By Patrick Gibson
Week 2 of the Premier League season has come and gone, and unless you stocked up on players from teams that start with BR this week, odds are your Fantasy Premier League team didn’t do quite as well as it did in Week 1. Brighton and Brentford’s scoring barrages led to huge weeks for their midfields, and some Aston Villa players weren’t all that far behind. As is usually the case, those who find themselves at the top of the leaderboard after week 2 owe their success much more to the players who could show out against weaker opposition than the best, playing more difficult opponents. I’d also like to commend the liveliness of the group chat, as insults and insights aplenty fly from and towards one another, making the dreariness of a Man United week from hell feel just that little bit more palatable for yours truly.
Who Won the Week?
While there was still some question going into the Monday fixture last week about who would come out ahead, it was fairly clear in week 2 that the top of the standings wouldn’t be challenged, barring a superhuman effort from a specific set of Arsenal players. Jason Burggraaf comes out of week 2 as the highest-scoring player of the week and is now second overall, two points behind Nick Gallagher. That performance is owed much to the performances mentioned in the intro, as Jason started the two highest-scoring Brentford players and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th highest-scoring Brighton players. Taking those performances alone, he still would’ve outscored all but 5 other players this week, and that’s not even considering the 23 points he could’ve accumulated were he to have started his optimal line-up. With a line-up still boasting high-powered fantasy players like Ollie Watkins, Erling Haaland, and Bukayo Saka, who didn’t totally light up the scoreboard this week, Jason’s spot towards the top of the table won’t be one to be taken easily.
On this week’s edition of Pep roulette, Ruben Dias returns from concussion protocol and sends Nathan Aké owners into a pit of despair. It’s equally unfortunate to those that brought Ake in after week 1 to play as a part of their defense, only for him not to see a minute and force substitutions. In those three cases this week, only one player managed to earn any bench points for his replacement, and even then, it was only a single point from Luke Shaw. The winners of Pep Roulette this week were those that stuck with Ruben Dias following the Portuguese defender’s exclusion from last week’s game against Burnley, as the four players all earned a hearty 7 points for their confidence. The irony in all of this is that a player started Nathan Aké and ended up finishing the highest of all those affected. In the midfield, Pep’s increased confidence in Phil Foden has paid off as well, as the Englishman grabbed 9 points this week, benefitting 11 of the 75 managers. It would’ve been 12 had Matthew Hajjar not sat him in favor of Nicholas Jackson or Joao Pedro.
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Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The harsh realities of football come at people fast, though usually not quite as fast as they’ve come for one Thomas Stockting. Clearly riding high after falling just shy of a 100-point week in the opening matchday, one would be forgiven for thinking he’d been diagnosed with a severe case of whiplash as his team only registered a meager 23 points this week. Only finishing ahead of last week’s “Thank You for Your Donation” player of the week, Marco, is a true fall from grace. Swapping out one Brighton defender who didn’t play for another Brighton defender that didn’t play epitomizes the unfortunate circumstances that befell our English friend this week. None of the players on his roster were able to score more than 4 points, and even that 4-point total only came as a result of his captain. FPL is clearly a fickle mistress, but I’m sure with the rest of his goings on, I don’t think this disappointment will be top of mind for Tom. Congrats! (On being named the “Thank You for Your Donation” player of the week).
Weird Observation of the Week
Two of the league's more common backup keeper selections were in stark contrast to one another this week. On one hand, you have Matt Turner, a bit of a steal at only 4.0 while still getting starting minutes for a Nottingham Forest team that has been good at the City Ground in 2023 and were facing a Sheffield United side widely heralded, at least by our group chat, as a potential all-time terrible Premier League side. On the other, you have Alphonse Areola, also available at 4.0 and starting ahead of Lukas Fabianski for a similar level side in West Ham, but who were also playing Chelsea this past weekend (albeit at home). While most of those that owned Matt Turner took the chance of playing him this weekend, yours truly included among them, the same could not be said of those with Areola.
Of course, everything went the opposite of the way we thought it would, with Turner conceding a goal early in the second half and falling one save short of accruing additional points. At the same time, Areola scored the second most points of any Keeper this weekend thanks to a crucial penalty save against Enzo Fernandez. Of the 13 managers with Areola in their squad, only Jonathan Hopkins had the fortitude to put him in the starting XI. Dino Nuggs FC would not have suffered too mightily had the switch not been made, but it still paid off with that performance. As for Turner, 13 of 16 managers with him in their line-up had confidence in the Forest defence. None of those managers had Areola or Vicario in their other keeper slot, so they can all rest easy. (Or at least that’s what I’ll tell myself).
Remember, no one really knows what’s going to happen in football. Math can only do so much, and gut instinct is more often than not going to let you down. But you don’t remember those times as much as you remember the ones you got right, and it’s why you keep going to your gut in spite of all the evidence. All that to say, don’t be surprised when Man United somehow screws the pooch against Sheffield United, and your choice to triple captain Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford blows up in your face like one of Wile E. Coyote’s traps for the Roadrunner.
Having joined CCSG in 2022, Patrick started his footie career playing at the age of 4 and began watching the pros around the same time. While the first pro team he supported was Manchester United, as soon as Atlético Ottawa came to town, he was immediately on board. His wealth of footie knowledge has been a constant asset, along with his role as caretaker for Atléti Wikipedia pages.