It is finally here!
The official Fantasy Premier League site has launched for the 2016/17 season and you can find out how to enter our league HERE.
Is it far too early to have set your line up in stone for week one? Absolutely. Is it far too early to start talking about fantasy football? Absolutely not! There is loads of information that has come out with the launch of the game so let us just jump straight into it.
Many people thought there would be significant changes to the game, but it looks like everything is about the same. The chips have stayed, the bonus system has remained the same for better or worse (read: worse), and no extra statistics have been added. They do show more statistics on the player pages in the form of, what they are calling, the ICT Index. It is supposed to be a way to track the influence, creativity, and threat (hence ICT) that each player possesses. While it initially seemed like a bunch of nonsense it was pretty easy to see how they calculated their new ‘creativity’ statistic.
Can you spot the difference?
|4||De Bruyne||De Bruyne|
The ‘influence’ and ‘threat’ categories are more difficult to pin down. Influence seems to take bonus points into account as six of the top ten are shared by both statistics, but that is hardly conclusive. Threat just seems random at the moment sharing no particular link to either shots, shots on target, or goals scored. I will be sure to update this if I find a more concrete link.
Several key fantasy players have had their positions changed as we head into the 2016/17 season. I have highlighted a few of them with my take on their change in value.
- Club: Manchester United
- Was: MID
- Now: DEF
- Price: 5.5
Blind had much of his value sapped last season as he was earning just one point per clean sheet despite playing as a centre back for more than thirty games in 2015/16. Had he gotten the standard six points for a clean sheet he would have finished as the second highest scoring defender on 170 points and been a top fifteen overall fantasy player. There is reason for concern this year though as a fit Phil Jones and the purchase of Eric Bailly could cause him to lose some minutes, but at 5.5 he should be worth the risk.
- Club: Stoke City
- Was: FOR
- Now: MID
- Price: 6.0
This does make Bojan more ownable if just. He would have earned sixteen more points which would have made him the third highest scoring Stoke player last season, but even with that boost would not have finished as a top thirty midfielder. In his defense, he should earn more points this season as he will be expected to play much more than the meager 1697 minutes he managed last year.
- Club: Tottenham Hotspur
- Was: DEF
- Now: MID
- Price: 5.5
Unfortunately the same process that helps Blind this year will hurt Dier. Without his six points for clean sheets Dier, like most defensive midfielders, has very little value in the official fantasy game.
- Club: Manchester United
- Was: FOR
- Now: MID
- Price: 9.5
When I first saw Martial was now listed as a midfielder I wanted to put him in my team until I realised that at 9.5, you would have to decide on him over Mahrez, Ozil, and Payet. I do think Manchester United will have a significantly improved attack this season with the additions of Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan, but I would much rather have an established commodity at that price.
Now that we have gotten rule and position changes out of the way we can get into the entree of this piece which is, of course, buy and sell. Expect this to be outdated in about a week as teams continue to make transfers but, for now, these are the players you should consider bringing into and leaving out of your fantasy team.
Buy: Sergio Aguero – Forward, Manchester City, 13.0
Aguero is what he is. He will miss five to ten games only to still finish as a top five forward come the end of the season. The price is obviously a big chunk of change but, if you want him in the first ten weeks, now is probably the time to bring him in as it will be a lot easier to downgrade to a cheaper player than to upgrade from other, cheaper options.
Buy: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Forward, Manchester United, 11.5
He scored fifty goals in all competitions last season. FIFTY! There may be a slight adjustment period, but he starts off with Bournemouth who conceded the second most goals in the Premier League last season. Zlatan should have a terrific season with all the service he will get from Martial and Mkhitaryan on the wings.
Sell: Alexis Sanchez – Midfielder, Arsenal 11.0
Arsene Wenger has stated that we may not see Sanchez until September so, while I do think he will have a good fantasy year, it is probably best to lay off for now.
Buy: Kevin De Bruyne – Midfielder, Manchester City, 10.5
De Bruyne finished top ten in assists last season and I am willing to bet he improves significantly under new manager Pep Guardiola. He comes into the new season off the back of some terrific performances at the Euros where he finished fourth in shots on target and second in deliveries into the penalty area despite Belgium playing at least one match less than everyone ahead of him. De Bruyne also gets a significant boost in value as he is the primary set piece taker for City, and he takes them quite well indeed.
Sell: Daniel Sturridge – Forward, Liverpool, 10.0
Long term I am worried about injuries and short term I am worried about the fact that Sturridge will face three of last seasons top five defences in his first five matches. He is worth keeping an eye on though as the addition of Mane (and likely Wijnaldum) will offer pace to a Liverpool attack that was sorely lacking it last season.
Buy: Payet/Ozil/Mahrez/Mkhitaryan – Midfielder(s), 9.5
All had incredible assist numbers last season and have slight question marks heading into 2016/17. Payet will have to deal with the Europa league and possible rotation, Ozil looks like he will miss the first couple matches, Mahrez has to show he can somewhat duplicate last season’s numbers, and Mkhitaryan will have to adjust to the Premier League. I am willing to live with any of those risks for just 9.5.
Sell: Anthony Martial – Midfielder, Manchester United, 9.5
See: ‘Position Changes’
Buy: Christian Eriksen – Midfielder, Tottenham Hotspur 8.5
Eriksen had a down year last year by his standards and still put up some impressive creative statistics finishing second in assists and third in chances created. He is always a danger from set pieces and that is what puts him ahead of teammate Dele Alli who also costs 8.5. There is potential for a drop in minutes depending on how manager Mauricio Pochettino decides to rotate with Champions League now a factor for Spurs.
Sell: Raheem Sterling – Midfielder, Manchester City, 8.0
I have seen some people touting him as a value pick, but I just do not see it. The addition of Nolito and De Bruyne’s willingness to play out wide means it may be sometime before we see Sterling and, to a lesser extent, Navas starting anytime soon.
Buy: Cesc Fabregas – Midfielder, Chelsea, 7.5
There are plenty of reasons to think this will not work, but let me tell you why it might. First of all, and I doubt you have forgotten, Fabregas led the league in assists two years ago with nineteen. His career average for assists in a season is fourteen. If he gets to play thirty or more matches next to Kante, and that is a big if, he could easily end the season as a top ten midfielder.
Sell: Troy Deeney – Forward, Watford, 7.0
This is not me trying to convince you that Deeney for 7.0 is anything other than a steal. He absolutely is and finished eighth in goals and first in assists among forwards last season! That all having been said, you may want to avoid him for the first five weeks as Watford face four top ten defences.
Buy: Gerard Deulofeu – Midfielder, Everton, 6.5
He finished top fifteen in assists (9) despite starting just sixteen games in the Premier League last season. With Ronald Koeman now at the helm, Deulofeu should get significant playing time which should cause a significant rise in his impact for both Everton and your fantasy team. The matchups are so-so with Spurs, West Brom, and Stoke as their first three but Tottenham will be without Dembele and Vertonghen while the latter two have failed to live up to their billing as of late.
Sell: Callum Wilson – Forward, Bournemouth, 6.5
I still rate Wilson but I need to see something from him before I buy in. He failed to register a goal or assist after his return from injury in April and, while he should be Bournemouth’s main man, will likely struggle the first few weeks facing four of the league’s ten best defences from last season.
Buy: Christian Fuchs – Defender, Leicester, 5.5
He finished as the fifth highest scoring defender last season and though the Leicester defence is due for a bit of regression he should get a better return from his set pieces, which should make him fairly slump proof. He is in my team to start the season and I cannot think of a reason why he should not be in yours.
Sell: Eric Dier – Midfielder, Tottenham, 5.5
See: ‘Position Changes’
Buy: Pierre-Emile Hojberg – Midfielder, Southampton, 4.5
Hojberg has all the talent in the world, the question is if he will get the playing time for that to matter. He will have to contend with the likes of Jordy Clasie and Steven Davies for a spot, but the upside is worth it especially for a price dump midfielder.
Sell: Simon Francis – Defender, Bournemouth, 4.5
He was top five in assists last season among defenders (4) and there is no reason to believe that will not improve with a fit Wilson back up top. Francis also finished top ten overall in impact so if that actually ends up mattering this year you may get a nice boost there. The first match against Manchester United looks like a scary one but they may not be clicking yet and the following matches are not too daunting.