Football

5 months ago

FanTeam's Season-Long Million Game: Premium Picks

Premier League is set to return on September 12th, and the dust is yet to settle on who gets the last spot in the league as I write this. In the meantime, you will be happy to know that FanTeam is providing the juice for our FPL addiction. With €1,000,000 guaranteed in Fanteam's season-long game, there is a lot to play for, and it is never too early to start tinkering with your team! A trend that was seen across elite FPL teams last season was holding onto premiums assets for its entirety and tinkering with your mid-priced players instead. The idea being that big hitters will always return on average over the whole season. To help you develop your FanTeam squad, I will go through a number of big hitters in each position worth consideration with differential picks to follow in my next article. 

 

Goalkeepers

Nick Pope (£5.5m)

The Englishman is a straightforward pick for me. He was 4th for saves last season with 120 and 2nd for clean sheets with 15. This combination makes him a prized FanTeam asset where every save is awarded with 0,5 points. To spread funds, I would consider a dead rubber sub goalkeeper and play Pope for the entire season.

Read more: FanTeam €1 million season-game explained. FPL and FanTeam comparison.

However, the wary may believe the high amount of clean sheets may not be sustainable for Burnley given the lack of investment from the Board. Allison and Ederson are both £6m for a reason and should provide the most clean sheets. But don’t expect too many saves!

 

Defenders

Trent Alexander Arnold (£7.5m)

The most obvious pick is also the best pick in my opinion. Although playing fullback, TAA managed to create 87 chances last season, putting him 3rd in the league.

He plays like a winger in the best defence in the league, takes free-kicks and corners.  4 goals, 15 assists and 14 clean sheets – he is a must!

Robertson (£7m)

Many will be considering a double-up on Liverpool defense much like last year. He managed to create 60 chances in comparison with TAA which puts him 12th in the league. That is still 1 more than Mane, though. But his output increased towards the end of the season and he is also starting to take a share of corners. A word of warning though, Liverpool managed only 3 clean sheets from 9 games following the restart. Liverpool also started last season slowly from a defensive perspective only keeping 1 clean sheet in their first 6 matches, although an injury to Alison did not help matters. So it may be wise to just pick one for now.

Doherty (£6.5m)

He justified his price tag last season returning 4 goals and 8 assists. The Irishman had 35 attempts on goal last season which puts him 3rd out of all defenders with only TAA and Lunstram (a midfielder) managing more. Wolves also looked a lot better defensively this season keeping 12 clean sheets compared to 8 in the 2018/19. 9 of which came after Boly’s return in GW25. If he stays fit, we could see even a better season for Doherty yet again.

Other notable mentions are Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£6m) and Chelsea assets. Wan-Bissaka improved his attacking output as the season progressed and managed 4 assists. Manchester Utd also improved defensively in the 2nd half of the season keeping 11 out of their 13 clean sheets in the 2nd half of the season. If this persists, they will prove good options.

Chelsea also massively underperformed defensively relative to their defensive stats. The Blues had the 5th-best expected goals conceded for the season with 38.84 but managed to concede 15.16 more goals than that. This is by far the worst underperformance on the league, with Norwich being 2nd worst with a delta of 7.19. A new goalkeeper and further shoring up at the back could make for some enticing assets, but a lot has to be seen here first.

Read more: FPL Forwards: Points per Million

Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne (£12.5m)

The Belgian is top of the list of candidates when it comes to set and forget players. With his creative talent, you don’t need to worry about blank spells. His worst run without a return last year was a meager 2 GWs. From 32 starts he created 33 big chances, top in the league by a long stretch with Mahrez coming in 2nd with 18. He also created 136 chances, again top by a distance, with Grealish in 2nd creating 91. 

Not only is he a creative wizard, he is joint 2nd for goal attempts with 132. Combining to give him a total of 13 goals and 23 assists.

He will likely have sole responsibility for free kicks with David Silva having left the club and may hold onto penalties given Aguero’s struggles this year.

 

Salah (£12.5m)

Mo is my pick of the attacking Liverpool players. His selfishness saw him beat De Bruyne by a distance for goal attempts with 132, while Mane (£12m) is 8th in league with a total of 77. He was also joint 3rd for big chances created while Mane’s 10 placed him joint 10th in the league alongside Pascal Groß and Adama Traore. Salah’s penalty responsibilities also work in his favour over the Senegalese international.

Focussing on Salah, he was also first in the league for shots in the box (110), Jimenez was 2nd with 93, and shots on target (59) with Jesus 2nd with 46. These numbers back-up Salah’s selfish mannerisms in front of the goal, and when you are playing for the league champions, that means goals and plenty of them!

 

Sterling (£11m)

Although he finished the season on 20 goals and 6 assists, Sterling (£11m) failed to flatter for a large chunk of this season having blanked in 15 of his 30 starts. But his scintillating form comprising of 9 goals and 4 assists post lockdown has propelled him to the top of our lists. With Aguero’s longevity being scrutinised more year-on-year and Jesus failing to step up to fill his shoes, Manchester City are finding themselves more and more reliant on Sterling.

The numbers look promising too. Joint 2nd for goal attempts (99) with de Bruyne for the season, 2nd for shots in the box (83), and joint 3rd for shots on target (38). If Sterling maintains his post-lockdown form we could be looking at a phenomenal season. He also provides a great captaincy option with 9 double-digit hauls this season.

Bruno (£11m)

Manchester United's mid-season signing is my last big-hitting midfielder. He doesn’t top any of the statistical tables given he only joined in January, but from 14 games he managed 8 goals, 8 assists, and 6 double-digit returns. He was 9th for minutes per attempt out of those that played at least 900mins — shooting every 27.1mins which is more frequent than Jimenez, not bad for a midfielder! Although only 15 of his 44 attempts came from inside the box, he still mustered 9 big chances. This was helped thanks to his spot-kick responsibilities which he is likely to maintain next year.

In a short space of time, he managed to transform this Manchester Utd side. This youthful team is now brimming with confidence and their attacking output is catching up with the juggernauts of Liverpool and Manchester City. Investing in their talisman is a smart choice as he only blanked 3 times and failed to blank twice in a row. Manchester Utd cannot live without him, maybe your FanTeam squad can’t either.

 

Forwards

Timo Werner (£10.5m)

One player I am very excited about is the new Chelsea signing. In 34 Bundesliga appearances last season he scored 28 goals and provided 8 assists. If he can transfer his goal-scoring return of 1 goal every 100mins, he will be fantasy gold. Chelsea were 3rd in the league for goals scored last season with 69, which was well off Manchester City (102) and Liverpool’s (85) pace. Looking at team attacking statistics, Manchester City come first in all categories. However, it is neck and neck between Chelsea and Liverpool for 2nd place as the table below shows:

 

MCI

LIV

CHE

Goals

102

85

69

Goal Attempts

745

591

625

Shots on Target

261

229

217

Chances Created

582

454

459

Big Chances

139

105

102

 

Yet Chelsea scored 16 less than Liverpool, evidencing an underperformance in converting chances. With the quality of Werner added to the attack as well as Ziyech (£8.5m), we may be seeing more goals at the Bridge this season.

 

Jamie Vardy (£10.5m)

Leicester's talismanic striker is next on my list of big-hitting strikers worth considering for the whole season. Last year’s Golden Boot winner with 23 goals and also a healthy 7 assists seems to be as clinical as ever. Maybe all those Red Bulls are helping him the 33-year-old with his longevity. He was also number 1 in the season with 35 big chances. Although the Leicester striker is 12th in the league for goal attempts (89), it is the clinical fashion Vardy shows in front of the goal that makes him a great asset.  

 Out of players who have had 15+ shots, Vardy has the best goal conversion rate of 25.8%. He also has a staggering shot accuracy of 47.2%.

He doesn’t need many opportunities in order to return. Having a penalty taker in your squad is always an added bonus too! If Leicester manage to hold on to other key players like James Maddison (£8m) and continue to build under Brendan Rodgers, we can expect to see their most important player competing for the Golden Boot as well.

Martial (£10.5m)

Picking a 3rd big-hitting striker for the outset is proving difficult given the number of uncertainties as of now. I believe Aguero (£11.5m) is the best striker in the league, but with injury struggles and rotation with Jesus (£9.5m) it is hard to justify his inclusion for the whole season in your squad given his price tag. Aubameyang (£11m) showed us his immense talent in the FA Cup but was hit and miss in the Premier League with his wide positioning not helping him. It is also unclear if he will be at Arsenal next season. Harry Kane (£11m) also hit form at the end of the season, but his tendency to drop deep and the archaic style of Mourinho limits his appeal. However, I would keep an eye on both these players.

This leaves me with my choice of Martial. As I already mentioned, Manchester Utd have turned a corner and if they continue in that spirit, we can see a big season for Martial who is now classified as a striker and is clearly Ole’s #1 pick to lead the line. Martial scored 17 times last season and had 9 assists and built a great relationship with Bruno since his arrival. You could see him grow in confidence each game and become ever more reliable. If Manchester Utd keep on this track I foresee Martial scoring 20 Premier league goals for the first time.

To wrap-up, I also really like the look of Jimenez (£9m) and Danny Ings (£8.5m) who scored 17 and 22 times respectfully. However, Jimenez complemented this with 7 assists compared to Ings 2. Both players provide great set and forget options for the season, being the key goal sources for two teams on an upward trajectory.

Read more: Sign-up on FanTeam with our link. Get access to exclusive tournaments and promotions!

As always, if you want to reach out to me with any questions DM me on Twitter or create a thread on the website. Enjoy tinkering and keep an eye out for the next installment of Fanteam's season-long game preview — the differentials. 

FPL_Pup
Author

FPL_Pup

Sports fan and FPL addict from Ireland (still has not forgiven Thierry Henry). Loves numbers in both studies & profession and has incorporated this into FPL in recent seasons. Has played FPL for 8 seasons, finishing in the top 40k 5 times, with the best finish of 8k. Find on Twitter @FplPup if you have any questions