Welcome back to my Sky Sports Fantasy Football Diary. If you're new to the site, this series will keep track of my team over the season in the hope that it will help you with picks and strategies. Long-time readers (sufferers), will know that this was once upon a time the only content I produced. Thanks to the awesome hub contributors, there is now a ton of Sky resources available on the site.
Before we begin... a shameless plug. Dan Cox (previous overall winner) and I have put together a How To Win at Sky Sports Fantasy Football - The Complete Guide. It does what it says on the tin and covers pretty much everything you need to know in order to do well at the game. We also have a new membership level with access to the secret Sky facebook group and entry into a £100 prize league.
Its unlikely I'll be doing a weekly diary (I will try my best to), but I'll certainly be jumping in at key intervals throughout the season. In this episode I'll be doing some data collection, going over my squad before revealing my current draft to members.
Right, let's get to it...
It's worth reiterating that the Overhaul will take place in Gameweek 4, so there's not much point looking beyond that when assembling your initial squad. We have a fixture ticker coming to the site (hopefully very soon!). In the meantime, here is a quick screen grab from Carl's fixtures spreadsheet:
The Hive Mind
The power of the masses should not be underestimated. Whether you choose to follow the hive is completely up to you, but its useful information in any case.
I have selected players from each position that I believe most serious Sky players are considering. Obviously, I'll not be listing every player in the game and I'll undoubtedly miss a few that may have been in your latest draft. If that's the case, add them to the poll.
Often overlooked, but crucial given the extra two points for clean sheets. Select up to three that you are considering.
Lots to pick from here... choose up to 7
I'm going to miss a lot out here to make it manageable. Feel free to add. Pick up to 7.
Select up to 3
Please don't take this list as gospel, it's simply my own personal shortlist that I'm sharing with you. There are a lot of good options out there and I strongly encourage you to think out of the box when selecting players.
Liverpool are looking strong and defensively and they were better than most people gave them credit for last season. With the new signings they have made, and a tasty looking four fixtures to open, I expect them to improve further. At just 7.3, the Liverpool stopper is certainly worth a look.
Top scoring keeper last time out. The Spaniard's price (8m) now reflects that, but he still seems good value and a guaranteed route into a solid United backline. Given Mourinho's defensive nature, De Gea could well be the best United option and offers a captaincy route on the first gameday.
Laporte/ Stones / Mendy
I've grouped these three together as they all offer potential. With most City players (certainly defenders and defensive mids) likely to rack up passing bonus each game, its well worth investing in City assets. Laporte and Stones, in particular, will most likely bring home tier 2 passing bonus each game, so you're looking at a minimum 5 points per game and that's without clean sheets. There is a rotation risk involved with Kompany and Otamendi very capable of stepping in. If this worries you, Walker's guaranteed starts may be worth the extra outlay.
Passing bonus, tackle bonus, MOTM potential, and great fixtures. There are not a lot of downsides to the marauding Liverpool left-back. There are other options in the Liverpool backline and maybe a cheeky double up could be worth it (or triple if you go with Alison).
Everton haven't been playing well in pre-season, but they do have the best opening four fixtures on paper. Coleman could also be playing a more advanced role and offers bonus potential as well as the prospect of attacking returns.
Looks fit and could benefit from Valencia injury (Young may go to right back when he's back). A cheap route into the United backline and we'll at least get to see if he's starting the first game (another one who could cover captaincy).
Looks fairly nailed on in the Cardiff backline and comes in at a very friendly 5.4 price tag. Won't offer much else in terms of goal threat, but you can't ask for a lot at this price range.
Not 100% guaranteed pitch time, but coming in at a dirt cheap 5.2, playing out of position in midfield and offering goal (10 goals last season in the championship) and assist threat, the Scotsman looks vastly underpriced.
Coming in at just 6.1, this Frenchmen plays in the heart of the Wolves backline. Looking nailed on, and offering some goal threat (scored preseason), he could well be a canny budget buy.
At 6.6 and owned by just 0.6%, the Palace man has seemingly nailed down a spot of the right of midfield for Palace. Far from nailed on, but it does seem to be his spot to lose. Might even catch the eye for Sky pundits MOM awarders (given he is young and English). Decent opening fixtures for Palace and playing out of position could make him a canny differential.
Having a great pre-season and covers some tricky captaincy days early on. The flying winger is always a favourite for the Sky pundits and will no doubt grab a few MOTM awards. Transfer rumors circulating, so a slight worry that his head will be in the right place even if he does stay.
High chances of passing and tackle bonus for the Liverpool's new signing. Coming in at 9.2, the Guinean isn't too bad on the purse strings either. It wouldn't surprise me to see him chip in with the odd goal, assist and MOTM award either.
Looks set to be another passing and tackling machine for Chelsea and could easily bring home 5-8 points in bonus each match. At 9.3, the Italian could well be a solid points churner in midfield. Unlikely to get many attacking returns, but a MOTM award or two is not out of the question.
Receiving very high praise from Pep at the minute and looks assured of starts at the beginning. Likely to rack up passing bonus against weak opposition and could well be on for some MOTM awards (I went to Wembley on Sunday and he was MOTM in my view). At 9.3 the Portuguese playmaker is kinda on the purse strings than many of the City mids.
Guaranteed passing bonus and occasional tackle bonus. At 9.9 the Brazilain doesn't come cheap, but the Brazilian totaled 198 points last year, 6th best amongst midfielders.
Cairney & Seri
At 7.9 and 7.1 respectively, these two have the potential to rack up passing bonus at a budget price. The big question will be if Fulhamkeepn keep the ball. There are promising signs here as Jokanović (Fulham manager) has come out and said: "I like to have possession of the ball, I like to be dominant in the game, be solid and strong, smash somebody in the football game".
Aguero, Salah, Kane and Sanchez
You all know what these four are about, so I'll not jump into why they are good picks. Sanchez probably wouldn't make this shortlist if he wasn't the best captaincy option for the first day.
My current draft
I'll be revealing my current line up to members below, along with players who are nailed in my team (my essential picks) and those who's position could still shift. I'll also reveal my early captaincy plans.