Hello, and welcome to the 1st edition of this season’s Predicting the Dream Team brought to you by me, FPL Texan. In this article, we preview FPL Gameweek 1 of the 2021/2022 season.
In this series, I go head-to-head each week with Fantasy Football Fix to see who can select the best team of the week, their algorithm or myself. It is a classic battle of man vs. machine!
Fix’s Predicted Team of the Week (Gameweek 1)
Next, we will look at my predicted team of the week and my reasoning behind each decision.
Texan’s Predicted Team of the Week (Gameweek 1)
Important note before we begin – this is not my actual team for Gameweek 1, but instead my predicted team of the week (almost as though I had a free hit to choose as I wish).
- Price: £4.5m
- Ownership: 23.0%
- Projected Points: 3.9
The ever popular twitter keeper, Robert Sanchez, makes the team this week with a nice matchup against Burnley. Brighton were a top 3 defence last season in terms of xGA, trailing only Man City and Chelsea and although they have lost Ben White to Arsenal I still expect them to be a top defence again this season.
Burnley were poor on the attack last season, with the 4th lowest xG in the league. The Brighton defence are a popular pick this season, and for good reason with nicely priced assets for a statistically top defence.
Last season, Sanchez also averaged 3.74 xFPL points and 2.45 saves per 90, which is almost a save point per game.
- Price: £7.5m
- Ownership: 31.3%
- Projected Points: 5.6 Points
Trent Starts out the defence this week, with a great matchup against newly promoted Norwich. Trent was in superb form to end the season with an xA per 90 of 0.34, which ranks the highest amongst defenders over the last 10 gameweeks.
Over that same period he ranks 2nd amongst defenders in big chances created (BCC) per 90 at 0.67. Trent averaged 4.75 xFPL points per 90, ranking him 6th amongst defenders.
The Liverpool defence will be much stronger this season, with the addition of Konate as well as Van Dijk returning from injury.
Trent is a must-have player this week, with a double digit haul being quite possible for him.
- Price: £5.0m
- Ownership: 9.9%
- Projected Points: 3.7 Points
Coufal is the first of my triple West Ham this week. Coufal was a great option last season, with the 7th highest xA per 90 in the league for defenders over the final 10 gameweeks, with 5 assists over that period. Newcastle were not great offensively last season, ranking 7th worst in xG., but were decent towards the end of the season ranking 8th best in the last 5 games. West Ham were a solid defensive team last season, with the 8th best xGA in the league.
Coufal’s attacking potential combined with a decent chance of a clean sheet puts him in the team of the week for Gameweek 1.
- Price: £5.5m
- Ownership: 21.0%
- Projected Points: 3.3 Points
Digne rounds out the defence this week. Everton face Southampton, who were quite poor offensively last season with the 8th lowest xG in the league. Combine that with the fact that they lost their best goal scorer Danny Ings to Aston Villa this summer, and suddenly could be a good team to target for defensive players.
Digne also provides great attacking return potential, with an xA per 90 of 0.13. Digne averaged 4.03 xFPL points per 90 last season which ranks him 5th highest at Everton. Combine that with the chance of him being on set pieces this season and he becomes an even more attractive asset.
Digne could have a nice haul this week against an Ings-less Southampton.
- Price: £7.0m
- Ownership: 10.8%
- Projected Points: 4.9 Points
Harvey Barnes starts off the midfield this week with a matchup against Wolves. Barnes was having a great season until an injury unfortunately ended his campaign early. Barnes was third on the team in xG per 90 at 0.29, and tied for shots per 90 at 2.59 showing his eye for the net. Barnes averaged 5.82 xFPL points per 90 last season, ranking him 3rd in the Leicester side. His matchup against Wolves is a decent one, who ranked middle of the park in xGA last season.
I think Barnes could be off to a hot start this season with his opening fixtures, and I think it could start week one against Wolves.
MOHAMAD SALAH (C)
- Price: £12.5m
- Ownership: 50.0%
- Projected Points: 7.3 Points
Salah, like most managers, is my captaincy choice this week with a great matchup against Norwich. Salah led the league in xG per 90 last season, at 0.62. He was also 4th at Liverpool for xA per 90 at 0.19.
Combine that with him getting a whole preseason in at Liverpool and them facing a newly promoted side, and he is a no brainer this week for me. Salah averaged 6.75 xFPL points per 90 last season, which was the 5th highest amongst midfielders in the league.
Salah scored a hattrick in his opening fixture last season, and I am betting on him getting a haul in the opener this season.
- Price: £12.0m
- Ownership: 47.9%
- Projected Points: 6.1 Points
Bruno makes the team of the week this week, with a fixture against Leeds. Leeds had the third worst xGA last season, trailing only relegated Sheffield Untied and West Brom, and although their defence did improve towards the end of the season ranking middle of the road over the last 10 games, I still think United assets are a good pick this week.
Bruno was joint 2nd in the league for xA per 90 last season at 0.33 trailing only KDB, and was second on his team in xG per 90 at 0.45. Bruno averaged 7.07 xFPL points last season, which was second in the league behind Foden.
I am team FernanYES this week, as I think United could get off to a hot start.
- Price: £6.0m
- Ownership: 3.9%
- Projected Points: 2.8 Points
Benrahma makes the team of the week this week with a matchup against Newcastle. The team stats were discussed in the Coufal section so moving to Benrahma’s personal stats, he ranked first on the team in xA per 90 last season at 0.26, and tied for fourth in xG per 90 at 0.16.
Lingard has gone back to Manchester United, so I expect these stats to increase more this season. Benrahma averaged 5.04 xFPL points last season, which ranked him second on West Ham behind only Antonio.
Benrahma could be a sneaky pickup this week for managers at just 3.9% owned, so he’s in my team of the week.
- Price: £7.5m
- Ownership: 11.3%
- Projected Points: 3.7 Points
Jota rounds out the midfield this week, and completes triple Liverpool in the side. Jota was joint 3rd for xG per 90 last season at 0.58 trailing. He also ranked third in the league for shots per 90 at 3.72, showing that when he’s on the pitch he is looking to score.
There is a question over rotation and minutes with Jota as a long term asset, but I do think he will start in GW1 so he is in my team of the week. Jota averaged 6.95 xFPL points per 90 last season, ranking him 4th amongst midfielders in the league.
Diogoal Jota could be in for a nice haul this week, so he makes the team of the week.
- Price: £8.0m
- Ownership: 29.6%
- Projected Points: 4.6 points
Ings starts off the forwards line this week with a matchup against newly promoted Watford. Newly signed Ings looked great in his lone preseason game with Villa, starting alongside Watkins and scoring a goal. Ings had an xG per 90 of 0.34 last season, which would have ranked him third on the Villa side.
The added bonus of him likely being on pens makes him all the better asset. Watford were a very strong defence in the championship last season, but I do expect them to still struggle a bit with this step up.
Ings looked great in his preseason debut, and with a nice opening fixture he makes the team of the week.
- Price: £7.5m
- Ownership: 20.1%
- Projected Points: 4.6 Points
Antonio rounds out the team of the week this week. Team stats for this game have been mentioned earlier in the article so moving to Antonio specifically as a selection, he ranked 6th amongst forwards in xG per 90 last season at 0.51, and was first on the team in shots per 90 at 2.86.
Antonio always raises concerns over his injury record, but he has looked fit leading up to the season so he should be good to go. Antonio averaged 5.42 xFPL points per 90 last season, which ranked him 8th amongst forwards in the league.
Antonio when fit is a great option up front at his price, so he makes the team of the week this week.
Man vs. Machine – Who will win?
Now you have seen our teams, who do you think will win this week? Man or Machine?
Who will take the 1-0 lead to start the season, FPL Texan or Fantasy Football Fix?
Let us know in the comments!
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More to come
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 FREE TO ENTER £1,000 cash prize league. For more information see the graphic above and follow this link for details on how to enter.