It’s that time of the year again. After a nice long two-month break, Fantasy Premier League returns with only a few weeks left till game week 1.
The new season represents a new opportunity and a blank canvas for fantasy managers with plenty of ambition of winning mini-leagues and gaining those all-important bragging rights. Pre-season is well underway with some movement in the transfer window and new players and managers at various clubs, which gives plenty of interesting options for fantasy managers ahead of the new season.
Having finished 13,332th in the world last season, I am excited to improve on that rank this year, and here is how my current draft looks like ahead of game week 1 on August 13th.
In goal, my preferred strategy is to have one set and forget keeper and try and spend as little as possible due to the low points ceiling. The one player I have my eye on right now is Brighton’s, Robert Sanchez (£4.5m). Brighton had excellent underlying numbers last season defensively and have a relatively easy schedule, facing only one ‘Big 6’ team in their first nine games.
In defence, two players that are dead certain to make it into my game week 1 lineup are Luke Shaw (£5.5m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m). Liverpool have the best fixtures in the first six game weeks, and Alexander-Arnold is one of the best playmakers in the league with the highest assist potential amongst all defenders in the game. Similarly, Luke Shaw had excellent chance creation numbers last season and continued that form for England at the Euros. Moreover, Manchester United should keep more clean sheets next season with an improved defence after signing Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.
The other defenders that currently find themselves in my draft are Vladimir Coufal (£5m) from West Ham and Joel Veltman (£4.5m) of Brighton. Brighton’s excellent fixtures make Veltman an attractive option while Coufal had nine assists last season and faces no ‘Big 6’ teams in his first four fixtures.
In midfield, Mohammed Salah (£12.5m) and Bruno Fernandes (£12m) were the highest-scoring players in the game last season and are the two premium options in my team at the moment. With Norwich and Burnley up first, Salah is the standout captaincy in the first two fixtures, while Bruno is a strong option in game weeks 3 and 4 against Wolves and Newcastle.
Alongside Salah and Bruno is Aston Villa’s talisman – Jack Grealish (£8m) – who has three great fixtures to start the season (Watford, Newcastle, Brentford). The remaining two spots go to one of the most under-priced players in the game Raphinha (£6.5m), as well as Norwich City’s Billy Gilmour (£4.5m) as the budget option.
Upfront, there is plenty of value on offer with the mid-priced forwards, and I have opted to field three cheap strikers and ignore premium options such as Aubameyang (£10.0m), Vardy (£10.5m) and Kane (£12.5m). Ivan Toney (£6.5m) is the 2nd most popular forward in the game after scoring 30 goals for Brentford in their promotion season in the Championship and offers great value for his price.
Michail Antonio (£7.5m) had great underlying numbers for West Ham last season with 15 goals and assists in only 24 starts, while Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.5m) had a stunning end to the Premier League and kicks off the season with three easy fixtures.
Having had a first look at the teams, fixtures and new signings, this is the first draft I have come up with for my FPL team. However, with new information and new players coming in each week, this draft will probably be very different by August 13th. Due to this high turnover, instead of tinkering with this team each day unnecessarily, my focus during pre-season will be on researching teams/formations/tactics while also looking at assessing my strategy and goals for the upcoming season.