With Gameweek 1 just around the corner, Fantasy Premier League managers are trying to fill their squads with as much value within the confines of the allotted 100m budget.
That’s impossible to accomplish without featuring players bought on the cheap who represent great value for money.
Here’s a look at our top five FPL bargains ahead of the new season.
DANI CEBALLOS | Arsenal | 5.5m
Arsenal’s sensational swoop for Nicolas Pepe (9.5m) has grabbed headlines but they also secured a superb player in Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid. The playmaker hasn’t established himself at the Bernabeau but has shone for Spain’s U21s.
At just 5.5m and with the plethora of attacking options in front of him, expect Ceballos to produce real value with a fair number of assists. With an ownership of just 3.7 per cent so far as well, he’s a tidy differential.
LEWIS DUNK | Brighton | 4.5m
Surprisingly valued at just 4.5m, Lewis Dunk could turn into one of the most owned defenders as the season progresses. He’s already likely to deliver healthy returns at Brighton, as he has done over the past couple of seasons.
However, if a move to Leicester City as Harry Maguire’s replacement materialises, he should be on course to do even better.
WILFRIED ZAHA | Crystal Palace | 7m
Wilfried Zaha only scored 13 points fewer than Leroy Sane last season who is valued at 9.5m. How is the Palace winger 2.5m cheaper? Not just that, he’s also listed as a midfielder despite spending a reasonable amount of time operating as a forward under Roy Hodgson.
If he gets his move to Everton, he may be even more valuable but as it stands, he should still be great value with the Eagles. With VAR coming into play as well, how many penalties will he win this term?
ROSS BARKLEY | Chelsea | 6m
Chelsea are a team loaded with bargains this season, it’s juts a question of working out Frank Lampard’s first XI to begin with. Interestingly, Mateo Kovacic is available for only 5.5m but an extra 0.5m could get you far more returns with Ross Barkley.
The Englishman has been a goals and assists machine for Chelsea in pre-season and seems to have grabbed his opportunity under Lampard. Could Barkley fulfill his potential and become the FPL asset we all know he can be this term?
JOHN LUNDSTRAM | Sheffield United | 4m
So you’ve scanned through the piece but what you’re really here for is that 4m option who’s likely to play regularly – this season’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka if you will.
Don’t expect quite the same output from Sheffield’s John Lundstram but he does represent good value. He’s started in four out of five pre-season friendlies and here’s the kicker – he plays in midfield while listed as a defender.
Prepare to lose track of time while you stare at your screens confused, conflicted and desperate.
That’s right, Fantasy Premier League is back and we couldn’t be happier!
Another season promises to bring with it plenty of highs and lows as the Premier League action captivates us. There will be FPL captains scoring big and others being benched, Wildcards that could make or break your season and dreaded rotation that will have you pulling your hair out – we’re looking at you, Pep Guardiola.
Key to starting on the right note though is not falling victim to some of the most common mistakes.
Here, we look at the FPL pitfalls you must strive to avoid in order to enjoy a good start this season.
KEEPING CLUB LOYALTIES
This is arguably the most difficult of FPL mistakes to avoid. If you’re a devout fan of a Premier League team then sometimes you need to go against every fibre of your being and look at players from your club with cold objectivity.
Take Manchester United fans for example. Mason Greenwood may have thrilled in pre-season but other than drafting in him purely as bench fodder, there’s no reason he should make your team in GW1.
An Arsenal fan must fight the urge to get in fan favourite Sead Kolasinac. The Gunners are bound to struggle for clean sheets and there are several other full-backs capable of more attacking returns while he faces competition from Nacho Monreal at the Emirates Stadium.
One needs to be pragmatic and drop an admired if temperamental player for one who’s simply effective and chipping away with regular points.
When one of your players does begin to perform of course, ride that wave and reap the benefits. FPL is meant to be fun after all.
EARLY WHOLESALE CHANGES
Anyone who hasn’t been guilty of this simply doesn’t care enough. You suffer a horrific start, maybe even score below the average and then scramble around to overhaul your squad. Hasty transfers are a sure-shot way to sabotaging your own team and you must resist the temptation to wield the axe early on.
That’s why it’s important to prioritise consistent performers when setting up your team for GW1 rather than opt for too many explosive or maverick assets. Limit your punts to a couple of picks and steer away from too many foreign recruits as well. Make sure at least half your team consists of seasoned, reliable assets. Steer away from too many foreign recruits as well.
That way, even if you don’t get off to a flyer, you can count on those players to come good over the next few GWs while making little tweaks along the way.
Repeat after me: I will not use my Wildcard before GW4.
Nothing satisfies an FPL manager more than a player bought on the cheap going on to deliver big. Harry Kane was once such a buy, so too was Swansea City’s Michu a few seasons ago. Raul Jimenez was last term’s most successful budget buy.
The danger is in seeking out these hidden gems at the detriment of your overall squad level. You may be scrimping in certain departments to fit in as many big-hitters as possible in attack, but that would be asking for trouble as well.
There’s a reason why a popular pick is priced 1m more than someone who could be just as good but isn’t nailed on. What you want is a balanced squad to begin with and then make adjustments according to how things unfold.
Also remember that it’s a lot harder to go from Kevin De Bruyne (9.5m) to Raheem Sterling (12m) than the other way around. So it’s always worth starting with the more expensive option if you can afford it.
PICKING A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER
Defensive midfielders don’t get you points, not enough of them anyway.
Just because they’re cheap and play regularly in a top six side doesn’t mean they’re worth having. So stay away from the likeable N’Golo Kante (5m) or even shiny new assets like Rodri (5.5m). No good can come from buying them.
You’d be much better served opting for more attack-minded midfielders from mid-table or even relegation threatened sides. Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden (4.5m) shows real promise for example, as does John McGinn (5.5m) of Aston Villa.
GOING FOR GLORY
When you fall behind in your mini league, desperation can set in and lead to some suspect decisions. That may involve abuse of your chips or the classic wild captaincy pick.
Where chips are concerned, you’d ideally hold on to them until they can be used around Double Gameweeks (DGW). A Bench Boost or Free Hit otherwise is just a waste.
A Triple Captain can work well during a normal GW. If Sergio Aguero is in form and you think he’s going to have a blinder at home to Norwich, go for it. But know that your odds are better during a DGW.
On the whole though, the focus should be on consistency and the big hauls will come. Being above average most weeks is the key to keeping you in the running. A few gambles along the way then can fire you to the top. Relying on big gambles though just isn’t sustainable.
Manchester City have completed the signing of Portugal right-back Joao Cancelo from Juventus, with Brazil full-back Danilo heading the other way.
Cancelo, 25, has signed a six-year-deal at the Etihad Stadium.
“City are a fantastic club, with a brilliant manager and I am delighted to be here,” Cancelo said after agreeing personal terms and completing his medical.
While partly a swap involving Danilo, figures released by Juventus indicated that the Italian club have also received €28million to complete the deal.
Everton have signed Monaco right-back Djibril Sidibe on a season-long loan deal.
The 27-year-old becomes the sixth new arrival at Goodison Park this summer after goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, midfielders Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and striker Moise Kean.
“Djibril has fantastic experience, winning titles and playing many matches in a competitive league,” Everton boss Marco Silva told the club website.
“He is a World Cup winner and he has the hunger to achieve much more in his career.”
Carl Jenkinson has bid a fond farewell to Arsenal after ending his eight-year stay to join Championship Nottingham Forest.
The 27-year-old defender, a senior England international who represented both the Three Lions and Finland at youth level, has moved for an undisclosed fee and signed a three-year contract at the City Ground.
Writing on his official Instagram account, Jenkinson said: “This is a message that is hard to write, so I’m going to keep it short.
“I’m leaving Arsenal in pursuit of a new challenge and a fresh start, and ultimately to play regular football again.
“I can’t really put into words what it has meant to me to play for this club, but what I can say is I have truly lived my dream.”
Crystal Palace have signed Spanish midfielder Victor Camarasa on loan from La Liga club Real Betis.
The 25-year-old will spend the season at Selhurst Park, with the Eagles then having the option to buy him next summer.
“I’m delighted that we’ve signed Victor and we think he will further improve the quality of our squad,” Palace chairman Steve Parish told the club’s official website.
“He is a talented, exciting player who will offer us creativity in the midfield.”
Camarasa scored five Premier League goals on loan at Cardiff City last season.