The final Premier League game of the weekend is Liverpool vs. Manchester City. What a way to go into the international break!
That fixture certainly impacted my fantasy decisions this week. Here are my picks:
Tier 1 Forward
Add: Harry Kane (Tottenham)
With the top two teams in the Premier League table going up against each other, and Tottenham hosting lowly Cardiff City, the latter matchup is too good to pass up. Cardiff have conceded 16 goals in seven games, tying them with Fulham and Huddersfield Town for the worst defensive record in the league.
Kane is up to five league goals on the season after his brace last weekend against Huddersfield, but I'm even more excited about his goal in Tottenham's 4-2 Champions League loss to Barcelona on Wednesday. It wasn't a header. Kane made a nifty move with his feet, looking more like his old self. He also has taken 12 shots over his past three games, including Wednesday's, which is also more like the Kane we remember.
Avoid: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
It's hard to be excited about anyone on Liverpool coming off their terrible performance in a 1-0 Champions League loss at Napoli on Wednesday. They didn't have a single shot on target, and took a total of only four shots in the game.
They should be better against Manchester City on Sunday, playing at home. That said, I definitely wouldn't select Firmino here. He didn't take a single shot against Napoli, and has only taken 14 shots in seven league games this season. At least Mohamed Salah is shooting. He took two of Liverpool's four shots on Wednesday, and has taken 29 in the league.
Tier 2 Forward
Add: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham)
He didn't get a goal in Fulham's 3-0 loss at Everton last week, but Mitrovic did take three of the team's six shots in an unusually meek offensive performance by his side. Mitrovic has scored five goals in seven games, and has taken 31 shots. Only Sergio Agüero has taken more (38). Fulham will be playing at home, and the Arsenal defense isn't good enough to scare me away, as they've conceded nine goals in seven games.
Avoid: Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)
He's off to a very good start this season, with four goals and an assist, including a goal in West Ham's 3-1 win over Manchester United last Saturday. However, Arnautovic admitted after the game that he played through injury and it sounds like he still isn't at 100 percent. That concerns me this week, even though he'll be up against Brighton.
Tier 1 Midfielder
Add: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
He was rested again for Chelsea's Europa League game on Thursday, so he should be raring to go at Southampton on Sunday. Hazard did come on in the 54th minute of the 1-0 win over Videoton and, while he didn't take a shot, he was able to create five chances in less than a half.
Hazard scored his league-leading sixth goal in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool last week, and is also the league leader in fantasy points with 149.5 -- nearly 20 points ahead of the second-place Agüero. I wish he'd shoot more, though. Hazard has only taken 18 shots, but half of them have been on target. He's also among the league leaders in chances created with 15.
Avoid: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Although he's capable of a big game here and there, I doubt I'd ever pick Pogba in this tier. He's taken 20 shots, two more than Hazard, but he only has one assist and 10 chances created. Hazard has two assists and 15 chances created. Pogba isn't the focal point of the Manchester United attack, Romelu Lukaku is. He isn't their primary creator, either. Even Alexis Sanchez, as poorly as he has played this season, has created more chances (11). Hazard, by comparison, leads Chelsea in both shots and chances created.
Tier 2 Midfielder
Add: James Maddison (Leicester City)
He continues to deliver. Maddison picked up his second assist of the season in Leicester City's 2-0 win over Newcastle last Saturday. He'll also be playing at home against Everton this week, a team that has conceded 11 goals in seven games. Maddison only took one shot against Newcastle, but he had five chances created. He also has three goals on the season, and is currently No. 4 overall in fantasy points (106.7).
Avoid: Mesut Özil (Arsenal)
He scored a goal in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Watford last weekend, but it was only his second of the season-- and it came from his only shot of the game. In fact, Özil has only taken four shots this season! He has zero assists in six games. No thanks! I'm avoiding even against a Fulham team that is fragile defensively.
Tier 3 Midfielder
Add: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
He went without a goal or an assist for the second straight week in Bournemouth's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Monday. However, Fraser nearly had an assist when he played a great ball on a fast break to Callum Wilson, who couldn't finish it off. He didn't take a shot on Monday, but Fraser has had four chances created in each of his past two games. He's still very involved in what, right now, is a potent Bournemouth attack. They've scored 12 goals in seven games, and play at Watford on Saturday.
Avoid: Ruben Neves (Wolves)
He had a goal and an assist in the opening game of the season, but hasn't had a goal or assist in any of his six games since. Wolves are playing very well, but Neves isn't their chief playmaker. He only had three shots and four chances created in the past two games combined. Plus, they're playing at Crystal Palace this weekend, who are pretty good defensively.
Tier 1 Defender
Add: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
He's had a couple of quiet weeks offensively, with just one shot and one chance created in his past two games combined. Alonso is still ranked No. 10 overall, however -- and No. 1 among defenders -- with 99.8 fantasy points. Alonso had nine clearances last week against Liverpool, so he can still deliver a pretty good score without doing much offensively. Still, don't be surprised if Alonso makes something happen against a mediocre team like Southampton.
Avoid: Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
For starters, he'll probably have to do more defending and less attacking against a team like Manchester City. Also, Liverpool simply isn't clicking offensively right now, and Robertson's two assists came in the first four weeks of the season. He's had no more than one chance created in each of his past six games, including the two Champions League fixtures.
Tier 2 Defender
Add: David Luiz (Chelsea)
He's ranked No. 12 among defenders with 75.8 fantasy points, and second among defenders who don't have a goal or assist. In other words, Luiz is reliable. In fact, he's posted at least 8.5 fantasy points in all seven league games this season, and has been in double-digits three times. Luiz was very impressive last week against Liverpool, with seven clearances and five interceptions. I think he'll rack up plenty of passes completed against a team like Southampton.
Avoid: Ben Davies (Tottenham)
He did not play against Huddersfield Town last week, as manager Mauricio Pochettino continues to rotate his fullbacks. Davies did start on Wednesday against Barcelona, but that probably means Danny Rose will replace him against Cardiff on Saturday. Davies hasn't started a league game since Sept. 2.
Add: David De Gea (Manchester United)
His team is a mess right now offensively, but De Gea is coming off a clean sheet against Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday. More importantly, however, Manchester United will be playing at home against Newcastle, who have scored four goals in seven games. Only Huddersfield Town have had less success, with just three tallies. Also, Newcastle has only taken 52 shots this season, the lowest total in the league. I'm clearly aiming for the clean sheet here.
Avoid: Alisson (Liverpool)
He has the highest projected fantasy point total among goalkeepers this week, and will probably get a few saves. Yet, I'm not picking any goalkeeper playing against Manchester City -- not even one as a good as Alisson, not even playing on a team as good as Liverpool. The defending champions are too dangerous. You can't expect or even really hope for a clean sheet here.