The Premier League starts on Friday and we’re getting closer and closer to the Fantasy Premier League deadline. Some of us have been tinkering with our squads for a month now, while others just joined and want a template to start with. Whether you are on your 48th draft or just started and want to know which players to get, here’s a handy guide for a few different ways you can set up your team.
You can find these five squads and a whole lot more extensive FPL info in our extensive FPL guide here:
The first and possibly most important question you need to ask yourself, is whether or not you should have last season’s FPL standout, Mohamed Salah. Priced at £13.0, including Salah would mean you have to downgrade several other players to make room for him. However, with Salah’s incredible FPL potential and kind opening fixtures, can you really start this FPL season without him?
To get a better picture of how your team can look with or without Salah, here are my “Mo Salah” and “NoSalah” teams:
The Mo Salah Team
No other midfield big hitters, but there is room for Aguero up front.
The cheapest viable GK pairing might be Fabianski and McCarthy. They rotate perfectly, ensuring you a home game every week (BUR, BOU, LEI, WLV, BHA for the first 5 gameweeks). Fabianski has been a top FPL goalkeeper the past few years with Swansea and there’s a good chance he can keep it up with West Ham. McCarthy took over as Southampton’s #1 last year, a team that might get back to mid-table security with Mark Hughes as manager.
Bailly might be a steal for only £5.5. He’s clearly Man Utd’s most talented defender and won’t have to deal with the injuries that left him out for most of last season. He should be a lock in Manchester United’s defence. Sokratis is a very solid addition to Arsenal’s backline and might give them enough clean sheets to make him a 6.0 defender next season. Pereira is an exciting new offensive full-back, while Kabasele and Tomkins are solid starters at £4.5.
Salah is obviously the star in midfield for the “Mo Salah Team”. He is a default captain choice and is obviously a top class player. Having Salah doesn’t mean the midfield has to suffer however, as he is joined by fellow big 6 players Mahrez and Mkhitaryan. Both are tricky wingers with an eye for both assists and goals and will be fun to watch. Sigurdsson takes all set-pieces for Everton, especially with Baines being replaced by Digne. Pritchard is a hidden gem for Huddersfield who plays right behind the striker and takes some set-pieces as well.
Aguero is a can’t miss option to start the season. Gabriel Jesus returned late from the World Cup and Man City’s schedule is a cake-walk after they open against Arsenal. Zaha has similarly easy opening fixtures and even though he’s reclassified as a striker, he can get a lot of points for Crystal Palace, both in the league and in FPL. With only £6.5 left, the best option is King. He has expressed to manager Eddie Howe that he wants to play more as a striker again this season and is on penalties.
The No Salah Team
No Salah… But we have Sané, Mané… and Bobby Firmiiiiiin(i)o.
Going from Salah to Mané saves you £3.5 alone, and you can use that extra cash to upgrade elsewhere. In goal, you can go with the easy option of having De Gea and never worry about who to pick as your goalkeeper. De Gea might have sucked in the World Cup, but he is still a world class goalie and a safe bet to be the highest scoring Fantasy GK yet again.
Alonso and Robertson is a lot more exciting than Bailly and Sokratis, but that’s what going £6.0 and above gets you. Burnley defenders are getting overlooked to start this season, as they won’t play in Europa League until September anyway, making it perfectly fine to start the season with them and their kind fixtures. Either of the four starters is a fine choice, but I’d personally go with captain Mee. Ogbonna is the most likely £4.5 starter for a possibly resurgent West Ham, while Wan-Bissaka is the most secure starter at the £4.0 price point.
Going from Mahrez to Sané might earn you more points as well. Sané is well rested and motivated after being left out of the Germany squad that crashed out of the World Cup. He is 22 years old and is talented enough to become the best player in the league. Mané’s quality is unquestioned and he was Liverpool’s main man only a year ago and looks to be on penalties judging from pre-season. Kenedy and Neves are solid picks at only £5.0. Neves is on set-pieces for Wolves while Kenedy will play an important part for Newcastle long term.
Aguero remains, but he’s joined by Firmino. With Salah nowhere to be seen, you need appropriate Liverpool cover and you get that in spades with the remains of the former Liverpool fab four. Yet again we are left with £6.5, but with a more solid team, we can take a punt on Chicharito. Located more on the wing and on the bench last season than he would have liked, Chicharito struggled just like the Hammers. New manager Pellegrini wants to make Chicharito one of his most important players and a pairing with Arnautovic is on the cards. Keep an eye on both of them for FPL.
The Gambler Team
Fancy a gamble? Here are some risky bets that might reward you.
Playing it safe is no fun. You’re trying to win it all, right? Then you need to pin-point the players others might overlook, starting with Leno in goal. Leno is the unknown out of the top 6 goalkeepers, but he’s cheaper than all of them. Arsenal might get a resurgence with Wenger out and with Sokratis, Lichtsteiner and Leno on board, their defence might be shored up. Leno is also a terrific penalty stopper.
Laporte could be this season’s Otamendi, as a £5.5 defender who plays every game for Man City. He’s the most talented centre back in the team and should be starting, but when playing for Pep, that is no guarantee. Shaw will start the season for Man Utd at left-back and should he impress, he might take over the spot from Young. Another left-back who will look to become a starter over their more experienced teammate, is Digne, who just joined Everton from Barcelona. Wolverhampton’s full-back also get involved going forward and with the sale of Douglas, the option left is Doherty. Hopefully his 4 goals and 4 assists from the Championship translates to the Premier League. Schelotto has a decent chance at securing the right back spot for Brighton, but is no sure thing.
Sanchez and Hazard are both priced at £10.5, but neither warranted that price tag a year ago. If Sanchez can finally fit in with Man Utd and Hazard gets the usual boost from playing under a new manager, they might both be worth a lot more. The same can be said about Özil who actually dropped in price to £8.5. With no national team on his mind anymore and a focus on proving people wrong, he can return to old glory. Poor Bernardo Silva saw Man City add yet another winger, but after impressing in pre-season and several City players missing with World Cup fatigue, Bernardo Silva could grab his chance. He’s talented enough to be a star in this league. His compatriot Moutinho is also a new face in the Premier League and has way more potential than his measly £5.5 price point would tell you.
Lacazette actually had a pretty good maiden season, but a drop in form around Christmas and Arsenal spending big on Aubameyang meant that most forgot about Lacazette. Luckily, the Frenchman flourished towards the end of the season when playing alongside Aubameyang, something Emery should take advantage of. If Lacazette plays, expect his value to exceed £9.5. Morata had a worse year for Chelsea, after dazzling at the beginning, highlighted by a hat-trick against Stoke. If he fights off competition from Batshuayi, he’ll be nailed under Sarri, who rarely changes his team. Iheanacho has boatloads of potential and will get to show it in the opener after Puel confirmed Vardy won’t be ready yet. If he can score against Man Utd yet again, he might keep his place next to Vardy when he returns.
The Wildcard Team
Because international breaks are more fun with a Wildcard
Liverpool, Man City, Everton and Crystal Palace. The four gameweeks before the first international break is perfect for these guys. The “wildcard during the international break” tactic isn’t as appealing now that the transfer deadline has been moved up, but it’s still a useful way of weighing your options before you settle for a squad.
Pickford gets the nod in goal as Everton could keep a clean sheet in all four opening matches (wlv, SOU, bou, HUD). He might have returned late from World Cup heroics, but that shouldn’t affect goalkeepers as much as outfield players. You could always hedge by putting Stekelenburg as your backup, but we want to efficiently use all three Everton spots.
Man City’s opening matches (ars, HUD, wlv, NEW) could also tickle your fancy and Mendy might become the most explosive defensive prospect in the game. Robertson became Liverpool’s clear #1 left back last season and the offensive minded Scotsman looks to continue his form against inferior opposition (WHU, cry, BHA, lei). To take full advantage of Crystal Palace’s opening fixtures (ful, LIV, wat, SOU), we’ll go with van Aanholt, who dominated in FPL at the end of last season. Cardiff have similarly favorable fixtures (bou, NEW, hud, ARS) and Bamba is the heart of their defence priced at £4.5. We double up on Palace defenders with Wan-Bissaka, but as a £4.0 player, he’s mostly cover on the bench.
Sanchez is the only superstar offensively for Man Utd left with Pogba and Lukaku as late returns, which means Sanchez will take set-pieces and has two especially great matches to start the season (LEI, bha). Mané also seems to be on penalties and will look to score in all four opening matches. Mahrez is Man City’s shiny new signing, he will be fit to start the season and Guardiola would probably like to show him off as their only major signing this summer. Richarlison is back with Marco Silva, this time at Everton and we think both his time off this summer, playing for a better team with his favorite manager, will do him worlds of good. Masuaku is the £4.5 midfielder who has a chance of starting AND could provide something offensively, but mostly he is there to complete a cheap bench to maximize value elsewhere.
We’ve gone through Aguero’s enticing opening games, and he’ll be a top captain option in gameweeks 2-4. Tosun showed parts of what he’s capable of in 17/18, with 5 goals in under 1000 minutes and should be Everton’s clear #1 striker under a new and interesting manager. The Turkish tank is just £7.0 and a fellow £7.0 player joins him in attack, Crystal Palace’s Zaha. Once again blessed with easy fixtures early, Palace hope they can do much better than last season, losing 7 in a row to start the season, without scoring no less. Zaha could bag a couple of goals early and change their and your fortunes around.
Our last squad suggestion is a section all by it’s own; how you win in FPL without a single change throughout the season. You can read more about it in this article: