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FPL Barometer: Taking Stock (Part 1)

Chris Mosinski

Fantasy sports connoisseur and expert soccer prognosticator.

We are three weeks into the Premier League season and we get our first chance to breathe. After three weekends we have seen the defending champions lose to start the season (thanks to playing down two men), newly promoted Huddersfield enter the title chase (well, for now), and Crystal Palace score (into the wrong goal). It will be 12 days between kickoffs and it provides a great opportunity to take stock in where everyone stands and how their value might look over the course of the next four gameweeks. Let’s run through each team and see where value might be found going forward.

Arsenal
There has been plenty written about Arsenal after their 4-0 defeat at Liverpool. They have been held without a goal in their two matches since opening with fireworks against Leicester City to start the season. Panic and worry is starting to set in for Gunners supporters and fantasy owners, but it might be a bit premature. Both Stoke City and Liverpool have top defenses and both matches were on the road. Three of the next four are at home. While the trip to Chelsea and hosting West Brom are not the most attractive, hosting Bournemouth and Brighton should play well. Unfortunately, those games book-end the next four matches. The attack gets a slight increase in stock, but the defense gets even more. Only the trip to Stamford Bridge looms as a difficult task for the Gunners' defense over the next four matches.

Stock Rising
Hector Bellerin should see good chances for clean sheets and is active enough in the attack to maybe add in a goal or assist. Mesut Ozil is tied with David Silva for second in assisted shots behind Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mkhitaryan and Silva have a combined seven assists while Ozil has none. Look for assists to start coming in for the Arsenal midfielder.

Stock Falling
Theo Walcott is the third-most expensive Arsenal midfielder. After just two substitute appearances he has zero shots and assisted shots; it might be time to move on if you haven't already.

Bournemouth
The Cherries sit in 18th place after scoring just one goal while conceding five on their way to three consecutive losses. Sure, they looked spirited in a 2-1 loss to Manchester City, but this is likely exactly what Bournemouth is. The next four matches don’t open up for the Cherries, as you’re probably best waiting until Gameweek 11 before buying in on the likes of Joshua King, Jermain Defoe or Charlie Daniels.

Stock Rising
None for now. You may squeak a goal out of King or Defoe, but nothing consistent that is worth going out and getting.

Stock Falling
See above. Expectations were high for King. He may get to double-digit goals this season, but don’t expect much until the schedule gets a easier.

Brighton & Hove Albion
Albion are a team that was expected to struggle this season, and they have. They rank T-18th with just two shots on target per match and only the match at home against Manchester City was one to expect nothing. Things will get a little easier for Brighton over the next four weeks, but there is not much to get excited about.

Stock Rising
Solly March leads the team in both shots and assisted shots. He can be had for cheap and could be involved in a goal or two. He could be an intriguing option for the bench if you are looking for a low cost midfielder.

Stock Falling
Expectations for Glenn Murray to contribute were there as the season began. An injury and some inactivity have tempered those expectations for now.

Burnley
The Clarets were a team not expected to be long for the Premier League. Through three matches of their second season, they are starting to show they belong. Activity in the tack has appeared dangerous. However, the defense still leaves something to be desired. A roller coaster schedule over the next four matches will be tough to string anything together for fantasy but there still could be value there.

Stock Rising
Chris Wood came on as a substitute in his first match for Burnley and promptly scored to help the Clarets steal a point from Tottenham. He scored 27 goals for Leeds United in the Championship last season. He has the pedigree to score goals, the question remains is if it can be at the top level.

Stock Falling
Since scoring two goals on two shots on target to start the season, Sam Vokes has yet to put another attempt on goal. Combine that with the addition of Chris Wood and Vokes' value probably peaked in Gameweek 1.

Chelsea
The defending champs rebounded nicely since dropping the first match of the season. Scoring four and allowing just one combined to Tottenham and Everton shows the side people feel they could be. Their depth will be tested in September as they have two Champions League matches and a League Cup match sprinkled in with their Premier League schedule, which is a difficult run of four matches. Sure, they might be able to send light squads for the Champions League and League Cup matches, but the combination of a lot of games and a tough league schedule should dampen fantasy expectations for Chelsea until October.

Stock Rising
There were concerns about Chelsea bringing in a replacement for Marcos Alonso during the summer transfer window, but that does not appear to be the case. Two goals later, he appears to have just as much value as a defender as he did last season.

Stock Falling
I would give a general downgrade for everyone throughout September. Look for their value to go up again in October when the schedule breaks a little more in their favor.

Crystal Palace
It has been a tough run for Crystal Palace as they have yet to score a goal or earn a point. This team certainly looks like they will be fighting to stay up as they have struggled against other squads in similar positions. For fantasy purposes, I would avoid both the Palace attackers and defenders as the schedule will only get more difficult over the next few weeks. Depending on how things go, players like Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke might have more fantasy value when the schedule eases up starting in Gameweek 9.

Stock Rising
See above. Effectively no one.

Stock Falling
I would avoid any Palace players for the near future.

Everton
Through three gameweeks, this is an attack that looks like they are still searching for an identity without Romelu Lukaku. Only an anemic Swansea side have fewer shots and shots on target. A lot of that can be attributed to schedule, as they have faced three tough opponents. Unfortunately, with matches against Tottenham and Manchester United up next, it would be best to wait until Gameweek 6 to bring in any Toffees. Starting then, they go on a nice run that could bring some good value through the Christmas season.

Stock Rising
Sure, the goals and assists have only come from two sources through the first three matches, but I expect them to look to Gylfi Sigurdssson to stimulate some offense going forward. However, as mentioned above, I would wait a few weeks to bring him on.

Stock Falling
The entire roster gets the red arrow over the next two gameweeks but will disappear starting with the home match against Bournemouth in Gameweek 6 and lasting through Christmas.

Huddersfield
The Terriers have certainly been a surprise through the first three Gameweeks of the season. Their schedule was certainly pleasant to start, but it would have been difficult to predict a top-3 spot in the table. A dive into the stats shows the defense to be the biggest driver for their success. At just 11 shots allowed per game, Huddersfield rank tied for fifth. Luckily, for fantasy purposes, the schedule remains attractive for a few more weeks. Trips to West Ham and Burnley sandwiching a visit from Leicester City will not be making Huddersfield defenders shake in their boots. This could be a cheap wave worth riding for another few weeks.

Stock Rising
You might be able to sneak another clean sheet or two out of Tommy Smith, but do not overlook the fact he leads the entire team in assisted shots. Adding some points via an assist is a strong possibility.

Stock Falling
Aaron Mooy debuted with a bang thanks to an assist and goal in his first two matches. Unfortunately, I think his value has peaked and now is the time to sell, as I would expect many unpredictable results going forward.

Leicester City
The Foxes stunned the world two seasons ago with their magical run to the title. Unfortunately, a mid-table team is more in line with their expectations and where they currently appear. A roller coaster schedule of tough/easy matches makes owning a Leicester player a little difficult over the next three gameweeks. The time to target a Fox will likely come in Gameweek 7 as they have a nice run of matches starting then.

Stock Rising
Riyad Mahrez has been solid through the first three gameweeks thanks to two assists. Based on his high shot totals, I would expect him to start adding some goals to increase his value.

Stock Falling
Shinji Okazaki was a popular target thanks to two goals in the first two gameweeks. However, I expect Kelechi Iheanacho to start taking away playing time and fantasy value coming out of the international break.

Liverpool
Liverpool currently sit second in the table. After their thumping of Arsenal, it appears well deserved. Look for the attack to continue to put up gaudy numbers despite tough matches, as this is a squad that could prove to be “matchproof” going forward.

Stock Rising
Roberto Firmino continues to be undervalued, as he is producing at an elite level. His shot and assisted shot numbers show that he can continue to put up top value at a somewhat bargain price.

Stock Falling
James Milner’s value as a defender when he is on the pitch is legit. Unfortunately, one start in the first three matches does not create much of an opportunity for him to shine. Until he starts to gain regular appearances in Liverpool’s starting XI, it would be best to look elsewhere for defenders.