fantasy premier league teams – Joseph Crilley shows us his GW1 team

Were continuing our fantasy premier league teams series where the FFGeek contributors show us their teams.  Here’s Joseph Crilley’s.  Joseph finished with an overall rank of 13k last season.

fantasy premier league teams – Joseph Crilley shows us his GW1 team

Last year I achieved a final overall rank of 13k which, while was a good finish, could have easily been better but for a couple of poor decisions (taking a -16 but still not getting Josh King in the blank gameweek springs to mind!). I am looking to build on that result this season by learning from my mistakes and I’m targeting a top 10k finish. Below is the team that I hope will give me the good start to achieve this goal along with some reasoning behind my decisions.

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My FPL style

Before I show my team, I thought it would be helpful to give a few words on my general style in how I manage my FPL team as it should help explain some of my choices. In general, I am a risk-averse manager so I will always look to have high-ownership players in my team, especially those with strong captaincy potential. Also, I don’t like taking punts on players with potential rotation issues; I would rather stick with players with assured starts.

Furthermore, I prefer to avoid double-ups in my defence as I hate the feeling of one silly goal in the 90th minute costing me 8+ points. To start the season, I look to cover the top teams in attack and steer clear of doubling up in case that team makes a stuttering start.

On my bench, I dislike having complete duds i.e. players who will never pick up any points. However, I still prefer to select a bench that uses up minimal funds. Typically, I will have an attacking player (4.5mil) who will always start on my bench and two defenders (4.5mil and 4.0mil) available to rotate in where necessary.


As discussed in my formation analysis article, there is a severe lack of 4.5mil playing strikers hence I’m looking to play with 3 up front. I like the look of the midfielders and think that’s there some decent value in there to start the season. Therefore, I decided to stick with the classic 3-4-3 formation. I also feel that this is the most flexible and balanced formation, allowing me to quickly bring in any early bandwagons.

My Team

fantasy premier league teams


I never want to spend too much on my goalkeepers so with Rob Elliot appearing to be first choice at Newcastle and possessing a price tag of only 4.0mil, he was straight in my team. Rather than a rotating pair I was looking to pair him with somebody who would play most games with Elliot only being used in an emergency. Originally this was going to be Foster, but West Brom’s dreadful pre-season form has put me off. As FFG referred to in his fixtures analysis, Southampton have a fantastic opening schedule. They only play one of last year’s top 6 in the opening 11 gameweeks so with his reasonable price of 5.0mil, I’ve gone for Fraser Forster.


Having last year’s 7th highest scoring defender in my team at only 5.0mil is just too good an offer for me to turn down so Charlie Daniels is in there. Bournemouth have some decent fixtures to start the season as well and hopefully we’ll continue to see him raiding down the left wing.

I’m confident enough in Southampton and their fixtures that I’m willing to go out of character and double up on their defence. Hence, I’ve selected Cédric Soares alongside Forster as the player with best underlying stats and coming in slightly cheaper than Bertrand. There have been some worries about his fitness after the Confederations cup but I’m confident that he’ll start after playing 90 minutes in the last pre-season friendly.

There’s always a strange mix of reassurance and frustration when your differential pick comes good in a cup game before the gameweek. This was the exact feeling I had when Kolasinac scored for Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday. He had already been nailed in my team but I’m sure we will now see his ownership shoot up. Having said that, it was good to see him getting forward, even from LCB, and I’m happy to have him as my Arsenal coverage.

For my 4th defender, I was looking for someone who is 100% sure to start and could cover the above three when one of them had a tough gameweek, but only cost 4.5mil. Ideally, they would have some attacking threat as well. I narrowed my choice down to four players; Lowe, Suttner, Naughton and Mee. I looked at the rotation over the first six weeks to help me decide.

 fantasy premier league teams

As you can see, the problem weeks are GW3-6 and specifically GW3. Therefore, I ruled out Naughton and Mee. In the end, I’ve gone for Markus Suttner over Lowe due to their respective team’s defensive records last year. Also, I’m of the belief that he’s more secure within the Brighton team than Lowe is in the Huddersfield team. Therefore, he’s in my team having also shown some decent attacking threat in the Bundesliga last year with 4 goals and 5 assists.

Lastly, I wanted a 4.0mil defender. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any at that price who will be playing every week. Therefore, I decided to pick one with relatively low ownership and who has a slim chance of playing, Brandon Mason. He’s played the last couple of pre-season games ahead of Holebas though I hear Watford are looking for a new LB. Quick note on why I looked for a player with low ownership and it’s to do with team value. With his lower ownership, Mason is less likely to drop in price than someone like Rangel with his 20+% ownership because there will be less managers shipping him out and every 0.1 counts.


I discussed how brilliant City were against my team, Tottenham, in my pre-season thoughts article. Kevin de Bruyne has been very influential throughout their summer games and I think that he’s due for a massive season. He should

be on the majority of set-pieces and I believe that he’s the least likely to be rotated out of the midfielders due to his importance.

There looks to be some decent options in the £7.0mil bracket; so much so that I’ve picked two players at that price. In Hazard’s absence, Willian looks a great option and he’s been a constant in all of my drafts. I was a little disappointed in his performance at the weekend in the Community shield. Nonetheless, I want him in my team. He should share some free-kicks and corners with Fabregas, plus there’s the possibility of penalty kick duty.

The other player that I’ve gone for at this price is Wilfred Zaha. Palace have employed a new manager for this season in Frank de Boer and he’s already changed their system to 3-4-2-1. This means Zaha is playing even further forward as part of the 2 and I’ve heard that he’s effectively been playing as a second striker in pre-season. He had his best season last year with 7 goals and 11 assists; hopefully he can build on this and be the key man for Palace again.

A third Southampton man lines up in my midfield. I spoke about James Ward-Prowse in what was actually my first article on this site and I still hold him in high regard. He seems to have secured his place in the no.10 role and will take most set-pieces. At the reasonable price of 5.5mil, I think he can be a great 4th midfielder with those fixtures.

Through all my drafts, there has only been one man that I’ve wanted to fill the role as my attacker on the bench. With Sigurdsson seemingly on his way out of Swansea, Tom Carroll has stepped up during pre-season. He has been in control of free-kicks and corners, providing 3 assists in their most recent friendly. He is nailed in the Swansea team and offers everything I want from a 5th midfielder.


The way that I play the game dictated that I had to have both Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku in my team. Not that I’m complaining; I’m more than happy to have last year’s top scorers lining up in my squad. With their high ownership and captaincy potential, there was no way that I wasn’t including the pair of them.

Deciding which striker to include in my 3rd slot has been a real issue for me, as it has been for others. Writing my 3rd striker article about this troublesome position ultimately helped me decide. I concluded that the cheaper strikers are not good options to start the season and I should spend some extra cash. Seeing Roberto Firmino taking penalties, even with Milner on the pitch, meant he was the one I chose. I always wanted some Liverpool attacking coverage and he is slightly cheaper than Salah, Coutinho and Mané while also solving the 3rd striker problem. He has 21 goals and 19 assists during his two years in England so should be a reliable option for me.

Potential Changes

I really like the look of this team and I doubt that I will be making any changes to it. I’m satisfied with my front 8 so the only changes would be at the back. I may end up punting for a different goalkeeper and defender combination instead of Forster, Kolasinac and Suttner. If a 4.0 defender emerges who appears more likely to play than Mason, I would make that change as well. Apart from that, I’m good to go.


It’s impossible to have everyone in your team so there’s always going to be players that you fear scoring big. I would’ve liked some Man Utd, Tottenham or Chelsea defensive coverage but I’m hoping that the trend of less clean sheets to start the season continues. Any of the City or Liverpool attacking players could hurt me but I’m optimistic that Firmino and De Bruyne can cover that. The other high ownership player that I don’t own is Dele Alli but as FFG alluded to in a conversation the other day, he’s not really a captain option so shouldn’t hurt my rank too much.

So that’s my team for the start of 2017/18 FPL season! If you have any questions about it or want some assistance with your team, please feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to help. Aside from that, remember that it is a Friday 7pm UK time deadline! Best of luck to everyone for this campaign and I hope you all achieve the goals you’re striving for!!

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fantasy premier league forward player rankings GW1

August 9, 2017

fantasy premier league GW1 – Rob Reid (aka the FPL Vet) talks us through his GW1 team.


  • Stephen T

    Joseph, a well thought out, well built squad. I see some of the similar high ownership players in common with you; Lukaku, Kane, KDB, Willian (or Zaha) and So’ton coverage. Like you, I have doubled up on So’ton with Yoshida and Bertrand, but could easily downgrade to Cedric to save 0.5m.

    First 6 weeks I am paying more attention to strength of schedule and Daniels doesn’t quite pass that test facing three teams from the top 7 last year; MCI, ars, eve. However, I like his attacking prowess and potential he provides at just 5.0. Unless he gains attacking returns, I don’t see BOU keeping any CS for those 3 games. Yet better options will be more costly.

    Willian (Fabregas) and Zaha are two that I have been interchanging the past few days. What I don’t like about either option, their early fixtures. Both have enticing GW1 matchups, but after that I have difficulty wanting to dump either or both for greener pastures. Twist my arm, I think I would rather chance luck with Zaha and his GW2 away to LIV than Chelsea against Spurs.

    Maybe I am taking undo risk starting the year with a 5-3-2 with the hopes of those teams with good early fixtures come through with CS points. Risky, especially if I am doubling up on So’ton and potentially Man City, whiling tripling up on Man United. High risk, high rewards, but it could completely backfire and leave me looking to WC earlier than expected.

    Starting XI in my 5-3-2

    Foster (Elliot)
    Yoshida, Bertrand, Kompany, Alonso, Valencia
    Fabregas, Zaha, KDB (Carroll, Stephens)
    Lukaku, Kane (McBurnie)

    Risky? Yes, but it feel right with the plan I have in place. We will see soon enough.

    • Joseph Crilley

      Hi Stephen, thanks for the comment.

      For my team, I don’t plan on playing Daniels against Everton or Arsenal and I’m just hoping he can get some sort of attacking return against City!

      Palace have done quite well against Liverpool recently and there’s some decent fixtures after that and with Zaha being their key man, I’m hopeful of some decent returns. WIllian is a short-term punt who I’ll either upgrade or transfer out for the latest bandwagon further down the line.

      5 at the back is brave but if it feels right, you go for it! I certainly think that there is some good value to be had is in defence, especially with some teams good opening schedules.

  • Kristian G

    I’m thinking about going with Jesus in GW1 as one of my strikers. As many others, I would like to start with both Lukaku and Kane, but I feel like it takes to much away from my midfield. City have looked frightening in pre-season, and they have great fixtures.
    What do you think about choosing Jesus, considering Aguero also is an option?

    My team right now (I will make changes before friday, like I do 10 times a day):
    Elliot, Foster
    Daniels, Davies (Trippier is not guaranteed to be back from injury), Cedric, Lascelles, Rangel
    Mkhi, Alli, De Bruyne, Willian, Loftus-Cheek
    Lukaku, Jesus, Chicharito.
    (I know I’m 0,5 mill above the limit, I’m going to make changes).
    What should I do to improve this team? Any recommendations to get inside the 100 million limit without changing too much?

    • Joseph Crilley

      Hi Kristian, thanks for the comment.

      I do really like the look of Jesus, I just personally rated Kane and Lukaku slightly higher but that’s where personal preference comes in! (and in my case, perhaps some team bias!) I defo rate Jesus above Aguero though, I think that he’s Pep’s man.

      For your team, I’d be tempted to change Chicarito to Rodriguez/Mounie as their opening fixtures are much more favourable. That would also give you an extra 0.5mil to spend somewhere! Maybe Davies -> Toby A so you have a guaranteed starter instead

  • Shayne

    Hi Joseph,

    Really good team and well thought out, I think your defence is well covered and also your mids, great for rotation,

    I guess my concern’s are will ward-prowse now drop back due the signing of lemina and also with the speculation surrounding coutinho will firmino play more in midfield or wing and origin or solanke play up top.

    I guess any team right now has there question marks, anyway awesome article and best of luck this season.

    • Joseph Crilley

      Cheers Shayne, thanks for the comment.

      From what I hear, Lemina is more of a deep-lying midfielder so I’m hoping that he isn’t a threat to JWP’s no.10 role! But as you said, it’s hard to pick any team without some questions over it!

      Good luck to yourself this year as well!

  • Peter Tucker

    Must be a great team because I have 12 of them – difference in defence where I have DdG, Bertrand and Dawson ( he rotates with Mee brilliantly) and Daniels I have too.
    I thought DdG was cheap way into the ManU defence which seems to rotate too much for me

    • Joseph Crilley

      Hi Peter, thanks for the comment.

      From what I have seen on twitter and here, there definitely seems to be a bit of template forming, hence you will see some very similar teams like yours and mine. I do like De Gea, but after choosing Kolasinac, who I really like the look of, I didn’t have the funds unfortunately.

  • Jason

    Hi Joseph,

    Great team and similar to mine in lots of ways.

    My biggest risk is taking out Kane for Lacazette however this accomodated Ali for Salah and Willian for Worde-prowe (Southampton midfielders have struggled for me) have always struggled.

    My opening line up is:
    Foster (elliot)
    Cedric, Stephen, alexander-Arnold (Mason as most likely 4 mil and Sutterton with good Brighton fixtures)
    Willian, Zaha, KDB, Deli Ali,
    Lukaku, Firminho, Lacazette (Firminho makes up for the lack of cheap 3rd striker talent and may change for Austin after a few games, Arsenal are always a goalscoring and I think he could be a big hitter).

    I know the lack of Kane is a big risk as captain but Lukaku ha’s the first few games rapped up.

    Any views that you have on my team would be a big help. Always to look to improve from constructive criticism from a seasoned fpl manager with such a great history.


  • Joseph Crilley

    Hi Jason, thanks for your comment.

    I like the look of your team as a Kane-less one. Be a bit of wary of Alexander-Arnold as you may only get 1 or 2 games out of him. I think I saw on Twitter that Mason hasn’t even been given a squad number; if that’s the case, he’s extremely unlikely to play and may be worth changing.

    Your point on Firmino is the beauty of him for me; very easily downgraded to whichever cheap-mid striker is looking the best bet!

  • Zolla

    Lemina definitely not a no10, go for Wardbeautiful team mate! Nice job!

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