The number one fantasy sport game in the world, Fantasy Premier League is back with new improvements as the Premier League season is just a couple of weeks away from kicking off on August 13th, 2016.
With a plethora of new signings, rising stars and old reliable faces to choose from, picking a Premier League fantasy team is no easy task. However, these are the fifteen names that I have chosen to be part of my team as I look to finish even higher in the ranks than last year.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea (5.5)
Both David De Gea and Jose Mourinho are pretty much the best in the business at keeping clean sheets and will ensure that Manchester United are always defensively solid. With the inevitable defensive breakdowns that are likely to occur at Unied, De Gea will still need to make a lot of saves and will likely be extraordinarily hard to get past as he always is. De Gea kept 15 clean sheets last season, just missing out on the Golden Glove, but the Spaniard is certainly the most likely contender to take the honour this year.
Back-Up Goalkeeper: Eldin Jakupovic (4.0)
For the first time ever, I have picked a player that I have no intention of playing in my team ever. The reason? I wasn’t impressed with any of the 6.0 players available to me and so I decided to take a gamble and put in a goalkeeper that probably won’t even start for his team. Jakupovic is the most likely of the 4.0 goalkeepers to play for his club next season as he did featured 14 times in all competitions for the Tigers last year, but the main reason he’s in my team is to accommodate other players.
Right Back: Cesar Azpilicueta (6.0)
Cesar Azpilicueta is probably going to be Chelsea’s most reliable defender in 2015-16 and could play in any formation Antonio Conte wants to bring with him. The Spanish defender has a good habit of getting forward and getting the odd goal and a couple of assists every season, but is also fantastic in defense, with a natural ability to defend in one-on-one situations and a great track record in making successful tackles. At the price of 6.0, Azpilicueta is a steal and will be one of the hottest properties on the Fantasy market going into the season.
Centre Back: Toby Alderweireld (6.5)
Toby Alderweireld was a steal at 5.0 last year and was one of the only players on my team I had from start to finish. Luckily not only was he the best defender in the league in 2015-16, but he also accumulated the second highest amount of points among all defenders in the league behind only Hector Bellerin. With 4 goals and 2 assists plus 13 clean sheets, Toby Alderweireld was the first defender on my team sheet, even with Tottenham’s difficult start to the season.
Left Back: Christian Fuchs (5.5)
Christian Fuchs was the best left-back in the Premier League last season, assisting 4 goals to help Leicester win the title and earn himself a repeat selection on my Fantasy team. By the end of last year most FPL managers had Fuchs in their team and out of all of Leicester defenders he’s the one most likely to succeed again in 2016-17.
Left Back: Neil Taylor (4.5)
After a very impressive showing at Euro 2016, Neil Taylor could be coming in to the 2016-17 season ready to have his best season ever as a footballer. Taylor assisted just 1 goal last season in the league and scored 1 goal plus 1 assist at Euro 2016 but Swansea do keep a fair amount of clean sheets and at the price of 4.5, Taylor was an easy choice.
Back-Up Defender: George Friend (4.5)
As mentioned in the description about Valdes, Middlesborough have a very kind opening set of fixtures and could keep a fair amount of clean sheets. However, it’s Friend’s attacking attributes that I am most intrigued by. The 28-year old scored 1 goal with 2 assists in the English Champioship last season and has accumulated at least 3 goals + assists combined in his last three seasons. I would have loved to have Jose Fonte or Wes Morgan in my team, but since I couldn’t afford them, George Friend looked like the best 4.5 option.
Right Wing: Riyad Mahrez (9.5)
I picked him from the very start of the season, before the first game even kicked off last year at a price of just 5.5 and never looked back. Riyad Mahrez was the best player in the Premier League last season and surprised everyone by scoring 17 goals with 11 assists in 37 Premier League matches, picking up the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award and leading Leicester City to their first ever Premier League title. Although he is unlikely to reach quite such high figures again this season, he should still be expected to reach at least double figures in both categories and have another fantastic season with the Foxes.
Attacking Midfield: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (9.5)
After a stunning season in the Bundesliga last year with Borussia Dortmund in which Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored 11 goals with 15 assists in 31 Bundesliga matches and waltzed to the Player of the Year award and a spot in the Team of the Year, I expect the Armenian midfielder to come out of the gates flying with his new club, Manchester United. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is so versatile and such a hard-worker that it’s guaranteed that he’ll not only start for Jose Mourinho’s new side but be one of their most important players this season. If Mkhitaryan had to leave Borussia Dortmund I’m glad he joined Manchester United and I’m very excited to see what he can accomplish with the Red Devils.
Attacking Midfield: Dimitri Payet (9.5)
Coming off of a red-hot Euro 2016 campaign, Dimitri Payet is likely to carry his form over to West Ham United’s 2016-17 season as they look an improved squad looking to challenge for a top four finish. Payet scored 9 goals with 12 assists in 30 Premier League matches last season and was West Ham United’s most important player as they finished in 7th place. But after shining like a star at Euro 2016 and scoring 3 goals with 2 assists in 7 matches, expect Payet’s numbers to be even greater this season.
Left Wing: Andros Townsend (6.5)
After impressing at the tail end of last season for Newcastle United and nearly helping them earn safety in the Premier League, Andros Townsend made a big move to Crystal Palace and could be set for a fantastic season with the Eagles under the management of Alan Pardew. Townsend’s footwork is fantastic, he can shoot from range, he has got loads of pace and he can even strike free kicks. Townsend should definitely be an important player for Crystal Palace next season and could seriously rack up the fantasy points as well.
Back-Up Midfielder: Jordan Ibe (5.5)
After a 15 million pound move from Liverpool to AFC Bournemouth, Jordan Ibe could be set for a fantastic season in the 2016-17 Premier Leauge. Ibe is a fantastic dribbler, has loads of pace and a good eye for goal. He’ll serve as the perfect replacement for Matt Ritchie for Bournemouth and he’ll be even more important to the Cherries than Ritchie ever was. The 20 year old will likely be the source of all of Bournemouth’s attacks and could be their leading goal scorer next season. At 5.5 Jordan Ibe was an easy pick.
Striker: Shane Long (6.5)
With Graziano Pelle out of the mix, I really like Shane Long’s chances to be Southampton’s talisman this season. He’s a natural goal scorer and so dynamic and creative so hopefully he’ll be able to score and assist plenty of goals this season. Long featured 28 times last season for the Saints, scoring 10 goals with 4 assists. But now that he’ll be the main man up front, I expect him to do even better in 2016-17. Who knows what kind of numbers he could have achieved had he featured in 10 more games last season.
Striker: Andy Carroll (6.5)
The riskiest pick of all. When Andy Carroll is playing, he is unplayable. Unfortunately, he always gets injured and ends up spending the majority of the season out injured. But he’s starting the season fit and with Payet, Cresswell and Antonio constantly floating balls in to the box for Carroll to attack and West Ham playing to his strengths, he’s destined to score goals. I sincerely hope he sets the Premier League on fire this season.
Striker: Jamie Vardy (10.0)
After having him in my team from the very start of the season in 2015-16 and having him surpass all expectations to go on and break records and finish as the league’s second highest scorer, there was no way I was going to leave him out my team this season either. Vardy scored 24 goals with 6 assists last season and even though I don’t expect to score quite as many in 2016-17, I still expect him to be one of the league’s best players and a steal at 10.0 even if it is far greater than the 6.0 I spent for him at the start of the season last year.
Although there are a lot of risky choices here, I am still decently satisfied with my team. I am very happy with my expensive midfield players and back four but every other player could be a risky choice. I decided to go with Mahrez as captain for GW1 because I have a really good feeling that Leicester will batter Hull on opening day and the the Algerian maestro will run the show. I also have a very good feeling for Mkhitaryan in his first Premier League match against Bournemouth and feel like he could have a fantastic opening game so I chose him to be my vice captain. Jamie Vardy could also shine against Hull while Shane Long is likely to help fire the Saints to an opening day victory against Watford. I expect Vardy, De Gea, Mahrez, Mkhitaryan, Azpilicueta, Payet and the current back three to all be in my team for the entire season.
Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel
I really didn’t want to go with Valdes, but just couldn’t find a good way to put Kasper Schmeichel in my team. The Leicester goalkeeper kept 15 clean sheets to help the Foxes win the Premier League title last season and with reinforcements in all areas of the pitch, the ex-Manchester City goalkeeper could keep even more in 2016-17. If I can shuffle things around and fit him in soon, he’ll be one of the first names on my list to transfer in soon.
Back-Up Goalkeeper: Victor Valdes (4.5)
Out of all the 4.5 rated goalkeepers, Middlesborough have the easiest opening schedule as their first tough match isn’t until September 24 against Tottenham. Valdes isn’t even guaranteed to start as he just arrived to the club a couple of weeks ago despite Dimitros Konstantopolous keeping 21 clean sheets in 44 matches last season to help Borough get promoted! However, if I did want to go with a goalkeeper that is actually going to play, rather than Jakupovic, he would have been my first choice.
Right Back: Hector Bellerin (6.5)
With a goal and five assists in 36 matches last season for Arsenal, 21-year old Hector Bellerin accumulated more points than any other defender last season. But, with a tough round of opening fixtures against Leicester and Liverpool I decided to opt for a cheaper option at the back in Christian Fuchs.
Attacking Midfielder: Kevin de Bruyne (10.5)
Another player that when on his day is completely unplayable. However, I just couldn’t fit him into my team, especially not at his price of 10.5. However, Kevin de Bruyne is probably the likeliest contender to be the highest scoring midfielder in FPL and could enter my team very soon.
Striker: Andre Gray (6.5)
Instead of Shane Long I almost went with the Championship’s top goalscorer last season Andre Gray, who scored 23 goals for Burnley. Ultimately I don’t see Burnley having a strong start to the season and may save him for later.
Striker: Sergio Aguero (13.0)
Sergio Aguero always scores goals and was one of the key reasons why I was able to be one of Canada’s top Fantasy Premier League managers last season. Aguero netted 24 goals in just 29 matches to help Manchester City finish 4th in the table. Now with Pep Guardiola as his manager, the Argentine striker is likely to play even better and is my pick to end the season as the league’s Golden Boot winner. If he can avoid injury, he has the potential to be the highest fantasy point scorer this season. If things get shuffled around and I can afford him, I will transfer him into my team as soon as possible.
So there it is. My 2016-17 Premier League Fantasy Team! Feel free to share yours and your thoughts in the comments section below!