The pre-season of FPL really for me acts like a drag – the game is launched four weeks ahead of the first fixture, you create your first team, you watch some friendlies, make the odd tweak and then become less enthused about that first team. In a way the best thing to do is setup things randomly and then spend a good few hours in the final week before week 1 creating the masterplan. Alas Twitter has RMTs coming at you from every angle and although there are many great articles and podcasts out there people asking for advice on their teams at this stage really need to just put things on hold. Much can and will change. Please don’t ask me to rate any teams – I’ll politely decline not that I expect anyone is that mad!
I don’t envisage that I will spend much time blogging this season but I did have a look at some ownership rates and thought I’d pen down some thoughts – more probably for myself but if it helps one person then all good. I will say I don’t think owning a player who is heavily owned is necessarily a bad thing. For instance Mo Salah is currently at 47.3% and I’d far rather be in the Salah camp than outside – especially with Liverpool’s early run of games and Salah coming back from the World Cup early. I will want to see him appear fully fit before going in all on Mo. Anyhow there are a few players I think are already too highly owned and I’ll list a few potential differential options which might work out ok to start the season.
David De Gea £6m – (30.3%)
De Gea is 0.5m more than his peers and frankly he’s not worth the extra investment in my opinion. Yes last season he top scored in points but he only finished 14 points ahead of Ederson and 15 ahead of the £4.5m rated Fabianksi. The appeal of the United clean sheets is obvious but I do think the better option is to look away from De Gea. In fact until it’s proven what Mourinho’s back four is I would avoid. Gun against my head I would select Bailly (£5.5m) as he didn’t play in the World Cup and started last season first choice. The Luke Shaw hype is somewhat unbearable – because there is no guarantee he will start ahead of Young when he is back, so you might get one or two games before you have a rotation problem.
Potential replacements: Alisson £5.5m (8.1%); Leno £5m (3.5%) – whichever keeper ends up in goal for Chelsea also would appeal, especially if it becomes Kasper Schmeichal.
Kieran Tripper £6m – (25.8%)
One quarter of the managers in the game have selected Trippier which frankly astounds me. There are a fair few reasons for this but notably he has had a long world cup and the fullbacks at Spurs do tend to get rotated – Aurier has not disappeared. The appeal of his freekicks are also dampened by the presence of Eriksen, plus with so many Spurs players in the last four of the World Cup it’s anyone’s guess what sort of side they will play at the start of the season. If I was having one Spurs fullback it would be Ben Davies at £6m who is 8.4% owned.
Potential replacements: Van Aanholt £5.5m (5.6%) – for all the Twitter hype he is still underowned; Coleman £5.5m (4%); Robertson £6m (16.4%) – his ownership is higher but I would far rather AR than KT.
Ryan Sessegnon £6.5m – (13.7%)
To me Sessegnon feels over owned at present – 13% isn’t a lot admittedly but he’s been playing LB in some of the recent friendlies and you don’t want that really to be happening in the big league. Additionally I kind of expect him to find things a lot tougher in the Premier League. He could well come of age but for me it’s definitely a watch and see type job. Fulham do play some good football (best in the Champ last year in that regard) but I also sense they might leak a few goals which also dampens his appeal slightly. In truth there are just many more players at £6.5m I prefer.
Potential replacements: Fabregas/Pedro £6.5m – much depends on if either looks to nail down a place; Walcott £6.5m (4.1%) – cue ridicule in certain quarters; Maddison £6.5m (0.5%) – criminally under-owned; Jota £6.5m (7.9%).
Kevin de Bruyne £10m – (27.4%)
Generally speaking I love KDB as a player but in FPL terms I don’t totally get why his ownership is so far ahead of a lot of similarly priced players who tend to score more goals. De Bruyne like a lot of others has been at the World Cup albeit he is so integral to that team I would expect him to play week one. He also tends though to sit a bit deeper and assists the assister a lot. The City fixtures are good which does increase his appeal but I think until we see what kind of line-up they will play with Mahrez and Aguero/Jesus fit it’s an avoid situation for me. Albeit I have recommended a potential replacement from City.
Potential replacements: Sterling £11m (3%) – ok he’s more expensive but only 3% owned – the biggest differential out there; Hazard £10.5m (9.3%) – lot depends on whether he stays but if he remains very much interested; Eriksen £9.5m (16.1%).
Other notable players I feel are too highly owned at the moment – personal preference obviously. A lot is based on the World Cup as it appears we have a lot of patriotic England fans.
Harry Kane (33.4%) – He’s actually in my current team as wanted to see how it shapes up – that said I feel by the start of the season we will only want one heavy hitter if going with Salah.
Harry Maguire (21.9%) – Potential extended break from World Cup – plus as proven last year Leicester struggle to keep clean sheets.
Henrikh Mkhitarayan (20.4%) – My main concern would be rotation – I would also probably leave until week 3 so we get a better clue.
Ruben Neves (15.3%) – Deep lying midfielder – quality all the same but he won’t assist/score many goals. At a similar price take a punt on Cairney or Ralls (on pens).
Luka Milivojevic (12.5%) – Last year’s hero but £2m more expensive. Scored 7 pens last year which should return to the norm.
And some who are under 5% who I like.
Mesut Ozil (2.5%) – Dropped in value hard to really know how the attack will line up. But Ozil chief creator for two good strikers – I prefer him to Mkhi and Ramsay.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (3.2%) – Everton could be much more potent and Gylfi maybe as 10.
Anthony Martial (2.6%) – A lot depends on Mourinho here but could work out ok for first few games.
Josh King (4.3%) – Nice price for a third striker and fixtures to start are good.
Erik Lamela (0.9%) – Bit punty but someone will need to replace Son and probably Alli for first few games.