Premier League Fantasy: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
With the Premier League Fantasy season due to start on Friday August 10th, Richard Daniel Lunt breaks down his ideal fantasy football team this year…
Goalkeeper 1: David De Gea – The Wall ($6m –last season’s score 172 Points)
I’m not going to waste my time here, the obvious choice is David De Gea and sometimes, the obvious choice is the right choice. In terms of Fantasy Football, he’s the perfect storm. He plays in the most defensive and most defensively capable side in the Premier League with the best defensive manager in the World and he’s a world-class goalkeeper. If De Gea isn’t in your net, I’d love to know why.
Goalkeeper 2: Mathew Ryan – The Backup ($4.5 – Last season’s score 146 points)
The Australian number one is a massively underrated goalkeeper and it shows in his price. Brighton have found a gem in Ryan, who believe it or not, made the third most saves in the Premier League last season ahead of Jack Butland and Lukasz Fabianski. To put this in to perspective, the player closest to his 123 saves that wasn’t relegated was Jordan Pickford who managed 121 saves and 145 points. So Ryan is cheaper, hasn’t had a change of manager – still has the excellent Chris Hughton – and also has realistic room for considerable improvement given this will only be his second season in the Premier League. Sounds like an excellent backup to me.
Defender 1: The Stalwart: Cesar Azpilicueta ($6.5M – Last year’s points 175)
When it comes to fantasy football defenders, he does it all. He is defensively sound, he has the flexibility to play all across the defense and even midfield on the rare occasion necessary. He’s one of the best attacking defenders in the league able to both score and assist. This coming season he gets a more attacking manager and will surely find himself integral to Chelsea’s hopes once again.
Defender 2: The Sleeper: Hector Bellerin ($5.5m – Last year’s points 132)
If you asked Arsenal fans last season, they would think this was more of a literal term than a metaphor. Think about how incredibly poor Bellerin was by his standards last season, now look at his points total again. He was phoning it in for Wenger, there was nothing there and yet his undeniable ability still led to 132 points. What will he do if he finds himself again under the more direct managerial style of Unai Emery?
Defender 3: The New Kid on the Block: Trent Alexander Arnold ($5m – Last year’s points 83)
83 points is hardly a reason to have someone as your third choice defender but when you look at the bigger picture, what you see is a player with untapped potential whose team improved beyond all recognition defensively last season and who went from strength to strength. Klopp is a big fan of “Clyney” but he knows all too well who the more talented player is. Trent has Klopp’s trust and in this case, he has mine also.
Defender 4 : The Bargain: Zanka ($4.5m 107 points)
“Mathias are ya dead mon?” I spent the whole of last season watching this lad play and thinking I had seen him somewhere before but I didn’t recognize the name. Imagine my surprise to find that Zanka was Mathias Jorgensen! It was quite apt really though as Zanka playing undercover with his new name managed to amass 107 points from CB in the most defensive side in the Premier League including 2 goals. In terms of bang for your buck, you will do well to find a better defender than Huddersfield’s ever present Danish destroyer.
Defender 5: The flier: Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($4m – Last year’s points 15)
Looking at the points tally, this is one of the harder sells I have to make. First off, he played 7 games so that means he averages 2.1 points per game, given there are no players cheaper than him in the league and at that rate he would end the season with 76 points at least. I’m willing to take an educated guess that the England under 20 international will at least make 76 points, probably closer to 100. This one is just the eye test though, the confidence of thinking “I know a player” when I see one. Given Martin Kelly’s injury history and the impression Wan-Bissaka made in his limited starts, there’s method in the madness.
Midfielder 1: The Prince: Sadio Mane ($9.5m – Last year’s points 147)
Ten goals and eight assists last season and yet if you ask the majority of Liverpool fans, they will tell you that Mane is capable of so much more. In truth he only really got going in the second half of the season. A lot of this can be put down to Salah’s inclusion and Mane being shifted out to the left. Mane is settled now and by all accounts it would seem that he is going to take Liverpool’s penalties next season so he’s due for a massive boost in goals. Salah might be the king, but by being so he’s put a massive target on himself and teams will scheme to stop him first and foremost and that will play right in to the hands of Sadio.
Midfielder 2: Old Faithful: Pascal Gross ($7.0 – Last year’s points 164)
Midfielder 3: Spot Kick Specialist: Luka Milivojevic ($6.5m – Last year’s points 144 points)
Midfielder 4: The Forgotten Man: Pedro ($6.5m – Last year’s points 81)
Midfielder 5: The Fair-weather Friend: Henrikh Mkhitayan ($7m – Last year’s points 107)
Forward 1: The Ferrari: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang ($11m – Last year’s points 87)
He’s red, he’s fast and he’s a class above, this is the year Pierre Emerick Aubameyang announces himself in the English game. Before he came to England he was beating Robert Lewandowski to the golden boot in Germany, no easy feat. After his arrival, there were glimpses of what he is capable of. Now, feeling like he’s the man and with the team built around him he finds himself in the perfect situation to make a serious tilt at another scorer’s title. 10 goals and 4 assists in 12 games last season when he was still finding his feet in the league. At $11m, he’s a steal.
Forward 2: The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Roberto Firmino ($9.5m – Last year’s points 181)
Roberto Firmino has insane consistency when it comes to fantasy football. In 16/17 he had 180 points with 11 goals and 11 assists. Last season he had 181 with 15 goals and 8 assists in 238 minutes less playing time. He’s trending upwards and at $9.5m is the cheapest of the top forwards in the league on known form.
Forward 3: The Crystal Persuasion: Wilfried Zaha ($7.0m – Last year’s points 136)
This one wasn’t easy at first. There were two men in the equation for this spot. Zaha won not because he’s the better player, or that he had the better form either last season or coming in to this season. Zaha beat out Marko Arnautovic for one simple reason, the fixture list. West Ham face no less than 5 of the top 6 in their first 10 games! By Comparison, Zaha and Palace will face 2.