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Weekly Picks

The Bargain Hunter - Week 3

by Steve Rothgeb
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Week Three is approaching and in fantasy Premier League it represents a crucial point in the season, perhaps the most impactful gameweek until we begin the fun of double gameweek planning down the road. First, after three games, it is fair to begin assessing who is truly productive and who may just have been a bit lucky or unlucky coming out of the gates. After Week 3 completes, we have our first international break, so there is some extra time to give a thorough evaluation of players, particularly if they have established themselves as regulars in their respective team's XI's which allows you to trust in invest in them. It also marks the final Gameweek that falls within the summer transfer window, so consideration needs to be given to late additions made by clubs still shopping for some help, and what impact any new signings will have on other players who may have looked secure before the club brought in someone new. Case in point, the big news this week of the signing of Angel Di Maria will certainly have a ripple effect through Manchester United's pecking order as the Red Devils didn't just fork over £100 large to ease the Argentinean in -- someone is going to get dropped. 

What I am driving at here is that this is a week where you don't want to take too many chances, wait for the dust to settle heading into Week 4 before getting too cute. Pick players who are historically nailed on for their teams, give yourself a decent bench, and if you were able to take advantage of some special low prices gifted by the Yahoo game last week, you should be able to use your budget with a degree of conservatism and afford several nailed-on, heavy hitting superstars while plugging in the gaps with some of these bargain options below:




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Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) When I wrote up the Season Preview for Swansea City, I had mentioned that Fabianski, along with Neil Taylor, looked to be great bargain options in the early going..but to wait until after Week 1 when they got their visit to Old Trafford out of the way first before thinking about risking cheap defensive options, especially at keeper, where wins and losses swing the pendulum of fantasy success so drastically. Well, despite all the hype surrounding Man United and with Swansea looking poor defensively in the preseason, the Swans grabbed an historic win and followed it up with a clean sheet against Burnley. Fabianski has been particularly pleasant surprise for the Swans in the early going, seemingly making sound decisions between the sticks with very few mistakes thus far. At a price of 6.65m, he looks the best of a short list of decent budget keepers this weekend as Swansea play their second straight at home against West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies are on their second straight road match and are fresh off of a game in which they did not score. Also, new signing Federico Fernandez may be making his debut for the Swans, making their defensive unit all the stronger. Add it all up, and Fabianski is looking a strong play for his price this week.


Other Option for Goalkeeper -

Tim Krul (Newcastle United) - Slightly cheaper than Fabianski with a home matchup against a chaotic Crystal Palace side. Sets you back 6.20m.




Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United) Do you know what I like in a fantasy defender? Whether it be a budget option or a superstar? The ones that put up the most points WITHOUT a clean sheet, goal or assist. That means that the player is getting other categories filled, and those categories tend to be filled on a dependable basis. Much like Steven Caulker for Cardiff City last season, Cresswell is beginning to look like a prospect that you can come to rely on for steady points despite how poorly West Ham may be collectively in a given match. Last week, Cresswell hit the double digit mark with a solid 10 point effort, even though the Hammers conceded and the left back's name wasn't in the headlines. He was a star at Ipswich Town in the Championship and we are beginning to see his talent translate to the top flight, as he has received several plaudits from Sam Allardyce and the West Ham faithful. Beginning the season at the rock-bottom 1m price, he is still only a tantalizing 2.48m, and has a home matchup with a Southampton side that is showing potential but are still candidates to be kept out of net. Should that happen, Cresswell could be in for a big day.


Other Options for Defense -


Neil Taylor (Swansea City) Taylor is still nailed on at left back for the Swans and is another path to a clean sheet, though he offers little more than that. Just costs 4.75m.

Ally Cissokho (Aston Villa) I would not invest here unless you have a firm positive report on Cissokho's fitness, as he is carrying a slight knock from last weekend's match, but he is on pace to start as of today. Can Villa make it three clean sheets on the trot? The odds say "No" but home to Hull City isn't too shabby. 6.55m for a nailed-on defender with back-to-back double digit fantasy hauls to begin the season are not easy to come by.




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Charles N'Zogbia (Aston Villa) Look, I promise, if N'Zogbia doesn't come good this weekend against Hull City, then I am writing him off for good. Let me amend that - I am writing him off for a very long time...even if he DOES come good this weekend, because after they host the Tigers at Villa Park, the schedule for the Lions becomes an absolute nightmare - Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton for five frightening weeks. I make no bones about it, N'Zogbia is a frustrating player. He has loads of talent, he has bagged his share of braces from midfield before and with his set piece abilities, he has the ingredients you need to make for a gigantic score if he can just put it together. If I am Paul Lambert, I am giving N'zogbia and the rest of the Villans attack an ultimatum. Give a good performance against Hull or invest in a seat cushion because you are going to be riding the bench while I give a kid like Jack Grealish a chance in the first team during this upcoming schedule where points are not expected to be plentiful anyway.  At 4.96m Charles, gives us something!


Other Options for Midfield - 


Jack Rodwell (Sunderland) While we can't expect goals from him with any regularity, Rodwell showed in Week 1 he can provide something for virtually nothing - 3.07m. As bad as QPR have looked, Rodwell should at least give you a bench option that offers promise should he find his way into your XI.


Erik Lamela (Tottenham) Hopefully, it goes without saying until his price catches up to the dynamic midfielders of the league that Lamela is a week-in, week-out steal. Hosting Liverpool this week, Spurs have to shake the memory of this fixture last season, but Suarez is gone and Lamela is here -- still only 5.25m.



Siem de Jong (Newcastle United) Normally, I would not be inclined to invest in a player who is in a "reverse" out-of-position classification such as de Jong is, and Newcastle hasn't exactly impressed in their attack through the first two games this season. But de Jong, who will surely make his first start after a debut from the bench last week, has, what Liam Neeson would refer to as, "a particular set of skills" which may be the key to unlock the Magpie magic. The easy comparison is to that of Yohan Cabaye and if de Jong can come anywhere near the fantasy level that Cabaye normally achieved, then now is the time to give him his shot while his price tag sits at a dirt cheap 5.06m. Like Cabaye, de Jong will hog most set pieces, adding to his potential haul should he come good. The opponent is decent enough - Crystal Palace have just given the managerial position to Neil Warnock, and his influence in the early stages with the Eagles may be as effective as that of a substitute teacher - no control over his classroom. Jason Puncheon, one of the honor roll students in the Palace attack last season has already made it known in no uncertain terms that he does not respect the new boss. Even when Palace were at their best under Tony Pulis, the clean sheets came most frequently on their own ground so I see Newcastle, and de Jong in particular taking advantage and finding the net at St. James' Park. If you have cold feet risking a forward slot on a player who hasn't proven much yet on a Premier League pitch, at least monitor his game and make barndoor plans if things go well...the Magpies have a nice run of fixtures to boot.


Other Option for Forward - 


Alexis Sanchez - If you were like me, you grabbed Sanchez and stuck him into your XI as soon as possible once word hit that his price had taken an epic dip. So how did the fantasy gods reward our greed? a -1 point haul from the Gunner. That performance dropped his price even more, so take a chance on him again if you want against Leicester City, as he currently is priced at 4.71m.




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Steve Rothgeb
Steve Rothgeb is a contributor for Rotoworld.com and WorldSoccerTalk.com, a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.