The weekly precursor to the Scout Picks article returns ahead of Gameweek 4.
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 4 deadline at 11:30 BST on Saturday morning.
As we discussed last week, we are making some slight tweaks to the way we do Scout Squad and Scout Picks this season.
We have placed stricter regulations on our panelists: 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 panelist is restricted to no more than three players from the same team.
We will also be adding a captaincy to the Scout Picks this season, with details of that revealed on Friday.
|GK||Tom Heaton||Jordan Pickford||Kepa Arrizabalaga||Kepa Arrizabalaga|
|Rui Patricio||Tom Heaton||Martin Dubravka||David de Gea|
|Martin Dubravka||David de Gea||Tom Heaton||Tom Heaton|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Lucas Digne||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Oleksandr Zinchenko||Emerson Palmieri||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|Lucas Digne||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Oleksandr Zinchenko||Emerson Palmieri|
|Frederic Guilbert||Willy Boly||Emerson Palmieri||Caglar Soyuncu|
|Conor Coady||Kiko Femenia||Martin Kelly||Martin Kelly|
|MF||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Mohamed Salah||Kevin De Bruyne||Mohamed Salah||Sadio Mane|
|Manuel Lanzini||James Maddison||Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Mason Mount||Mason Mount||Mason Mount||Mason Mount|
|Todd Cantwell||Daniel James||Daniel James||Todd Cantwell|
|FW||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sebastien Haller||Sergio Aguero|
|Teemu Pukki||Sebastien Haller||Jamie Vardy||Sebastien Haller|
|Sebastien Haller||Teemu Pukki||Teemu Pukki||Jamie Vardy|
|Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Roberto Firmino||Teemu Pukki|
|Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Joelinton||Che Adams||Marcus Rashford|
Most popular picks: Tom Heaton, Lucas Digne, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Jamie Vardy, Sebastien Haller, Teemu Pukki (four), Emerson Palmieri, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero (three)
Tom Heaton and Rui Patricio are perhaps left-field selections in the goalkeeper bracket but I fancy the clean sheet potential of their fixtures.
Crystal Palace scored the fewest home goals of any side that survived relegation last season, and looked similarly shy going forward in the first two matches of this campaign.
Meanwhile, Everton are really struggling to find the net in 2019/20, and are sure to meet a stiff Wolves defence, perhaps sitting deep having played European football a few days previously.
That’s why I’ve also included Conor Coady, the least likely Wolves defender to be rotated, and Frederic Guilbert, who impressed hugely for Aston Villa in Gameweek 3.
No Manchester City player created as many chances as Oleksandr Zinchenko against Bournemouth to encourage my interest in the left-back.
With Brighton’s attack unlikely to trouble the defending champions at the Etihad Stadium, could we be looking at a double-figure haul for Zinchenko?
Raheem Sterling should also do well against the Seagulls having scored in each of his matches so far this season, and displaying underlying statistics that indicate his form is sustainable.
I welcome Mohamed Salah back into my Scout Squad submission after foolishly doubting him in Gameweek 3. He might have a tough fixture at Burnley but if there’s any Liverpool player who can break the deadlock when not fatigued from European extra-time, it’s him.
Manuel Lanzini comes in as my West Ham midfielder as the obliging Norwich defence awaits. He has created more chances than any of his colleagues so far this season.
Meanwhile, Todd Cantwell also gets in as the Hammers defence doesn’t fill me with confidence either.
Sergio Aguero looked back to his vintage best in the recent win over Bournemouth and the injury to Gabriel Jesus has allowed him the freedom to more time on the pitch.
If I think that Sterling will impress against Brighton, then surely his more experienced forward colleague will too.
Teemu Pukki has become something of an auto-include at this point given his underlying data, while I can see goals in the north London derby for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The clean sheets will come eventually, either before the international break or after it.
But while there is a general dearth of shut-outs, it makes sense to back defenders who pose a threat at the other end of the pitch and who can compensate for any goals conceded with an attacking return or two.
Lucas Digne and Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s offensive qualities are well-documented but Emerson Palmieri is keeping pace with the pair of them this season: no FPL defender has had more goal attempts or shots on target than the Chelsea left-back.
Sheffield United’s backline has impressed me so far but I can’t seem them being the prolific scorers that Norwich are this season and indeed only two clubs have recorded fewer shots in the box than the Blades after three Gameweeks of 2019/20.
I can see a mentally spent Wolves side having to soak up a lot of pressure at Goodison Park on Sunday but Everton are far from prolific in front of goal, so if Nuno Espirito Santo’s side can do what Palace and Villa have managed and prevent the Toffees from scoring, then Willy Boly‘s bonus point magnetism could see him top-score on Merseyside.
There’ll be few sane Fantasy managers interested in a Watford defender given their ongoing struggles at the back but in Newcastle United, Javi Gracia’s troops face a club posing little goal threat (joint-second-bottom for big chances) and with numerous injury concerns going into Saturday’s match.
Matt Ritchie and Jetro Willems are both doubts, which could bode well for Kiko Femenia down the Watford right – the Hornets’ full-back is better going forward and no sub-£5.0m defender has registered as many penalty box touches so far this season.
A Manchester City triple-up speaks for itself, while Teemu Pukki and Sebastien Haller ought to get some joy out of each other’s defence: neither West Ham nor Norwich have kept a clean sheet so far this season and the two clubs have already shipped a combined 15 goals.
With Anthony Martial an injury doubt for Gameweek 4, a United positional rejig could see Marcus Rashford move up front and Daniel James shifted to the left flank at St. Mary’s.
The former Swansea City winger looks better (to me) on the left wing and his goal against Palace indeed arrived after he had swapped sides.
Outside of City and Liverpool assets, no FPL midfielder has had more shots from inside the box than James this season.
A triple up on Manchester City looks advisable for the visit of Brighton on Saturday afternoon.
Although I expect Sergio Aguero to add to his weekend brace at Bournemouth, the value offered by the cheaper Kevin De Bruyne means it’s hard to look past a double-up on the champions’ midfield when assessing their attack.
Goals should also be expected when West Ham and Norwich to head-to-head – both sides are among the bottom four defences for shots conceded in the box.
In terms of differentials, Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri is a standout pick at home to Sheffield United.
Compared with other FPL defenders, no one has bettered his six shots on goal, while the Italy international’s four efforts on target is a leading figure.
Daniel James sits in less than 4% of squads for his trip to Southampton.
Yet the Manchester United winger has fired six shots inside the box – more than any team-mate – and has scored in all but one of the opening three Gameweeks.
Roberto Firmino is another relatively overlooked option.
The Brazilian is only the sixth most popular Liverpool player in FPL, despite firing more shots (12) and efforts in the box (nine) than any team-mate.
He also has a fine record against his weekend hosts, Burnley, scoring three goals in their two meetings last season.
Looking for a first clean sheet of the season, Kepa Arrizabalaga hosts Sheffield United in Gameweek 4.
With Nathan Redmond possibly out of the Southampton team, David de Gea has a good chance for a shut-out on the south coast.
Tom Heaton is my final goalkeeper choice, facing a Crystal Palace side who beat Manchester United but then drew a blank against Colchester United on Tuesday evening.
If Liverpool can see off the threat of Ashely Barnes, Trent Alexander-Arnold could be poised for a big score with his strong attacking threat.
Second for both crosses and attempts from a defender, Lucas Digne could be in line for attacking points.
Emerson Palmieri is another looking like collecting attacking returns and the Blades offer a prime opportunity.
Caglar Soyuncu and Martin Kelly round out my defensive picks, both at a nice price with favourable home fixtures.
Little needs to be said about either Raheem Sterling or Mohamed Salah. Kevin De Bruyne has an assist in every game this season and I back him to continue that at home to Brighton.
I expect Mason Mount to recover in time for the weekend and continue his run of form, while Todd Cantwell is a nice enabler who is delivering the goods at present.
In attack I’ve gone for Sergio Aguero, indicating my strong belief in Manchester City’s potential this week.
Sebastian Haller has looked strong so far in the Premier League and could feast against a shaky Norwich defence.
I’m backing Jamie Vardy to continue where he left off in GW3 at home to Bournemouth, who have yet to keep a clean sheet.
Teemu Pukki has form strongly on his side and until that looks like stopping he is impossible to ignore.
Finally, I see Marcus Rashford bouncing back from his Gameweek 3 penalty miss. If he’d scored it, he would have recorded attacking returns in three straight matches – and whether Martial is fit for the weekend or not, I see Rashford scoring well.
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 4 is InsaneFC, who recorded a best-ever finish of 331st in 2015/16.
Last week, FPL Mike the Knight beat the Scout Picks 46-44.
Hot Toddy‘s winning margin of ten points (69-59) in Gameweek 2 is the one to beat so far.