FANTASY FOOTBALL EXPERT: It's time to bring in Kevin De Bruyne

FANTASY FOOTBALL EXPERT: It’s time to bring in the point-scoring master Kevin De Bruyne while Tyrick Mitchell is a hidden gem for the backline… but get rid of the costly Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ahead of Arsenal’s trips to Man City and Liverpool

  • The second round for Fantasy Football managers brought with it mixed results
  • Spurs turned on the heat as Son Heung-min and Harry Kane scored big points
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang disappointed and is a costly choice at £12million
  • City star Kevin De Bruyne is a must going forward and is the perfect all-rounder
  • While Kai Havertz did the business in midweek Timo Werner is my captain choice

Players hailed as the league’s best, others written off and some young stars announcing themselves as the shiny new thing.

There isn’t much like the weekly overreaction of Fantasy managers as we all rise and fall up the rankings in our mini-leagues.

Liverpool look the real deal (still), we got some Gareth Bale mania at Tottenham and all is not well at Manchester United.

Son Heung-min scored big points last week after getting four against the Saints in a 5-2 win

As we head into Gameweek Three we are getting some much better ideas as to who regular starters are, a look into a manager’s preferred line-ups and it is all proving invaluable in weeding out useless selections.

In this weekly column I’ll be breaking down what we learned from the latest round of games, how best to utilise the free transfer for our squads and the differentials that can make the biggest difference week-to-week. 

Biggest takeaways from GW2

Does anyone remember how to defend?

Gameweek Two was a hurricane of goals with 43 scored in total across 10 games and that is music to the ears of all Fantasy Football managers.

Speaking of goals, the discontent at Tottenham appears to have lifted – what a difference a week can make.

Bale and Sergio Reguilon signed and Harry Kane found his swagger alongside Son Heung-min in the 5-2 rout of Southampton. Four assists for Kane and four goals for Son. A frightening prospect for defences if that persists with the Welshman not even in the picture yet.

But Manchester United were incredibly disappointing in their first game having been omitted from Gameweek One.


Bruno Fernandes (L) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (R) left a lot of managers exasperated

Bruno Fernandes left a lot of managers – myself included – exasperated as United looked sluggish and lacking in ideas. Their fixtures mean it is worth keeping faith in him – and them – for now but it is alarming for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even at this early stage.

Leeds continue to score goals for fun and that is something to monitor if they can persist with that in the next couple of rounds of matches.

Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa took the plaudits against Fulham in the 4-3 win while Jack Harrison looked the part against Liverpool. There are seemingly a lot of entry points into this Leeds side for Fantasy managers – too many to know which is best for consistency right now, in my opinion.

I mentioned last week about keeping a very close eye on Everton with Richarlison the one that intrigues me. 

Richarlison’s (centre right) brace in the Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood Town is a positive

His brace in the Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood is a positive but it is now becoming apparent that ignoring Dominic Calvert-Lewin is becoming harder and harder to justify.

A hat-trick against West Brom and the winner against Tottenham, the youngster is thriving under Carlo Ancelotti and with games against Crystal Palace and Brighton to follow, expectations are building for him to add to his tally before a Merseyside Derby in three games time.

Manchester City did Manchester City things and that leads me to my next point. Invest, invest, invest.

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – £11.6m

The one bit of advice this week: sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Like many others, I had him down as a captaincy option for the opening games against Fulham and West Ham but with returns below expectation, and a price point of £12m, now is the time to cut losses and change the approach.

Arsenal’s fixtures look markedly tougher from here with trips to Liverpool and Manchester City in the next three, while Sheffield United and Leicester will travel to the Emirates Stadium void of much fear either side of the City game.

With that being said, it’s time to make the move for Kevin De Bruyne.

Kevin De Bruyne is a must-have and is a perfect all-rounder from a Fantasy perspective

The UEFA Men’s Player of the Year nominee is a class act and given he is on set-pieces and penalties, he’s a perfect all-rounder from a Fantasy perspective.

David Silva’s departure has increased the reliance on De Bruyne’s creativity in the midfield and he represents a cheaper option, albeit marginally, than Aubameyang who is now seeing rapid sales ahead of Gameweek Three.

Thirteen points against Wolves set the tone and the Belgian is, when fit, a guaranteed starter at City, even factoring in Pep Guardiola’s often wacky rotations.

Raheem Sterling is popular with players selling Aubameyang but penalties swing it in favour of De Bruyne, personally.

With City not showing the sluggishness we saw from Manchester United out of the gate, it’s now time to invest. 

GW3 FIXTURES 

Saturday September 26

Brighton vs Manchester United

Crystal Palace vs Everton

West Brom vs Chelsea

Burnley vs Southampton 

Sunday September 27

Sheffield United vs Leeds United

Tottenham vs Newcastle

Manchester City vs Leicester City

West Ham vs Wolves 

Monday September 28

Fulham vs Aston Villa

Liverpool vs Arsenal

Three differentials that caught my eye

Tyrick Mitchell (Crystal Palace) – £4.1m [Selected by 23%]

I’ll be the first to say I knew little about the 21-year-old before this season began but he’s certainly making a name for himself at Selhurst Park.

He began to get some minutes towards the end of the 2019-20 campaign and has managed to retain that left back spot in 2020-21.

Fantasy is all about going top-heavy, loading a side with A-Listers in attack and finding gems at the back. At £4.1m Mitchell is just that.

He is far and away the most selected Palace player in FPL this season with Wilfried Zaha (15.9%) and Jordan Ayew (5%) paling in comparison.

Defensively Palace have looked strong so far and a full-back role is always more appealing than centre backs due to the increased possibility for assists.

While we haven’t seen too much in attacking returns yet from Mitchell, his price point makes him a steal and certainly one to look at if money is tight. 

Daniel Podence (Wolves) – £5.5m [Selected by 3.7%]

I mentioned Podence last week and with a run of games to come that reads West Ham, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle and Crystal Palace, I think moving for Wolves players now makes a lot of sense.

Podence’s appeal has come down to the eye test of what I have seen so far. Selected by just 3.7% of managers he is a perfect differential if you have already seen a lot of crossovers with rivals above you in respective leagues.

Having produced assist returns in the opening games against Sheffield United and Manchester City, Podence, while early in the campaign, looks to be showing a degree of consistency and that is invaluable over the course of a season.

He has created two big chances in the opening matches which places him second in the league rankings behind Kane – who exploded into life against Southampton and has four to his name.

Having held his own against Manchester City and with the opponents becoming, on paper at least, easier, I think the time is now to plump for Podence with his price still a modest £5.5m. 

Wolves attacker Daniel Podence could make a lot of sense considering their run of games

Phil Foden (Manchester City) – £6.5m [Selected by 6.2%]

‘Beware of the Guardiola rotation’ is a phrase that has haunted FPL managers at least once in the past but in this instance, Foden at £6.5m seems a smart piece of business.

David Silva’s exit has put the focus on De Bruyne but it has also meant a greater role for Foden and his goal against Wolves showed he is ready to take it with both hands.

The 20-year-old really got involved towards the end of last season and gave plenty of food for thought ahead of the new campaign.

With Sterling and De Bruyne both premium options to get into the City side, and Ferran Torres still too much of an unknown in terms of how he adapts from LaLiga, Foden represents an economical way into City’s attacking points.

Leicester, Leeds, Arsenal and West Ham are not as kind as what Podence and Co are facing with Wolves but this is Manchester City.

Expect plenty of goals and assists and if defences collapse as they did in Gameweek Two, Foden could be marking another big attacking return at the Etihad.

Captaincy advice

Timo Werner (Chelsea)

Rested for the 6-0 Carabao Cup win against West Brom – and seeing Kai Havertz get off the mark with a hat-trick – I’m leaning towards the German for captaincy this Gameweek.

Werner has been a menace so far – winning a penalty against Brighton and another against Liverpool – but has taken longer than some expected to get off the mark.

Going up against West Brom feels like an ideal opportunity to open his account. The German will get chances and can use his pace to hurt the Baggies both out wide and on the shoulder of the last defender.

I’m leaning towards Timo Werner (above) for captaincy this Gameweek instead of Kai Havertz

No team in the league has conceded more so far this season than Slaven Bilic’s side (8) and Chelsea can rub their hands together after their film session studying West Brom’s 5-2 loss to Everton in Gameweek 2.

Werner has already shown himself as a certain starter under Frank Lampard and while he isn’t on penalties or set-pieces, leading an attack which looks set to feast at the Hawthorns seems a smart selection with Aubameyang sales set to rocket. 

TEAM OF THE WEEK   

We’re moving to a more attack-heavy team this week, moving on from having four wing-backs in a five-back formation in Gameweek Two.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane are two of the first names in this week’s Team of the Week while Dominic Calvert-Lewin also gets the nod up top for his hat-trick against West Brom. 




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