With the start of the season fast approaching, Slavisa Jokanovic is not the only Fulham manager fine tuning his squad for the upcoming campaign. Our promotion to the top flight has reignited Fulham fans’ interest in Fantasy Premier League, and Jack Healy is on hand with our latest feature to give you all the tips and hints to make sure you prosper in all your mini leagues (but especially ours!)
For those of you that don’t know, the basic premise is that each player in the Premier League is given a value, which will fluctuate during the season according to their popularity in the game. You start with £100 million, and have to build a squad of 15 players (two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders, three forwards), from which a starting 11 will score you points each week.
Each week, you pick one captain who scores you double points. Players score points basically for doing what you want them to be doing – keeping the ball out at one end and scoring at the other end. You can make one transfer per week, and any additional transfers incur a cost of 4 points.
There are five chips you can play throughout the course of the season, which can help boost your points tally. We will explain a strategy for those later, but first we’ll go through the options for each position for the start of the season. Unfortunately, you can only pick three Fulham players for your squads.
Choose either two cheap goalkeepers (4.5-5 million), who will get you save points and can rotate based on fixture difficulty, or one premium goalkeeper (5.5-6.0 million), to get you clean sheets, coupled with a benchwarmer (4.0 million).
Leicester and Everton have fixtures that rotate well, making Jordan Pickford and Kasper Schemeichel a potential pairing. However, the cost of £10 million may prove prohibitive. Burnley also have promising opening fixtures, and Tom Heaton was the top scoring goalkeeper in the game in 2016/17. There are concerns though about whether he will be fit to replace the now sidelined Nick Pope for the start of the season. Ederson appears to be the safest premium goalkeeper, with Man City facing all six promoted sides from the last two seasons in their opening seven fixtures.
Fulham’s fixtures marry best with Everton or Burnley, so choosing our goalkeeper with one from these teams could prove profitable. Fabri is more likely to start over Bettinelli, given his pedigree and experience in European top flights and the Champions League.
You can decide to have two premium defenders (5.5-6.5 million) combined with three cheaper defenders (4-4.5 million), or three medium price defenders (5.0 million) combined with two cheaper defenders (4-4.5 million). Defenders who take set pieces, attacking full backs and those that score from set pieces are all prime targets.
The same clubs mentioned in the goalkeeper section can be used for defenders. Seamus Coleman is the most expensive Everton defender, but he is the surest starter and the most likely source of attacking points. Burnley’s starting defenders are all priced at £5.0 million, so take your pick. Maguire is a popular pick from Leicester, but there are concerns given England’s run into the latter stages of the World Cup.
Pereira is certainly a risk as a new signing to the league, but he has the potential for attacking returns at right back for Leicester and is one to watch. Otamendi is probably the only defender assured of starts for Man City at the start of the season, but Mendy and Walker could be gold mines if their start of the season is not delayed by their own World Cup exploits.
Mawson is our most expensive defender at 5mil, and is likely to partner Tim Ream at centre back. He was a standout performer for Swansea last season, playing every game and amassing a very respectable 112 points in Fantasy. We’ll have to wait and see if he is fit for the opening game, so it might be worth holding fire. The rest of our defenders are priced at 4.5 million.
Cyrus Christie would be first pick, given his lack of competition for the right back spot at the moment and the potential for assists. Slavisa likes using full backs to create width, and this may be the case even more this season if we play with inverted wingers, as we have done in preseason. Christie has chipped in with an assist roughly every 10 matches so far during his spells at Derby and Middlesbrough, but one hopes this might increase if he is given the same freedom as Ryan Fredericks was last season.
You need two to three reliable premium midfielders (8.5-13 million), one to two mid price midfielders (6.5-8 million) and one clear back up midfielder (4.5-5 million). Goal scorers, assist machines, set piece specialists and midfielders actually playing as strikers are in; defensive midfielders sitting in front of the back four are definitely out.
Tottenham, Man City and Liverpool are go-to teams for premium midfielders. It seems impossible not to have Salah in your team after his record breaking season last year, despite his status as the most expensive player in the game. It may therefore be hard to justify having Mane in your team as well. For Tottenham, Eriksen gives consistency over Alli and Son.
Alli was also involved in the latter stages of the World Cup, and Son is leaving for the Asian Games after the opening fixture. Midfielders from Man City are potent points scorers, but there is always the risk of rotation. Once Kevin De Bruyne is back in the team after the World Cup, he is the surest pick. Sterling appears over priced this year and is one to avoid, leaving Sane, Mahrez, and Silva as choices if you can’t afford De Bruyne.
Everton and Arsenal appear the best options for mid price midfielders. Richardson and Sigurdsson, and Ramsey and Mkitaryian, can prosper from having the faith of their new managers and being played regularly in position. Palace and Burnley can benefit from kind fixtures, and provide both mid price (Milivojevic, Gudmundsson) and cheap options (Maccarthur, Cork, Lennon).
Our midfielders may prove to be our most promising source of points. Cairney appears a fantastic pick at his price, especially as he will likely pick up bonus points due to his passing statistics. The same can be said for Seri, but he is more expensive and less likely to score goals than Cairney. Sessegnon appears over priced despite his popularity, and Schurrle could be good value if he steers clear of injury.
If you don’t have Salah, you can have two premium forwards (9-12.5 mil) and one cheaper forward (6-8.5 mil). If you have Salah, you can have one premium forward and two cheaper forwards.
There are several question marks over all of the premium options in the early season. Interest in Lukaku and Kane is tempered by their late involvement in the World Cup. Aguero and Jesus are always at risk of rotation, but Agueros’ starting spot may be more secure at the start of the season. This leaves Aubameyang, but he has been playing on the left wing in preseason and Arsenal’s fixtures only ease at game week 3.
Firminho and Vardy offer reliable mid price options, and one or both may prove essential as the season wears on. Tosun, Wood, Zaha, King , and Wilson are mid price forwards that offer guarantees of starts for teams with promising early fixtures. Mitrovic comes into this category, and could be a massive asset. He is guaranteed starts, and so much of our forward play in our run to promotion was channelled through him.
His only previous full season in the Premier League yielded 9 goals, and while we would hope for more this time round, even a return like that would make him a decent investment. Kamara has emerged as a popular pick, appearing in 10.7% of all squads. Don’t worry that Fantasy managers know something you don’t; at 4.5 million, he is being used by managers as a benchwarmer to free up funds to spend elsewhere.
The wildcard allows you to permanently transfer as many players as you like. You have one for the first half of the season, and one for the second half. You should use the first one after the first few game weeks, once players from the World Cup have returned and you’ve had a chance to assess early performers. The second should be saved for the double gameweeks later in the season, where teams play twice in one week due to fixture changes around the FA Cup.
The other chips should also be saved for the double game weeks. The bench boost allows all 15 squad members to score points for a single gameweek. The free hit chip allows you to temporarily transfer as many players as you like for one gameweek only, and the triple captain chip allows your chosen captain to score triple points for one gameweek.
So, there we have a run down of everything you need to know to get the most out of Fantasy Premier League this season. My Fulham picks would be Fabri, Cairney and Mitrovic, and, although my head says I shouldn’t pick any Fulham players, I’m sure I’ll have all three in my team come next weekend. Make sure you join the Fulhamish League using the code 1142962-259438, and all you need now is a team name (preferably not ‘Are you SERIous?’).