If you are still setting your alarms for 11:29 on Saturday mornings to make those all-important tweaks to your fantasy football team, then well done on making it this far.
As we approach gameweek 3 the ‘oh I’m not that interested in it anyway’ excuses begin to emerge from those wallowing in the pits of their leagues, while those high on life at the top of the table do their best to masquerade a humble take on the standings.
So, if you’re reading this then congrats for keeping up that enthusiasm. Here are this week’s tips to give you the edge in your league:
Richarlison - Price: £6.8m Opponent: Bournemouth (A) Ownership: 36.5%
It’s time to stop waiting to see if he is just a ‘one season wonder'. He’s not. Marco Silva was determined to reunite with him at Everton and it's now clear to see why.
Three goals in his first two games is a great reward for those who put their faith in the Brazilian winger at the start of the season, and you sense that he’s just getting warmed up at Goodison. In spells, Everton have been impressing with some fluid football, which benefits the tricky wide player.
Everton travel to Bournemouth this weekend and if recent history is anything to go by, there should be goals in this one. There has been an average of four goals in the last six games between these two sides, which perfectly sets up the inevitable 0-0…
Benjamin Mendy - Price: £6.2 Opponent: Wolves (A) Ownership: 28.1%
There are only a small number of players in the Manchester City team that will play every week. Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane can tell you that after starting on the bench in their 6-1 win against Huddersfield.
One player which is emerging as a constant is City's left-back by name only: Mendy. Against Arsenal and Huddersfield he occupied the same kind of attacking positions as Gareth Bale would and has already shown he will be taking a key role in setting up goals, with four assists to his name so far.
Seriously, get him in your team.
Joe Gomez - Price: £5m Opponent: Brighton (H) Ownership: 1%
You would be forgiven for hesitating at putting Liverpool defenders in your team so early on given their often humorous attempts to defend last season.
This year, however, Jurgen Klopp seems to have a much better backline now he has more talented players available to him.
Joe Gomez is beginning to form a good partnership with Virgil Van Dijk at the back and is a cheap way to consistently gain those four points for a clean sheet. He’s also a very left-field choice, which might give you an edge in the long run.
Aleksandar Mitrovic - Price: £6.5m Opponent: Burnley (H) Ownership: 6.2%
Anyone that saw him in the Championship last season will know what a handful he can be for defenders and he proved that he can score in the Premier League too, with his first goal for Fulham in the top-tier against Tottenham last week.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misfiring and Jamie Vardy suspended, Mitrovic could be a good value alternative to your normal strikers.
Burnley are Fulham’s opponents and will be travelling to Craven Cottage after a long trip to Greece to face Olympiakos in the Europa League.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Price: £7.1m Opponent: West Ham (H) Ownership: 17.6%
It’s only a matter of time before the Unai Emery revolution fully kicks into gear, and it could begin this weekend against West Ham.
The Hammers will continue to play their curiously high line, something that will allow Henrikh Mkhitaryan to play precise passes from deep or get in behind himself.
Mesut Ozil and Aubameyang have had stuttering starts this season, but Mkhitaryan looks like he could emerge as a key player for the Gunners. If none of these reasons float your boat, then Arsenal are playing West Ham, Cardiff, Newcastle, Everton, Watford, Fulham, Leicester and Crystal Palace before meeting any of the top six, so now might be the right time to fit him in.
Eden Hazard - Price: £10.5m Opponent: Newcastle (A) Ownership: 12.6%
Will he stay at Chelsea? Has recovered from a long World Cup? Is Maurizio Sarri going to get the best out of him? Yes, yes and yes. Eden Hazard’s cameo roles from the bench against Huddersfield and Arsenal show that none of these concerns will stop the Belgian winger from being a big point scorer in fantasy football.
Neil Etheridge - Price £4.5m Opponent: Huddersfield (A) Ownership: 3.4%
If short-termism is your game, then Neil Etheridge is your man. Cardiff take on Huddersfield this weekend and Neil Warnock’s stubborn defensive side should keep out the Terriers, who aren’t exactly free scoring at the minute.
That said, once this weekend is over, Cardiff face Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham in their next five games.
Sadio Mane - Price: £9.8m Opponent: Brighton (H) Ownership: 34.6%
Oddly listed as a midfielder, Sadio Mane should really be on the verge of making his way into your team.
Mohamed Salah already appears to be attracting the close attention of opposition defenders, and a much cheaper alternative for your team is Mane, who has already scored three times.
Liverpool host Brighton and have scored nine goals against them in their two meetings last season. Expect goals and lots of ‘ohhh Mane Mane’.
Marcos Alonso - Price: £6.6m Opponent: Newcastle (A) Ownership: 27.2%
You are forgiven if you took one look at Marcos Alonso in the Community Shield final defeat against Manchester City and thought: ‘nah’. In a back four he looked lost, to put it kindly, and a shadow of his former attacking self.
However, against Huddersfield and Arsenal he returned to his previous ways and was influential in the goals Chelsea scored. Don’t back him for clean sheets or defensive bonus points, mind. Arsenal exposed the attacking nature of Chelsea’s defenders by getting to the byline with little resistance.
Patrick van Aanholt - Price: £5.5m Opponent: Watford (A) Ownership: 5.8%
If you were one of the many thousands to bring Aaron Wan-Bissaka into your side after watching him score and get a clean sheet against Fulham on the opening day of the Premier League, only for him to go and get sent off against Liverpool, Patrick Van Aanholt might be the man to replace him with.
The Dutch wing-back’s attacking adventure is very similar to Wan-Bissaka’s and he has a knack of providing goals and assists.
Palace’s defence may not be tested too much by Watford this weekend, or Southampton, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Bournemouth in their coming games.
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