Welcome to Week 2 of my player picks for the Yahoo Fantasy Premier League game. The opening week of the season was a decent one for my fantasy team AM FC, picking up 98 points thanks to the ever reliable Aaron Ramsey, Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge. However, plenty of mistakes were made too, such as picking Robert Snodgrass over Gylfi Sigurdsson and trusting David De Gea behind a make-shift Manchester United defence. We're currently unable to see our overall rank in the standings, but this feature is coming soon, as well as the ability to view your opponent's teams after each deadline, as the Yahoo team continue to work hard to implement a whole bunch of enhancements.
Check in with Rotoworld.com for news, analysis and fantasy predictions all season
One thing I forgot to mention to new readers in last week's column is my approach to the Yahoo game. I'm a firm believe that if you can hit an average of between 90 and 100 fantasy points per game-week then you'll have a pretty good chance of finishing towards the top 1000 of the overall standings come the end of the season. You have £100million to spend and most people will spend the majority (say £90m-£95m) on their first XI, with the rest spent on their bench players. When selecting my team I look at a player's price and decide if I think that player will "return his value'. By this, I mean a player who will cost me £6million should really earn me 6 fantasy points for the week. If all my players can return their value I'm looking at a weekly total close to 100 points. It's not an exact science by any stretch of the imagination, but I've found it an effective way to approach each week. I'll often refer to a player "returning his value" in my weekly picks, so I felt it was important to clarify what I'm talking about.
Anyway, on to the fixtures ...
Week 2 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Newcastle
Chelsea v Leicester City
Crystal Palace v West Ham
Everton v Arsenal
Hull City v Stoke
Man City v Liverpool
Southampton v West Brom
Sunderland v Man Utd
Swansea v Burnley
Tottenham v QPR
The stand-out fixture for fantasy purposes by a million miles is Chelsea's home match against Leicester. None of the big sides were particularly impressive last weekend, until Chelsea's fixture at Burnley on Monday night. After going behind, some of the football played by Jose Mourinho's men in that first half was as-good-as-it-gets, with Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings, and one would expect a comfortable home victory over the Foxes at Stamford Bridge in Week 2. I would recommend you look to grab a minimum of three Chelsea players for your fantasy team if you can find a way to afford them.
Aside from that, Swansea's impressive performance and victory at Old Trafford bodes well for the season ahead and they should be seen as big favourites to grab back-to-back wins by beating Burnley at the Liberty Stadium. Tottenham showed plenty of grit to grind out a tough 1-0 win over West Ham on the opening weekend despite playing for 60 minutes with 10 men and should find things a little bit easier at home to Queens Park Rangers, so their players should be on your radar. Southampton are also an interesting proposition given their showing at Anfield, and with West Brom visiting the south coast this weekend.
The biggest game of the weekend is between last season's top two Premier League sides, Manchester City v Liverpool. Calling the result in this one is difficult - it truly could go either way - but my gut is telling me it will be a high scoring draw. For that reason there will be attacking players from both teams worth looking at, but defensive options may be best avoided. Everton v Arsenal is another game with cracking potential, with the Toffees notoriously tough to beat at Goodison Park, so my prediction for that one is another exciting score draw. Both of these matches are to be shown on TV here in the UK and I've already made it clear to my wife that I must watch them both, despite the fact it's our wedding anniversary this weekend. Isn't she a lucky lady?
Aside from those matches there's nothing to get too excited about. Manchester United are favourites to beat Sunderland, but aside from Wayne Rooney it's difficult to recommend big investment based on last weekend's performance against Swansea. Crystal Palace are more than capable of grabbing a win and keeping a clean sheet at home to West Ham, so their defensive players could be worth a look, while some of Newcastle's new signings looked impressive against Manchester City so you'd imagine they could prosper further for the trip to Aston Villa. That leaves Hull City v Stoke, which looks like a nailed on 1-1 draw, and is probably best avoided for fantasy purposes unless you're confident you can pick a goal-scorer.
With all that in mind, click over to the next page to view the Week 2 player recommendations.