The Blog Team – GW1

Blog Team

So it’s finally here. After weeks of planning, drafting, tinkering, and tinkering again, gameweek 1 is now only a matter of hours away. I’m more or less there with my team and will discuss my choices below.

Twitter Poll

Before I get into that though, I recently ran a twitter poll to help me decide on a transfer strategy for the season. I was unsure whether to allow bonus transfers for formation changes, or to stick with the 40 limit as with Sky. Thank you to everyone that voted and the result ended with 67% of you choosing to stick with the 40 limit.

I’ll be honest, I had secretly hoped it would go the other way, but the people have spoken so that’s what I’ll be working with. It will no doubt be restrictive as the season progresses, but as good friend of mine kindly pointed out – “You don’t get the benefit of the chips in Sky” – so I guess it’s only fair.

The Strategy

As explained in the previous post, Sky’s Overhaul kicks in during the international break after gameweek 4 so I’ll be aiming to using the Wildcard at the same point. It just makes sense with all the uncertainty surrounding the World Cup players, and the bedding in of any new transfers sealed before yesterday’s transfer deadline. Plus, the two weeks thinking time will come in handy in order to regroup after a manic few weeks.

Playing it this way also means I only need to focus on the first 4 weeks, so focussing on the fixtures is absolutely key. I highlighted Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Burnley, & Everton as having a relatively good start in that respect and most of my initial thoughts have not strayed too far away from that.

The Team

So here we go………..The blog team.

Goalkeeper

I had wanted to start the season with a Burnley goalkeeper. Whoever it is, they always seem to offer the right blend of clean sheet potential, saves, and bonus. I can’t count how many times Nick Pope chipped in with a Man of the Match performance to boost by Sky scores last year, and that seems to translate to FPL too. However, Pope and Heaton’s pre-season injury woes, as well as the arrival of Joe Hart, has clouded judgement there. I’ll be watching keenly to see who gets that spot, but for now I’ve had to look elsewhere.

De Gea was the obvious first stop. He was the top scoring keeper last season, but his price 6.0m price tag proved to be a little prohibitive. Had this been Sky, I would have been looking at him for tonight’s captaincy, but not for FPL. Instead, I’ve switched over to the other side of Manchester with Ederson for a 0.5m saving. He wasn’t that far behind De Gea in the points table and offers a sure-fire way into a City defence that could see huge rotation from Pep this year.

Defenders

The blog team is going to start the season with 4 at the back, following on from some of the excellent ‘value’ articles produced by the community during pre-season. The security of starts (and hopefully clean sheets) means that its worth that little extra outlay, and in a limited transfer game, should reduce the number required in these positions.

Andy Robertson was the first defender name on my team sheet for this season due to his ability to pick up passing and tackling bonuses, which should relate well in FPL’s bonus system too. Once he earned that first team spot last season, he never looked back and generated stats to rival even the mighty Alonso. Van Dijk was another consideration given Liverpool’s great fixtures early on, but the young Scot’s attacking ability just sways it for me.

Next up is David Luiz. This is a bit of a punt given there was very little stats to go off last season, but Sarri has been talking him up and he seems to have forced his was back into the starting 11 after his problems with Antonio Conte. Many of you might ask why not Azpilicueta or Alonso, but they come with premium price tags and the shift to a back 4 seems likely to hinder their output of season’s past. Apart from Arsenal in GW2, Chelsea have some decent fixtures to start so Luiz at a 1.0m saving seems like a risk worth taking, especially if he can take a few trademark free-kicks.

Then comes  Mamadou Sakho.Now, he’s not one that I’ve heard much talk about in pre-season but his influence in the Crystal Palace defence is huge and he’s always a goal threat at set-pieces. At 5.0m, there are plenty of others that might be worthy of selection, but that brings me to the main reason for his selection – the guy is an absolute beast for bonus point collection!! The Sky game has shown me that this is always something to consider, and to give you an idea of just how good he is, he finished 4th overall for defenders. And, that’s having played less than half the minutes of the likes of Azpilicueta and Otamendi due to injury – that’s impressive!!

Now, I brought it up in my previous post that the benefits of an ‘uber-cheap’ starter cannot be overlooked in Sky. If one presents themselves, they will be hunted out to allow for more budget to be pushed up the field. This generally tends to get overlooked in FPL due to the bench, but not by me…..not this season. During pre-season, Aaron Wan-Bissaka seems to have nailed down the Crystal Palace right-back slot ahead of Joel Ward, and from what I’ve seen of him he’s looked decent. Listening to some of their fans, he arguably should have got this position last season so at just 4.0, he could be a bargain.

 Midfielders

These were the hardest positions to select from a Sky perspective. The likes of Kante and Matic, who are huge in Sky for their passing and tackling stats, just don’t seem to translate well to FPL – ridiculous really given their performances and importance to their teams. Therefore, I’ve had to look to the attacking spectrum for the guys who get the goals and assists, as these will be the players that should also get the bonus in this format.

It was an easy choice to start with however – Mo Salah! This man needs no introduction from me after his record-breaking exploits last season, as we all know what he can do. His goalscoring record was exceptional and even earned him a re-classification as a forward in Sky. He remains a midfielder in FPL though, and as far as I’m concerned, he could have priced at 14.0m and I still would have picked him. He’s a captaincy option each and every week and therefore worth every penny!

Second on this list should have been should and would have been Kevin De Bruyne. Wherever he plays in that City team, he’s at the heart of everything that they do. He’s brilliant in every sense of the word and ticks all the point scoring boxes across all fantasy formats – goals, assists, passing, tackling – and is always a Man of the Match Contender. This was underlined by the fact he was second overall in Sky last season, only falling behind Salah.

The only problem with this is that he took Belgium to 3rd place at the World Cup and only returned to training this week, so there’s a chance he might be eased back and doesn’t start GW1. That risk is enough for me to switch focus to his City’s big summer signing in Rihad Mahrez. Being City’s record signing, that should at least see him guaranteed a starting spot while the likes of KdB, Sterling and David Silva are eased back after their World Cup exploits. His qualities are undoubted after what he has been able to do for Leicester (12 goals, 13 assists and 19 bonus points in 2017/18), and a move to such an attacking side as City should see him excel. I have every faith that he will do well, but KdB will be coming in at the first sign of a regular return and have kept 1.0m in the bank to facilitate it.

Sadio Mane fills the third slot in my midfield at 9.5m. Again, this could have been a number of players at that price point. It came down to a toss-up between Mane and Eriksen, and post-Wildcard, I think Eriksen may still take this spot due to his overall scoring and bonus potential. However, while there seems to have been some uncertainty over who Spurs have available for the early gameweeks, Liverpool have the fixtures to come out of the blocks all guns blazing. Mane has explosive potential and has been slotting away penalties in pre-season too, so he’s in.

I’ll explain the reason for going with a 4-4-2 formation, instead of the aforementioned 4-5-1, below. However, the final midfielder in my lineup is Richarlison at 6.5m. He tailed off massively last season after the departure of Marco Silva from Watford, but in the early stages he was registering big chances at a rate comparable to the likes of Salah and was a must own at his price in Sky. Only Kane, Eriksen and Salah himself finished the season with more shots than the young Brazilian. Therefore, with Silva again there to guide him, I think Richarlison could kick-on for what could be an impressive season. Everton certainly have some potentially excellent fixtures to get him started if they can pull it together after a few dicey performances in pre-season.

Strikers

I alluded above to the fact that I have switched from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 formation. The reason being Wilf Zaha. He’s had a re-classification from FPL this year, and seems to be a different animal since Roy Hodgson shifted him into more of a forward role. He was exceptional at the back-end of last season and seems to have hit the ground running in pre-season too with pretty much a goal a game. He’s a Man of the Match bonus hog in Sky, and at 7.0m in FPL I think he’ll provide far better returns than the comparatively priced midfielders.

As for my premium forward, I debated this for while in pre-season. Harry Kane was the obvious go to, but despite notching the golden boot at the world cup, he’s just not looked right since coming back from injury towards the end of last season. Also, we’re all aware of his issues in August by now and with the birth of his baby this week, there’s every chance he may miss the start of the season anyway.

There’s just too many issues there, so that left Sergio Aguero and Aubameyang as my big hitter considerations (I already have 3 Liverpool and United don’t score enough goals). Neither need discussion really, they will both get bucket-loads of goals this season. Aubameyang hit the ground running at Arsenal and his  record at Dortmund speaks for itself. His first two fixtures aren’t, great coming up against City and Chelsea, but I would still think he could get something in both those games. In the end though, the Community Shield made the decision for me……………..it just has to be Agueeeeeerrrroooooooo!

Bench

As stated in my ‘Sky FF Approach’ post, I will be writing off the bench in order to focus on the starting 11. I’ve not given any thought to it at all but as FPL require you to fill it, in come Kamara at Fulham (4.5m), Stephens at Brighton (4.5m), Peltier of Cardiff (4.0m), and Stekelenburg of Everton (4.0m).

So there it is, my Sky Player in FPL team:

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I don’t see this changing before the deadline, but if there’s any last minute injury news that forces my hand, then I’ll highlight it on my twitter feed.

My Captain

At this point, I’m so glad FPL don’t require daily captain changes like Sky do. For the first 4 gameweeks, it allows me to just move between Salah and Aguero depending on who has the better fixture. Salah will take the armband for GW1.

Comments

By all means hit me up on twitter with any comments or thoughts you have on the Sky Player In FPL team, especially if you have any last-minute suggestions. Plus, if you want to follow the progress of the team, there are links to the blog team (and my personal team for anyone interested) listed in the links section.

Hope you all have a great opening gameweek folks and I’ll be back next week for gameweek 2.