The Fantasy Premier League has returned, which can mean only one thing… The FPL Updates XI is back! Following last Tuesday’s live launch of the 2016/17 fantasy football game, we have been been deliberating over everything from Jurgen Klopp’s ridiculous midfield depth, to Sergio Aguero being worth his 13.0m price tag and whether we are going to ‘Dare to Zlatan’. What I can say is that this week has been a fantastically enjoyable week on Twitter and it has been great to hear so may views and opinions on how to set up successfully this season.
We want that to continue so with that in mind here is the FPL Updates XI first ‘proper’ draft for you all to cast your eyes over:
There are 3 certainties in life. Death, taxes and my love for Jack Butland! Anyone who read these articles last year will know that and will not be even remotely surprised at his inclusion here. Following his injury against Germany back in May we here at FPL Updates HQ were less concerned with him making the Euro squad and more worried about having to pick a week 1 team without him. As it is, he looks fit and ready to go. Given that big names such as David De Gea, Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois are only 0.5m more, there are certainly arguments to be had for a multitude of options though. We have partnered Butland with Eldin Jakupovic. With a long term injury to Allan McGregor, Jakupovic is the only other first team goalkeeper at Hull at the moment and as his price tag is a very appealing 4.0m, he gets the nod.
So to the back 5. If there is one position I’m expecting some scrutiny from then its our defence. Given the unpredictability of the Premier League nowadays I just don’t feel comfortable spending 6.0m+ on any defender at this stage, so we have gone with 3 priced at 5.5m. Luke Shaw, Leighton Baines and John Terry. From a neutral perspective it is absolutely fantastic having Luke Shaw back. In my eyes he is one of the best left backs in Europe and under Jose Mourinho he could be an absolute steal in FPL. Mourinho’s teams are renowned for their defensive stability. Couple that with his penchant for getting forward and Shaw looks nailed on for our week 1 line up.
Baines up next. Last year an early season injury really hurt his value meaning he returned a low 67 points, but his end of season form was impressive enough to warrant inclusion. Baines has been FPL gold over the last 5-6 years so given he has a new gaffer and will likely command his fair share of set pieces, he makes it in.
The last of our 5.5m trio is JT. This is a player that divides opinion like no other, but what no one can argue with is his Fantasy Premier League scoring record. He may be 35 now but if anyone watched Antonio Conte’s Italy this summer you’ll know going without a part of the Chelsea back line could be a huge gamble. He is the cheapest route into what looks a fairly set back line (Kurt Zouma injured) and with Watford, Burnley and Swansea in their first 4 games I feel he more than justifies his place.
Then to make up the back 5 for the FPL Updates XI, we have gone with Pape Souare and George Friend, both at a reasonable 4.5m. There are a fair few options in the 4.5m bracket so these 2 will need to prove their worth in pre-season to avoid the inevitable FPL tinkering.
Onto our midfield and it’s a position with more depth than I have ever seen in all my years playing FPL. When you look through the lists of midfielders it becomes apparent very quickly that your season’s fantasy fortunes could rest heavily on how your midfield performs. Seeing names such as Bolasie, Cabaye, Lanzini, Lamela and Ayew all on the second page of the midfield list says it all and certainly adds substance to the growing demand for a move to a 3-5-2. Personally I have always been a 3-4-3 kid, but this may have to change. So onto our first mid Kevin De Bruyne. He can count himself a little unlucky to not be level with Alexis Sanchez at the top of the midfield price list but at 10.5m he walks into the FPL Updates XI. An attacking return every 117 minutes last season, he still shone in a fairly disappointing season for Manchester City, but with Pep Guadiola now at the helm and likely to build the attack around him he is my tip for PFA Player or the Season.
The next midfielder is our number nin….sorry, number 11, Anthony Martial. After his very impressive first season he will now look to improve upon his 11 goals and 6 assists. His move from a forward to a midfielder is extra reason to add him but this selection in the Updates XI has been and will be a big toss up between Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Martial’s proven Premier League quality gives him a small advantage as it stands though.
Our 3rd midfielder is Cesc Fabregas. In 2014/15 he was a revelation with 19 assists but along with many other Chelsea players last season his value took a big hit. We see that as more of an anomaly and have plenty of confidence in their ability to bounce back under Conte and maybe it’s just me but 7.5m for a player of his class seems a bargain. Especially considering Memphis Depay, Theo Walcott, Hyeung-Min Son and Santi Cazorla are the same price.
The 4th midfielder here is Andros Townsend and personally I think this is one of the best deals of the summer. He was one of the very few positives for Newcastle as they surrendered their Premier League status and adding him to a team boasting Yannick Bolasie, Wilf Zaha, Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon looks a shrewd move. Given that they still haven’t signed a new striker they will once again be looking to their attacking midfielders for their goals.
Last up is an FPL new boy Sofiane Feghouli. The Algerian actually only notched 1 La Liga goal last season but 4 in Europe. He is a very talented player and will likely feature on the right side of the 3 behind the striker. Since Slaven Bilic took over, West Ham have played a very attractive attacking style, one that should suit Feghouli well. His budget friendly 5.5m price tag frees up cash elsewhere and he could well be one of the best and most reliable 5th midfielder options.
So to our front 3 and it would be wrong to start anywhere other than with Sergio Aguero. Once again he is listed as the most expensive player in the game and rightly so. He is one of the truly world class players in our league and like De Bruyne, should really benefit from the acquisition of Guardiola. Given the fact they have Bournemouth opening day, I just don’t think I’ve got the bottle to start the season without him.
With Augero’s inclusion comes the inevitable problem of having to be a little more thrifty elsewhere. Thankfully this year there is some impressive mid range striker depth and we have chosen Andre Gray and Andy Carroll. Andre Gray is somewhat of a gamble but he has all the materials to be a success at this level. 23 goals last year and already 4 in pre-season, he should be flying when Burnley kick off their campaign. I have also been told by a centre-half playing against him last year that he is the best striker he has ever played against. High praise and good enough to convince me. Last up is Andy Carroll. West Ham have tried to sign so many strikers this summer that I’m actually a little disappointed they haven’t slid into my DM’s yet; but as they haven’t, it makes Carroll a potentially huge pick. Players with the quality of Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore around him, he won’t be short of opportunities.
So there it is. The first official FPL Updates XI draft. Obviously we still have 2 weeks until the first game so there’s plenty that can change. Feel free to drop a reply below or a tweet to discuss your thoughts but if you tell us to take out Jack Butland, you run the risk of getting permanently blocked!
Good luck everyone with your drafts!
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)