We didn't get much of a chance to judge Tom Ince in his brief Premier League cameo last season but this season started off very strong for the Son-of-Paul.
I guess we need to initiate the Mido All-Stars (for guys who take a lot of shots and a lot of them end up being shots on target) in addition to the Joel Ward All-Stars (for guys who get a lot of blocks/interceptions/tackles). If/when we do create that team then Tom Ince is looking like a strong candidate based on his Week 1 performance. His three SOTs combined with three corners won saw him pile up an exceptional 12 points in the Yahoo format despite not scoring or assisting. With Robert Snodgrass reportedly out for six months and Shane Long off to Southampton, Ince seems likely to get a serious run in the team and should have very solid potential.
Hull City left back Andrew Robertson continued his rocket ride up from the Scottish third division with a great fantasy debut in Week 1.
I'm pretty sure the Scottish third division is just a touch more competitive than most pub leagues but Andrew Robertson has risen quickly from those origins to being a first choice starter for Hull City in their Premier League season opener. The young left back picked up 14 points in the Yahoo format and 7 in the PL.com format on the strength of a blocked shot, 2 passes intercepted, 3 tackles won, and a successful cross. Hull aren't likely to pile up the clean sheets but the "phantom" stats and his low price in both formats as an unheralded new entrant to the league mean he will have some serious value potential for at least the next few weeks, longer in the PL.com format.
Alexis Sanchez's competitive debut for Arsenal was a mixed bag depending on whether you are looking at it in the short term or long term.
Alexis Sanchez scored 9 points in the Yahoo format and 5 points in the PL.com format which are both solid results in the short term. The worry, especially in formats that lean on a lot of secondary statistics like successful crosses, shots on target, etc, is that the big driver of Sanchez's solid fantasy outing was an assist. While he did OK with some of the "phantom point" categories, he also committed five fouls which erased any good from his positive phantom points. That he avoided a yellow card was a bit of a miracle after committing five fouls. Definitely something to keep an eye on in future weeks.
Jack Wilshere rose above his history as a mediocre fantasy player to score well in the Yahoo format in Arsenal's season debut.
Likely a temporary member of the starting line-up until Mesut Ozil is ready to return, Jack Wilshere put up 11 fantasy points in the Yahoo format despite Arsenal's muted display against Crystal Palace on Saturday. The one-time "future of England" wasn't as productive in the PL.com format with only two points but the Yahoo focus on stats like Fouls Won (6), Shots on Target, Passes Intercepted, Corners Won, and Tackles Won (all one each) worked in Wilshere's favor. Ozil's return seems imminent and the opposition is tougher this weekend with Everton coming to town. Seems likely this was a one week wonder for Arsenal's smoking central midfielder.
Despite a rotten showing from his team, Phil Jones managed to score well for fantasy managers without the benefit of a clean sheet, goal or assist.
There are certainly worries all over the pitch for Manchester United supporters and fantasy managers who own United players alike but Phil Jones wasn't one of them in Week 1. He managed to fill the stat sheet with interceptions (4) and tackles (4) as well as being fouled by Swansea players (4 times). In the Yahoo format that led to 11 points which is a very solid performance for a defender on a losing team. The only immediate concern is whether the arrival of Marcos Rojo and return of Jonny Evans to full health will impact Jones' playing time. For the record, I don't think either will have an impact but we don't know what Louis Van Gaal thinks of his central defenders yet since he hasn't had enough where he's been able to show a preference.
Given the overall disaster that was Manchester United's opening match, it's hard to get a strong sense of how good Herrera can be in reality or in fantasy this season.
By all accounts, Ander Herrera is a very good player. By those same accounts, Manchester United were a rotten team on Saturday. By the numbers, Herrera's debut was a bomb with the player scoring a mere two points in both the Yahoo and PL.com formats. Watching him actually play the match the best thing you could say about his performance was that United's midfield conspired to get worse when he was substituted out in the second half. It is probably worth waiting to see what United's team looks like after the transfer window closes and injured players return before writing Herrera off as a fantasy player.
After a protracted transfer saga Argentine international defender Marcos Rojo has joined Manchester United with Nani going the other way to join Sporting Lisbon.
The versatile defender may give us some insight into Louis Van Gaal's tactical intentions. Rojo is able to play the left-most of three center backs or left wing back in a 3-5-2 formation as well as left back in more conventional four-defender alignments but as not typically played as a center back in four-defender alignments. Given the huge investment in Luke Shaw earlier in the summer to play left back, the acquisition of Rojo seems to indicate that United intend to play a 3-5-2 more often than not with Shaw as the preferred wing back on the left and Rojo with Johnny Evans and (presumably) Phil Jones as the central trio. When Shaw is not available Rojo would slide to the left and play wing back with Chris Smalling slotting into his center back slot.
La Gazetta dello Sport is reporting that Arsenal have beaten Juventus and Roma to the signing of Greek international center back Kostas Manolas.
With Per Mertesacker still recovering from his World Cup exertions over the summer and Laurent Koscielny playing despite a Achilles complaint, Arsenal's lack of depth at center back has been exposed early in the season. Calum Chambers has played well as Mertesacker's deputy but one more center back was pretty clearly needed to round out a solid squad at the Emirates after Thomas Vermaelen's departure. Reports from Italy indicate that Kostas Manolas will be that man. Well regarded after a strong World Cup for Greece, the 23-year-old has been linked to a variety of big European clubs all summer. If La Gazetta dello Sport is to be believed, the deal is done.