in Perez for a little bit longer.
Meanwhile, King and Bournemouth have the better fixture this week, away at Aston Villa, but that is followed by Manchester City (H) and Leicester (A). Ahead of those two matches, current sales of Bournemouth attackers will most likely continue, leaving those holding onto them faced with a dilemma: make a switch very early in the week, possibly even before all of the Gameweek 2 matches have been played or hold through a price drop or two. Neither option is particularly appealing.
This is where I am considering a transfer. At the same price, Teemu Pukki has had nearly 80,000 net transfers in ahead of a home match against Newcastle. It’s a fixture that is arguably equally or even more favourable than King’s from an attacking perspective, with that trend continuing in the subsequent two gameweeks.
Making the move this week would be an attempt to get ahead of the curve. Movement in ownership is shifting away from players like King and towards Pukki at that price and this is something that could be worth exploiting.
This is not to say every King owner should make the switch this week – it really depends on your own team and how highly you rate Pukki. In my case as a Wilson owner, the decision to double up on the Bournemouth attack was perhaps a mistake which could now be corrected. With Heaton in goal as well, owning all three leaves a lot of exposure in a fixture that is one of the more difficult to predict in Gameweek 2.
Therefore, this move spreads the risk ahead of Gameweek 2, capitalises on potential price movement and takes advantage of King’s mini fixture swing after this week.
With Dendoncker vs Burnley (H) or Dunk vs Southampton (H) then able to fill in for Wilson vs Manchester City (H) in Gameweek 3, no transfers are necessarily required next week, leaving two for Gameweek 4. This is effectively a delayed roll of a free transfer, opting to make a change this week and none next week rather than the other way around.
Whereas if no move was made this week, King’s price may drop, meaning that two transfers would need to be made to acquire Pukki or even Ashley Barnes. There would always be the alternative of opting for cheaper option such as Che Adams or Neal Maupay, but those carry even more risk.
To summarise, saving a transfer is the safest option for some teams, in order to assess a number of players for a second time, before making a more informed decision next week. But in other cases, reacting to situations like this early may prove to be both less risky and more profitable in terms of buying the preferred replacement and not needing a second correctional transfer to afford that move. This is the situation I find myself in, which is why the King to Pukki move is so appealing.
Gameweek 2 Squad Selection
The Pukki transfer has not been made yet, but this is how the team will lineup if and when it occurs.
The decision to start Dunk over Perez was planned before the season started and was part of the reason the King-Wilson double-up was deemed viable, given that Brighton host Southampton in Gameweek 3.
But with the Pukki move, only one of Dunk, Dendoncker and Wilson will need to be fielded next week. The team is already set up for Gameweek 3, with Perez returning to the starting lineup and two of Dunk, Dendoncker and Wilson sitting on the bench with Hayden.
The intention would then be to roll the transfer next week but if a transfer is needed or appears logical, then there is of course scope to make one. This is the key to remaining flexible in FPL – have a plan, but be open to opportunities if they arise and change your thinking on a particular decision.
The only remaining dilemmas are in goal and for the captaincy, with Heaton and Salah preferred to Pope and Sterling due to their more favourable fixtures.
I hope you enjoy the gameweek ahead and are looking forward to Josh King’s now inevitable 13 point haul.
Total Points: 86
Overall Rank: 523k