Ahead of the Premier League kick off next month I have decided to compile a team-by-team list of players who could provide excellent value and the potential to outperform their price tags.
Aaron Ramsey (7.0) – Should Wenger stick with his three at the back, Ramsey will likely be given a free licence to roam in front of Granit Xhaka in midfield. The switch to this formation at the end of last season already showed his potential. In the last six Gameweeks of 2016/17 Ramsey was second to Alexis Sanchez among Gunners for goal attempts and only Mesut Ozil created more chances. In addition, he has already scored in pre-season under this formation, which clearly suits the Welshman.
Members can see the turnaround in Ramsey’s fortunes last season, through the shift to a wing back formation, by viewing this table and comparing Gameweeks 1-32 and Gameweeks 33-38.
Simon Francis (4.5) – With the addition of Asmir Begovic in goal and Nathan Ake, both from Chelsea, the Cherries defensive prospects are looking up. Ake, who was on loan at the south coast team last season, will resume centre back duties, meaning captain Francis may shift back out to right back, meaning possible attacking returns as well. He could be rotated, but if he can nail down a full back berth he offers the cheapest route into this potentially lucrative backline.
Junior Stanislas (6.0) – An injury hit season meant Stanislas only started 18 games last season but this was still enough to collect seven goals and six assists, not to mention 13 bonus points. Should he find form early in the season, he seems to be a solid fourth midfield option, who with the veteran striker Jermain Defoe up top could also benefit from an upturn in assists.
Matt Ryan (4.5) – After collecting goalkeeper awards in both Australia and Belgium, the Aussie shot-stopper is set to start for Brighton. Under Chris Hughton, who manager who prides himself on defences and clean sheets, Ryan is set to collect save points in tricky games and offer clean sheet potential in easier games, particularly at home, where the Seagulls were resilient last season.
Lewis Dunk (4.5) – A key factor in Brighton’s 21 clean sheets last season in the Championship was the reliability of their towering centre back Dunk. Last season he produced a CBI return (clearance, block and interception) every 7.7 minutes, which was close to last season’s top defender in this regard, Steve Cook, who registered a CBI every 7.1 minutes.
He is a nailed on starter and also showed the promise of attacking returns last season, with two goals and an assist.
Sam Vokes (6.0) – For those looking at investing in two premium strikers and still wanting a strong midfield, Vokes could provide the solution. After emerging as Burnley’s first choice striker last season he racked up 10 goals and four assists.
Cesc Fàbregas (7.0) – With Hazard out for the start of the season, Fabregas looks a strong option after making the most of his limited opportunities last time out. Across his 13 starts he was able to accrue three goals and 10 assists, which suggests that if he can nail down a place in the first XI early on he could provide excellent returns over August and early September.
Diego Costa (10.0) – He may be somewhat of a controversial pick due to the ongoing exit rumours, but if he is to stick around, Costa could be a near must. At 10.0, Costa is the cheapest of FPL’S premium strikers and will be looking to continue on from his 20 goals, 11 assists and 25 bonus points last time out. Keep an eye on transfer news from Stamford Bridge this summer.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (4.5) – After sealing a loan move to Palace, the Chelsea midfielder is a potentially strong fifth or even fourth midfield option if he can lock down a starting berth. If he does earn starts he could even be handed a more advanced midfield role.
Wayne Rooney (7.5) – Apart from Stoke in their opening fixture Everton’s fixtures look pretty grim up until Gameweek 6. This gives us ample opportunity to assess whether a return to his boyhood club and the possibility of a central striker role will see an upturn in his attacking output. At 7.5 he has the potential to offering strong value as a third striker.
Tom Ince (6.0) – After three impressive season at Derby, Ince secured a move to newly promoted Huddersfield Town and will be looking to kick on from his 14 goals and eight assists last season for the Rams. Already in pre-season he has scored twice in as many games. If he can wrestle some set pieces from current number one penalty and free kick taker Aaron Mooy then he could offer excellent value.
Vicente Iborra (6.0) – Arriving from Spain, the former Sevilla skipper will not only bring depth to Leicester’s squad, but he will also bring some attacking threat from a defensive midfielder. Iborra managed seven goals and two assists in La Liga last season and although he is not the prettiest pick, he is a cheap route into a Leicester side looking to get back into the top half of the table.
James Milner (6.5) – Reclassified to a defender for the upcoming season, Milner has found himself in plenty of teams already. With penalties in his locker, the potential for more assists and those extra points for clean sheets through his reclassification, he looks a solid premium option. There is a caveat though as the Reds have been linked with Hull left back Andrew Robertson, which would place the spectre of rotation over Milner.
Roberto Firmino (8.5) – Despite being re-classified as a forward this season and earning less points for goals, Firmino presents managers with a cheaper route into a Liverpool attack than his more expensive midfield team mates, such as Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho. It seems likely he will once again lead the line as a false 9, a role that earned him 11 goals and the same number of assists last season. For those looking for a reliable third striker Firmino could be a worthwhile choice.
Kevin De Bruyne (10.0) – Sounds pricey. But if you look at his returns last season, when he scored six times and assisted a further 21, you can see that he could be worth every penny in 2017/18, especially as he is cheaper than both City strikers Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero. He could be prone to the odd game off due to rotation but he still looks the most nailed on option in the City midfield.
Victor Lindelöf (5.5) – Given his fellow Red Devils centre back Eric Bailly is 6.0, Lindelöf appears to offer exceptional value among premium defensive options. As well as his defensive prowess the Swede is also confident with the ball, which could see him take on a Rio Ferdinand style roll of ball carrier, to start off attacking movements from the back.
Romelu Lukaku (11.5) – The new recruit up top from Everton comes with a hefty price tag, but it could still represent value, considering Tottenham’s Harry Kane is priced higher. With 25 goals, six assists and 33 bonus points for the Toffees last time out those impressive statistics could be even higher next season with far more skilful players like Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Henrik Mkhitaryan feeding him.
Matt Ritchie (6.0) – His dominance over Magpies set-pieces saw him notch 12 goals and eight assists last season and propels him to strong fourth midfield status. But we have been here before, when he was at Bournemouth and failed to translate a strong second tier record into top flight success. If he can ensure lightning doesn’t strike twice he offers excellent value due to his goal involvement potential.
Cédric Soares (5.0) – Many managers have opted for Cédric from a Southampton team that has some tasty fixtures to begin with. There has been lots of talk of Cédric’s crossing ability, but his final delivery hasn’t been strong. Hopefully with new manager Mauricio Pellegrino coming in and placing more emphasis on his fullbacks attacking, things can change for the better.
Nathan Redmond (6.5) – For the first 12 games, bar Gameweek 6 (Man United) and Gameweek 12 (Liverpool), Southampton face bottom half of the table clubs from the 2016/17 season and all three newly promoted sides. Hopefully this bodes well for Redmond, who managed seven goals last season. With his drop in price, managers will be hoping it’s a case of fixtures over form this time around.
Ryan Shawcross (5.0) – Picking a Stoke player proved to be the toughest task for this article. But with attacking potential and clean sheet returns, aided by having Jack Butland in goal, Shawcross could be an excellent under the radar option. Since joining the Premier League in 2008/9 he has delivered attacking returns in all but one season, his injured marred 2015/16 campaign.
Tom Carroll (4.5) – For those unsure that Loftus-Cheek will be a regular starter at Crystal Palace, Tom Carroll offers Fantasy managers a nailed-on cheap starter with attacking potential. Across his 1,389 minutes, since breaking into the Swans first XI last season, he managed to score once and assist two further goals. Such is security of his starts that he could even be a solid fourth midfield option for those looking to load up on premium forwards. In addition, while Gylfi Sigurdsson has been absent for the Swans pre-season friendlies Carroll has been handed some set piece duties.
Kieran Trippier (5.5) – With Kyle Walker’s move to Manchester City completed, Trippier looks to be the number one right back at Tottenham. A further recruit in that position is likely, given the need to juggle Champions League and league commitments, but as it stands they will be as competition for Trippier rather his replacement in the first XI. During the end of last season the former Burnley full-back impressed when handed regular starts, averaging a key pass every 57 minutes, more than twice as quick as Walker’s 125.4.
Dele Alli (9.5) – Given his 18 goals and 11 assists last season the young England international looks an underpriced option among premium midfielders. Often playing as a second striker last time out, another stellar campaign looks on the horizon for a player who offers a cheaper alternative to those avoiding Harry Kane.
Troy Deeney (6.5) – Deeney will be looking to build on his 10 successful strikes and four assists in what was a frustrating season in front of goal. He looks certain to once again lead the Hornets’ line and with the additions of Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah in midfield, plus the return from injury of Roberto Pereyra he should receive more chances. As a third choice striker he looks the best of the 6.5 priced options due to his security of starts and penalty taking duties.
Ben Foster (4.5) – With a 5.0 price tag handed to the Baggies first choice defenders, Foster’s valuation makes him a key option in goal. With his back up, Boaz Myhill priced at 4.0, the pair are currently a popular selection for those looking at a bargain basement 8.5 goalkeeper combination.
Manuel Lanzini (7.0) – After the departure of Dimitri Payet, Lanzini took the mantle as the Hammers main creative force, collecting eight goals, three assists and 20 bonus points over the campaign. As with Ramsey he is another member of the Magnificent Seven group that looks to have been handed a kind price tag.