- Tottenham defeated themselves in typical fashion, while United gladly accepted the three points and began preparations for a short week of training.
- Watford made a big statement, while Everton continue to search for a winning identity.
- Villa ground out a road victory, while Bournemouth pray someone finds a way to finish.
- Sunderland came out unsurprisingly flat, while Leicester rode Mahrez and Albrighton’s heroic first half to a brilliant start.
- Norwich left their brightest talent on the bench (Redmond), while a refined Palace assured us they will be a formidable side.
- Swansea proved they can play with anyone, while Chelsea still looked like title favorites even in a draw.
- West Ham found a bit of good fortune, while Arsenal stumbled embarrassingly at home.
- Southampton found out that no road game will be a guaranteed three this season, while Newcastle proved they might have more fight than we thought.
- Stoke deserved more, while Liverpool needed a bit of magic from Coutinho to save the day.
- Man City grinned at Yaya’s return to form, while West Brom calmly walked off hoping things will get better next week.
So without further or do, let’s breakdown weekend number two.
Lock of the Day
Dimitri Payet (West Ham) Midfielder – Salary: $6,700:
The only reason I kept him off my selections from week one was because I didn’t expect Arsenal to lay an egg. This week I’m putting him front and center after watching him easily keep Arsenal off balance whenever he touched the ball. He led the French league in assists last season and his delightful service from a set piece deserved as much credit for the goal as Petr Cech’s miscue. He’s quick, shifty and intelligent; always selecting the correct option over the selfish one. It was quite clear that he’s more than ready to take the league by storm with extraordinary physical tools, remarkable IQ and composure on the ball. I’m expecting big things in his first home match against a Leicester side that demonstrated they will certainly give up more than a few goals this season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) Midfielder – Salary: $7,500: I was right to avoid him last week, but this week’s a different story. Put him in your side and watch Swansea ride him to their first win of the season.
Worth Your Buck
Juan Mata (Manchester United) Midfielder – Salary: $7,700:
I think United showed a strong foundation in their opening match. Maybe it wasn’t always pretty, effective or exciting; but I don’t really expect Van Gaal’s system to dazzle us too often. However, one man capable of getting us up out of our chair is definitely Mata. Ever since he was moved to the right wing late last season he’s showed more consistency and managed a better scoring record. Against Aston Villa on the road, I think the worst case scenario sees Mata contribute to a second half goal on way to a 1-0 victory, while ideally United come out firing on all cylinders and Mata pulls the strings behind a wonderful performance. Villa will likely focus in on stopping Rooney and I think that will leave space for Mata to float into at the top of the area.
Graziano Pelle (Southampton) Forward – Salary: $8,100
Last week I selected Mane and he let me down. This week I’ll select Pelle and I’m very much prepared for Mane to have the big week I expect someone on Southampton’s front line to have. If you’re a forward for the Saints you have to be salivating about drawing Everton in your home opener. Everton’s backline continued their struggles from last season against Watford on Saturday and now they will be asked to defend an explosive Southampton side, on the road…I don’t see this ending well for Martinez in company. Expect a back and forth contest as both teams have the quality to grab hold of the match for stretches. If Everton elect to play direct, as they did late on against Watford than we could really have a spectacle on our hands. If they try to over possess, Southampton will get organized and dominate through the counter on way to victory. Pelle will once again be the target, as he has a fortunate matchup against what can only be described as a suspect defender in John Stones.
Memphis Depay (Manchester United) Forward – Salary: $8,000: If not Pelle, than it’s got to be Mane. If not Mata, than it’s got to be Depay. Get the picture…
Jefferson Montero (Swansea) Midfielder – Salary: $5,000:
For all we know, Branislaw Ivanovic is still chasing after Montero, that’s just how good he was. Everytime he touched the ball he looked dangerous against the best team, on the road with one of the finest right backs in front of him. He was confident all day long, demonstrating his pace and his relentlessness to attack time and again. He’s got a quicker first step than almost everyone, enough feints to create space and plenty of talented targets to aim for. While last week Newcastle foiled my prediction behind a strong home performance, I don’t see the road being quite as kind. Expect Montero to put his head down and drive at the backline right up until the contest is put to bed. Swansea will want him on the ball early and often and that is the best thing a fantasy player can ask for.
Allan Nyom (Watford) Defender – Salary: $2,500:
With a successful first EPL performance behind him, I think Allan Nyom displays his consistency with another strong effort. Tony Pulis always has an expiration date and I’m concerned that might be drawing near. While only one tough loss to arguably the most talented team in the league, I have that feeling of déjà vu, but I guess will know more after Saturday. I expect Watford to out play West Brom in their first home match and utilize the strength they showed on the wings to do so. Nyom provides a ton of pace and an eagerness to jump start the counter. He demonstrated a bit of skill at times and did a solid job containing Kevin Mirallas. What’s even better is he literally costs almost nothing, so if it backfires who cares.
Mauro Zarate (West Ham) Forward – Salary: $3,500: He scored the game clinching goal in week one and only costs $3,500. To top it all he’s Argentinian and personally, I’m always game to trust an Argentine forward.
Traps to Avoid
Harry Kane (Tottenham) Forward – Salary: $9,800:
Even in defeat, I was very impressed with Stoke on Sunday. Mark Hughes is a solid coach and he’s got a disciplined side full of veterans willing to work to prove their worth against the top sides. For Tottenham, I see this as a very tough matchup. As their reputation for being a slightly fragile side, meets the grit and fight of Stoke. For Kane, he’s going to be thrown right into a physical battle that can prove exhausting for any striker. Think about how much of Benteke you saw last week? Why expect anything different this week from Kane. I think Stoke can be one of the most frustrating sides to face and I’m not sure Tottenham have the fortitude or composure to stay patient long enough to allow Kane to shine. Even if Spurs get the result, I think the formula will come from the midfield, while Kane does the dirty work, but lacks the finished product.
Ross Barkley (Everton) Midfielder – Salary: $7,200:
After a spotty game, he made the difference for his side, pulling Everton back even with a fantastic strike. Over his young career inconsistency has been his biggest detriment. The supremely gifted England midfielder has all the tools to be world class, but when you watch him something seems to be incomplete. While I had a ton of hope he’d grow this season, nothing on Saturday made me really believe things have changed all that much. His brilliant moment didn’t do enough for me to back his $7,200 price tag in week two, even before I realized he’d be playing Southampton on the road. Honestly if the result were the only thing that mattered I’d advise Martinez to keep him on the bench. However, with the kid’s confidence high after an electric finish and a long season still to play I expect Barkley to be on the pitch come Saturday. Unfortunately, not to the same effect that he provide vs. Watford last week.
Papiss Cisse (Newcastle) Forward – Salary: $8,300: When he scores, he usually scores in bursts. However, this weekend I’d lean on the side of caution on the road against a talented side. I think there are enough forwards this week in good matchups that I’d refrain from taking most big priced strikers and save the money for midfielders who appear to have more promising matchups.