As part of FISO’s special series of weekly articles on FanTeam, Europe’s biggest daily fantasy football provider, we will actually be entering the team we write about each week into the game. This series will focus on FanTeam’s Premier League Classic Event, a daily fantasy league based on the EPL games using classic fantasy football rules. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for this weekly tournament to help you identify game rules, tactics and the most promising players per gameweek, so you can win some of that large prize money.
Our FISO team below will be entered into this week’s €20 entry (€100k prize pool) Main Event, which has a maximum entry limit of 6,332 participants. Every week, we’ll report back on how our team performed in the previous week. A finish in the top 1,264 would see us win part of the prize pool of which the winner takes home a cool €10,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool (of which the winner should get about €1,300) for those who prefer to play with lower stakes.
Before moving onto our team selection, we want to highlight a couple of FanTeam rules that they apply to their Weekly Monster competition and that represent some of the major differences when comparing the game to the FPL.
Number one is that FanTeam have a rule called the ‘safety net’. The safety net comes into play when a selected player does not start in the Weekly Monster, because the game will then automatically replace this player with the next lowest-priced player from the same position (GK, DEF, MID, FOR) in the same team. This is regardless of whether or not your selected player does take to the field later in the game. This rule helps people who have entered a team into the Weekly Monster not to worry too much about whether their selected players will start or not, particularly if they know there are cheaper players for that same club in that same position who should start instead.
Number two is that FanTeam also have a ‘stacking penalty’ for the Weekly Monster, which penalises teams that have selected more than one defenders/goalkeeper from the same club. The stacking penalty comes into play when you pick more than one defensive player (defenders or goalkeepers) from a particular club and this club records a clean sheet. The points awarded for this clean sheet will decrease by 1 point for each additional defensive player from the same club that you have selected. The stacking penalty has a maximum of minus 3 points. This rule helps stop multi-entrants from gaining an advantage by submitting block defence teams. A reasonable tactic can be to select two players from two different clubs for your Goalie and Defenders, which would see you incur just 2 single-point deductions if you nail both clean sheets correctly.
Our early team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 5
Gameweek 5 is a particularly hard one to predict in terms of results and potential star performers. The teams that would usually be considered clear favourites (Chelsea, Man City, Spurs, Leicester etc) are all either facing in-form opposition or have shown us over the past four weeks that their form is far from consistent at the moment. As a result, we are left with an abundance of expensive to very premium options carrying a relatively large risk of blanking. The question, most of all, was to what extent we wanted to stretch the very tight budget this weekend in order to bring in risky favourites and then compensating with very low-priced, no-expectation picks to fill out our 11-men squad.
One thing we do know this season is that goals are being scored and penalties are way up compared to previous seasons. Match of the Day even dedicated a short segment to it in one of their last episodes. Goals have been scored for fun this campaign and clean sheets have been rare, so we decided to try and pick a FanTeam squad based on these trends. The core of our team consists of Sheffield United and Manchester City picks, combined with a Spurs premium ace and a cheap goalkeeper as budget enabler. The rest of the squad is built up of picks based on individual (goal-scoring) ability and penalty duties. In other words, players who might not see 3 points coming their way this weekend, but who are likely to be involved in the goals should their teams score.
MANCHESTER CITY – The favourites
One of the main talking points in the FPL world in the build-up to gameweek 5 is the fitness of Man City star Kevin de Bruyne. The midfielder was withdrawn in the 73rd minute on Sunday in the Nations League encounter with England and then sent back to Manchester for further examination. Whilst several sources, including Belgian national team coach Roberto Martinez, confirmed that these were precautionary measures more than anything and recent reports have stated that the player has been suffering from muscle stiffness, Pep has today said that KDB will miss the Arsenal match. With KDB not fit for the game, then we’ve gone with Raheem Sterling. Should Sterling not start either, then Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva are next in line.
Our second Man City pick is winger Riyad Mahrez, this round’s fourth-most expensive FanTeam asset. The Algerian wizard started in the last two Premier League games for Pep Guardiola’s team and looks set for another start against the Gunner with injuries and fitness doubts surrounding a number of attacking City assets. Besides that, the former Leicester star is simply a very good player who deserves a starting spot. He has a goal and an assist to this name so far, which both came against Leicester in gameweek 2, for a total of 12 FT points. Mahrez played two games and 180 minutes for Algeria over the break, and scored against Mexico, but both games took place in Northern Europe and he looked fit for his return to England.
SHEFFIELD UNITED – The defence
The 2020-21 campaign is looking like a tough one for Sheffield United, one of potential consolidation or suffering after a stellar return to the Premier League last season. The Blades were perhaps too hesitant this summer to bring new faces into the already rather stretched squad, though they did secure Rhyan Brewster’s signature towards the end of the window. In any case, it’s zero points from four games for them so far, with just a single goal scored and five conceded. Despite the disappointing start to the season, we find it hard to believe that all of last season’s qualities have just disappeared overnight and this weekend’s home game against Fulham presents a good opportunity for them to book the first points of the season.
The Cottagers are last at the moment, without points and a negative goal difference of -8, result of conceding 11 goals and scoring just 3. All three of those goals were scored in the 4-3 away loss against Leeds, by the way. That’s why we feel Sheffield United has one of the best chances on a clean sheet this weekend, and why we have doubled up on their defence: George Baldock and Jack Robinson. The former already has an assist to his name and ranks third amongst all defenders for touches in the penalty area, while the latter is the cheapest starting defender for the Blades. In case of a clean sheet, the Stacking Penalty will be applied, but a Sheffield United defensive double-up looks like a wise use of limited funds.
SOUTHAMPTON – The bargains
Besides Manchester City and Sheffield United, our FanTeam fantasy selection for gameweek 5 contains a third double-up, but for different reasons. Southampton are facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and despite being the clear underdogs in this one, the Saints roster does offer some potential, not in the last place due to the budget price tags of their players.
First off is goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who’s been very good so far this season. Apart from the 5 goals conceded against Spurs in gameweek 2, the Southampton defence have conceded just 1 goal in three games. Their last two games ended with clean sheets and as a result, McCarthy currently sits on 18 FT points. Just three goalies have recorded more this season. Even though a clean sheet away at Chelsea would be considered a major surprise and a super achievement, it’s not completely out of the question. We have picked him for the combination of his low price tag, good individual quality and considerable saves potential. He has, so far, recorded 8 saves and even in the very possible absence of a clean sheet against Chelsea, we do count on a few save points from the Scot.
The story for our selection of Danny Ings is a bit similar, though instead of save points, we’re hoping for a goal. As we wrote earlier, Chelsea are the favourites here, but that doesn’t mean that the Saints don’t provide any potential for points. Where the Blues have already conceded 6 goals in four games, Southampton have scored 5 goals in four games. In other words, this encounter could end up being a high-scoring one and in that case, we want Ings on our team, especially at his current bargain price. He played 90 minutes over the international break and scored against Wales, while he already has 3 goals to his name in the Prem. With penalty duties in his pocket as well, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the score sheet against Chelsea.
THE INDIVIDUAL GUNS
As we said in our introduction, for various reasons, our team for gameweek 5 also contains a few picks based on individual qualities and the (offensive) importance of each of these players to their respective teams.
We’re starting with our captain for this round, Tottenham’s very own Harry Kane. Spurs have had a pretty spectacular start to the season with 2-5 and 1-6 victories away at Newcastle and Manchester United, combined with rather underwhelming home results against Everton in GW1 (0-1 loss) and Newcastle (1-1) in GW3. The consensus seems to be that Mourinho’s men thrive against teams playing a high defensive line, but suffer more against teams setting up a deeper-lying defensive block. This weekend’s visitors West Ham are in good form and expected to rely on a tight defensive set-up at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, so we definitely don’t expect this one to be a walk in the park for the home team. Still, Harry Kane is Harry Kane and in his current form, he seems hard to stop. He already has a whopping 3 goals and 6 assists to his name from just four games, and he has created more chances than any other player in the league so far. On top of that, No other player in the league has a higher expected goal involvement than the English international.
Our decision to go for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this weekend is very similar to the one justifying picking Danny Ings. The Gunners are the underdogs in Saturday’s away game against Man City, but it’s not like the home team has been so incredibly invincible so far this season. Guardiola’s men have taken just 4 points from their first three games and perhaps even more worrying, they have conceded 7 goals in the process. As a result, they currently boast a very uncharacteristic -1 goal difference. That’s also why we feel that, while City work on their defensive stability, the Gunners might be able to sneak in a goal or two this weekend and if they do, Auba is likely to be involved, especially because he takes the pens as well. Like Chelsea versus Southampton, this could end up being another high-scoring affair.
Next up is Matheus Pereira, the orchestrator of almost all of West Bromwich Albion’s attacking moves. The Brazilian is a bit of an outfield pick, especially at a relatively expensive 9.0m, but that has more to do with the team he’s part of than his individual qualities. The Baggies have had a tough start to the season with just 1 point from four games, but Pereira has been one of their positive talking points. After registering an incredible 16 assists in the Championship last season, he currently sits on 2 assists and 1 goal, giving him a direct goal involvement in no less than 60% of all of West Brom’s goals. There won’t be a lot of games this season in which the Baggies won’t be the underdogs, but this weekend’s home game against struggling Burnley might be one of them. The Clarets have taken just 1 point from the first three games and they have conceded 8 goals in the process. Again, this one could go both ways with two teams in dire need of points facing each other, and West Brom’s playmaker could be the one to mark the difference.
Picking Leandro Trossard to complete our midfield set-up has gone pretty much along the same lines, with the major difference being that Brighton are a better team than West Brom. The Seagulls are showing clear signs of improvement in comparison to last year and they were unlucky not to get more than their current 3 points from four games. Against the Man United back in GW3 alone, they hit the woodwork an incredible five times. Three of those attempts were launched by Trossard. The Belgian is generally positioned very high up the pitch, at times even higher than Brighton striker Maupay, and he is on several set-pieces as well. He has delivered returns in three of this season’s four games for a total of 21 FT points already and this weekend it’s Crystal Palace away for the Belgian. The Eagles have come off two back-to-back defeats against Everton and Chelsea, and even though there is no clear favourite for this encounter, an attacking return from Trossard is far from off the cards.
After selecting the above ten players, we still had one defensive spot left to fill and 6.1m to make it work. We ended up going with Wolves’ new acquisition Marçal, who is expected to return from injury and slot right back in at left-wingback. The team has had a bit of an underwhelming start to the 2020-21 campaign, but that is mainly due to their hampering attacking output. Defensively, they have conceded 7 goals, but all of those goals came in two games, namely the 4-0 defeat at West Ham and the 1-3 home loss versus Man City. The games against Sheffield United in GW1 and Fulham in GW4 ended with clean sheets. This weekend, the Wolves are up against Leeds at Elland Road. The Whites have been one of the revelations so far this season and they could very well end up putting a few past Wolves keeper Patricio, but with the remaining budget, Marçal is probably the pick with the highest points ceiling. Apart from the chance of a clean sheet as part of a pretty sound defensive set-up, he could also be involved in some attacking moves, as Leeds do leave spaces to exploit in every game.
Do check out FanTeam’s Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs before finalising your team. You will only be able to see the starting line-ups for the 1st fixture of the GW – Chelsea v Southampton.