After the shortest summer break in history, the most exciting league in the world returns like never before. It’s time to set your GAFFR Fantasy Championship teams!
After last week’s article, we’re all experts on how GAFFR works. It’s now time to look at the Championship itself, how the GW 1 fixtures are shaping up and which players catch the eye for the new season.
Our fixture ticker above is based on bookmakers’ outright odds and shows the first 10 GW’s of the 20/21 season.
Let’s run through some of the standout ties in GW 1.
Watford v Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough haven’t beaten Watford in their last 6 attempts. They’ve strengthened with the arrival of Grant Hall (6.0m) from QPR but it’s hard to see them get a result at Vicarage Rd as they look to improve on their 17th place finish last year.
Watford are expected to hit the ground running and though they’ve lost some big names, the squad is still filled with quality players and they don’t play a top-half team until GW 5. Fierce rivals Luton visit in GW 3, they’re not expected to be too much trouble for the Hornets.
Wycombe v Rotherham
Wycombe Wanderers have had the better of recent meetings between the pair but it’ll be interesting to see how the newly promoted sides set out their stall at this level.
Both sides are expected to struggle to stay in the division this year, neither have set the transfer market alight spending zero between them on new recruits.
Watch out for cult figure 38-year-old Adebayo Akinfenwa (5.0m) coming off the bench for Wycombe.
QPR v Forest
Nottingham Forest flirted with the playoff places last year before falling away in the last 5 matches and are hoping the outstanding pair of Joe Lolley (8.0m) and Lewis Grabban (9.0m) can take them a step further. QPR are in freefall and you fear for them with the departure of Eberechi Eze without a natural replacement.
Just three goalkeepers at the top price of 6.5m, of whom Brentford’s David Raya Martin (6.5m) & Ben Foster (6.5m) of Watford stand out.
Raya scored a very respectable 221 points last season and was the highest-scoring keeper by a distance. Foster is getting older and conceded 64 goals last year but he will expect his defence to fare better against Championship opposition.
Brice Samba (6.0m) was a consistent performer last year keeping 14 clean sheets with Nottingham Forest and receiving a total of 170 points.
Reading’s Cabral Barbosa (5.5m) makes a strong case for inclusion with a score of 190 points last season.
Luton’s Simon Sluga (5.5m) is an excellent keeper and may be worth considering if Luton improve on their mediocre 7 clean sheets last year.
David Marshall (4.5m) at Derby has been attractively priced and his 140 points last year puts him miles ahead of others in this range. Definitely one to consider.
If Dejan Stojanović (4.0) stakes a claim for the number 1 jersey at Middlesbrough, he could turn out to be very underpriced. He was getting minutes towards the end of last season and may have done enough to start this time around.
Adam Davies (4.0) could be one to watch at Stoke City. He impressed on his debut at the end of last season and rumour has it Jack Butland (4.5) could be on the way out.
As usual, Brentford dominate here. Rico Henry (6.5m) and Henrik Dalsgaard (6.5m) scored 210 and 219 respectively last season with 16 clean sheets. You have to expect similar numbers this season.
Of the new arrivals, Norwich’s Max Aarons (6.5m) and Bournemouth’s Diego Rico (6.5m) are being selected on the basis of their possible attacking returns. Aarons got 2 goals and 6 assists in the Championship 2 years ago and has developed his game since then, whilst Rico takes set pieces for Bournemouth getting 4 assists last year from left-back.
Shaun Hutchinson (6.5m) impressed for a solid Millwall defence last year with 6 goals while Left-back Jake Bidwell (6.5m) is worthy of consideration if the Swans can improve on 13 clean sheets this season.
Pervis Estupiñán (5.5m) may be an inexpensive route into the Watford defence. The left-back has never played for the Hornets first team but it looks like he’ll get his chance this season following a number of successful loan spells.
Cardiff’s long-serving centre-back Sean Morrison (5.5m) had a solid season last year with 4 goals and 2 assists, racking up 161 points.
Another Morrison, Michael Morrison (5.5m), catches the eye at Reading with 1 goal and 2 assists getting him 167 points last year.
Huddersfield don’t look particularly impressive at the moment but Harry Toffolo (4.5m) is a solid player at a good price and they did keep 12 clean sheets.
Luton didn’t keep out the opposition many times last year – just 7 clean sheets – but if Matty Pearson (4.0m) keeps his place under pressure from new signing Tom Lockyer (5.0), he’s a good option on the bench.
Ryan Shawcross (4.0m) is tantalisingly priced. Club captain and talisman, if he can keep fit he’s a guaranteed starter. Just watch out for those yellow cards.
Another budget player worth considering, Wycombe’s Ryan Tafazolli (4.5) is a new signing from Hull and expected to start. Wanderer’s avoid the top teams in their first few fixtures, so he has a chance at some early clean sheet bonuses.
We know all about the outstanding Saïd Benrahma (11.5m) at Brentford, 27 goals and 23 assists over the last two seasons scoring a colossal haul of 285 points last year. If he stays, can you afford not to have him in your side?
Jed Wallace (10.0m) had an outstanding season with Millwall last year contributing 10 goals and 13 assists from midfield but his relationship with new signing Parrott up front will be key to his returns this year.
Lots of Premier League clubs have been in for Emi Ismaïla Sarr (9.5m) but he’s still a Watford player for now at least. He’s by no means prolific – 5 goals in 28 games for Watford – but we’ve seen flashes of potential and at 22, time is on his side. His pace could be deadly against the weaker Championship sides.
Emi Buendía (9.5) is Norwich’s main man, creating more chances per game than most top-flight players. We’d expect him to at least reproduce the 8 goals and 12 assists he achieved in the 2018/19 Championship season. Bear in mind, he’ll be suspended for the first match of the campaign.
We’re expecting big things from Nottingham Forest this season, if not a title push then at least a playoff berth. If that’s to happen, Sammy Ameobi (6.5m) will be at the heart of it. He gets a lot of yellows – 7 last season – but scored 5 goals 8 assists. He’s joined by new signing Luke Freeman (7.0m) from Sheffield Utd and it will be interesting to see what role he’s given.
The Morgan Gibbs-White (7.0m) loan move to Swansea is intriguing. He’s been highly rated for many years but at 20 with limited opportunities for Wolves, we have very little idea of what he’s capable of. If he’s played in an attacking role, 7m could be a steal.
Hard to know how QPR’s 22-year-old sensation Bright Osayi-Samuel (6.5m) will react to the departure of Eze. 5 goals 8 assists last year, we can see him getting more this time around even if QPR struggle.
Wayne Rooney (6.5m) is now in a deeper role and doesn’t play as many games as he used to. He still has an eye for goal though with 5 scored last term and he takes set pieces.
Birmingham City are hardly the most attacking side but Jérémie Bela (5.5m) got 2 goals and 7 assists last year and could be a decent budget option.
If he can get minutes, Louie Sibley (5.0m) is a fabulous prospect. The 18-year-old found 5 goals & 2 assists in 11 appearances last season, definitely one to watch!
Joe Williams (5.0m) impressed at relegated Wigan last year and though we can’t see him grabbing too many attacking points, he’ll be an assured starter at a low price.
He’s only 30, but André Ayew (10m) seems to have been around forever (on a sizable contract too!). Last season was perhaps his most potent, yielding 16 goals 7 assists and a huge 211 points. He seems a safe bet to reproduce these numbers next season.
At the same price, Teemu Pukki (10m) returns to his old stomping ground to make amends for what became a pretty poor season in the Premier League. He scored 29 goals 9 assists two years ago with a dominant Norwich side. If Norwich challenge for the title again, Pukki will be key.
With Callum Wilson (10m) gone, Josh King (9m) becomes Bournemouth’s main man. His Premier League stats are nothing to write home about but he’s a top tier striker in the Championship and we anticipate serious numbers from him this season.
Nottingham Forest’s Lewis Grabban (9m) has shown his quality in the last two seasons scoring 18 and 20 goals. His 212 point haul last season was an outstanding effort, only a fool would bet against him scoring over 200 points this year.
Adam Armstrong (7.5m) is the standout player in a useful Blackburn Rovers side and may be a tad underpriced considering he played every single game last season scoring 16 goals 6 assists. He’ll be a 3rd striker for many fantasy teams.
Signed from a struggling Wigan side, many expect Kieffer Moore (7.5m) to shine this season and improve on his 10 goal total. He’s a striker who contributes more than just goals and assists, but will that be reflected in points?
Millwall’s loan signing Troy Parrott (7.5m) is an 18-year-old with a big reputation and very few games played. Noises inside the club suggest they’re impressed with his sharpness. If Millwall are to make a run at the playoff places this year, Parrott could be the difference.
With 14 goals and 3 assists last season, James Collins (6.5m) is crucial to Luton Town. He looks bang on form after scoring a hat-trick in the Carabao Cup against Norwich at the weekend and may be worth a second look.
14 goals in League One doesn’t necessarily translate to Championship goals but Rotherham’s Freddie Ladapo (5.5m) is an interesting budget option.
Coventry are not known for their exciting brand of football but Matt Godden (5.0m) also contributed 14 goals in League One. Again, this may not be much of a gauge at this level but at just 5m, pop him on your shortlist.
Great to see Adebayo Akinfenwa (5.0m) back in the league for Wycombe. 10 goals and 5 assists last season but now 38 years old we don’t expect The Beast to play more than a bit part this time around.
Note: Transfer deadline is Friday 11 September 2020 18:15
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