Fantasy Premier League: Embracing the Underdogs in 2020-21

As the January transfer window nears, the opportunity for Fantasy Premier League players to implement wholesale changes to their teams draws closer. The possibility of new recruits has long been met with excitement by football fans, particularly those who like tinkering with their squad. While the likes of Liverpool are likely to add to their ranks to cover their season-long defensive injuries, others will instead enjoy a steadier period. So, how’s it best to approach the festive period and the January window? The answer, perhaps, lies with the English top-flight’s underdog teams. 

Injuries to Former Must-Have Selections 

As touched on above, the reigning Premier League champions are in desperate need of another defender in the January window. In the first few months of the season, the Reds lost both Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk to long-term injuries, leaving only Joel Matip as Liverpool’s only senior defender. By his own admission, Jurgen Klopp has hinted that recruitment in January is possible, declaring the Merseyside team will “look for solutions” in the transfer market.   

For many, Gomez and Van Dijk will have been obvious fantasy selections prior to their injuries. However, their absence has diminished FPL’s offerings regarding reliable central defenders. If the Reds do add another option in January, then it would be wise to steer clear of immediately picking them. Throughout his tenure at Anfield, Klopp has often bided his time when bedding-in new signings. As such, it’s unlikely that a new recruit would start consistently from the get-go, regardless of the champion’s current crisis.   

On the subject of injuries, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has also only recently made his return to the Citizens’ squad following a hamstring problem. While the temptation is there to turn to the prolific Argentine, it’s advisable to hold off on him for a short period. After suffering a knee problem in June 2020, Aguero returned on October 14th, before picking up his latest hamstring injury 11 days later. The 32-year-old’s talent is undeniable – his fitness, however, is becoming questionable, and his physicality will be tested to the limit over the festive period.   

Early Promise, but Is It Sustainable? 

As mentioned above, the fantasy solution to the Premier League’s upcoming period of fixture congestion and unpredictability may lie in the form of the underdogs. After nine matches, Southampton had lost just two games and found themselves sat in fifth place. Because of their impressive start to the campaign, as of November 26th, the Saints are 6/1 at football betting to finish in the top six come the end of the 2020-21 season. Aston Villa, on the other hand, had won five of their opening eight games, which included a 7-2 demolition of Liverpool. 

Regarding their ability to sustain their form, nothing is guaranteed, especially in the Premier League. However, given their absence from European competitions, their fixture scheduling will be less demanding than many of the division’s top sides. Crucially, this will help both on-form sides maintain a desired level of fitness without suffering fatigue, while also aiding in their efforts to keep injuries to a minimum. Because of that, turning to the likes of Che Adams, Jannick Vestergaard, Ollie Watkins, and Tyrone Mings, for example, may be the key to maximising FPL points over the winter months. 

Think Outside the Box 

Fantasy Premier League is all about testing football knowledge and problem-solving skills. Given the current top-flight season’s start, both form and injuries will have made many players rethink their approach. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as this period presents an opportunity to experiment with new players and systems.

FanTeam 2020-21: €100K Weekly Monster – Gameweek 10

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. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order to help you identify game rules, tactics and the most promising players per gameweek, so you can win some of that large prize money.

New users via above link receive free entry into the 10k Monster!

Our FISO team below will be entered into this week’s €20 entry (€100k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €10,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool 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. Do though check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your picks.

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.

Fixtures for the GW10 Monster:

Our team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 9

Formation: 3-4-3

General approach

For gameweek 10, FanTeam upped the ante by launching a €100K Weekly Monster. We have also been given a 110M budget to select a team of 11 players, including one goalkeeper, and the extra 10M is more than welcome. There are a lot of premium options available this round and on top of that, many of the games seem to be quite evenly matched, on paper at least. Games like Chelsea versus Spurs, West Bromwich Albion against Sheffield United and West Ham’s encounter with Aston Villa offer us plenty of interesting fantasy picks, but the results could go either way.

For our squad, we have largely focused on Leicester City (3 players), Everton (2 players), Manchester City (2 players) and Wolves (2 players). To complete our starting eleven, we added Burnley’s goalkeeper for budget reasons and one bonus striker from Leeds United. The FanTeam €100K Weekly Monster deadline is set at 12h30 (UK time), when Brighton and Liverpool kick off at the AmEx Stadium.

LEICESTER CITY

The Foxes disappointed last weekend against a depleted Liverpool side by conceding three goals without reply. This caused a bit of a dent in the club’s outsider title aspirations, but they still sit in fourth place, just two points off the top. The best remedy for such a disappointing result is a victory and in that sense, the home game against Fulham represents a great opportunity. The Cottagers have so far lost 7 of their 9 games in the league, and they conceded a worrying 18 games over that run. No other team conceded more.

That’s also why our triple Leicester selection is very attack-heavy. The first name on our sheet and our captain for this weekend is striker Jamie Vardy. Gameweek 9 saw him blanking for only the third time this season and we’re confident that he’ll be raring to make up for it this weekend. The Foxes forward has already scored 8 goals this season and before GW9, he returned a goal in three consecutive gameweeks. Fulham sit in the bottom four when it comes to goals conceded, shots on target conceded and big chances conceded, so we’re hoping Vardy will be able capitalise on Monday.

On top of that, we’re hoping that Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans will be joining any potential Vardy Party that may arise. We have included both the winger and the midfielder in support of the Leicester striker, despite their premium price tags. The former has looked threatening all season, but needs to become more clinical in front of goal, which we hope will happen against a leaky Fulham defence. His goal in the Europa League clash with Braga looks promising in that sense. The latter is currently the Fox in form for club and country, and he has been rested for that same European game, so he should be fresh and fit for the visit to Craven Cottage.

MANCHESTER CITY

The most expensive player in the FanTeam €100K Weekly Monster tournament for gameweek 10 is Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne and we added him to our team immediately after selecting and captaining Vardy. Like the rest of Pep Guardiola’s men, KDB has not been at his very best yet this season, but he is still one of the best players in the world. The Skyblues are now embarking on a theoretically kinder run of fixtures, starting with this weekend’s home game against Burnley, and we feel that the Belgian could be the man to lead his team to three points. He recorded 2 assists in his last three games and he also missed a penalty back in GW8. De Bruyne is our vice-captain in gameweek 10.

With Joao Cancelo, we also chose to bet on Burnley’s shyness in front of goal this season. Despite their mediocre results, the Cityzens actually boast some of the best defensive stats in the league. They have conceded the least shots, the least shots in the box and the shots on target, for example. They also recorded 2 clean sheets already, while only five teams in the league have conceded less than their 11 goals in 9 games. The Clarets, on the other hand, have managed to score just 4 goals so far, with the past five games resulting in just 1 goal in their favor. Sean Dyche’s men are going through a tough start of the season and we hope that this weekend, that leads to points at both ends of the pitch for Cancelo.

EVERTON

There could very well be a lot of goals all over in gameweek 10 and the Everton versus Leeds clash at Goodison Park has all the makings of being a big contributor, should that happen. The home team have already scored 19 goals while conceding 16 in 9 games. The away team have already scored 14 goals this season and conceded 17. In other words, this is a game between two effective attacks and two rather leaky defences. It could go either way in terms of the result, though on paper, the Toffees are probably favourite to win this one.

As a result, we have gone with both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucouré for our gameweek 10 €100K Weekly Monster team. The England striker was an expensive pick, but we simply couldn’t leave him out after scoring another 2 goals last weekend. He now sits on an incredible 10 goals from 9 games this season and has blanked just once so far, away at Saint Mary’s back in GW6. Doucouré is, naturally, less prolific in front of goal, but he does represent a nailed-on option in manager Carlo Ancelotti’s starting lineup. Having said that, the Frenchman did score his first goal of the season last weekend and will be coming into Saturday’s game in fine form.

WOLVES

From two of the leakiest, but also most spectacular side in the league to one of the most business-like. Only Spurs have conceded less goals than manager Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, which is also why the Wolves already have 4 clean sheets to their name. They are up for a serious challenge this weekend as they roll up to the Emirates on Sunday, but the home team won’t be looking forward to their visit either. The Gunners have scored just once in their last 5 Premier League games…

For this reason, we have gone with a Wolves double-up in defence. We have selected their wingbacks for this occasion, as both Nelson Semedo on the right and Rayan Aït Nouri on the left get plenty of freedom to bomb forward as part of Espirito Santo’s five-men defensive line. The former has yet to record an attacking return and the latter only scored on his debut back in gameweek 7 though, but their match-up with the ineffective Gunners combined with their relatively low price tags made them the ideal complements to our big guns in the middle and up front.

THE BONUS

Speaking of big guns up front, our bonus pick for gameweek 10 is Leeds striker Patrick Bamford. The young Englishman has surprised many a fantasy manager with his clinical form in front of goal this season as part of manager Marcelo Bielsa’s attacking machine. Bamfy has currently scored 7 goals already and he has supplied 2 assists on top of that. Earlier, we highlighted the likeliness of goals in Saturday’s game between Everton and Bamford at Goodison Park, and where Calvert-Lewin seems like a wise pick for this gameweek, so does the Bamford. He is the focal point of the Whites’ prolific attack and he will surely be getting some chances to score or assist against an Everton defence that has already conceded 16 goals in 9 games this season.

THE GOALKEEPER

In order to take full advantage of the increased budget this weekend, we opted for the cheapest goalkeeper pick possible. With Nick Pope out injured, Bailey Peacock-Farrell will be in goal Burnley when the visit the Etihad on Saturday. Despite the faltering of the Skyblue goal machine this season, the expectation is that BPF will get plenty to do against City. Considering our investment in De Bruyne and Cancelo, we’re not hoping for a clean sheet here, but we do hope that the Cityzens squander a few chances for the Burnley shot stopper to rack up some save points and he is dirt-cheap at just 3.7m.

FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 10 Preview

“On Sunday, it’s London derby time at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea host Spurs” (Part of the public domain). Image by: Alexdeangelis86

In a gameweek largely dominated by injuries and COVID-19-related absences, some of the season’s performers still delivered. An 11-point haul from Man United talisman Bruno Fernandes, a brace by Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a goal from Spurs star Heung-Min Son are good examples of that. Still, Gameweek 9 gave us the lowest-scoring ‘player of the week’ with 13 FPL points (DCL vs Fulham) and we honestly don’t see the uncertainty regarding starting lineups and team performances decreasing any time soon, especially not now the European competitions have resumed again.

New users via above link receive free entry into the 10k Monster!

Having said that, this weekend has all the making of becoming a high-scoring one, with fixtures such as Man City at home against Burnley, Everton versus Leeds at Goodison Park and a Leicester side with a point to prove hosting Fulham. If you’re following the FPL pundits and FPL forums, you’ll also have noticed the focus on the considerable fixture swings that are taking place around this gameweek. This could very well lead to increased transfer activity and wildcard or free-hit activation in the build-up to GW10. All in all, plenty of things to take into account when making your transfers (or carrying your free transfer over to next week) as it looks to become another rollercoaster of a weekend.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s). And don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 10 is set for 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, November 27th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 25th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMartinez (AST), Ryan (BRI), Pickford (EVE)Mendy (CHE), Fabianski (WHU), McCarthy (SOU) 
DEFAlexander-Arnold (LIV), Saiss (WOL), Lamptey (BRI)Chilwell (CHE), Robertson (LIV), Zouma (CHE)All transfers out are unavailable for at least 1 game, while the Chelsea and Liverpool defences have made good impressions.
MIDZaha (CRY), Salah (LIV), Rodriguez (EVE)Jota (LIV), Fernandes (UTD), Grealish (AST)Mostly in-form mids being brought in, Zaha injury, Salah doubt.
FORWilson (NEW), Kane (TOT), Bamford (LEE)Vardy (LEI), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Bamford (LEE)In-form strikers brought, Wilson injury, Kane difficult fixtures and premium price tag.

Premium pick

Picking Jamie Vardy (£10.2m) as our premium pick last weekend as he faced a depleted Liverpool defence kind of backfired when the Reds showed the world once again why they are deservedly called one of the best squads in the world this decade. The Englishman blanked for the third time this season, but we are nevertheless repeating our pick for GW10. Leicester will be hosting a leaky Fulham side on Saturday and we find it hard to imagine a fourth Vardy blank of the season coming from this one. The Leicester star already has 8 goals and 2 assists to his name, while no team in the league has conceded more goals than Fulham’s 18 so far. If there was ever a chance of another classic Vardy party, this is it.

Non-premium picks

Thanks to a starting price of £7.0m, it’s very well possible that Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) will remain in our non-premium fantasy picks category for the rest of the season. The England youngster is quickly starting to look like one of the most under-priced FPL assets in recent memory with 10 goals and an assist to his name already after 9 league games. He has blanked in just one game so far this season, away at Southampton back in gameweek 6. Last weekend, he needed a bit less than a minute to get on the score sheet once again and just under half an hour to make it a brace, which was enough for him to become FPL player of the week. Saturday’s home game against Leeds has all the makings of a goalscoring spectacle, as both sides have combined powerful attacks with at times fragile defensive displays this season. We’re not sure what the final score will be, but we’re pretty sure DCL will have an impact on it.

For a defender, we consider £5.5m the maximum for this category, though it can be seen as expensive already when looking at the plethora of well-performing, less expensive defenders in the official game right now. Still, we feel that the combination of his individual performances and the upcoming fixtures swing make Man City fullback Joao Cancelo (£5.5m) an interesting option for many squads. The Portuguese international hasn’t missed a minute of Premier League football since gameweek 5 and accumulated 25 FPL points since then, courtesy of 2 clean sheets and 1 assist. Over the next four games, the Skyblues are facing three of the four most goal-shy teams in the league, which sounds like more points for Cancelo. There is, of course, the ever-present risk of rotation in Pep Guardiola’s squad, so do keep an eye on tonight’s Champions League lineup, but the versatile defender looks like a wise investment in any case.

The budget enabler

At £6.1m, we were doubting if we could still include Patrick Bamford in our budget enabler category, but considering his nailed-on status in one of the league’s most attacking sides and the fact that he can be played with confidence most of the gameweeks, we figured we could. The Leeds forward has already scored 7 goals and provided 2 assists this season for a total of 60 FPL points, which is quite incredible for a striker who started out with a price tag of just £5.5m. To make things even better, the Englishman ranks amongst the overall top two for several key offensive statistics, including shots on target, shots in the box and big chances. The upcoming away game at Goodison Park is by no stretch an easy one, but the Toffees are not currently known for their defensive solidity. After that, it’s Chelsea away, followed by West Ham and Newcastle at home. Not the easiest of runs, but at his price and with Leeds in the form they are currently in, the striker represents a great budget-enabling opportunity.

A differential pick or two

Leicester forward Harvey Barnes (£6.9m), who is classified as a midfielder in the official game, is a differential pick for a reason. While his quality as a player is undeniable, he is still lacking some efficiency in front of goal or at least, in the final third. He gets into dangerous positions and has the teammates to supply him with ammunition, but he sits on just 2 goals and 1 assist this season. That’s also the main reason why he is currently part of only 3.8% of all teams, but those managers who have kept faith in the youngster might be rewarded this weekend. In Fulham, the Foxes are facing a team that currently sits in the bottom four when it comes to goals conceded, shots on target conceded and big chances conceded. Barnes will get his chances on Saturday, he just needs to finish them.

Our second differential pick of the week is one who just missed out on the Golden Boot last season with 20 goals (and 6 assists, for that matter). Raheem Sterling (£11.5m), like the rest of the Cityzens, has not been having a great season so far and that’s reflected by his numbers: 7 games started, 2 goals scored, 1 assists provided. Like the legend John Cruijff once said though, every bad thing has its good side, because as a result of his underwhelming performances, Sterling currently sits in just 4.6% of FPL teams with a nice run of fixtures coming up. Starting with Burnley at home this weekend, the Englishman is facing Fulham, West Brom and Newcastle at the Etihad in the five weeks after that. If there was ever a moment for City to get back to winning ways, it’s now and Sterling could become a major GW10 differential fantasy pick in the process.

The captaincy

Our captaincy pick for gameweek 10 is Jamie Vardy. After blanking against Liverpool, we can’t help but feel that the attacker will be looking to bounce back in style at home against an insecure Fulham defence. Vardy will probably be one of the most transferred-in fantasy assets come Friday evening’s deadline and most, if not all, managers who own him will be placing the band on his arm.

Having said that, the upcoming round offers plenty more good options for the captaincy besides Vardy. At City, we have Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and even Joao Cancelo as they host a largely toothless Burnley side. At Goodison Park, there is the encounter between Everton and Leeds, which puts Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Bambam Bamford in the mix. Finally, there is also the (likely) return of Mo at the AmEx in Brighton and Hove, as Seagulls host Liverpool with Salah likely part of the starting lineup once again after testing negative for COVID-19 earlier this week.

FanTeam 2020-21: €50K Weekly Monster – GW9 – Sat 21 Nov 2020

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. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order 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 (€50k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €5,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool 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.

Fixtures for the GW9 Monster:

Our team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 9

Formation: 3-4-3

General approach

Gameweek 9 offers another set of interesting fixtures, both from a fantasy point of view and for Premier League fans in general. The multitude of injuries and COVID-19-related absences this weekend is going to make for a fascinating €50K Weekly Monster. With Spurs versus Man City and Liverpool at home to Leicester, a majority of premium assets are facing top-class opposition, while Chelsea face a Newcastle side that can be a tough one to crack at Saint James Park. Form team Southampton are up against Wolves at Molineux, whilst both West Ham and Everton are considered favourites for their clashes with Sheffield United and Fulham respectively, though both clubs are playing away from home.

For the first time in a while, we managed to group our Weekly Monster selection around three main groups of players, namely from Everton (at Craven Cottage), Leicester (away at Liverpool) and West Ham (facing Sheffield United at Bramall Lane). We selected three players from each roster and supplemented them with a Chelsea defender and a Newcastle goalkeeper to fit our budget. As you can see, we’re big on away teams this round, hopefully this approach will pan out.

EVERTON

Carlo Ancelotti’s men had a great start to the season and were sitting top of the table with 13 points after five games. Since gameweek 6 though, the Toffees did not win a single point and scored just two goals over a run that included two away games (Southampton and Newcastle) and one at Goodison Park against Manchester United. It’s no coincidence that the team was plagued by minor and major injuries during that period, as well as a red card courtesy of left-back Lucas Digne. This week should mark the return of some key attacking players though, including star man Richarlison and new signing James Rodriguez.

For the away game against Fulham, we have immediately selected the pair for our €50K Weekly Monster team. Richarlison missed the last three Premier League games but he started both World Cup qualifiers for Brazil over the international break, amassing 146 minutes and an assist spread over two games. As for James Rodriguez, the playmaker did not miss a minute of international football with the Colombian national squad as they lost both of the World Cup qualifiers, against Uruguay and Ecuador respectively. He did score a goal and the Colombia captain should be ready to face Fulham on Sunday.

We’re clearly betting on the Everton offence against a Cottager defence that has already conceded 15 goals in eight games, so striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has to be there as well. The 23-year old played a total of 84 minutes for England over the international break spread over two games and scored a penalty goal against Ireland. This should only add to his form and confidence, and we’re hoping that he can carry this form into this weekend’s Premier League showdown. His current 8 goals and 1 assist from 8 games only strengthen that hope, and he is our captain for gameweek 9.

LEICESTER CITY

In recent years, it has not happened very often that we, or anyone, bet big against Liverpool, especially not when playing at Anfield. Gameweek 9 of the Premier League is one of those times, though, at least for us it is. It’s not so much that the Reds are on a bad run of form or something along those lines, but their list of injuries and absences for this weekend is too hard to ignore. With Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez and probably Robertson out for GW9, manager Jurgen Klopp will have to come up with a completely new backline. Add to that the absence of Fabinho and Henderson, and the obligatory COVID-19 isolation of Mo Salah, and betting against a good result for Liverpool starts making a bit more sense.

Even more so when knowing that this weekend’s opponents are Leicester, who currently sit top of the Premier League table with 18 points from 8 games. The Foxes have in their last 3 games conceded just 2 goals, which included away games against Leeds and Arsenal, and a visit of Wolves to the King Power Stadium. In an attacking sense, they scored 18 times already this season and 6 of those goals were scored in the last three games. Considering the form of the Foxes and the state of the Liverpool defence, we decided to take a bit of a chance and go all in on the Leicester attack.

This means that we selected, of course, Jamie Vardy for our gameweek 9 Weekly Monster team, as well as winger Harvey Barnes and playmaker James Maddison. None of these three players had international duties to deal with during the break, which only adds to their appeal, especially when considering that all of Liverpool’s players spread all over the globe to be with their national teams. Vardy is our main Fox seeing as he has already scored 8 goals and provided 2 assists this season, and is as nailed-on as can be for a Premier League side. Maddison started the season sidelined with a hip injury, but has been playing rather well since his return in gameweek 5. Finally, Barnes has been regular under manager Brendan Rodgers and will be hoping to work on his current tallies of 2 goals and 1 assist against a makeshift Liverpool defence. Should either Barnes or Maddison not start, FanTeam’s Safety Net will select Under or the in-form Youri Tielemans as a replacement.

WEST HAM

Our third triple-up of the week consists of three West Ham players as they prepare for the away game against Sheffield United. The Blades look to have a tough season ahead and the main reason for that is their shyness in front of goal. In eight games so far, they have scored just 4 times. Only Burnley have been less effective in an attacking sense. Manager Chris Wilder’s men have not managed to score more than once in a game this season, which doesn’t bode well for this weekend.

That’s because on Sunday, Sheffield United welcome West Ham to Bramall Lane and the Hammers have been pretty impressive so far this season. After a run of 8 games in which they faced, among others, Man City and Wolves at home and Leicester, Spurs and Liverpool away, they have a more than decent 11 points. Over the past three games, the Hammers conceded just 3 goals: 1 at home against City, 2 away at Anfield, and none against Fulham in gameweek 8. This is also why we have gone with a pair of West Ham defenders to form the core of our FanTeam €50 Weekly Monster backline this gameweek.

The main man is Aaron Cresswell, who already has 3 clean sheets and 3 assists to his name, is our first pick. The English defender is not only a nailed-on pick for manager David Moyes, but also a primary candidate for many of the Hammers’ set-pieces. He is joined in our defence by right-back Arthur Masuaku, who has already recorded 23 FT points this season, courtesy of 3 clean sheets and 1 assist. He also cost a fraction less than his teammates Coufal and Ogbonna. Our West Ham threesome is completed by attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals, who seems to have found his spot in East London and the Premier League. The Spaniard already has 2 goals and 3 assists in his belt, and we hope that he can one of the differentials against the Blades this weekend.

CHELSEA

With quite a bit of budget and one defensive spot to fill left, we figured there were few better options than to splash the cash on Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell. The summer signing has slotted right into manager Frank Lampard’s starting eleven and with good reason. With his energy and attacking instincts, the Englishman has proven to be one of the best wing-backs in the league. As part of an improving Chelsea side, he has recorded 3 clean sheets, 2 goals and 2 assists in his last five games for a total of 41 FT points. This weekend, the Blues are visiting Newcastle, meaning there could be points on the cards at both ends of the pitch for Chilwell. Do keep an eye on his fitness status, but even if he doesn’t start, FanTeam’s Safety Net replaces him with Kurt Zouma for our team.

NEWCASTLE

Finally, our goalkeeper. After having just recommended Chilwell (and Chelsea) as a favourite for this weekend’s away game versus Newcastle, due to our remaining budget we have had to go with Magpies goalkeeper Karl Darlow. The 30-year old Englishman is an excellent shot stopper and has proven himself as a saves magnet this season so could score reasonable points even without a clean sheet. No other keeper in the Premier League has recorded more than his 38 saves, which represents an impressive 19 FT points over the first 8 gameweeks of the season. Newcastle are not favourites for their home game against Chelsea, but we can see another couple of save points coming Darlow’s way on Saturday.

FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 9 Preview

“A seriously depleted Liverpool side are visiting the King Power on Saturday evening” (CC by 4.0). Image by Pottercomuneo.

A combination of a more jam-packed schedule than ever and a new wave of COVID-19 all over Europe on top of an intense international break might well result in one of the more chaotic, unpredictable FPL weekends in recent memory. Popular and potentially interesting fantasy assets such as Mo Salah, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Danny Ings, Callum Wilson, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Ben Chilwell are all currently flagged in the official game, just to name 8. Whether this third international break was really the best idea considering the circumstances is something for people more knowledgeable for us to judge, but one thing is certain: no one is getting out of it unscathed.

Having said that, gameweek 9 does offer a very interesting set of fixtures from a fantasy point of view. Many of the popular teams up until now, such as Liverpool, Spurs and Leicester are facing strong competition, whilst the likes of Chelsea (away at Newcastle), Man United (home vs West Bromwich Albion) and Everton (at Craven Cottage) will be expecting nothing less than three points this weekend. It’s going to be an interesting one, that’s for sure, so here are our fantasy picks for gameweek 9. Oh and by the way, be patient with Mo Salah. He might miss this one (and is currently the most sold player this GW with over 400,000 transfers out, but he’s still the best FPL performer out there over the last three seasons and he should continue to be once he tests negative again.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s). Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 9 is set for 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, November 21st.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 18th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKNyland (AST), Martinez (AST), Schmeichel (LEI)Martinez (AST), McCarthy (SOU), Fabianski (WHU) 
DEFAlexander-Arnold (LIV), Mitchell (CRY), Saiss (WOL)Chilwell (CHE), Vestergaard (SOU), Zouma (CHE)Injuries + Saiss no longer nailed-on for Wolves, Chelsea improving defensive form.
MIDSalah (LIV), Son (TOT), Rodriguez (EVE)Ziyech (CHE), Fernandes (UTD), Grealish (AST)Salah corona doubts, Son and Rodriguez replaced with midfielders with more favourable fixtures.
FORIngs (SOU), Wilson (NEW), Jimenez (WOL)Watkins (AST), Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI)Ings and Wilson injuries, Wolves difficult upcoming fixtures

Premium pick

Considering the fact that Leicester are hosting the reigning the champions on Saturday evening, our premium fantasy pick of the week was definitely not based on fixture. When your name is Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) though, fixtures seem to matter less. When quality is undeniable and practically fixture-proof, form is essential and the Leicester man has it at the moment. The English forward, who did not have to be on international duty these past two weeks, has recorded 25 FPL points in the past three gameweeks, courtesy of 3 goals and 2 assists. Bare in mind that this total also includes a missed penalty in GW8. The Foxes are rather quietly having a great start to the season once again and their opponents will be missing Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and possibly Robertson, which is basically their entire starting backline. They won’t be looking forward to facing Vardy in a few days time.

Non-premium picks

Since his return to fitness, Chelsea summer signing Hakim Ziyech (£8.2m) has kind of been setting the Premier League on fire. He started in the last two gameweeks and repaid that trust handsomely, not only with a couple of fantastic displays, but also with a goal, 3 assists and a total of 25 FPL points. Up next are Newcastle at Saint James Park, who conceded 6 goals in their last three home games. As a matter of fact, the Magpies have not kept a clean sheet at home this season. The former Ajax Amsterdam star also shone for his national team as he got 3 goals and 2 assists from two games against the Central African Republic in the qualification phase for the Africa Cup of Nations. As a result, his minutes might be managed by Chelsea coach Frank Lampard, but it’s hard to see the living Blues legend not starting his ‘man of the moment’ on Saturday.

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.8m) is a frequently returning fantasy pick in our gameweek previews, but that’s what happens when a player returns points week after week. Only gameweek 6 against Southampton saw the young Englishman blank, but the rest of the gameweeks saw him return a minimum of 5 FPL point every time for a total of 57 points over the season until now. DCL currently sits on 8 goals and a single assist and the Toffees are visiting Fulham on Sunday afternoon. The Cottagers have already conceded 15 goals in 8 games, and they are facing an Everton offensive line bolstered by the return of Richarlison and James Rodriguez. Calvert-Lewin played a total of 84 minutes for England over the international break spread over two games and scored a penalty goal against Ireland. This should only add to his form and confidence, and therefore his FPL appeal.

The budget enabler

Over the past weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the West Ham defence as an interesting destination for your precious FPL funds as their fixtures are slowly clearing up. Aaron Cresswell is the name that is mentioned most and with good reason considering his underlying numbers, but he does cost £5.1m. New right-back Vladimir Coufal has been talked about a lot as well, but the one we feel has been left out of the discussion a bit is left-back Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m). The 27-year old is a nailed-on piece of coach David Moyes’ defensive setup and carries a very attractive price tag. On top of that, he often pops up in the attacking third, especially now that the Hammers are playing with five in the back. The situation regarding his off-the-radar FPL status probably would have been a lot different had he slotted home the huge chance he got early on against Fulham in gameweek 8. With an attractive set up fixtures coming up over the next months, Masuaku represents very good budget-enabling value.

A differential pick or two

A little earlier, we already briefly discussed Liverpool’s injury issues, which are not just limited to their defence. Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago will be absent for this weekend’s clash with Leicester at Anfield, as will be Mo Salah. The “good” thing about all of this misery, from a fantasy point of view at least, is that it will give other players the opportunity to shine and we think that one of those players could well be Diogo Jota (£6.5m). Mainly as a substitute, the summer signing already managed to score 3 goals and record 28 FPL points this season. With an ownership of 9.5%, the Portuguese international can still be considered a differential, which is always interesting when the Reds play at home, no matter the opposition. Actually, Jota has scored all of his goals at home so far and even though Leicester will make it a serious contest, we feel he could be a match-winning pick for GW9.

With Pulisic and Havertz sidelined, Time Werner will probably start out wide again for Chelsea when the Blues face Newcastle this weekend. This means that Tammy Abraham (£7.2m) will be handed his third straight start and in all fairness, why not? The English striker delivered a goal and an assist over those two games, and sits on 2 goals and 2 assists for the season already. He will be rolling up to Saint James Park as the lone striker for the Premier League’s most prolific side, against a team that conceded 8 goals in their last four outings. Apart from his low current ownership of just 2.3%, his price is more than reasonable as well.

The captaincy

In a gameweek ravaged by absentees and injuries, the GW9 captaincy might have a huge impact on the rankings all over. We feel there could be more than a few differential picks set for hauls this weekend, while most of the available usual suspects are either just coming off a set of games with their national team, facing fierce opposition, or both. Our pick of the week is Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin as he faces Fulham at Craven Cottage, but there is something to be said for plenty of other picks as well.

What about this season’s top performers Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son at home to Man City, for example? Or Jamie Vardy playing a seriously debilitated Liverpool defence at Anfield? Aston Villa play Brighton at home, which brings the ever-present Jack Grealish into the picture, while Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are playing against strugglers West Brom at home. At the same time, the previously mentioned Tammy Abraham and Hakim Ziyech could put down big performances at Saint James Park. Whoever you end up picking in the end, our advice is to go with a fantasy asset that is at least fit and sure to start.

FanTeam 2020-21: €50K Weekly Monster – GW8 – Sat 7 Nov 2020

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. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order 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 (€50k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €5,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool 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.

Fixtures for the GW8 Monster:

Our team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 8

Formation: 3-5-2

General approach

Gameweek 8 of the Premier League is offering us yet another very interesting set of fixtures, most of which we find quite hard to predict, Encounters like Leicester versus Wolves at the King Power, Manchester City against champions Liverpool at the Etihad and Everton hosting a struggling Manchester United side could go either way. This only makes the FanTeam €50K Weekly Monster tournament for GW8 all the more interesting and we expect quite a lot of variation in terms of squad compilations this weekend.

For our gameweek 8 squad, we have focused on West Ham at home to Fulham and Everton at Goodison Park against Man United by picking three fantasy assets from each side. We have added two double picks to the core of the team, with two players from Leeds as they visit Selhurst Park and two players from Aston Villa for their visit to Arsenal. To finish it off, we have added our joker pick for the week, who is also our captain.

WEST HAM

Despite a very difficult opening set of fixtures, including away games versus Liverpool, Spurs, and Leicester and home games against Wolves and Man City, West Ham have made a good impression in the opening weeks of the 2020-21 campaign. They currently sit on 8 points and that is, in part, due to a decent defensive setup. The Hammers have conceded 10 goals so far, a tally that could have easily been much worse considering their opposition in the first seven gameweeks.

That’s also why we have gone with two West Ham defenders for our FanTeam €50K Weekly Monster selection for their home encounter with Fulham, namely Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku. Both have already been part of 2 clean sheets and they also have 4 assists between the two of them, 3 for Cresswell and 1 for Masuaku.

Fulham booked the first victory of the season last weekend at home against fellow new boys West Brom, so they should be entering this game with some confidence, but we think West Ham will win this one. The Cottagers sit on 7 goals from seven games, but keep in mind that 3 of those goals were scored in GW2 during the 4-3 defeat at the hands of Leeds and 2 more were scored last weekend against the Baggies. In the remaining five games, they scored just 2 goals, which sounds promising for our defensive Hammers picks.

At the same time, Scott Parker’s men already scored 14 goals in seven games, which is why we have also added winger Jarrod Bowen to our team. The 23-year old Englishman is the most expensive Hammers asset in the game this weekend and we think that is with good reason. He brings a lot of threat with him and we feel that the home game against the Cottagers could be a good opportunity to work on his current tallies (3 goals in 7 games). On top of that, he could represent some differential value this weekend as well.

EVERTON

Besides the Hammers, we have also gone with a Toffees triple-up. At first glance, this might look like a strange decision, seeing as they are playing Manchester United, but this might actually be the first time in many years that Everton are favourites to (comfortably) win this encounter. Carlo Ancelotti’s men did lose against Newcastle last weekend to end their unbeaten run since gameweek 1, but they could find some comfort in the fact that they were missing a few key players, including superstar signing James Rodriguez. United can hardly say the same about their terrible current form, which came to a boiling point in the mid-week defeat at the hands of Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.

Our first Everton fantasy is, of course, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has cemented his place as Everton’s starting striker this season. The 23-year old forward has already scored 8 goals this season, making him the second-highest-scoring attacker in FanTeam right now, a position he shares with Leicester star Jamie Vardy. The Red Devils have conceded 13 goals in six games so far and if the mid-week game showed us one thing, it’s that their defensive setup is not at all stable at the moment.

That’s also the reason why we have decided to go all in on the Everton attack, and to add both James Rodriguez and Gylfi Sigurdsson to our squad. The former missed the last game due to injury, but 23 FanTeam points in the three games prior to that, courtesy of 2 goals, 2 assists and 1 Impact point. The latter seems to be playing himself into the favors of Ancelotti a bit after a season start as substitute. He was in charge of several set-pieces in gameweek 7 against Newcastle and should be again against United. In case he doesn’t start for the Toffees, FanTeam’s Safety Net will replace him with Alex Iwobi or André Gomes for us.

ASTON VILLA

We have gone with Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez this week as he is facing Arsenal at the Emirates. The Gunners are favourites for this one, that much is clear, but they are not in great form either. They currently sit in ninth place in the league and have scored just 9 goals so far. Only six teams have scored less. Villa, at the same time, seem to have cooled down a bit after a dream start to the season. The last two games were lost, both at home, and 7 goals were conceded over that run. We’re very curious to see what will happen in this one and we hope that Martinez will at least bring us some save points.

Our second Villa man is, of course, the magnificent Jack Grealish. He is by far the club’s best player and always up for an attacking return, even if his team is not performing. Just look at the 3-4 loss against Southampton last weekend, in which he managed to record 2 assists and a last-minute goal for a total of 13 FT points. Combine this with his frequent set-piece duties and it becomes clear that, in case Villa do cause an upset in London on Sunday evening, the midfielder will be involved.

LEEDS

With 10 points from seven games and a 12th place in the league at the time of writing, Leeds United are doing more than decent on their return amongst the English footballing elite. One of the big men in Marcelo Bielsa’s machine is midfielder Mateusz Klich, who has already recorded 2 goals, 2 assists and 2 clean sheets this season. Over the past 3 games, the Polish playmaker recorded 9 points and we feel that he could get the freedom to work his magic against Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. The Eagles will try to keep things tight in the back as usual, but there not as solid as they were last season, considering they have already conceded 11 goals this season. A clean sheet against Leeds doesn’t seem likely.

As a matter of fact, if any team could book a clean sheet in this one, it’s Leeds. Not so much because of their defensive solidity (they have conceded a worrying 13 goals in 7 games already), but because of Palace’s shyness in front of goal. Only four teams have scored less than their 8 goals, which is why we have also added Leeds defender Stuart Dallas to our team. Bielsa gives his the freedom to roam forward, with a goal and an assist as a result so far. Against the Eagles, the lack of pressure on the visiting defensive line could result in returns at both ends of the pitch for the left-back.

JOKER

By far the biggest chunk of our budget in gameweek 8 of FanTeam’s €50K Weekly Monster was spent on Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who is also our captain this weekend. The England striker is having a devastating start to the 2020-21 campaign with 6 goals and 8 assists from just seven games, and he is up against the league’s most obliging defence on Sunday. José Mourinho’s men are visiting the Hawthornes where West Brom will be looking for their first victory of the season. This one seems unlikely to be converted into three points by Slaven Bilic’ men though, as they are not just facing Kane, but the most prolific Premier League attack overall.

New FanTeam customers get a FREE 2 euro Entry!

FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 8 Preview

“On Sunday, the Etihad Stadium will be the scenario for the clash between Manchester City and Liverpool” (CC by 2.0). Image by: Cléria de Souza

Gameweek 7 was another one mainly dominated by differential fantasy assets, as only two of the highest-scoring players were owned by more than 18% of all managers and only one by more than 30% (Jamie Vardy with 14 FPL points at 19.1% and Jack Grealish with 15 points at 30.9%). With Fulham defender Ola Aina, Wolves left-back Rayan Aït Nouri, Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans and Chelsea technician Hakim Ziyech, no less than five players in the GW7 Team of the Week were owned by 5% or less of FPL managers.

New FanTeam customers get a FREE Entry!

This weekend offers another exciting set of fixtures, including a few high-level clashes. There is, of course, the clash of giants between Man City and Liverpool at the Etihad on Sunday but Everton vs Man United at Goodison, Leicester against Wolves at the King Power and Arsenal hosting Aston Villa could go either way. At the same time, an in-form Hammers side host Fulham and strugglers West Bromwich Albion welcome a surprisingly attacking Spurs side. Combine this with the impact of European football mid-week and it’s clear that we’re in for another weekend full of surprises.

Don’t forget: the FPL deadline for gameweek 8 is set for 16h00 (UK time) on Friday, November 6th. Also do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 4th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMartinez (AST), Pickford (EVE), Ryan (BRI)Mendy (CHE), McCarthy (SOU), Martinez (AST) Chelsea not conceded a goal for a while now.
DEFCastagne (LEI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Saïss (WOL)Zouma (CHE), Chilwell (CHE), Kilman (WOL)Improved Chelsea defence, Castagne injury, Saïss loss of starting spot
MIDRodriguez (EVE), Jorginho (CHE), Foden (CIT)Ziyech (CHE), Grealish (AST), Jota (LIV)Form midfielders replacing midfielders with injury doubt or rotation risk
FORIngs (SOU), Jimenez (WOL), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)Wilson (NEW), Bamford (LEE), Kane (TOT)Ings’ injury, form of budget strikers, difficult fixtures for Wolves

Premium pick

Together with his team mate Heung-Min Son, Spurs number ten Harry Kane (£11.0m) will undoubtedly be amongst the most-captained fantasy picks in gameweek 8. After the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Fulham last Monday, the Baggies are now the team with most goals conceded in the entire league (16 in 7 games). Spurs, on the other hand, are the most prolific side with 18 goals over that same period. Kane was directly involved in an incredible 14 of those goals with 6 goals and 8 assists, so recommending the English striker, who is playing a bit deeper this season, is a no-brainer. He has not failed to return since gameweek 2 and it’s very hard to see that run getting interrupted at the Hawthornes in GW8.

Non-premium picks

The fact that our first non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 8 is Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m) as the Toffees host Manchester giants United on Saturday is indicative of several things. First of all, of DCL’s status as top forward this season, based on 8 goals from 7 games so far. In fact, he only blanked once, back in GW6. Second of all, of United’s fragile state, especially defensively. The Red Devils lost 2-1 against Champions League new boys Istanbul Basaksehir and in the first six Premier League games this season, they have already let in 13 goals. And third of all, of our trust in the Toffees’ capacity to score anywhere under the guidance of coach Carlo Ancelotti and super star summer signing James Rodriguez (who is a slight doubt for the match). Watch DCL at Goodison Park this weekend.

Clean sheets have been few and far between so far this season, but we did decide to recommend a defender as a non-premium suggestion for GW8. Together with Burnley, Sheffield United have scored the least goals of all teams in the league, with just 3 goals in 7 games. To make it even worse, those goals came in three different games, so it’s safe to say that the Blades have a goalscoring issue. As a result, we think Chelsea central defender Kurt Zouma (£5.2m) could be a shrewd investment when Sheffield United visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The Frenchman is actually the highest-scoring defender in the game right now with 46 FPL points, courtesy of 3 clean sheets, 3 goals and 6 bonus points. On top of that, the Blues visit Newcastle in gameweek 9, which could mean two clean sheets in a row.

The budget enabler

Patrick Bamford (£6.0m) turned out to be one THE budget-enablers over the first six weeks of this 2020-21 campaign. Starting with a price tag of just £5.5m, the former Chelsea man is Marcelo Bielsa’s number nine of choice at Leeds and with good reason. He has already recorded 51 FPL points this season, courtesy of 6 goals and 2 assists, which explains his FPL price rise. Still, at just £6.0, Bamford still represents excellent value as the starting striker of a team as offensively oriented as Leeds. This weekend, Bielsa’s men are visiting Selhurst Park to face a Crystal Palace side that has already conceded 11 goals in 7 games. The Eagles haven’t kept a clean sheet at home since gameweek 1, while the Whites have netted 7 times in 3 away games this season. As a third striker in your squad, Bamford could be the ideal budget-enabler.

A differential pick or two

Due to injury issues, it has taken a few weeks before we could realistically include Hakim Ziyech (£8.0m) in a gameweek preview article, but finally here we are. The Moroccan international was purchased from Ajax Amsterdam this summer for £33 million and he burst onto the Premier League scene last weekend with a goal and an assist at Turf Moor. This helped him record 14 FPL points and we feel more fantasy points will be following. The former Ajax men is an extremely gifted attacker and he could become sensational once Chelsea’s attack really starts to click. On top of that, he is currently still owned by just 5.4%, a percentage that could well be growing over the coming weeks. Do keep in mind that he also started for the Blues in the mid-week game against Rennes, so rotation could be lurking.

Despite a very difficult opening set of fixtures, including away versus Leicester, Spurs and Liverpool and at home against Wolves and Man City, West Ham still managed to collect 8 points. The fixture calendar is now turning friendlier for the Hammers, which is how winger Jarrod Bowen (£6.3m) has come onto our radar. The 23-year old Englishman is a nailed-on part of coach David Moyes’s starting eleven and has already scored 3 goals this campaign, including a brace at home against Wolves. In gameweek 8, Fulham are visiting the London Stadium, which looks like a good opportunity for Bowen to build on his tallies. Only Liverpool and West Brom have conceded more goals than Fulham’s 14, so we’re hoping for a goal-ridden West Ham victory in this one. Note: Bowen currently sits in just 2.2% of all teams.

The captaincy

Sometimes, the captaincy decision is a complicated matter with many possible options. Sometimes, you should just keep it simple, especially when the league’s best attack are playing against the league’s worst defence. This is the case on Sunday, when Spurs visit the Hawthornes. As we wrote earlier, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane will be two of the most popular captaincy picks this weekend, and we have gone with the latter. He currently sits on 6 goals and 8 assists, he’s an absolute nailed-on starter for José Mourinho’s team, and he’s on penalties as well. Having said that, Son is an excellent choice as well, with 8 goals and 2 assists to his name so far.

There are some interesting picks outside of Tottenham as well, though. Timo Werner against a struggling Sheffield United is one of them, as is Kevin de Bruyne who is up against a surprisingly leaky Liverpool side. Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be a differential captaincy pick at home to Man United, while Salah and Mané could both record returns at the Etihad. For the real differentials, there are Neal Maupay with Brighton at home against Burnley and gameweek 6 hattrick here Patrick Bamford at Selhurst Park, to name a few.

FanTeam 2020-21: €50K Weekly Monster – GW7 – Sat 31 Oct 2020

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. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order 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 (€50k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €5,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool 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.

Fixtures for the GW7 Monster:

Our team for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 7

Formation: 4-3-3

General approach

For gameweek 7, FanTeam have organized another €50K Weekend Monster tournament for which we had to compile a team of 11 players with a tight budget of 100M. Choices had to be made as the weekend offers us a few fixtures that look very appealing from a fantasy football point of view. This means plenty of high-priced assets and not enough spots nor money to fit them all in. This usually results in a lack of a real template, which is one of the things that makes the FanTeam tournaments so exciting.

For our gameweek 7 selection, we are betting big on Spurs despite their loss to Antwerp FC in the Europa League on Thursday, in combination with a triple pick from the West Brom Albion roster as they roll up to Craven Cottage on Monday. The Baggies represent our trio of budget enablers with potential to deliver FanTeam points. On top of that, we added two Red Devils to the mix for their home game against Arsenal, topped of with three individual picks to help us stay within budget.

Don’t forget that the deadline for the gameweek 7 €50K Weekly Monster is set at 12h30 on Saturday, October 31st.

SPURS

We’re starting our article with our captain for this week, Tottenham’s very own Harry Kane. The English striker is having a fantastic start to the season with a direct involvement in no less than 13 goals in his first six games (5 goals, 8 assists). In fact, no other player in the history of the Premier League recorded as many direct involvements in the first six games of a season. The Spurs are currently one of the most attacking teams in the league as they have scored the most goals and have created the most big chances. This weekend’s opponent Brighton are still looking to translate their more than decent displays on the pitch into points, but we don’t think that will start happening against Kane and co. The Seagulls have conceded 12 goals in 6 games and Kane will be looking to add to that total on Sunday.

To make matters worse, for Brighton that is, is that Heung-Min Son will be looking to do the same. In tandem with Kane, the Korean has been phenomenal so far this season with 8 goals and 2 assists in the first six games of the campaign. He is also the only player to have scored more FT points than the England striker (65 vs 63). Like Kane, he started on the bench against Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday, but came in at the start of the second half to try and force a way back into the game. It was to no avail though, as Spurs were defeated, much to Mourinho’s chagrin. On the upside, a home game against Brighton could be just what they need to get back on the winning track.

To complete our Tottenham trio, we decided to invest a relatively hefty 9.4M in central defender Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian should return to the starting lineup after sitting out the mid-week game in his city of birth and we feel he could be in for a decent return on Sunday. Last weekend, he was part of Tottenham’s first clean sheet of the season, away against Burnley, and he’ll be eager to follow that up with a good display this weekend. On top of that, he’s a threat at attacking set-pieces, especially when considering the excellent delivery from the likes of Kane, Son and even Gareth Bale.

WEST BROM

In order to fit in some heavy hitters, we had to pick a few budget-friendly assets as well and we might have found them in the West Brom squad. They are playing Fulham away from home on Monday and seeing as the Cottagers have yet to keep a clean sheet this season, we have gone with Baggies’ playmaker Matheus Pereira to start with. The Brazilian midfielder has so far collected 25 FT points, and sits on 1 goal and 1 assists. Against three of the lowest-scoring teams in the league (Wolves, Sheffield United and Palace), Fulham conceded 4 goals over the past 3 games, so WBA will be hoping for chances in this game. Should those chances come, then we’re sure Pereira will be involved, as he has been in 50% of their goals so far.

Apart from their defensive woes, Fulham have also been lacking up front since the start of the campaign. In six games, they have scored just 5 goals and 3 of those goals came in the gameweek 2 roller coaster 4-3 defeat against Leeds. As a result, we have gone with a West Brom defensive double-up consisting of experienced right-back Branislav Ivanovic and English left-back Conor Townsend. The Baggies tightened up in the back after a difficult start to the season and have conceded just 3 goals in the last three games, a run that included their first clean sheet of the season back in gameweek 5 against Burnley. The away game at Craven Cottage presents a perfect opportunity for WBA to book an important victory against a direct rival in the relegation battle and there are definitely chances of a clean sheet.

MANCHESTER UNITED

United’s start to the Premier League season has been very underwhelming with just 8 points from the first six games and a current 15th place in the table. In the Champions League on Wednesday though, they booked one of their best results by thrashing last year’s semi-finalists RB Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford. The big man on United’s side was forward Marcus Rashford, who came on in the 63rd minute to replace Mason Greenwood when the score was still just 1-0. Half an hour later, Rashford has bagged three and the scoreboard showed 5-0. The young Englishman will be brimming with confidence for Saturday’s clash with Arsenal at home, who have not kept a clean sheet since gameweek 1 against Fulham. It’s true that Mikel Arteta’s men have looked more stable in defence of late, but we feel Rashford could be a decent differential pick for gameweek 7 of FanTeam’s €50K Weekly Monster tournament.

Seeing as Bruno Fernandes did not fit in our team due to budget restrictions, we’ve gone with Paul Pogba as our second Red Devil. The Frenchman hasn’t really lived up to expectations yet this season, but he played a decent game further up front against Leipzig on Wednesday. He provided the assist for Mason Greenwood’s opener and he was taken off in the 81st minute, which should mean he starts against the Gunners on Saturday, for the first time since gameweek 4. Should that not be the case though, then FanTeam’s Safety Net will replace him for us with one of Donny van de Beek, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay or Fred.

INIDIVIDUAL PICKS

It’s becoming a bit of a habit by now to select Danny Ings as a kind of joker for our Weekly Monster squads, but the reason for picking him every time is simple: he keeps delivering. The Southampton striker has blanked just twice this season, while he scored 4 times and assisted twice in the other four games. He is a sure starter for coach Ralph Hasenhüttl and the focal point of a decent Saints forward line. Over the last three games, they have bagged 7 goals and Ings was directly involved in 3 of those (1 goal, 2 assists). This weekend, Southampton are visiting Villa Park and even though they might not end up on the winning side against one of the season’s surprise packages so far, we’re more than willing to bet on the England striker getting opportunities to add to his current tallies.

Our second individual fantasy pick is Everton defender Yerry Mina who is visiting Saint James’ Park with his team on Saturday. The Toffees suffered their first loss of the season last weekends at the hands of Southampton, but they are still top of the table at the moment. They have not booked a clean sheet since their 0-1 away win at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium in gameweek 1, but we feel the away game against Newcastle could be a good opportunity to get their second shut-out of the season. The Magpies have scored 8 goals already this season, but 5 of those goals came in just two games. Mina is a nailed-on starter for Carlo Ancelotti and he also offers some attacking threat from attacking set-pieces.

Finally, our goalkeeper. We had very little budget left to pick a goalie for gameweek 7 of FanTeam €50K Weekly Monster, which is why we went with Sheffield United shot stopper Aaron Ramsdale. The young Englishman is playing at home against Manchester City this weekend and despite the low chance of the Blades keeping a clean sheet, there could be a few save points on the cards here. Having said that, Man City have not hit their attacking stride yet this season and both of their strikers are still out injured. Similarly, Sheffield United have not really shown the same levels of defensive stability yet in comparison to last season, though their performance at Anfield in gameweek 6 provided a glimmer of hope. We hope that playing at home from an underdog position can bring out the best in Chris Wilder’s men with at least a few save points for Ramsdale to show for after 90 minutes.

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 – Sheffield Utd v Manchester City.

FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 7 Preview

“On Saturday, the clash between Manchester United and Arsenal is taking place at Old Trafford” (Part of the Public domain). Image by Nev1.

The FPL universe was once again up to its most cruel trickery last gameweek with a majority of popular premium assets and big hitters blanking despite favourable outlooks in the build-up to the Friday evening kick-off. The likes of Mo Salah at home to Sheffield United, Raheem Sterling versus West Ham away and Aubameyang at home against Leicester all failed to record attacking return, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Tottenham’s dynamic duo Kane and Son did deliver something with an assist and a goal, respectively, while a few less-owned picks hauled as well. Outstanding performer of the week was, of course, Leeds hattrick hero Patrick Bamford with his 3 goals at Villa Park.

Many of the most-owned FPL assets are getting an immediate second chance though, thanks to an appealing calendar for gameweek 7. Liverpool are hosting West Ham, José Mourinho’s Spurs are welcoming Brighton to London and Wolves are opening the gameweek on Friday evening with a home game against Crystal Palace, just to name a few fixtures. On top of that, there is the clash of the weekend at Old Trafford on Saturday, as Arsenal visit Manchester United.

Finally, don’t forget that there has been European football this week, which could have an impact on starting lineups and performances over the weekend. Having said that, here are our fantasy picks for gameweek 7.

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 7 is set for 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, October 30th. Also do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 29th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKRyan (BRI), Nyland (AST), Pope (BUR)Martinez (AST), Mendy (CHE), Meslier (LEE) 
DEFDigne (EVE), Van Dijk (LIV), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Chilwell (CHE), Saïss (WOL), Kilman (WOL)Digne suspension, Van Dijk injury, Alexander-Arnold not worth it. Saiss playing wing-back now very cheap Kilman at CB.
MIDRodriguez (EVE), Aubameyang (ARS), Grealish (AST)Zaha (CRY), Son (TOT), Grealish (AST)Some injury doubts surrounding Rodriguez, Auba not returning at a premium price, and Palace and Spurs with good fixtures.
FORMitrovic (FUL), Wilson (NEW), Maupay (BRI)Bamford (LEE), Kane (TOT), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)Strikers in form replacing strikers who have not been returning lately

Premium pick

Like last weekend, Liverpool’s Mo Salah once again represents an excellent premium fantasy option and a favourite for the captaincy, but for the sake of variation, we have gone with Harry Kane (£10.9m) for gameweek 7. The Spurs had to work hard for their victory at Turf Moor and the English striker got away with “just” an assist in the end, but that did mean his sixth consecutive attacking return in a row. Overall, only his teammate Heung-Min Son has recorded more FPL points than Kane’s current 65. The North London side are hosting Brighton on Sunday in one of the most appealing fixtures of the weekend from an FPL points of view. It takes a brave manager to leave Kane out of his considerations for this gameweek, especially because the man in form is also on penalties.

Non-premium picks

For our first non-premium for the upcoming weekend, we are sticking with Spurs. We already mentioned Son Heung-Min (£9.5m) just before and we are recommending him once more just before his price tag places him in our premium pick category. The Korean’s price has already risen by £0.5m this season and with good reason. He has been nothing short of spectacular so far, with an incredible 8 goals and 2 assists to show from six games. The forward has recorded double figures in the last three gameweeks and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him extend that streak this weekend against Brighton The Seagulls have already conceded a worrying 12 goals in the first six games of the season and 5 of those came in their last two away games, against Everton and Palace.

Wolves’ current attacking form is a bit worrying at the moment, as they sit in the bottom three teams for big chances created and expected goals since the start of the season. As a result, they have scored just 6 goals in six games, but 4 of those goals were scored by their star striker Raul Jimenez (£8.5m). Against Newcastle in gameweek 6, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were the dominating team for most of the game, they just missed the accuracy in the final third. Still, their Mexican talisman managed to find the net for a second consecutive time, which confirms what we already knew: he can book attacking returns at any time and any place. Raul is the focal point of the Wolves attack and at some point, Wolves’ undeniable squad quality should start being translated into goals. We hope that happens this weekend at home to Crystal Palace.

The budget enabler

Where the Wolves offense is struggling a bit, their defensive assets look more appealing. In the past two gameweeks, no team in the league conceded less big chances than them and their immediate upcoming schedule looks good. With Crystal Palace coming to Molineux this weekend followed by a visit to Leicester and then a home game versus Southampton, this looks like a good moment to invest in Max Kilman (£4.2m). The former futsal player seems to have cemented his place in the starting lineup with good performances over the past couple of weeks, which makes him a great budget-enabler at just £4.2m (well done those who acquired at £4.0m). With the return to fitness of Marçal and the arrival of Rayan Ait Nouri, the upcoming Wolves starting defensive lines are a bit of a guessing game. Still, Kilman looks like one of the wisest budget picks available right now.

A differential pick or two

Despite not recording any returns in the home game against Chelsea in gameweek 5, Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) will be brimming with confidence for the home game against Arsenal this weekend. The Manchester United forward, who is listed as a midfielder in FPL this year, was the big man in United’s Champions League clash with last season’s semi-finalists RB Leipzig. The Red Devils thrashed the Germans 5-0 and three of those goals were scored by the Englishman. He as so far played 90 minutes in all of United’s Premier League games and many eyes will be on him when they face the Gunners. With a current ownership of just 7.5%, he looks like a powerful differential in a time when a template team is becoming more and more apparent.

With Sadio Mané, we’re repeating a differential fantasy pick, but with good reason. We just want to take as much advantage as possible from his extremely low ownership (just 9.5% at the moment) before the FPL community realizes that he is probably as good a pick as team mate Mo Salah, who currently sits in 47.5% of all teams. The Senegalese winger already has 4 goals and 2 assists to his name, and he has returned 14 FPL points over the past two gameweeks. For the home game against West Ham this weekend, we would even consider cashing in on his differential completely by handing him the armband. His price tag of £12.0m is, of course, a drawback, but he could be an excellent combination of a premium and a differential fantasy pick.

The captaincy

With Salah and Mané at home to West Ham, Kane and Son at home to Brighton, and Man United hosting Arsenal this weekend, it looks like the GW7 captaincy battle is going to be an interesting one. On top of that, Chelsea at Burnley and Man City at struggling Sheffield United could deliver big as well. For gameweek 7, we are giving the captain’s armband to Tottenham’s Korean topscorer as he will be looking to take advantage of a leaky Seagulls backline to build on his 8 goals and 2 assists.

There is more though, as a few more differential captains could also deliver big this round. What about Raul Jimenez against Palace on Friday, for example? If Wolves score, there is a 67% chance that the Mexican will be involved. The game between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park could also see some goals, which brings Jack Grealish and Danny Ings into the picture. If you’re more into Monday evening picks for the real last-minute surprise effect, you could consider WBA talisman Matheus Pereira at Craven Cottage or last weekend’s best performer Patrick Bamford at home against Leicester.

FanTeam 2020-21: €50K Weekly Monster – GW6 – Sat 24 Oct 2020

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 (€50k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €7,500. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool 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 team for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 6

Formation: 4-4-2

General approach

Once again, we felt we needed to stretch the available 100m budget to its maximum in order to field a representable team of eleven players for gameweek 6. Of all “Available” players, 11% were priced between 11m and 15m, while of all players in the game (meaning including players of any status), just 45% were priced at 7.5m or less. As a result, we have opted for a 442 formation in which we focus largely on Wolves for their home game against Newcastle, on Brighton for their home game versus West Brom and, of course, on Liverpool’s ultra-premium assets as they host Sheffield United at Anfield.

In order to facilitate this core of favourites, we had to make some concessions and fill out our team with a few budget picks. We have gone with fantasy assets who we feel might be able to produce individual returns, even if their teams are classified as heavy underdogs by FanTeam. Before we move on to our picks, don’t forget that the deadline for the FanTeam Weekly Monster this weekend is set at 12h30 (UK time) on Saturday, October 24th.

WOLVES

The Wolverhampton Wanders are our main supplier of fantasy assets for gameweek 6 as we’ve gone with three Wolves players. In defence, we have doubled up on central defender Willy Boly and fit-again Brazilian newcomer Marçal. Both set us back about 8.5m, but they have a promising fixture coming up with Newcastle rolling up to Molineux on Sunday. The Magpies have scored 7 goals in five games so far, but 5 of those goals came in just two games. At the same time, Wolves have already recorded three clean sheets this season, more than any other team in the league. If Marcal does not start then Kilman should be our automated sub.

Neither Boly nor Marçal have produced any attacking returns yet, but we haven’t picked them for goals or assists, though in the few games that fitness allowed the Brazilian to start did show some assist potential. For gameweek 6 though, they represent for us a combination of budget-friendly price tags and a decent chance on a clean sheet. Should that scenario pan out, then we’ve got 14 points in the bag already, minus the Stacking Penalty, which would be a decent return.

Our third Wolf is winger Pedro Neto, who FanTeam has classified as a midfielder for this one. The Portuguese youngster seems to be the main beneficiary of Diogo Jota leaving for Liverpool, as he has started all five of this season’s games so far. Over that period, he scored a goal and provided an assist for a total of 23 FT points. At 10.7m he is far from cheap, but his out-of-position status, added point for a clean sheet and kind fixture this weekend convinced us to pick him for our squad. Neto is also our vice-captain for gameweek 6.

BRIGHTON

When looking at the current Premier League ranking, Brighton sit in 16th, but that really doesn’t do them justice. They have played well so far this season, but the Seagulls too often forgot to reward themselves. The defeat against Manchester United back in gameweek 3 is probably the most illustrative example of that, as Graham Potter’s men hit the woodwork no less than five times.

Three of those attempts came off the nimble feet of winger Leandro Trossard. Despite his high positioning on the pitch, often even higher up than striker Maupay, he has been classified as a midfielder by FanTeam. The Belgian dribbler already has 1 goal and 2 assists to his name, and we feel he is one of the ones to watch in the upcoming game against West Brom at home. His price tag is heavy, but Brighton are favourites here and Trossard is primed for a sixth consecutive start in a row.

Joining him in our gameweek 6 team for FanTeam’s €50K Weekly Monster is Tariq Lamptey, the defender with most assists to his name (3) at the time of writing this piece. The former Chelsea talent has had a great start to the season and looks set for another decent haul this weekend. The Baggies boast the lowest number of shots on target of all teams in the league, while they have also created the least chances. In other words, Lamptey could be in for a star fantasy performance on Monday with potential for returns at both ends of the pitch.

LIVERPOOL

One of the reasons that budget was again a bit of a problem for us this week is our wish to include Mo Salah in our team. He looks like one of the players most likely to perform in a big way in gameweek 6 and FanTeam knows it well, hence his 15m price tag. Liverpool are playing at home against a Sheffield United side that are struggling to find some of last season’s great form. The Blades have scored just 2 goals so far and they have uncharacteristically conceded 7 already. In Salah, they are facing an attacker in form as the Egyptian has already scored 6 goals and provided 1 assist in the first five games of the season. He is the main man in our team for gameweek 6 and our captain as well.

Considering Sheffield United’s sub-par scoring record so far, we figured investment in a Liverpool defender was warranted as well. All of Liverpool’s defensive assets were priced at a premium, which makes sense, so we ended up going with the second-least expensive of the bunch, Joe Gomez. Only Matip cost less than him, but the Cameroonian has some fitness issues and might be a doubt for Saturday’s game as well. Seeing as Fabinho is his most likely replacement in case of absence, picking Matip for our team would mean risking a lost fantasy spot. Gomez, on the other hand, looks certain of a starting spot and we’re hoping for at least a clean sheet and an impact point from him this weekend.

THE INDIVIDUAL (BUDGET) PICKS

As far as our goalkeeper selection is concerned, we can be brief. Aaron Ramsdale is an excellent shot stopper, but what convinced us to include him for gameweek 6 is the fact that he was the cheapest starting goalkeeper available. He is visiting Anfield with Sheffield United on Saturday, where the Blades are not expected to take any points. Liverpool will dominate the game and our hope is that Ramsdale will get the opportunity to accumulate some save points for our FanTeam squad.

To complete our four-men midfield, we needed to find a budget-friendly pick who is a nailed-on starter and who has potential of a surprise attacking return. As a result, we ended up with West Ham’s Tomas Soucek, who is playing at home against Manchester City on Saturday afternoon. The Czech midfielder has so far completed the 90 minutes in each of West Ham’s five Premier League games and he currently sits on a total of 19 FT points, courtesy of a goal, 2 clean sheets and 2 impact points. The Hammers have had a good start to the season, especially compared to last season, and they are currently in 9th, two places above opponents Man City. That, of course, won’t be the case at the end of the season, but it does reflect on each team’s fortunes so far this campaign. West Ham are the underdogs in this one, but a surprise result with a key role for Soucek is not impossible.

Our forward line this week is led by none less than Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, who looks to have recovered from an injury that kept him out of the squad last weekend. Should he not be fit after all to face Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, then the FanTeam Safety Net will automatically select his most likely replacement Kelechi Ihaenacho for us. Both teams have won 9 points from five games so far and this encounter could go both ways. One thing that’s sure though, is that Vardy will be on the prowl against an Arsenal side that has not recorded a clean sheet since the season opener versus Fulham away. This week, last season’s Premier League topscorer is our joker.

Our final fantasy pick for gameweek 6 is Aleksandar Mitrovic, the main danger man up front for strugglers Fulham. The Cottagers have a home game against Crystal Palace up next and they will be hoping to get something from that game after having won just one point from their first five games. With a brace back in gameweek 2 against Leeds, the Serbian forward has been responsible for half of Fulham’s goals in those games. Only Burnley and Sheffield United have scored less, but the hope is that the Londoners will improve on their tally this weekend against a Palace side that has already shipped 8 goals this campaign. Penalty duties add to Mitrogol’s appeal, though he did miss one last weekend against Sheffield United.

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.