The Premier League is upon us, and millions of fantasy players will be looking to create their teams before it kicks-off on Saturday. Picking out 15 players on a virtual budget of £100 million is not an easy task (this article is written with the fantasy league on fantasypremierleague.com in mind), but the combination of last season’s top performers, this year’s new additions from outside the EPL, and few cheaper options should be enough to compete for some of the prizes.
David de Gea (Man United) £5.5 Million
The Spaniard collected 15 clean sheets in 2015/16, and will be one of the favourites for the Golden Glove in this campaign. Man United had a relatively stable defence under Van Gaal, but now with Mourinho at the helm, they could fare even better.
Obviously, you need to select a backup GK, so that should be a player who is a No.1 in his respective team but has a lower valuation. The best options are Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough, £4.5 mil), Tom Heaton (Burnley, £4.5 mil), and Artur Boruc (Bournemouth, £4.5 million).
To select five defenders, you’ll need to consider a few categories. The first is the number of goals his team is conceding, so apparently you’d choose one from top defensive teams like Man United or Tottenham. The defender’s contribution in attack is also important, and fullbacks who can assist are great additions to your squad. Last but not least – towering centre-backs should be considered who are efficient in both defending and scoring from indirect set-pieces.
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) £6.5 million
The right-back finished last season at the top of the fantasy defender charts with 18 clean sheets, six assists and a goal.
The speedy Spaniard is often the part of Arsenal’s attacking scheme and is one of the best players in his position at the moment.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) £6.5 million
His partnership with compatriot Vertonghen is phenomenal, and Toby flourished with 13 clean sheets, four goals, and three assists. He and Bellerin are the two most selected defenders in Fantasy this year.
Leighton Baines (Everton) £5.5 million
Baines didn’t have a good season last year after series of injuries and Everton’s inconsistency in general. However, he is still dangerous in attack, especially from direct set-pieces, so his tally of 23 goals and 36 assists in his last six seasons cannot be ignored.
Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) £5.5 million
The towering centre-back is a constant threat from corners and free-kicks, and he’s reliable in defence as well. Although Dann had only eight clean sheets to his name last season, his five goals and two assists made him a decent defensive option.
Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) £5 million
Van Aanholt was one of the key Sunderland players in 2015/16 and emerged as one of the league’s top left-backs in his breakthrough year. The Dutchman scored six goals and added four assists last season and should be a big part of Black Cats’ offence once again.
Riyad Mahrez, Dimitri Payet, and Mesut Ozil are obvious choices in midfield, but each is one of them is worth at least £9.5m, so choosing only one will leave more cash for creating a well-balanced team.
Willian (Chelsea) £7.5 million
Chelsea mounted their worst ever title defence in league history last season, but Willian stood out from the bunch with five goals and 10 assists. The Brazilian also scored a couple of incredible free-kicks, so he should be considered as one of the must-have players in your team.
Dusan Tadic (Southampton) £7.5 mil
The Serbian had a fantastic season and will now be the key man in Puel’s midfield after Sane’s departure. He scored eight goals and assisted 13 times and is a great addition.
Dele Alli (Tottenham) £8.5 million
Alli had an interesting year at White Hart Lane and helped his club reach the Champions League with ten goals and 12 assists. He could easily replicate last season in an extraordinary partnership with Harry Kane.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) £7.5 million
Sigurdsson has been the best player at the Liberty Stadium for a couple of years and has managed to record 18 goals and 14 assists during this period. Now, with Andre Ayew’s move to West Ham, he will be even more efficient in 2016/2017. Great player and excellent value.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) £8.5 million
The Brazilian was one of few solid performers at Liverpool last year. The former Hoffenheim man showed his quality with ten goals and eight assists, and he can occasionally be deployed as a striker that will help him add more goals to his account.
Vardy, Kane, and Aguero should again battle for the EPL top scorer, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku ready to make the competition amongst the elite strikers more fierce, it’s tough to pick more than one of them due to high valuation. Let’s take a look at some more affordable options.
Andy Carroll (West Ham) £6.5 million
Carroll scored nine goals last year, and he will be the key figure in Bilic’s attack in 2016/17 as well. The Croatian manager added more power to the midfield, and with right contribution from Payet, Feghouli and the rest of the teammates, Carroll could reach 15 goals without a problem.
Fernando Llorente (Swansea) £6.5 million
Llorente struggled at Sevilla last season, but he will be the main striker in Swansea this year after Gomis’ transfer to Marseille. He could be an excellent option as the third forward in your fantasy team, and is certainly worth a gamble at the beginning.
Alvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough) £6.5 million
Negredo’s comeback to the Premier League could turn out to be a fantastic move for Middlesbrough, and he should be a good rotation player in your 15-man squad. A target of ten goals would be a very realistic one for the Spaniard.
Suggested 15-man squad for the 2016/17 EPl Fantasy Season: De Gea £5.5M, Valdes £4.5M- Bellerin £6.5M, Alderweireld £6.5M, Dann £5.5M, Van Aanholt £5M, Baines £5.5M – Alli £8.5, Tadic £7.5, Willian £7.5, Sigurdsson £7.5, Firmino £8.5M – Lukaku £9M, Llorente £6.5M, Negredo £6.5M
The provisional squad is worth of between £100 and £101 million, so you can make an alteration or two.