Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 3 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each week, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Starting in August 2018 I made a point of mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So now, whether you're playing official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll now be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
First up, here are two FPL private leagues for you to join if you haven't already ...
Rotoworld_PL League Code = nkbjfr
AM FPL 2019/20 League Code = 2qi680
Personally it's been a decent start in FPL with my team sitting around 200k in the overall standings, thanks largely to a 94 point haul in GW1. GW2 was less successful as it clashed with a vacation meaning less time for research and writing, so I'd like to thank Sean for covering this column in my absence and doing a mighty fine job. It's time to pick things up again with a look at the Gameweek 3 fixtures...
Friday 23rd August
Aston Villa v Everton
Saturday 24th August
Norwich City v Chelsea
Brighton v Southampton
Manchester United v Crystal Palace
Sheffield United v Leicester City
Watford v West Ham
Liverpool v Arsenal
Sunday 25th August
Bournemouth v Manchester City
Tottenham v Newcastle
Wolves v Burnley
The first thing to note is another Friday night kick-off as Aston Villa host Everton, meaning your FPL team must be locked in by 7pm BST (British Summer Time) this Friday 23rd August. As always we'll focus on players from the teams that look set for comfortable wins, with goals and potential clean sheet points on the cards. Manchester United at home to struggling Crystal Palace looks a good place to start, with Tottenham hosting Newcastle a very close second. Manchester City away at Bournemouth is an obvious one, Wolves hosting Burnley is tempting and I fancy Leicester to get their first win of the season at Sheffield United. Liverpool v Arsenal in the late Saturday game should be a cracker but I don't recommend bringing in new players from either side specifically for this gameweek due to the unpredictability of the outcome.
With that in mind, here are the players to keep in your thoughts ahead of Gameweek 3....
James Maddison (MF - Leicester @ Sheffield United) - Leicester have been tipped to fight for a Top 6 spot this season and this weekend offers up a great opportunity to get their first win on the board after tough opening games against Wolves and Chelsea. The Foxes travel north to face Sheffield United and if the final 30 minutes against Chelsea are anything to go by then Brendan Rodgers men will have enough attacking quality to take the three points here. There are plenty of options from an FPL perspective - Jamie Vardy, Ayoze Pérez and Youri Tielemans to name three - but James Maddison was the star man at Stamford Bridge, created more chances than any other player in the Premier League last season (Eden Hazard included) and surely holds the key to unlocking the Blades defence.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (DF - Manchester United v Crystal Palace) - It's important to include a defender in this column each week to indicate the player or team I feel are most likely to perform and / or secure a clean sheet in the upcoming round of fixtures. Everton's Lucas Digne was close to taking the honour this weekend but slight doubts over his fitness at the time of writing has led to a first appearance in this column for last season's £4m FPL defensive bargain Aaron Wan-Bissaka. AWB rightly earned a big money move to Old Trafford over the summer and has already impressed fans and neutrals alike with his tough defensive displays combined with determined forays forward. The right-back is still reasonably priced at £5.5m this year and will be keen to put on a show against his former club, with clean sheet points the minimum we should hope for.
Heung-Min Son (MF - Tottenham v Newcastle) - Suspended for the opening two gameweeks after his crazy red card at Bournemouth at the end of last season, Heung-Min Son returns for GW3 to give Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs side a much-appreciated boost of pace and finishing ability for the tasty looking home clash against Newcastle. The South Korean was named fans' player of the season in 2018/19 thanks to an impressive 20 goals in all competition and should slot straight back in to the starting XI with Dele Alli injured and Christian Eriksen still pining for a transfer before the Spanish transfer window slams shut in 10 days’ time. I'm expecting a big performance from Son to get his campaign up-and-running
Raúl Jiménez (FW - Wolves v Burnley) - Raúl Jiménez has made an electric start in Wolves' Europa League campaign, scoring four times and picking up an assist in just two starts, but he's found things trickier in the opening two Premier League games. Chances were few and far between in GW1 but the Mexican striker looked dangerous against Manchester United on Monday night and was unlucky not to score, glancing a header against the post and generally making a nuisance of himself. Burnley will set up to be hard to beat but that just means more of the ball for Wolves most creative players, and Jiménez’s partnership with Diogo Jota has caused problems for far better defences over the past 12 months. It wouldn't be a surprise to see both men open their PL goal accounts this Sunday.
Anthony Martial (MF - Manchester United v Crystal Palace) - When it comes to attacking players I'm not sure there's much better value to be found in FPL than Anthony Martial. With Romelu Lukaku departing Old Trafford on deadline day we expected the excellent Marcus Rashford to spearhead the Manchester United attack but instead it has been the Frenchman leading the line and doing a fine job, getting himself on the scoresheet in the Reds opening two matches. Listed as a midfielder, Martial is significantly cheaper than Rashford but an increasing ownership has seen his price rise from £7.5m to £7.7m already and another strong showing against the Eagles could see him up around £8million before the international break. It's time to jump on the bandwagon before it's too late.
Captain Choice: Harry Kane (FW - Tottenham v Newcastle) - For me it's a straight shootout between Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling for GW3 captain. Both players are in my FPL side and right now the Spurs talisman has the armband, purely due to home advantage. Sterling's goalscoring record against Bournemouth is pretty phenomenal and I'm sure he'll score for a third straight game, but Kane didn't let us down on the opening weekend, helping himself to a couple of - albeit late - goals against Villa. I reckon he'll bag himself another brace and bonus points here against Steve Bruce's desperately disorganised defensive unit.
Honourable Mentions: Aymeric Laporte (Man City @ Bournemouth), Lewis Dunk (Brighton vs Southampton), Matt Doherty (Wolves v Burnley), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool v Arsenal), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City @ Bournemouth), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton @ Villa), Gerard Deulofeu (Watford v West Ham), Sergio Agüero (Man City @ Bournemouth), Jamie Vardy (Leicester @ Sheff Utd)
That's it for Gameweek 3's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to post them in the comments below or hit me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will respond.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend!