The new Premier League season kicks off at 5am Saturday morning AEST, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve waited till the last minute to pick your Fantasy team.
We all know Raheem Sterling, Mo Salah, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will rack up the points, but you can only fit so many of these superstars under your budget.
Here are our top 5 value-for-money players to give you a head start on the competition, and bragging rights over your mates – rather than making a bad start and forgetting about it after a month, like you did last year!
5. Harry Maguire, Manchester United (£5.5m)
The Red Devils may make broken the world transfer record to sign him from Leicester, but Harry Maguire is still relatively affordable in FPL.
Standing at 6’4” and 100kg, Maguire towers over most of his opponents, and is a constant goal threat from set pieces. The introduction of VAR into the Premier League and the crackdown on shirt-pulling should make “Slabhead” nigh-on impossible to stop if he gets the right delivery.
While only notching 3.2 points per 90 minutes last season, Maguire’s clean sheet tally should jump significantly at a bigger club, and his calmness in playing the ball out from the back makes him a magnet for bonus points.
4. Joshua King, Bournemouth (£6.5m)
While his more illustrious striker partner Callum Wilson now clocks in at a pricey £8.0m, King is still a bargain, having only scored 27 fewer points last season.
King is also less injury-prone than Wilson, who in the last four years has ruptured an ACL in both his knees.
King takes penalties for the Cherries, and with Bournemouth facing newly-promoted Sheffield United and Aston Villa in the opening two rounds, the Norwegian is a great choice to start the season.
3. Joao Cancelo, Manchester City, (£5.5m)
A deadline-day signing from Juventus, Cancelo has been selected by only 0.8% of teams at the time of writing, making him the perfect difference-maker.
Registering 5 assists for the Bianconeri last season, Cancelo is a marauding full-back who should flourish in Guardiola’s ultra-attacking setup. Plus, City kept 20 clean sheets last season, hardly giving their opponents a sniff.
The only question mark: will he start? With Benjamin Mendy perenially injured and Kyle Walker slowly morphing into his PES 2014 character as he ages, there will likely be room for the spritely Portugese to freshen up the City lineup.
2. Harry Wilson, Bournemouth, (£6.0m)
Harry Wilson was electric for Derby County in the Championship last season, scoring 15 league goals from midfield, each one seemingly more spectacular than the last.
Still on Liverpool’s books, the young Welshman has been shipped out on loan again, this time in the top flight. The Premier League will undoubtedly prove a step up, but with his wand of a left foot and virtually peerless ability from a dead ball, Wilson should surely make the leap.
Moreover, with Cherries playmaker David Brooks facing three months on the sidelines through injury, Wilson can expect first team opportunities from the word go.
At only £6.0m, and selected by just 0.9% of teams, Wilson has flown completely under the radar – but could prove the breakout star of the season.
1. Wilfred Zaha, Crystal Palace (£7.0m)
Wilfred Zaha is reportedly “devastated” that his deadline-day move to Everton failed to come to fruition, with Palace demanding at least £80 million for their star attacker.
The circumstances make this one a riskier selection – will Zaha throw a tantrum and try to force his way out in January?
However, in fantasy terms, selecting Zaha is still a no-brainer. £7.0m for a guy who not only registered 10 goals and 11 assists last season, but has been reclassified as a midfielder – meaning an extra point for every goal scored or clean sheet registered.