Dream Team strategy and tips series from reigning overall champion Fergi. In this article he shares his approach to how he targets players and his favourite player picks ahead of Gameweek 1 .
As some of you may know I was fortunate enough to win Dream Team last season and I took a lot from the experience. In this article I target the teams and players I am interested in that will hopefully help get me and our readers off to a good start whilst always keeping the medium term in mind.
Let's get into it.
There are certain players in Dream Team that are simply must-haves when fit and playing. For me they are Kevin De Bruyne (£6.0m), Bruno Fernandes (£6.5m), Mohamed Salah (£6.0m) and Harry Kane (£7.0m).
They play 95% of matches for their teams and get frequent attacking returns. They will also all be very highly owned which is another factor to consider. Although Salah doesn't fit the scoring matrix as well as the others, he is one of few hattrick threats in the league; I won't be going without him.
At the time of writing it looks like Kane may miss the start of the season as he forces a move to Manchester City and De Bruyne's fitness is a slight concern. If they don't start the season and you don't pick them, make sure you have a couple of options of how to bring them in. They will have dry patches but they will also have runs where they will destroy your rank if you don't own them!
Fixtures - Teams to Target
Fixtures play such a key role in Dream Team and with certain teams (Tottenham in particular!) having more fixtures than other teams in specific months as we can see from Ian Parrin's brilliant Dream Team Transfer Planner:
Teams in Europe (5 matches)
Most noticeably Tottenham having five matches in August due to their Europa Conference Qualifying games against either Paços de Ferreira (fifth in Portugal last season) or Larne of Northern Ireland.
The Kane situation is currently up in the air and it's difficult to guess the team they play in these matches due to the manager and new personnel. Nevertheless, with ten teams at our disposal in Dream Team, and five transfers available in August, it will likely be worth picking one or two in most teams as a couple of goals and clean sheets will get you off to a flyer.
My favourite picks would be Heung-Min Son (£5.0m), Dele Alli (£3.0m), Lucas Moura (£2.5m), Matt Doherty (£2.0m) and Hugo Lloris (£3.5m). I am assuming Kane is leaving Tottenham - if it looks like he stays and will be playing, as above, he is a must-have in my opinion.
Teams with an EFL Cup August Fixture (4 matches)
The EFL Cup can throw up some big points early doors which I profited from well last season in the shape of hattricks from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Kai Havertz. All the teams with no later European involvement have an EFL fixture in Week 2 and some of them are worth a look.
The Villains have great fixtures and some of their players could provide great value in August and indeed throughout the season. New signing Danny Ings (£3.5m) now looks a great pick here whilst Emi Buendia (£3.0m) could hit the ground running after finishing as the highest average rated WhoScored player in the Championship last season with 7.78.
Matty Cash (£2.0m) looks a solid cheap option in defence whilst Emi Martinez (£3.0m) finished as the third highest scoring goalkeeper last season despite no European involvement.
An Aston Villa defensive block/semi-block could get you off to a flyer if they start well.
If fit, Dominic Calvert Lewin (£5.0m) looks a tad overpriced when compared to players such as Ings, Sadio Mane (£5.5m) and Edinson Cavani (£4.5m), but nevertheless could score serious points with the Toffees' great opening fixtures.
The only other Everton player I like is Lucas Digne (£3.0m) who could provide some attacking returns along with a couple of clean sheets.
Again, a defensive block/semi-block is cheap and if they keep a couple of clean sheet it could see you start off very well.
Patrick Bamford comes in at a tasty £4.0m whilst Raphinha (£3.0m) could help balance the books after an impressive first season at Elland Road.
I'm not hot on the Leeds defence to kick off with due to their fixtures.
Best of the Rest
Ivan Toney (£2.5m) at Brentford could be an interesting budget option; in recent interviews he has come across as very confident of doing well in the Premier League. The next Bamford?
Arsenal's early fixtures put me off but Nicolas Pepe (£4.0m) scored very well in Dream Team last season and could be a decent differential option.
Raul Jimenez (£4.0m) has been performing well in pre-season and even though Wolves have a sticky start, he has enough class to score decent points.
The European Teams (3 matches)
So, now into the premium stuff, here are the heavy hitting options that I am considering for my Week 1 teams!
Although Kevin De Bruyne (£6.0m) is a 'must have' for me, if it looks like he's going to miss Gameweek 1 then I'm tempted to go without as other players will have three, four or even five games to the Belgian's one or two in August. If you do go without I would just ensure you have a rough plan of how to bring him in when he's back.
Raheem Sterling (£4.5m) has seen a big price drop after a disappointing 2020/21 season whilst Riyad Mahrez (£5.0m) and Phil Foden (£5.5m) have seen price hikes after great Dream Team seasons. I am sure all three will offer great value at points during the season but I'm tempted to start with just Mahrez who has had a great pre-season, with the plan to get De Bruyne in when he's fit. When Sterling looks fit and firing he looks a great pick up at his price.
New recruit Jack Grealish (£4.5m) is a Dream Team darling and was the third highest rated WhoScored player in the Premier League last season averaging 7.56 points. If he looks like starting he will be a prime Star-Man candidate every time he gets an attacking return and is definitely one to look out for. Ferran Torres (£3.0m) is one I am also interested in after his more recent displays as a forward for the Citizens and could start in the early Gameweeks if the Kane move doesn't materialise before the deadline.
I don't really fancy Ilkay Gundogan (£4.5m) from the start with the other City attacking options available.