The below is a bit late due to my lack of internet access. The GW3 preview will also be up shortly.
Seeing as these gameweek roundups invariably descend into random thoughts from the football world, I thought I would rename the segment as both a nod to the nature of my posts and to the greatest rock band of all time (see how even the introductions are now rambling . . . good luck to the reader!).
This week is one in which my concise writing would be especially beneficial given the goals (38) and fantasy excitement of this past week. Without further ado then I will start with a few big performances that require our attention:
Theo Walcott (7.1m) - I included Walcott in my 'under the radar' piece before the season started so while Walcott enjoying success is not a total surprise, the timing is much earlier than I expected. It is pleasing to see him flourish early in the season as this performance should buy him some patience for when he inevitably has one of those inconsistent days that have dogged his Arsenal career to date. I managed to watch the whole Arsenal game and Walcott played better than I have ever seen (though admittedly against a weak Blackpool side). As Wenger pointed out after the game, the impressive part of his performance was not the pacey runs and tricks we all know he has, but the composure he showed in front of goal and the decision making he used when deciding whether to pass or shoot. The way he took his first goal reminded me of certain other number 14 that once graced the Emirates field. While on that, Arsenal's team was full of throwback performances with Rosicky looking like a rejuvenated Robert Pires (wearing number 7) and Abou Diaby doing his best Patrick Vieira impression (though wearing number 2 instead of 4 - again this called a ramble for a reason).
I am still not ready to buy Walcott given his likelihood of being rotated (the front three of Van Persie, Arshavin and Chamakh are all likely to get substantial minutes) but he is definitely on my radar and if he seems to be becoming a fixture in the Arsenal side he might just become a very useful fantasy prospect.
Florent Malouda (9.7m) - No analysis needed here. The best midfielder so far this season and better value than Lampard, Gerrard or Fabregas right now. His value is up to 9.7m and I can see if hitting 10m before September is done as his ownership approaches 30%.
Gareth Bale (6.7m) - Probably my worst pre-season prediction so far was classifying Bale as overvalued. I even went so far as to question if the Welshman would play every week. After Malouda, he has impressed me the most so far this year and Redknapp has described his as undroppable. Tremendous value at 6.7m, he appears to have caught the eye of the pundits which should see a healthy flow of bonus points. By far the most owned player (39%) he has become a must own player as even when his form cools down, you cannot afford to lose double digit points a week in the mean time. Spurs play Wigan this week and Bale will be in running for the best captain pick for GW3.
Andy Caroll (5.1m) - Caroll was brilliant against Villa both in terms of fantasy production and target man play. I don't see him as a consistent every week scorer but I think he will generate bonus points better than his fellow sub-6m strikers, making him better value than the likes of Boselli, Kalinic and N'Gog. Newcastle have a very nice run of fixtures coming up and if you get on board now (at 5.1m) you can be sure of another price rise if he scores again soon as there are few things managers love more than a cheap striker.
Kevin Nolan (5.5m) - Also played well against Villa and his role behind Caroll has intrigued me. He showed a good goalscoring touch at Bolton (almost breaking into the England side) and my issue with him was always his lack of tracking back, an issue that is not a problem in fantasy teams or indeed for the pivotal central midfielder in Newcastle's 4-5-1. At 5.5m he is only okay value, as other good options like Lee, Malbranque, Adam and Gutierrez are available, but he definitely deserves to be in the discussion with these players and leads the pack so far.
Didier Drogba (12.8m) - Apparently it still needs to be said that Drogba is a must own player with Rooney and Torres both struggling for fitness. Owned by 34% this should be close to 50% given the way he has outperformed all other premium players so far. Chelsea face Stoke, West Ham and Blackpool in the next three weeks and the only thing stopping the best player in the league right now is injury or rotation.
Odemwingie (5.0m) - I tweeted that I liked the Odenwingie deal when it went through and this was confirmed after a debut goal for the Nigerian international in GW2. I have only seen him play for Nigeria but he always looked useful and I think he has the talents necessary to be a decent EPL forward. He will probably only ever be a spot starter but with Caroll up to 5.1m I think he's the best way to spend 5m, along with Ebanks-Blake.
Nemanja Vidic (7.0m) - Disappointing gameweek for United players but one thing that stood out was the number of chances Vidic had from set pieces. He managed 4 goals in 2008/09 and I can see him meeting or exceeding that if United keep supplying the balls to him. Could wind up the top scoring defender this season.
City defenders - This defense is for real. With two or three strong midfielders in front of them, this unit is going to be extremely hard to break down and has to rated up there with anyone but Chelsea in terms of clean sheet potential. Joe Hart has been phenomenal but you know my thoughts on expensive keepers so I am targeting Toure as the safest way to access this team's potential until Boateng is fit.
Alex (6.0m) - The second centre back job appears to be Alex's which makes him great value at 6m. I haven't seen too much to illustrate that Terry is worth 1m more so that transfer made perfect sense to me in order to free up some extra spending money. With Ivanovic and Ferreira being subbed on the hour I think Alex is the best Chelsea defender for those who find Cole a bit too pricey.
Frank Lampard - (13.0m) - Lampard has been pretty successful in fantasy terms this year (14 points) but I am still concerned that he is playing too deep compared with last season to be as dominant. I am certainly not suggesting writing off the English star yet, but, considering the opposition he has faced (Wig and WB) I would start to be concerned about his lack of explosive scoring.
Steve Gerrard (11.5m) - Despite Liverpool looking somewhat underwhelming, I am actually less concerned with Gerrard than Lampard in terms of his positional play this year. Gerrard was clearly more involved with Cole not in the side but there are of course questions over how this will play out in the season. If Cole comes back into the free role then I think Gerrard is massively overvalued in the EPL game. If however Cole is pushed to the wing then I think Gerrard can be a useful contributor this season, though I still prefer the likes of Malouda and Milner for 2m less.
As the title says, the above is a quick ramble through the week's action and departs somewhat from my usual statistical framework. The weekly preview will be back very soon in time for the weekend's games (again delayed because of traveling).