The case for high-end premium goalkeepers is perhaps at the weakest it has been for years.
£6.0m shot-stoppers have historically provided some level of consistency in their returns but a sub-par year for the men between the sticks at Liverpool and Manchester City in 2019/20 has Fantasy Premier League managers looking at cheaper options all the more.
However, a selection of £5.5m assets may catch the eye if they start the campaign well, while some of the £5.0m goalkeepers have potential too.
Considering the limited selection of promising £4.5m goalkeepers, could Fantasy managers find value in this mid-price bracket in 2020/21?
We’ve run the rule over the 18 goalkeepers who cost £5.0m or more this season.
Alisson (£6.0m) and Ederson (£6.0m) come into 2020/21 as the only £6.0m options in the goalkeeper bracket – but it is difficult to see what use they will be across the whole campaign.
Even though they play for the Premier League’s top two clubs, eight different goalkeepers racked up more points in 2019/20 than Ederson, while 10 managed more than Alisson.
Admittedly, the Brazilian did miss nine matches through injury, but his score of 122 averaged at just 4.2 points per game. While that could be seen as a steady stream of points by some, few would argue that it is worth paying £6.0m for.
Ederson’s value was even worse, offering just 3.8 points per game for his premium price point.
2019/20 was a worse than usual campaign for both Manchester City and Liverpool defensive credentials. The two clubs have previously displayed the ability to get 20 clean sheets or more in a season but in 2019/20, they managed 17 and 15 respectively.
Meanwhile, a suspension for Ederson and Alisson’s injury meant neither one could capitalise on their team’s full complement of shut-outs, getting points for 16 and 13 each.
And, of course, the main drawback of forking out for a premium goalkeeper is the lack of bonus and save points.
Alisson (11) and Ederson (two) combined for just 13 bonus points last season; the six shot-stoppers who managed more than that amalgamated total all coming into 2020/21 at a cheaper price.
Meanwhile, the top clubs’ domination of possession meant that 14 goalkeepers registered more saves than Ederson (68), while Alisson was only forced into 58.
Pope and the top-half options
By contrast, Nick Pope (£5.5m) is sure to offer significant value, it’s just whether or not you’re willing to pay £5.5m for a man who misses Gameweek 1.
No goalkeeper scored more than his 170 points last season, comprised of 15 clean sheets and, unlike those £6.0m options, the third-highest save tally in the division (120) and the highest bonus total among shot-stoppers too (23, seven more than second place).
It is not a huge leap to say that nobody in the £5.5m bracket can match Pope’s level of points potential for the new campaign based on what we saw in 2019/20.
Rui Patrício (£5.5m), Kasper Schmeichel (£5.5m), David de Gea (£5.5m) and Dean Henderson (£5.5m) all kept 13 clean sheets, two fewer than Pope, but each one was at least 22 behind on saves with none of these teams likely to give up as many shots as Burnley.
And while Pope registered 23 bonus points, Patrício, De Gea and Schmeichel all mustered 10 or fewer.
Only one of De Gea or Henderson is likely to be a regular starter this season in light of the latter appearing to commit to playing at Old Trafford this season. Alternatively, the battle for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s number one spot may not be as clear cut and could see regular switches between the two.
In favour of Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) and Patrício is the fact that both clubs have been handed two of the most appealing fixture schedules at the start of 2020/21.
However, there are cheaper options at both clubs in the defensive areas, with Ben Davies (£5.0m) and Eric Dier (£5.0m) among those considered at Spurs, while Romain Saïss (£5.0m) and Ruben Vinagre (£4.5m) can undercut Patrício.
Furthermore, even though Lloris actually bettered Pope for minutes per save last season (22.3 to 28.5), he kept a clean sheet in just 28% of his appearances, compared to 39.4% for the Burnley man.
BIG SIX VALUE OPTIONS
Fantasy managers will be watching the Community Shield with great interest this season, as they hope to discover which of Arsenal’s two goalkeepers will be the number one choice for 2020/21.
Despite missing most of the Premier League restart in June and July, Bernd Leno (£5.0m) still finished last season inside the top five for saves with a total of 113.
That helped the German finish 2019/20 with an overall score of 114, an average of 3.8 per game. The question is whether or not he will be fit enough for the new campaign, having previously been the first choice.
With Arsenal having steadily improved defensively under Mikel Arteta and during Project Restart, whichever goalkeeper starts the campaign is likely to offer value but, without wanting to wish misfortune on anyone, the Fantasy community is surely rooting for Martínez.
While the Spaniard is £0.5m cheaper he conceded fewer goals per game and boasted a better figure for saves per 90 minutes than Leno last season.
It is no secret that Chelsea are in the market for a new goalkeeper, which is surely enough to ward anyone off considering Willy Caballero (£5.0m) or Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.0m) at this stage of the campaign.
Ironically enough, if Frank Lampard was able to bring Pope to Chelsea it might damage his points potential as so much of his appeal stems from the number of shots Burnley typically concede (more than the Blues).
If Lampard looks outside the Premier League for his new shot-stopper, it will be interesting to see how they will be priced. Based on their underlying statistics, Chelsea are a team that can keep clean sheets if their problems between the sticks are solved.
Kepa kept just eight clean sheets last season, shutting out opponents in just 24% of his appearances, adding just 55 saves.
If Chelsea do get to the end of the transfer window with no recruitment in goal, and they have shown some improvement, then £5.0m is a price well worth paying, there are just too many factors to warrant investing right now.
There does appear to be more interest in the £5.0m bracket at the mid-table than in previous years.
Each of these options are more nailed-on starters for Gameweek 1 than Leno or Kepa, and some of them are certainly in a position to outperform them for saves.
Fresh from relegation with Bournemouth, Aaron Ramsdale (£5.0m) has joined Sheffield United, a team that kept 13 clean sheets during their first season back in the Premier League.
128 saves for the Cherries last time out suggests there is the possibility Ramsdale could combine his increased clean sheet potential with a penchant for additionals and offer value in 2020/21. We did a full Scout Report on the player HERE.
No goalkeeper made more saves than Martin Dúbravka (£5.0m) last season, managing a total of 139. That contributed to an overall season score of 143 points, propped by a solid total of 11 clean sheets.
Only five goalkeepers registered more points than Dúbravka in 2019/20, all of them coming into the new campaign priced at £5.5m. If this season’s shot-stopping charts were to reflect last, that would make the Newcastle man a value option indeed. In fact, last time out, only Pope, Ryan and Henderson finished with a better value (season) score than Dúbravka (28.6).
Jordan Pickford (£5.0m) struggled to live up to the promise of his previous two campaigns in 2019/20, scoring just 117 points, a drop-off of 44 compared to 2018/19.
While Everton’s defensive issues are perhaps not over just yet, any slight improvement could see £5.0m prove a cut-price cost for Fantasy managers, especially if they could go close to the 14 clean sheets recorded the season before last.
Despite injury curtailing the first half of 2019/20, Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) remains in the £5.0m category, perhaps ruling him out for now.
Crystal Palace will have to improve defensively if Vicente Guaita (£5.0m) is to become a viable goalkeeper in 2020/21. During Project Restart, no team that survived relegation conceded more goals than the Eagles.
The £5.0m bracket ends with some of the most avoidable assets in all of Fantasy Premier League.
Looking likely to be third in the Manchester United pecking order now, Sergio Romero (£5.0m) is certainly overpriced based on realistic estimates of his score this season. The Argentinian has not amassed more than 23 points in a single Premier League campaign since arriving in 2015/16.
Meanwhile, without a single Premier League minute for Newcastle since 2017/18, Karl Darlow (£5.0m) has somehow gained a £5.0m price-tag despite ending 2019/20 at £4.3m.