Some fans look forward to the start of the Premier League season because of all the new signings on show. Some are thrilled by the prospect of a sustained title challenge, whilst some are enthused by a new manager taking the reins. If you’re like me though, you’re most looking forward to claiming the bragging rights in this year’s Fantasy Football!
2,000th in the world at one point, I was flying high and coasting to victory with a team made up entirely of English players (hashtag Brexit). However, my failure to triple captain Harry Kane during one of his many goal-scoring sprees, coupled with my inability to select the likes of Sanchez, Lukaku or even Gareth McAuley, eventually caught up with me.
This has led me to scouring the fantasy roster this year looking for the best bargains, here’s 5 of my picks that are guaranteed to fire you in to top spot (for the first three weeks at least…).
There was a time when Begovic was a top class goalkeeper. However, after spending a few seasons warming Chelsea’s bench, it was clear that ring-rust had definitely caught up with him when his chances (sporadic though they were) did arrive. Now at Bournemouth and almost a certainty for the no.1 jersey, Begovic will be the main man between the sticks again, in a team that are surely going to face a lot of shots. A snippet at £4.5m, Begovic is somehow cheaper than goalkeepers that don’t even play, such as Romero, Ospina and Vorm. Regular first team football will do the Bosnian international the world of good and, even though he may not keep clean sheets, will definitely rake in points for the number of saves made.
Craig Dawson/Gareth McAuley
Both big, both strong, both ridiculously good at scoring headers from set pieces, either one of these two are a must have. Both at £5m, they cost less than the likes of Ashley Williams, Dejan Lovren and Nacho Monreal, even though they are almost certainly going to finish up with more points than them all come the end of the season. Though they are likely to ship a few goals here and there, what they lack in defensive solidity, they more than make up for it in aerial prowess. With defenders getting 6 points for every goal scored, your team will definitely reap the benefits from selecting either one of these lads.
Any Manchester United Midfielder
United’s painful inability to score goals last season, especially at home, has been reflected in their prices this season. Top class players such as Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Mata and Martial all cost less than the likes of Mahrez, Sigurdsson and even Mohammed Salah. With the first 3 United games coming against West Ham (H), Swansea (A) and Leicester (H), you’d be a fool not to have a United presence somewhere in your midfield, especially given their promising pre-season form.
Willian is somewhat of a Fantasy Football favourite. He is never as expensive as any of the top name midfielders (only £7m), yet we all know what he can do when given minutes on the pitch. This leads many selectors to being hoodwinked in to picking him, totally ignoring the fact that both Eden Hazard and Pedro are firmly Chelsea’s first choice wingers. However, with Hazard sustaining a long-term injury whilst on international duty, Willian may just get his chance to show us fans why he deserves to cost a few million more.
When Southampton signed Gabbiadini from Napoli during the January transfer window, nobody was too sure what the striker would bring to the Saints. However, goals in his first four matches for the club, including two goals in the EFL Cup final cemented Gabbs’ place as a kind of cult hero amongst the Southampton faithful. Strikers on his price level include the likes of Iheanacho and Slimani, both of which are bound to get less game time (and goals) than the Italian. Combined with the fact that Southampton have a fairly favourable start to the season – first four games include Swansea (H), West Ham (H), Huddersfield (A), Watford (H) – the opportunity is there for Gabbiadini to add to his Saints goal tally.