Fantasy League

Fantasy Premier League – Analyzing New Signings

In this feature, I have analysed the Fantasy Premier League prospects of the new signings of this transfer window.

The Premier League has seen huge amounts of money spent in the transfer window, yet again. Players from all around the world have been moving clubs, as clubs wheel and deal. As far as a Fantasy Premier League viewpoint is concerned, new signings arouse a lot of questions. I will analyse and attempt to answer some questions about some of the big signings,

1. Romelu Lukaku (£75m – Everton -> Man Utd. £11.5m on FPL)

As I mentioned about him in my forwards guide, Lukaku is as close to a must-have player there can be in FPL. There is little against him, and a lot for him. The big Belgian finished second in the goal scoring charts last season, with 25 league goals. In FPL, he was the second top scoring striker, with 221 pts, only 3 less than Harry Kane. And all that was at a mid-table club. With a move to a big club in Manchester United, you can only expect his output to increase.

The big Belgian also has explosive capabilities, as he showed with a 4-goal haul last season against Bournemouth

The big Belgian also has explosive capabilities, as he showed with a 4-goal haul last season against Bournemouth

With Man Utd having brilliant fixtures to start off, you can expect him to hit the ground running right from the get go. This also boosts his captaincy prospects, which are aided by his propensity to score goals in a bunch. Owned by 48.4%, he’s the most owned player in the game. This means that if you don’t own him, and he does what he’s capable of, you’ll be behind the game already. Add to that he’ll take penalties and some direct free-kicks, for a team who created oh-so many chances last season. It’s a terrifying prospect leaving him out.

Verdict – Get him in. If he’s not the first name on your team sheet, you’re doing it wrong.

2. Alvaro Morata (£60m – Real Madrid -> Chelsea. £10.0m on FPL)

The Chelsea new signing might be worth a consideration later down the line, but I would certainly avoid at the start. Firstly, Chelsea don’t have the best fixtures at the start. Secondly, it might be better off waiting and watching to see how he settles in at Stamford Bridge. Morata hasn’t had a starting striker role at any club yet, and it remains to be seen how he figures in and responds to Antonio Conte’s plans.

Alvaro Morata has had a tough start to life at Stamford Bridge

Alvaro Morata has had a tough start to life at Stamford Bridge

Conte recently said that Morata has just started training with the club, and “has to improve his condition” a lot. With such a negative vote of confidence from his manager, Morata doesn’t seem the strongest pick to start off. Morata was benched in the Community Shield by Conte, in favor of the in-form Michy Batshuayi. Morata didn’t inspire much confidence as he scuffed his penalty in the shootout late on. His confidence will certainly be dented by that. The Blues’ record signing is definitely one to watch, one to avoid at the start.

Verdict – Not one to go for at the start, when Chelsea’s fixtures improve and he shows form, worth a consideration.

3. Alexander Lacazette (£53m Lyon -> Arsenal. £10.5m on FPL)

Arsenal’s record signing, Lacazette represents another new premium striker option in FPL. But again, I would recommend waiting and watching on him, though if you’re feeling adventurous, he’s surely worth a punt. With 28 goals in the Ligue 1 last season, and big goal tallies for the past few seasons now, he’s shown that he’s a goalscorer with a proven pedigree. Having scored 10 penalties last season in the league, Alexis Sanchez being a sketchy penalty taker at best, and Santi Cazorla still far away from full fitness, the Frenchman is expected to take penalty duties. He did look sharp in his 66-minute spell in the Community Shield against Chelsea, and even came close to scoring once. And that was without the service of marquee players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

With more established expensive options, the Frenchman represents a punt at best

With more established expensive options, the Frenchman represents a punt at best

Arsenal are a team that generally do score goals, and their strikers especially do get in the goals, as Olivier Giroud has shown in the past few seasons, despite an in-and-out role and heavy criticism from fans. Even if Sanchez leaves Arsenal, that would mean the focus will be on Lacazette, with him being the focal point. All this means that he’s certainly worth a consideration, even with Arsenal’s mixed opening fixtures. But with Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus already established options in the £10.0m+ price bracket, is a punt really needed? 

Verdict – Only for the Maverick managers. With so many options, from which affording even two is a tall task, Lacazette may well be another one for the wait and watch category.

4. Kyle Walker (£50m Tottenham Hotspur -> Man City. £6.5m on FPL)

The English right-back was the most expensive defender in the world, before Man City bought fellow full-back Benjamin Mendy. That doesn’t necessarily mean the outlay required for him on FPL is worth it, however. Man City’s defense has been extremely shaky under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage. This means that £6.5m, one of the highest brackets for a defender, is an investment you probably don’t want to make. Although Walker is extremely capable of producing assists and goals, a defender has to rely on clean sheets for most of their Fantasy points. And with a defense uncertain at best, with Mendy already out for the first few games, it’s risky to have such faith in the City defense with cheaper alternatives available. Until City show that they can be resolute at the back under Guardiola, avoid. Go for someone cheaper.

Verdict – Poor value for money, avoid till City show defensive solidity.

5. Bernardo Silva (£43m Monaco -> Man City. £8.0m on FPL)

The 22-year-old may be one of the hottest prospects in the world, but it all counts for nothing in the cruel Fantasy world

The 22-year-old may be one of the hottest prospects in the world, but it all counts for nothing in the cruel Fantasy world

Another big money signing from Man City, the Portuguese winger is definitely one to avoid. The City midfield is nothing less than a minefield. With innumerable options for the spots behind the striker in Leroy Sane, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Nolito, Samir Nasri, Bernardo Silva himself and even Gabriel Jesus if Guardiola decides to shunt him out wide, you can never be certain who’ll play. Silva is amongst one of those whose spot will be bit part at best, with Guardiola’s tinkering propensity. And as the golden rule in Fantasy goes, if there’s doubt about a player’s starting place, ignore.

Verdict – Avoid.

6. Mohamed Salah (£34m Roma -> Liverpool. £9.0m on FPL)

The pacy Egyptian is another Liverpool midfield option to consider, in a midfield that already had a problem of plenty. However, again, as with Lacazette, there is already an established, safer alternative to Salah. Sadio Mane, for £0.5m more, plays for the same team and offers a proven Premier League commodity. Salah didn’t have much of a pleasant time in his previous brief stint in the PL under Chelsea, and even though he’s a much-improved player now, he’s still a risk at best. With Mane offering the end product Salah doesn’t, the Senegalese forward represents a much more prudent option. The winger has enjoyed a fruitful pre-season at the Merseyside club though, so perhaps one to consider if you want a differential. 

As with Lacazette, only go with Salah if you really want to be different

As with Lacazette, only go with Salah if you really want to be different

Verdict – Little point in going for Salah. If you want a Liverpool midfielder, cough up the extra £0.5m for Mane.

7. Victor Lindelof (£30m Benfica -> Man Utd. £5.5m on FPL)

The Swedish defender was Man Utd’s first capture in the close season. Many have chosen him as their preferred route into United’s defense, given his attractive price point, and Utd’s enticing early fixtures. However, I would certainly avoid. Mourinho has shown mixed signals over his favored centre-back pairing. He has shown signs of favouring Phil Jones and Eric Bailly in pre-season, and the reason he went with Lindelof and Chris Smalling in the European Super Cup is perhaps only because both Jones and Bailly were serving European suspensions. Lindelof was shaky at best in pre-season and could find himself in and out of the side. Mourinho did rotate his centre-back pairings last season as well, which leaves this area uncertain. Matteo Darmian for the same price is a safer option, with his competition for the left-back spot in Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young out long term. Even Phil Jones is perhaps a better, cheaper option, but he’s always an injury waiting to happen, as those familiar with him will know.

Verdict – Avoid.

The young Swedish centre-back hasn't looked assured so far

The young Swedish centre-back hasn’t looked assured so far

8. Michael Keane (£30m Burnley -> Everton. £5.5m on FPL)

Another club record signing on this list, the English international joins Everton from Burnley after a breakout season. Despite the huge outlay the club has made on him, in FPL, he’s definitely one to avoid. Everton’s fixtures in the first 5 read Stoke, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, Man Utd. The first one might be attractive, but the other four are as horrific fixtures as they could get for a defender. And that’s all in a row. He’s definitely got potential to be considered later on, as he has a goal scoring knack and Everton have shown defensive resilience under Ronald Koeman. But with those fixtures, even the best of players will find it tough to break into our considerations.

Verdict – Definitely avoid until Gameweek 5, after which he’s a good option.

Michael Keane's Fantasy prospects look much better GW5 onwards

Michael Keane’s Fantasy prospects look much better GW5 onwards

9. Chicharito (£13m Bayer Leverkusen -> West Ham. £7.0m on FPL)

The West Ham new signing joined less than a week ago and is already the fourth highest owned amongst all strikers. His price tag is what appeals the most, between slim pickings in the mid-priced bracket. An old-timer in the Premier League, he has experience in England from his time at Man Utd. He doesn’t have much competition for his spot, with West Ham’s seemingly eternity long hunt for a striker finally having come to an end through his signature. 

Chicharito's extraordinary poaching abilities will be on show in the Premier League once more

Chicharito’s extraordinary poaching abilities will be on show in the Premier League once more

He could benefit from the service provided by West Ham’s new look attack, with Marko Arnautovic having joined previously. The Mexican enjoyed an especially successful first season at Bayer Leverkusen, where he scored 17 goals and 3 assists in 28 league games and showed no signs of rust from years of warming the benches at Man Utd and Real Madrid. When Mark Noble is not on the pitch, the “Little Pea” may also be on penalty duties. His famed eye for the goal, which has seen him top Mexico’s all time goal scoring charts, can prove deadly, and get him amongst the points. West Ham do have 3 away fixtures to start off, so his prospects will look even better come GW4.

Verdict – A very enticing option, especially after Gameweek 3 when West Ham’s away fixtures are done with.

10. Wayne Rooney (Free Man Utd -> Everton. £7.5m on FPL)

Rooney is in 19.1% of all teams. He is the third most owned of all strikers, after Kane and Lukaku. There is probably nothing more that has baffled me so much this season. As much as I love Rooney myself, he’s just not a good FPL pick at the moment. He’s getting on, and even looked out of place in Michael Carrick’s testimonial, where he was playing against players several years retired.

Rooney may have made a return to Everton, but a return to our FPL considerations should wait

Rooney may have made a return to Everton, but a return to our FPL considerations should wait

Although he may have scored a wonderful long-range effort in a pre-season game, in competitive games, he struggled in Everton’s Europa League qualifier against Ruzomberok. It was only when Sandro Ramirez took the role up front while Rooney dropped back did Everton look capable of creating something. Rooney is not sure of starting every game, with his age, form and fitness a concern. The Merseyside club are also in the market for another striker, as they look to increase depth for a Europa League challenge this season. The 31-year-old could often find himself in and out of the side as a result. And even if he does get a regular starting role in the league, Everton’s fixtures after GW1 are Man City, Chelsea, Spurs and Man Utd in a row. There are slim pickings in the mid-price bracket, but there’s much better than Rooney.

Verdict – Don’t even think about him till Gameweek 5. Even after that, he’s an iffy pick at best. 

 

If you have any questions about your FPL teams, as always, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

 

 

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