The Sky Sports Fantasy Overhaul is now active during the international break and gives Fantasy managers the opportunity to start afresh after the completion of the first four weeks of the season.
Picking 11 players, now using the extra information we have at our disposal, will be key to the rest of the season. With the next Overhaul not due till February, and Sky Sports Fantasy being a limited transfer game, picking the right side that covers key players and captaincy days while limiting transfers made on a week-to-week basis is the balance we strive to reach.
The pricing within the Sky Sports game has been done in such a way this season that there is no one true way to select a team, while any formation can be viable, with finances spread in different ways.
To help you at least have a few ideas, this pair of articles will be used as a guide to those players that should be within your thoughts. This starts with our choice of goalkeepers and defenders, highlighting selections across the budget spectrum – as well a few differential picks.
As previously mentioned, when looking at goalkeepers you need to bear in mind that they get an extra two points for a clean sheet over a defender and they also get their very own bonus category where they will receive an extra two points for five or more saves and three points for seven or more saves. This is still the cheapest category in Sky Sports Fantasy, but a decent shot-stopper should not be overlooked in terms of point potential and, equally, a goalkeeper can be a viable captaincy option – especially for tricky days.
I always believe it is a good idea to pick a goalkeeper that doesn’t require a transfer. Sometimes there may be exceptions, but with transfers at a premium, it is best to try and pick a goalkeeper that you are happy to hold on to.
David De Gea (£8m)
I was very reticent to put David de Gea on this list as Manchester United haven’t started amazingly well and I’m not sure they will be as great defensively as last season. However, after considering this, he is still the most nailed player in the United defence and, as shown with their 2-0 win at Burnley, they can still keep clean sheets. De Gea is a Man of the Match (MoM) candidate in some of the tougher games, too. The main reason I have included him though is a kind run of fixtures that includes the next four versus Watford, Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle: not the easiest sequence of matches, but you can never rule out a clean sheet for a Jose Mourinho team.
On the premium side, Ederson is a decent pick in the Manchester City goal. With an injury to Claudio Bravo, he is even more nailed and will probably not even suffer the potential Champions League rotation that often plagues Fantasy players. Having already picked up an assist, Ederson also has great upcoming fixtures and if you fancy the City defence, he could be a worthy pick. The only caveat with him is the bonus that their defenders tend to pick up, potentially making them better picks.
The blunder versus Leicester aside, Alisson has had a very solid start to his Liverpool career with three clean sheets in four. Available at a kind price and the undisputed number one goalkeeper for Jurgen Klopp’s side, I struggle to see a better value goalkeeper in this season’s game. Facing an immediate tough run of games, however, he may be downgraded by many to gain some pennies for much-needed upgrades elsewhere. Not looking like he’ll trouble the save bonus on too many occasions (a testament to the Liverpool defence), the main source of points will be the seven points for a clean sheet – and Liverpool are already looking like they will pick up a lot of them.
CHEAP (under £7m)
Rui Patricio (£6.6m)
Wolves have picked up a world-class goalkeeper in Patricio and he is already showing his worth with some key saves in their most recent match versus West Ham. A solid backline in front of him, no European competition and a penchant for penalty saves, he is a very good choice for those on a tighter budget. With a nice run of games straight from the Overhaul and a candidate to pick up the odd MoM award, Patricio is a worthy selection between the sticks.
Matthew Ryan (£6.5m)
Ryan was one of the best budget picks in the game last season. He picked up save bonus semi-regularly and, although not as prolific in terms of clean sheets as the bigger teams, Brighton still kept a fair few shut-outs. One other key reason that Ryan may warrant selection is the early single-game days where Brighton play in the sole fixture twice in the next four weeks. If no other Brighton (or Southampton/West Ham) players take your fancy, a budget Ryan pick will also allow you to have a captain in those two tricky days.
Ben Foster (£6.3m)
Ignoring the terrible upcoming fixtures, the joint-league pacesetters have started the season better than even they could have expected. Fifteen points for Foster so far is fairly modest but the experienced goalkeeper is one of the cheapest nailed shot-stoppers in the league and has been known to make a few saves in his time. If you fancy Watford to continue with their form, he may be a great way to free up funds elsewhere in your team.
Neil Etheridge (£6.2m)
The cheapest viable goalkeeper, Etheridge has already impressed so far this season with two clean sheets and two penalty saves. I think that stream of points (34) is unsustainable, however as the lowest-priced nailed goalkeeper and cover for a tricky captaincy he could be worth a punt. With Neil Warnock stating himself that Cardiff aren’t good enough to keep out the better teams in the league, you may often be relying on save points – but I have the feeling Etheridge may pick up this bonus a fair amount this season.
Historically, defence has been where you spend a bit less money and pick up the cheaper nailed players from mid-to-lower-table teams. However, over the past season or so this approach seems to have changed. With the passing bonus and defenders being more all-action in terms of ball retention and attacking threat (especially the full-backs), there is definite logic to having at least one or two big-hitting top six defenders. That being said, we can’t have all the premium players and defence is a place where a few cheaper gems do emerge – it’s just the mix that’s important to get right.
Marcos Alonso (£10.1m)
Even with the change to a back four, Alonso looks back to his goalscoring, assisting best for Chelsea. Having already notched five assists and one goal, he’s looking like a very shrewd purchase. It does come with a cost, but with Maurizio Sarri’s total possession football even reaching the full-backs and passing bonus registered in three of the four games so far, he is capable of scoring points from a whole manner of areas.
Benjamin Mendy (£9.6m)
Mendy has taken this season by storm. The all-action full-back has performed similar to Alonso with assists and pass bonus and looks a constant threat down the left side. Integral to the way Manchester City play and already racking up four assists, Mendy will be a massively popular pick. The threat of rotation is still there, but now he’s back to form and looking essential to Pep Guardiola’s side, his rests are expected to be few and far between.
Andy Robertson (£9m)
Robertson is another who has nailed bonus as well as assists in his opening games. This, coupled with Liverpool’s three clean sheets in four, means that points have been raining in for the new Scottish captain. Two assists, passing and tackle bonus, and averaging nearly ten points per game, Robertson has been great for those owners pre-Overhaul and with only Alberto Moreno as his main threat for his position, he looks set to continue delivering those points for his owners.
Aymeric Laporte (£8.8m) / John Stones (£8.9m)
Stones and Laporte seem to be the first-choice centre-back partnership for champions Manchester City, and with that comes guaranteed passing bonus in most games. The threat of rotation is always there – with Stones already succumbing once – and although a back three being deployed more often means this may be slightly reduced, they will both at times share minutes with Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Stones and Laporte have shown that they can grab a goal on occasion and that aforementioned passing bonus is a nice thing to have. Add in kind opening fixtures and having a City defender seems like a no-brainer.
David Luiz (£8.8m)
David Luiz must have been very glad to see the back of Antonio Conte. Instantly back in the fold and enjoying the possession football Sarri likes to play, David Luiz has nailed tier-two passing bonus every game that he has played. With 317 passes in those four games, the near-certain bonus looks set to continue and Luiz taking the occasional direct free-kick only adds to his appeal. Over £1m cheaper than his more offensive team-mate Alonso, he could be a more budget-friendly way into the Chelsea team.
Joe Gomez (£8.2m) / Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.4m)
Liverpool’s young English defenders have both forced their way to the top of the pecking order on Merseyside. With bonus potential for both, and cheaper prices than Robertson and Virgil van Dijk, the pair have become viable picks. Arguably at more risk of rotation that the aforementioned two players, their cheaper price could be enough to persuade many a manager. Gomez especially has looked assured and picked up the MoM in the last game versus Leicester, whilst Alexander-Arnold has continued his growth and made the right-back slot his own. When the Champions League starts later this month the true test will be made, but at the moment they appear secure in an impressive defence with excellent bonus potential.
Ricardo Pereira (£7.6m)
Ricardo was renowned as a fan of a challenge and it has showed with tackle bonus in three of his opening four games. Adding in an assist and a clean sheet, and the fact he’s playing in a more advanced wing-back role at times, makes him an interesting prospect for us Fantasy managers. The fact that he plays for Leicester may be a drawback as they aren’t renowned for their clean sheet capabilities, but with a kind fixture run and that bonus/assist potential Pereira is mid-price defender to monitor.
Patrick van Aanholt (£7.6m)
Van Aanholt hasn’t started the season that strongly and has arguably been overshadowed by Palace’s cheaper opposite full-back, however we all know what he offers in terms of attacking threat. With a few Palace games on single game days, he is potentially a good option with the chance of points at both ends and has been given a kind price under £8m. He has done little yet to justify his inclusion over his cheaper defensive teammate but if you think he is due a goal, he would be a nice pick up.
CHEAP (under £7m)
Willy Boly (£6.1m) / Conor Coady (£6m) / Matt Doherty (£6.5m) / Jonny Otto (£6.2m) / Ryan Bennett (£5.7m)
I was finding it difficult to choose which of the Wolves defence would be the best option so, frankly, I’m going to include them all. Wolves as a defence have looked pretty good and belied their single clean sheet by statistically being very solid in the chances and shots conceded brackets.
With their formation and style of play, they offer a variety of potential bonuses between them and I think it’s a viable play to include two or even up to three defensive Wolves assets. The player who I think stands out is Willy Boly. He’s already scored a goal and got a MoM award and has passing and tackle bonus in his locker. At £6.2m he’s a steal and I’m not surprised to already see him in over 11% of teams.
Bennett is the cheapest Wolves centre-back but he is also the one at most risk of losing his place – a risk that may be worth taking at his very kind price.
Club captain Coady, available for slightly more, seems much more secure and has the chance of the occasional passing bonus.
The more explosive play may be one of the wing-backs that Wolves deploy in their 3-4-3 formation. Summer arrival Jonny Otto hasn’t set the world alight in terms of goal threat (three goal attempts and five attempted assists) but he has steadily racked up the tackles – 13 in four games so far – culminating in a tier-two bonus with five tackles versus West Ham. That tackle bonus plus an occasional assist may be worth gambling on him as a second Wolves option.
Finally, Matt Doherty is the most threatening of the Wolves defenders with five goal attempts, all in the box, from ten penalty area touches, including one big chance. This does come with a slightly inflated price tag of £6.5m but he passed the eye test very well and could grab the odd goal.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£6.6m)
The breakout star at the end of last season, Wan-Bissaka has a kind run of fixtures, is a potential captain choice and has already picked up a MoM award for his committed and attacking football. He loves a challenge too, with six tackles won in his three games so far. Add all this to a kind price and he is a good cheaper choice for our backlines.
We discussed all this and much more in the latest Sky Fantasy Football Podcast which can be found here and this week starred FFS’s own Joe and former champion Dan Cox.
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