Here’s FFGeek stalwarts Rob, Joseph, Alex and FPL Word with their fantasy premier league teams for GW1 plus some commentary on strategy and selection
fantasy premier league – Rob Reid, Joseph Crilley, Alex Ball and FPL Word with their FPL teams
Rob finished with an OR of 95k last season 22k in 16/17, 4k in 15/16, and 7k in 14/15.
The new season is here, World Cup hangovers are now long forgotten and it’s time to get down to the serious business of FPL. So after much tinkering over the past couple of weeks, I’ve settled in the line-up below. First up though, here’s a few words on my thinking.
As I’ve mentioned in the brief write-ups I’ve dine for my previous drafts, there’s been a quite a bit of debate in the FPL Community about a number of factors. First up is The World Cup. This will certainly affect the first few gameweeks as players return to full fitness and sharpness and there is certainly a strong case for picking a team purely for the first 4 weeks then using your Wildcard to bring in World Cup returners.
For myself, I’ve decided to opt for a flexible strategy rather than all out committing to a GW4 Wildcard. I’ve tried to set up a team that has players who predominantly don’t fall into the World Cup Hangover category, but also has enough flexibility that I can quickly bring in the likes of Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne or Romelu Lukaku using minimal transfers.
Balancing the Team
I’ve decided the best way to do this is to go big up top, making it easier to either swap like for like or shift funds back into midfield if needs be. It’s easier to downgrade a player’s price than it is to buy someone more expensive. It therefore makes sense to have 2 premium strikers in order to achieve this. This also influences my choice of formation. Again there’s been debate about this in the FPL Community with some advocating a 4 defender strategy focused on premium defenders. I’m wary of this from the outset myself, teams usually play more openly in the first few weeks of the season and some defences won’t be at full strength after the fallout from the summer. Therefore I’ll be sticking with the more traditional 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formations over the first few gameweeks.
I’ve also seen several managers talking about how important it is to make a strong start to the season; I’ve always struggled with this. We all dream of the perfect GW1 where our side scores 100 points and is in the top 10,000 straight away. I’ll be honest – this never happens to me! I usually find myself with a 7 figure GW1 rank – the important thing about this? Don’t panic. If you’ve planned and you’ve got a sound strategy, you’ll sound find yourself steadily climbing the ranks.
While it’s slightly more difficult to get into the top 10k if you’ve not started well in the first 10 weeks, it certainly isn’t impossible and you should also bear in mind that many managers ahead of you at this stage will have already used some of their chips. Plan for consistency, pay attention to % ownership and make sensible captain choices – if you do this, you’ll be part of the way there to achieving a decent overall rank. The rest will be down to a combination of informed differential choices and a bit of luck! Oh and don’t copy my team if you want to get off to a flyer – because you won’t!
Last season was a bit of a disaster here as I failed to hit any of my pre-season targets. There were several reasons for this and I’ll be bearing this in mind as the season progresses. First up, there’s no magic bullet. I made a couple of rash differential transfers later in the season to try and catch a mini-league rival and it cost me massively in terms of overall rank.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to be more aggressive with hits. I usually am and I wasn’t last season, and it cost me. I’ll be carrying transfers where I can but I won’t be afraid to deploy the ‘mini-Wildcard strategy’ that some of my fellow contributors have used to well.
Last of all is to do better with my chips. I’ve renamed the Triple Captain Chip the Triple Albatross Chip for my team as I’ve never had much luck with it, but my Bench Boost was also a disaster last time around. The only saving grace was a very successful Free Hit – I must try and do well with each Chip if I’m to gain a high Overall Rank.
My targets for this season
They’re a bit more conservative than last year:
1) Win my main Mini-League – I last won it in 2015-16 and it would be great to win this again. It won’t be easy though. There’s several seasoned FPL veterans and a Top 5k finish has been needed to win it for the last 4 seasons. I’ve got my work cut out here!
2) Top 50k Finish Overall – a more conservative target but a big aim for me after a disappointing 95k finish last season.
3) Finish in the top 8 in FFG Contributors League – this league was very competitive last year and has expanded further this season, so will be even tougher!
4) Get through 4 rounds of The Cup.
Mo Salah was the first name on my team-sheet, there was never any doubt about this. He’s fully fit, had relatively World Cup minutes and looks fresh in pre-season. Add to this the fact he was last season’s leading points scorer plus the fact he’s owned by over 50% of managers and he’s a difficult player not to own. The second name for me was Sergio Aguero. He’s a proven goal-scorer playing in a high-scoring team and it looks like he won’t be subjected to the rotation roulette that he was last season.
My big up top theme continues with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He’s not got the best 2 opening fixtures but after this things get a lot easier for Unai Emery’s men and he’s got the skills to score against anyone. I’ve also gone for a second premium midfield player and this was a tough call. I was very tempted by Christian Eriksen, but in the end I couldn’t resist a Liverpool double-up and I’ve gone for Sadio Mane. Bernardo Silva was in most of my drafts this week, but unfortunately it was impossible to accommodate both him and Mane.
My core defensive players once again cover Liverpool and Man City. Benjamin Mendy missed nearly all of last season with injury but has somehow managed to win The World Cup and The Premier League in the last few months! Seriously though, he’s got a lot of potential as an almost OOP FPL player so he’s my City choice. My Liverpool choice was a juggling act between budget and gametime security – I was on Robertson in most of my drafts but in the end I’ve compromised a little with Alisson.
So these are the guys that will free up the funds for all the big hitters. Ideally they should be getting regular gametime and be able to even provide a cheeky return every now and again. Much of the talk in FPL this summer has been about the £4.0 potential of The Special Wan. No I’m not talking about a cheap Man United asset, it’s Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka who it looks like has nailed down the right-back spot for The Eagles. Let’s just say there will be a lot of very disappointed FPL managers if Joel Ward’s name appears in the first 11 against Fulham.
He’s joined by fellow £4.0m defender Lee Peltier of Cardiff. He’s actually got some decent early fixtures so I may end up playing him in the odd game early on if he nails down a place. He’s more likely to be bench fodder though and he’ll be joined there by my £4.0m goalkeeper Ben Hamer.
It’s possibly a bit risky having 2 £4.0m defenders – they’re difficult players to shift after all, but hey – that’s what a Wildcard is for! Finally my midfield filler is Aaron Gunnarsson. I’m not expecting much here – he’s also cheap bench fodder, but he’s also low ownership which should mean he’s less likely to suffer a price drop.
Starting with defence, I’ve gone with Luke Shaw to cover the high ownership of David De Gea. He’s likely to lose his place after a few weeks but £5.0m is a price point where there’s quite a few other options so a switch should be straightforward. He’s joined by Willy Boly of Wolves. I think Wolves could do well this season and they were lean at the back in The Championship so I’ve gone for the Frenchman.
In midfield, I’ve stayed with Wolves and picked Diogo Jota. He had an excellent season last year and plays in an advanced position, hopefully he’ll hit the ground running. I filled my final striker spot next and this was tough – Arnie has been in most of my drafts, Zaha has high ownership and Austin is reasonably priced. I’ve settled however on Josh King. The big Norwegian is a Fantasy Football favourite of mine and The Cherries have some nice fixtures to start so he’s in.
That left me £5.0m for a midfielder and in the end I’ve taken a bit of a punt on Will Hughes of Watford. I considered Tom Cairney here but Fulham’s line-up looks a bit up in the air after a wave of signings so I’ve gone for Hughes who has 3 nice fixtures to open the season.
So that’s my squad – I think it’s fairly flexible and gives me plenty of areas where I can move players in and out if needs be. Like everyone else I’m sure, there are areas where I have doubts, but that’s the way of things with FPL. If it was an easy game it wouldn’t be so much fun! Good luck folks whoever you go for in GW1, I hope you all start the season well!
Joe finished with a 7k OR last season and 13k in 16/17
There haven’t been too many changes in personnel since my last draft, though I have moved away from 4 at the back now. This decision is partly due to the availability of £4.0mil defenders so I have downgraded Luiz to Peltier in order to move some funds into my front line. I could no longer resist Josh King with his pre-season form and strong opening fixtures so he has replaced Kamara while Costa had to be transferred to a 4.5mil to give me the required cash.
Looking at my starting XI, it’s only really Lucas Moura that I am unsure about as he could easily become one of a number of 6.5/7.0mil players such as Richarlison or Jota. However, my inner Spurs would really struggle to start the season without any of our players! There is also the opportunity to bring in some Man United coverage for Coleman with Bailly or Luiz is still an option, but I like the attacking potential of the Everton man.
At least the captaincy decision is easy because it will be heading towards Salah and hopefully he can lead my squad onto a strong start! Best of luck to everyone for GW1 and the season as a whole!
Alex finished in 17k last season 10k in 16/17 28k in 15/16 and 3k in 14/15
So after all the fun of non-stop tinkering for a while the final draft arrives. I’ve been settled on this for about a week now. Still a few last minute changes may happen mainly in defence.
Goalkeepers and defender
Robertson and Mendy where the first defenders I had and haven’t left. The others all look to be starts and were simply the best in that price bracket!
I’ve gone big here. Salah was always going to be cappo for the first few weeks so is key. I wanted big hitters from City and another Pool attacker, for me Mahrez and Mane are the best options but there are a number of options that are viable. Stephens as a 4.5 off the bench if needed.
Kun looks full of confidence and a great option. I’d love Auba as well but like the spread of cash I have used to will wait to see if Laca could cover him for cheaper. Arnie and King are the best options for the money I had.
Sorry its very short, busy day at work and out tonight. Good luck all.
FPL Word finished with an OR of 35k last season. Top 9k in 16/17, top 1k in 15/16, top 5k in 14/15
Went for two solid 4.5m keepers, will probably play Foster in first three games — he’s proven in the Premier League and Gracia improved Watford defensively. Will probably play Ryan in GW4 — I like Brighton’s defence too.
VVD, Davies and Shaw. a Liverpool defender is a must and it was a question of him vs. Robertson. Went for VVD as I think he’ll owes us a few goals (I liked that header he scored in pre-season), he’s more nailed than Robertson and it seems he’s a bit of a differential pick among Liverpool defenders.
Davies Spurs have good first two fixtures and he could get attacking points if he plays on the left. Accepting the risk he could just be central def. He’ll probably become Bellerin come GW3
Shaw — not a huge fan of United now to be fair, given the disarray they seem to be in, but they still have DDG in goal and Shaw is a cheap and relatively safe way into that defence. Ready to drop him soon if Mourinho loses trust
Mendy — kind of a no-brainer really, great fixtures, great team, he should offer attacking returns. Not 100% sure if I should bench him for Arsenal, but I feel like City will lose a goal or two in this game
Wan Bissaka is just the most nailed 4.0 — bench filler
Salah is a must and I wanted another Liverpool attacking asset so went for Mane. Looked at Bobby, but Mane had a longer pre-season and might still be on pens after Fabinho’s miss vs. Torino
Bernardo Silva — just 7.5m, looked great in pre-season and got that extra praise from Pep. Had Mahrez in earlier drafts, but he was taken off for Jesus early in the second half. And Silva is obviously 1.5m cheaper
Richarlison should be great under Silva, loved him in his early days at Watford and I really hope he can repeat this with Everton.
Fraser is a bit of a cheeky pick, but he was dangerous at the end of last season and Bournemouth have the best opening fixture of all, plus a decent run in the following gameweeks
Same with King — could provide the goods at a relatively low price. Lots of good options in that price bracket: Arnie, Zaha, Mitrovic, but King has pedigree and offers the best fixtures
Aguero — another no-brainer, and only at 11.0m — that’s a steal! I know there’s rotation risk with Jesus there, but Pep could play 3-5-2 or even let Kun start from the bench and he could still get a goal or two. They’re such an attacking side and he’s such a wonderful striker. I find it hard to understand why his ownership isn’t as high as Salah’s
and Kamara as bench-warmer
Also, I was thinking of playing the wildcard earlier, could be after GW2, GW3 or GW4. Most likely GW4 as it’s the international break and Liverpool’s easy fixtures end. But I’ll see how it goes. Good luck with to everyone!
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