A Fantasy Premier League player to consider from every club for 2021-22
Picking your FPL team for GW1 is fun, but it’s also in many ways the opposite of that, because football is almost wholly unpredictable and therefore frustrating.
Your success or failure in Fantasy last season largely depended on when/whether you bought Emiliano Martinez, Stuart Dallas, Ilkay Gundogan, Patrick Bamford and Ollie Watkins — unexpected heroes of the campaign who scored massive points despite their modest price tags.
Admittedly, we only recommended one of those hotshots in last year’s version of this list, instead directing you toward Timo Werner and Aleksandar Mitrovic, but that’s no reason not to trust us now.
Managers will rightly be tempted by Ben White (£4.5m), mostly because his FPL price is less than 10% of his real-life price.
But another interesting option is Nicolas Pepe (£7.5m), whose price has decreased in successive years even though he quietly bagged 10 goals last season.
With Willian putting on the pounds and Bukayo Saka only just back from holiday, the sometimes-frustrating Pepe looks a good option against newly promoted Brentford.
Where to start? Villa’s ballsy transfer policy has provided several new attacking options, with Leon Bailey (£6.5m) perhaps the most generously priced.
And yet Emiliano Martinez (£5.5m) easily remains the most vital Villa asset since he just registered the most FPL points for a goalkeeper in 18 years but still isn’t the most expensive ‘keeper on the game.
The man simply loves diving on the floor.
The FPL policy of slapping tiny price tags on promoted Championship forwards — no matter their talent — should always be exploited.
With 31 Championship goals last year, Ivan Toney (£6.5m) has been given the same price as Allan Saint-Maximin, who managed just three in the Prem.
If Graham Potter decides to keep him around, the fairly crap but weirdly prolific Shane Duffy (£4.0m) could be good bench fodder, especially after Ben White’s departure.
Spain’s third-choice ‘keeper Robert Sanchez (£4.5m) is probably the more sensible option, however.
It seems weird that Chris Wood (£7.0m) has now reached double figures in four consecutive seasons.
But it still feels more appropriate to back Dyche’s defenders, especially when Burnley’s full-backs are priced at £4.5m apiece.
Matt Lowton scored a freak wondergoal last season, but Charlie Taylor (£4.5m) is statistically the more accurate and more willing crosser.
Navigating Chelsea’s FPL assets could depend a lot on whether they land Romelu Lukaku before the season starts.
If they don’t (or until they do), part-time forward Kai Havertz (£8.5m) could take on goalscoring duties.
One of the PL’s most predictable teams has turned itself upside down with the appointment of a new (and very different) manager and a number of good young signings.
Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) gets the same price tag he’s had since 2017–18, and, with Patrick Vieira looking to play some more expansive football to Selhurst Park, he looks as good a pick as ever.
Christian Benteke (£6.5m) is, of course, the romantic’s choice.
Controversy aside, Rafael Benitez is just a really great manager, and we’re going all in on the Toffees despite their quiet transfer window.
There might be better alternatives out there, but a massively improved Jordan Pickford (£5.0m) could pick up points over Everton’s first six fixtures, as could Lucas Digne (£5.5m), whose price has kindly been reduced for 2021–22.
Really though, the sensible money is on Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m). There’ll be one more able crosser on the pitch in the shape of Andros Townsend, and it no longer matters that Calvert-Lewin doesn’t take penalties — because nobody will be getting any this year.
The excellent Raphinha (£6.5m) has suffered less of a price bump than Patrick Bamford (£8.0m), and that’s good news for fans of gratuitous shirt removal.
We’ll also stubbornly keep recommending Luke Ayling (£4.5m), who was unlucky not to register any goals or assists last season: he had one strike ruled out for offside and he created five big chances for his teammates. He also goes up for corners, which is rare for a full-back.
Cheap defender Wesley Fofana (£4.5m) just broke his leg, and there’s something off-putting about potential Vardy-Iheanacho-Daka rotation, so it’ll have to be the fit-again Harvey Barnes (£7.0m) on the left wing.
Barnes is back 🤩#LeiVil
— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 4, 2021
Missing out on Euro 2020 was a disaster for Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m), but it might be a blessing for his FPL owners. The full-back should be fit and raring to go.
At the same price, Diogo Jota could be tempting, although that’s possibly too much money for a first reserve. Mo Salah’s pretty good too.
It will probably be Harry Kane, but one differential option — and we’re thinking very specifically about City’s inevitable 5-0 win over Norwich on 21 August — could be Ferran Torres (£7.0m), who was one of City’s best Euro 2020 performers along with the England lads.
But given City’s abundance of rotatable attackers, John Stones (£5.5m) seems to offer the best balance of value and guaranteed minutes.
As things stand, Bruno Fernandes has the third highest ownership (40.9%) on FPL. That’s no surprise, given that he was the highest-scoring player last season.
But there’s no escaping the fact that nine of Bruno’s 18 goals last year came from the spot, and the Premier League has just announced that penalties will be much harder to come by this season: ‘contact’ alone will no longer mean ‘foul’.
That could have a massive impact on Bruno’s potency, so Luke Shaw (£5.5m) — now a regular set-piece taker — might be United’s best FPL asset.
Gun to our head, maybe Jamaal Lascelles (£4.5m)?
Norwich have a stupidly difficult start to the season, so bench options are probably more appealing than big-ticket players like Pukki and Cantwell.
During pre-season, Daniel Farke has been rotating his three senior goalkeepers, giving them 45 minutes at a time. Tim Krul probably remains number one, but he’s a bit shit, isn’t he?
The familiarity of Norfolk could possibly rejuvenate Angus Gunn (£4.0m) and make him a viable bargain-bin ‘stopper.
Relegated. But Jan Bednarek (£4.5m) is cheap and will start.
F365 reckon he’s getting phased out, but we’re convinced that his fluency in Portuguese and Conor Coady-esque love of military haircuts could see Eric Dier (£4.5m) favoured in central defence. And Nuno’s defence could be a stingy one, too.
Heung-Min Son (£10.0m) seems underpriced, while another Portuguese speaker, Lucas Moura (£6.5m), could find himself with more playing time if Kane gets his move.
As the club’s top scorer last season, midfielder Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m) could be a real FPL bargain.
Watford have about 100 other senior players, most of whom are less guaranteed to start, so that’s that.
It seems unlikely that West Ham will play as well as they did last season, especially without Jesse Lingard, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for new ‘keeper Alphonse Areola (£5.0m), who excelled even while playing for terrible Fulham.
Wolves without Nuno is a real unknown quantity, but Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) could once again be a fun option, especially from September onwards.
The obvious downside is that he used to score a shit ton of headers, and now he has to play in a hat.