To start the FPL season it’s usually necessary to come out with a quality team. There are many cookie cutter varieties of teams for week one of this fantasy Premier League season so I thought it would be good to take a look at some of the options available for us as managers.
To try to analyze which players are being used the most this I took a look at the most selected players for each position to work out an idea of which cookie cutter teams are being set up for this season. I will break down each position to start then take a look at what some possible teams would look like.
Petr Cech and Thibault Courtois have been the two most selected goalkeepers at 33.1% and 25.5%, with both them costing £5.5. Right now £5.5 is the highest price for a goalkeeper and they are joined by David De Gea (11.4%) and Joe Hart (11.2%) at the high end.
If you are selecting the high end goalkeeper then most likely you will pick up the lowest cost keeper to go along with that. Right now Mark Schwarzer is the most selected £4.0 keeper at 16.5% while Wayne Hennessey of Crystal Palace has been picked 7.7%.
My own recommendation is that you instead look to pick up two mid-range goalkeepers with several £4.5 and £5.0 options available including Michel Vorm, Boaz Myhill, Jack Butland, Tim Krul, and Kaspar Schmeichel. If you choose two of these you now have two starting GK’s at £9.0 as opposed to one starter and one bench GK at £9.5.
Interestingly enough Leighton Baines is only 14.2% owned despite the high upside available with him. At £6.5 he’s not exactly cheap, but you are getting a quality full back who contributes to Everton’s offense and who happens to be their free kick and penalty specialist.
The top owned defender is currently Nathaniel Clyne at 42.3%. His price of £5.5 is definitely a good value, although I still have my own reservations about how he will fit in at Liverpool. The majority of his upside while at Southampton was the Saints use of fullbacks in their attack. I know that Brendan Rodgers got Clyne for just this purpose, so he should be a great pick for any team.
It is somewhat surprising that last season’s top defender, Bransislav Ivanovic, is not the most picked defender, but his price is perhaps the largest reason for this. At £7.0 he and John Terry are the most expensive defenders, and for good reason. He has been selected in 33% of teams. If you can make it work to have him in your team, then go for it.
Third highest selected is Phil Jagielka at 25.6% while Jose Fonte at 23.5 is just behind him. Both players cost just £5.5 meaning that it is possible to pick up both players in your team. If you want to include Cesar Azpilicueta at £6.0 (19.2% selected) then you have the opportunity to add four players (Clyne, Jagielka, Fonte, and Azpilicueta) who scored over 130 points last season for a total of £22.5. Not a bad value there.
Still, you’re probably better off looking to pick up two, or maybe three, of these defenders and round out the defensive unit with a £4.5 and £4.0. There is still value to be had in these lower priced players if you don’t mind waiting to play them in select fixtures.
Steve Francis or Tyrone Mings of Bournemouth are both £4.5 as is Leicester City’s Wes Morgan, all three of whom could easily contribute to your team.
Midfield is where it really starts to get tricky. Teams will want to stack several high end players in here to ensure they get the most points possible.
It is almost a given that Eden Hazard is the most selected midfielder as well as the most selected player so far at 57.1%. I actually would have thought his numbers would’ve been higher. He was the leading points getter last season with 233 points and I am predicting he will do even better this year without having to deal with the fatigue of a World Cup offseason. At £11.5 he is the most expensive midfielder, though not the most expensive player in the game.
Memphis Depay (25.1%) and Jordan Henderson (24.9%) are behind Hazard, but there is a massive gap in there both in terms of the percentages and the cost. At £8.5 Depay is a bit of a gamble considering that he has yet to prove himself in the Premier League while Henderson is a good value pick at £7.0, having already tallied 162 points last season. Just realize that Henderson’s value comes in the number of games that he plays.
Raheem Sterling at 21% ownership is a solid midfield option, although his £9.0 price tag has probably scared off many considering that there are still questions about how well he will fit in to the Man C squad.
Once you get into the 18%-20% range it gets interesting. Victor Wanyama is 20.5% owned, largely due to his £4.5 price tag making him an excellent choice for filler in midfield.
Santi Cazorla (£8.5) and Cesc Fabregas (£9.0) have 20.6% an 18.8% ownership respectively. This is the point where many teams begin looking at the various number 10’s available and trying to decide which one to go with. Fabregas was an assist machine last season and would have racked up even more points if not for injury problems. Cazorla managed three points more than Fabregas and played just about 100 minutes more. Deciding between these two is a tricky one. Cazorla is the penalty kick taker for Arsenal as well as their driving creative player.
In the same price bracket are the likes of Coutinho (£8.0), Ozil (£8.5), Walcott (£9.0), and Silva (£10.0), so there are decisions to be made. Rounding out your midfield there are a number of options with Schneiderlin (£5.5) 12.8% owned, Sigurdsson (£7.5) 9.3%, Milner (£7.0) at 11.6%, Kie Sung-Yeung (£5.5) 9.7%, Bolasie (£6.5) 8.8%, or Puncheon (£6.0) at 8.4%.
In addition there are still players like Ramsey (£8.5), Eriksen (£8.5), and Mata (£8.5) who had good seasons last year, but are under 9% owned to start the season. This is most likely due to the opening fixture for Eriksen and Mata while Ramsey is just one of the many Arsenal midfielders to choose from.
It should be noted that Alexis Sanchez is not expected to start the season after playing in Copa America. His £11.0 price tag does make it difficult to fit him in later, but it is something to consider for the future.
If you want some more risky picks in the midfield you can always take a punt on someone like Ritchie (£6.0) of Bournemouth who is highly rated in FPL circles, but has just 5.2% ownership. He’s an unknown commodity, but one that could impress. There is also Cabaye (£6.5) who has already proven himself in the Premier League and is playing in an attacking midfield at Crystal Palace.
There are three clear favorites going into week one and it is very close. At the moment Benteke (£8.5) is the highest picked forward at 39.4% while Rooney (£10.5) is just behind him at 39.3%. Harry Kane (9.5) rounds out the top three at 37.8%. There is a gap in ownership percentages from here to Berahino (£6.5) and his 19.6% followed by another gap to Pelle (£8.0) at 15%).
Choosing your forwards is another tricky proposition to start out this season. Those picking Berahino and Pelle could be in for a shock if they don’t start the season the way they did last year. There is also the difficulty in deciding if Costa (£11.0) is going to be fit to start the season or if Mourinho is just playing more mind games.
Last season’s second highest points getter, Sergio Aguero, is also this season’s highest priced player at £13.0. There is a reason for this price tag and there is also reason for why many FPL managers are making plans on when and how to bring him into the team. At the moment he is not expected to start Man C’s first match of the year, but he is still owned in 12.5% of teams.
Those managers willing to take a gamble can look at Troy Deeney of Watford who is 8.6% owned and has an excellent value of £5.5. There is also Stoke’s front line of Bojan (£5.5) and Diouf (£6.5) who did well (when fit) last season and could be excellent value picks to fill in.
After looking at all of these numbers it is interesting to see which players are being brought in. It is also possible to get very close to selecting all of the highest selected players. To set up a team that does have the highest percentage of selected players it could look something like this:
A team with this setup would probably do quite well, but it also shows that it is a tricky thing to try to get all of the best players into your team. While I will be running with the above team for one of my FPL teams, I would recommend taking a look at the fixtures closely and developing more of a strategy for the coming weeks.
This would include spreading out the prices of your players a bit and looking at bringing in some different players to round out your team. One key tool to use in developing your team is the analytical guide to fixtures GW1-GW8 released by Fantasy Football 247. It is an in depth look at the first eight gameweeks to help guide your selections for each position.
That wraps up my gameweek 1 preview to start this fantasy Premier League season. It will be interesting to see which players do well on the first match day and how that affects FPL teams going forward. Good luck and have fun!
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