Now that the dust has settled following the launch of the Fantasy Premier League 2018/19 game, we can start to look at each position in a bit more detail. We’ll begin, as we often do, with goalkeepers.
David De Gea has been announced as the most expensive shot-stopper at £6.0m, which may deter some from investing in the Manchester United number one.
Meanwhile, Lukasz Fabianski looks set for high ownership given that he has held onto his £4.5m price tag.
Who are the best premium goalkeepers?
Ederson (£5.5m) looks to be the most viable premium goalkeeper option for the start of 2018/19. Not only do Manchester City have the best fixtures in the opening seven Gameweeks (playing all six of the most recently promoted clubs), their goalkeeper also benefits from being priced cheaper than some of his defensive colleagues: Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker are both £6.5m, while Benjamin Mendy is £6.0m. John Stones, Vincent Kompany, Danilo, America Laporte and Fabian Delph – none of whom looked particularly “nailed” – are all £5.5m too.
Whilst goal and assist potential strengthens the case of Otamendi and co, rotation under Pep Guardiola could make Ederson the only member of the City backline who is assured of a start. After the Gameweek 1 fixture against Arsenal (a match City won 3-0 last season), City face Huddersfield (h), Wolves (a), Newcastle (h), Fulham (h), Cardiff (a) and Brighton (h) in their next six fixtures.
Thibaut Courtois (£5.5m) is another premium asset to consider, with Chelsea currently sat second for defence in our season ticker. In the first six Gameweeks the Blues have away fixtures at Huddersfield and Newcastle, as well as home matches against Bournemouth and Cardiff. Only De Gea and Ederson collected more clean sheets than Courtois last season and, like his Man City counterpart, the Belgian shot-stopper offers a slightly cheaper route than his defensive team-mates to potential shut-outs.
Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta have been handed £6.5m price tags, with Victor Moses and Antonio Rudiger marked up at £6.0m. Gary Cahill, David Luis, Andreas Christensen, Davide Zappacosta and Emerson all match Courtois’ price but, at this stage, are much less guaranteed a start.
Hugo Lloris completes the trio of £5.5m goalkeepers and has a strong case for inclusion in our squads too, considering that only one of his defensive colleagues will start the 2018/19 season at a cheaper price. All but Kyle Walker-Peters have come in at £6.0m, making Lloris the cheaper alternative for anyone looking at matches with Newcastle, Fulham, Watford and Brighton in the first six Gameweeks. Spurs do face Manchester United and Liverpool in that period, though.
Meanwhile, last season’s Golden Glove winner David De Gea has come in as the most expensive goalkeeper at £6.0m. As mentioned, his hike up from £5.5m is expected to cause some damage to his ownership figures. The United man kept more clean sheets than anyone else in 2017/18, but there are now more cost-effective options at Old Trafford.
Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Diogo Dalot are all priced at £5.5m, while the reclassified Ashley Young, who has been handed the same price as De Gea but offers the prospect of attacking returns, could prove to be a savvy investment. What we can be assured of with De Gea and no other United defender, however, is guaranteed starts.
Elsewhere in United’s squad, Antonio Valencia is £6.5m and Chris Smalling starts at £6.0m.
Who are the best mid-price goalkeepers?
Whichever of Nick Pope or Tom Heaton gets a starting berth at Burnley is worth considering this season. Both goalkeepers start at £5.0m after the Clarets kept 12 clean sheets in 2017/18. Pope had an impressive campaign, finishing as the fourth-highest scoring goalkeeper despite not making an appearance until Gameweek 4. The extra money might be worth paying given that Burnley shot-stoppers often do well for save and bonus points, while just three teams (Man City, Chelsea and Crystal Palace) rank higher for defence on our season ticker in the first six Gameweeks.
England’s World Cup penalty shootout hero, Jordan Pickford, remains at £5.0m and also has kind fixtures in the opening six weeks. Arsenal are the only side from last season’s top six who he will face in that period, a run of matches that includes home fixtures against Southampton, Huddersfield and West Ham and trips to Wolves and Bournemouth. However, with Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams both priced up at £4.5m, the veteran centre-backs may provide more cost-effective cover.
Pre-season should give us an indication as to which Arsenal goalkeeper – Petr Cech or Bernd Leno (both £5.0m) – will start the season as Unai Emery’s first choice. Leno has a reputation for saving spot-kicks: the German goalkeeper has stopped nine of the 39 penalties he has faced in the Bundesliga.
Fantasy managers should avoid Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka (£5.0m), as the Magpies currently sit bottom of our season ticker for defence. In their first six matches, the Magpies host Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal and travel to Manchester City, Cardiff and Crystal Palace. Only three goalkeepers (Loris Karius, Ederson and Lloris) kept more clean sheets than Dubravka after his debut in Gameweek 27. However, he ranked just 16th for saves made between then and Gameweek 38.
Who are the best budget goalkeepers?
Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m) has made a swift return to the Premier League after former employers Swansea City were relegated. The Polish shot-stopper, who made more saves than any other goalkeeper last season, joins a side who had the joint-worst defensive record in the division in 2017/18.
West Ham face three of last season’s top six in the opening six Gameweeks, also playing Bournemouth (h), Wolves (h) and Everton (a) in that run of half-dozen matches.
The Hammers’ fixtures rotate perfectly with Southampton this season. A pair-up with Alex McCarthy/Fraser Forster (both £4.5m) should, in theory, give an unbroken run of home matches between now and the end of the season.
It’s hard to justify investment in Mathew Ryan (£4.5m) in the early stages of the season. Brighton face Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham in the first six weeks, with away trips to Watford and Southampton to come in Gameweeks 1 and 5; their only favourable match-up is a home fixture against Fulham in Gameweek 4.
The Seagulls’ home matches dovetail beautifully with Newcastle’s this season, but with Dubravka prohibitively priced at £5.0m, a £4.5m defensive double-up (e.g. Dunk/Lejeune) may be the better route to go when both sides’ fixtures ease off from Gameweek 8.
Our season ticker ranks Crystal Palace’ first nine fixtures as the most favourable from a defensive perspective, so Vicente Guaita/Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) could prove to be an astute purchase.
Bournemouth’s opening fixtures are also particularly attractive, although Asmir Begovic (£4.5m) would surely lose out to a cut-price Charlie Daniels as many FPL bosses’ chosen Cherries pick in defence.
Palace and Bournemouth’s fixtures, coincidentally, intertwine exactly to give an unbroken run of home matches between now and Gameweek 38.
Cardiff and Huddersfield’s mixed starts would seem likely to deter investment in Alex Smithies and Jonas Lossl (both £4.5m), meanwhile.
World Cup Data
We’re delighted to offer World Cup data as an early addition to our regular season offering to help those playing Fantasy games over the summer.
We’ve secured Opta data, not only for the tournament itself, but also from the Qualifying Rounds for Europe and South America and for international friendlies involving the participating nations. This includes all the matches played right up to the tournament kick-off.
Just to stress, this World Cup offering comes packaged with the regular Fantasy Football Scout membership.
Check out this new trailer detailing the World Cup content below…
McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy
Join our McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy league ‘FantasyFootballScout’ using the code: HEWJPVYR
Fantasy Football Scout is supporting Fantasy iTeam, a free World Cup game available on a number of mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPodTouch and Android. We have an official Fantasy Football Scout League open to UK users only, with a £1000 of Amazon vouchers to give out, split between the top three performers. There’s also the small matter of £10k worth of prizes available in the main competitions: Overall World Championship and Manager of the Gameround.
Click here for details and here to sign up.
Our League name is Fantasy Football Scout and the pin is 1887.
Please note, users must be over 18 and based in the UK to join our league.