Here we are. Pre-season is over and the deadline for the Fantasy Premier League is tomorrow, the 13th of August. So as we’re preparing our final 15-man squads, I’ve decided to list the players I consider an absolute no-brainer for the start of the season.
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What I consider a No-Brainer
For me, there are a few different types of no-brainers:
- Captain obvious – This player is tried & tested. You feel super confident that he will get you points and therefore you must have them in your squad. Usually a great captain choice.
- The enabler – A player whose potential returns far exceeds their price tag. This allows you to have better players in the rest of your team
- The highly owned – A highly owned player with a good chance of returns. It’s wise to have a few of these players, especially if you have a few differentials in your squad.
- Process of elimation – Injuries, poor form or the unknown causes a certain player to become an obvious choice compared with his FPL rivals.
So let’s take a look at the players I believe fall into the above categories to start this season:
4.5m – Sanchez – Brighton
At this price point, Sanchez enables you to use your budget on more potential attacking returns, whilst offering you a real chance of clean sheet points. Currently, the second-highest owned out of the playable goalkeepers. He also has a great run of fixtures to start the season.
For what it’s worth, I’ve tried creating teams with the 5.5m priced Martinez in goal. But I always find myself preferring a 4.5 keeper. If I feel I need Aston Villa defensive cover, there’s always Target as a 5.0m defender which saves me 0.5m. Martinez is highly owned and has the potential to hit big again, so if you are happy with the rest of your team with him in, more power to you.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.5m – Liverpool
Being the most expensive defender puts a lot of managers off picking him. But a player at this price, with the ability to score over 200 points in a season, is the definition of a no-brainer. In the first half of last year, he struggled for form in the ever-changing Liverpool defence. But he finished the season ridiculously strong with 1 goal, 5 assists, and 5 clean sheets in his last 10 games. Now with Robertson getting an injury in pre-season, I think choosing Trent in your squad should be pretty straightforward. He also has two appealing fixtures to start the season (Norwich & Burnley). 32% ownership.
Luke Shaw – 5.5m – Manchester United
54% ownership, wow. He had a great Euro’s, and with the whole of England watching on, it’s given him the nod to become the highest owned fantasy asset this season. But his highest FPL season is 124 points, and he’s only reached the 100 point mark twice. So his high ownership is surprising. The positives are – he takes set-pieces, United’s defence should improve this season, and he’s high in confidence. So, matching the positives with his ownership, Shaw becomes a no-brainer for the start of the season.
Ben White – 4.5m – Arsenal
The potential value for Ben White this season is high. With his fellow 4.5m defenders, Fofana and Lamptey, getting injuries in pre-season, Ben has emerged as the must-have 4.5m asset to start the season. You can either leave him as your first choice bench player, meaning any non-starters and you’ve got an ample replacement. Or you can be braver and start him in your first 11, which would bring in extra funds to enhance your squad. A true enabler.
Bruno Fernandes – 12.0m – Manchester United
This guy is an FPL manager’s dream. Although he has a smaller sample size (1 and a half years) if we rightfully conclude this is his level, he’s going to get at least 25 attacking contributions this season. So don’t let his performances in the Euros deter you, he plays a different role within that Portugal side. Plus, never underestimate the impact of being the main man has on a player. Ronaldo calls the shots at Portugal, whereas Fernandes has quickly established himself as the chief in this Man United attack. A no-brainer that’s worth every FPL penny.
Mo Salah – 12.5m – Liverpool
He has averaged 23 goals & 10 assists per season in his 4 seasons at Liverpool. Let that sink in. That’s an average of 256 FPL points per season, So if at best he played all 38 games, that’s still an average of 6.73 points per match. Mr Guaranteed. He’s also the second-highest owned asset currently at 50.1% ownership. Don’t overthink this one.
Danny Ings – 8.0m – Aston Villa
A great reminder of how quickly things can change in fantasy football. He was barely on my radar at Southampton this season, although I knew his ability to score goals, I felt there were better options at that price point – Watkins, DCL, Bamford to name a few. But when he signed for Aston Villa, he became a must-have for me. With DCL & Watkins having last-minute injury concerns, and Bamford’s initial fixtures slightly off-putting, I feel Ings has emerged as the front runner for the mid-priced forward option. Especially to start the season.
Raphinha – 6.5m – Leeds United – Midfielder
His ownership, price & potential make a strong case for him to be included. But the fact there are other good options at that price point, who’ve arguably had better pre-seasons, (Benrhama – 6.0m) makes me undecided about starting the season with him. However, if this was a list for the season as a whole, he’d be a no-brainer.
Ivan Toney – 6.5m – Brentford – Forward
Up until this week, Toney had been a must-have for me. His 30% ownership, insane record in the championship, and price point are all noteworthy. Plus most mock drafts I’ve seen, he’s been in. But I’ve started toying with a 2 forward lineup this week, and I left him out to instead opt for Antonio. If I decide to go with 3 forwards, he’s a no-brainer. That price enables me to enhance my team in other ways. We’ll see.
More FPL content
If you’re looking for some last-minute inspiration or a broader list of players to choose from this FPL season, check out our top 5 goalkeepers, top 5 defenders, top 5 midfielders, and top 5 forwards.
Also, get involved in Undrafteds interactive undrafted team. This week, there’s a poll for you to help us decide which captain to pick out of Salah, Fernandes, and Ings for GW1.