Image from The Mirror
It’s that time again. Fantasy Football has reopened this week to the delight of many, which means there’s been a lot of fans sat around computers recently with calculators for their team budgets and desperately typing in League PIN codes so that they could be the first one in their league to have the team name: ‘Who Ate All Depays’ (seriously though Memphis left the Premier League in January, you really need to stop using it). The stakes are high, as friends and families divide over words such as ‘Triple Captain’ and ‘Bench Boost’, while rivalries are born between complete strangers due to this fascinating yearlong contest. So whether you’re in a private league with your mates, or you fancy your chances of being the best in the country, you’ll require a strong team, with some very important decisions needed before the 11th August deadline. Here are our top picks for the up and coming season.
Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur – £12.5m
The no-brainer. For no other reason than the fact that he scores a lot of goals. Last year he joined the exclusive club of being only the fourth player to score more than 20 goals in a Premier League season for three consecutive seasons, only previously accomplished by Thierry Henry, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Alan Shearer. And with Spurs not strengthening their attack so far this summer, Kane will obviously be the man to spearhead their attacks in the forthcoming campaign. It’s a different season for Spurs this time around, with a new temporary home of Wembley Stadium due to the reconstruction of White Hart Lane, but Kane is no stranger to scoring at the national stadium, having scored many goals for his country in the ‘Home of Football’, as well as finding the net in the cup semi-final there in April. Expect other big season for Tottenham’s number 10.
Ederson – Manchester City – £5.5m
When it comes to Fantasy Football, choosing the two goalkeepers for your squad is a tricky hurdle to overcome. Do you buy two expensive regular keepers in case one suddenly gets dropped? Or do you pick one outstanding goalkeeper and one cheap reserve keeper who’ll probably never play in order to save funds for other key positions? Well one keeper you should be picking is Ederson, who looks the best value for money shot stopper in the game this year. At £5.5 million, the 23 year-old is not the most expensive keeper you can get, but looks set to be the new number 1 for Manchester City in 2017/18. And with Pep Guardiola’s men the early favorites to win the title, you should expect a lot of clean sheets from this man. Yet despite this, City’s defence has always been leaky over the past five season, no matter who their manager is, so the Brazilian keeper could be called into action quite a lot over the course of the campaign, so could even get you some extra points with regards to the amount of saves he has to make.
Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal – £7m
The Welshman lit up the Premier League in 2013/14, scoring 9 goals from defensive midfielder by Christmas, before suffering from injury issues and making only 23 appearances in the league that year. Ramsey has failed to hit those heights since, but a change in formation for Arsenal in spring last year has given the 26 year-old more freedom to get forward and search for goals. This was proved no better by his winning goal in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea in May, which showed his desire to make deep lying runs into the penalty area. He probably won’t replicate that run every week, but at only £7m, he’s worth a punt.
Antonio Rudiger – Chelsea – £6m
Defenders are tricky when it comes to Fantasy Football, with the majority of players choosing full backs because of their willingness to get forward and provide assists, and maybe score goals. But if you’re looking for a proper centre-back for your team then look no further than Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger. A £30 million signing from Roma this month, putting him in the Premier League’s top 10 most expensive defenders of all time, the German international should play most games alongside Gary Cahill and David Luiz in a back three. The Blues only lost a handful of games last year, and that was mainly down to their sturdy defence, so clean sheet points should be regular with Rudiger this year, and where better to start with Burnley at home in Gameweek 1 to put yourself higher up the leaderboard.
Leroy Sané – Manchester City – £8.5m
Sané got players over 100 points last year in Fantasy Football last year, and this year should play a bigger role in Manchester City’s season in 2017/18. Guardiola was a fan of the 21 year-old in the last campaign, giving him 25 appearances in the league, and with the Citizens looking to mount a proper title challenge this time around, Sané will hopefully be part of a clinical attack force, involving Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling. It should be a big year for the 2017 PFA Young Player of the Year Nominee.
Alfie Mawson – Swansea City – £5m
If you’re looking for a cheap buy to save funds for your more expensive attacking players then Alfie Mawson is your man. The youngster proved that he is a goal-scoring central defender with 4 goals in 23 games for the Swans last year, and even scored for England in their U21s European Championships campaign against Slovakia in June. He’ll now be used to the pressures of the Premier League, having only one full season in League One as experience prior to moving to Wales, so should have more appearances this season, and therefore more opportunities to score.
Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal – £10.5m
Arsenal have finally found a striker to replace Robin Van Persie. The French international should go straight into the Gunners’ starting line-up for the season opener against Leicester on 11th August, after scoring 28 goals in 30 Ligue 1 appearances last season, increasing his tally to 76 goals in 97 appearances for his old side Lyon since 2014. He even scored all those goals while playing Europa League last season, so the Thursday to Sunday fixure congestion shouldn’t be an issue for him. The striker is quick, and an excellent finisher, but also has some very good link-up play with his team-mates, so assist points, as well as goal points, should be regular for those who put Lacazette in their Fantasy team.
Is there anyone we’ve missed? Do you agree with our choices? Let us know who YOU plan on putting in your fantasy football side ahead of the coming season!