With the season finally under way, Fantasy Premier League Managers have at last had an opportunity to see how their much deliberated initial selections have fared. Unlimited transfers were available in the game prior to last weekend’s big kick-off but now, with some clues to the season revealed, managers are once again limited to the one free transfer a week.
No doubt players will want to respond to real-life developments by tweaking their sides and stealing a march on the opposition but which pros represent value for money, or the best chance of a points haul in the weeks ahead?
Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho was the clear top performer in week one, with his two goals against Arsenal helping him towards a weekly total of 15.
Coutinho can be AS good as Messi, Ronaldo & Suarez, says LFC skipper.
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) August 19, 2016
The Brazilian’s value has already increased to £8.1m and is now in over a quarter of all FPL squads. Coutinho’s advanced position within Jurgen Klopp’s attacking looking outfit gives him an excellent chance of a high goals haul for a midfielder.
His price represents excellent value compared to the most expensive midfield options such as Alexis Sanchez (£11m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£10.5m).
Coutinho undoubtedly is blessed with talent but last season consistency was what held him back, nonetheless, with Burnley up next, he looks a good bet for points in Week 2.
A strong alternative would be Erik Lamela at Spurs, who also impressed on the opening day. He is afforded a similar role to Coutinho but at just £7m is considerably cheaper than both the Liverpool man and Tottenham teammates Christian Eriksen or Dele Alli.
The Argentine could well continue his form over the opening weeks with Spurs having two home games up next.
— Spurred On (@spurredontv) August 13, 2016
Elsewhere in the midfield, Paul Pogba is set to make his debut and his price of £8.5m reflects the uncertainty over exactly how he will be deployed by Jose Mourinho. Players would be wise to wait and see how his arrival will affect the roles of other options at United, notably captain Wayne Rooney, who is still classed as a forward in the game and got off the mark in Week 1.
Off the field events have also had an interesting impact during the week.
Yannick Bolasie’s arrival at Everton suddenly makes both Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu (both £6.5m) look slightly expensive given that he will take game time from at least one of them.
Conversely back at Crystal Palace, both Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend look set for increased opportunities. Either could be a shrewd buy, as after Tottenham, Palace find themselves with an easier run of games.
Almost 7 per cent of FPL teams still feature record West Ham signing Andre Ayew, but with the player expected to be sidelined for several months managers will need to use this week’s transfer to replace him.
Lamela could well be the best bet available at a similar price but Theo Walcott at £7.5m could be another possibility. The Gunners travel to Leicester next but then face Watford, Southampton and Hull in the following three games.
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) August 18, 2016
Nathan Redmond, back in the Premier League at Southampton, is also a potential bargain at £6m, which 9 per cent of managers have already identified.
Finally, at the other end of the field, the Joe Hart situation would seem to make Willy Caballero in the Man City goal worth including at half a million cheaper than his sidelined team mate.
With City looking to bring in a new keeper in the coming week’s however, a much shrewder option is surely Michel Vorm at Spurs who looks set to deputise for Hugo Lloris for at least a month. The Dutchman will be eyeing clean sheets with Spurs at home in both Weeks 2 and 3.