Wacky Premier League start puts FPL players in a conundrum

Premier League Football

Written by Andy Jones (@TheRamblingHam)

As International week comes to a close with England in action against Denmark tonight, we can start to look ahead to what is likely to be another spectacular round of Premier League (PL) football – and with that, the Fantasy Premier League (FPL)  returns.

Before the break we saw a glut of goals in the most unexpected of settings.

Man United’s failure to stop the Kane and Son show, Virgil van Dijk’s inability to just drop off  five yards and a West Ham United side who look terrifying with Michail Antonio leading the line.

All of this has made the life of any Fantasy Premier league manager a little tough.

Calling the shots has been harder for FPL players this year, the form book has well and truly been ripped up.

So with that in mind let’s take a look at who has performed and who has not in the opening rounds of this year’s competition – is it time to use your wildcard?

The Usual Suspects – Captain material

Now not all is doom and gloom within the fantasy football fraternity, the usual suspects – well some of them anyway – seem to be performing at the levels required of premium FPL real estate.

Harry Kane and Heung-min Son remain top of the leaderboard in terms of points accumulated, the South Korean just pipping the England captain by a point with 45pts.

Both players still remain unselected by the vast majority of managers, Kane is only selected in 23.7% of squads with Son marginally ahead on 29.8%.

The fact that most managers seem unable to trust Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side in the early stages of this campaign may prove a fatal mistake.

Kane and Son are running rings round PL defences this season, just take a look at Harry Maguire & Co.

Their inability to tame the Spurs duo gave managers of the two another huge points haul in Gameweek 4 – a staggering 34 points combined – not a bad return!

Having either of these two in your side – if not both – is a sure thing right now, Son is the more tempting of the two if you prefer to not to double up, at £9.1m he is value for money as his midfield status earns him that extra point-per-goal – with 6 already it’s a tasty proposition.

Mo Salah was maybe the only player to get out of the debacle that was Liverpool’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Jack Grealish’s Villa.

The Egyptian forward bagged another couple of goals to save what blushes his side had left at Villa Park.

A hefty price for the Egyptian King, but he brings value in an almost certain way.

His consistency over the past two seasons is still there and whether Liverpool win or lose they tend to always score.

Selected by 43.5% of managers at the eye watering £12.2m he is the FPL’s most expensive player but well trusted – I smell goals at Goodison Park in the Merseyside Derby.

The Surprise Packages – Get ‘em in now

Every year there are players that bring immense value to your squad and this season is no different.

Teams such as Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham are all contributing some top hidden gems within their ranks.

Jack Grealish is in scintillating form right now, both for Villa and England, his brace against Liverpool with an assist to boot put his form up to a league high 11.7 pts per game.

The Villa midfielder comes in at £7.1m and looks like a great bargain –  if you snap him up soon – selected in only 15.7% of squads his value is going to rise and managers would be foolish to ignore this one.

His Villa teammate Ezri Konsa is a cheap option in defence right now too, a solid start to the season the English centre-half is one to keep an eye on for sure.

Carlo Ancelotti is doing an Italian Job at Goodison Park steering the Toffees to top of the table with a 100% win record so far.

New signing James Rodriguez looks a steal at only £7.8m as he could prove to be worth close to £10m by this time next year.

Ancelotti’s chief playmaker Rodriguez is at the heart of all things good at Everton, a great effort in GW4 with two goals and an assist, Rodriguez will bag plenty more as the season unfolds.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is reaping the benefits of his own hard work and the addition of Rodriguez behind him.

At £7.6m the England striker looks to be the hottest prospect in the FPL right now, anyone without him runs the risk of dropping some serious points.

Selected by 48.5% of managers – people seem to be sussing this one out!

I don’t think I have ever recommended any West Ham players for an FPL team, but this year David Moyes is turning the Hammers into a bit of a surprise package.

West Ham have kept two back-to-back clean sheets in a season where clean sheets are like gold dust.

Aaron Cresswell looks a good bet for a cheap defender option, the English full-back can provide assists with his superb delivery from the left as well as at set pieces, he could bring value and some financial balance to your squad he is only £4.9m.

Cresswell’s teammate Jarrod Bowen is a firm favourite of Moyes and is a guaranteed starter who has just hit some form and at £6.3m he could become a key differential as only 1.8% have the winger selected – he could help your team claw back some points on your mini league competitors.

A mention for Callum Wilson, the Newcastle and former Cherries striker has started life in the North East in spectacular form amassing a total of 34pts so far, and with Wilson on penalty duties he is a great option upfront.

At £6.5m he is an alternative to the more expensive Jiminez (£8.6m) and Ings (£8.5m) and is performing better than either so far in terms of FPL points.

Just leave please – NO value here!

This next segment is likely to raise a few eyebrows as some top players will be told to do one, the value for money of the elite priced players is staggering this season.

The wacky topsy turvy results seen almost every weekend so far, paired with the inability for professional footballers to defend has meant some FPL stalwarts are lingering behind.

Man City have made an indifferent start to the campaign and their top assets, Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are not offering the value required for their huge cost.

Aguero is injured and is an obvious omission but KDB and Sterling who are worth £11.6m and £11.5m respectively are draining resources for FPL managers.

KDB is still selected by 40% of FPL coaches and the theory is he will keep scoring, assisting and taking penalties – whilst all of this is true I would still take Son who is £2.5m cheaper.

Sterling isn’t doing enough either, with players like Salah or Sadio Mane being more attractive as Pep Guardiola’s side struggle to find their form.

If you’re looking for a Man City player to bring value, check out Phil Foden, at £6.6m. The Mancunian is starting every week after the departure of David Silva.

Foden’s cheap price could prove an inspired choice, however, picking City players is a risk right now and the temptation is to wait a few more weeks before taking the punt.

Another member of FPL royalty is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Arsenal captain has had a slow start to the season and at £11.9m he just is not worth his new midfield status  – his teammate Willian at £7.9m is a much better option which can free up funds elsewhere in your squad.

Time to use that Wildcard?

Seasoned FPL managers will be aware that you get two wildcards in a season – one in each half of the season – post-international break could be the perfect time to give your squad a shakeup.

As results and player form has been hard to gauge this year managers may feel their squads lack balance or longevity, and with that in mind using your wildcard before this weekends fixtures could be an inspired move.

Many managers have ditched Kane and Son in previous weeks and this could be an opportunity to fill your squad with the in form players.

Man United’s Bruno Fernandes is still selected by 20.2% of teams, but swapping him out for Son would be a wise choice. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have looked poor so far this year and their humiliating defeat at the hand of former boss Mourinho could linger like a hangover for several games.

Villa and Everton’s starts to the campaign have made their cheaper squads very tempting, and the use of the wildcard could enable you to get a squad of cheaper assets –  saving your cash for the big boys when the form book stabilises.

After all, FPL needs to be thought out in advance –  short-term fixes will leave you chopping and changing constantly, playing catch up as you fall behind the curve of the form players.