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What We Learned from Gameweek 2

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Thank you to Tim Miller (@millertimp) for submitting the below Community Submission. This article has been subject to minor edits to the formatting, but the written content remains almost untouched.

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Community Submission: What We Learned from Gameweek 2

Gameweek 2 offered some surprising results (I’m looking at you, Red Devils) and some not so surprising results (Manchester City looked like a lock for repeat titles) for us to enjoy over the weekend. We also now have a little more data with which to make our wild speculations for the rest of the season. Each week this space will look quickly at some notable takeaways from the previous gameweek and provide some instant reactions and thoughts for going forward.

The Week of the Defender

Gameweek 2 saw nine of the top 15 scorers in Fantrax come from the defender position. Compare that with just two in that same group in Gameweek 1. The lone player to appear in both lists: Marcos Alonso. Alonso is making an early season case to be in the lineup even when Ben Chilwell is fit and ready to go. In Gameweek 1, Alonso scored a goal and had two shots on target to help pad his stats. In Gameweek 2, however, the Chelsea defender registered a whopping 18.75 ghost points by filling the stat sheet with aerial wins, interceptions, effective clearances, and key passes.

The Blues attack is firing on all cylinders through two weeks, dominating possession and creating scoring chances aplenty. The ability of Alonso and fellow back Reece James in Gameweek 2 to push forward on the outside wreaked havoc on the Arsenal defence with both tallying one or more accurate crosses and at least four key passes each. James added a goal to lead the league in FPTS for the week, while Alonso was the seventh best player by FPTS. James was a highly drafted defender and is expected to produce this output. Alonso is still highly regarded mostly as a handcuff to Chilwell, who could return next week or right after the international break, but is making Thomas Tuchel’s decision much harder than previously thought. I, like all who have rostered Chilwell, will just have to tough it out and hope his talent wins the starting spot as Alonso’s trade value is likely at its peak. If you’re one of the fortunate ones who has rostered Alonso, now is the time to reach out to the squad with Chilwell and get the best return you can.

Another pair of teammates planted themselves firmly in the top FPTS scorers for Gameweek 2 and again, one is a cemented top choice defender and one is a presumed place holder making his manager’s decision difficult. Liverpool have rolled through their first two games, like Chelsea, and the attacking prowess of both outside backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Konstantinos Tsimikas, is a huge part of it. TAA (as we will refer to him in this post) is hands down the best real life and fantasy defender on the planet. A defendable first round pick, he produces consistently with quality set pieces, key passes, and the occasional goal. This allows him to rack up consistently high FPTS from week to week, with a solid floor of ghost points.

The surprise is the play of the former Olympiakos man, Tsimikas. Thrust into a starting role normally occupied by Andy Robertson, Tsmikas has more than held his own. Gameweek 1 saw him pile up 12 FPTS including a shot on target and a clean sheet, still good for 6 ghost points. But the Greek defender turned it on in Gameweek 2, grabbing 28.75 FPTS. Even taking out the assist (on a beautiful cross to Jota) and the clean sheet, Tsimikas scored 15.75 ghost points. Filling the stat sheet with key passes, accurate crosses, and effective clearances make him worth a stash in deeper leagues, even with Roberston set to return in Gameweek 3 against Chelsea. Tsimikas could still see some time spelling Roberston until his fitness is fully back and with more favorable matchups after the international break, Klopp just might feel comfortable letting Tsimikas run with the first team for a bit longer.

The Rise of Demarai

It is always fun to watch the emergence of a talented young player in the Premier League. Fresh off a transfer from Bayern Leverkusen, Demarai Gray is making the most of his opportunity to play at Everton and Rafa Benitez’s trust in the 25 year old has paid off huge dividends. While struggling to find the game and contribute in fantasy against Southampton, Gray proved he belongs in the top flight with his performance against Leeds in Gameweek 2.

The return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin was no doubt a helping factor, but Gray contributed on both sides of the ball, adding three effective clearances and a tackle won to his goal and one accurate cross. But it was in taking on defenders where the Englishman more than passed the eye test. He tallied two successful dribbles and added a key pass to his stat line giving him a solid eight ghost points and 17 FPTS overall. Everton face a daunting Brighton defense, who just shut down Watford’s attack, in Gameweek 3. Following the international break, though, the Toffees have Burnley (H), Aston Villa (A), and Norwich (H) which should provide an opportunity for Gray to show out and help both Everton and fantasy managers lucky enough to roster him. As of this writing, he’s only rostered in 19% of leagues, a number I expect to rise greatly in the next few weeks. Go grab him while you can.

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