I absolutely love the build up to the first game of the EPL (and fantasy) season.
Transfer news with new players, a new season’s untarnished hope of a fresh start, and escalating anticipation of what’s to come (and Arsenal top of the table! )
The start of new a fantasy season can be tough too. There are questions about starting lineups, fitness and form. We wonder about new managers’ styles of play and new players fitting in.
Luckily it’s only one week, and you should treat it as such. In Fantrax, you don’t need to pick your lineup for the year. Just Week One. We also know that prices historically fluctuate quite a bit in the first recalculation after GW-1, so pick your best 11 (or 17) with just this week in mind.
Here are the games for the weekend:
Friday, 13 August
- Brentford vs Arsenal
Saturday, 14 August
- Man United vs Leeds
- Burnley vs Brighton
- Chelsea vs Crystal Palace
- Everton vs Southampton
- Leicester vs Wolves
- Watford vs Aston Villa
- Norwich vs Liverpool
Sunday, 15 August
Arsenal and Brentford open the season on Friday, so we will have their starting lineups confirmed before our Fantrax deadline.
All prices are from the NMA-11 league; NMA-17 prices tend to run about 25% lower so you can buy extra players.
David de Gea (MAN vs LEE, $8.48) The Spanish goalkeeper probably won’t be the main guy for Ole this year, but it looks like he will start the season against Leeds. He’s affordable compared to any other keeper from a big club. Leeds aren’t afraid to attack and shoot, so there’s a chance for saves, though a clean sheet may be tough even on home soil.
José Sá (LEI vs WOL, $4.00) The Wolves keeper is one of the only truly cheap options on the table. He’s an experienced keeper with a good track record, even though he’s new to the EPL and to many of us.
Alphonse Areola (NEW vs WHU, $7.00) The Hammers’ new keeper is new-boy priced at $7. Newcastle struggled to score at times last season, and the Hammers return with their team basically the same.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (NOR vs LIV, $16.85) TAA is the premium pick of defenders for the week, and maybe for the year. It’s a good matchup. With Robertson out, I wonder if more set pieces and corners fall his way. Konstantinos Tsimikas ($4.00) will probably fill in for Robertson, so watch for team news. If you can’t afford TAA, then you might be able to buy into the shallow end of the ‘Pool.
Kieran Tierney (BRE vs ARS, $9.34) I’m looking at whoever is cheap and starting in the Gunners’ defense against the playoff-promoted side. I worry about who is starting in any other game, but here I’ll get confirmed lineups. There may be better priced options than Tierney, but he also has the highest upside with his attacking presence.
Ryan Bertrand (LEI vs WOL, $7.58) In the preseason with his new club, Bertrand has been taking a lot of kicks for the Foxes. I’m not sure what to expect yet of Wolves in opposition, so Bertrand has a chance for good points on both ends of the pitch. Ricardo Pereira is another option at a cheaper price.
Lucas Digne (EVE vs SOU, $12.73) Digne gets a good home matchup against a Southampton side that has just lost Danny Ings. If all goes according to plan, Everton will be more organized defensively this year. This could mean more clean sheets, but maybe less time getting forward for Digne. But he should see some of the set pieces still.
Bruno Fernandes (MAN vs LEE, $25.34) I’m not sure I can fit him into my budget at that price. But if you can, he’s got a good matchup and he’s still the PK guy for Untied.
Mason Mount (CHE vs CRY $16.49) Mount runs the attack for the Blues. He’s involved in just about every forward move. This is a good home matchup against Palace. With or without a new forward to feed, he’s good value.
Emile Smith-Rowe (BRN vs ARS, $5.51) The new #10 for the Gunners is cheap, facing a newly promoted team, and we get the Gunner’s lineup confirmed. He doesn’t need a goal to score fantasy points, so he is a safe choice.
Joseph Willock (NEW vs WHU, $6.63) If Willock’s transfer to Newcastle is finalized and he’s healthy, I will tempted to bring him into my squad. He finished last season’s loan to Newcastle with goals in seven straight games to stave off relegation. The clubs have agreed on a fee but as of this writing are still talking details.
Mason Greenwood (MAN vs LEE, 8.56) I’d rather go with Jadon Sancho (7.00) in this spot, but I’m not sure he’ll be ready. Greenwood becomes the only Red Devil available up front because of others’ injuries. He’s exciting, and there should be chances in an open game against Leeds. You can slot him in as a forward too.
Emiliano Buendia (WAT vs AST, $7.00) He’s not Jack Grealish, but he doesn’t need to be to earn points. He’s going to be good for Villa. If he’s healthy, he’s a great start against newcomers Watford. He and Ings bring real punch to the Villa attack.
Mo Salah (NOR vs LIV, $18.35) He is the first player on my roster this week. It’s a good matchup, and he’s rested. He scored a hattrick last year on opening day! Leave him out of your team at your own risk. If I knew Diogo Jota ($7.65) was going to play, he’d most likely be in my lineup too.
Danny Ings (WAT vs AST, $10.73) Ings will help those around him at Villa more than he did at Southampton. I think he will slot right in as their PK taker too. The newly promoted Hornets will have their hands full.
Michail Antonio (NEW vs WHU, $9.84) The Magpies didn’t do much to upgrade their defense. Antonio is healthy, which means he’s a threat to score.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (BRN vs ARS, $9.46) This is a hopeful pick, from a hopeful Gunners fan. Notorious P. E. A. is capable of so much more than he showed last season. The striker needs a good start to the season, and a barely-promoted Brentford defense could be just the tonic.
Prices are high. Where are we going to spend? Where will you save? Are you taking any risks? What matchups do you like best? Are you following any different strategy or tactic for NMA-17 than you are for NMA-11? Are you as excited as I am?!? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!