Pro Pundits - Simon

Former FPL world champion reveals tips and team for Gameweek 1

Former Fantasy Premier League world champion and four-time finisher in the top 7k Simon March gives us the lowdown on his thinking for the new campaign.


I am told that there are some important things going on in the world right now; a Brexit here, an election there, some protests, some riots, the odd wildfire and a global pandemic to name but a few. Unfortunately, I have little time for all that right now as the new Fantasy Premier League season and, as us Fantasy managers know, this is no time to get distracted.

Since nobody can realistically be expected to talk or think about anything else right now, I thought I’d use this article to take you through my thinking for my Gameweek 1 squad and my approach in general when it comes to kicking off this new FPL season.

Planning for a Unique Season

Every new season has its challenges but this one has more than most. Firstly, there’s the issue that a huge chunk of FPL’s best players won’t even play their opening match until Gameweek 2.

Then there’s the fixture intensity that the players will face, particularly those competing in Europe, and then there’s the aforementioned pandemic with the potential to decimate our options at any given moment through illness and quarantine.

It probably goes without saying that having a decent bench will be useful this season but having flexibility in your team may be even more important.

That means having players at a range of prices, across the pitch, who can be swapped out easily should the need arise.

It also means not over-investing in a single area of the squad or, more important, under-investing in others, leaving you with a dearth of replacement options when you need them.

A Balanced Squad

Should FPL managers sign Kane or Son for upcoming Bournemouth match?

If I do have any sort of overarching philosophy when it comes to FPL, it would go something like this; ‘I like to have a squad with lots of players who can each score in lots of different ways.’

So, in practice, that means that I like a good spread of different teams (ideally ones that attack and/or defend well) and at least nine starting players who have the potential to score consistently, in more than one way. That could be a midfielder on set-pieces, a forward on penalties or a defender with attacking threat.

When I’ve stuck to that plan, I’ve tended to do alright. When I’ve not done so well, it’s usually because I’ve tried, instead, to fit in too many premium options at the expense of a more balanced squad.

The effect of this is to put too much pressure on just a handful of players to deliver each Gameweek. Think, for example, a few seasons back when we were trying to fit in two 12.0 forwards in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Aguero (£10.5m). It was great for a while, and then, as soon as they stopped scoring regularly, it wasn’t.

I also think that this is a good way in general to approach the unique challenges of this season. Circumstances are such, I believe, that too much reliance on too few players has the potential to backfire heavily whereas a broader spread of points makes us less susceptible to unforeseeable events.

Players Missing Gameweek 1

How De Bruyne and Sterling compare as FPL assets for 2020/21?

Regarding the players missing Gameweek 1, most notably those playing for Manchester United and Manchester City, my well-deliberated plan is, essentially, to ignore it.

While, were they to be playing, the likes of Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5m) would probably be among the first names on my Gameweek 1 team sheet, I’m not approaching the season with any specific plan to bring them in in Gameweek 2.

Partly, this is because I think there are good alternatives to them (though I’ll no doubt want either or both at some point) but, also, I don’t think there will be as much of a rush to get these players in for Gameweek 2 as we might be currently anticipating.

Inevitably, at least one Gameweek 1 player will unexpectedly bag a brace or a hat-trick and, naturally, this player will become the priority bandwagon for Gameweek 2. As the saying goes; ‘If you want to make the FPL gods laugh, show them your transfer plans.’

My Gameweek 1 Squad

Without further ado, here is my squad for Gameweek 1. Of course, there will almost certainly be changes between now and the deadline, but this is the direction in which I’m currently heading.

“Everybody’s Gangsta the Week Before the Deadline”

Having now justified my team in writing, I can see I’m taking a few more risks than I normally might. I certainly wouldn’t rule out some last-minute changes. But I also have a feeling that this season might be the season to take some risks so I’m pretty happy with what I have for now. Roll on Saturday.


Simon is a former FPL world champion, claiming the coveted price in the 2014/15. But there is more to this man than one season of good fortune. Since 2009, Simon has finished in the top 7k four times, only ending up outside the world’s top 60k once in an 11-campaign career.

Best players by position:

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99.

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.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

942 Comments Post a Comment
  1. I Member
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 9 days ago

    A) Soucek + Dallas (rotating between 3-5-2 and 4-4-2)
    B) Coady/Saiss + 4.5 midfielder (4-4-2 every week)

    1. I Member
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Maybe there's a better rotation option for A than Dallas but that Fulham fixture in GW2 looks nice for him.

  2. Silent Friend
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Why do people still pick Mitchell? PVA back in training 1 week ago lol

    1. Zim0
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Because he's still the only 4m defender who could start

      1. Silent Friend
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        for only 1 game???

        1. Zim0
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Um he's 4m. It's not like you're wasting money getting him. Everyone should have him unless they want to play 5 at the back

          1. Major League Shocker
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Yeah, I have Martial on my bench for GW1 so I need someone to play GW1 only.

            1. Zim0
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Same

    2. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Mitchell and Buur not good options then? Who's the go-to 4.0 def atm? Only need one for gw1 at least.

      1. Silent Friend
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        nobody

      2. Silent Friend
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        gw1 could be mitchell

  3. ivantys
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Just curious: If you take a hit before using your wild card, does it cancel the hit when you use the wild card after that?

      1. Zim0
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Yes

        1. ivantys
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Ok cool thanks

      2. Arteta
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        TAA, KT, KWP, Justin, Mitchell = okayish defence?

        1. La Roja
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          KT?

          1. sunzip14
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Tierney?

      3. UnitedRthebest
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Why no love for wolves defence?

          1. Zim0
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Loss of fullbacks but i have saiss

            1. UnitedRthebest
                1 month, 9 days ago

                I have Coady for the nice fixture run but no one going for there defence. Forgot they lost doh and Ottos injured. Cheers!

            2. Steve The Spud
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 9 days ago

              People want premium or 4.5

          2. The 12th Man
            • 7 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Starting to be settled with my team.
            McCarthy
            TAA,Dier,KWP
            Aubamayang(c),Alli,Havertz,James
            Werner,Wilson,Ings

            Button,Taylor,Bisouma,4.0

            1.0m itb.
            0.5 is for Ings >> Martial in GW2.

            What to do with the remaining 0.5m?
            1. Leave in the bank.
            2. McCarthy > Ramsdale or Button > Ryan
            3. 4.0 defender >> 4.5m
            4. Bisouma > Soucek

            1. xiMoxiee
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Leave in the bank imo. I've got a similar team but with Salah and ASM over Alli and Havertz

              1. The 12th Man
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Yeh that’s probably wise.
                That will become 1m itb in wk 3 when I do Aubamayang > Sterling or Alli.
                Yeh not having Salah is a tough decision but I can’t justify having him when I plan on shifting him after one week and not captain.

            2. Galza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              I like the look of it.

              It will explode one way or the other. 😉

              Get Soucek with your 0.5...

              1. The 12th Man
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                I would never play Soucek though.
                The only advantage is that his price might rise if he does well in week 1.

                1. Galza
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  Maybe not, but it’s a lot nicer than looking at Bissouma on your bench week in, week out. 🙂

          3. KINGS
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Play Armstrong or Nketiah ?

            1. Pukki Party
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Surely play Nketiah if you have him

            2. The 12th Man
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Why do you have that decision to make?
              Surely have one and downgrade the other to bench fodder and use the money elsewhere.

              That’s a tough decision. Either could play 90 or not start.

              1. KINGS
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Right. Thanks for the suggestion

            3. Bushwhacker
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              I've got a gamble on Nketiah . . . really want to hear from Arteta.

          4. JURGENAUT
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 9 days ago

            McCarthy
            TAA Doherty Justin KWP
            Salah Auba Havertz ASM
            Werner Ings

            Fodder bench

            Thoughts?

            1. 03farmboy
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Looks good but how have you afforded that team?

          5. The Mantis
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Would it be silly to have both Doherty & Davies ?

            1. La Roja
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Nothing is silly on internet

            2. Pukki Party
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              No imo.

            3. Srv210
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              No..but I'll personally have only one

            4. Zim0
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Not if they do well

            5. BoomXhakaLaca1
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Yes - it's spurs

            6. Camzy
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              No it's not. But I don't want to double on Spurs defense in case for some reason Son, Alli or Kane become red hot and I want 2 of them.

            7. NABIL - 1 season 1der
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Nope.. Doherty and Dier here

          6. Srv210
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            So, what are people's thoughts here on Ainsley Maitland-Niles for first 2 weeks ??

            I feel that he has a chance to return on both sides of the field ,question is is he nailed?

            1. BoomXhakaLaca1
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              I'm still baffled how people think he is good

              1. Deulofail
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                He's good! Just don't see him as an FPL option yet. We don't know Tets is gonna go for wingbacks.

                1. BoomXhakaLaca1
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  Ah stop he's an awful defender. Mainly because he is a winger predominantly

                  1. Deulofail
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 9 days ago

                    Lol

                    1. BoomXhakaLaca1
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 9 days ago

                      Lots of love?

                  2. La Roja
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 8 Years
                    1 month, 9 days ago

                    lol

                  3. Srv210
                    • 3 Years
                    1 month, 9 days ago

                    Agree on defensive weakness part ,but as a WB he can offer attacking returns too

                    1. BoomXhakaLaca1
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 9 days ago

                      Potentially, but if I was Arteta I'd personally rather bellerin but I know he's linked away too

                      1. Deulofail
                        • 4 Years
                        1 month, 9 days ago

                        How about on the left?

                        1. BoomXhakaLaca1
                          • 7 Years
                          1 month, 9 days ago

                          Suppose it could happen with Tierney joining the back 3

                    2. Deulofail
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 9 days ago

                      He's a good defender too! 😀

          7. Shark Team
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Any chance Davies benched for Danny Rose?

            1. Flair
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 9 days ago

              0 in PL

            2. Steve The Spud
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 9 days ago

              No way

            3. DCSpurs
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Not in the slightest. Expect Doherty to act as a RWB of sorts whilst Davies tucks in to create a 3.

              Rose can't do this.

              1. Shark Team
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                You mean there will be a LWB too or just attacking from the right side?

          8. mir
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Last reminder that the deadline to enter the FFScout Head-to-Head Leagues is the GW1 deadline. Details on how to enter are in the link below but for ease the entry league code is h3emid

            I also need to stress that if you removed your team from last years entry league you will have to manually re-enter using the code above. For those that entered last year you may recall that once the Head-to-Head leagues were created on FFScout (GW2) you were free to leave the entry league on FPL, this helped free up a priceless mini league spot.

            So to confirm, you had to still be in the entry league at the time last seasons FPL closed and refreshed for this season.

            https://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/2020/08/28/2020-21-ffscout-head-to-head-leagues/

            I'm delighted to say we have over 6500 entries which is more than the 5983 last year.

            Cheers
            Mark

            1. Cto
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Code doesn’t seem to be working

              1. mir
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Sorry, see below. Cheers for letting me know. Will edit the comment.

            2. Destroyer of teams
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Code don’t work

              1. mir
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Cheers for heads up. My error. See below

            3. mir
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Sorry typo on the most important part of the comment...

              The code is wrong. Code to join this league: h3em1d

          9. TONY123
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Can we expect Chelsea to line up like this in attack on monday?
            Havertz Mount Pulisic
            Werner

            When Zyiech is back, Havertz will probably take Mount's spot in the middle.

            1. some witty pun
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              I think the front 3 is CHO Werner Havertz. Mount/RLC starts behind them with Pulisic coming on at 60+

            2. ClassiX
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Pulisic won't start. I suspect Barkley starts in the middle, Mount on LW, to be subbed at 65.

          10. HD7
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Ramsdale
            TAA Justin KWP -
            Salah ASM PEA -
            Ings Werner

            Nyland Stephens Taylor Davis

            A) Mitchell, Son
            B) Davies, Alli

            *0.5 in bank to do Ings to Martial for GW2

          11. Make America Greta Again
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            How come the captain poll hasn't changed in a day or so? Surprised Mo is not leading.

          12. dshv
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Mccarthy (nyland)
            Taa davies justin (taylor, mitchell)
            Soucek Salah Auba Son Armstrong
            Werner callum (davis)

            Gw2 son to bruno
            Gw3 auba to kdb

            Waiting for you ?

          13. Benster
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Newcastle fans (or anyone else) - do we think Fraser will start GW1?

            1. Hairy Potter
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Not sure how much training he's done since he left Bournemouth. I'd guess that he wouldn't start. Ritchie has a knock, but would still be surprised if Fraser started.

            2. how now brown cow
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Hasnt played club football for many months so would be a surprise

            3. Benster
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Cheers chaps 🙂

          14. Hryszko
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Bottomed:

            How does this look? G2G?

            McCarthy
            Taa - Justin - Kwp
            Salah - Auba - Son - ASM - Soucek
            Ings - Werner

            Subs: Steer, Taylor, Mitchell & Brewster

            0.5m Itb to do Ings > Martial after GW1.

          15. Jimjam
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            (A) Saint-Maximin as 4th midfielder in a 4-4-2

            (B) Mitrovic as 3rd striker in a 4-3-3

            1. Mayor of Flair
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              B

            2. MidTableFantasy
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              I think Mitro

            3. NABIL - 1 season 1der
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              B

          16. sirmorbach
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Lads, quick questions before I settle for good:

            (1) Given that Ryan's my goalkeeper, Walton is the obvious 4.0, right?
            (2) Any chance Doherty doesn't start GW1?
            (3) Any chance Gordon starts against Spurs?
            (4) Mitchell starts at least GW1?

            1. Mayor of Flair
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              1. Yes
              2. Slight but I'm going with him
              3. Don't think so.
              4. Should do ya.

              1. sirmorbach
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                That's very kind of you, sir. Thank you for this.

            2. Joker91
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Yes
              I'm afraid of this myself
              I would deem this unlikely
              Almost definitely

          17. some witty pun
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            A) Ings + Saliba
            B) Adams + Doherty ?

            1. EmreCan Hustle
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              A, but maybe another 4.5m defender.

          18. MOZIL
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Whos the most nailed Chelsea defender?

            1. EmreCan Hustle
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Azpi when fit.

            2. some witty pun
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Im a Chelsea fan and I can say there isnt even one

          19. EmreCan Hustle
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 9 days ago

            I currently have Martial on my bench. Soucek covering GW1 as my 5th mid.
            Is that good?
            I like Martial and think he will do well but should I commit to a particular United player or wait and see who is the best option first?

            Thanks.

            1. Mayor of Flair
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Martial is a great option. He should have a big season if he stays fit.

              1. EmreCan Hustle
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                I have no doubt.
                Right now I have Martial, Werner and 4.5m forward.
                My worry is, if a 6-7m forward becomes essential like Vardy was in 2015, then I might miss out if I hold Martial. Feel like I am losing flexibility.
                If I have DCL and Adams instead of Martial and 4.5m then I can get a United mid later and still own the essential mid priced forward.

                Am I making sense?

                1. Mayor of Flair
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  You are but I really can't see any of the forwards in that bracket becoming essential.

                  DCL could do well but I have big reservations about Adams, he's popular around here but I think he'll be a big let down and struggle for game time.

                  1. EmreCan Hustle
                    • 8 Years
                    1 month, 9 days ago

                    Cheers. I might be overthinking it.

                    1. Mayor of Flair
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 9 days ago

                      Personally I think Greenwood is the best value United attacking asset.

                      1. EmreCan Hustle
                        • 8 Years
                        1 month, 9 days ago

                        I agree. But as long as United are interested in Sancho I feel like I don't want to go there. Plus Rodriguez interests me more at that price.

            2. Hairy Potter
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              I think he's the best option personally.

              1. EmreCan Hustle
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Cheers.

            3. xiMoxiee
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Soucek is great cover. I will also be getting Martial in GW2 but by using a placeholder just in case there are any unexpected COVID concerns

              1. EmreCan Hustle
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Yeah, the pandemic might play a huge part this season. Planning will be key. Cheers.

          20. grennans2
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Is Doherty likely to start GW1?

              1. Steve The Spud
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Likely yes

                Certain... no

            • Viper
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              A. Ryan & Robertson

              B. Ramsdale & Doherty (+0.5m)

              Probably splitting hairs but which do you think?

              1. Mayor of Flair
                • 6 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Assuming you already have TAA then B shlug?

              2. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                A

            • Atimis
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Changes you would make here???

              Ryan
              TAA/Davies/Egan/KWP
              Auba/Salah/Son/ASM
              Werner/Ings

              Nyland/Brewster/Bissouma/Mitchell

            • DOGS
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Thoughts lads?

              Martinez
              TAA, Vinagre, Justin
              Salah(c), Auba, Son, ASM
              Werner, Wilson, Mitro

              McCarthy, Mitchell, Stephens, Douglas

            • Pedram
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              If only Vinagre could make it clear whatever he's staying or leaving...

              Worst case scenario would be him leaving after the deadline.

            • Silent Friend
              • 9 Years
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Batsman to Palace confirmed!

              1. Mayor of Flair
                • 6 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Who?

              2. Silent Friend
                • 9 Years
                1 month, 9 days ago

                hmm fake news sorry

              3. interpolnyc
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  6-7 mil strikers plentiful now - def gonna have werner and then a couple of 6-7s!

                  Leaves a lot of cash for mid and def

              4. Bossworld
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 9 days ago

                Any news on Rhian Brewster? I'm ghost teaming it this year but need to rejig if he's headed out to the Championship.

                1. Mayor of Flair
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  Even if he does go on loan to a PL side I don't think he'll be able to command a regular starting place.