As we enter 2020, I’ve seen plenty of polls on social media asking people for their team of the season so far, and of course my degenerate mind instantly turned this question to Fantasy Premier League. It’s sometimes hard for those of us who are borderline obsessed with this game to separate performances in actual games from how it relates to FPL points, and so in this brief review of the year, I thought it would be a good idea to identify those player who are in and around the ‘Fantasy Premier League’ team of the season through Gameweek 20.
Dean Henderson (£4.9m) – £4.5m Starting Price – 16.1 Season Value
One of a handful of Sheffield United players to make this list, and rightly so. Averaging 2.35 saves per game, he’s perhaps not had to deal with the same amount of shots that Matt Ryan (3.6 saves per game) or Ben Foster (3.3 saves per game). There hasn’t been much talk about Henderson amongst pundits so far, but that doesn’t mean his 7 clean sheets haven’t made him an interesting differential pick for managers, especially early in the year. His place at the top of the FPL goalkeeper tree is perhaps slightly misleading. With an assist in Gameweek 18 (and the 3 Bonus Points that came with it) certainly boosting his standing. Nevertheless, for a newly promoted team’s goalkeeper to be top of the FPL points standings is certainly worth a mention.
Matt Ryan (£4.8m) – £4.5m Starting Price – 16.3 Season Value
As mentioned above, Ryan has often given Fantasy managers a redeeming point or two even when he’s conceded. Four times this season he’s made 6 saves or more, and one of those was a massive nine saves, earning him 2 and 3 extra points respectively. There’s a reason he was widely selected by FPL managers at the start of the game, offering fantastic value at the £4.5m price point.
Martin Dubravka (£5m) – £5m Starting Price – 15.2 Season Value
Yes, I know this probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind. But there are a handful of reasons why he’s earned this spot. Primarily, he’s one of those top scoring keepers with 76 points so far (Henderson has 79, Ryan 78). This is despite keeping just five clean sheets from twenty Gameweeks. So hows he scored all of his points? Saves. The man has made more than Henderson, Foster or even Ryan. 80 Saves at this stage, averaging 4 per game. Six times he’s earned managers 2 save points, and there’s actually only been five occasions when he hasn’t got at least one. And this gives fantasy managers the wonderful consistency that we so desire. When the Newcastle defence does enough to keep a clean sheet, you have the chance of added saved points and even the occasional bonus (5 so far). Yes, he started off at a higher price point than many of those now around him, but he still offers some frankly fantastic value and if you’re after some consistency, Martin’s your man (No not the West Ham one!)
John Lundstram (£5.2m) – £4m Starting Price – 18.7 Season Value
FPL player of the season so far. Not many could contest that argument. His £1.2m price rise is testament to his FPL performances this season. It actually shocks me that he’s only in 48% of sides. I mean, you have to ask what on earth the poor soul who works for FPL was thinking when they made him not only a defender, but the cheapest possible defender. It was quickly picked up that Lundstram was in fact a midfielder, and a relatively offensively minded one as well. 14 points in Gameweek 2 announced Lundstram’s presence to the world, and since then he’s rewarded many of us with attacking returns, as well as seven clean sheets. Gameweek 20 was the first time he’s missed a game, and it’s made him an easy pick, even when they don’t necessarily look like they’ll keep a clean sheet. He’s not the only Sheffield player who’s offered some great value as an out of position player though.
George Baldock (£5m) – £4.5m Starting Price – 18 Season Value
My unsung hero of the season so far. Baldock plays as a wing back in Sheffield’s 3/5-man defence, but he really does relish his attacking role. Two goals and four assists so far, and they’ve picked up in the last eight Gameweeks. He gets up and down that right hand side of the pitch to provide FPL managers with clean sheets and attacking returns alike. Jetro Willems (£4.6m) of Newcastle United is probably the closest comparison in terms of a moderately priced defensive asset who gets into the attacking positions of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) and Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), and he has returned substantially less (61 points). He’s been a welcome part of my Sheffield United defensive (at least according to FPL) triple up in recent weeks, and I certainly don’t plan on getting rid of him soon.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) – £7m Starting Price – 14.3 Season Value
A bit of a tricky one for me. I had him for nearly every Gameweek, before transferring him out in Gameweek 18 for Liverpool’s blank. I felt he hadn’t really offered the returns I needed for such a huge chunk of my budget. And then he put in a performance against Leicester which gave me a feeling of regret I can only relate to the morning after a big night out, topped off with the greasiest kebab on offer. He highlighted how he really can exploit defences and produced two assists of the highest quality, and one which I’d attribute rather more to luck than his exemplary attacking vision. His lack of clean sheets so far has been his downfall, but when you have two full backs who play so far up the field, this is probably the risk you take. He still sits well off the value of Baldock and Lundstram in terms of Season Value, but as top points scorer, he makes the list.
Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.1m) – £4.5m Starting Price – 14.3 Season Value
Yes, our first Leicester pick of the list. He joined Lundstram as one of those players in seemingly everybody’s teams. He offered fantastic value at £4.5m in a Leicester side who looked solid at the back, although the last few weeks have led to a drop off in this form (1 clean sheet in their last 7). He doesn’t offer much in terms of attacking returns, unlike others on this list, but there aren’t many other players with such reliability (His first missed game was his rest against West Ham last week). Ricardo Pereira (£6.4m), Leicester’s other go to Defender, has offered only 13 more points for somewhere between £1.3m and £1.5m more out of your budget. Leicester have fairly favourable fixtures right up to Gameweek 31, so I don’t think he’ll be moving down much from his 20% ownership any time soon.
Diego Rico (£4.4m) – £4m Starting Price – 11.8 Season Value
The next three players all offered an interesting option at the lower end of the price scale, and many FPL Managers included Alexander-Arnold, Lundstram and Söyüncü along with a couple of these beauties. Rico is somewhat surprising. Going into the season he was probably the third ranked Bournemouth left back, behind new super signing Lloyd Kelly (£4.4m) from Bristol City, and old faithful Charlie Daniels (£4.3m). However, injuries have been kind to Rico, and he’s only missed out on four games this year. Unfortunately, Bournemouth haven’t been fantastic defensively, and when the clean sheets have come, they’ve often been in fixtures where you wouldn’t expect it – Manchester United (h), Chelsea (a) and Crystal Palace (a). Because of this he was often benched by managers. However, for £4m, you really can’t complain at five Clean Sheets, two assists and 52 points.
Martin Kelly (£4.4m) – £4m Starting Price – 13.2 Season Value
I’m pleased to say I’ve had Martin Kelly since Gameweek 1, what a bargain he’s turned out to be. He hasn’t always started, but those games he has missed have actually turned out to be some of the toughest games for Cryal Palace. Joel Ward’s (£4.3m) spell out with injury since Gameweek 14 has certainly factored into Kelly being so successful, but similarly to Rico, at £4m (Even £4.4m now is a steal) he really does offer a great fifth defender option. They have an interesting run of fixtures between Gamweek 24-30, and if he can hold down his spot he would potentially be a great asset.
Fikayo Tomori (£4.8m) – £4.5m Starting Price – 9.8 Season Value
Chelsea have been a strange team this season, as far as FPL goes. I’ll discuss figures such as Tammy Abraham (£7.8m) and Mason Mount (6.3m) in Part two of this article, but defensively I don’t think anybody comes into the question with the exception of Tomori. Four clean sheets from 14 appearances isn’t terrible, and he did score that thunderbolt against Wolves in Gameweek 5. Interestingly, Chelsea haven’t kept a clean sheet without him, so he’s clearly an important piece of the puzzle for Chelsea. He’s the only one in a top six team and this price bracket to join Söyüncü, but he’s a far inferior option in my opinion. Chelsea look leaky at the best of times, and the worst part seems to be their tendency to lose 1-0 in games which most FPL managers see as guaranteed clean sheets. He’s certainly only just scraped into this article, and that’s mainly down to the poor quality of available defenders outside of those top four or five already discussed.
In Part Two, we’ll look at the frankly much more interesting Midfielders and Forwards. Will Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) make it? How much of the article will I dedicate as a love letter to Jamie Vardy (£10.1m)? Inevitably too much.
Then in Part Three I’ll give a brief round up of the major flops of the season, so please feel free to comment below with any of your suggestions (And no, VAR will not be considered i’m afraid). All that’s left is to wish you all a very happy new year, both in and out of FPL.