This weekend sees the return of the Premier League, which of course means that fantasy players the world over will be frantically tinkering with their squads ahead of gameweek 1.
There are several well-established Premier League stars who FPL managers will be trying to fit into their 15-man squads, but what of some of the new faces on the block? We look at five summer signings in the midfield and forward department and assess the potential impact these attacking players could have from a fantasy perspective.
Early in the summer, it became apparent that Diego Costa was on his way out of Stamford Bridge, prompting Chelsea to act. The Costa situation remains unresolved at this juncture, but regardless, the Blues managed to bag themselves a replacement in Alvaro Morata.
The Spaniard endured a frustrating campaign with Real Madrid last term, often playing second fiddle to Bernabeu favourite Karim Benzema. Despite being in and out of the team though, Morata scored a respectable 15 La Liga goals in just 14 starts and 12 substitute appearances. This translates to the impressive mark of a goal every 88.9 minutes, a statistic any striker would be proud of. By way of comparison, Diego Costa managed a Premier League goal every 154.5 minutes last season.
Of course, Morata wouldn’t have wanted to launch his Chelsea career with a blazed penalty miss against London rivals Arsenal in the Community Shield, but the real competition starts this weekend, and if he can benefit from the creativity in Conte’s side, his FPL price tag of £10.0 will look like a snip.
FPL manager have been cautious with Morata in the lead-up to gameweek 1, as he features in just 6.7% of teams (at the time of writing). Could he be the differential to kick-start your campaign?
As popular as Olivier Giroud is amongst the Arsenal faithful, most Gooners would admit that they have lacked a clinical striker since the departure of Robin van Persie. It is hoped that the near £50m they have spent on Alexandre Lacazette will fill that void.
In contrast to Morata, Lacazette was the main man at Lyon last season, and has been for some time. The Frenchman surpassed the 20-goal mark in his last three seasons in Ligue 1, with his 28 strikes in the 2016/17 campaign equating to a goal every 86 minutes.
The Premier League is a different animal, no doubt, and Arsenal’s success this season could heavily depend on whether Lacazette makes the transition and stay fit.
A player who knows the Premier League well after his days with Manchester United, ‘Chicharito’ has the advantage over many other new arrivals in that he knows what the English game is all about.
It is perhaps this experience which has seen the Mexican surge up the ownership charts, with only Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku featuring in more FPL teams at this stage. Additionally, his modest price tag of £7.0m is undoubtedly a contributing factor, giving fantasy players the license to spend more heavily elsewhere.
Last season, Hernandez scored 11 Bundesliga goals in 20 starts (and six substitute appearances), whilst he found the net 17 times in the 2015/16 campaign. During his Manchester United days, he scored 10 Premier League goals or more in three separate seasons. As a supporting striker then, you could do a lot worse than this little poacher who is sure to be West Ham’s main man.
Another player returning to the English top flight is exciting winger Mohamed Salah, once of Chelsea. The Egyptian never really got going in his first Premier League stint, but he revitalised his career during his spell in Serie A with both Fiorentina and Roma.
Salah appears to be a perfect fit for Liverpool, and a quick glance at his Roma stats last year tells us exactly why Jurgen Klopp made him a top target this summer. 15 goals and 11 assists would translate into a serious amount of FPL points for a player categorised as a midfielder, despite the fact he often played as a forward for Roma last season. This potential has even seen him edge out the pricier Sadio Mane in the ownership stakes.
Last season, trying to figure out which Liverpool midfielder to own in your fantasy team was a constant dilemma, and this only adds to that headache. On the other hand, if Philippe Coutinho does swap his red shirt for a Barcelona one, that would leave a creative void in the team that a talent such as Salah would be only too happy to fill. Watch this space – Salah could be one of the top scoring FPL midfielders this season.
A midfield signature that may have gone slightly under the radar in some circles is Everton new-boy Davy Klaassen who, prior to his arrival, had been one of the chief creative forces at Dutch giants Ajax over the past few seasons.
There was a distinct lack of viable mid-priced midfielders in FPL last season, but priced at £7.5, Klaassen is a tempting option in that bracket given his impressive attacking statistics last term (14 goals and nine assists). Whilst Everton will not be as free-scoring as Ajax were in the Eredivisie, Klaassen has the ability to provide big returns and he is likely to be a mainstay in the Toffess line-up.
If you’re on the lookout for an ultra-differential midfielder in your opening squad, then Klaassen might well be your man, given that he currently features in just 2.2% of FPL teams and seems a certain starter in Ronald Koeman’s team.
ATTENTION FPL PLAYERS - there’s still time to join TSZ’s mini-league before the season begins. To auto-join, visit https://fantasy.premierleague....
If that fails, enter the league code 33162-177174