The weekly precursor to the Scout Picks article returns ahead of Gameweek 2.
In this piece, our four regular panelists – editorial staff Paul, David, Geoff and Neale – each submit an 18-man squad of Fantasy assets (with the focus on the coming Gameweek) and elaborate on their notable inclusions/omissions.
The 72 nominations listed below will then be narrowed down to a squad of 14 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83m) ahead of the Gameweek 2 deadline at 11:30 BST on Saturday morning.
As we discussed
We have placed stricter regulations on our
There are requirements for at least one £4.5m goalkeeper, at least one £4.5m or cheaper defender, at least one midfielder priced £6.0m or below and at least one forward priced at £7.0m or lower.
As was the case last year, each
We will also be adding a captaincy to the Scout Picks this season, with details of that revealed on Friday.
|Jordan Pickford||Tom Heaton|
|Nick Pope||Tom Heaton||Mathew Ryan||Bernd Leno|
|DF||Lucas Digne||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|John Lundstram||Ainsley Maitland-Niles||Oleksandr Zinchenko||Ainsley Maitland-Niles|
|Oleksandr Zinchenko||Martin Montoya||Callum Chambers||John Lundstram|
|Emerson Palmieri||Willy Boly||Martin Montoya||Tyrone Mings|
|MF||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson||Gylfi Sigurdsson||Anthony Martial||Gylfi Sigurdsson|
|Emi Buendia||Wilfried Zaha||John McGinn||Anthony Martial|
|Ryan Fraser||Trezeguet||Emi Buendia||John McGinn|
|FW||Roberto Firmino||Jamie Vardy||Pierre-Emerick|
|Jamie Vardy||Sebastien Haller|
|Jamie Vardy||Teemu Pukki||Callum Wilson||Callum Wilson|
|Diogo Jota||Callum Wilson||Teemu Pukki||Jamie Vardy|
|Teemu Pukki||Diogo Jota||Diogo Jota||Teemu Pukki|
Most popular picks: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lucas Digne, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson, Teemu Pukki, Jamie Vardy (four), Adrian, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Diogo Jota (three)
As per usual, there are some obvious candidates for inclusion in the Scout Squad which don’t require too much attention.
At this point, Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling are auto-picks in anyone’s selection, while Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s creativity against Norwich should stand him in good stead at Southampton.
Furthermore, Watford’s dreadful performance against Brighton, and their susceptibility to set pieces last
Let’s discuss some of the less obvious ones then.
Crystal Palace offered very little against Everton in Gameweek 1 until the talismanic Wilfried Zaha took to the field, and given how tough Sheffield United
Dean Henderson is my top goalkeeper choice given his potential and price, while John Lundstram, my favourite £4.0m defender, was joint-top for big chances created in Gameweek 1.
Meanwhile, only Sterling had more shots on target than Emerson Palmieri on the opening weekend of Premier League action.
I fancy Norwich to get their top-flight campaign up and running against Newcastle with the help of
Faced with a more open game at Aston Villa, I’m backing the Bournemouth attack to reward patience shown in them by Fantasy managers, and the same goes for Diogo Jota and Jamie Vardy.
Both players face top-six opposition in Gameweek 2, but Wolves and Leicester typically raise their game for these sorts of matches.
Finally, I’ve chosen Roberto Firmino as my top forward for Gameweek 2 as Liverpool head to St Mary’s for a meeting with a leaky Southampton defence.
In Gameweek 1, Firmino had double the number of the shots in the box as Salah.
Glancing through the Gameweek 2 fixtures, I can’t see too many clean sheets that I’d be 100% confident about.
Even my top two defensive picks, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Lucas Digne, I’m uncertain of from a shut-out perspective: Liverpool are without the injured Alisson and conceded plenty of chances to Norwich, while Everton could be down a couple of central midfielders and are facing a wounded Watford side up against their old boss.
It’s partly for that reason that I’m not spending too much on my three goalkeepers, although Adrian is not your typical budget shotstopper: even if Liverpool are further weakened as a result of his inclusion, a route into the Reds’ backline for £4.5m is too good to turn down.
Brighton’s 3-0 victory over Watford flattered them somewhat and I expect them to get more of a test against a West Ham side that impressed going forward in pre-season.
Martin Montoya‘s advanced role as a wing-back in a 3-4-3 is appealing, though, and indeed George Baldock was the only sub-£5.0m defender to rack up more final-third touches than the Brighton man in Gameweek 1. None of his teammates were more involved in that zone of the pitch, either.
I’m going against the market trend and backing against a Manchester United attack that blew Chelsea away at Old Trafford.
While I’m personally interested in Anthony Martial in the medium-term, Wolves are a different proposition to a Chelsea side in transition and were one of the stand-out performers from a defensive perspective last weekend.
Continuing on their impressive defensive statistics from 2018/19, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side allowed only one big chance against Leicester City – and even that wasn’t a shot (Jamie Vardy’s airkick).
Willy Boly was a colossus at the back and he would have had an assist, too, had Leander Dendoncker’s goal not been chalked off after VAR intervention.
While some are backing Sheffield United’s backline this weekend – and the Blades did undeniably well against Bournemouth – Crystal Palace are a different proposition on their travels.
Last season, the Eagles had the sixth-best away record in the top flight and only Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs scored more on the road.
Wilfried Zaha was particularly effective away from home (nine goals, five assists) and, although he clearly wanted a move away from Selhurst Park this summer, made an impact upon his introduction against Everton, racking up eight penalty box touches in just 25 minutes.
Chris Wilder may opt to show more ambition on home soil (i.e. naming a 3-4-1-2 instead of a 3-5-2), which could play to Palace’s counter-attacking strengths.
Aston Villa conceded the highest number of shots last weekend while Bournemouth are chronically bad at the back (60+ goals conceded in each of the last four campaigns), so I’m backing goals at Villa Park – particularly if Dean Smith decides to reinstate the more attack-minded two of his four full-backs.
Trezeguet caught my eye in the Spurs defeat, although I’m aware he’s both a rough diamond and a possible rotation risk so I’d be happy enough to ‘follow the points’ with John McGinn for the same price.
I’m backing two forwards who blanked at the King Power to bounce back this weekend.
Jamie Vardy ought to get more joy out of Chelsea’s high backline than he did against Wolves, while Diogo Jota was a real threat in that stalemate at Leicester – even if his shooting boots had been misplaced.
The injury to Alisson allows us to free up budget by opting for Adrian, should we choose to double-up on the Liverpool defence away to Southampton.
Norwich’s attack caught the eye at Anfield, with Emiliano Buendia supplying the assist for Teemu Pukki’s consolation.
While the Finn’s effort has earned him 112,000 new owners, Buendia remains ignored at just 0.7% ownership for a home encounter with Newcastle.
The Argentine will again be a big influence this weekend – he created 91 chances last season, at an average of 31.4 minutes per key pass.
Put into perspective, that frequency was surpassed by just three FPL midfielders with 1,000+ minutes.
Owned by 4.4%, John McGinn remains a differential for Villa’s home clash with Bournemouth.
The Scot’s effort at Spurs has persuaded a hefty 112,000 to bring him in, yet it is his home form that is arguably more encouraging.
All seven of McGinn’s assists last season were produced at Villa Park.
Conversely, it’s the away records of Callum Wilson and Jamie Vardy that could bring in returns this weekend.
Wilson scored nine of his 14 goals on the road in the previous campaign.
Vardy, meanwhile, netted away from home on ten occasions – only Harry Kane (11) managed more.
Away to a Chelsea defence that just shipped four at Manchester United, the Leicester frontman could open his account for the season
With Alisson out for Gameweek 2, Adrian looks a nice option at £4.5m. Tom Heaton kept Tottenham from scoring until late on Saturday and looks for his first clean sheet at home to Bournemouth, while I look to Bernd Leno for another clean sheet at home to Burnley.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is an easy choice with
Lucas Digne is another attacking pick and is at home to Watford, though I wonder if there will be a positive reaction after the Hornets’ heavy Gameweek 1 loss.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is included both for his clean sheet opportunity and
John Lundstram is a nice budget option and I’m backing him to get a second straight start in midfield, while Tyrone Mings was on for three bonus points until he lost the clean sheet late to Spurs in Gameweek 1. Heavily involved for Villa, I expect he will continue to be a strong source of bonus points when clean sheets are secured.
In midfield, Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling are automatic picks and Gylfi Sigurdsson gets my third midfield slot, hosting a Watford side that looked poor against Brighton.
Anthony Martial is unfortunate to drop to fourth, playing up front for Manchester United and priced at only £7.5m, and John McGinn is an interesting proposition after scoring a goal in his ‘difficult’ game against Spurs in Gameweek 1. His strong run of fixtures now begins with Bournemouth at home.
A strong Gameweek 1 captaincy candidate, I’m backing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score well at home after getting his first Premier League goal of the season at Newcastle.
While Callum Wilson will have opportunities against Villa, he drops to third in my
With Martial sneaking into my team above Marcus Rashford, I include Jamie Vardy and Teemu Pukki in my squad. Both should get chances against Chelsea and Newcastle respectively and both have the quality to finish those chances against suspect defences.
The Community Champion
Before most Gameweeks, we nominate a Fantasy manager to challenge our Scout Picks with a starting XI of their own.
The Community Champion who has the biggest lead over the Scouts during 2019/20 will win a £100 Amazon voucher (currently we can only offer Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com vouchers).
The Community Champion for Gameweek 2 will be announced in our Scout Picks article on Friday. Last week’s submission failed to reach us in time of the earlier-than-usual deadline.
The Scout Picks themselves scored 95 points, with Mohamed Salah as our nominated captain.
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea