Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Fantasy Premier League 2017/18: Gameweek 1 - The fixtures

Villain of the FA Cup final Victor Moses provided the Community Shield's opening goal, reacting sharply to a loose ball following a Chelsea corner early in the second half. The Blues held their lead until Pedro got himself sent off in a rush of blood, conceding a late free kick that Arsenal's new signing Sead Kolasinac headed in. Thibaut Courtois provided a memorable/forgettable (depending on whose side you're on) moment by taking - and skying - Chelsea's second penalty in the ABBA shootout. Arsenal went on to win the Shield 4-1 on penalties, raising the curtain on the English top division season.

With you on penalty #2, this goes without saying, Thibaut

(I know the image is from the FA Cup final, don't bite my head off)

Things will get real on Friday. Without much further ado, let's dive into the fixtures. The color coding is based on the FPL difficult ratings (1: Dark green to 5: Dark red)

Who's Hot

Man Utd

Man Utd's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

With an average FPL difficulty of 2.33 for their opening 6 matches, the Red Devils have the easiest opening to the season among last season's top 6. The Europa League winners face teams from last season's bottom half in their opening 4 matches as well, making their personnel a good bet to make a strong start to the season.

Matic's (5.0) will most likely partner Herrera (5.5) as a midfield screen, making Pogba (8.0) an enticing selection in a role that promises further attacking returns. Lukaku (11.5) is the lucrative premium selection from this side, with De Gea (5.5) the cheapest assured route to defensive returns.

Man City

Man City's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

The opening schedule is a boon, with the only difficult fixtures coming defensively leaky Merseyside. Add to this the fact that just a trip to Stamford Bridge mars the 4 fixtures following these, setting up Pep Guardiola's attackers to provide a strong foundation for the opening third of the campaign.

Just a point shy of the 200 mark, creative outlet Kevin de Bruyne (10.0) provided 21 assists and 6 goals last season. Gabriel Jesus (10.5) proved extremely useful when called upon, and is the manager's preferred forward. The recommendation with their defensive assets would be to wait and watch, despite Pep Guardiola bolstering his ranks in the summer.

Southampton

Southampton's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

The Saints are the only team with 4 home games in the opening 6, and they also reap the benefits of facing promoted Huddersfield and bottom half sides in their first 5 matches. They should be a force to reckon with in our initial lineups, even if they should lose Virgil van Dijk (5.5).

Owing to popular pick's Yoshida's price rise, Cedric (5.0) offers the joint-cheapest outfield route into the Saints rearguard along with him and Forster. While the dynamics up front are less clear between Austin and Gabbiadini, Tadic (6.5) looks a solid pick at his marked-down price following last season's 4 points per game (PPG) showing.

Who's Not

Chelsea

Chelsea's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

Chelsea are handed an unkind opening schedule. Given two strikers settling into the first team, a defensively suspect second half of last season and the absence of explosive midfield asset Eden Hazard (10.5) for possibly the entire duration, there is little upside to investing in the champions at this time.

Everton

Everton's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

The Toffees finished a respectable 7th in 2016/17 following a forgettable previous campaign. Having lost star hitman Lukaku (11.5) to Man Utd and got old boy Rooney (7.5) in exchange, Ronald Koeman wouldn't have been best pleased with the fixtures computer - Two promising home games sandwich an otherwise challenging schedule, to say the least.

Leicester

Leicester's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

The 2015-16 underdog winners are handed a torrid opening, with a cloud hanging over the future of talisman Riyad Mahrez (8.5). Two fixtures against promoted sides brighten up what is otherwise a very challenging schedule.

Bang for your buck

Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

Promotion playoff winners Huddersfield Town boast the easiest opening fixtures according to the average FPL difficulty ratings. Aaron Mooy (5.5) looks a solid punt for a fifth midfielder, while German left back Chris Lowe (4.5) is their most enticing defensive pick owing to a combination of price, penalty-taking and corner kick duties, although he is a rotation risk owing to the addition of Scott Malone (4.5).

Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

Brighton had the joint-best defensive record in the Championship last season, particularly at home - They let in just 12 from 23 games at the Amex stadium. They have the potential to be this season's Burnley -> Mathew Ryan (4.5) could be this season's Tom Heaton, and Markus Suttner (4.5) is nailed-on at left back. The opening two fixtures aside, you could get tidy value for money in the games that follow.

Bournemouth

Bournemouth's opening 6 fixtures of the Premier League season

Ryan Fraser (5.5) delivered 5.1 PPG last season, is still terribly cheap and looks set to play a big role in the Cherries' third straight Premier League season. Asmir Begovic (4.5) has clean sheet potential in half of the opening 6, should deliver save points in the other half and rotates nicely with Brighton's defence.

4 comments:

  1. Are you going into GW1 without a LFC or Arsenal player then?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm on the fence there, but I'm gonna go with no. As in, I will have players from one or both teams (against a pretty non-easy opening 6, it has to be said)

      Delete
  2. What about players from Arsenal and Tottenham?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Splurging on Arsenal would go against an opening that has Stoke, Liverpool and Chelsea away, and a non-easy home game against Leicester.

      Tottenham are thin at the back with Tripper and Rose probably out for the opening week, and match 2 is Chelsea. That said, Eriksen/Alli/Kane should still be good punts.

      Delete

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