Fantasy Football Scout contributors Sam, Neale, Tom and Az are back again to debate the best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards for the upcoming Gameweek.
ABOUT THE SCOUT SQUAD
In this series, our four resident writers each propose an 18-man squad of Fantasy players with the focus solely on the upcoming Gameweek.
Their selections serve as a long list for the Scout Picks, as the players nominated will then be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.0m) for our final weekly selection ahead of Saturday’s deadline.
Each writer must meet the following requirements:
- At least one sub-£5.0m goalkeeper
- At least one sub-£5.0m defender
- At least one sub-£6.0m midfielder
- At least one sub-£7.0m forward
- No more than three players from the same club
SCOUT SQUAD’S PICK OF THE BEST FPL PLAYERS FOR GAMEWEEK 3
|GK||Danny Ward||Dean Henderson||Aaron Ramsdale||Hugo Lloris|
|Dean Henderson||Vicente Guaita||David Raya||Jordan Pickford|
|David Raya||Danny Ward||Robert Sanchez||Danny Ward|
|DEF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Reece James||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Reece James|
|Joao Cancelo||Joao Cancelo||Reece James||Joao Cancelo|
|Neco Williams||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Joao Cancelo||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Reece James||Oleksandr Zinchenko||Gabriel Magalhaes||Oleksandr Zinchenko|
|Ivan Perisic||Neco Williams||Davinson Sanchez||Neco Williams|
|MID||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Gabriel Martinelli|
|Son Heung-min||Son Heung-min||Son Heung-min||Dejan Kulusevski|
|Phil Foden||Gabriel Martinelli||Luis Diaz||Mohamed Salah|
|Gabriel Martinelli||Raheem Sterling||James Maddison||James Maddison|
|Josh Dasilva||Pascal Gross||Eberechi Eze||Eberechi Eze|
|FWD||Gabriel Jesus||Erling Haaland||Harry Kane||Gabriel Jesus|
|Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Erling Haaland||Harry Kane|
|Aleksandar Mitrovic||Gabriel Jesus||Gabriel Jesus||Kai Havertz|
|Ivan Toney||Kai Havertz||Kai Havertz||Erling Haaland|
|Erling Haaland||Aleksandar Mitrovic||Taiwo Awoniyi||Bryan Mbeumo|
Most popular picks: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, Reece James, Mohamed Salah, Gabriel Jesus, Harry Kane, Erling Haaland (four), Danny Ward, Neco Williams, Son Heung-min, Gabriel Martinelli, Kai Havertz (three)
This could be the week where owning a budget goalkeeper really comes into play. Leicester City’s Danny Ward, Brentford’s David Raya and Nottingham Forest’s Dean Henderson all look to have good potential for both a clean sheet and save points.
In Gameweek 2, Henderson returned his biggest ever FPL haul via a clean sheet and penalty save. Forest face Everton in Gameweek 3, a side struggling for attacking threat now that Richarlison is gone and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is injured.
It’s all about the wing-backs for me. Reece James visits Leeds United and, whilst the hosts’ attacking form may deny him a clean sheet, we saw his attacking threat against Spurs when he was switched from centre-half to wing-back. James has had four goal attempts so far, beaten only at Chelsea by the five of Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz.
Alongside James, Joao Cancelo is currently a bonus point magnet. He is consistently top for touches in the opponent’s half, which is perfect for FPL attacking potential. Newcastle United are a tricky opponent but, even if the clean sheet doesn’t arrive, Cancelo’s route to points still makes him a great option.
In midfield, Mohamed Salah has returned double digits against Manchester United in the last two league meetings. With Darwin Nunez suspended, the Egyptian is less likely to spend time on the wing.
Son Heung-min hasn’t yet brought the hauls we have come to expect but this home match against Wolves offers a great opportunity, despite him never scoring past them in eight previous attempts.
Phil Foden was subbed off at halftime versus Bournemouth with a goal and an assist. Had he stayed on beyond 60 minutes, it would have been a double-digit haul. There’s obviously a risk about his minutes but I’m going with my gut for in predicting that he will start and do well against Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Gabriel Martinelli is in the form of his life and is an easy pick for Arsenal. If Bournemouth man-mark Gabriel Jesus in the same way that they did to Erling Haaland last week, Martinelli could have the run of their midfield, increasing his attacking threat further.
Like Son, Harry Kane‘s record against Wolves is poor but Spurs will be on a high from the 95th-minute equaliser at Chelsea and I expect returns. Haaland had a quiet afternoon in Gameweek 2 but still possessed an attacking threat and, had Foden squared the ball, the new signing could easily have added a goal to his assist.
Ivan Toney is my biggest regret so far. I had him in all of my summer drafts but took him out at the last minute to allow for Jesus – I just wish I had found enough budget for both of them. Toney faces Fulham in Gameweek 3, so I think we will extend his return without a blank.
Although we’re only a couple of weeks into the new season, Gameweek 2 felt like a huge moment for our FPL teams. While we have clarification that Manchester United are still in disarray and Arsenal are a force to be reckoned with, Liverpool’s performance, team selection and substitutes have us questioning their once-impervious assets.
Similarly, Erling Haaland‘s eight touches are a huge come-down from his Gameweek 1 haul. Impressive performances from Brentford, Brighton and Nottingham Forest also provide us with some new players that may not have been considered heading into Gameweek 1.
At the back, Dean Henderson‘s penalty save catapults him to the top of the goalkeeper standings and he faces Everton, who still haven’t added a striker to their mix. In fact, I’ve selected two Forest defensive assets for my Scout Squad.
Against West Ham United, a relentlessly attacking display from wing-back Neco Williams suggested he can be more than just a £4.0m bench option. His 0.55 expected goal involvement (xGI) score was better than all defenders apart from Trent Alexander-Arnold (1.09) and Reece James (0.75).
Elsewhere, it’s hard to look past both these two and Joao Cancelo – all of whom look set to make a mockery of their modest price tags. Can Oleksandr Zinchenko enter into this bracket too? His xGI (0.12) doesn’t suggest he’s anywhere near such a level but his heat maps suggest he is receiving the ball in very dangerous areas. At £5.2m, he looks a solid option and is my pick of the current Arsenal defenders.
With Chelsea about to embark on a quite incredible run of fixtures, their attack is being overlooked due to poor showings. However, the Blues are about to face a trio of poor defensive sides that will allow space for Raheem Sterling to exploit, as he has done to such devastating effect in the past. Early Wildcarders may be tempted to take a punt on the English international, especially those who have some Darwin Nunez money burning a hole in their pockets.
Brighton and Hove Albion currently sit top of the fixture ticker and Pascal Gross is showing some impressive underlying numbers at this early stage, with the highest xGI (2.07) of all midfielders. At just £5.6m and likely on penalties, he seems the best way into a Brighton side that has started the season very brightly.
While Alexander Mitrovic was bought in droves after his two-goal opening weekend, attention is now turning to Ivan Toney who already has three attacking returns. They are about to face off and it should be an engaging spectacle between two high-intensity teams. I’m backing goals in this one, with both set to benefit as the main weapons.
Investing in Arsenal looks an obvious tactic in Gameweek 3, as the in-form Gunners visit newly-promoted Bournemouth. Along with Spurs, they are the bookies’ favourites for a clean sheet and, despite conceding two against Leicester last time out, just six shots were allowed.
I’ve called up Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel Magalhaes, while Gabriel Jesus’ inclusion further forward hardly needs explaining.
Spurs host Wolves in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, so Davinson Sanchez, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane get the nod. Cristian Romero’s injury has opened the door for Sanchez to start alongside Eric Dier and Ben Davies with his appealing £4.4m price tag. The wing-backs undoubtedly have a bigger upside but at this stage, there are still big doubts over who will start.
As for their opponents, Wolves are struggling to find the net without a recognised striker, scoring just one goal from 2.73 expected goals (xG). Their new look 4-2-3-1 system could also afford Son and Kane a bit more space than they usually get in this fixture.
I’ve also taken three from Liverpool: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz. The Reds haven’t yet delivered a win from their opening two Premier League games and they haven’t kept a clean sheet either, but Alexander-Arnold could have had two assists against Crystal Palace on Monday night and had plenty of license to roam. His passing range was also exceptional.
Salah and Diaz should benefit from a Roberto Firmino start, while United’s leaky backline is another reason for encouragement.
Chelsea’s away fixture at Leeds also stands out. In truth, there are a wealth of appealing attacking options in Thomas Tuchel’s squad and Kai Havertz could instead be Raheem Sterling or Mason Mount but I do think the German has a big haul in him soon, having already racked up five shots in the box.
Reece James, meanwhile, is a no-brainer, and probably would have taken the top spot if it weren’t for N’Golo Kante’s injury.
Elsewhere, Robert Sanchez could benefit from West Ham’s lack of final-third creativity, while James Maddison, Eberechi Eze and Taiwo Awoniyi are my differential picks, all of whom produced attacking returns in Gameweek 2. The Leicester playmaker looks like a particularly shrewd choice: opponents Southampton have failed to keep a clean sheet on the road since October of last year, conceding a whopping 39 goals in their last 15 trips.
Antonio Conte’s pre-match comments put the Ivan Perisic pick on ice for yet another week and even though the Italian was heavily signposting a start for the attractively priced and attack-minded Ryan Sessegnon, who knows how much game-time he will get as the minute management continues at wing-back. I’ve got visions of a 59th-minute withdrawal, so I suggest the Scout Picks play it safe with Hugo Lloris or cut-price Cristian Romero deputy Davison Sanchez for the visit of goal-shy Wolves.
I’ve gone with Dejan Kulusevski over Son Heung-min as my Spurs midfielder, not because of the Korean’s historic drought against Wolves (I think those opposition records are often not as significant as we make out due to changing players/managers/tactics) but due to the huge spaces that Rayan Ait-Nouri often vacates on his forays forward from left-back. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruno Lage switches Jonny over to the opposite flank and brings in Nelson Semedo on the right, however.
Template picks Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Reece James, Joao Cancelo, Erling Haaland, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus all have fairly favourable fixtures this weekend – I’m ranking a trip to Newcastle as the trickiest of the lot, with the Magpies on a run of five clean sheets in their last eight home matches – so let’s spend more time on some less obvious selections elsewhere.
Everton’s striker shortage bodes well for the set-piece-taking bargain buy Neco Williams, as does the Toffees’ chance concession from both their left flank and dead-ball situations: they are among the bottom two teams for both stats at this admittedly very early stage of the season.
Eberechi Eze meanwhile sneaks into my squad as the token sub-£6.0m midfield asset, even if Wilfried Zaha would have been my preferred Palace pick. An injury to centre-half Diego Carlos leaves the Villa defence, who have already conceded to limited Bournemouth and Everton attacks, looking vulnerable, while I’ve been hugely impressed with Eze in pre-season. We can’t go much off the underlying 2022/23 stats given that he has faced tough tests against Arsenal and Liverpool (he’s registered just one shot and one key pass, both ‘big chances’) but his assist at Anfield was superb and I think he’ll prosper without Conor Gallagher this year. The Bonus Points System looks like it’ll love him, too, as he creates chances from set plays and is a prolific dribbler.
Like Eze, Bryan Mbeumo gets into my Scout Squad selection by virtue of a teammate I coveted more being too expensive. But Mbeumo isn’t without his charms and he looks more immune to rotation than Yoane Wissa, who is so often the sacrificial lamb when Thomas Frank changes from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 as he did in Gameweek 2. Ivan Toney has been more chance creator (six) than shot-taker (three) this season and we saw plenty of Mbeumo and Wissa getting behind their defence-occupying targetman from the flanks in pre-season, the former scoring four goals. Toney indeed assisted Mbeumo in the 4-0 win over Manchester United last weekend.