We’ve all been there, ten of the starting eleven fantasy players selected and an outfit that looks glorious. There is no way that it can be changed, yet you are left with only a pittance and need to select a budget player. Whilst these players are often the last ones that you pick; they are the most important selections you will make.
The difference between finding a Ryan Fraser, a man who bagged points last year and as a result, rocketed in value as opposed to picking a Tom Cairney who does virtually nothing apart from deppreciate in value cannot be overstated. Finding a bargain early on is the differential that can win you a league; every bob and his uncle gets points when Salah scores, he won’t be the man that fires you above the rest. With that in mind, here are my top 10 bargain picks for the season:
10. Ceballos – £5.5m
This price really took me by surprise, but Arsenal’s new midfielder really is priced under £6 million. Ceballos has just joined the Gunners on loan from Real Madrid and is an exciting prospect to say the least. In the Euro Under-21 finals, Ceballos played 5 games, earning two assists and two goals in the process. When signed by Madrid in 2017, Perez described him as a ‘future pillar’ and Ceballos has been seen as a generational talent ever since he burst onto the scene at Real Betis.
He is technically excellent and can play the deeper midfield role; a Cazorla esque position where he dictates play with a superb passing ability. However, for Spain’s under 21 side, Ceballos plays a number 10 role. If he features in a position even nearly this attacking for Arsenal then £5.5 million is going to look like daylight robbery.
9. Mark Noble – £5m
Mark Noble is the first player to make this list thanks to VAR. If on the field, he will take their penalties and with the new video assistant referees, he should not be short of these. Noble would be higher on the list as £5 really is next to nothing for a midfielder, however West Ham are undergoing a transformation of types so his starting place is not somewhat in the air. P
Personally, I’m benching Noble, even if he doesnt start. This is because midfields in the Premier League change regularly and for £5, Noble could become incredible value if he slots into that midfield and then gets the penalty duties. For evidence of his value, simply compare this price to Luka Milivojević – Crystal Palace’s penalty taker sits at £7 million. Spot kicks are going to play a huge role in FPL next year, Noble could offer a hidden passage into this avenue of points
8. Tom Heaton – £4.5m
Linked with Villa, but worth considering regardless of the move. Heaton’s 2018/19 campaign was badly hampered by injury. His return to fitness last season sparked Burnley’s 8 game unbeaten run. When you add this to the pragmatic management of Sean Dyche and Burnley’s inevitably defensive style of play, Heaton is odds-on to pick up more than a few clean sheets. At £4.5 million, he is a good option as either your first choice keeper or your sub. Over to you…
7. Leander Dendoncker – £4.5m
At just £4.5 million, Dendoncker is a perfect player for your bench. This is the cheapest price that you can pick up a midfielder for and Dendoncker actually gets game time for Wolves. Although he is a very defensive option, at 6ft2 he will be an aerial threat from set pieces. If you want your bench warmed by someone who won’t lose value throughout the season and may pick up the occasional few points; here is your man.
6. Frédéric Guilbert – £4.5m
So far in pre-season, Guilbert has marauded down the right flank and put in countless excellent crosses; Jota scored from one of these against Walsall. The Frenchman seems to be a very attacking full back, and a highly gifted one at that. Our style of play is very expansive and Grealish routinely strokes the ball beautifully out to our full backs. When you combine this with the presence of our new striker Wesley, all Guilbert needs to do is cross the ball decently and he should be picking up more than a few points for your fantasy side.
£4.5 million makes Guilbert available for the same price as all of Villa’s defenders. It is important to note that he will be competing for a spot with Elmohamady, but the same logic applies to the Egyptian in terms of opportunities to cross the ball. Given his pre-season performances, Guilbert seems the most attacking and resultedly the obvious choice to me, but any of these Villa defenders could bag a handful of assists in the coming season.
5. Wilfried Zaha – £7m
Although he is towards the top of the ‘budget’ price range, Zaha is an indisputable steal for 7 million this year. For the last three seasons, Zaha has picked up over 130 points, not a bad haul at all and this consistency makes you think he will at least do the same. Last season he got 10 goals and 11 assists from his more attacking role, yet he has been changed to a midfielder on Fantasy Premier League and as a result he will pick up both clean sheet points and an extra point per goal.
This makes him a steal at 7 million, before you even consider two additional possibilities. Zaha is one of the trickiest players in the top flight; the introduction of VAR is certain to result in more penalties won and thus more assist points. Secondly, Zaha is being chased by a number of blig clubs; Arsenal, Everton etc. A move to a team who enjoy longer spells of possession could also see the Ivorian’s stats climb. If you have 7 million spare, this is your man!
4. Mason Greenwood – £4.5m
At just £4.5 million, Greenwood really is your bargain basement option upfront. Realistically, he is probably best suited to your bench, but for £4.5 million, he is the ideal striker to save money on. At only 17 years of age, he is set to be a big part of United’s plans for the future; especially given their transition back to a Fergie-esque youth approach by Solskjaer. Whilst Ole is at the wheel, Greenwood is likely to get gametime.
Greenwood was very much under the radar until a few impressive performances in pre-season. He scored after 2 minutes against Leeds, and Rashford has described his natural ability as ‘frightening’ . If you are worried about Man United loaning out your reserve striker then grab a cuppa and put your feet up because according to the gaffer – “A loan for Mason has never been on my mind” and he is “ready to be in the squad”.
3. Trezeguet – £5.5m
Villa’s new signing comes in at number 3 on my list of bargains, he would be higher but he might take some time to adapt to the Premier League. Admittedly, this is a very stats based selection, but I believe that this price is too good to ignore. Grealish was a part of my squad, but at £0.5m less, the Egyptian wideman is a better selection as he is likely to have a higher goals and assist output. Jota is also 6 million; a price well worth thinking about if he plays anything like he has in pre-season.
However, back to Trezeguet and why, for now, I believe he is the best option. Trezeguet is a very direct winger who likes a strike on goal; he has scored 8 from outside the box in his past two seasons in the Turkish league. That said, it was one particular infographic that for me, made Trezeguet a shoe-in at just £5.5m. All credit for this image must go to @villaanalytics – a page well worth a follow.
This graphic is a fantasy football managers dream, he could well be the Mahrez/Fraser of 2019/20. Let’s hope so Villans!
2. Matt Ritchie – £5.5m
Ritchie is in this list for one reason alone; penalties. If the World Cup and other uses of VAR are anything to work off, then there will be an abundance of spot kicks in the Premier League next season. Ritchie is the only defender on the game who is also a first choice penalty taker, making this price very attractive. He will take many of Newcastle’s set pieces next season and with Bruce in charge, they will almost certainly be reliant on converting from these.
The only potential caveats in this choice are the new signing of Joelington, who could take Ritchie’s place as penalty taker, and… Steve Bruce. However, Ritchie is Scottish and if Bruce’s time at Villa is assessed, then he certainly likes his Scotts: Snodgrass, Hutton and McGinn come to mind. I don’t see Newcastle doing well this season, infact, I expect their relegation to be confirmed fairly early on as the potato is routinely peeled to pieces by intelligent football management. That said, Bruce teams will naturally sit back in their quest for boredom, which could see Ritchie pick up a few clean sheets.
1 – Zinchenko – £5.5m
Zinchenko could be the cheapest way in to a top sides defence in the first few weeks of the season. Mendy is injured for the first month and the snake has joined Everton, meaning the talented Ukranian may have a starting spot in Pep’s XI. His only competiton is Angelino, a young Spaniard who impressed in the Dutch league, leading to City triggering their £6 million buy back clause. It is worth keeping an eye on this battle for a starting spot but, for all intents and purposes, the community shield next weekend should shed light on which of these players is likely to bag a place in the starting lineup.
Zinchenko was a midfielder last year and undoubetdly knows how to attack. Given Man City’s freeflowing attacking football and Zinchenko’s obvious talent, £5.5 million could be an absolute steal; until Mendy is back anyway…
So that’s it, my 10 biggest bargains for next season. Ultimately, football is incredibly unpredictable and I haven’t won an FPL league ever, so whether you choose to follow my guidance or not is another matter. Despite this, these 10 players are certainly good value and could boost you up your leagues; just don’t select the same players out of the 10 as I do…
By Callum Richardson
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