Last season’s top 3 are in action over the Sunday/Monday slate which makes truly contrarian plays difficult to come by. We’ll see if we can’t come up with some ideas that may be off the radar since with just 3 games there will be considerable overlap amongst the fantasy managers. Here are some guys that might provide the difference in your teams.
Petr Cech – ($5,500) – Arsenal – A contrarian play doesn’ t always have to be cheap, or even a player that isn’t well known. Sometimes it just takes an away keeper for a big club who just faced immense struggles in a televised game. Palace has a strong attack and will get shots but Arsenal can and should win, and Cech will be ready to erase the memory of West Ham.
Artur Boruc – ($3,700) – Bournemouth – Mignolet will be the most popular keeper on the slate, so if he struggles the most obvious way to fade him would be to choose Bournemouth attackers, but Boruc could stand to benefit as well. Outside of Coutinho’s game winning striker, Liverpool were dreadful, and they have a number of new parts to integrate. Wouldn’t be a shock to see them struggle again.
Nacho Monreal – ($4,300) – Arsenal – The Nacho Man was quietly effective against West Ham, with 5 crosses and 2 FD, backed up by 35 touches in the final third which was second in the EPL in gameweek1 among defenders. Bellerin’s return will get more attention but there is a chance Monreal has more attacking intentions this season, and that’s worth taking a shot on.
Simon Francis – ($3,500) – Bournemouth – If you are thinking about rolling with Boruc, you may as well parlay that with Francis, his top crossing defender. Francis picked up 8 of those last week and that is not abnormal as he was a big threat for Bournemouth in Championship last season.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea – ($10,300) – Chelsea – Arguably the best player in the Premier League is contrarian?! Think so, in this one spot. He struggled to just 5.25 fantasy points last week, sinking a fair number of the same managers you’ll be competing with. He’s also lost some of his free kick duty to Willian. And now away to their biggest rival for the title, he’ll be overlooked. But if it’s hard to justify taking him this week, then that is our opportunity to hope for some individual moments of greatness, because he certainly has those in him.
Matthew Ritchie – ($5,500) – Bournemouth- You didn’t think we were just going to quit on Bournemouth after taking their defense did you? Ritchie was a disappointment in week 1, particularly when some people took him over Albrighton (sigh.), but he is the most integral part of Bournemouth’s attack. He didn’t do much with them but he had the 2nd most touches in the final third among midfielders. If you are willing to go against the Liverpool grain, he’s a must.
Diego Costa – ($9,200) – Chelsea – It takes a certain brand of craziness to choose the unstable Costa away to City over Benteke at Anfield against a promoted team. But you get a clinical finisher in a high profile match that you’ll want to watch anyway. He should have low ownership but is very comfortable in the Chelsea attack whereas Liverpool is still adjusting to Benteke and vice versa.
Theo Walcott – ($6,700) – Arsenal – We will see Arsenal’s lineup (if you wake up early enough, otherwise you can’t be sure Theo will start) so it may prove somewhat obvious to play Theo. But with Alexis and Benteke likely to be the most popular plays, Theo could fly under the radar, particularly after only getting a late run out against West Ham.
Robert Firmino – ($5,900) – Liverpool – With Liverpool being such strong favorites you may not want to go down with the Bournemouth ship, but if you want Reds you’ll have to look past Benteke and Coutinho. Firmino apparently scored a hat trick in a closed door scrimmage earlier this week which is pretty meaningless, unless it indicates that Rodgers wants to get him into the lineup. If he’s out you can pivot to Callum Wilson at F or Lallana at FLEX.