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Rate My Team: FPL Game-week 1

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Pondering your opening day lineup? Check out my squad for some ideas to get your FPL team started.

Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool FC - Premier League
Is Trent Alexander-Arnold the most essential asset in all of FPL?
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

The opening of the English Premier League’s 2020-21 campaign is just a little over a fortnight away. The real-life teams are already tuning up with training camps and pre-season games, and it’s time for fantasy managers to begin preparing their squads too.

To help you with that, I offer you a look at the early draft of my FPL team. Hopefully it will give you food for thought, or reinforce your confidence in some of the decisions you’ve already made. Best of all, your feedback is sure to make my squad better!

Here’s where I stand right now:

Tentative GW 1 FPL squad

This is a squad of 15 reliable starters who represent 9 different EPL teams, so I think I’ve got sufficient quality and diversity to consistently field a quality S11 over the first several game-weeks without having to take hits for extra transfers. And with £2.5 still left in the bank, I’ve kept some powder dry to make those free transfers possible.

Let’s run through my players one-by-one.

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Goalkeepers

Matthew Ryan and Alex McCarthy are budget GKs who rotate pretty well with each other for months:

GK Rotation: Ryan/McCarthy

 GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6 GW 7 GW 8 GW 9
 GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6 GW 7 GW 8 GW 9
Ryan CHE new MUN eve cry WBA tot BUR avl
McCarthy cry TOT bur WBA CHE EVE avl NEW wol

Between the two, I can field a solid option all the way through GW 9. However, in GW 10 Ryan hosts Liverpool and McCarthy welcomes Manchester United. Based on my circumstances at that point, I’ll decide whether to transfer one of them out or to sit tight and cross my fingers.

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Defenders

William Saliba, James Justin, and Ruben Vinagre are all £4.5 options who will punch above their weight while saving me money that I can apply towards the big-ticket assets I want elsewhere.

Serge Aurier has been a productive fantasy asset under José Mourinho, and Tottenham have a favorable opening run of fixtures. Rumors of an impending exit are currently swirling though, and if he leaves I will probably replace him with the very player who looks set to take over at right back for Spurs: Matt Doherty (£6.0).

Only Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah, and Sadio Mané scored more FPL points than Trent Alexander-Arnold did last season, and TAA costs £4.0 less than the cheapest of those three. He is by far the best value in the game and is a flat-out no-brainer for your squad.

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Midfielders

Mohamed Salah is one of the most explosive players in the game, takes pens, and faces newly-promoted Leeds United in GW 1. Substitute “Fulham” for “Leeds United” and you can say the same things about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

James Ward-Prowse hogs set pieces (including pens) for a club that has decent opening fixtures, and Tomas Soucek is a low-priced emerging talent. Dale Stephens rounds out my midfield and serves merely as cheap bench fodder.

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Forwards

Aleksandar Mitrovic is a proven EPL goal-scorer and is the prime focus of Fulham’s attack. Michail Antonio showed his class last season, and although I wish he were still listed as a midfielder, I’m on board as long as he continues to line up as a striker. At their low prices, both of these men provide excellent value for money.

Jamie Vardy won the 2019-20 Golden Boot and his FPL points tally last season was tied with TAA’s for fourth highest. Barring injury he’s a lock to start, he takes PKs, and Leicester have a good run of opening fixtures. For £10.0 he’s priced very well for a premium FPL asset.

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Game-week 1

Here’s how I plan to line this squad up for the opening round of fixtures:

GW 1 Starting Lineup for Team David Brian
GW 1 Bench for Team David Brian

I favor McCarthy against Crystal Palace’s weak offense over Ryan against Chelsea’s powerful attack, so it’ll be Southampton’s keeper who gets the nod on opening weekend. I’d like to be able to play Justin, but can’t find another of my outfielders that I’d bench over him. I’m satisfied to sideline Saliba until we get a better sense of how he’ll fit into Arsenal’s back line and adjust to the Prem. And my bench will pretty much be a permanent home for Stephens.

Right now I have the armband on TAA due to the favorable fixture and his capacity for returns at both ends of the pitch. But I am given some pause by the fact that Liverpool did not dominate Project Restart the same way they did the rest of the last campaign. Could that decline in their level of play carry over into 2020-21?

Further, I’m reminded that ‘Pool failed to keep a clean sheet when they opened last season against newly-promoted Norwich. Therefore there is a decent chance that when the deadline runs down on GW 1, it could be the explosive Salah who wears my armband. Alternatively, I may decide to captain PEA, who is another of the EPL’s top hitmen, and who also enjoys a tasty GW 1 fixture.

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Final Thoughts

With two weeks still to go before the season kicks off, it’s important to keep in mind that this squad is tentative. Pre-season performances, injury reports, and transfer news could — and probably will — influence my team’s final composition. For instance, even now I’m contemplating whether it’s too early to jump at Timo Werner or Hakim Ziyech. I’m wondering whether I should find room for Heung-Min Son or Harry Kane. And I’m trying to figure out if I can — or should — fit in a City or United asset that I can stash on my bench until GW 2, thereby saving myself a transfer or two down the road.

But at the moment, this is my squad, and I’m pretty happy with it. But tomorrow brings another day, and another chance to tinker.

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How many of my players are in your squad? Are any of my choices mistakes? Any players I’ve overlooked? Rate my team in the Comments, and let us know which players you’re looking at!