The 2018/19 Premier League season is officially underway. Five of England’s six ‘elite’ clubs were victorious on the opening weekend and fans of those teams will be optimistic ahead of what could be a successful campaign. From a fantasy football perspective though, there is more to life than those players at top Premier League clubs.
Take Ruben Neves for example. Wolverhampton Wanderers secured automatic promotion to the top-flight last season – winning the Championship title by nine points. According to WhoScored, Neves was one of their standout players in the second tier, scoring six goals whilst assisting one in 42 Championship appearances during the campaign. An impressive feat…
Most neutrals expected Neves to hit the ground running in the Premier League but not even he could have dreamt of a better debut. The Portuguese winger scored Wolves’ first goal of the campaign before assisting Raul Jimenez for a late equaliser, notching 12 points on the official fantasy Premier League game. His stock, value and popularity with players is going to shoot up due to those excursions.
However, it’s not all about Neves. In fact, there are a few fantasy football goldmines around this year. Some are obvious, others less so but all of these can help you to finish above your fantasy football rivals. Here are just a few of our favourite players to acquire ahead of the 2018/19 fantasy season.
Mohamed Salah (£13.0 million)
An obvious pick but an absolute must-have in your fantasy team. With every man and his dog selecting Salah, you are in danger of being cast away if you look elsewhere. Yes, he is pricey but you get an immense return on your investment. Salah was the only player to score over 230 fantasy points last season – the Egyptian finished the campaign with 303.
Salah got off to the perfect start against West Ham United on the opening weekend; the 2017/18 Golden Boot winner notched Liverpool’s opening goal of the season. Salah’s value is only going to rise so it may prove prudent to pick him up now before he becomes even more expensive.
Benjamin Mendy (£6.1 million)
Mendy is currently leading the way in terms of assist fantasy football points for defenders – the Manchester City man notched an impressive 15 total points in their victory at Arsenal and 8 more in their hammering of Huddersfield on Sunday. With two assists and a clean sheet in the first match and two more assists in the second match, Mendy has been instrumental both going forward and at the back. Without a doubt, he is a more exciting option at left-back than Fabian Delph.
Pep Guardiola has been full of praise for Mendy in recent times and he could be a pivotal figure for the Blues this year. Infogol articles have tipped City to retain the Premier League crown this campaign and it would take a brave man to back against Pep’s side – especially if Mendy is at his brilliant best for the entire season.
James Tarkowski (£5.0 million)
Burnley’s rock at the heart of the defence, Tarkowski is maturing into a solid defender at Premier League level. He made his England debut earlier this year and he has a bright future ahead of him if he continues to develop at Turf Moor. Sean Dyche knows how central he is to Burnley’s defensive prowess – arguably their most important trait as a team.
£5 million is an absolute bargain for a regular starter; Tarkowski will almost certainly play the full 90 minutes in every Premier League fixture this campaign barring any long-term setback. Place your trust in Tarkowski now and good things will happen; he should rank as one of the top scoring defenders if Burnley can emulate last season’s exploits and has already shown on Sunday that he can get in amongst the goals.
Felipe Anderson (£7 million)
West Ham United were a bit of a mess on the opening weekend. Ripped to shreds by Jurgen Klopp’s potent Liverpool offense, the Hammers were given a hammering at Anfield but you won’t find too many fans writing Manuel Pellegrini’s side off just yet. It was always going to take time for West Ham to adapt to the Chilean’s style although he will be under more pressure after they unexpectedly lost at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.
Felipe Anderson arrives at West Ham with bags of experience and he looks primed to enjoy a successful first season in English football. He was central to Lazio’s success in recent years and Anderson should link up nicely with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Marko Arnautovic. Watch this space, he will get better as the season goes on.
Eden Hazard (£10.5 million)
A consistent scorer on fantasy football since joining Chelsea back in 2012, Hazard could hit a new gear this campaign. With reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid, the Belgium star will want to shine and he should flourish under new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri. Hazard might even push Salah close for the top fantasy points scorer in 2018/19.
The Chelsea star came off the bench with 14 minutes to go in the first weekend but managed to snag an assist and did the same thing against Arsenal on Saturday. In terms of talent, Hazard is up there with the best players in the top flight and he should feature prominently on fantasy football. Currently selected by just 11% of teams, that will change in the coming weeks as he continues his recovery after the World Cup.
Dele Alli (£9.0 million)
Last but not least, we have Tottenham’s Dele Alli. The Spurs man has been a breath of fresh air since moving to the Premier League from Milton Keynes Dons in 2015 – Tottenham owe a lot to the England star. Alli got his name on the scoresheet against Newcastle United in the first gameweek and looked dangerous on Saturday at home to Fulham and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him shine for most of the season.
Alli is on the road to greatness; a belief supported by a very interesting statistic. The Spurs man has been directly involved in 64 Premier League goals at just 22 years old; Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard were involved in 18 and 33 respectively. Alli is central to Spurs’ style of play and Mauricio Pochettino will rely on his midfield exploits – and so should fantasy players.