Fantasy Premier League GW1 – All You Need to Know
The new Premier League season kicks-off on a Friday evening (11th August at 19:45 GMT) for the first time in history, meaning just one thing for us Fantasy Premier League managers – lineups must be set before 18:45 that day. Arsenal host Leicester City at the Emirates for the opener, but which players will hold the most points after the weekend is done?
Before every Gameweek (GW) in the upcoming season we’ll be putting together articles such as this to provide strategy and tips on how to manage your fantasy team. Our focus is to not only advise you on players to transfer in and out of your squad (and the correct time to do so), but also to let you know the best points in the season to use your bench boost, free hit, and triple captain tokens.
Below you’ll find the GW1 starting lineup for the Free Super Tips Fantasy Premier League team and reasoning to our selections. Think you can do better? Challenge our expert every single week and be in with a chance to win free prizes if you beat our team’s score! Read on for more information.
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Forwards are where your squad will succeed or fail. Given our inclusion of Dele Alli from Spurs (read more below), we’re actually avoiding last season’s top scorer, Harry Kane, but that doesn’t make him a bad selection. His exclusion, alongside our decision to pass on Man United’s Romelu Lukaku, is to allow for a more even spread of our allocated forward budget.
Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) – £10.5m
Lacazette looks to be the answer to Arsene Wenger’s striker problems. Though unproven in the Premier League, the Frenchman’s promising pre-season and prior record in the French Ligue 1 make him an exciting alternative – selected by just 17%. Lacazette is one of the cheaper forwards from the “big 6” and will have plenty of opportunity to prove himself over Arsenal’s “favourable” opening fixtures – six of their first eight outings are rated 2 or lower on the Fixture Difficulty Rating (FDR).
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – £10.5m
Gabriel Jesus has been a huge fantasy prospect since making his first appearance for Manchester City back in January. So far, Jesus has recorded 7 goals and 4 assists over eight outings for the Citizens, and not for a spell sidelined, he’d have registered a whole lot more. While Pep’s rotation makes selecting other City players like Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, or David Silva a risk, Guardiola seems to have a soft side for the young Brazilian. After his involvement in pre-season, we expect Jesus to be very much included in Pep’s plans going forward, whether than be up front or on the wing.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – £8.5m
Roberto Firmino was not just the 4th highest scoring forward in terms of points last season, but his 180 point total gave him one of the highest points/per million averages of any forward. Ahead of the new season, the addition of Mohammed Salah to Liverpool’s midfield only strengthens Firmino’s chances to get on the score-sheet, while during pre-season there’s also been some talk of Firmino taking over penalty duties from James Milner.
With a large chunk of our budget being invested on forwards, in midfield we’ve opted for one expensive target (£9m or more), three mid-range performers (between £6.0m and £8.5m), and one “back up” option (£5.5m or less). All of these players should show consistency within their price bracket and, ideally, on occasion outperform them.
Dele Alli (Spurs) – £9.5m
Dele Alli has been a revelation since joining Spurs and has huge potential to develop even further in the next 12 months. Last term’s 18 goal and 11 assist total actually earned him more fantasy points than Golden Boot winner Harry Kane and there isn’t another midfielder in his price range that possesses the same threat to break the 20-goal mark this season.
Willian (Chelsea) – £7m
Willian found himself taking time off (and eventually sidelined for Pedro) after the death of his mother during Chelsea’s 2016/2017 campaign, but the Brazilian has an opportunity to resurface and impress in the absence of Eden Hazard in the coming weeks. While his position in our team might only be temporary, last season’s statistics are enough for him to earn a spot for now – Willian’s 114 point total over ~1500 minutes is on par with Dele Alli’s 225 point total over the average of ~3000 minutes.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – £7m
Zaha looks to be the essential Palace player this season after his best ever fantasy run last term. His 4.3 points per match (ppm) average offers stronger value than Benteke’s 3.8ppm total and under new manager Frank de Boer’s 3-4-3 formation, he’s been switched to the left of a front three, freeing him from defensive responsibilities. Hence, he should only further this average going forward.
Nathan Redmond (Southampton) – £6.5m
Fantasy Premier League managers must look ahead on the fixture list when building their squads. Anybody that has already done so would surely identify Southampton players as early targets. While there’s an uncertainty to whether Gabbiadini or Charlie Austin (or both) will lead the Saints up front in the opener, Redmond’s position in the starting 11 seems a lot more secure. The Birmingham-born winger tallied 32 starts from his 37 appearances in the Premier League last season, and his 126 point total made him the 3-highest scoring midfielder under £7.0m.
Ander Herrera (Manchester United) – £5.5m
Herrera represents our “backup” midfielder and you could do a lot worse than the Spaniard for that role. Herrera is very much included in Mourinho’s plans going into the new season, so game time shouldn’t be a problem. He’s also proven himself more capable of creating chances for his team mates than ever, tallying six Premier League assists last term – a personal record.
Our strategy to play three up front in a 3-4-3 formation means we have to be wise about our defensive investment. We’re aiming to find two assured defensive options (both £5.5m or more), two alternating defenders on rotation (£5.0m or less), and one “none starter” (at £4.0m).
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) – £7.0m
Defenders who score goals are worth their weight in gold in Premier League Fantasy and after Marcos Alonso’s performance last season, it’s impossible to ignore the Spaniard ahead of the new one. Alonso’s wing-back role in Conte’s title winning campaign saw him score 6 goals and assist 3 alongside Chelsea’s 15 clean sheet total. His attacking threat is most evident through his 46 recorded shots – the most of any defender – which even betters the likes of Troy Deeney (42) and Mesut Ozil (40), despite playing fewer minutes.
Victor Lindelof (Manchester United) – £5.5m
Mourinho’s rearguard kept 17 clean sheets last season – a tally matched only by Spurs – and not many would bet against them maintaining those standards in the coming season. Lindelof is expected to partner Eric Bailly ahead of Chris Smalling in central defense for Man United’s opener and finds himself in our squad for the simple fact that he’s the cheaper of the two defenders (Bailly is £0.5m more expensive).
Cedric Soares (Southampton) – £5.0m
As mentioned before, investing in Southampton players is a must given the Saints’ upcoming fixtures. According to the FDR, no team matches the Saints’ run of 10 “favourable” – fixtures rated 2 or lower – matches over their opening 11 outings. On that basis alone we’ve opted for right back Cedric, though his left-sided counterpart, Ryan Bertrand, would also be a decent pick.
Nathan Ake (Bournemouth) – £5.0m
Nathan Ake’s insertion into Bournemouth’s starting 11 during his loan spell there last season coincided with some of the Cherries’ best performances of the campaign. Ake’s athleticism, tackling and understanding of the game made a real difference to the Bournemouth rearguard, but it was his goal threat which proved pivotal during that spell. Ake averaged a massive 6.1 points per start for Howe’s side and his value looks critical for teams looking for an edge.
Angel Rangel (Swansea) – £4.0m
Angel Ranger is simply one of the cheapest “filler” defenders available. Given he’s served at Swansea since 2011, he’s also one of the better £4.0m defenders in terms of potential for match time.
Jonas Lössl & Joel Coleman (Huddersfield) – £4.5m & £4.0m respectively
We’ve opted to take Jonas Lossl and Joel Coleman from Huddersfield Town for a few reasons. Huddersfield don’t (at the moment) have many desirable outfield players, so blocking up two of the three allowed players from a single team doesn’t limit our options elsewhere. Also, by having both the 1st and 2nd choice goalkeeper from the same team, and for £8.5m total at that, we also guarantee game time for one of them – no need to be using valuable trades. As Tom Heaton proved last season, goalkeepers can tally up some huge point totals from saves and bonus points if the defense in front of them is not up to par.
GW1 Miss List
Below you’ll find a list of notable absences ahead of gameweek 1 – add them to your lineups at your own risk!
Sanchez – Out
Ozil – Doubtful
Koscielny – Suspended
Defoe – Doubtful
Hazard – Out
Bakayoko – Out
Moses – Supsended
Barkley – Game Time Decision
Coleman – Out
Iborra – Out
Coutinho – Game Time Decision
Lallana – Out
Sturridge – Out
Clyne – Out
Mendy – Game Time Decision
Gundogan – Doutbful
Lingard – Doubtful
Shaw – Out
Gayle – Doubtful
Virgil van Dijk – Game Time Decision
Son – Out
Rose – Doubtful
Trippier – Doubtful
Lamela – Doubtful
Llorente – Out
Abraham – Doubtful
Sigurdsson – Game Time Decision
Deeney – Doubtful
McAuley – Out
Chadli – Doubtful
Brunt – Doubtful
Antonio – Out
Carroll – Out
Arnautovic – Doubtful
Lanzini – Doubtful