Ahead of the Premier League season, it’s always interesting to see which way fantasy managers are leaning — or outright piling on — when it comes to stocking their teams with players from one or two clubs. What does the herd mentality say? Are you going to stick with that formula, or look somewhere else? Let’s take a look at which teams have the most players currently selected by at least 10% of FPL managers.
Manchester City (7 players)
- Midfielder Raheem Sterling (£12.0m price, selected by 28%)
- Midfielder Bernardo Silva (£8.0m, 27%)
- Forward Sergio Aguero (£12.0m, 22%)
- Defender Aymeric Laporte (£6.5m, 19%)
- Goalkeeper Ederson (£6.0m, 18%)
- Defender Kyle Walker (£6.0m, 16%)
- Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne (£9.5m, 16%)
The defending champions have seven players who are backed by at least 15% of fantasy managers, four at 20%-plus, and two at more than 25%. It’s good to be king! But with Kevin de Bruyne apparently back healthy combined with the addition of Rodrigo, should managers be worried about the infamous Pep Roulette when it comes to the offensive end? Or could Leroy Sane depart and ameliorate that concern?
Liverpool (7 players)
- Defender Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m, 45%)
- Midfielder Mohamed Salah (£12.5m, 36%)
- Defender Andrew Robertson (£7.0m, 35%)
- Goalkeeper Alisson (£6.0m, 33%)
- Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m, 27%)
- Midfielder Sadio Mane (£11.5m, 20%)
- Forward Roberto Firmino ( 9.5m, 10%)
It took a bit of cheating, rounding up Firmino’s 9.5% to get Liverpool to seven players to match Manchester City’s tally of seven players at 10%, but six of those Reds have remarkably been selected by 20% and up. Five have been grabbed by 25%+. Four have been targeted by 30% or more. Three have been added by over one-third. VvD is the most-selected player in the game. Fantasy managers sure do love Liverpool! And after last season’s remarkable exploits, who can blame them?
Manchester United (5 players)
- Defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m, 36%)
- Forward Marcus Rashford (£8.5m, 17%)
- Forward Mason Greenwood (£4.5m, 14%)
- Defender Harry Maguire (£5.5m, 13%)
- Goalkeeper David De Gea (£5.5m, 11%)
Manchester United may not be the best club in England, but it’s certainly the biggest in stature, with a global following that surely has influenced the fantasy investment in Red Devils. Interestingly, two of the players that fantasy managers are most interested in on the club are defensive transfers this summer from other EPL clubs, Harry Maguire from Leicester and Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.
Bournemouth (4 players)
- Midfielder Ryan Fraser (£7.5m, 21%)
- Forward Callum Wilson (£8.0m, 21%)
- Forward Joshua King (£6.5m, 20%)
- Defender Nathan Aké (£5.0m, 18%)
Bournemouth enjoys a favorable early schedule on paper, and fantasy managers have gotten the message, especially after a similar scenario played itself out last season. Interestingly though, it’s not all about the usual offensive suspects Fraser, King and Wilson; defender Nathan Ake has been selected at almost the same clip. Ake has averaged only 111 points in the past two seasons, so I reckon the plan must be to hope for clean sheets against newly-promoted Sheffield United and at Aston Villa, then drop Ake for someone else.
Everton (4 players)
- Defender Lucas Digne (£6.5m, 26%)
- Midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson (£8.0m, 15%)
- Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (£5.5m, 10%)
- Midfielder Richarlison (£8.0m, 10%)
Everton may not be getting nearly as much attention as its Merseyside rival Liverpool, but fantasy managers are still flocking to grab all four Toffees who cracked 150+ points last season. Like Bournemouth, Everton is blessed with a seemingly favorable early schedule, but it’s a bit more spread out. The opening two games — at Crystal Palace and v. Watford — should not be a cake walk.
Crystal Palace (3 players)
- Midfielder Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m, 25%)
- Defender Martin Kelly (£4.0m, 25%)
- Midfielder Luka Milivojevic (£7.0m, 11%)
Transfer rumors have not kept fantasy managers away from Wilfried Zaha. FPL has reclassified him back to midfield from forward, which should bring him added points. Perhaps some managers are even banking on speculation becoming reality, figuring that going to a better EPL team would be boon! Speaking of transfers, now that Obi Wan-Bissaka has left for Manchester United, fantasy managers have their eyes squarely on his expected replacement, Martin Kelly, who is tantalizingly priced at the bare minimum (just as AWB was last season).
Wolves (3 players)
- Forward Raul Jimenez (£7.5m, 27%)
- Forward Diogo Jota (£6.5m, 15%)
- Midfielder Leandro Dendoncker (£4.5, 14%)
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side didn’t just get promoted, but Wolverhampton really showed it belonged by finishing in a remarkable 7th place. Fantasy managers are showing faith that there will be no sophomore slump. Interestingly, they are turning to the offense via Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota, while ignoring last season’s sensation at wing defender, Matt Doherty, perhaps because he has a question mark due to injury. (Note: Now Jimenez is likewise.)
Leicester (3 players)
- Midfielder James Maddison (£7.0m, 13%)
- Midfielder Ayoze Perez (£6.5m, 13%)
- Forward Jamie Vardy (£9.0m, 10%)
After hopeful signs in the spring, fantasy managers are betting that Brendan Rodgers’ first full season with the Foxes will be a smashing success. Interestingly, of the four main offensive threats, the one who is being ignored the most is the one who is the joint-cheapest while also averaging the most fantasy points per game last season, January transfer Youri Tielemans, with selection from only 7% of FPL managers.
[NOTE: EPL statistics and fantasy scoring info came from the official Premier League website and official fantasy Premier League website.]
It’s clear that the most popular teams in fantasy are Manchester City and Liverpool, but they’re not the only ones getting love. Are you following suit and jumping all over one (or more) of the popular teams, or is it savvier to make an against-the-grain play by targeting the less appreciated squads? Are the absences of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal warranted? Take the poll below, and then share your thoughts in the comments!
Which team is most essential to load up on in FPL?
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Other (name in comments)