4 months ago
It's very hard to truly call a player a differential until a few days before the new season kicks off. It's even harder to make predictions before a transfer window has shut as one transfer can change the whole set up of a team. With this in mind, I have singled out players flying under the radar in every single English Premier League team. These players, by not being owned by many managers, could see you gaining points where others aren't. A sure-fire way to shoot up the overall rankings.
*ownership percentages accurate at the time of writing
Hear me out with this one. Arsenal signed Pepe for a ridiculous amount of money last year and didn't quite get what they paid for. There were flashes of brilliance and a few hauls, but the youngster now has his first year under his belt, and I expect him to crack on in his second year. Playing for a much improved Arsenal side under Arteta, most of the trust will be put on Aubameyang to perform. This is where a talented Pepe can potentially perform with the pressure finally off of him. His opening two fixtures (ful, WHU) are lovely too!
Plenty of praise was heaped on Jack Grealish's season in the Premier League last year, and rightly so. He is the epitome of a talisman, and Villa would have been relegated without him. Not enough was mentioned of John McGinn and his exploits at the club, however. He performed very well before Christmas and was starting to get quite a few new owners before injury struck. It may come as no surprise that Villa's form took a nosedive once McGinn was injured. He has assists and goals in his locker, and I wouldn't be surprised if he came out with a bang this year too.
If there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that Brighton will come close to ten clean sheets every season. With Lamptey being only £4.5m, he's the perfect defensive enabler that you'd be happy to play in home games and easier away games. He showed a slight penchant for getting forward at the end of the year, so the odd assist might also come his way. He won't be pulling up any trees for you but he will make sure you have money to use elsewhere.
The fact that Chris Wood managed to score fourteen goals in a team that is set up to defend 1-0 wins is a testament to his effectiveness in front of goal. You won't find many more efficient strikers for his price tag, and you'll be happy to own him at points in the season. A nailed striker at a discounted price will mean you have the extra cash to use on your other strikers, making Wood a potential third forward in a devastating three-man forward line.
I have a very good feeling that this is, finally, Reece James' breakout year. Chelsea have significantly strengthened their attacking line-up which means some of their defenders may have gone under the radar. If the signing of Thiago Silva goes through, it's expected that Chelsea may play a back five with advanced wingbacks, making James an extremely attractive prospect. They won't keep as many clean sheets as you would hope for, but that's not what you want from James. He could, if nailed, provide a healthy amount of assists and bonus points putting him firmly on my watchlist.
Ten clean sheets and 137 points for Palace's stopper last year placed him joint seventh amongst goalkeepers last year. With not a lot to separate these middle-range goalkeepers, I always favour the ones who play for teams that struggle to attack. This ensures that when they do keep clean sheets, they'll be racking up the bonus points also. Guaita is a firm pair of hands in a team with a turgid attack, what's more to like?
Holgate won the trust of Ancelotti last year and did well in his first proper year in the Everton first team. He is expected to keep his position in the Everton backline, and I see him being good value. He gets forward for set-pieces and Everton can be resolute defensively. I wouldn't expect too much from this pick, and if you had the £1m extra, I would invest it into getting Digne.
Let us get one thing straight, we are not investing in Fulham defenders for their clean sheet points. Joe Bryan offers you something else though. With three goals and seven assists last year in the Championship, he could prove to be an absolute bargain. Bryan loves getting forward and there is every reason to believe that Fulham may have to score some serious goals to stay in matches this year. So let's hope that the marauding left-back starts teeing them up for Mitrovic to slam home.
The Leeds midfielder is being criminally underlooked at the start of this FPL season. Six goals and five assists last year for Leeds in the championship, he likes to get forward in attacks and takes penalties too. Any cheap midfielder that takes penalties can represent very good value. There are mixed predictions as to how Leeds will perform in their first year back in the Premier League, but I see a good season ahead for the Polish international.
With Pereira still injured and Chilwell on his way, James Justin should be looking to cement his position in the Fox's backline. Equally adept on both sides of the defence, Justin did very well in his appearances post lockdown. He offers good attacking threat and this Leicester team should be achieving between ten and fifteen clean sheets this season. Keep an eye out if Leicester sign a new left-back as that could mean that Justin's time in the first team would be temporary.
Gomez find himself as the least owned and least effective member of the Liverpool backline that consistently returns big. He may not offer the attacking returns of TAA or Robertson and is nowhere near as nailed as VVD, but he does offer one thing — cheapness. Joe Gomez is considerably cheaper than the other Liverpool defensive assets and will get just as many clean sheets. Just be aware, he doesn't make it past his own halfway line and offers little threat with set pieces.
An absolute travesty that this man isn't in more teams. In reality, Raheem Sterling could be the biggest differential in the game. Twenty goals, six assists and 204 points from the explosive winger last year sat him comfortably in seventh for highest scorers of the season. Many will have the dilemma of picking him or KDB but I think there is a real case to go with Sterling. On his day, the ex Liverpool man is capable of major hauls and is a perfect captain in most fixtures. Ignore at your peril.
Thirteen clean sheets for Maguire last year and as nailed as they come in that United backline. The biggest reason for including United's captain in this list is his potential to score big with set-pieces. He's threatened to score five or six headers from corners and freekicks but hasn't quite managed it yet. Last year he only managed one goal, but I can see that changing this year. I'm predicting Maguire to score at least 3 goals next season which would give him a very healthy return in FPL points.
There isn't much to be excited about with this Newcastle team, but Shelvey quietly had a good year last year. Six goals was enough to be Newcastle's top goalscorer and there's every reason to believe he will be their talisman again this year. When in form, he is one of the better midfielders in the Premier League.
I am tipping Ramsdale for a big season this year. The Sheffield United team is organised incredibly well by Chris Wilder, and I don't see a huge amount of regression for them this year. Henderson will be a big miss for them in goal, but I believe Ramsdale will fill that void to a reasonable standard. He had an excellent season with Bournemouth despite their relegation and feel that Ramsdale could be a perfect set and forget keeper for the season.
There is a general consensus at the moment that Southampton should be the team to really build on their success from last season. Danny Ings is the main man to own, but Stuart Armstrong had a very good season playing behind him when he wasn't injured. £5.5m seems extremely good value for the Saint's winger and his returns of five goals and four assists last year should have been more. I expect him to exceed these numbers this year and wouldn't be surprised if he was one of the bargains of the season.
It is believed that Dier will be given the chance to start in central defence for Tottenham next year. Taking all real-world football knowledge out of the equation, if this is the case, then Dier could be gold for our FPL teams. His ability to push into midfield and play the ball forward should see him do very well for bonus points. It is also worth remembering that for all of Jose Mourinho's faults, he knows how to organise a defence and grind wins. If Spurs were to keep ten or more clean sheets this year, then Dier will be in a lot of teams.
The only West Brom player worth owning— Pereira — is worth a look in his own right. He is the chief creator for this Baggies team and showed that last year on his way to sixteen assists and seven goals. He should shine in the Premier League, but West Brom will have to invest in a proven striker if we want solid returns. When the Midlands club have a good run, he could be an interesting gamble to take.
It is not unfair to say that West Ham's fortunes started to turn when they signed and started to play Bowen in their midfield. He provided four assists in his short spell since signing and allowed others around him the space to perform. Antonio, who has been moved to a striker in FPL, is the obvious talisman, but Bowen could offer a different route into the Hammer's attack. Be cautious though, the first seven games for West Ham are horrendous (NEW, ars, WOL, lei, tot, MCI, liv).
The man-mountain at the back for Wolves last season is being criminally overlooked at the start of this one. While he was injured last year, Wolves couldn't keep clean sheets. When he came back, they couldn't stop keeping them. He's a threat from set-pieces and loves bonus points. If it weren't for Matt Doherty stealing all of the limelight, Boly would be in considerably more teams. Expect another solid season from the Frenchman.
I have been playing Fantasy Premier League for almost 13 seasons, with multiple top 100k finishes. I still enjoy the start of every season as if it was my first. Always make sure you're enjoying the game!