I (Simon) show you all my choices for the new Fantasy Premier League 18/19 campaign and provide my justifications, as well as offering a few thoughts on others I’ve been considering that I think could do well
So here it is in all it’s glory! And with £0.5 in the bank too…
Of course, with the transfer deadline fast approaching, this is subject to change, but largely, it will stay the same.
So let’s go through it bit by bit.
Looking through my squad, you can see there are no clear weak points, aside from perhaps the keeper, but I will explain my reasoning on the keeper in another section.
Generally speaking, I like to have a premium option in each position (GK aside), so I can can cover premium bandwagons like Kane if he comes into form quicker than I’m anticipating, for example.
With Agüero there, I only need to create £1.0m to swap him for Kane, if I decide to stick with keeping £0.5m ITB of course but still, even without, £1.5m isn’t difficult to muster – Mané can be dropped to Ramsey or Mkhitaryan who both have great fixtures after GW2.
I also like having a £9.5m price point in midfield, as I’m unlikely to ever get rid of Salah (unless the unthinkable happens and his form dips significantly), so Mané is at a price where, again, I don’t have to create too much funds to move up to the likes of Sterling, KDB, Sánchez or Hazard if one of these players starts going crazy.
That price also covers a fair few other good options like Eriksen, Son, Alli, Sané, Mahrez who at some point, I may want to switch to – so this is an easy swap.
I’ve chosen to go 3 at the back simply because I think the most value is in midfield, but there is plenty of value at the back too, so I have chosen to spend well in this area.
The Outfield Bench
As you can see, I have limited my spending for the bench, whilst maintaining at least 2 regular starters in Jonny and Wan-Bissaka.
I think it’s important to have at least 2 outfield bench players who are as nailed-on as we can possibly tell, because at the start of the season, there are going to be surprises.
I’ve opted to go with Sørloth as my bench striker, simply because there’s a lack of options at the £4.5m-£5.0m price for 3rd strikers and I fancy him to be a kind of a super sub for Palace and to potentially replace Benteke if he’s not doing enough.
Palace fans think highly of him and I can see him getting some sub appearance goals from the bench and pushing Benteke for starts as the season progresses.
The Goalkeeper Situation
This is probably the most interesting aspect about my team (for me), as I’ve never actually done this in the 9 previous seasons I’ve played the game.
I’m opting to go with 1x £4.5m goalkeeper and sticking with him as a set and forget keeper with a bench fodder goalkeeper (Boruc).
I’ve done this, because every year, we always get 2/3 £4.5 GKs from lower sides in the Premier League having great seasons, making lots of saves and getting circa 10 clean sheets and they end up scoring 140+ plus points (Pope, Ryan and Fabianski last season) and being amazing value.
I really fancy Rui Patricio to be one of those keepers this year.
He’s top quality, highly experienced International goalkeeper who has a great record saving penalties (27% of all penalties faced have been saved).
I think he’ll make plenty of saves (80-100 = 26-33pts) and couple that with circa 10 clean sheets (10 clean sheets = 40pts) and 2 penalty saves (10pts) and you’re looking at 153-159pts including appearance points (assuming he plays all 38 games = 76pts) – and that’s without bonus!
I think the above assumptions are realistic, and rather than attempting to rotate with another GK and risk missing out on bench points (which will happen if you use that strategy – it’s inevitable), I’m just going to stick with Patricio all the way through and get all his hauls.
It also maximises my spend on the outfield positions where the ceiling for points is higher.
With the defence, it’s obvious to look at the defences that were top quality last season, which were Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool – so that’s where I’ve spent my money.
Guardiola has talked about making use of the 352 and that Mendy will be, “Used in many different ways” already, and I think Mendy as a full back is great anyway, but if he’s going to be utilised as a wing back too, then that’s going to be FPL gold.
With Liverpool, I had Robertson. I think he’ll do very well, but I am worried about potential rotation when the fixtures become congested. Van Dijk is safe but also, I think he’s good for 3/4 headed goals this year, which is the equivalent of 18/24pts – Roberston would have to get 6/8 assists to compete with that.
Robertson overlaps and crosses from the byline, he’s not an old Alonso (under Conte) or renegade PVA type that’s going to drive into the box and score goals regularly. Of course he might get the odd goal, but typically his job is to overlap aggressively and cross from the byline, so the assist threat is high, but I’d argue that the goal-threat is low in comparison to VVD.
Manchester United is the difficult one, as we know Mourinho’s style means they’ll be good for clean sheets again this year.
I’ve gone with Bailly for now, as I believe when fit, he’s nailed on because he’s simply our best defender. Last season was different circumstances as he returned late in the season when Jones/Smalling had already done such a good job and had formed a good partnership, so it would have been harsh to replace one of those two for Bailly.
Shaw/Darmian are potential options I’m considering in place of Bailly if it turns out he’s going to miss the game against Leicester, but both are likely to lose their spots in the future, so it might be a case of going with them at the beginning and then bringing in Bailly, when he’s fit, on the Wildcard.
The Midfield – Inside Forwards
As I identified earlier, I’ve gone with 5 in midfield as I believe there’s so much value to be had.
I have added in ‘Inside Forwards’ to the title in this section because I believe it’s important to how I play the game.
If you notice, all of my selections operate as inside forwards for their respective clubs with the exception of potentially Lucas Moura who may operate as a winger.
I’ve chosen these players because inside forwards are tasked with getting the goals, so it’s essentially like owning 7 forwards, as they operate like strikers but from a wide position.
I usually balance this out with a couple of creative players (tasked mainly with the creation of goals = assists) but typically, I like the more explosive options who go for the goals.
Eriksen is definitely someone I’m interested in, but until they get everyone back, I’m not interested in spending premium there, hence why I’ve gone for Lucas, who’s had a fantastic pre-season and who is my little punt for the short-term and is only £7.0m.
I’ve stated my position on Salah on numerous occasions – I’m honestly not sure why anyone wouldn’t own him.
And then we come to the slightly more budget section of my midfield, where I have Jota and Richarlison. I think both represent great value. Silva already knows how to get the best out of Richarlison and the fixtures are very good, and Jota is the talisman at Wolves.
There are 5 strikers I’m interested in; Agüero, Aubameyang, Arnautovic, Zaha and King.
At the moment, I’m happy with Agüero and King, but all of those others are players I do fancy to do well.
Having said that, I have some reservations about the other 3 and these are the reasons I’m opting with Kun and King over the others:
Aubameyang – I really like Auba as a player and I think he’ll have a good season, but for £11m, I really want him up front. Out wide, I just think he won’t get the kind of output needed to justify the price tag however, I’ll be keeping my eye on him and it’s an easy switch to him if Agüero is struggling and Auba is either killing it irrespective of his position on the left flank or he indeed does go up front.
Zaha – Another one I like who has great fixtures, but I’m not entirely sure if he’s going to remain up front and like Auba, I want him up front, not on the wing.
Arnautovic – One where I really like the player, but if I compare Arnie with King, I have one who has great fixtures and pre-season form, vs one with tough fixtures and great pre-season form for £0.5m more – it just makes sense to go with the cheaper option who has similar potential and better fixtures.
I am worried about shared game time for Agüero with Gabriel Jesus about, but the fixtures are too good and this man is lethal in the time he does get.
Also, if Pep is going to utilise the 352, then that means he can accommodate Jesus without taking Agüero out, which is the formation he was using at the start of last season and in many games in pre-season.