Fantasy Football, each season, a seemingly improbable disappointment. In August, it's hard to not think that your team could take on the world and each player will have their best season yet (other than those cheap players you've stuck on the bench to give you some cash to afford the big players). But by May, you've either forgotten about it, spent all your points on transfers, or asked for your money back in your mini-league.
It can be a tense affair in the the build up to the season and with this campaign kicking off on a Friday night, that final night of thinking seems to have come quicker than expected, tonight… However, as always, there's some real gems to be found in this season's Fantasy Football. In aid of making The Garage Flower's mini-league the best it can be, let's take a look at some real potential stars this season in each of the 4 categories.
SAFE – David De Gea – £5.5m
The United goalkeeper has shone over the past few seasons and is thought, by many, to be the best goalkeeper in the league. However, he has never become the stalwart in many Fantasy Football sides due to United's lacklustre defence. This season will be different though. José Mourinho has his men well drilled and United are bound to keep an abundance of clean sheets, especially at home due their expected dominance. Almost never injured or rested for league matches, expect points each week and it to be a worthwhile acquisition for £5.5m. He might take away a chance to select 3 outfield United players, but you should be set for the season with the Spaniard.
WILDCARD – Jordan Pickford – £5m
Despite finishing rock bottom of the league with Sunderland last season, the young Englishman was incredible once his chance came. Making stupendous saves, the best compliment that could be given to him last season was when the local newspaper said they were 'running out of superlatives' for Pickford. Everton may not have been the best defensive side of late but now Ashley Williams has had a season under his belt, Leighton Baines is back playing consistently and the arrival of Michael Keane who was Burnley's player of the season last time out, it could lead to Koeman's side to being strong at the back. It's notable the Toffees have an extremely tough start but that gives Pickford numerous opportunities to impress. He could be a real steal for your team this season as he looks to live up to that £30m price tag and will only cost £5m here.
DON'T – Loris Karius/Simon Mignolet – £5m
Liverpool may be a strong side this season, but their defence still seems shaky. Last season, Jürgen Klopp struggled on a finding his number 1. At not exactly the cheapest price, it's best to avoid either stopper for £5m if you want some niche points from your goalkeeper this season as there's better men to rack up the points between your posts. Rock 'n' Roll football may suit Liverpool at the front, but not at the back.
SAFE – Antonio Valencia – £6.5m
The 32 year-old attacking full-back is a huge asset for United. The defender has the positive De Gea has. Clean sheets are expected from him this campaign and the fact he could well be a wing-back in a 3-5-2 and also does love to bomb forward, meaning he could almost be a winger for United! Rarely missing games & possibly having the captaincy numerous times, his crosses and tenacity will impress the points men at the Premier League and he's likely to rack up a great tally like last season. Expensive for a defender at £6.5m, yes, but he's sure to be worth it.
WILDCARD – Rob Holding – £5m
The young defender is really still under the radar in my people's eyes. Coming in from Bolton last summer, impressive performances in big matches and suiting a 3-4-3 that Arsenal have adopted as of late, Holding could really be a niche acquisition for your team. Arsenal have an even stronger defence this season and has 3 opportunities to play in defence in each game with the system Arsene Wenger seems to be confident in. Wenger is constantly praising Holding and seems to have faith in him. At a decent price of just £5m he could well be a man you want in your squad.
DON'T – Vincent Kompany – £6m
He may be an impressive centre-back on his day, a club-captain and Premier League winner, the Belgian has struggled so much in the last two seasons with injuries. Pep Guardiola has plenty of defenders at his disposal this season and with Kompany not getting any younger, he might have to settle for a lesser role this season and is not guaranteed to play much this season. His price adds to the risk too with £6m needing to be forked out for him and there's more reliable players out there for less.
SAFE – Kevin De Bruyne – £10m
The versatile attacking midfielder at the Etihad has now had 2 seasons back in the Premier League, impressing in both and racking up a number of points. The widely considered Chelsea and Mourinho reject has now had time to adapt to Guardiola's style and with goals & assists running rife throughout his career, De Bruyne will surely have an even better season this time out. Many believe he could be the player of the year due to City's strong squad and him being at a perfect age for his position. He is far from cheap with a £10m price tag but the fact that Alexis Sanchez could be leaving Arsenal and Eden Hazard in a rather uncertain squad at Chelsea, he could be the best midfielders available.
WILDCARD – Pascal Groß – £5.5m
Never heard of him? Don't be shocked. Brighton's new signing was relegated from the Bundesliga last season. So why on earth is he a suggestion? Well, the German playmaker created the most chances in his league last season with an incredible 99. Yes, in a league with all those world-class stars and with his side finishing bottom! It's testament to how good this man is. Impressive pre-season performances bode well for the newly promoted side and this man could be a great player to use on the bench and sub in for certain matches at a very good price of just £5.5m.
DON'T – N'Golo Kanté – £5m
A brilliant player no doubt, but don't let his price tag fool you. Even if he is the reigning Premier League player of the year, he just isn't the man for a Fantasy Football team. Playing in a role which does not put him in a position to create or finish, only man of the match performances are his hope of earning points. Taking up a spot for a Chelsea player in your squad, it's best to avoid the Frenchman as Chelsea midfield looks the weak point of their side.
SAFE – Romelu Lukaku – £11.5m
He finally got his wish of moving to a Champions League club, as £90m brought Lukaku to Old Trafford this summer. He's proven in the Premier League, in a team crying out for someone like him, and a huge amount of players alongside him who can create chances. A hefty price tag at £11.5m may be a lot to spend on one man, but he's sure to be worth it as he reunites with Mourinho to help bring United back to glory this campaign. Harry Kane may be an obvious choice but Spurs are guaranteed a tough time this season that could hamper the Englishman. The striker is set to rack up the points and aim to get over 20 goals this season.
WILDCARD – Javier Hernández – £7m
The Mexican returns to the Premier League after a few strong seasons away. Goals come naturally to this nimble striker and in a rejuvenated West Ham team, it's expected that he'll get plenty of opportunities giving his chances to get points. The Hammers have been crying out for a top striker over the past few years and the former United striker could be that as he's set to be a focal point for Bilić's side. A bargain on the pitch all of his career, a sure bargain in a Fantasy Football team at just £7m.
DON'T – Daniel Sturridge – £8m
Injury prone. That's what has to be said for the forward. Not fitting in to Klopp's system much since the German's arrival at Anfield, Sturridge looks as if he'll be on the bench a lot more this season. With the amount of forwards and new signings that Klopp will trust, the former Chelsea striker may be on the sidelines for a number of reasons for this campaign. £8m is a lot to risk on such a player, with more players available for an even cheaper price.
So there are some suggestions for your side as the Premier League kicks off. Take a look back here in May to see how unbelievably accurate these were…
Remember, it's 1 free transfer per gameweek and -4 points per transfer if you're really in a struggle. The league is set to be an exciting one and each gameweek we'll be posting advice on who to transfer in and out of your team to guide you through the campaign.
Make use of your substitutes if fixtures, injuries or form says so and don't forget to use your 'Bench Boost', 'Free Hit' and 'Triple Captain' functions throughout the season.
The league is free to enter, and you can join using this link here.
The code to enter is: 2300367-543704, once you put this in you’ll be competing with other readers of The Garage Flower.