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With the Community Shield to be played this weekend, the majority of friendly games have been played and we have a reasonable picture to formulate our teams.
In the last article I detailed what I would be basing my drafts on and here’s a preview of how they look at the moment with my rationale behind the decisions.
Please note that these won’t be my final entries and I won’t be publishing what I eventually go for, as I am playing to win, however, the reasoning and logic will remain the same.
Although it’s supposed to mirror my FPL team to minimise effort levels, I will probably make a few subtle changes and I will explain why below.
The Burnley expert (@ClaretFPL) assures me that Hart has been told he can leave on a free and Heaton is refusing to sign a new deal (supposedly due to the interest from Villa) which should make Pope a lock. If you look back on previous seasons (we ignore the Europa league season) the Burnley keepers tend to keep a reasonable amount of clean sheets and saves, offering decent value.
Henderson looks to be the only 4.0 goalkeeper that is likely to play, which makes him a bargain. I’d pick him for that alone, but Sheffield United also had one of the best defences in the Championship, so he might even offer some decent rotation options.
I don’t really need to go into detail about my Liverpool defenders (I wouldn’t worry too much about their pre-season or regression), but I’ve opted for Robertson over TAA, which differs from my FPL team. The reason being that Robertson starts more games, he doesn’t get substituted off and those extra few points make him better value in my opinion.
There’s not much between Digne and Coleman, I’ve initially gone with Digne because I think there’s more chance he will get attacking returns and he’s younger than Coleman, who got injured last season and might not be able to play as much as he did in the past. If I do need the extra cash though, I would be happy to downgrade.
I don’t feel great about having Zinchenko, as it looks like a transfer out waiting to happen but I would like to cover City’s defence with their fixtures and there’s a good chance that he will play the first few games. 5.5 is also a reasonable price point to switch out for a better performing asset, which fits into my team structure.
I’ve left a gap for the final defender and have up to 4.5 to fill that slot. There are some solid options in this category such as Diop and Dunk but I’m not sure who I’m going to go for yet or if I’m going to take a risk on a 4.0 to enable more funds elsewhere.
Salah is a no brainer, as the top scorer in the game with very good fixtures he’s a must have although it would be a brave contrarian strategy to fade him.
Sterling is pretty much the best attacking option from the best attacking team in the league. Some may be tempted to go with KDB as coverage, but Sterling is far more explosive and likely to play more games.
Fraser is to target Bournemouth’s first two fixtures, as he offers excellent assist and goal threat. At 7.5 he’s a nice price point to switch to other performing assets at that level or cheaper, which fits with my team structure.
Deulofeu is classed as a midfielder rather than a forward in FanTeam and although not locked into my team, I like Watford’s fixtures, I like that he’s explosive and I like that Watford tend to start the season very strong due to their gruelling preseason training. The fourth midfield slot is my wildcard player, as the majority of my team is fairly similar to a lot of other good players. I’m also eyeing up Moura, Martial and a few other candidates.
Dendonker is what appears to be the best 4.5 midfielder available, as he actually starts and isn’t an all out defensive midfielder.
I believe that there’s a lot more value in defence and midfield than up front, so that’s where my budget is focused. If I’m wrong, then it just takes a downgrade or two to balance things up again.
I’ve gone with Wilson, as mentioned above, I like Bournemouth’s fixtures and I’m not hedging my bets intending to maximise the points by selecting their main two assets. I also like the fact that these two have some serious chemistry, combining for 12 goals last season, which was the best in the league.
Murray isn’t set in stone, there are a range of 6 to 6.5 forwards that could do the job and it’s unclear which is the best one. What I do like are Brighton’s fixtures, the new attacking emphasis under Potter, the fact that he’s on penalties and that he started last season well. He is an old man, but early season I feel confident he will get reasonable playing time.
Like Dendonker, Greenwood appears to be the popular 4.5 option, as Ole has indicated he’s going to get game time. There don’t appear to be many better options at the moment other than perhaps Wickham, but I’d rather take a punt on Mason, as he’s got a lot of quality and if he can take his chance he could be like Harry Kane was when he first emerged.
The Alternate Draft
This is my chance to satisfy my curiosity regarding what might have been if I’d gone with an alternative draft, changing my strategy on certain key issues. I’ve also decided to fade Bournemouth, as I’ve focused my main team on them, which could make or break my start.
I don’t feel great about Zinchenko, so choosing Ederson enables me to lock in City’s cheapest guaranteed starting defender so I don’t get frustrated when my player gets rotated for a clean sheet game. I expect him to score similarly to last season, which should make him reasonable value.
Henderson is still in the draft for the reasons mentioned previously.
I’ve got more of a flexible formation now and have opted for 2 rotating 4.5 defenders.
The same rationale applies for the Liverpool defenders as detailed above.
Coleman has been selected over Digne to free up funds and to take advantage of Everton’s plum fixtures. There’s a lot of concerns about how they will fare without Gueye and Zouma, but I’m quietly confident that they will be okay.
Balbuena (or Diop) and Dunk rotate fairly well and both feature in teams capable of keeping a few clean sheets, they are starters and don’t tend to get substituted off. For these positions, I do favour CBs, as they are less prone to resting/rotation than attacking wing-backs.
Salah is in all of my drafts (although I might drop him from my contrarian).
KDB has the potential to get close to Sterling’s output with his massive assist armoury and goal threat but a lot of that depends on whether he can keep fit and whether Pep decides to wrap him in cotton wool. Freeing up the Sterling funds and still covering City will definitely satisfy my curiosity.
Deulofeu remains for the reasons mentioned above, but he’s not a lock by any means.
Groß is a bit of a nostalgia pick, as I remember what he’s capable of and if he’s recovered from injury he could really flourish in the hole for an attacking Brighton side. The rationale for him is similar to for Murray in that I’m targeting the fixtures when I don’t have any information about form.
Dendonker is probably a lock unless someone else emerges.
Ever since I saw Kane at 11.0 I’ve been itching to put him into my team. He hasn’t been the same for a while, but he has some serious pedigree, Spurs have decent alternating fixtures, he’s finally had a rest and he’s shown he can score in August. He’s also a good price to alternate with Auba, who has a similar potential to rack up points.
There will be a few question marks about Adams and Abraham, as neither are nailed and Southampton have terrible fixtures. They do offer potentially great value though, as Adams has a decent pedigree, Southampton looked very good under Hassenhuttl’s press and although I think he will play both, I expect Ings to get injured at some point, which should strengthen his appeal. Looking at how Lampard has been setting up pre season, I don’t think Giroud fits Chelsea’s style of play and I think Tammy has the edge over Bat man, which would make him an absolute bargain at that price. After Gameweek 3 their fixtures get very nice.
A Contrarian FanTeam Optimised Draft
At the moment, this isn’t actually contrarian, as I haven’t faded Liverpool / City so it’s more of a value-orientated draft.
Exactly the same rationale as for my main draft.
I’ve gone 5 at the back, as statistically the most value is in the defence, I just never like to play that way in FPL. This is my chance to see how it plays out and to use anything I learn playing FanTeam for my actual FPL team in the future.
I’ve gone with the Liverpool, City and Everton players that I feel offer the most attacking threat (apart from VVD – he’s been selected for his price).
Delph I’ve gone block Everton defence for now, as I do like their fixtures despite the reservations post Zouma and Gueye. He should have received some assurances about starts and he’ll be playing in midfield as an OOP defender.
Salah, Sterling, Groß and Dendonker have been included for the reasons mentioned above, but I will probably get rid of at least one of Salah / Sterling to go more contrarian.
Pereyra has been selected for a similar reason to the ones mentioned for Deulofeu, he’s just cheaper and he started last season very well.
Vardy is a nice price point that enables a downgrade to quite a few players that could be great value. He’s also the talisman for a very talented, attacking Leicester team, he’s fixture proof and on penalties.
Greenwood and Abraham have been included for the reasons mentioned above.
- Henderson (4.0) and Abraham (5.5) look to be bargains
- Use your additional team(s) to hedge against your main draft. If you’ve got a strong feeling about how certain players / teams will start the season, then use the advantage of another entry to protect you if things don’t go as you predicted.
- Learning experience – use this game to try different strategies to learn from them so you can take away these learnings and apply them to your FPL game without the pressure of it being your only team.
- Fixtures over form – in the absence of any form information you have to give significant weighting to fixtures.
There’s still a Massive Overlay – there are currently around 850 entries (€21,250), the overall prize pot is €250,000, which means there’s a massive overlay of €228,750. An overlay is effectively free money going into the pot. There will be an overlay if there are less than 10,000 entries and you will be guaranteed to get at least your stake back if there are only 1,250 entries. As it stands you will win back at least your stake unless 400 more teams sign up.
It has been noted that one player has signed up 100 teams, which is a very expensive strategy. I think he’s going to block his teams to ensure that he’s guaranteed to get a very good start, but it’s a 38 week season and a good start doesn’t guarantee a good finish. It will be very difficult to actively manage 100 teams and I wouldn’t let that put you off entering.
If you spend a reasonable amount of time on FPL then you should definitely consider having a crack at this game, the potential winnings could be life changing and you’re not really spending any additional effort in order to participate.
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