In the following article, we review drafts from members of the FPL community. We look at teams that are template, differential and somewhere in between. We also use the ‘Assistant Manager’ tool on fantasyfootballfix.com to rate each squad’s GW1 prospects and how they might possibly be optimised.
We’re at the point of pre-season where Fantasy Premier League managers take the tinkering into overdrive. With exactly two weeks until the big kickoff, the excitement across FPL social media is rising.
It can be hard to narrow down the best draft, with the amount of content growing daily but the amount of information and data evolving at a much slower rate.
It’s almost impossible to select the perfect team, no matter how long you spend planning or how many drafts you make. The best we can do at this stage is use the information available, along with our own experience of playing FPL, to build a draft that covers enough bases to stay competitive early on.
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With that said, let’s look at some drafts!
FPL Wilson’s draft stands out for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’ve secured Mo Salah (£12.5m), Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m) and Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m) without appearing to compromise elsewhere.
The draft still features the popular Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) and Luke Shaw (£5.5m) and has arguably the two best forwards for the opening seven or eight weeks.
The double Brighton defence is a nice differential, a particularly good move if, as most expect, Brighton finally convert on their strong defensive numbers.
There aren’t any great risks, Mahrez being perhaps the greatest, but given the Algerian’s lack of minutes over the summer it is looking likely he will feature heavily early on at least. Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m) represents risk in the sense that he plays for a promoted side, but he has previously shown his quality in the Premier League and his talisman status for Watford means he’ll be heavily involved should they do well.
This draft is a good example of how to adapt on the template. There are a number of safe picks, but the 3-5-2 formation and the inclusion of Mahrez, Sarr and Joel Veltman (£4.5m) provide enough options to break away from the pack.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 55
Suggested Optimisation: Start with Kai Havertz (£8.5m) and save £0.5m to transfer in Mahrez for GW2
FPL Hunt’s draft strays quite far from the current template. Illan Meslier (£5.0m) was the top keeper for bonus, baseline bonus and predicted points last season. Leeds offer enough clean sheet potential to perfectly complement the Frenchman’s shot stopping ability, he could be a great way to fight the early template.
Matt Targett (£5.0m) is a nice inclusion given his side’s early fixture run, the fact many will avoid due to Villa’s fixture swing in GW4 will likely mean the left back is a significant differential.
The double Man Utd defensive pairing of Shaw and Harry Maguire (£5.5m) could prove to be shrewd, especially with the introduction of Raphael Varane to United’s backline. The absence of Trent does raise questions and I’m not certain I could be as brave.
Going for Jack Harrison (£6.0m) over teammate Raphinha (£6.5m) is another bold move, but one that could well pay off given how well the former City man performed in his maiden PL campaign.
Ilkay Gundogan (£7.5m) had a breakout season in 2020/21, however it remains to be seen whether he will continue in the same role. With a plethora of strong options at £8.0m or under in midfield it might be wise to look away from Gundogan and possibly use the funds elsewhere.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) is a safe pick and is predicted to start well. Chris Wood (£7.0m) and Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.5m) are comparative differentials, the Burnley man has a mixed opening spell but will be full of confidence after his best season in the top flight. Iheanacho could start strongly, however his minutes largely depend on how Leicester lineup, caution should be advised but he should do well if he continues to start.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 50
Suggested Optimisation: Downgrade Gundogan and use funds to bring in Trent or upgrade Wood
Fpl Gooner’s draft is the first BruNO squad we’ll be looking at. Gooner has chosen to go for Jadon Sancho (£9.5m) and has used the extra funds well.
The double of Trent and Lucas Digne (£5.5m) provides a high upside combination at the back and the inclusion of Havertz for GW1 is a pick the Fantasy Football Fix optimiser really likes.
Tariq Lamptey (£4.5m) is injured, but if we assume he is replaced by Veltman then the double Brighton defence is again a nice differential. The inclusion of Rob Holding (£4.5m) and Luke Ayling (£4.5m) provide a really nice rotation with a Brighton defender, ensuring the squad has a full playing bench and remains nice and flexible.
Callum Wilson (£7.5m) finds his way into the front line, the Newcastle man had a good season despite struggling with injury and is tipped by many to hit the ground running this campaign.
Overall, the draft covers enough high owned options that it fairly balances the risk of going without Bruno. While the move has the potential to backfire, the money has been used to good effect and there is money in the bank to react quickly in GW2.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 54
Suggested Optimisation: Use Brighton-Leeds rotation until GW3 and carry a Wolves £4.5m defender on the bench for GW4, instead of Holding
FPL_TT has chosen 4-4-2 in his current draft, not normally a conventional formation but given the wealth of attractively priced defenders it may be a good starting strategy this season.
The team is full of double ups from Brighton, Leeds, Villa and a triple up from Liverpool. The inclusion of Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) alongside teammate Trent is a nice differential and with Liverpool’s strong early run it is likely to yield good returns.
The Villa double of Ollie Watkins (£7.5m) and Emi Buendia (£6.5m) also looks strong for the opening three weeks, however it is likely this selection books in at least one transfer for GW4.
The team has good rotation options, with the popular Ayling-Brighton defender pairing in there. There is also scope to rotate Raphinha and Emile Smith Rowe (£5.5m), who also matchup well for the opening four gameweeks. Benching the Brazilian is a bold call, should ESR start against Brentford it could well be a gamble that pays off.
The draft looks strong on paper and is flexible in the sense that only a handful of players in midfield or attack require more than one transfer to get to.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 53
Suggested Optimisation: Start Raphinha ahead of a Brighton defender due to Leeds’ attacking strength
FPL United (Ryan) is the first manager to feature Championship superstar, Ivan Toney (£6.5m). The Brentford man is currently the second highest owned forward in the game, just behind Ryan’s other striker Watkins.
The inclusion of Toney and the cheap bench has allowed Ryan to have a very strong starting 11, with the defence in particular looking packed with points potential.
The aforementioned Trent, Shaw and Digne are among the most creative players in their position and with their respective sides all having strong opening runs it is likely they’ll prove to be excellent value.
Vladimir Coufal (£5.0m) makes his first appearance of the article, the West Ham man excelled in his debut season and complemented his nine clean sheets with nine assists. West Ham open their campaign away to Newcastle, and Coufal has a further three fixtures with a fixture difficulty rating (FDR) of two over the first seven weeks.
Heung-Min Son (£10.0m) is the major talking point of the draft. The Spurs attacker had his best Premier League season in 20/21 and has live ownership of 16.1% suggests that, despite this, he is being slightly overlooked.
Spurs don’t have the greatest early run, but with Son’s strength on the counter it could still prove fruitful for the South Korean. With Harry Kane (£12.5m) likely to miss the opening week or two, Son will surely take up penalty duty in his teammate’s absence. Another huge weapon to have.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 53
Suggested Optimisation: Consider Raphinha over Buendia to reduce likelyhood of an extra transfer in GW4
Fpl Gardenia’s draft is our second BruNO entrant. Gardenia has spread their funds across the team and has taken a noticeably differential route. The draft also has £1.0m in the bank, allowing a move for Mahrez in GW2 or the flexibility to act quickly should plans need to change.
Mason Greenwood (£7.5m) and Nicolas Pepe (£7.5m) are the most notable inclusions. The pair both have favourable opening fixtures and, despite a few tougher games, both have a generally good opening seven or eight weeks.
A combined ownership of just 6.8% means that should the pair perform well early on then Gardenia could be well ahead of the curve. The only caveat is minutes. Greenwood is likely to be safe early on until his injured colleagues return, but will ultimately share minutes with Sancho and Edinson Cavani (£8.5m).
Pepe is being tipped by many to finally convert on his early promise. The Arsenal man posted some good underlying numbers last season but was the victim of rotation all too often. He could be a shrewd pick, but there is a hefty amount of risk in starting him every week.
Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) also makes his first appearance. Brighton’s ol’ reliable had his best FPL season to date in 20/21, with 138 points. Dunk’s eye for goal and Brighton’s strong opening run could yield a decent return, and given Gardenia has opted against picking template keeper Robert Sanchez (£4.5m) it makes sense to have some coverage in defence.
Daniel Bachmann (£4.5m) looks a good alternative to Sanchez. The Watford man is likely to be better for save points and as long as Watford can keep some cleans sheets he should provide good value.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 52
Suggested Optimisation: Pick another £4.5m defender than Lamptey, perhaps Ayling or Wesley Fofana (£4.5m) due to their good rotation with Dunk
FPL King Con has provided perhaps the most unconventional draft so far, opting for the lesser spotted 5-2-3 formation.
The draft feels strong, the defence is packed full of mid-price and premium options. The double Liverpool and Lucas Digne combo returns, as previously mentioned all three players look primed to start the season well and have a variety of options below them should better assets emerge.
Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) appears for the first time. The left back has been largely overlooked due to fixtures, but Chelsea are likely start well against Palace and their defensive strength means they have a good shot at a clean sheet in just about any game.
The absence of Bruno Fernandes is the team’s major talking point, Salah and Buendia start, with the rest of the midfield benched. The extra funds have allowed for a very strong front three, with the aforementioned Watkins and Cavani partnering Michail Antonio (£7.5m).
The West Ham man has looked sharp in pre-season and ‘when fit’ presents one of the best value forward options in the game.
Cavani looks likely to start the season, and given his per 90 minute data from last season it seems a smart move to pick him when his minutes are more guaranteed.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 54
Suggested Optimisation: Consider starting Smith Rowe over one of the defenders, attacking returns are normally easier to predict than clean sheets
Fpl enthusiast has what I would call the ‘safest’ draft of the lot. Being safe or template is often seen in a negative light, at this stage of the season it’s probably just the smart thing to do.
The draft has no major omissions, with both Salah and Fernandes featuring. Enthusiast has also covered the frontline well, with Antonio, Watkins and Toney all looking like popular picks. If any of the three were to start poorly there is a plethora of options to move to at similar prices.
The draft has Brighton coverage in keeper Robert Sanchez and has plenty of points potential across the well structured backline.
The most obvious weakness is the lack of flexibility in midfield should another mid-priced option emerge, with two transfers being required to upgrade either of the £4.5m bench players.
Overall, the draft is solid and is unlikely to struggle early on. With enough template coverage it will be easy to keep pace and the likes of Antonio and Robertson are still low enough owned to make a difference to Enthusiast’s rank.
Fantasy Football Fix GW1 Score Prediction: 56
Suggested Optimisation: With clean sheets harder to predict early on, weigh up if a 3-4-3 may be a better option (subject to which midfielders you like)
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More to come
We hope you enjoyed the article and hopefully it will help your planning ahead of the 2021/22 Fantasy Premier League season. We have plenty more lined up for pre season and will be publishing advice, team reveals and more strategy guides right up until the big kickoff.
Be sure to keep your eyes on the FPL Connect twitter page for all our latest releases, this season promises to be our biggest yet.
We’ve also launched our ‘custom mini-league’ site, a huge innovation on the current mini-league format. To celebrate, we’re organising a £1000 cash prize league. For more information see the graphic above and follow this link for details on how to enter.