This weekly precursor to the Scout Picks sees our panel put forward a long-list of the standout Fantasy Premier League assets for Gameweek 2.
Fantasy Football Scout community manager Geoff, deputy editor Neale, video content manager Andy and Pro Pundit Tom will each propose an 18-man squad of players for the approaching Gameweek and explain their notable inclusions/omissions below.
The 72 nominations listed will then be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83m) for the weekly Scout Picks selection ahead of Saturday’s deadline at 11:00 BST.
There are requirements for at least one goalkeeper costing £5.0m or less, at least one sub-£5.0m defender, at least one midfielder listed at £6.5m or below and at least one forward priced at £7.5m or lower.
Each panelist is restricted to no more than three players from the same team, as is the case in FPL.
We will again be adding a captaincy to the Scout Picks, with details of that revealed on Friday.
|GK||Jordan Pickford||Jordan Pickford||Kasper Schmeichel||Kasper Schmeichel|
|Illan Meslier||Mathew Ryan||Illan Meslier||Berno Leno|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Karl Darlow||Emiliano Martinez||Illan Meslier|
|DF||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|Luke Shaw||Luke Shaw||Harry Maguire||Aaron Wan-Bissaka|
|Matt Targett||Trent Alexander-Arnold||James Justin||Luke Ayling|
|James Justin||James Justin||Hector Bellerin||Timothy Castagne|
|Luke Ayling||Stuart Dallas||Luke Ayling||Jamal Lewis|
|MF||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang|
|Marcus Rashford||Mohamed Salah||Bruno Fernandes||Bruno Fernandes|
|Raheem Sterling||Marcus Rashford||Kevin De Bruyne||James Rodriguez|
|James Rodriguez||Son Heung-min||James Rodriguez||Son Heung-min|
|Leandro Trossard||Jack Harrison||Ryan Fraser||Jack Harrison|
|FW||Anthony Martial||Richarlison||Anthony Martial||Richarlison|
|Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Anthony Martial|
|Harry Kane||Timo Werner||Richarlison||Timo Werner|
|Callum Wilson||Callum Wilson||Patrick Bamford||Ollie Watkins|
|Patrick Bamford||Ollie Watkins||Ollie Watkins||Callum Wilson|
Most popular picks: Lucas Digne, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (four), Kasper Schmeichel, Illan Meslier, Luke Ayling, James Justin, James Rodriguez, Richarlison, Ollie Watkins, Callum Wilson, Jamie Vardy, Anthony Martial (three)
While Jordan Pickford’s price tag is half a million more than Illan Meslier, I trust Carlo Ancelotti’s new-look Everton to keep a Gameweek 2 clean sheet more and hand Pickford the gloves. Kasper Schmeichel looks set for another shut-out at home to a shot-shy West Brom but is expensive at £5.5m.
In defence, I again look to Everton with Lucas Digne, who has significant attacking threat as well as clean sheet potential. I expect Luke Shaw to start and his additional threat down the left flank should add much to the Manchester United attack. Matt Targett, James Justin and Luke Ayling are picked mostly for their clean sheet potential and their excellent value, to allow more money to be spent further up the pitch.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has penalties, a strong fixture, some form, and is possibly the stand-out captain this Gameweek; however, I see Marcus Rashford challenging him for the captaincy, in United’s first game of the season at home to Crystal Palace.
The perhaps surprise omission is Mohamed Salah, after his Gameweek 1 heroics – instead, I’ve opted for Raheem Sterling.
James Rodriguez is my third Everton player, after an impressive Everton performance and a good degree of attacking involvement, while Leandro Trossard looks an interesting prospect at only £6.0m, away to Newcastle.
In attack, Anthony Martial looks capable of a big score; even if he fails to hit double digits, I expect returns of some kind.
Jamie Vardy started the season in style and has every chance of continuing that run, while Harry Kane, at half a million more, needs to lead his Tottenham teammates to victory after an uninspired performance at home to Everton.
Callum Wilson and Newcastle looked to be finding some rhythm at West Ham, and I expect him to score against Brighton, while Patrick Bamford, just off finding the net against Liverpool, should be allowed even more space against Fulham.
We have a full complement of fixtures to choose from this weekend, following an eight-game Blank Gameweek 1.
Manchester City get their Premier League campaign underway but I’m holding fire on their assets for now, what with last season’s bogey team and a defensively resolute Wolverhampton Wanderers providing the opposition on Monday night.
I’m willing to back their cross-city rivals from the off, however, with Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw – who both featured in last Saturday’s friendly with Aston Villa to provide reassurances over their fitness – getting the nod.
Shaw’s included as much for budgetary reasons given my lavish spending elsewhere, while Rashford played a part in both United goals when the two sides met as recently as July.
The Season Ticker might scream ‘difficult fixture’ for Liverpool and Chelsea but, as we saw in Gameweek 37+ of last season, there could still be plenty of joy for the attacking assets of each club when they meet again at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
The high line that Liverpool employed in their 4-3 win over Leeds United looks tailor-made for the rapid Timo Werner to exploit, while Chelsea continue to appear shaky when defending set plays, so Trent Alexander-Arnold remains in my thoughts – even if Andrew Robertson is now sharing the dead-ball duties.
A dangerously high line is also something an under-par Southampton have tried out in their first two games in league and cup, so I’m willing to give Son Heung-min another shot, as the Korean is capable of being destructive when Spurs transition quickly and by-pass the midfield by utilising their ball-playing centre-halves.
The Everton triple-up requires little explanation given how anaemic West Brom were on their Premier League return, with the chances they afforded left-winger Harvey Barnes further influencing my decision to make Richarlison my top forward selection.
The two other promoted clubs, Leeds and Fulham, meet at Elland Road and the Whites looked by some distance the pick of the two on the opening weekend.
Jack Harrison really caught my eye from the left flank at Anfield, while it’s almost a coin toss between Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling for which Leeds full-back I plump for until I’ve seen more of them in action – the versatile Dallas boasted the better underlying stats last season but of course spent some of his time further up the pitch.
Newcastle and Brighton didn’t manage a single goal between them in their two meetings last season, so there is every a chance of a clean sheet or two on Tyneside this Sunday.
Callum Wilson has proven to be a streaky player in the past, however, and the fact that he and Andy Carroll managed eight shots between them in Gameweek 1 does suggest that the Magpies might have more joy than their Joelinton-led attack in 2019/20.
A clean sheet looks like a shoo-in for Manchester United this week, with opponents Crystal Palace failing to find the back of the net in any of their last four road trips. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka only returning to training on Monday, I’ve opted for the security of Harry Maguire, who at least featured in last weekend’s friendly at Aston Villa.
Leicester City and Leeds United’s home fixtures also stand out defensively, which is why I’ve put forward Kasper Schmeichel, James Justin, Illan Meslier and Luke Ayling.
Against West Bromwich Albion, Justin struggled in the first half but improved as the game went on, and showed plenty of adventure on the ball winning the second penalty, while Leeds’s defence isn’t being talked about enough. You have to go back to the 2015/16 Championship season to find a promoted team who came up with a better defensive record, and that includes Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
I’ve also included Hector Bellerín, who is an intriguing pick. Arsenal’s average position map against Fulham in Gameweek 1 showed that Bellerín was essentially playing as a right-winger, with Willian performing more of a central role. It resulted in Bellerín having the highest number of final third touches and crosses in the game, which is something to keep an eye on moving forward. He also comes in cheaper than teammate Kieran Tierney, whose appeal is dented due to not knowing if he’ll start as a left-sided centre-back or wing-back.
They’re joined by Aston Villa’s new keeper Emiliano Martínez and Lucas Digne (more on him later) at the back.
Further forward, the inclusion of heavy-hitters Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne, Anthony Martial and Jamie Vardy largely speak for themselves, so I’ll dedicate a bit more time to some of my other selections.
Against Tottenham Hotspur, Everton fully deserved their win and looked sharp. James Rodríguez was a class above, tucking in from the right-wing, which enabled him to regularly move the ball onto his stronger left foot and pick out Richarlison and Digne with those long right-to-left passes. Both will benefit from his brilliance, which is a key reason behind my Toffees selections.
I’ve also included Patrick Bamford. While sometimes wasteful, I’m confident he’ll get chances against Fulham, and following his performance at Anfield, should have earned another start.
The offensive list is completed by Ryan Fraser and Ollie Watkins.
Despite conceding four goals in their opening game, I’m still backing Leeds United for a clean sheet this week, which is why both Illan Meslier and Luke Ayling are in my picks.
Looking at the expected goals conceded without penalties it was 0.9 for Leeds, the same as Everton against Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves against Sheffield United. You can’t just discount penalties, of course, but after a tough test in the opening Gameweek, I’m expecting them to bounce back against Fulham.
I was impressed with Everton’s opening Gameweek and with a home game against West Brom, I’ve gone with the triple-up. It was promising to see Lucas Digne retain some set pieces, even with James Rodríguez in the side. It was a free-kick that ultimately saw him get an assist. I’d hope that without a marauding full-back like Matt Doherty to play against, he may get more licence to go forward.
In attack, it also looks like there could be big points potential with Rodríguez already creating five chances for his teammates. Despite not getting a goal it was Richarlison that really impressed me in attack with seven shots, and five of them in the box. If anyone is ready to explode soon, it’s him.
Ollie Wakins was a signing that Aston Villa fans were extremely excited about and rightly so after being just one goal behind Aleksandar Mitrović in the Championship last season. He’s already off the mark in pre-season, and the biggest draw for me is the fact he has Jack Grealish behind him creating chances. I don’t think Sheffield United will be as tight at the back without Dean Henderson and this could be a perfect opportunity to get a debut Premier League goal.
There’s probably no better time to use the eye test than in the opening Gameweeks. Underlying statistics are still great, but we’re working off small sample sizes. One thing I want to see is how sharp a player looks. We saw it with Mohamed Salah against Leeds, and we saw it with Callum Wilson against West Ham. It will be a tougher test against Brighton, but with a debut goal in Gameweek 1, why not top it off with a debut goal at St James’ Park too.
As we get closer to Gameweek 2, I’m wavering on my viewpoint that without as many penalties, Bruno Fernandes *might* not be worth £10.5m – at least not as a season-keeper as he was last year when he arrived at Old Trafford. We saw how devastating it can be with Jamie Vardy and Salah in Gameweek 1, and with 14 and 12 penalties over the last two seasons, targeting the Manchester United penalty-taker probably isn’t a bad tactic.
THE COMMUNITY CHAMPION
Each week, one of the Fantasy Football Scout community takes on the Scout Picks by pitting their chosen XI against ours.
The community member who beats our picks by the biggest margin over the campaign will win a £100 Amazon Voucher and a place in our Moderators and Contributors League for the following season.
Last week, the Scout Picks defeated Boleyn Boy 66-34.
Our next Scout Picks article on Friday will have further details on who is representing the community this week.
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