The new Premier League season inches its way towards the opening curtain call when Champions Leicester City travel to newly promoted Hull City. With new managers, new players, a new graphical design for the Premier League, and with a general sense that the same old clubs will be return to their dominance, could some old faces that were once heavily popular in the Fantasy Premier League, be set for a big season in the FPL? The Hype Train looks at some cases where players might come good again in our world of fantasy sports, and their likelihood of success in the game. All aboard.
Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek Deadline
For the 2016/17 Premier League season, the FPL deadline will be one hour before the commencement of the week's first game. The Premier League website lists each FPL deadline, you can always ask on social media, and you can also view a real time countdown on our Weekly Hype page.
In a change from last season, the early Saturday kick off time has now been moved back to 11:30am, meaning the weekly FPL deadline will also be moving 15 minutes back.
The transfer deadline for GW1 is Saturday August 13th at 11:30am.
ARSENAL: SANTI CAZORLA
FPL Price: £7.5m
Where did it go wrong for Cazorla in 2015/16?
The story of Arsenal's season is simple. Have a few bad games to start the season with a fully fit squad, followed quickly by the squad sorting out their form, and then finished by the total destruction of their team through injury and lack of leadership that inevitably ends with a sour position that's below the expected grade.
That in a nutshell was the season of Santi Cazorla.
A highly praised FPL asset for the start of the 2015/16 season, due to taking penalty kicks and being on some authority with set pieces, injury rocked the Spanish international, just for him to return at the end of the season to smile and wave at Arsenal fans that are just getting sick and tired of missing out on the Premier League trophy. Turns out, Santi never got to take a penalty in his time as a fit option, and saw most of his set-piece taken over by Mesut Ozil.
Could Santi be an FPL option again?
- With much of Arsenal's squad rumoured to be on holiday, Cazorla might be one of the fitter faces come the start of the season.
- Much like Fabregas, Santi isn't one of the premium midfield prices this season.
- Cazorla is the number one penalty taker at Arsenal. That was the allure for him last season.
- On the downside, Ozil is the main set-piece taker, a role once occupied by Cazorla.
- Xhaka and Ramsey will provide direct competition for Cazorla's spot, that is unless Wenger intends to play Cazorla higher up the pitch. There could be saturation in the Arsenal midfield and could find himself on the bench.
- Arsenal haven't been popular picks for the start of the season as it stands due to the state of their team for GW1, with much rumoured change. We hope it's exaggerated.
CHELSEA: BRANISLAV IVANOVIC
FPL Price: £6.0m
Where did it go wrong for Ivanovic in 2015/16?
Chelsea's implosive season, which saw Mourinho get the sack, and the club become the worst defending Premier League champions in the history of the league (yes, even worse than Blackburn), was an accumulative effort. Ivanovic was a mainstay in the side, playing 33 of the 38 games, scoring 2 and assisting 2 in the process.
Ivan suffered a terrible early period for 2015/16, putting in consistently bad performances against the likes of Swansea's Jefferson Montero and every left winger in the league for the majority of the season. There were calls for Ivanovic to be dropped from the side, and though it happened for a short period of the season, Ivanovic eventually adopted a CB position for much of the season, with the Blues playing Azpilicueta in the Right Back slot, and alternating Kenedy and Bab Rahmen at Left Back
Could Ivanovic be an FPL option again?
- Ivanovic has a good goal scoring record for Chelsea, with his 2 goal tally his worst scoring return since the 2009/10 season. Can returns get worse under Conte? Surely not worse than this past season.
- Ivanovic could once again rotate between Right Back and Centre Back this season.
- A lot of the reason the FPL once favourite Ivanovic was due to his positioning. At Right Back he was essentially playing in a Right Wing position and would break into the box at every possible opportunity. The jury is still out if these days are behind Ivan.
- Ivanovic will go forward for every corner kick and set-piece, and is typically strong in the air.
- Defensively speaking, Chelsea on the surface are in a much brighter situation with Conte and that feel good factor might tempt a few FPL managers to bank faith with Chelsea defenders.
- The arrival of Leicester's Kante makes Ivanovic and the entire Chelsea defence a completely different animal to consider.
CHELSEA: EDEN HAZARD
FPL Price: £10.0m
Where did it go wrong for Hazard in 2015/16?
The most obvious case of a flop last season, it really was a season to forget for Eden Hazard. Form picked up at the end with stellar performances against Spurs (to end their title chances) and Liverpool, but even a couple good games can't override the car crash that was Hazard's 2015/16 season.
Hazard was accredited with 4 goals and 3 assists last season, all largely coming at the very end, but considering this is coming from the FPL Player of the Season for 2014/15, it was a catastrophe. Hazard was rightfully prized at £10.5 million to begin the season, but his value became redundant when Riyad Mahrez outscored him by 7 points (ending with 240) started the season at £5.0 million.
Mourinho was sacked, and just before the final whistle of Jose's last game, Hazard hobbled off against eventual Champions Leicester with an 'injury'.
Inconsistent, no match fitness or sharpness, Hazard was stripped of his penalty taking and like most FPL players, was waiting patiently for the Double Gameweek period to arrive.
Could Hazard be an FPL option again?
- Hazard was very good at times during Euro 2016, so you could argue that he's got a bit of momentum going into the new season.
- Conte will demand a regimented style of play with Chelsea, so Hazard might be prone to defensive tasks. On the flip side, he might have the room that the Italian forwards had at Euro 2016.
- 10.0m for a player of Hazard's ability isn't a surprise, but after his all but disastrous 2015/16, there should have been a downgrade.
- Hazard is no longer taking penalties for Chelsea. His spot-kick ability was half the reason he was such an attractive option in the 2014/15 season, just like Mahrez in 2015/16.
- Price might be a factor regarding Hazard's inclusion. As of writing we'd prefer to take KDB, Payet, and Sahchez, ahead of Hazard as premium options because those 3 are central to attacking output.
- Chelsea and a new manager in Conte means a slight adjustment period. We don't know what to expect, meaning the higher Hazard's prize, the bigger the gamble.
EVERTON: LEIGHTON BAINES
FPL Price: £5.5m
Where did it go wrong for Baines in 2015/16?
Everton were pretty terrible all season, except for an entertaining period between September and November when Romelu Lukaku was an FPL favourite. As for Baines, he was the poster boy for the kind of season Everton endured during the 2015/16 campaign. Starting just 16 games (with 2 appearances off the bench), Baines (much like Everton) didn't show up for half of the season, losing his place in the England side, and even his place at Everton to the upcoming left-back Galloway. Baines scored 2 goals, and assisted one. One goal should be fresh in the memory, it was a penalty on the final day of the season in a victory over Norwich.
Could Baines be an FPL option again?
- With a full pre-season under his belt, Baines could reestablish himself as Everton's first choice left back. This is boasted by Koeman's arrival, and wanting to get the best out of the England international.
- Set piece potential is still a big draw. Baines could still be on penalty kick duties, and was so on the final day of last season. Corners and free kicks also raises his stock in the eyes of fantasy players.
- Everton can't do any worse than they did last season, can they? This applies to the FPL as well as the overall Premier League.
- Koeman's arrival does spark a sense of the Toffees being a 'wildcard' team for next season. We don't know what to expect, so could go either way. It's risky business nonetheless, as Koeman has had to lift a team, not just inherit one (like the new bosses at the Manchester clubs).
- The FPL bonus points system has always loved Leighton. He gets LOTS of additional points when on top of his game.
EVERTON: SEAMUS COLEMAN
FPL Price: £5.5m
Where did it go wrong for Coleman in 2015/16?
For reasons slightly different than with Baines, Seamus Coleman's excuse of a bad season is with the club and its direction under Roberto Martinez last season. The Republic of Ireland international played in 29 of Everton's 38 league games last season, maanging a handful of clean sheets, with 1 goal and 3 assists.
The big downfall for Coleman as an FPL option was his massive £6.0 million price tag at the beginning of the season. In pre-season Everton were seen as a side who could hold it together defensively, but that was never to be the case. With such a big price tag, Coleman's stock rapidly plummeted, and become a nolvelty player to pick as a differential for the GW33 and GW34 Double Gameweek fixtures.
Could Coleman be an FPL option again?
- Coleman is essentially the Irish Ivanovic. Loves to play high, attack, and get in forward positions as much as possible. Coleman, also like Ivanovic, is a good header of the ball and has the potential to score from headed situations in the penalty area. Defenders with attacking returns, as well as defensive, are loved. Everton just need to unlock the potential of their full backs once more.
- Koeman loves a team that can keep a clean sheet. An optimistic hope for the season ahead, we know. but the Dutchman kept a steady ship at Southampton and will be looking to build on that with the Toffees.
- Coleman, like Baines, is a benefactor of the bonus points system in the FPL.
- The only drawback for Coleman, once again, could be the deflated price. FPL managers are more likely to go for Arsenal, Leicester, and Spurs options at the back when matched at £5.5m
- Are Everton still a defensive option in the FPL? No, no, and a third time no. Potential is there, but not the finished product.
LIVERPOOL: DANIEL STURRIDGE
FPL Price: £10.0m
2015/16 Points: 70
Where did it go wrong for Sturridge in 2015/16?
Daniel Sturridge is the living embodiment of Samuel L Jackson in the movie Unbreakable. The England international is made of glass, breaks easily, but is a very decent player when he is firing. In the FPL, Sturridge hasn't really been on fire since the 'Nearly Year' when Liverpool nearly won the title in 2013/14. Ever since, Sturridge's price in the FPL has been inflated due to his lethal nature in front of goal when you can get his tumbling legs onto the pitch.
2013/14 was Sturridge's beast season, earning 197 points, with 22 goals and 8 assists. Last season, D Studge only scored 8 goals, but he missed a massive chunk of the season as they tried to glue his glass legs back together.
Could Sturridge be an FPL option again?
- First, and most obvious, is that at any time, and for no reason, Sturridge can and will get injured. That's a transfer you don't want to have to worry about.
- For the same price you can get Jamie Vardy, playing Hull on the opening day. Liverpool travel to Arsenal.
- If fit, D Studge is always among the favourites to score.
- Liverpool are set with a vast array of attacking players at their disposal, so Sturridge isn't essential to their line-up. Firmino did brilliantly in that position, whilst Danny Ings has hit the ground running in pre-season to make up for lost time due to an injury last season.
- Sturridge is notoriously bad at penalties, and we don't expect him to take any. Free kicks, maybe, but we've never seen the world report on a Payet-like screamer into the roof of the net.
- Liverpool head into the season with 3 straight away games, but that's not a bad thing. They did not lose to Arsenal and Spurs away from home last season, both games finished 0-0. Petr Cech has a lot to do with that, saving brilliantly from Benteke at point blank range.
- Rotation, rotation, rotation. Liverpool are already proving to be a minefield to navigate in the FPL. Pinning down the definite starters is just nervy.
MAN CITY: DAVID SILVA
FPL Price: £9.0m
2015/16 Points: 96
Where did it go wrong for Silva in 2015/16?
After an injury plagued season, David Silva struggled to get any consistency in the Man City squad. 96 points is the lowest points tally Silva has managed in the FPL in 6 seasons, with the 2015/16 season being the only season the Spanish international failed to get 100 points.
Despite the off-season, Silva managed a single goal in a 4-0 victory against Crystal Palace, and claimed 11 assists in the FPL, his lowest number of assists since his debut season in 2010/11.
It was to be remembered as only ever using Silva as a differential on given weeks when fit, and that was it. Silva's ownership actually venture below 5% for much of the 2015/16 campaign.
Could Silva be an FPL option again?
- Silva went to Euro 2016 and should now be match fit. Given his fitness, FPL returns must surely be higher than the 96 points achieved last season.
- Competition for places is at an all time high for Man City midfielders. Silva is competing against Navas, Nolito, Sterling, KDB, and potential Sane, for a birth behind Aguero in the Man City midfield.
- Silva won't be on any set pieces, except for the occasional corner. KDB has pretty much assumed this role.
- If Silva is a starter, we believe it could be down the middle, behind a forward. Nolito has been brought in to play on the left, and that could push KDB to the right.
- Man City score 70+ goals since the big oil money came rolling in, and Silva is bound to have a few big weeks, but might not be a consistent performer if he isn't on set-piece responsibility.
- If Kelechi plays up top with Aguero at all, this will push Silva down the pecking order, as a CM like Fernandinho will get the nod.
- Will Silva fir in with the pressing game that Guardiola has adopted in pre-season?
SOUTHAMPTON: CHARLIE AUSTIN
FPL Price: £6.5m
Where did it go wrong for Austin in 2015/16?
Well, to begin with the Englishman starred in the Championship for the first half of the season with QPR. Southampton didn't snap the one-time England call up until January of this year. Austin did very well during his 16 games for QPR in the second division, scoring 10 goals from 16 appearances, 4 of which came from the bench.
Austin's eventual arrival at Southampton, for a snip at £4 million (considering Newcastle were considering paying £15 million!), came off the back of an injury to his knee. Austin eventually made 7 appearances for Southampton last season with only 2 starts, scoring the one goal. It's a goal to be remembered too - on Austin's debut at Old Trafford against Man United in a 1-0 victory.
Could Austin be an FPL option again?
- In a summer of change at St Mary's for the third season in a row, Austin could find himself as top dog at Southampton next season should new manager Claude Puel see his goal-scoring capabilities early on.
- Graziano Pelle leaving the Saints to become one of the top 5 paid footballers on the planet (crazy, we know!) has left a vacuum that one would assume Charlie could walk automatically into.
- Austin is a sharp-shooting forward and hit 18 goals for QPR in his last full season in the FPL (the 2014/15 season). He thrives when teams are struggling, and the nail is already Southampton's coffin due to so many manager and player sales.
- Lethal in front of goal, Austin is also a penalty expert, though he did miss 2 for QPR in the 2014/15 season.
- Dusan Tadic will be imperative for support if Austin is to become a Saints talisman, and in his time at Southampton, only 2 Premier League players have more assists than he does.
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