Premier League fantasy football 2018-19 tips: midfielders to pick for Gameweek 1, bargains
Mohamed Salah is a no-brainer after a breakout season, but there are plenty of midfield bargains to be had with kick-off for the new campaign looming on Friday
The 2018-19 Premier League season is almost upon us, and that means fantasy football is back too – and you’ll no doubt be busy changing your line-up in anticipation for Friday’s kick-off.
There are plenty of factors to consider, with some of the English top-flights biggest stars only just returning to training from their post-World Cup holidays.
Plenty of Premier League clubs will also be rushing to strengthen their squads over the next couple of days ahead of the August 9 transfer window deadline.
As Friday’s 7pm BST fantasy transfer deadline (2am Hong Kong time) looms on the official Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game, we’re here to help you figure out who to spend your £100 million budget on with our series of tips, starting with your five midfielders.
Mohamed Salah (£13 million in fantasy price, selected by 52.2 per cent of players) is a bit of a no-brainer, even if he scores half the goals he did last season.
He had 303 points with 32 goals and 12 assists in 2017-18, so you really should find a place for him in your side. He looks sharp too – Liverpool’s Egyptian picked up where he left off with a poacher’s goal seconds after coming on against Manchester City in New Jersey.
Kevin De Bruyne (£10 million, 28.3 per cent) was also a fantasy must have last season with 208 points including eight goals and a whopping 18 assists.
Pep Guardiola is likely to rest the Belgian early on though – which may perhaps make you lean towards selecting Leroy Sane (£9.5 million, 17.1 per cent), who looks nice and fresh after being left out of Germany’s World Cup squad.
Sane had 179 points with 10 goals and 15 assists – or you may fancy a little gamble on the less-fancied Bernardo Silva (£7.5 million, 3 per cent), who looks set for a starring role after six goals and five assists as a squad player last season.
City boss Guardiola labelled the Portuguese’s Community Shield performance a “masterpiece” and said that “right now it’s Bernardo and 10 more [players], but it’s about what you do over the season. In this moment Bernardo is far above the other guys”.
Son Heung-min (£8.5 million, 8.2 per cent) has proved a fantasy favourite but he’s going to the Asian Games with South Korea in a bid to win military service deferment, so Christian Eriksen (£9.5 million, 17. 2 per cent) may be a better pick from Tottenham’s midfielders.
The Dane had 199 points (11 goals, 10 assists) last season compared to Son’s 178 points (12 goals, eight assists) and should be involved at Newcastle.
He may be unproven, but Felipe Anderson (£7 million, 4.8 per cent) could be a bit of a bargain after joining West Ham from Lazio.
The 25-year-old signed for a club-record fee that could rise to £40 million, and though he only scored four goals last season in Italy, he had seven assists and more successful dribbles per 90 minutes than any player, which could earn you some bonus points via successful take-ons.
The Brazilian also achieved those stats from just nine starts and 12 substitute appearances, so should give a far better return with Manuel Pellegrini likely to build his side around him.
A couple of other West Ham midfielders are worth considering too. Andriy Yarmolenko (£7 million, 2.4 per cent) is the same price as Anderson and had a strong scoring record at Dynamo Kiev, with 15 goals in 2016-17 before moving to Borussia Dortmund last season.
Then there’s Jack Wilshere (£5 million, 5.2 per cent) – unwanted by Unai Emery at Arsenal, he has to be considered a real bargain pick and could revive his career with plenty of game time on offer at West Ham.
On the other side of London, there are a couple of exciting midfield bargains at Fulham that you may want to consider.
Ryan Sessegnon (£6.5 million, 11.2 per cent) was the star of the Championship last season, producing 15 goals and eight assists, and plenty of fantasy users are putting their faith in the English teenager to replicate that success in the top flight.
Or you could gamble on Andre Schurrle (£6 million, 6.6 per cent), who is back in west London on loan from Borussia Dortmund. The World Cup winner was hit and miss for Chelsea under Jose Mourinho but could flourish with more responsibility.
There’s a lot of interest in Everton new boy Richarlison (£6.5 million, 15.7 per cent). His £35 million (rising to £50 million) move from Watford to reunite with Marco Silva has put him back on the FPL radar.
With five goals and eight assists last season, the Brazilian racked up 103 of his 125 fantasy points under Silva, who was sacked by Watford after Gameweek 24, which tells you a lot about his potential to shine at Goodison Park.
N’Golo Kante (£5 million, 17.7 per cent) is a popular inclusion, and it’s easy to see why. Chelsea’s defensive midfield rock had a solid 101 points last season, with 16 clean sheets, but don’t expect more than the odd goal or assist.
Across London at Arsenal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£7 million, 15.9 per cent) could be a bargain if he can rediscover his Dortmund form under Emery. The Armenian was a goal and assist machine in Germany but looked timid under Jose Mourinho’s defensive shackles at Manchester United.
Ruben Neves (£5 million, 14.4 per cent) is another potential bargain, having helped lead Wolves’ charge to promotion.
He scored six goals and made one assist, though you may wish to spend a bit extra of his teammate Diogo Jota (£6.5 million, 6.3 per cent).
The 21-year-old was Nuno Espirito Santo’s leading scorer with 17 goals and has Champions League experience with Atletico Madrid.
Another Premier League new boy to consider is Naby Keita (£7.5 million, 5.8 per cent) – he has six goals and five assists for RB Leipzig in 2017-18, more than any of Liverpool’s central midfielders.
Keita has plenty of potential to earn fantasy bonus points too, with more shots, key passes and dribbles last season than all of Liverpool’s central midfielders, and more tackles than all of them bar Emre Can who has gone to Juventus.
Of course it never hurts to go for a more established Liverpool player, and Sadio Mane (£9.5 million, 15.2 per cent) is the eighth-most selected midfielder.
Mane had 147 points last season with 10 goals and eight assists, despite missing parts of the season through injury. If he can stay fit who could be one of the biggest points scorers in the whole game.
You may fancy a flutter too on Alexis Sanchez (£10.5 million, 8.6 per cent) regaining his form of 2016-17. He’s had a decent preseason with Manchester United, and after a proper summer break for the first time in years, could explode into life with goals and assists again like in his Arsenal heyday.
The merits of signing Eden Hazard (£10.5 million, 9.8 per cent) are no secret, with 12 goals, six assists and 173 points last season.
But the Belgian is seemingly the subject of transfer speculation, as is United’s Paul Pogba (£8 million, 13 per cent) – so you may want to hold off on the Chelsea star and France’s World Cup winner until their futures are resolved.
Elsewhere at Old Trafford, perhaps a flutter on Jesse Lingard (£7 million, 11.8 per cent) – he had eight goals and six assists, despite starting many games on the bench. The England man could be one of Jose Mourinho’s main men this season after his stock went even higher up in Russia.