What the Slackers Say – IB Special

It’s been a few weeks but we’re back with What the Slackers Say. This week the slackers will be reviewing the special Patreon pod where the Surgery guys interviewed Stephen Helm. Known to the Slackers as Helmo, he achieved an incredible overall ranking of 4th place in the season of 2011/12. The surgeons interview Helmo and find out what he did to achieve that amazing overall rank.

Alan Duffin
Current Rank: 260k | Highest FPL rank: 3k

@Iceman@Bully and @HelmoI got the chance to listen to the Patreon pod whilst driving home from work today and found it very refreshing seeing as we’re currently in an international break. I haven’t been playing FPL seriously for anything like the number of years you guys have so I really wasn’t aware of all the changes there have been, especially in regard to there used to being 1 transfer per week. I throughly enjoyed all of it. I’m a form and fixtures man like yourself Helmo and as you know have my own data analysis into transfer selections. I agree with the every changing circumstances therefore I rarely plan greater than 4 weeks ahead but it’s just simply great to get different insights into people’s thinking. Shame about the RvP Week 37 haul but your 4th place is truly magnificent. The final part regarding mental health was excellent. FPL can be the devil at times as it saps so much out of us and therefore tensions can run high but you’re right this slack channel is a haven and some are on a lot, some not so much and some sporadic. @Iceman accepts all sorts :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing::rolling_on_the_floor_laughing::rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:.

Thanks for the pod fellas, you all put so much effort into what you do and it’s just a pleasure to be a part of it all as a listener and to have the ability to respond and give credit where it’s due.I look forward to more surprises over the season. Once the International Break is over we really head into an intense period of FPL during the silly season, it’s back to back all the way till January so a wee bit of rest now is just what’s required. Thanks again Helmo – great insight :blush:

Alex Ball

Current Rank: 712k | Highest FPL rank: 3k

Helmo absolutely loved your podcast appearance with Bully and Iceman. I really related to what you talked about; similar age and length of time playing the game (although you kick my arse best rank wise!) Really enjoyed the trip down FPL memory lane; brought back memories. I’m a bit of a purist so enjoyed it pre chips and even vice-captains! Really interested to hear your take on mindfulness. As I was a teacher for 15 years and I now work with children aged 5 to 15 with learning and behaviour needs. Some of them come from a background involving trauma which is really hard for all concerned. I’ll often incorporate mindfulness into the classroom to support that child but also the rest of the class. I also find I’m someone who spends a lot of time taking in FPL noise and I think it has showed in a downturn in form over the last few season. I really liked your call on copying @Nick (Triggerlips)’s idea of going old-school with pen and paper. How do you filter the noise and choose where and when to listen? Final point, I was very surprised to hear your accent as I’d assumed you where Scandinavia with your name :joy:Thanks again!

And of course a massive thank you and well done to Iceman and Bully


Really enjoyed the pod Helmo :raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands: never heard Bully & Iceman so quiet before…. great stuff!Some great advice on switching off and being in the moment. Will you be my life coach?!

Current Rank: 156k | Highest FPL rank: 92,638

10/10 for that pod. Perfect for the IB. Part 3 and 4 could be on every pod imo. Great job guys!

Current Rank: 68k | Highest FPL rank: 2k

Smashed it guys. Really really interesting and lots of nostalgia. It’s weird as once Helmo started talking through it you realise how crazy coming 4th is… FOURTH!

The Hitman
Current Rank: 2.3m | Highest FPL rank: 11k

Great pod Helmo, Iceman, Bully. I just got around to listening to it today. That was probably the most enjoyable pod of the season for me as I was able to relate to a lot of it. The discussion around how the game affects your mental health I very much appreciated as it is something I have been thinking myself the past few weeks because I’ve been doing so badly and have let this game affect my mood at times. It’s very important as you say to take a step back whether it’s going for a walk, staying away from screens or other mediums such as yoga or meditation or exercise in general. I also have taken on board your advice this season of not listening to too many podcasts because as you say too many opinions and overinformation can move you away from your instincts and it always feels better if you go with your instincts as you are more comfortable with the decision yourself.  Great job Helmo!


Excellent pod Helmo, Iceman, Bully. :+1::clap:
Yeah spying on other teams’ transfers made was a thing till very recently, glad they took that away haha
I second that advice re switching off for the weekend / focusing on one thing at a time! Tried the MOTD challenge a couple of times but I either am impatient and check scores during the weekend, or my mate trolls me each time CHO makes a cameo off the bench :expressionless: maybe I need to switch off Whatsapp or find better mates :laughing:
Great advice re the end of the season, if I understood correctly, triple captaining Robin van Persie will be key!

What the Slackers Say – GW9

Well that was a long two weeks! Fret not, FPL is back and here is what the slackers are saying about the FPL Surgery Podcast.


Alan Duffin
Current Rank: 59k | Highest FPL rank: 3k

What the Slackers Say – GW7

What’s up FPL fans! This week we have FPL Surgery podcast reviews from Alex Ball, Bard, Helmo and Stephan Haugsrud. Hoping all your FPL dreams come true this week, and remember to change your FPL account passwords.

What the Slackers Say – GW6

We’re back! After a couple of weeks break we have great pod and gameweek summaries from the Bard and Captain Kingpin.

Rank last season: 478,189  |  Highest rank: 92,638

First of all, thank you so much @Bully and @Iceman for another great episode. @FPL Houghts is such a great addition to the pod, but also the entertainment that comes with him. Really enjoyed this one. Thanks guys!

Selected notes:

Big at the back is dead…
…at least until Laporte or Alisson are back. Budget options mentioned on the pod: Tomori (4.5m) and Soyuncu (4.6m). It’s important to monitor Chelsea’s defense rotation before picking Tomori. Other options are AMN, Vertonghen Pieters, AWB, Maguire and Rico (at a neatly 4.0m). Spurs’ fullbacks are also interesting, but more information regarding rotation is needed.

Chill out fpl mates!
Iceman gave a calming, almost paternal, chillout speech. Speaking for myself, it was heavily needed. Houghts added a pointer of sticking to one’s plan. Review notes and your thinking. Don’t go overboard chasing points. In addition to his calming words, Iceman also pointed out how close the rankings are at the moment. Green arrows are coming..

The 90 second debate: Son vs. Kane
Loved this segment, although @FPL Houghts kind of rhetorically bullied @Iceman there 🙂 it’s Son for me as well.

Iceman is moving out of double LFC defense
I did long ago, so I guess now I can sell TAA as well, or…

Captain Kingpin
Rank last season: 119k  |  Highest rank: 21k

Another excellent podcast from the surgery guys and regular guest FPL Houghts. FPL Houghts mixes his in depth football knowledge with passion and enthusiasm to deliver a very listenable pod. His Son-Kane debate with the @Iceman was great to hear and I look forward to more debates in the future.

I’m going to be keeping hold of my premium assets and keeping faith in Sterling who has hit the woodwork twice in the last week. #heisdue

Up the pod!

What the Slackers Say – GW4

This week we have pod summaries and gameweek plans from Alan Duffin, Alex Ball, Helmo and Romfrosk.

Alan Duffin
Rank last season: 19,248  |  Highest rank: 19,248

The pod just gets better. Everyone gives an objective view and really makes you think and consider any decisions you are yet to make on transfers. Don’t make any transfers – unless you absolutely have to – without listening to these guys 🎧 👍 .Great to hear @Banana Nose Maldonado – Matt on, excellent stuff and smoother than Shaggy. Much love to Bret up in Coffs Harbour 💓

Alex Ball
Rank last season: 500k  |  Best rank: 3k

Simply stunning. From the excellent advice of @Banana Nose Maldonado – Matt @Stephan @Iceman @Bully to @fpl_sexy’s sad reflection on his best mate to @MadHatter’s comedy ending. Seriously what’s not to love? 💓

Rank Last season: 58,788  |  Best rank: 4

Excellent pod guys, appreciate your efforts, happy,sad, insightful, informative and funny. @Banana Nose Maldonado – Matt was a brilliant addition to crowd and I definitely think the 4 surgeon pod panel dynamic works really well. Especially pleased to have my 3rd related food question (favorite crisp flavor, preferred sandwich and now the condiment debate) asked on the pod and impressed with @Bully’s enthusiasm for the great chip debate. I’ve got another one lined up but I don’t want you greedy guts gorging too much on the food related questions so I’ll hold it back for a couple of pods time.

A lovely bittersweet ending to the pod – deepest sympathies to both @fpl_sexy and the wife of @MadHatter in equal measures 💓 UP THE POD 💓

Rank last season (1st season): 800k  |  Highest rank: 800k

Another week with a great pod.

Serious discussions between all of you. and all had their own reasons backing up their opinions.

The guests are just supreme quality with both @Stephan and @Banana Nose Maldonado – Matt. Keep em coming. @fpl_sexy “Sexy Thoughts” certainly gave me a tear or two as well; all the best for you and your family. Sending lots of love your way. I did for a little while think you’d agree on the “longest” question there 😛 Maybe next week 😃 beeeeeeep Beeeep *BEEEEEP

What the Slackers Say – GW3

This week we have pod summaries and gameweek plans from Alan Duffin, Stephan Haugsrud and Romfrosk.

Alan Duffin
Rank last season: 19,248  |  Highest rank: 19,248

Excellent pod fellas, confirmed my thoughts in that with an already strong squad I don’t need to wildcard right now. Tor Mikkel Tokvam’s algorithm saying that really only Pukki and Martial are the boats I’ve missed is good to hear (and concerning to hear). A little surprised that Tor Mikkel Tokvam doesn’t see Harry Kane as much of a worry if you don’t have him as he is my biggest concern at not owning.Interestingly enough it was GW3 last season that prices exploded and the panel believe Team Value could play big part this season, the flip side being they also say the best managers don’t really worry about team value. 👌 All over it guys #UpThePod

Stephan Haugsrud
Rank last season: 1,710  |  Highest rank: 1,710

Great pod. Tor Mikkel Tokvam was a great guest. Confident in his assessments and very polite in shooting down the Iceman’s transfers. After listening to this I should worry more about pulling the WC early, but at the same time, team value = points and at least there’s that. I like that we finally have a number we can put on team value. Extra selling value of 0.1 = 2 points.

And what the hell was that MadHatter segment? Had me laughing 😂 #UpThePod


Another week, another great pod.

@Tor Mikkel Tokvam will be a great partner for the pod with loads of stats behind his selections and talking points. I enjoyed the talk about template becoming so diverse. with loads of options in most positions.

Making me more happy about my choices during my early WC. The Salah/Mané talk has swayed me to use Salah instead, which was surprising; can’t argue against solid stats over time.

But how is the question I like that new names get thrown into the mix on the pod, with a little bitter taste, as I know have more players to “worry” about. The quality for both the hosts and guests on this post is just so superior to other pods I used to listen to. FPL Surgery is now the only “Must listen” pod in my opinion.

Great work! #UpThePod

What the Slackers Say – GW2

It was good to be reminded that scorelines don’t always tell the whole story and the surgeons plus guest provided excellent analysis.

David Munday was great guest who is clearly very knowledgable about football and FPL but is also able to verbalise his thoughts in a concise and easily digestible way.
I’ll be holding my transfer this week as by the end of GW2 we’ll know a little more about player form.


Gameweek 1 Reviews

From time to time we will be posting gameweek reviews from the FPL Surgery Slackers. This week we have reviews from Luke Jerdy (18/19 rank: 9,009), Stephan Haugsrud (18/19 rank: 1,710) and the Iceman (18/19 rank: 2,243).

Jerdy’s Watchlist

Here is a list of players that have caught Luke’s eye from GW1.

Pukki – great first touch and finish, caused the best defence for clean sheets last season lots of problems. Could he be the best option at £6.5m? More time to assess as they play Chelsea and City in the next 4.

Buendia – lovely pass for the Pukki goal, he looks confident on the ball, decent price but would prefer him at £5.5

KdB – one of the best players on the pitch, looks well up for this season and wants to make up for lost time. Firmly in my thoughts.

Trezeguet – got in the right areas for Villa and had a few chances. Remains to be seen if he is clinical enough. Subbed off at 58 mins, will earn him a shout out on the General’s pod.

McGinn – lovely run and finish, he was everywhere. Could be a great £5.5 enabler.

Kane – Harry doing what Harry does, primarily causing me a headache. Took his goals well, he’s fresh, he’s hungry. 25-30 goals looks to be a good bet. Can we fit him in with Sterling and Salah? Sacrifices would have to be made elsewhere, at the moment I don’t fancy playing Lundstram!

Femenia – will be interested to see his stats, looked lively at RB for Watford. Can’t see them keeping CS though.

Zaha – is he better than Siggy for a £1.0 saving? He is the type of player that will want to force someone into paying £80m+ for him in the next window. Very interested in Wilf.

Rico – nice option at £4.0? Took some set-pieces. Won’t be interested until first wildcard if he can hold down a place in their team.

Barnes – he has improved his goal tally every year and from this evidence he could get more than 12 this season. Really good finisher, could become the best £6.5 option quite quickly. From GW5-14 Burnley only play Chelsea from the top-6. Oosh!

Stephan’s GW1 Saturday Review

What the Slackers Say – GW1

Welcome to a brand new feature on the FPL Surgery Podcast website. What the Slackers Say will be a weekly article of comments and summaries from FPL Surgery Slack members about that week’s podcast. These will include individual highlights from the podcast and will help FPL players make their team decisions. There is wealth of knowledge and talent in the FPL Slack and a number of players who have consistently achieved ranks inside the top 1% in FPL.

Here’s what some of the Slackers have got to say leading up to GW1…

Alan Duffin

Rank last season: 19,248  |  Highest rank: 19,248

Excellent pod which will turn heads, Stephan has a very similar mindset to Stephen Toumi. 🙂

Alex Ball
Rank last season: 500k  |  Best rank: 3k

I liked the calm rationale given to each position as they talked through their current drafts and alternative options. I’ve listened to a lot of pods pre-season and this kept me interested right to the end. An excellent listen.


Rank last season: 478,189  |  Highest rank: 92,638

The idea of a King and Wilson double up, made my week, or at least made my team make sense. In addition I like Stephan‘s eye for greedy players like Jota.

Captain Kingpin
Rank last season: 119,513Highest rank: 21,777 (2017/18)

My main takeaway from the pod was to put out a team that was flexible so that I can jump on to in-form players easily. I had too much invested in defence and have shifted some cash into midfield/ up front.


Rank Last season: 58,788  |  Best rank: 4 🙂 (2011/2012)

An all encompassing pod this week, essential pre GW1 listening.Specific key messages – which stats to look at (something I’ve rarely used previously but is become part and parcel of the game) and how using that information alongside the eye test is integral to choosing players. Avoiding too many punts in GW1 and to a certain extent aligning with highly owned players that fit into your structure will allow a solid start – as both said you can’t win FPL in the first few GWs but being too maverick early on can be really damaging. Finally the Wilson/King approach was a really innovative solution to a tricky issue which I don’t think many people would have considered previously. Great work and good luck to all for the forthcoming FPL season.

Luke Jerdy

Rank last season: 9,009  |  Highest rank: 9,009

Latest pod was GREAT. Very happy to be convinced on Ayoze Perez and the Wilson/King double up. I don’t see Siggy as a risk he was one of the first to be nailed in my team, I think Everton will start well. Up the pod!

Last Season Rank 25,217  |  Best Rank 25,217

First season I’ve played all year and not given up a couple of months in. Now fully addicted! Still sore about triple captain on Sane last year :'(. I think eye tests and being patient for players in form to haul is important.

Rank last season: 8,726  |  Highest rank: 8,414

Hugely useful pod this week. You can get people on pods telling you certain players are must-haves. Only the surgery will tell you why, backed up with credible evidence. They forgot the mighty Benteke this week, though 😉
Edit: don’t publish the Benteke bit unless he gets a brace

Rank last season (1st season): 800k  |  Highest rank: 800k

The discussions and clarification of why you should be aware of highly owned fodder was informative. were following it for def, but not fwds.
as mentioned by others this is by far the most informative, and thought through pod. with evidence, stats, eye-tests ++ to support your choices of players both on your team(s) as well as on the watchlist. Also “The Algorithm” part will be very interesting to hear as the season progress. glad you got him in. 🙂


FPL players, start your engines, and strap yourself in for the ride.

If you want to know more about becoming an FPL Surgery Patreon and getting access to the amazing Slack Channel please click here.


Luke Jerdy 2019/20 season planning

Fantasy Premier League 2019/2020

2018/19 Total Points: 2389

2018/19 Overall Rank: 9,009

The new football season is nearly upon us and with it brings another season of FPL. With the Community Shield between Man City and Liverpool today, my excitement is building and my team needs finalising. I’ve tinkered a few times since the game launched but now it’s time to knuckle down, get my manager hat on and choose my 15 players who will hopefully get me off to a flying start. I can only see my addiction increasing this season as I navigate my way around the countless tactics and strategies to get my overall rank higher. I’d love to break the top 5k. To do it, I’ll need attention to detail, patience, skill and a little bit of luck! Co-hosting the Triple Captain podcast and my rank last year will only add to the pressure. Let’s go!

So, who to pick and how to pick them? I’m going to do a little run-down of each team and hopefully by the end of it I’ll have my 15 players and a full watchlist. At the moment I can only think of three players who are absolutely nailed on for my team, so plenty to ponder.

I’m going to try and use Stephan’s (Haugsrud) team planner and will be planning my team with the first five gameweeks in mind. The more I read and hear, the top FPL players are quite happy playing their first wildcard during the first international break. This kind of planning will allow me to focus on the first few weeks with a fast start in mind. If it goes well, great, I can plan accordingly and perhaps save the wildcard. If not? Well that’s what the wildcard is for! Last season playing my wildcard actually hindered my team – I held off playing it until quite late (I didn’t need to as I was doing so well) and when I did I almost felt as if I had to make lots of changes. I took Salah out, put Kane in and then I dropped off the pace. I never fully recovered from that, despite the top 10k rank. I think at my highest I was around 2k. I won’t be making the same mistake this season. If it ain’t broke and all that.

Community Shield Notes

Starting line-ups: Firmino and Salah start for the first time in pre-season. Gomez preferred at CB alongside VVD. No Mane after a long AFCON tournament. Rodri makes his City debut, with a front 3 of Sane, B Silva and Sterling. Looks like Sterling will be starting up front. No Laporte (not on the bench) or Ederson (on the bench) Jesus and Aguero on the bench. Zinchenko at left back.
De Bruyne – on corners, overlapping Bilva nicely on the right. Looks like he wants to get forward. Rodri may be giving him the licence. He looks good. Can I double up with Sterling?
Sane and Salah early chances, Sane off with an injury replaced by Jesus, moving Sterling back to the left. Played 89 minutes, very exciting prospect at 9.5m. Could easily move him to Eriksen, Pepe or Pogba/Son. Good to have someone in that price bracket.
Sterling – goal! Dilva assist. Sterling picking up where he left off last season with a poachers goal. Another chance followed, Allison save. Messed a one-on-one up after being fed by Walker. The fact he looks most likely to score again makes him very enticing for FPL. Still lacks a slight killer instinct.
Salah – lively, 2 chances in first 15 mins, greedy as ever, hungry as ever, hit the post early 2nd half, another shot near-post on 68 mins. Looks essential again. Has had 8 shots! Cleared off the line by Walker in the last minute. Captain of my zombie team.
Half-time: City much the better side in the first half, dominating midfield. Salah the best of Liverpool with 2 chances, TAA and Robbo were quiet. De Bruyne was the best player of the half, encouraging to see.
TAA – on corners and free-kicks, swung one in for VVD who nearly scored off the bar.
Brought off on 66 mins for Matip, Gomez went RB. Chance of rotation for Trent?
VVD – assist for Matip equaliser. He looks the most dangerous from set-pieces again! Double up with TAA over Robbo?
Firmino – very quiet, nothing to get too excited about
Zinchenko – will start the season as first choice LB
Liverpool much better start to 2nd half but not looking great at the back
Walker – brilliant play driving forward and feeding Sterling who dithered and messed it up
Bilva – similar to last season, industrious but no real chances

Full time (1-1): Liverpool had a much better 2nd half and were worthy of their equaliser. Bravo had a good game in goal and Walker put in a decent performance. Sterling and Salah continuing where they left off, Salah in particular had so many shots. Sterling most likely to score for City. Most interestingly for my FPL team was the performance of KdB who seemed to be playing more advanced than last season and got forward when he could, overlapping Bilva a few times on the right. If I can fit all 3 in, I will. Defensively, Robbo was very quiet down the left and didn’t provide much. Same with TAA, although he has the advantage of taking set-pieces. VVD looks to be a huge threat in the box again, denied by the crossbar and goal line before providing a great assist for Matip. My biggest decision will be which 2 to pick from VVD, TAA and Robbo. Interestingly TAA was brought off for Matip and Gomez went right back. Could he be rotated? For City, Zinchenko and Walker looked pretty solid but neither will give that much from an attacking perspective. Zinchenko at 5.5m is probably the best route in at the start of the season as he is first choice LB whilst Mendy is out.
FPL Team: Do I start with 3 City and 3 Liverpool? Zinchenko, VVD/Robbo, TAA, KdB, Sterling, Salah. Salah most essential.


Pre-season: Played 6, Won 3, Drawn 2, Lost 1
Form Players: Nketiah (3 goals, 2 assists), Auba (2 goals, 1 assist), Laca (1 goal, 3 assists)

First 5 fixtures: new, BUR, liv, TOT, wat

Juicy fixtures: GW5-GW16 (only play United from top 6)

With the signings of Pepe and Ceballos suddenly Arsenal look like an exciting prospect going forward. That front 4 of Auba/Ozil/Pepe/Laca is certainly very tasty indeed, providing Ozil miraculously gets his act together of course. The first two fixtures are nice and they could get off to a flying start but they are followed by Liverpool away and Spurs at home. Following those two tough ones, they only play United from the top 6 right up till GW16. This gives me the first 4-5 gameweeks to properly assess their prospects, as I think it would be a little risky to put someone like Pepe in from the start at 9.5m. Depending on how Villa do (Arsenal play them in GW6), I could even wait till after the United game in GW7 to make a proper decision on who I want to include. I’m sure I’ll be wanting at least one attacking asset for that fixture run.

Defence: with only 8 clean sheets and 51 goals conceded last season, I think it’s safe to say I will be avoiding their defence for now. 13.2 goal attempts conceded per game and 2.1 big chances. They haven’t strengthened in defence this summer either and with Koscielny refusing to play, it doesn’t look good for them. Rob Holding at 4.5m could be a cheap way in to their defence if they start to get their act together as Emery has made positive noises about him. Hector Bellerin at 5.5m could be another to keep an eye on as he got 5 assists from 19 appearances with an xGI of 3.41, 18 goal attempts (11 in box) and 53 penalty area touches. 192 mins per chance created.

Watchlist: Holding, Bellerin

Attack: going forward is where they look strongest, especially with the additions of Ceballos and Pepe. They were 3rd best in the league last season with 73 goals, Aubameyang getting 22 of them. Players I’m interested in here are Ceballos at 5.5m, Pepe at 9.5m, Auba at 11m and Lacazette at 9.5m. Let’s look at Ceballos first: likely to feature in a central attacking position. Taken the number 8 shirt from Ramsey, Emery has praised his attacking ability. 46.2 minutes per key pass, 47.3 minutes per shot. Hasn’t got an amazing goalscoring record. He’s definitely a wait and see as we don’t even know whether he will be first choice.

Now Pepe is a very exciting signing: would have got around 272 points last season with bonus (huge! More than Salah!) with 22 goals and 11 assists in 37 appearances. 9 of those goals were penalties though and I don’t think he will be taking over from Auba. Take those out (13 goals) and his xG was 12.52, with an xA of 11.38. xGI from open play was 23.9, so he got what was expected (a good sign). 3.1 shots per game last season is similar to Auba (the statsbomb guy said 3 shots and above per game is very good). 1.8 key passes per match, 17 big chances created (highest in Ligue 1). He won 6 penalties too. Could be similar to Zaha in that respect. His numbers are very good. In many ways the fixtures could be a good thing as it gives me time to assess.

Aubameyang: 22 goals and 7 assists from 36 appearances last season, you can’t ignore Auba. His xG was 23.1 and xA was 3.55 with an xGI of 26.65, so he pretty much did what was expected of him. 2.6 goal attempts per game, 2.1 in the box. 83 mins per chance created. His assist potential isn’t as good as I’d perhaps like. 3rd in the value table behind Wilson and Jimenez. The guy will score points and could score even more with Pepe alongside him. Will be interesting to compare him with Wilson and Jimenez.

Lacazette: 13 goals and 8 assists from 35 appearances (27 starts). Good numbers, but the worry for Laca is game time. 8 times he was subbed on and 9 times he was subbed off. Is that good enough for 9.5m? xG was 11.69 and xA was 3.36. Overpeformed his xA by 5 assists so we could see a drop off there. Slightly overperformed his xG. 2.3 shots per game, 6 big chances created. For now, Auba trumps Laca and I wouldn’t put Laca in to ‘cover’ Auba either. I’ll be avoiding him for now.

Watchlist: Ceballos, Pepe, Auba

Conclusion: I’ll be keeping a very close eye on Pepe and will watch Bellerin when he comes back from injury. Aubameyang is firmly in my thoughts but that 11m price tag could put me off. All depends whether I start with a premium striker or not.

Aston Villa

Pre-season: Played 5, Won 5
Form Players: Grealish (2 goals, 3 assists), Wesley (2 goals, 2 assists), Jota (2 goals, 1 assist), Guilbert (3 assists), McGinn (2 goals)

First 5 fixtures: tot, BOU, EVE, cry, WHU
Juicy fixtures: GW16-21

After a great pre-season and signing a shed load of new players, there is much excitement over Aston Villa and their FPL potential. As I don’t follow the Championship at all, I’m reliant on stats and reports from sites like Fantasy Football Scout. Not seeing them for myself puts me off owning any assets from the start, but I’ll have a look at the numbers anyway.

Defence: hard to tell properly as they changed their manager to Dean Smith several matches into the season. They conceded 61 goals, 2nd worst in the top half. That screams avoid to me. Far too risky to have any in from the start, although Guilbert at 4.5m looks like he has good attacking potential and they have just signed Tom Heaton who could easily rack up lots of save points. Is there potential to rotate him with another 4.5m keeper?

Watchlist: Guilbert, Heaton

Attack: much more to be excited about in the attacking stakes for Villa. They scored 82 goals last season with an average of 1.82 goals per match under Smith. He’s an attacking manager. 50 goals at home, 32 away. 3rd for total shots in the league with 701. 25 goals from set-pieces.
McGinn (5.5m): 7 goals and 9 assists in 42 starts. 40 shots in the box, most of any midfielder from Villa and best for shots on target. 2nd for chances created, joint 1st for big chances created. 14 yellow cards is a worry. Will be interesting comparing him with Dendoncker at Wolves (4.5m) for my 5th midfield spot.
Grealish (6m): 6 goals and 7 assists in 31 appearances. Best return ever. Injured December – February. PPG fairly decent at 3.9. 76 key passes, 24 shots in box (a little low), 69 shots overall, 1.3 per 90. At 6m that’s not bad. Can maybe expect around 130 points from him. Can he do it in the Prem? Watch and wait.
Wesley (6m): could be more of an enabler at Villa for the midfield, he has never scored over 10 league goals in a top-flight Belgian season
Hourihane (6m): 8 goals and 11 assists in 35 starts, 11 as sub. Involved in 19 goals, 2nd to Abraham. 4th for total shots, but mostly outside the box (did he overperform his xG?). Top for assists, on set-pieces. Seems to be the best option out of the 3 centre-mids with much better discipline than McGinn.

Watchlist: McGinn, Grealish, Hourihane

Conclusion: Very much a wait and see approach with Villa particularly as they start with Spurs away. Potential for McGinn or Hourihane to take a spot in midfield, but unlikely to begin with. Hourihane is too pricey at 6m.


Pre-season: Played 6, Won 3, Lost 2, Drawn 1, 13 goals for, 9 against
Form Players: Wilson (3 goals 2 assists), Ibe (1 goal 3 assists), Fraser (2 goals 1 assist)

First 5 fixtures: SHU, avl, MCI, lei, EVE
Juicy fixtures: After City in GW3 they only play Arsenal from the top 6 till GW11 when they play United.

Starting with Southampton and Aston Villa means I probably want some of Bournemouth’s attack, particularly with last years stats. Sadly Brooks is injured, so the three I’m looking at are of course Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and Josh King.

Fraser (7.5m): 7 goals and 14 assists in 38 appearances made him the 5th highest scoring midfielder last season, 1 point behind Siggy in 4th. In terms of value he is 2nd behind Salah in the WGTA analysis. His xG was 4.69 and his xA was 10.21 with an xGI of 14.9, so he did slightly overperform what was expected. His best attribute is his potential for assists, with 92 chances created, 28 of them big chances (best in the league and best for 8 years of statistics). He takes corners too. However, he blanked in 25 of his 38 appearances. There could well be a regression this season. Hard to ignore with those opening fixtures. He performs much better against non-top 6 clubs (as do Bournemouth) so fixtures are key.

Wilson (8m) and King (6.5m): 5.6 ppm was the best score for a forward under 11m. 26 attacking returns, 14 goals and 12 assists in 30 appearances. King got 4ppm, 12 goals and 3 assists in 35 appearances. Wilson much more reliable than King, although King at home was better. 4 out of his 5 penalties were at home though. Away from home Wilson battered him. Better vs non-top 6 sides, they only play City in first 7 gameweeks. Goal threat they are similar with Wilson shading it. xG was virtually the same, but non-penalty xG was 11.85 for Wilson and 8.72 for King. Wilson’s xA was 2.86, so he massively overperformed there. King performed as expected with an xA of 2.94. xGI was 16.29 for Wilson and 16.39 for King, meaning again Wilson overperformed. King had more goal attempts with 72 to Wilson’s 65. If King could produce better finishing, chances are he would match Wilson. Chances created is really interesting: King with 34 and Wilson with 30. Wilson’s assists were massively over what was expected. King ‘underperformed’ away from home more than anyone else in the league, whereas Wilson ‘overperformed’ the most, 2nd only to Zaha. I’m now leaning more towards King up front as he is on pens and I can spend the extra 1.5m on the rest of my team. A double up with Fraser is definitely on the cards. Wilson 2nd best for value last season behind Jimenez. His pre-season form makes him tastier too.

Conclusion: the big decision here will be whether to go for Wilson or King. Fraser looks like a great option to start with but could regress from last season, as could Wilson. As far as King is concerned, the only way is up as his attacking stats are very good for a 6.5m forward.


Pre-season: Played 5, Won 4, Lost 1, Goals 13, 5 against
Form players: Locadia (2 goals 3 assists), Trossard (1 goal 3 assists), Murray (3 goals), Duffy (3 goals), Gross (1 goal 2 assists)

Fixtures: wat, WHU, SOU, mci, BUR

Very poor defensively last season but Graham Potter has taken over and they’ve had a great pre-season. They only kept 6 clean sheets and with Duffy now at 5m I have no interest. Ryan could be good for save points but think Heaton and Pope will do better.

Murray (6m): 13 goals and 1 assist from 38 appearances. xG of 11.43 and xA of 1.22. xGI 12.65. Performed as expected. 54 goal attempts isn’t amazing and he doesn’t create much at all. Not for me.

Watchlist: Ryan and Murray


Pre-season: Played 9, Won 6, Lost 2, Drawn 1
Form Players: Wood (9 goals, 1 assist), Rodriguez (6 goals), Vydra (3 goals, 2 assists)

Fixtures: SOU, ars, wol, LIV, bha
Juicy fixtures: GW5-GW14, only play CHE in that time.

Pope at 4.5m is the main keeper I’m interested in after they improved defensively in the 2nd half of last season. He looks nailed on now after the last pre-season friendly. Need to compare him with Gunn at Southampton perhaps. Could rotate nicely with Heaton at Villa (also at 4.5m). Barnes and Wood are going to be pushed by Jay Rodriguez for starts as he has a great pre-season. Perhaps a risk including any of them from the start of the season. Barnes’ numbers were very impressive in the 2nd half of the season as Burnley improved. He got 12 goals and 3 assists overall. He hasn’t scored in pre-season, whereas Wood has 9 goals, albeit 6 of them against football league teams. Barnes had better xG than Wood at 13.82 to 8.8. Wood scored 10 goals last season and got 3 assists. Wood slightly overperformed. Barnes beats him on most stats, but marginally. As they are both 6.5m, Barnes shades it, but have to keep an eye on Jay Rodriguez. Maybe some interest in their forward line when their fixtures turn to replace King/Wilson?

Watchlist: Pope, Barnes, Wood, Rodriguez



Pre-season: Played 7, Won 4, Lost 1, Drawn 2. Goals scored 18, Goals Against 11
Form Players: Barkley (4 goals 3 assists), Mount (3 goals 1 assist), Abraham (2 goals 1 assist), Giroud (2 goals 1 assist), Batshuayi (2 goals 1 assist), Pulisic (2 goals 1 assist)
Pre-season minutes: Azpi, Pedro, Zouma, Jorginho, Emerson, Mount, Abraham

Opening fixtures: mun LEI nor SHU wol
Juicy fixtures: GW 7-12 BHA sou NEW bur wat CRY

Key stats from last season: 63 goals/xG 59.31, 39 goals conceded/xGC 36.8, 16 clean sheets, 4th for big chances
Highest scorers: David Luiz 164 points, Alonso 161 points, Azpilicueta 158 points

Chelsea are perhaps the trickiest prospect from the top 6 teams this year as they have lost Eden Hazard and changed manager to Frank Lampard. With a transfer ban in place they have only brought in Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic (both done prior to the ban) so there may be a few players coming to the fore this season. Ross Barkley has had a great pre-season and is drawing lots of interest from the community. They have 3 strikers at 7m each and Lampard is likely to play with one. The defence is normally very solid but according to a correspondent from Planet FPL defending has been going out the window during pre-season, as you can see from the last 3 matches: 4-3, 5-3 and 2-2. The opening two fixtures should give a good indication of how they will set up and who will play before a tasty 3 and 4 against Norwich and Sheffield United. The key points from pre-season are Zouma could be a cheap way into their defence at 5m, Emerson seems to be preferred to Alonso, Mason Mount could emerge and Tammy Abraham appears to be first choice striker.
With N’Golo Kante being back in his best position, you would expect them to be solid at the back again.

Pulisic (£7.5m) – attacking returns in Germany were modest, never involved in more than 10 goals and has never scored more than 4. However he is only 20 and hasn’t played every game. Underlying stats are decent – 40.1 mins per shot, 102.5 mins per big chance (better than any other Chelsea player and any other FPL player, although it was in 923 minutes). Finishing is an obvious issue. Creatively he doesn’t seem to be as good as other options. Jadon Sancho kept him out of the team at Dortmund and he had a few injuries so we can’t assess him fully. Like Chelsea’s team, very much a wait and see for me.

Willian and Pedro (£7m) – neither have ever hit the heights in FPL and had similar stats last season. Willian’s 4.8% goal conversion rate was the worst of all midfielders at 7m and above. Creatively however Willian was class last season, his chance creation was the best in the league. He just couldn’t get a run of starts in the team. It remains to be seen whether this will be the case this year.

Hudson-Odoi (£6m) – one-to-watch when he returns from injury

Loftus-Cheek (£6.5m) – recovering from injury, 5th for minutes per goal but he ‘overachieved’ (+4.46xGI)

Barkley (£6m) – good pre-season and may come to the fore under Lampard, with more shots outside the box being encouraged perhaps (47.9% of Derby’s shots were outside the box). Looks like he is on penalties too, however it has been suggested that Willian will take them when he returns from international leave. Still don’t know if him or Mason Mount will start the season as first choice. He didn’t start the final pre-season game.

Conclusion: Plenty to be interested in, but putting any in from the start would be a risk particularly with the fixtures. It’s not like any of the stats make me super excited.

Watch list: Azpi, Zouma, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Pulisic, Abraham, Mount

Crystal Palace

Pre-season: Played 7 Won 1 Lost 4 Drawn 2 Goals scored 10 Goals Against 16
Form Players: Benteke (2 goals), Wickham (2 goals, 1 assist)
Minutes: PVA, Ward, Benteke, Kelly, Wickham

Opening fixtures: EVE shu mun AVL tot
Juicy fixtures: GW14-22 (no top-6)

Poor pre-season for Palace coupled with losing AWB to United and all the uncertainty around Zaha make them a risk FPL wise. Batshuayi going back to Chelsea means there is interest in Conor Wickham at 4.5m as he has had a fair few minutes in pre-season. Benteke is back to being first choice striker but his horrible record means I won’t be going with him. Kelly at £4m is also interesting but I think Lundstram at Sheffield United an OOP midfielder may be more nailed at £4m. Sakho is back and will only be a matter of time before he is back in the team.

Zaha (£7m) – being reclassified as a midfielder has certainly increased his appeal and his ability to win penalties is the best in the league. With VAR this could mean he wins even more as he always draws fouls. The problem with Wilf is he hasn’t played any pre-season because of the AFCON and he wants to leave. Having him in at the start of the season could be a risk.

Mili (£7m) – Pens, pens, pens! Has scored highly the last 2 seasons (166 and 144). Depends heavily on Zaha being in the team but is arguably the better option having outscored him. With VAR he could be consistent again. The problem is we must wait for Zaha. If they lose him, they are fucked.

Conclusion: Nothing for me at the moment, they look dodgy at the back and struggle for goals. Zaha too much of a risk to throw him in straight away. Wickham may get minutes but they have Ayew and Benteke. Easy option for 3rd on the bench perhaps.

Watch list: Zaha, Wickham, Mili


Pre-season: Played 7, Won 1, Lost 2, Drawn 4, Goals Scored 3, Goals Against 5

Opening fixtures: cry WAT avl WOL bou SHU
Juicy fixtures: GW1-13, 1st six away fixtures are against bottom half teams

Key stats: Scored 54 goals (8th best in league), 7th for shots on target and goal attempts, only 10th for big chances and goal conversion.

Worryingly they have had a terrible pre-season, only scoring 3 goals in 7 matches. Their opening fixtures are very good and they have just signed Moise Kean from Juventus, so do I ignore pre-season and get an Everton player or players in my team? It’s probably too early for Kean, but I’m certainly interested in Digne, Coleman, Siggy and Richarlison.

Siggy (182 points) and Richarlison (153 points) (£8m) – 26 goals (13 goals each) between them last season. Best of Everton’s midfielders. Richarlison 6th and Siggy 5th among all FPL midfielders for total attempts, 4th and 7th for shots in box, 6th and 8th for big chances, 8th and 6th for on target. Richarlison 32.3 minutes per chance. Could be a differential, selected by 9.9%. £8m is a little high for me though. Siggy 4.8 ppm to 4.4 for Rich, 6-3 in assists, 6-3 in double digit hauls. 23-21 blanks. Rich has greater goal threat apart from shots on target. Mainly his work in the box is superior to Siggy. Underlying goal threat they are both the best midfielders outside the top 6. Siggy dominates when it comes to creativity – 43 mins per chance created compared to 128 mins per chance, 0.3-0.1 big chances created per game. He is also on corners, although Digne takes some set-pieces away from him. Joint 7th in all midfielders for chances and big chances created. Richarlison way down the list for creativity. Richarlison is better against non top-6 sides, but not by a huge amount. They are both pretty much the same in terms of stats. Siggy is on penalties but he missed 3 last season, which I certainly don’t want. Siggy did better on bonus, Richarlison did poorly. Overall, Siggy is the better choice especially over the whole season. With Kean in front of him this should only increase his creativity. Those opening fixtures make me want to get him in – is it a straight choice between him and Fraser?

Digne (£6m) and Coleman (£5.5m) – Not much to choose between them at the back end of the season when Coleman returned fully. Coleman had greater goal threat and better quality of chances created. Digne attempts more crosses and shots and has advantage of set-pieces. Coleman for £0.5m cheaper could be the better option, but Digne’s numbers were the best in history for a defender! 71 chances created, most creative player in Everton’s team and best for any FPL defender.

Conclusion – 4th for clean sheets, attempts conceded, shots on target conceded, 5th for shots in box conceded. They haven’t conceded many in pre-season either. However, losing Idrissa Gueye and Kurt Zouma could make a big difference at the back. They have signed Jean-Phillipe Gbamin and Delph. With the signing of Kean, Digne and Siggy are the most appealing. Digne is going straight in my team with Siggy firmly on the watch list.

Watch list: Siggy, Kean
Nailed in my team: Lucas Digne


Pre-season: Played 6, Won 5, Drawn 1, Goals scored 12, Goals against 5
Form Players: Pereira (3 assists), Albrighton (2 goals), Perez (2 goals), Vardy (2 goals)
Minutes: Tielemans, Vardy, Perez, Albrighton

Opening fixtures: WOL che shu BOU mun TOT

Leicester have a lot of appeal this season particularly from an attacking perspective as they have added Ayoze Perez and Youri Tielemans. Those opening fixtures are tough however and I may need to wait to see where Perez plays and how he does initially. Pereira at £6m kind of prices himself out of contention for now, especially with Digne at the same price who has the stats and fixtures in his favour. Now Maguire is gone I’m not too interested in their defence.

Perez (£6.5m) – If he was a midfielder last season, he would have been in the 10 highest scoring midfielders, and that is playing for Newcastle. At Leicester his threat should improve, although it is unclear where he will be playing. He has been quoted as saying he wants to score more goals this season, which is always a good sign. 4.4ppm if he was a midfielder last season, 2nd to Tielemans from Leicester. His stats improved when he played on the right of a front 3. Creativity isn’t great so we can’t expect too many assists. Chances and key passes are nowhere near James Maddison. Can expect to see a lot more of the ball under Rodgers. Had a great goalscoring streak in the 2nd half of the season. Always seems to struggle in the first half of a season. The fixtures make it easier to watch and wait to see if he produces the goods. Perhaps a risk to begin with. His ownership is fairly high so could drop in price if he doesn’t start well.

Tielemans (£6.5m) – GW26-38 when he first played for Leicester he got 8 attacking returns, only Vardy getting more. 3 goals and 5 assists. He didn’t come out on top of any attacking stats against his teammates. Maddison creates the most chances and is on set-pieces. No player created more big chances than Youri though. Only 155.9 mins per shot reduces his appeal. £0.5m cheaper than Maddison, but is he the better choice? Only Deulofeu ‘overachieved’ more than Tielemans in those 13 weeks, certainly worth baring in mind as it would suggest his numbers are unsustainable.

Maddison (£7m) – shots wise there isn’t much to choose between Maddison and Tielemans but creatively Maddison scores higher. He gets more of the ball and is on set-pieces. Value wise he didn’t make any of the lists on WGTA and Perez scored more points than him as a striker. 7 goals and 7 assists are good numbers but not as good as Fraser or Siggy who both have better fixtures to begin with. 83 goal attempts is good but only 26 of those were in the box. A quick comparison with Siggy shows his xG was lower but his xA was higher, both performed pretty much as expected with Siggy slightly overperforming goals scored. Siggy certainly looks the better option to start with and Perez’s goal threat seems higher. On the watch list.

Vardy (£9m) – Vardy made it into one of my drafts after a great end to the season after Rodgers took over. He is nailed to start and scored 12 goals and got 2 assists in the final 13 gameweeks of the season. 5th best ppm amongst strikers, went up to 7.6 ppm under Rodgers. That’s big! He is a brilliant finisher and with Maddison and Tielemans behind him he should get even more chances this season. Fixture swing comes from GW9 onwards. Could be great for the zombie team! In terms of value, according to FFS he was best value amongst forwards over £7m. In the WGTA value article, he came out 4th.  Can he offer more than Wilson and Jimenez this season? His xG was bang on (18.49 and scored 18 goals). I don’t think I’ll start with him because of the fixtures. I do think a 20-goal season is on the cards for Vardy.

Conclusion: Another team that are probably going to be a wait and see, although I am interested in Perez from the start at £6.5m. I just think that with the fixtures and last years numbers, Fraser and Siggy may be better options from the start.

Watchlist: Perez, Maddison, Vardy


Pre-season: Not too concerned with pre-season as no major questions need answering and they were without Salah, Mane and Firmino for most of it.

Opening fixtures: NOR sou ARS bur NEW
Juicy fixtures: GW13-GW21 (no top-6)

Finally a team we can all be pretty confident about! Their opening five fixtures are very nice and with Liverpool you would say they are pretty fixture proof. I don’t need to analyse Salah as it has been done comprehensively elsewhere, most notably in the WGTA article on value where he once again proved to be an absolute monster. He is essential, my captain for GW1 and will more than likely remain in my team all season. The question comes from which other 2 Liverpool players to include? Mane at £11.5m is pricey and overperformed his xG last season. He also hasn’t played because of the AFCON. I’d like to double up in defence, but which two?

TAA vs Robbo (£7m): TAA was brought off in the Community Shield and Gomez went RB but I don’t think I should read too much into that. They have options there so Klopp used it, they don’t have the same for Robbo. I can’t see TAA being rotated much at first especially but he could be further down the line, certainly more than Robbo. TAA probably just pips Robbo because he is on set-pieces. Robbo scored higher arguably because he played more games, so he got 21 clean sheets. TAA got more assists with 13 to Robbo’s 12. Not much to choose between the xA. TAA more likely to score but his xG was 1.56 compared to Robbo at 0.74. Neither offer the goal threat that VVD does. TAA’s xGI is higher at 8.16-7.05. This is all with the caveat of TAA playing less games than Robbo, mainly due to his injury. Robbo had more pen box touches with 91-40 but TAA had more attempts at goal 29-16. 85-202 mins per attempt in favour of TAA. He also wins crosses 201-135 with more successful and 51-64 mins per chance created. Despite the rotation risk, TAA wins this for me.

VVD (£6.5m) vs TAA: His performance in the Community Shield has made me want to go with him ahead of one of the other two. He is the most nailed Liverpool player and is such a threat from set-pieces. He was the most valuable player in FPL last season according to WGTA. 20 clean sheets, 38 starts, 4 goals and 4 assists. His xG was 3.15 so didn’t overperform there. Better xG than TAA and also scored higher in bonus. 70 penalty area touches is big for a defender. Also had slightly more goal attempts than TAA with 31, 26 in the box. More mins per attempt though with 109.2. Creatively he is nowhere near TAA, who created 48 chances, a chance every 51 mins. TAA’s xA was 6.6. VVD had 25 attempts from set-pieces, but most of them were provided by TAA.

VVD vs Robbo: VVD did outperform his xA of 1.13 but I saw his potential for assists yesterday in the Community Shield. Against a top defence like City’s he still looks the biggest threat from set-pieces for Liverpool. Robbo offers nothing there, but is obviously way more creative than VVD. Robbo wins xGI quite clearly 7.05-4.28, VVD wins bonus but marginally, smashes the goal attempts 31-16. Robbo smashes him creatively with 50 chances created, 15 of them big chances. VVD offers nothing in those stats.

Conclusion: TAA is going to be in my GW1 team after looking through all that stats and the fact he is on set-pieces. Liverpool’s fixtures are also very good. Salah as mentioned is also nailed on to be my first captain on Friday night. The choice for the other spot is between VVD and Robbo. For the goal threat of VVD from those TAA set-pieces, he is in my team for now. If I have an extra £0.5m, I may well move him to Robbo. All depends on my other picks.

Nailed: TAA and Salah
Watch list: VVD and Robbo

Manchester City

Pre-season: Played 5 Won 3 Drawn 2 Goals scored 14 Goals Against 4
Form players: Sterling (5 goals 2 assists), KDB (1 goal 3 assists), Sane (2 goals 1 assist)

Opening Fixtures: whu TOT bou BHA nor
Juicy Fixtures: All 38 really, but GW18-24 is particularly good

Pre-season looks pretty standard for Man City with lots of goals and hardly any conceded. Sterling looks to be the man again and has been playing up front but Sane’s injury in the Community Shield probably means he will be shifted out wide again. Luckily now we have less cause for concern with the main assets like Sterling and Bernardo. Apart from Spurs (who they play at home so is still a decent fixture) their opening five are pretty tasty, particularly Brighton and Norwich in 4 and 5. Do I go with 3 City? Ederson or one of their defenders? Sterling is nailed on for my team so I won’t go into detail with him. Do I include KDB or Bernardo alongside him? And what about Aguero?!

Stats: 20 clean sheets last season and 23 goals conceded made them 2nd behind Liverpool defensively. What’s interesting is the total shots conceded stat: 238 to Liverpool’s 307 making them the tightest in the league by some distance. 36 big chances conceded in 38 games with those other defensive stats mean I have to have a piece of their defence. You’d expect them to keep more clean sheets this season. Attacking wise they came out on top with 95 goals with a total of 683 attempts, 445 in the box with 125 big chances. 5.3 mins per chance. All of those stats made them the best in the league. And all that was without KDB for the majority.

Ederson (£6m): The best premium option for a set and forget keeper who I expect will score more this season as he will keep more clean sheets. City are so good at keeping the ball. Their other defensive assets don’t have the same attacking potential as Liverpool and are more at risk of being rotated (except for perhaps Laporte). The problem with Ederson is the price and the expected points difference with a keeper like Pope at £4.5m. He outscored Fabianski last season by 26 points and cost £1.5m more. Is that worth it? I suppose the question is one of combination – Will Ederson/Button/4.5m defender (£14.5m) outscore Pope/Button/5.5m or 6m defender (£14m/£14.5m)? I’m much more inclined to go with Pope for the potential of save points and bonus points coupled with a higher priced defender. That 25-30 points difference could easily be covered by someone like Walker who still has the potential for attacking returns too.

Laporte (£6.5m): It still hasn’t been confirmed whether or not he will be fit for the opener against West Ham so that makes him too risky for now. Hopefully Pep’s press conference will tell us more. He’s the best option in defence for City because of his assurance of starts and his goal threat. He got 3 goals and 3 assists last season with an xG of 3.02 xA of 1.39. You perhaps wouldn’t expect him to get the same amount of assists this season but with their clean sheet potential he’s the man. Wait and see if he is confirmed fit for GW1.

Walker (£6m): He made it into one of my drafts and at £6m he is at a more tempting price than last season. Goals wise he doesn’t offer much and might get 1 or 2. He only got 1 assist last season so you’d expect him to improve on that (xA was 2.35). What puts me off Walker is that they have signed Cancelo and Pep doesn’t seem to have that much faith in Walker. Those stats and the fact he is now a rotation risk puts me off.

Zinchenko (£5.5m): A cheap price and the fact that Mendy is out injured make him the first choice left back at the start of the season and he did get 3 assists from his 14 appearances last season from an xA of 1.55. Again like Walker there’s not much hope of any goal threat but now they have signed Cancelo and with Laporte out Zinchenko probably represents the best way into the City back line. Yes, he’s a transfer out further down the line but there are plenty of options to replace him with. If I knew Laporte was fit I doubt I’d have this dilemma. With those £4.5m defender options few and far between I am leaning more and more towards Zinchenko to start with.

Or do I sack their defence off altogether and put someone like Azpilicueta in? That would be silly right?

KDB (£9.5m), Sterling (£12m), Aguero (£12m) and Bernardo (£8m): 12 FPL midfielders had better ppm than Bernardo (4.3) and whilst he improved towards the end of last season, I’m not too interested in him yet. KDB got 18 assists in 17/18 and has been very consistent in the previous 3 seasons to last when he wasn’t injured. It’s his creativity which is best – 88.7 mins per big chance created and 27 mins per chance in the games he did play. He has more goal attempts than Sterling but not many in the box. He didn’t have a single big chance. Sterling doesn’t come out on top for any stat, but we know all about him and he again looks the best option. When KDB is fit, he scores points. 5.24-5.65 ppm, which would see him ranked 5th last season. Sterling, Salah, Mane and Hazard were the only players that bettered that. He is similar to Sterling and Aguero with attacking returns in 17/18 and 16/17. In 17/18 Sterling got 6.94, Aguero 6.76 and KDB 5.65 ppm. Value-wise there was little in it cause of Aguero’s price. Sterling got 6.88 and Aguero 6.09 ppm in 18/19. Sterling and Aguero are always going to score more goals than KDB. KDB dominates creatively but Sterling tends to make up for this with ‘fantasy assists’ like penalties won. KDB has never scored over 8 (Siggy got 13 last year), so you are relying on his assist potential for points. In his best ever season he got 18 assists, 3 more than Sterling. Sterling however got 17 goals. He’s the better option for me despite the difference in price and can’t be ‘covered’ by KDB. However, if KDB reproduces his best form and season (209 points) then he is the best value pick at £9.5m. Would I be confident captaining him? Probably not. If he is consistent and injury-free again then he’ll likely be towards the top of the midfielders below £10m. A comparison with Siggy would be good. My most likely plan is to wait and see how he starts the season with the view of adding him to the mix if he is flying.

Aguero (£12m): yet again Kun was a reliable fantasy asset last season and smashed it as triple captain in the double gameweek for me with a hattrick against Arsenal. His stats of 3.6 shots per game were 3rd in the league (behind Salah and Mitrovic, bizarrely). 43 shots on target were 5th best. Sterling had more pen box touches and a higher goal conversion rate. Sterling was also ahead of Aguero creatively last season. Sterling is the better option out of the two and it makes it easier to ignore Aguero at the start as he might not start the season in the first 11. He certainly shouldn’t be ignored as it progresses though.

Conclusion: With Cancelo joining City, Laporte injured and Zinchenko not guaranteed to start every game, Ederson is the best route into City’s defence. However the saving on the keeper if I go with Pope and Zinchenko gives me more options. Zinchenko is a transfer out further on, but the lower options in defence aren’t great. I will make a draft with Ederson and see how it looks. Sterling is nailed for me, KDB is wait and see as is Aguero and I’m not too interested in Bernardo just yet.

Nailed: Sterling
Watchlist: Zinchenko, KDB, Laporte, Aguero, Ederson

Manchester United

Pre-season: Played 6 Won 5 Drawn 1 Goals scored 12 Goals Against 3
Form Players: Rashford (3 goals), Martial (2 goals 1 assist) Greenwood (2 goals)

Opening Fixtures: CHE wol CRY sou LEI
Juicy fixtures: GW10-GW14

The defence should improve with the signings of Maguire and AWB but are probably too risky to include in my team from the start. I’m not too interested in attacking assets either as there are no guarantees with Ole’s line-up. Rashford at £8.5m is a bit pricey but Martial at £7.5m could be an option – he’s had the most minutes in pre-season and his stats are good.

AWB (£5.5m): has very high ownership but I can’t see him hurting me with huge hauls. He doesn’t have any goal threat and his creativity isn’t great either. If United do keep clean sheets then he is likely to get bonus though. I think he’s mainly been signed for his defensive ability rather than attacking. Need to see how United shape up before putting him in.

Maguire (£5.5m): scored 3 goals last season with an xG of 2.45 so will no doubt pop up with a few goals this season from corners. United are woeful at corners but hopefully Ash Young won’t be in the team anymore so could improve. His 63 penalty box touches is an encouraging stat and 30 goal attempts is more than Laporte, 86.6 mins per attempt is pretty good. United will look to hit him from set-pieces. He is on the watchlist for sure at that price.

Martial (£7.5m): Scored 10 goals from 18 starts and 4 assists with an xG of 6.79. He is a great finisher and had very high goal involvement. 131 pen box touches is high and 162.4 mins per goal is also good. When he plays, he usually delivers. It would be a gamble to put him in from the start especially with Chelsea and Wolves as the opening two, but will keep an eye on him for sure. Needs consistency.

Pogba (£8.5m): Should not be ignored as his numbers last season were great. 13 goals, 10 assists and only £0.5m more than Siggy makes him a good option. His xG was 15.11 so perhaps could have scored a couple more, he’s on penalties and he had 105 attempts on goal, which is big. 28.7 mins per attempt. 50 shots in the box. Creatively he made 54 chances, 7 of them big, 56 mins per chance. Would be good to compare him with Siggy – they got the same goals, Pogba got more assists and had a higher xG. Very similar xG when discounting penalties. His xGI is higher than Siggy’s too. BPS was similar, Pogba had more attempts, 48-50 in box and 2 more big chances. His shot accuracy is higher but Siggy converted more. Siggy was better creatively 73-54 and 11-7 big chances. Siggy also has advantage of set-pieces. Not much to choose between them at all! Everton have the better fixtures and Pogba may be injured. Wait and see.

Conclusion: too risky to include any United players from the start but Martial and Pogba look the most interesting to me. Rashford going on the watchlist too.

Watchlist: AWB, Maguire, Martial, Pogba


Pre-season: Played 5 Won 3 Lost 2 Scored 7 Against 8
Form Players: Joelinton (2 goals 1 assist) Almiron playing up front OOP in pre-season

Opening fixtures: ARS nor tot WAT liv

Losing Benitez, Rondon and hiring Steve Bruce doesn’t fill me with confidence in their assets. Pre-season hasn’t been prolific, although new striker Joelinton at £6m is worth considering, as is Matt Ritchie at £5.5m as a defender (injured currently). I’d be mad to include any of them in my GW1 team. Opening fixtures are extremely difficult.

Joelinton (£6m): 11 goals in 35 games for Hoffenheim last season. 38.1 mins per shot isn’t bad, 89 mins per shot on target, better than other Newcastle players last season. One to watch.

Conclusion: Avoid!
Watchlist: Joelinton, Ritchie

Norwich and Sheffield United

Pre-season: Played 7 Won 4 Drawn 1 Lost 2 Goals 16 Against 12
Form players: Drmic (4 goals) Pukki (2 goals 1 assist)
Opening fixtures: liv NEW CHE whu MCI (ouch!)

Pre-season: Played 6 Won 4 Lost 2 Goals 14 Against 6
Form players: Robinson (4 goals 1 assist OOP midfielder playing as striker), Freeman (2 goals 3 assists) Sharp (4 goals)
Opening fixtures: bou CRY LEI che SOU

Very much a wait and see from these two, I have to see how they adapt to the premier league and if any options emerge. There hasn’t been any big noises from the community about their assets so I won’t waste time assessing them. Pukki at £6.5m is the one that intrigues, but there are so many strikers in that bracket and Norwich’s fixtures are terrible. Sheffield United keep signing strikers so too risky to put any of them in. Olli McBurnie is perhaps one to keep any eye on, as is their defence who were great in the Championship. Lundstram at £4m has lots of pre-season minutes and is an OOP defender so should be straight in my team as bench fodder. Sheffield United’s fixtures aren’t too bad but need to see how they start.

Conclusion: Avoid for now but keep an eye on Pukki and Sheffield United in general.
Watchlist: Pukki, McBurnie, Robinson, Sharp
Basically nailed: Lundstram at £4m


Pre-season: Played 5 Won 4 Drawn 1 Scored 13 Against 3
Form Players: Adams (3 goals, 2 assists)

Opening fixtures: bur LIV bha MUN shu
Juicy fixtures: GW14-18

Stats: Burnley, Brighton, Sheffield United and Bournemouth in the first six are appealing but I’m guessing what is putting people off are those games against United and Liverpool. Their fixtures turn bad GW7-13 too. Plus, it’s Southampton. Are the memories of Hughes clouding judgements? Pre-season has been good and new signing Che Adams has got off the mark nicely. When Ralph took over they scored 0.5 goals more per game, but they had fewer shots and shots on target. Goal conversion rate is what improved the most. 16th and 17th in the league for attempts and attempts in the box is poor. On target and big chances was better – 12th and 10th. Doesn’t exactly inspire though does it? 14th for xG. Interestingly they scored 10 goals out of 32 from outside the box under Ralph. Creatively too, they were worse under Ralph than they were under Hughes. Have they been lucky with those long-range shots? Defensively they improved in most areas but still only managed 3 clean sheets under Ralph. Despite the stats not showing much, it’s clear the football they now play is better than under Hughes. For me, there’s just not too much to be excited about.

Redmond (£6.5m): under Hasenhuttl (much easier to just say Ralph) he got 11 attacking returns and played as a striker for a while. They looked a much better team with him in it and were terrible against West Ham when he didn’t start (and I put him in my bloody team). 39.7 mins per chance and 181.9 mins per xGI. Again, decent but nothing that makes me want to put him in my team. He will probably move back into midfield now too and has been in pre-season, making him even less appealing. Not for me thanks Nathan! So many better options at that price.

Adams (£6m): Che Adams has had some interest from the community and has shown good form in pre-season. At £6m he could prove a bargain. If only Saints’ stats offered more attacking wise? They scored 1.15 goals per game last season. Eurgh. 38 goals in 123 appearances for Birmingham. In 18/19 he scored 22 goals in 46 appearances. 66.8 mins per shot on target, 55.8 mins per key pass, 32.8 mins per shot. Decent numbers but it was in the Championship. 74 shots in the box would have made him 5th. Wait and see how he does, if Ings stays fit, if Saints can improve their attacking.

Conclusion: No interest in their defence from me and Redmond is too pricey at £6.5m when I could get a player like Ayoze Perez. Adams one to watch but even his decent stats for Birmingham don’t excite me greatly. Could suffer against Prem teams.

Watch list: Adams


Pre-season: Played 5 Won 2 Lost 1 Drawn 2 Scored 8 Against 7
Form Players: Moura (3 goals 1 assist) Kane (2 goals 1 assist)

Opening Fixtures: AVL mci NEW ars CRY

I haven’t put a single Spurs player in any of my drafts so far despite the favourable opener against Villa at home. Suddenly they have sparked into life in the transfer market and have had an offer accepted for Dybala and are favourites to get Coutinho on loan apparently! Big moves if they come off. The signing of N’Dombele is supposedly a great one, too. All of their pre-season opposition have been tough and Kane has had a full summer of rest. Am I overlooking him favour of the now popular big at the back strategy?

Kane (£11m): The price drop makes him more appealing. Despite his injury he got 23 attacking returns last season at 5.71 ppm, 2nd out of the forwards. 17 goals and 6 assists in 28 appearances is still very good and he only blanked in 11 games. His home record wasn’t great but he missed games against the easy teams so could have scored much higher. Away from home he got 6.38 ppm with 15 attacking returns, best in the league. 23.8 mins per chance was just behind Aguero. His attacking stats from 17/18 were considerably better than 18/19. 52.8 mins per shot on target was best for strikers, 2nd behind Salah. Shots in the box he was 7th, dropping deep more. 105.5 mins per big chance was his worst in 5 seasons. 7th out of the forwards is poor. Creatively he improved but wasn’t anywhere near the top for stats amongst forwards. He was 12th for mins per xGI (Auba was top). Had only 8 shots from inside the 6 yard box, 11 less than 17/18. He also seems to return much more when Son is in the team. When Lucas and Kane play together, he seems to suffer. If I was going for a premium striker to start the season, I’d probably choose Auba over Kane. All depends on these Spurs transfers too. Need to wait and see.

Moura (£7.5m) and Son (£9.5m): Both of these are a rotation risk and Son is suspended for the first two weeks. Moura looks set to start the first game but it isn’t guaranteed and with their transfer activity he could easily be a transfer out further down the line.

Conclusion: I was worried Kane’s stats would force me to consider him more seriously but with lots still up in the air about Spurs I am going to leave him for now, with the possibility of working out a plan to get him in if he starts flying. Rolling that transfer after week 1 could be key. Moura is far too much of a risk for me and Son won’t be around till GW3. Kyle Walker-Peters at £5m has been spoken about so could be good value but with Zinchenko already a risk I don’t need another.

Watch list: Kane and Son


Pre-season: Played 4 Won 3 Lost 1 Scored 6 Against 4
Form Players: Gray (4 goals)
Deulofeu was injured for the last two pre-season games so need to wait for pressers to see if he will start.

Opening fixtures: BHA eve WHU new ARS

Watford’s opening fixtures are appealing and a few of their assets stand out as possibilities to me: Pereyra and Deulofeu, who is now a striker. I remember Pereyra starting well last season and he could be a nice differential to start with. Watford scored 52 goals last season, 9th in the league, 2 behind Everton and 4 behind Bournemouth. Both of those teams have good fixtures too. Defensively they were poor and only kept 7 clean sheets. They conceded 59 goals, the 8th worst. Nothing there for me at the back, especially with Foster up to £5m. They had 437 attempts at goal, 16th in the league. Slight improvement inside the box, they were 12th. They had 81 big chances though, just behind Spurs in 8th. Their xG from open play was 35.96, 9th in the league with an xG of 48.51, meaning they scored 3 more.

Deulofeu (£6.5m): 10 goals and 5 assists from 30 appearances with an xG of 7.97 and an xA of 4.31. A quick comparison with Josh King shows the Norwegian with better stats goal threat wise. An xGI of 12.28 meant he slightly ‘overperformed’. 34.7 mins per chance ranked him quite low amongst the midfielders last season. His 13 big chances put him 10th amongst midfielders. Creatively, he made 9 big chances with 69 mins per chance created.

Pereyra (£6m): 6 goals and 4 assists from 33 appearances isn’t great at all. His xG was 5.41 and xA 3.00 with an xGI of 8.41. 57 attempts was less than Townsend and Neves from the £6m category. His 38 attempts in the box were the best out of the £6m midfielders. Only had 8 big chances moving him way down the ranks. His stats put me off, too much of a punt early on.

Conclusion: Deulofeu’s stats were pretty good last season but being reclassified as a forward may hurt his points. He is the one to watch from Watford.

Watchlist: Deulofeu

West Ham United

Pre-season: Played 6 Won 4 Drawn 1 Lost 1 Scored 12 Against 12
Form Players: Antonio (3 goals) Lanzini (2 goals) Haller (1 goal 2 assists)

Opening Fixtures: MCI bha wat NOR avl

After that opener against City they have a lovely 4 fixtures to play and much has been made of their new signings and how they look ahead of the new season. Last season they scored 52 goals (same as Watford) and conceded 55. Fabianski was great but his bump up to £5m puts me off. They only kept 7 clean sheets. Their xG was 48.84.

Haller (£7.5m): scored 15 goals and got 9 assists in 29 matches for Eintracht last season. He scores goals but can he do it in the prem? 54.5 mins per shot in the box, 83.9 mins per shot in target. Arnie had better figures in the other departments last season. Compared to Jimenez who is also £7.5m 54-111 for total shots but he is more clinical and plays more key passes. Jimenez betters him on most other underlying stats and is proven in the Prem. Haller is nailed on to start and Jimenez has Europa League to deal with this season plus the signing of Cutrone as cover. Haller is too risky to start with especially with City as the opener and the likes of Wilson and Jimenez to contend with. Will definitely be keeping a close eye on him though!

Fornals (£6.5m), Anderson (£7m) and Snodgrass (£5.5m): Fornals got 2 goals and 3 assists in La Liga lasts season. In total, he got 5 goals and 15 assists in 70 appearances. 17/18 was way better than 18/19. Anderson and Snodgrass had better mins per chance created. Only Antonio (£7m) had more shots and he and Anderson were best for shots on target. Snodgrass will probably struggle to get in the team now, with Fornals expected to play on the right side of an attacking 3 with Anderson and Lanzini. His stats don’t set the world alight but he will be interesting to watch. Anderson got 9 goals and 6 assists last season, only behind Milivojevic in the £7m category for goals. Assists he was way down the pecking order. He had 58 goal attempts, behind the likes of Antonio, Deulofeu, Maddison, Townsend and Redmond. Shots in the box were similar and big chances were way way down with 7. He had 24 shots on target, 18th in the league. Maddison beats him quite comfortably, also at £7m.

Lanzini (£6.5m): Lanzini has been spoken about a bit as he has looked good in pre-season, scoring 2 and will probably play in the number 10 role this year. Because of his injury last season I can’t really assess his stats so it is a wait and see on him too.

Conclusion: Haller is one to watch and would interest me more if he was cheaper, Anderson is a poor mans Maddison and Lanzini could be good value if he stays fit. Antonio’s numbers are very good but he is a big rotation risk. Could do with a move to another club.

Watch list: Haller, Anderson, Lanzini


Pre-season: Played 4 Won 3 Scored 10 Against 1
Form Players: Jota (2 goals 2 assists) Jimenez (2 goals) Moutinho (3 assists)

Opening Fixtures: Europa League game in Armenia on Thursday (3 days before opener), then lei MUN BUR eve CHE

Wolves had a fantastic season last year but much has been made of the potential problems the Europa League could bring this time round. Nuno has said that he will try to do his best in Europa and we all remember what happened to Burnley last season. Their opening fixtures are tough too, meaning perhaps the best thing to do is to wait and see with their assets. Doherty has priced himself out of a place in my team at £6m, as has Jonny at £5.5m. Dendoncker represents good value as bench fodder at £4.5m and of course my main interest is in Jimenez at £7.5m and Jota, now a striker at £6.5m with good pre-season form. It will be interesting seeing their starting line-up on Thursday evening in Armenia. If Jimenez and Jota are rested, we have a good indication that Nuno will be prioritising the league this year.

Stats: 47 goals last season, 13th in the league. 9 clean sheets with 46 conceded. As I have said, their defence doesn’t interest me. They were 10th for attempts and attempts in the box and 9th for big chances. 13th for shots on target.

Jimenez (£7.5m): the hero of last season with 13 goals and 10 assists, just behind Calum Wilson after the premiums. He was 3rd for total attempts with a huge 111, 88 in the box. However he was further down on big chances, with 19 making him 12th in the league. The fact Mitrovic features so highly in these stats means we shouldn’t make them the be all and end all for selecting players. He had a chance every 28.1 minutes. His xG was 15.2 (4th), meaning he slightly ‘underperformed’. Creatively he also performed well, creating 42 chances, 13 of them big chances which was joint best in the league with Wilson. His high ownership of 19.9% could hurt if he gets off to a flyer but he could also drop in price quite quickly if Wolves stutter. Even without the Europa, they are tough fixtures. A strike partnership of Wilson and Jimenez would be lovely, but my budget and structure probably won’t allow for it.

Jota (£6.5m): I like Jota as an option at £6.5m and he is in my current draft. He scored 9 goals and got 8 assists in 33 appearances last season and is £1m cheaper than Jimenez. Comparing the two, Jimi smashes him on xG 15.2-8.79 but we must remember Jota only moved up front halfway through. xGI was 19.9-12.62. Jimi scored higher for bonus and had more pen box touches 178-133. He only wins marginally on mins per goal 240.2-263.1. Attempts he dominates 111-58, 88-49 in box, 19-16 big chances. Jota is much more clinical, 41.4-29.7 accuracy and 15.5-11.7 conversion. Creatively Jimi wins, 42-27 chances created and 13-10 big chances created, 74-88 mins per chance. Despite Jimi seemingly the much better option, once Jota moved up front there wasn’t much to choose between them and for £1m cheaper he could represent the better move. I just do not like the Europa League and their opening games.

Dendoncker (£4.5m): widely regarded as the best £4.5m midfielder, he scored 2 goals from 19 appearances last season and looks assured as a starter in midfield for Nuno now his move is permanent. His xG was 3.52 and xGI 4.43. That isn’t bad for a bench holder. 86.4 mins per attempt and 58.8% shot accuracy. Of course he doesn’t set the world alight, far from it, but for £4.5m he is the best option for our benches.

Conclusion: I wish they weren’t in the Europa League! I’ll be keeping a close eye on who Nuno picks on Thursday and see how they fare in those tough opening matches. For now, I think I will be avoiding (apart form Dendoncker of course) but Jota is very tempting.

Nailed: Dendoncker (£4.5m)
Watch list:
Jimenez and Jota


My Final Team

Players I definitely want: TAA, Digne, Salah, Sterling, Siggy

Formation: pretty set on 4-4-2 but could do a 5-4-1, 4-5-1 or 3-5-2


The Premium Keeper Draft





The 3-5-2





The Premium Striker









The 4-4-2





I’m pretty set on this final draft of 4-4-2. Not having Fraser worries me but hopefully King and Wilson up top can cover him. I have Siggy and Digne for Everton’s nice start, Zinchenko to cover City defence. Going without Robbo is also a bit of a worry. There aren’t really any differentials or punts in there. I do think Wilson and King are the best mid-priced striker options to start the season with but I will be keeping a close eye on Wolves and their Europa campaign.


My pod – Triple Captain @triplecaptain3


Information and stats taken from @WGTA_FPL and Fantasy Football Scout.