Fantasy Premier League Tips: Bargain Hunting

Need Help Finding Those Cheap FPL Players for Your Gameweek 1 Squads? FPL Connect Has You Covered

I am a firm believer in utilising the majority of our £100 million budget on the starting 11 – a pretty obvious statement, but some managers, I feel, overlook what the cheapest players in the game can offer; money saved. That’s more money in our pockets for the ‘2-3-2’ template or the so called ‘power 7’ that will secure you the majority of your points week in and week out.

Now of course, the bench is needed at various points throughout the season (unexpected injuries/suspensions/rotations) as we don’t want to be throwing hits around every week. So, the balancing act is saving money for our starting XI, whilst still having viable options ready to step in when needed. Let’s put the budget options under the microscope…

Microscope

Goalkeepers

The first thing you have to ask yourself when selecting the cheapest of the cheap is; will this player be starting? With the goalkeepers that are on offer this season at the £4.0m price, only one perhaps has the potential of being a starter and thats Rob Elliot at Newcastle. He has Darlow (£4.5m) to contend with but irregardless of price, Rafa’s recent comments about the GK situation may just mean that Elliot is his number 1 man, as he made it clear Darlow was up for sale. That being said, the other potentially worrying statement for Elliot’s chances was that he wants to bring a new GK in too. Perhaps one to keep an eye on but certainly the rest in this bracket don’t even look close to being starters for me. Moving on.

At the next price bracket up (£4.5m), we find 5 starting goalkeepers (Begovic, Fabianski, Foster, Hennessey and Gomes). 3 of these goalkeepers have their understudies priced at £4.0m – this is where we can save on our precious budget. Swansea offer Nordfeldt, Cyrstal Palace give us Speroni and West Brom have Myhill. In the opening 6 gameweeks, WBA have 5 games, each with a good chance of getting a clean sheet in – we all know what Pulis is like. Coupled with Foster in our goalkeeper positions, at a cut-price of just £8.5m, Boaz Myhill can provide the security of starts in the event our first choice keeper doesn’t play, as our squads and WBA will share the same back-up goalie.

Defence

The defensive list at the £4.0m bracket on first viewing looks bleak to say the least – Angel Rangel on 26 points last season. We know he isn’t a guaranteed starter and yet you can find him currently sitting in 19% of teams! In fact, all the defensive options in this price bracket don’t exactly scream security, the very least we crave from the budget players. For the defenders this year I’ll take a ‘wait and see stance’, as most seasons, a budget option emerges as a starter – take Stephen Kingsley and Rob Holding last season for example. Loans and transfers could yet play a big role in this and may well cough up someone we can turn to but until then, let’s look at the £4.5s.

First on the list and perhaps the most intriguing prospect is Yedlin at Newcastle. Occupying the right back spot for Rafa’s side last year, he came back with some very nice attacking stats when played. Anita was the preferred choice for the most part last year perhaps due to Yedlin’s defensive frailties but now he’s left the club, this opens up the door for Yedlin to shine, particularly in the home games where Rafa might go on the attack, pending a new transfer of course.

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Yedlin’s stats 16/17 season (WhoScored.com)

Amongst the other newly promoted clubs we have Löwe at Huddersfield and the Dunk/Duffy combo over at Brighton. The former takes indirect free kicks and some corners and has a wicked left foot, which promotes his appeal as an FPL asset. Dunk and Duffy both standing at roughly 6 foot 3 apiece, have a decent goal threat from set-pieces and both managed a few goals last year for Brighton.

Midfield

Now we’re talking!

Tom Carroll of Swansea instantly jumps out at this price. Since he moved to the Jacks last January, he nailed down a place in the starting line-up and demonstrated his excellent passing ability in assisting 2 goals and creating many more goal-scoring opportunities – think assisting the assister à la David Silva, but he also managed to get on the scoresheet once in the 17 games he played. His PPG was just over 3 in these games, in a struggling Swansea side that I believe will improve this year. A full 38 games at 3 PPG would give him a score of 114. For a bit of context, Paul Pogba got 115 points last season. I also see him taking over more set-pieces duties this season if Siggy is to leave, which will only serve to increase his output.

Tom Carrol
Young Tom Carrol breaking into the Swansea first team last season (Zimbio.com)

Two Chelsea youth products – the talk of Twitter at the moment – are the next two players us penny-pinchers could turn to. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has joined palace on loan for the year and Nathaniel Chalobah, who has joined Watford on a permanent deal worth around £5 million. Both players move to clubs with new managers and so, pre-season scouting of these two is imperative, as they could both could become great budget options if guaranteed starts.

RLC is the more interesting of these two for me, as last season Conte often deployed him as a striker in the cup games and the odd premier league substitute appearances he made. If de Boer were to fit RLC into his starting eleven up top, or playing just off Christian Benteke, this would make him an absolute steal! With creative players around him coupled with the new FdB regime, I believe he could thrive in such a system.

Chalobah at Watford however, has spent most of his development (6 loan stints to be precise) as a holding/defensive midfielder and so is a little less desirable from an FPL perspective. However, as new teammate Etienne Capoue proved at the start of last season, if these players can get into the right positions at the right time, they can bang in the goals and subsequently, the points.

Every season, the promoted teams always through up the most budget friendly options. My pick of these this year is Huddersfield’s young Dane, Phillip Billing. At 6’6”, he gives Town a big presence in midfield and also possesses the ability to pick a pass. The Terriers, and Billing, won’t set the league alight this season and ‘do a Leicester’, but they will put up a big fight, and the player Alan Shearer described as brilliant after a match against Man City last season, will be a big part of that:

‘He’s been brilliant,’ Shearer said. ‘It’s one thing playing at the level he plays at but to come on this stage now live on television and play the way he is, against the players he’s played against, he’s been superb.’

He broke into the Huddersfield team over the Christmas period and was instrumental in getting them into the play-off spots, before injury cut his impressive season short. With the potential and confidence this lad has, David Wagner should give him a chance in the middle of the park alongside Aaron Mooy, where I believe he would pick up a few assists with his passing ability and maybe chip in with the odd goal too.

Strikers

Up top, none of the 4 players at the cheapest price (£4.5m) appeal to me, and with most people in FPL opting to play the 3-4-3 formation, saving money on our strikers isn’t usually on the agenda. If you are looking at a 3-5-2, or an even more “defensive” formation, then your 3rd striker spot could be where you are looking for value for money with not much outlay. Let’s look at what else is on offer.

Tomer Hemed of Brighton has impressed me since joining from Almeria a couple of seasons ago. He has a knack of finding space in and around the box and he is an accomplished finisher. If he can fend off Baldock, who’s also vying for the second striker spot in Brighton’s 4-4-2 system, and nail down a place in Chris Houghton’s starting XI, at £5.0m, he could become a great budget saving option.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 13.33.30
Hemed’s all time stats (WhoScored.com)

Another player that’s caught the eye after an impressive season in the Championship is Tammy Abraham. Having bagged 23 goals for Bristol City in 41 appearances as well as impressing during the summer for the England U21s (although it was his penalty that condemned the young Lions to defeat against Ze Germans), if he can nail down a starting role alongside the vastly experienced Fernando Llorente, I see him making a mockery of his £5.5m price tag.

Last but by no means least, is Jay Rodriguez of West Brom. At £6.0m he isn’t really what you would call cheap, but I feel he offers excellent value at that price and many managers will find him too hard to resist. He has been unlucky with injures over the last few seasons however, when he had a prolonged run in the Southampton side, he always looked dangerous and had an excellent spell during the 13/14 season, as our editor here at FPL Connect will remember fondly. Having already bagged a stunner in his West Brom debut in the Asia Trophy, providing he can steer clear of injuries, he could be a real gem.

And so ends my take on this year’s best budget options. If you’re struggling to find an extra million or so for that player you’re desperate to fit into your team but you can’t find it in the budget, have a look at these lads. Over the course of the pre-season however, it must be said that all of the above should be monitored to see how they fit into their respective systems.

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