Fourteen Questions for the 2022/23 FPL Season

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series FPL 2022/23

Fourteen Questions for the 2022/23 FPL Season

I love building my team for the new FPL season. There are so many possibilities and so many things to consider. A good start can set you up to have a great season and I love doing my research for the new season. Here are the fourteen questions I am thinking about as I build my team.

#1 How many Players Should we Pick From the Top Five Teams?

When the fixtures came out something that stood out was how good the fixtures are for the top five teams. Chelsea probably have the worst fixtures but games against Leeds, Everton and Southampton are still tasty. The other teams all have two fixtures in the first six against promoted teams. Once I saw these fixtures I knew my team would be based around getting as many big hitters into my team as possible.

Team GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
Manchester City west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
Liverpool fulham PALACE man united B’MOUTH NEWCASTLE everton
Chelsea everton SPURS leeds LEICESTER saints WEST HAM
Tottenham SAINTS chelsea WOLVES forest west ham FULHAM
Arsenal palace LEICESTER b’mouth FULHAM VILLA man united

Then the prices came out, and across the board prices were lower than expected. This is an example of a squad whose first eleven is entirely made up of players from the teams who finished in the top five last season. They all have great fixtures, and are affordable. This then raises the question, why would you pick players from worse teams? The other teams have worse fixtures and as this team shows, you don’t need to find bargains to fit in all the big names. I don’t see any incentive to include many players from other teams. Therefore my focus in this preview is on deciding which players from these teams to pick, and which players from other teams are exceptional enough to make our squads.

#2 Who are the Best Goalkeepers this Season?

I don’t normally get excited about goalkeepers but the prices this season have turned a lot more goalkeepers into viable picks. Managers have consistently preferred cheap 4.5 million keepers who get lots of points for saves and bonus points to supplement clean-sheets. That approach is still viable but this year the keepers can be a cheap way to get a nailed player in one of the best defences in the country.

  • Ederson – MCI – £5.5M Ederson is very tempting. It’s often hard to find or afford Man City players that are guaranteed starts. His price is excellent for a team that got twenty-one clean-sheets last season. The biggest problem is that he takes up a valuable Man City slot. I can easily see a situation where Cancelo, Haaland and a City midfielder are all essential. This combination is harder to get to if you have to make a goalkeeper transfer first. Flexibility is important and Ederson does make your squad less flexible.
  • Alisson – LIV – £5.5.0M Alisson is much less tempting than Ederson because the other Liverpool players are all so good. It’s unlikely anyone would want him over players like Salah, Trent or Robertson. You can replace Alisson with lots of other good keepers, but you can’t replace the other Liverpool players anywhere near as easily. If you could pick more than three players from the same club, Alisson would be a great pick, but as it is, Alisson is the one player on this list I’m not even considering.
  • Mendy – CHE – £5.0M Currently the most popular keeper in the game is Mendy. Chelsea kept fifteen clean-sheets last season so most managers were surprised to see Mendy at only five million. I’ve already described the doubts I have about Chelsea so I’m going to wait and see how good Chelsea are this season, but he’s definitely well worth considering at such a bargain price.
  • Ramsdale – ARS – £5.0M Arsenal have perhaps the best early fixtures of all the teams but there are plenty of cheap ways into the Arsenal defence. When Ben White is only 4.5 million Ramsdale’s price isn’t as good as it first looked.
  • Sánchez – BRI – £4.5M Sánchez is a very safe pick. Brighton have been solid defensively and their fixtures are fine, if not great.
  • Raya – BRE – £4.5M Injury meant Raya missed a chunk of last season, but when he was playing, Brentford were much better defensively. Brentford might also play more defensively without the creativity of Erikson which would make Raya an even better pick. Brentford’s fixtures are also pretty good. Raya is my current pick for best keeper but I think there are a lot of great picks this season for goalkeeper.
Player GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
Ederson (£5.5M) west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
Alisson (£5.5M) fulham PALACE man united B’MOUTH NEWCASTLE everton
Mendy (£5M) everton SPURS leeds LEICESTER saints WEST HAM
Ramsdale (£5M) palace LEICESTER b’mouth FULHAM VILLA man united
Sanchez (£4.5) man united NEWCASTLE west ham LEEDS fulham LEICESTER
Raya (£4.5M) leicester MAN UNITED fulham EVERTON palace LEEDS

#3 How Many Premium Defenders Should You Have?

The biggest shift in FPL over the last few years is that premium defenders are far too good. Fullbacks are now some of the most creative players in the Premier League. Players like Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and Cancelo are some of the highest scoring players in the game, whilst being far cheaper than midfielders or strikers that will probably score fewer points. The combination of seven points for a goal, four points for a clean-sheet, a ton of assists and a steady stream of bonus points is just too much to ignore. I can’t see a reason to not include at least three premium defenders.

  • Alexander Arnold – LIV – £7.5M The most expensive defender in the game and still in more than half of all teams. He has scored an average of 190 points over the last four seasons and with Fulham in the first game I would own Trent even if he cost another million.
  • Robertson – LIV – £7.0M Robertson is almost as consistent as Trent with an average of 185 points over the last four seasons, and ended last season with a rich vein of form that I can’t ignore. Currently owned by just over ten percent of the game, I think this is far too low.
  • Cancelo – MCI – £7.0M Cancelo was one of only a handful of players to top two-hundred points last year and I still think he underperformed in FPL. His eleven assists is great but if you watched him play and saw how far forward he would get, it’s hard to understand why he only got one goal. At some point surely the returns will come and if they do Cancelo will make a mockery of his price-tag. There is some anxiety in the community that if another left-back is signed, Cancelo might play on the right more often and be less of a threat but I don’t think that is a big enough concern to put me off one of the best players in the game.
  • van Dijk – LIV – £6.5M I love van Dijk in FPL and I expect his final score to be pretty similar to Robertson and Trent. His playing time is more consistent but his returns are harder to predict. He’s a serious goal threat from corners and a good asset, but because Trent and Robertson are only a little bit more expensive, van Dijk will get ignored by most managers.
  • James – CHE – £6.0M With an attacking return every 133 minutes last year, James was phenomenal. If you expect Chelsea to be back to their best this year then six million is far too cheap. Personally I’m going to wait and see how Chelsea shape up this season, but this price tag is still really tempting. There were rumours that Chelsea would move to a back four and see the wingbacks transition to a more defensive role. After losing 4-0 to Arsenal this idea seems to have been scrapped and fullbacks like Cancelo and Trent are proof that being part of a back four isn’t the restriction it once was.
  • Chilwell – CHE – £6.0M Chilwell is the same price as James and I have a hard time deciding which one is a better asset. His injury last year means we don’t have as enough data to make a firm assessment but at his best he was explosive. In the short term Chilwell is still being managed after his injury but I will be keeping a close eye on Chilwell every time I watch Chelsea play.
  • Dias – MCI – £6.0M Dias is exciting because finding a nailed Manchester City asset is often a real challenge. Whilst City will surely keep a clean-sheet in more than half their games, Dias will still struggle to get near Cancelo’s points total. The million pound saving is nice, but I would be too scared of Cancelo’s goal threat to downgrade Cancelo to Dias.
  • Perišić – TOT – £5.5M No player has been in and out of my squad as much as Perišić. Wingbacks are a key part of Antonio’s Conte’s system and this was the area Spurs most needed to strengthen this summer to continue progressing next season. Perišić has a fantastic record as a very exciting wingback who likes to get forward. Conte will rotate the wingbacks constantly and I doubt Perišić will play a full 90 minutes very often. However if he is first choice he will get so many attacking returns, especially linking up with Son on the left-hand side. I can’t decide if his potential for explosive returns outweighs the frustration of owning a big rotation risk.
Team GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
Manchester City west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
Liverpool fulham PALACE man united B’MOUTH NEWCASTLE everton
Chelsea everton SPURS leeds LEICESTER saints WEST HAM
Tottenham SAINTS chelsea WOLVES forest west ham FULHAM

#4 What’s Happening with Premium Midfielders?

Premium midfielders are usually the best options for captaincy and the highest scoring player each season is usually a premium midfielder. They all cost ten million or more but you can expect a lot of points for that investment.

  • Salah – LIV – £13M Salah is the only player to score over 300 points in a single season and has been extremely consistent for the last five years. He is the stand-out captain for first game-week against Fulham so it’s no surprise he’s in nearly 60% of teams. I love maverick picks but it’s so hard to replace Salah with anyone else when he could easily get a hat-trick in the first week. It’s easy to swap between Son and De Bruyne or Kane and Haaland but if you don’t start with Salah it’s going to be hard to get him in later which is quite a commitment. Salah did drop off a little at the end of the season but I expect him to come back refreshed after the summer and be back to his best.
  • De Bruyne – MCI – £12.0M Owning a premium Manchester City asset is always scary because that is so much money to be benched when you get hit by Guardiola’s inevitable rotation. It sounds like De Bruyne will be playing further forward behind Haaland which is very exciting. If he develops a good understanding with Haaland he could get a massive number of assists. I prefer Haaland over De Bruyne but only fifteen percent ownership is too low for a player who can easily get two hundred points again this season.
  • Son – TOT – £12.0M Son had his best ever season last year and his twenty-three goals earned him a golden boot along with Salah. He has been criminally under-priced for several seasons and has finally been given the premium price-tag he deserves. Like De Bruyne and Salah, Son is a fantastic pick but I don’t know if I can fit him in alongside Salah.
  • Sterling – CHE – £10.0M I’m surprised that Sterling’s ownership is so low. I think he’s going to be a great fit for Chelsea. He has scored around 160 points a season for the last two years but at his peak he had two seasons at the 230 point mark. With more minutes he could easily get back to his best. If you have one of the more expensive premiums Sterling is hard to fit in so I understand why everyone is waiting to see what he can do before investing. If you fancy the Chelsea attack, Mason Mount for two million less is also drawing attention away from Sterling.
  • Fernandes – MNU – £10.0M Fernandes’s ownership is even lower than Sterling’s. Fernandes has had a similar decline to Sterling in terms of FPL returns and like Sterling I am anticipating a much better season for him this season. Man United assets seems like a gamble and ten million is a lot of money to gamble with when you could have Rashford, Sancho or Martial for much less.
Player GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
Salah (£13M) fulham PALACE man united B’MOUTH NEWCASTLE everton
De Bruyne (£12M) west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
Son (£12M) SAINTS chelsea WOLVES forest west ham FULHAM
Sterling (£10M) everton SPURS leeds LEICESTER saints WEST HAM
Fernandes (£10) BRIGHTON brentford LIVERPOOL saints leicester ARSENAL

#5 Who is the Best in the Eight Million Pound Bracket?

    There is a fascinating cluster of midfielders that are all priced at £8 million or £8.5 million in the case of Bowen. All of these players are great options and were either explosive last season or have a proven track record. If I had the funds I would love to have more than one but I think at least one is essential so you can easily move from one to another as form and fixtures change. But deciding which one(s) to pick is hard.

  • Bowen – WHM – £8.5M Bowen had a fantastic season last year and with 206 points his price of £8.5 million is still on the cheaper side. I haven’t seen him in many teams and I think the fixtures and the extra half a million have put people off. It’s scary picking a player who plays Man City in the first game week and Spurs and Chelsea not long after but he scored in plenty of big games last year so I don’t think the fixtures matter for a player like Bowen.
  • Saka – ARS – £8.0M Saka has been Arsenal’s best player for several years now, and he is nailed and with twenty goal involvements last year so Saka is easily worth eight million. With Jesus upfront, Saka might be able to get more assists as well this year. Arsenal’s fixtures are great so Saka is definitely in my thoughts. I will probably have one Arsenal attacker in my team but I don’t know if it will be Saka, Jesus or Martinelli.
  • Mount – CHE – £8.0M Chelsea have a lot of midfielders but Mount has been the most reliable Chelsea attacker for both game time and returns. If you want a Chelsea attacker and you can’t afford ten million for Sterling, Mount is a great pick.
  • Maddison – LEI – £8.0M With 181 points last season Maddison was only behind Bowen for points this year from this group of midfielders. Leicester struggled with injuries and the demands of playing European football last season. Maddison could easily outdo his points total last season with more minutes and a more settled team around him. Leicester have some difficult fixtures early in the season but they have an amazing run from game-week nine so I’m already thinking about having Maddison in my team in a few months time.
  • Diaz – LIV – £8.0M The most popular player in this selection is Diaz. He was very exciting to watch and eight million is really cheap for a Liverpool attacker. I think I prefer Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Salah over Diaz but Diaz looks like a great pick.
  • Mahrez – MCI – £8.0M FPL managers have a love-hate relationship with Manchester City players. The team scores lots of goals but it can be hard to predict who gets the minutes and the goals. Mahrez is one of the most explosive options at Manchester City for managers who are happy to take a risk on rotation. I have seen several different theories about how this summer’s transfers will affect Mahrez. Some people think that Sterling leaving means less competition for Mahrez whilst others say that Guardiola won’t play Mahrez and Haaland together because both players won’t press as much as other City assets. I can’t wait for the Community Shield so we can try to understand how Man City will play this year.

    Foden is also an option at eight million this year, although he seems less involved in preseason than other players, so I’m not expecting him to be a regular at the start of the season.

  • Kulusevski – TOT – £8.0M Like Diaz, Kulusevski was another January signing that made an immediate impact with five goals and nine assists Given how expensive Son and Kane are, I’m surprised Kulusevski isn’t in more squads as a cheaper Spurs option. I think many are worried that Richarlison will be taking minutes away from Kulusevski but I think Richarlison is more likely to be cover for Son and Kane.
Player GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
Bowen (£8.5M) MAN CITY forest BRIGHTON VILLA SPURS chelsea
Saka (£8M) palace LEICESTER b’mouth FULHAM VILLA man united
Mount (£8M) everton SPURS leeds LEICESTER saints WEST HAM
Maddison (£8M) BRENTFORD arsenal SAINTS chelsea MAN UNITED brighton
Diaz (£8M) fulham PALACE man united B’MOUTH NEWCASTLE everton
Mahrez (£8M) west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
Kulusevski (£8M) SAINTS chelsea WOLVES forest west ham FULHAM

#6 Are Strikers Back In Fashion?

Last season strikers were extremely underwhelming. The best attackers at Manchester City and Liverpool were all midfielders. Kane started slowly, Ronaldo was inconsistent and Lukaku was a total flop. Given that strikers only get four points for a goal and don’t get extra points for clean-sheets the points system also incentivises playing midfielders over strikers. Is this going to be the same again this season? Kane is back to his best and other top teams have signed new strikers. If players like Haaland, Darwin and Jesus live up to expectations this could be a great season for forwards.

  • Kane – TOT – £11.5M Kane has been looking sharp in preseason and has scored five goals. A proven goal-scorer with very good fixtures apart from Chelsea away in game-week two. Kane is probably going to be rotated more often than in the past with the signing of Richarlison but I don’t think that is a big problem early in the season.
  • Haaland – MCI – £11.5.0M When players first join the Premier League they are often seen as risky. Haaland has such an incredible goal-scoring record and Manchester City create so many chances this seems like a perfect signing. Playing Bournemouth at home in game-week two is really eye-catching. I’m considering starting with Kane and then switching him to Haaland for game-week two. Booking in a transfer leaves you inflexible but it could give you back-to-back explosive returns.
  • Ronaldo – MNU – £10.5M It looks extremely unlikely Ronaldo plays at the start of the season after not training with the squad, so Ronaldo is a complete no-go.
  • Vardy – LEI – £9.5M Vardy is always overlooked and he always delivers. The fixtures don’t appeal, but Vardy has always been able to score against anybody. There is too much uncertainty surrounding Leicester for me at the moment but Vardy would be a fun differential pick.
  • Darwin – LIV – £9.0M Like Manchester City, Liverpool have a new striker but I’m not sure if Darwin will be an immediate starter. Firmino was never a good FPL asset but Darwin looks like a much bigger goal threat so a Liverpool striker for nine million could be a total bargain. Jota is the exact same price and is now also a forward in FPL. Given how nailed the other forward options are I’m not interested in a player whose game-time is so uncertain. Darwin is another really exciting gamble though like Vardy.
  • Jesus – ARS – £8.0M Perhaps stretching the definition of premium at only eight million, Jesus is currently the most popular player in the game. Given his fixtures, price and goal-scoring record in pre-season Jesus seems too good to ignore. I hate the idea of calling a player essential but I think Jesus is as close to essential as you can get for the first four game-weeks.
Player GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
Kane (£11.5M) SAINTS chelsea WOLVES forest west ham FULHAM
Haaland (£11.5M) west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
Ronaldo (£10.5) BRIGHTON brentford LIVERPOOL saints leicester ARSENAL
Vardy (£9.5M) BRENTFORD arsenal SAINTS chelsea MAN UNITED brighton
Darwin (£9M) fulham PALACE man united B’MOUTH NEWCASTLE everton
Jesus (£8M) palace LEICESTER b’mouth FULHAM VILLA man united

#7 Are there any Strikers Worth Having Below Eight Million?

One of the reasons Jesus and Haaland have such high ownerships is that the cheaper forwards are pretty unappealing. This is a really mixed bag of players. Some are just over priced, others have bad fixtures and others are rotation risks. If one of them does emerge later on as a good option it could be a reason to move against the template.

  • Watkins – AVL – £7.5M Aston Villa have some really good fixtures for the first three games but their fixtures get much worse very quickly. If you are committed to a very early wildcard Watkins could be worth a punt otherwise you need to find another forward in the same price bracket which is difficult.
  • Bamford – LEE – £7.5M Bamford might be the most overpriced player in the game. Leeds have lost some of their best players and Bamford might still need more time to get back to his best. Bamford’s price is based on his 19/20 season which I understand but strikers at bottom-half clubs need to be bargains to get anyone excited.
  • Wilson – NEW – £7.5M This could be a big season for Newcastle and if Wilson stays fit he could be very popular with FPL managers. He scored eight goals last season despite being unavailable for most of the season. I will definitely be considering him after game-week five and their games against Manchester City and Liverpool.
  • Antonio – WHU – £7.5M I have no idea what to expect from West Ham this year, but Antonio did get ten goals and ten assists last year. I think if I wanted a West Ham player, I would just try to find the extra million pounds for Bowen.
  • Toney – BRE – £7.0M Toney had a solid season last year, boosted by the creativity provided by Eriksen. With Eriksen having left for Old Trafford I expect don’t expect Brentford to create as many chances as they did at the end of last season. Why pick Toney when Jesus is only a million pounds more expensive?
  • Martial – MNU – £7.0M If Ronaldo leaves Manchester United or is frozen out of the first team, Martial becomes a very interesting player. Their early fixtures are difficult enough that you can justify waiting to see what happens but if they click quickly millions of Man United fans will buy players like Martial, Sancho and Rashford and their prices will sky-rocket. I still too much uncertainty surrounding Man United assets but I do think you can justify them as a reasonable risk to take.
  • Jiménez – WOL – £7.0M I was predicting Jiménez to have a great come-back season and Wolves have some tempting fixtures. Unfortunately he was injured in pre-season so he is no longer an option.
  • Mitrović – FUL – £6.5M Mitrović scored an unbelievable FORTY-THREE goals last season in the Championship last season and he is the centre of Fulham’s attack. I thought he was going to be the first name on my team sheet but the fixtures have completely dampened my enthusiasm. When players at the top clubs are all so affordable it’s hard to justify even a player with forty-three goals last season which is a real shame.
  • Solanke – BOU – £6.0M Solanke is in a similar situation to Mitrović. He scored twenty-nine goals in the Championship last year and has an awful set of fixtures to start the season. I’ll be ignoring him for now for the same reasons as Mitrović.
  • Crystal Palace Strikers – £5.5M There are loads of forwards at Palace for the low low price of five and a half million. If one of them becomes first choice they will be very interesting.
Player / Team GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
Watkins (£7.5M) b’mouth EVERTON palace WEST HAM arsenal MAN CITY
Bamford (£7.5M) WOLVES saints CHELSEA brighton EVERTON brentford
Wilson (£7.5M) FOREST brighton MAN CITY wolves LIVERPOOL palace
Antonio (£7.5M) MAN CITY forest BRIGHTON VILLA SPURS chelsea
Toney (£7M) leicester MAN UNITED fulham EVERTON palace LEEDS
Martial (£7M) BRIGHTON brentford LIVERPOOL saints leicester ARSENAL
Jiménez (£7M) leeds FULHAM spurs NEWCASTLE b’mouth SAINTS
Mitrović (£6.5M) LIVERPOOL wolves BRENTFORD arsenal BRIGHTON SPURS
Solanke (£6M) VILLA man city ARSENAL liverpool WOLVES forest
Crystal Palace (£5.5M) ARSENAL liverpool VILLA man city BRENTFORD newcastle

#8 Are Cheap Defenders Worth It?

Because the premium defenders are so good, we will probably have fewer cheap defenders in our team than previous seasons and even a five million defender feels cheap compared to the defenders that cost six or seven million pounds. If you are playing as many premium defenders as you can afford, you will only want the very best cheap defenders. Let’s take a look at the 4.5 and 5 million defenders.

  • Arsenal Defenders Arsenal have two exciting options at five million this year. Gabriel is a beast from corners and got five goals last season. Zinchenko has become a very popular option but I’m sceptical that he will be nailed for minutes or getting attacking returns from midfield. White is probably the cheapest route into the Arsenal defence although Saliba will provide competition for his place this year.
  • Aston Villa Defenders Villa have a short but excellent run of fixtures at the start of the game and three interesting options in defence. Cash offers the most goal threat but I expect Digne to match his points total by getting plenty of assists. If you are trying to save money Mings is only £4.5 million.
  • Brighton Defenders If Cucurella goes to Manchester City and quickly becomes first choice he will be the cheapest Manchester City defender. Dunk is my favourite of all the £4.5 million defenders as a regular starter for a defensively solid team who also offers a goal threat from corners.
  • Crystal Palace Defenders Crystal Palace were very solid last year and their best defenders are available for only £4.5 million. Guéhi and Anderson both got over 120 points last year and I don’t see why they can’t match that again this season.
  • Manchester City Defenders Kyle Walker is potentially a massive bargain. He has been a regular in the Manchester City team but I’m not sure how regularly he will play. He could be the best of the five million defenders.
  • Man United Defenders Dalot is expected to nail down a wing-back position and if he does £4.5 million is a brilliant price.
  • Newcastle Defenders Trippier is a set piece expert and will get a steady stream of goals and assists from corners and direct free-kicks. He is a stand-out option at this price. Forest at home on the opening day is great but the fixtures get much harder very quickly. I want Trippier in my team but I might wait until the fixtures get better.
  • Tottenham Defenders Doherty at five million is slightly cheaper than Perišić but there is even more competition for the wing-back position on the right-hand side. Romero is a great defender and absolutely nailed but gets a lot of yellow cards which is worrying. This means Dier might be the safest route into the Tottenham defence. Spence and Sessegnon are both only £4.5 million but big rotation risks. If Doherty or Perišić get injured they could be fantastic value.
  • West Ham Defenders I think West Ham’s defence will be better this season but playing Manchester City in game-week one is a real turn-off. Cresswell has a good price at five million and you can expect a few goals and assists from him.
  • Team GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
    Arsenal palace LEICESTER b’mouth FULHAM VILLA man united
    Aston Villa b’mouth EVERTON palace WEST HAM arsenal MAN CITY
    Brighton man united NEWCASTLE west ham LEEDS fulham LEICESTER
    Crystal Palace ARSENAL liverpool VILLA man city BRENTFORD newcastle
    Man City west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
    Man United BRIGHTON brentford LIVERPOOL saints leicester ARSENAL
    Newcastle FOREST brighton MAN CITY wolves LIVERPOOL palace
    Spurs SAINTS chelsea WOLVES forest west ham FULHAM
    West Ham MAN CITY forest BRIGHTON VILLA SPURS chelsea

    #9 Who are the Best Mid-Priced Midfielders?

    You need five midfielders in your squad and it’s impossible to pick only the premium players. Finding the more affordable midfielders that still get premium returns is key to getting ahead in FPL. There are over 200 midfielders that cost less than eight million, so it’s impossible to talk about all of them. Here are some of my favourite picks that cost between £5.5 and £7.5 million.

    • Arsenal Most of Arsenal’s midfield land in this price bracket and their attack is quite fluid so I expect returns to be shared around the Arsenal midfield. Ødegaard is class and I’m surprised he only got eleven attacking returns last year. Having a striker like Jesus upfront could be exactly what Ødegaard needs to deliver more goals and assists. Martinelli really stands out at six million. Arteta has other options on the left-hand side but I think Martinelli is first choice and really important to the Arsenal team. Because of the fixtures and his price I think he is the best midfielder for six million or less.
    • Brighton Trossard scored a hat-trick in pre-season. Was that a fluke or a sign of good things to come? At the end of last season he moved from playing upfront to playing as a wing-back and it seems to have been an inspired idea. He got seven attacking returns in six games so he could be the real deal but I have no idea.
    • Crystal Palace Zaha had his best season ever last year and reached 150 points for the first time. Palace have awful fixtures for the first four games but I will be keeping my eye on Zaha.
    • Leicester Barnes has long been a frustrating Leicester asset. If you think Leicester will be back to their best after a season where they struggled with injuries and the demands of playing in Europe Barnes could be a fun pick. There is some negativity attached to Leicester at the moment because they haven’t made any signings and some of their best players are linked with moves away. I’m happy to wait, take time to evaluate Leicester and their players and time any investment for game-week nine when they have a fantastic run of fixtures.
    • Manchester City Seven million for a Manchester City attacker is extremely tempting. Grealish failed to live up to his price-tag last year but City assets often get much better in their second year once they have adapted to Guardiola’s system. There will always be the risk of rotation but if you are comfortable with that risk he could be fantastic. He might also really benefit from playing with Haaland. I can imagine him getting lots of assists by taking on defenders and just passing to Haaland.
    • Manchester United There are signs that Manchester United are going to have a resurgence and if they do their midfielders will be a fantastic source of FPL value. There are some really cheap options including Sancho at 7.5 million and Rashford at 6.5 million. I doubt many players have ever dropped as much in price as Rashford after one bad season. If he gets his confidence back and fits into Ten Haag’s style of play he could be essential when Man United’s fixtures improve.
    • Newcastle Bruno Guimarães was a revelation when he signed in January. Everyone was expecting a deep-lying play-maker but he was at the heart of their attacking play with five goals. If he stays playing further forward he will be an important FPL asset but I can easily see him reverting to a deeper role and missing out on FPL returns.
    • Nottingham Forest One of the shock transfers of the summer was Lingard signing for Forest. This is a really ambitious signing from Forest and it sounds like Lingard is perfect for the Forest system. Their forwards are expected to split and keep the defence occupying creating space for the number 10. If Lingard is as good as he was at West Ham in 2021 he could be very successful at Forest. However Forest have made a lot of new signings and I expect it will take time for the team to gel and adapt to the Premier League so I’m happy to wait and see how Lingard performs. At six million he is Forest’s joint most expensive player in FPL and I expect him to be the highest scoring player as well.
    • Southampton Over the course of a whole season Ward-Prowse is a great pick. He’s the best free-kick taker in the league but as an FPL asset he’s too reliant on free-kicks which makes his returns unpredictable. If you need a 6.5 million midfielder that you never transfer out, Ward-Prowse is perfect. I just think you can get better returns by using transfers to target players with good form and good fixtures.
    • Wolves Wolves are a team that confuse me this season. I don’t think their team is very good, but they have great fixtures. Neto and Podence are contenders to play out of position up front and have been scoring nicely in pre-season. Out of position midfielders are so exciting because they get five points for a goal and still get a point for a clean-sheet. At 5.5 million each Neto and Podence are cheap enough to be worth a gamble. I can’t tell if they are going to be brilliant or terrible but I feel like there won’t be any in between with Wolves this season.
    Team GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
    Arsenal palace LEICESTER b’mouth FULHAM VILLA man united
    Brighton man united NEWCASTLE west ham LEEDS fulham LEICESTER
    Crystal Palace ARSENAL liverpool VILLA man city BRENTFORD newcastle
    Leicester BRENTFORD arsenal SAINTS chelsea MAN UNITED brighton
    Man City west ham B’MOUTH newcastle PALACE FOREST villa
    Man United BRIGHTON brentford LIVERPOOL saints leicester ARSENAL
    Newcastle FOREST brighton MAN CITY wolves LIVERPOOL palace
    Nottingham Forest newcastle WEST HAM everton SPURS man city b’mouth
    Southampton spurs LEEDS leicester MAN UNITED CHELSEA wolves
    Wolves leeds FULHAM spurs NEWCASTLE b’mouth SAINTS

    #10 Who are the Best Bench Options?

    We can’t just pick the big names from all the big clubs and we need to fill out the bench with cheap options so we can spend as much as possible on our first eleven. There are some stand-out options for our benches this year.

    • Ward – GK – Leicester – £4.0M Schmeichel at five million is clearly Leicester’s first choice goalkeeper but there is a lot of talk of him leaving this summer, so Ward could become first choice before the season starts. This would be incredible value even if I don’t rate the Leicester defence. This is one to watch, just in case, and if you aren’t rotating two keepers he might be the default option for the four million bench keeper.
    • Patterson – DEF – Everton – £4.0M There are two four million defenders worth looking at this year. Patterson is a Scotland international that joined Everton in January but he didn’t get a chance to play for them last season. He has been impressing in pre-season with lots of starts and a couple of assists. It sounds like Coleman isn’t going to be ready to start the season. I don’t know if Patterson will be first choice long term but he might be the best short-term pick for four million in defence.
    • Neco Williams – DEF – Nottingham Forest – £4.0M The other big option for a four million defender is Neco Williams at Forest. He might be playing for a promoted club but he is going to be a first choice fullback at a great price. He has looked good during his time at Liverpool and was part of Fulham’s Championship winning team. He even got a brace in one game so he could be an exciting option.
    • Andreas Pereira – MID – Fulham – £4.5M Of all the players in the game, Andreas is my stand-out player for bench-fodder and you could easily play him for easier fixtures. Signed for ten million, he is going to be one of their best midfielders and he has been taking set-pieces in pre-season. I think Pereira is head and shoulders above any other £4.5M midfielder. Normally midfielders at this price are either not regular starters or offer no attacking threat. If Pereira had been a Fulham player when the prices were released he would probably be a million more expensive. This is a complete bargain and I expect to see him in the squad of almost any manager who takes FPL seriously.
    • Archer – FWD – Aston Villa – £4.5M It’s usually too expensive to have three playing forwards, so most people will have a £4.5M forward last on their bench. It’s unlikely you ever need all of your subs in one week so having a fifteenth player who doesn’t play isn’t a problem. The one who shows the most promise is Archer. He has seen some game-time in pre-season and I’m expecting him to get some game time off the bench. This pick is unlikely to matter but Archer is my pick for best bench fodder amongst the strikers.

    #11 Are Manchester United Back?

    Manchester United were a total mess last season which suggests they should be avoided in FPL this season. However they look much better in pre-season and Ten Haag is a top coach. If you do believe in Manchester United this season and want one of their players it’s hard to know who to pick. Ronaldo and Fernandes are the big point scorers but it’s looking very doubtful Ronaldo plays and both of them are probably too expensive as they stop you from taking players like Salah and Haaland who have much better fixtures and are much more reliable FPL assets.

    However Sancho, Rashford and Martial are all intriguing. They all have real potential and offer you savings compared to players at other top clubs. However Sancho hasn’t shown his best at Manchester United, Rashford needs his confidence back before he becomes a pick and Martial’s minutes are uncertain because of Ronaldo. I have had a few drafts with Martial upfront because there aren’t many striker options but he has historically been a frustrating player to own because he isn’t clinical enough to convert all the chances he gets.

    I’m pretty sure Manchester United will be good at some point and we will want to own their players but the fixtures aren’t as good as other teams. I’m happy to wait and see but I know that their prices will go up very fast because Man United have legions of fans around the world who love owning Manchester United players. There is definitely profit to be made by owning them early but I don’t like the fixtures enough to take the risk.

    Dalot is perhaps the most tempting option because he’s cheap enough to bench during the Liverpool and Arsenal games but I don’t think my structure will have a slot for £4.5 million defender because the premium defenders are so good.

    Team GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
    Manchester United BRIGHTON brentford LIVERPOOL saints leicester ARSENAL

    #12 What Can We Expect from Chelsea this Year?

    This might be the toughest question for me. Chelsea are one of the best teams in the league and for the first half of last season they were head and shoulders above the rest of the league. I’ve already raved about how good wingbacks and fullbacks are in FPL and James and Chilwell are without question two of the standouts in this category. Wingbacks were often central to Chelsea’s attack last year so James and Chilwell both had massive hauls at times and they are both only six million. Mount could easily be the highest scoring eight million player and Sterling has a fantastic FPL pedigree. Their home fixtures aren’t great but the away fixtures are very tempting.

    If I had confidence in Chelsea I would absolutely be putting James in my team and strongly considering Mount. But there are some reasons to doubt Chelsea. The defence has lost Antonio Rüdiger and it might take time for the players to get used to a new line-up. There was talk of Chelsea switching to a back-four which might reduce the attacking threat of James and Chilwell. After a terrible 4-0 defeat to Arsenal in pre-season this no longer seems to be the plan. After that defeat Tuchel was very pessimistic and suggested the team might not be fit enough to start the season. There are also a number of players being linked with moves away which might undermine the team. I don’t know what to expect from Chelsea. It seems completely reasonable to put three Chelsea players in your team or none. Whether you decide to invest or ignore, you can make a convincing argument in either direction.

    #13 Can We Rely on Pre-Season Results?

    One of the eternal pre-season dilemmas is deciding whether pre-season results matter or not. I tend to favour players who score in pre-season because it has served me well in the past, but it’s never super reliable. I won’t go through every team, but here are somethings I found interesting in pre-season.

    • Arsenal Arsenal have been free-scoring in pre-season with lots of goals and assists for Nketiah, Jesus, Martinelli and Saka. They beat Chelsea four-nil and Sevilla six-nil. Jesus, Martinelli and Saka all look like fantastic options for their price and I expect to have at least two of them if not all three. We still don’t have confirmation on who will take penalties and so far whoever wins the penalties has taken the penalty. If one player was certain to take penalties it might make choosing which Arsenal assets to take much easier.
    • Aston Villa Leon Bailey has the most returns in pre-season with three goals and two assists but he isn’t a guaranteed starter. He’s still a good option at five million playing Bournemouth in game-week one.
    • Brighton Potter has continued with a 3-5-2 formation that he switched to at the end of last season. In the final match of pre-season Trossard scored a hat-trick!
    • Chelsea The stand-out result was a 4-0 defeat to Arsenal. Tuchel was very critical of his players’ fitness levels afterwards.
    • Crystal Palace Palace had a disjointed pre-season with unvaccinated players being unable to travel with the rest of the squad. Zaha notably got five goals and three assists.
    • Everton After their four-nil defeat to Minnesota United, Frank Lampard was extremely critical of his team. They did win the friendlies after that but the public nature of his criticism suggests Everton might be in trouble. Patterson at four million has been playing high up and got two assists against Blackpool.
    • Fulham Mitrovic got four goals and an assist whilst Pereria got two assists which is great for a budget enabler.
    • Leeds Rodrigo scored a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Cagliari.
    • Liverpool Darwin Núñez was mocked on social media after one friendly and then scored four in the next. He only came off the bench to get a goal and an assist but it looks like Klopp prefers to ease him into the team so we can’t be sure if he starts the season over Firmino.
    • Manchester City Manchester City only had three pre-season friendlies which concerns me. De Bruyne has been playing further forward just behind Haaland. In the Community Shield City struggled to link up with the runs Haaland was making but surely it won’t take long for such good players to work well together.
    • Manchester United Ronaldo only played in a B-team fixture whilst Martial, Sancho both got three goals.
    • Newcastle Almiron was the most prolific in preseason with four goals.
    • Spurs Kane was prolific with five goals whilst Son was more of a creator with two goals and four assists. Predicting who the wing-backs will be in game-week one is difficult. Perišić started the game against Roma and played very high up but is still coming back from injury. The picture on the right-hand side is even less clear with so much competition for places.
    • West Ham The Hammers had a disappointing pre-season with four draws and a defeat in the last five friendlies and only scored four goals in those games.
    • Wolves Neto and Podence both scored three goals a piece with both playing in a front three. They could both be good picks as midfielders playing out of position.

    #14 How Good is the Template this Year?

    There is always a template every year, but I don’t think I have ever seen it this strong, both in terms of how high some ownership levels are and how good a team you can pick by simply picking the most popular players. Alexander-Arnold, Salah and Jesus in particular all have sky-high ownership and are rightly the most popular players in the game. This is a reflection of how good the Liverpool and Arsenal fixtures are and suggests that Trent and Jesus in particular have been priced very kindly.

    I currently have eight of these players in my current draft and I could easily have more before the game-week one deadline. I’m not sure how good the Chelsea defence or the Wolves attack will be but James and Neto are still very good picks. The player I dislike the most is Greenwood who like all 4.5 million forwards isn’t going to play. It’s totally fine if your fifteenth player isn’t going to play but one that is this popular is at risk of dropping in price so I would avoid Greenwood in particular.

    Otherwise my team is going to be pretty similar. I prefer Robertson over Diaz and I’m happy to triple up on the Arsenal attack by adding Saka alongside Martinelli and Jesus. I’m also going to get Kane for game-week one against Southampton and then swap him for Haaland against Bournemouth in game-week two.

    Having such a strong template could have really big implications for the game. It will mean the average scores should be much higher and the small differences between teams will have a bigger impact on your rank. Or will more divergence happen when the fixtures improve for the smaller teams? At least to start the season my team will be very template. Not because I want to play it safe but because the template has really aligned with the players that I want to pick. It also makes captaincy more important as a way to differentiate yourself from other managers. Will managers take riskier picks as they try to find an edge?

    That’s the end of my look at the upcoming FPL season. Join me at the end of September when I take a look at the first two months and see how I did.

    Player GW 1 GW 2 GW 3 GW 4 GW 5 GW 6
    Chelsea everton SPURS leeds LEICESTER saints WEST HAM