Diogo Jota (£6.5m) and Gerard Deulofeu (£6.5m) have been converted to forwards for the 2019/20 Premier League season.
While some may be concerned that such a decision will damage their Fantasy potential, there are new out-of-position opportunities already – especially at Newcastle.
Both Jota and Deulofeu spent the majority of last season operating as strikers for their respective teams and have quite rightly been reclassified.
All 26 of Deulofeu’s starts in 2018/19 came as a centre-forward in Watford’s 4-4-2 formation, alongside either Troy Deeney (£6.5m), Andre Gray (£6.0m) or Isaac Success (£5.0m).
Likewise, Jota was largely deployed next to Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) last season, making 18 of his 29 starts there.
Whether either of them can continue to offer Fantasy managers much in the way of value certainly remains to be seen.
Not only do both players now receive one less point for every goal, but neither of them will also be awarded anything for clean sheets either.
However, Jota’s form towards the back-end of 2018/19 was exceptionally reliable and he seems the more likely of FPL’s new forwards to stay on the radar in 2019/20.
He registered 16 attacking returns in his final 20 starts of the campaign, from nine goals and seven assists – more than his popular colleague Jiménez.
Crucially he remains a cheaper alternative to the Mexican, now by a whole £1.0m following the price hikes.
As we recently highlighted, Jota looked the more threatening than Jiménez between Gameweeks 15 and 38.
During that period, they both averaged 4.5 penalty box touches per match, Jiménez had more shots there (2.4 to 1.9) but the Portuguese international had twice as many big chances (0.8 to 0.4).
Meanwhile, the Fantasy community is largely delighted to learn that Mohamed Salah (£12.5m), Raheem Sterling (£12.0m), Sadio Mané (£11.5m) and Son Heung-min (£9.5m) all retained their midfield status for another year.
Despite some spells as a striker at Southampton, Nathan Redmond‘s (£6.5m) 27 starts in various sections of attacking midfield have stopped him from being pushed forward by FPL Towers too.
That could be a handy loophole for Fantasy managers given that even when stationed on the left, Redmond demonstrated more of a propensity to drift into central areas after the Saints appointed Ralph Hasenhüttl as manager.
Another player who often displays that quality is Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m), which is why he has returned to midfield for 2019/20.
There are a number of exciting opportunities for Fantasy managers as a result of some of these price changes.
Two of those have taken place at Newcastle United.
The first is that Matt Ritchie (£5.5m) has been dropped back into defence.
The Scottish international, who has spent most of his career as an attacking winger, was required in a five-man back-line by Rafa Benitez in 2018/19.
From Gameweek 13 onwards, the soon-to-be-ex-Magpies manager deployed his troops in a 5-4-1/3-4-2-1 formation, with Ritchie as the left-back/wing-back, on the opposite flank to DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m).
That led to 23 starts for Ritchie in this position and, with Yedlin and Javier Manquillo (£4.5m) both down as defenders, it seems that FPL have shown once again that consistency is key when it comes to positional classifications.
In those starts at left-back/wing-back for Ritchie, thanks to his role in set pieces, he recorded two goals and seven assists suggesting that he could provide some value in 2019/20.
Of course, if Newcastle’s new manager (whoever that may be) opts for a different formation this time round, and returns Ritchie to his old station, the potential for him to become an exceptional bargain option would only increase.
Another opportunity for Fantasy managers in 2019/20 could be presented by Ritchie’s colleague Ayoze Pérez (£6.5m).
He has been dropped back into midfield from the forwards section after taking up more of a supporting role for Benitez’s side from Gameweek 13 of 2018/19 onwards.
Perez played on the right of the 5-4-1/3-4-2-1 in 21 of his final 24 starts, being deployed on the opposite flank in two matches and playing alongside Salomon Rondon in the one fixture that Benitez reverted to a back four (the 3-0 home defeat to West Ham in Gameweek 14).
In total, Pérez scored 12 goals and contributed two assists last season and showed plenty of promise in the run-in.
In fact, during the last six matches of the campaign, no FPL forward scored more than his six goals.
If he were to continue that form with an additional point for each goal as well as potential clean sheet extras, Pérez could prove even better value this time around – as long as he’s still at the club come Gameweek 1.
Also, we should probably hold off on Newcastle options at the start of the campaign as they sit bottom of the Season Ticker for the first 10 Gameweeks. Five of their opponents in that time are from last season’s top-six.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.5m) has seen his position corrected by FPL Towers, which certainly unlocks his Fantasy potential.
During the last 10 Gameweeks of the 2018/19 season, the Ukrainian international started nine matches at left-back and looked to have become the first choice in that position.
If he can take that forward into 2019/20, with a price of £5.5m, he could be an extremely cost-effective route into a defence that kept 20 clean sheets last term – and rank second for defensive potential on the Season Ticker over the first 10 Gameweeks of the new campaign.
The final position changes should have little impact on FPL for the 2019/20 campaign.
Crystal Palace’s hidden gem from 2018/19, Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.5m), has been closed off by his understandable switch from defender to FPL midfielder.
The former Leicester City man did not make a single start in defence last season, 10 coming on the left of a 4-4-2 midfield, seven at the heart of a 4-3-3, and one on the left flank of the front trio.
With seven attacking returns for the Eagles, there’s a chance that Schlupp could justify a £5.5m price-tag but considering the price hike of £1.0m, he certainly won’t prove better value than in 2018/19.
Declan Rice (£5.0m) and Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m) have now swapped places to correct a small anomaly from last season.
Rice has now joined the midfield ranks, significantly reducing his Fantasy appeal now that he can no longer achieve four points for a clean sheet.
Even with that advantage, the England international still managed just 92 points in 2018/19.
Meanwhile, left-back Masuaku returns to defence where he belongs, although the former Olympiacos man made just 19 starts last season.
Arsenal right wing-back Ainsley Maitland–Niles (£5.0m) has finally joined the defensive ranks in FPL too.
However, priced at £5.0m and in one of the least reliable Premier back-lines, he is unlikely to present too much of a viable option.
Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles
Full-year memberships, monthly subscriptions and a FREE trial are all now available.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.