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Ball Watching: Looking Back at Gameweek 3

Mike Gottlieb

Mike Gottlieb is a podcast host and contributing writer at He is a supporter of the Colorado Avalanche, San Diego Chargers, and Chelsea FC. He also understands how random that is.

FPL Rapid Reaction is Mike Gottlieb's views after the weekend that was in the Barclays Premier League utilizing statistical trends. Have a reaction to Mike's thoughts? Either tweet him @sportsbygotti directly or use the #RWFPL hashtag.

I. Ryan Shawcross is underrated. He is the second-highest Premier League player on thanks to one clean sheet, one goal, and he hasn't missed a single minute in Stoke's first three matches. He is the rock of that defense and is an aerial threat on set pieces.

II. Gylfi Sigurdsson has played at Fabregas-level; their stats are virtually the same but their prices are not. Their pass percentages are 86.4 and 87.9, respectively, and their shots per game are 2 and 1.7. Siggurdson has one goal to Fabregas' zero, and they both have four assists (which lead the Premier League).

III. Branislav Ivanovic is averaging the same number of shots per game as Raheem Sterling (2.7). For Sterling, that number isn't surprising. Ivanovic, however, is getting forward and scoring goals at a striker's rate. Perhaps having him play as a striker in the preseason was not a fluke.

IV. Wilfried Bony is not the Most Valuable Wilfried; Wilfried Zaha sparkled in his return to Crystal Palace, even though he came on as a sub (four shots, one goal). He's going to start, so pick him up now before he's priced out.

V. Who Do You Trust in Manchester? With the addition of Falcao, Manchester United's frontline is even more crowded than ever. Where are they going to play him, Juan Mata, Angel Di Maria, Wayne Rooney, and Robin van Persie? Is there going to be a dreaded rotation? How about Man City? Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic for two spots: who do you trust?

VI: Michael Dawson looks to be a value buy. This depends on your scoring setting, but he had 14 clearances in his first appearance for Hull -- against Aston Villa. Imagine how many he'll get against more potent offenses? He is also a fantastic long-ball passer and knows how to distribute out of his defensive third. Finally, has good leaping ability and is strong in aerial battles, so there is set piece potential as well.

VII: Mario Balotelli had everything but a goal and an assist in 60 minutes during his Liverpool debut. Here is the Italian's line after spending under 48 hours with the club: five shots, one key pass, 50 percent pass rate. If he keeps that pace up, 20 goals is not out of the question. Everyone keeps talking about what a headcase he is, but don't forget what we were saying about Luis Suarez before he played under Brendan Rogers.

VIII: Rolando Aarons is officially on the Watch List. The Newcastle midfielder just needs some playing time. He is averaging three shots per game through two substitute appearances. To put that in perspective, only Aaron Ramsey, Andre Schurrle, Kevin Mirallas, and Marko Arnautovic are the only midfielders with more. Remember, this is from a player who has yet to start.

IX: Guess who is leading the Premier League in key passes per game? Is it Alexis Sanchez? Cesc Fabregas? Eden Hazard? ....Not even close. It's Joey Barton. Joey !@#%in Barton. Even more strange, they've led to zero assists. That's what happens when you play for QPR, I guess.

X: It's time to sell all Aston Villa defenders and Brad Guzan. We've talked about it on the RotoWire Fantasy Soccer Podcast, but Villa may not get another point for two months. Their upcoming five games: at Liverpool, vs. Arsenal, at Chelsea, vs. Man City, and at Everton. Ouch.

XI: Kasper Schmeichel is a cheap source of goalkeeper fantasy points. Leicester concede 21.3 shots per game, which gives Schmeichel plenty of saves opportunities. Plus, with games against Stoke City, Crystal Palace, and Burnley in their next five, there are chances for clean sheets for the young Dane. I foresee a Manchester United bid coming for him -- potentially in January.