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FPL GAMEWEEK 1: Who are the Essential Picks?

Claudio Ranieri's tag as Tinkerman is something now conditioned to Fantasy Premier League players for the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season. Trying to find the right balance of players is hard when most clubs have viable FPL options, and no period is harder than the start of the season. It's an open canvas of ideas, draft squads, trolling pre-season reports to get updates on your club, and much, much more. We're scaling our ideas back to one question. Who do we think could be the big performers for FPL GW1, and GW1 alone? The Hype Trains throws its own suggestions into the mix. 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.


Club: Swansea

Positions: Williams (defender), Sigurdsson (midfielder)

Prices: Williams (£5.0m), Sigurdsson (£7.5m)

Fixtures: Burnley (a), Hull (h), Leicester (a)

What makes this Swansea duo essentials for GW1?

- Burnley are newly promoted, and arguably one of the weakest sides in the league.

- After Burnley, it's a second promoted side, Hull. Tougher in GW3 against Leicester, but we're not looking that far ahead.

According to the Premier League's own FDR (Fixture Difficulty Rating), Swansea have the 2 easiest fixtures back to back.

- Swansea's end of season form was good. A 4-1 demolition of West Ham and a final day draw to Man City left the Swans in optimistic mood ahead of the 2016/17 season.

- Both Williams and Gylfi were standout players at EURO 2016. Confidence is high, with Williams in particular close to being a king in Wales.

- Williams is the king of Bonus Points. Williams gained 24 Bonus Points last season, only Christian Fuchs (25) managed more.

- Sigurdsson takes corners, free-kicks, and penalties. The full house of set-pieces.

Williams managed just 9 clean sheets for Swansea last season, with 13 in the 2014/15 season. Surely Swansea will get more than 10 clean sheets again?

Are there any doubts over the two Swans?

- We don't think Gylfi or Williams will miss the first day of the season, but both made it to the Quarter Finals or more at EURO 2016. If this was Arsenal, both players would be deemed unavailable, but both players are indispensable to Swansea. Williams didn't miss a minute of Premier League football last season.

- As of writing, the lack of forward options at Swansea is troubling. Who in the world is going to be at the end of a Gylfi cross? It's not too late to throw your hat in the race for Benteke or Bony, is it?

- Swansea aren't an established top club, they'll float around mid-table as they have done, so pinning form is difficult early on in the season. The Swans could flop for all we know, that or pull a Leicester from last season.


Club: Man City

Position: Forward

Price: £13.0m

Fixtures: Sunderland (h), Stoke (a), West Ham (h)

What makes Aguero an essential for GW1?

- The inclusion of Aguero is almost rudimentary. We at the Hype Train are not too keen on putting too much focus on Aguero, because his inclusion is obvious. We are often detracted by his price and remember the massive loss of forms on 2 occasions last season, as well as an injury. Nevertheless, Aguero's first 3 games make him a definite inclusion.

- Sunderland have just changed manager. Moyes has very little time to shape the team in his mould. It could majorly backfire on the opening day against Pep's men in sky blue. Aguero is likely to profit.

- Aguero was mainly a substitute for Argentina in the Copa America this summer. Argentina made it all the way to the final, only to lose to Chile again on penalties, but The Kun found himself benched on 4 occasions from 7 games. Does this make us consider Aguero as 'fresh'?

- Aguero has managed 20+ goals in the last 2 seasons, and scores against most teams. Thy can happen at anytime.

- Aguero has also managed 20+ Bonus Points for the past 3 seasons. So there is an element of consistency when the season is all said and done.

- Nolito, Silva, and De Bruyne, all behind Aguero? Obvious, but the allure for fantasy managers is there for that reason.

Are there any doubts over Aguero?

- Aguero's massive £13.0m price tag has actually waned a few Fantasy players off his scent. With so much inflation in price for premium players, Aguero's price is the difference between balance and limited premium options. As of writing, 38.7% of #FPL players have Aguero as part of their draft squads.

- Aguero's form is often patchy, with long periods without a goal before a big performance to make the majority of FPL players forget that we went 6 games without a goal. You can't predict form at the beginning of the season.

- Rotation is a potential cause for concern. It is unlikely Pep will rotate Aguero out of the team, but Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.0m) could reduce Aguero's minutes, particularly when the Champions League campaign rolls around.


Clubs: Leicester City

Positions: Morgan (defender), Fuchs (defender) Mahrez (midfielder), Vardy (forward)

Prices: Morgan (£5.0m), Fuchs (£5.5m), Mahrez (£9.5m), Vardy (£10.0m)

Fixtures: Hull (a), Arsenal (h), Swansea (h)

What makes Leicester players an essential for GW1?

- The overwhelming consensus with The Hype Team for GW1 alone is that Leicester can't be forgotten about. The media hype would have you believe that the squad has receded into a state of nothingness, but that's just not the case. They have brought in some new faces, and have particularly strengthened up top with the arrival of Musa from CSKA Moscow. Kante may be gone, but Mendy is in, and another midfield reinforcement is expected. Point being, the team is still the standard bearer of excellence in the league, especially in the FPL.

- If there is one point of aged FPL advise for the first few games of the season, it's to trust what you know. Mahrez and Vardy are proven in the Premier League. Zlatan and Mkhitaryan, even though internationally recognised, not so much.

- Leicester were good before Kante, it's a winning system, not a team of winning individuals.

- The Foxes are playing a Hull side newly promoted, without a manager, with a host of injuries, and wider managerial/ownership problems. Though we can't compare the sides, there is a glaring resemblance to the downfall of Aston Villa. Leicester's visit is perhaps the best away fixture for Foxes this season.

- Defensively, a combination of Morgan and Fuchs could wield big points. Morgan at £5.0m is reasonably priced in comparison to other defenders, whilst Fuchs, who is arguably more effective than Alderweireld and Bellerin, is £1.0m cheaper.

- The Premier League Champions have never lost on the opening day of the season.

- In terms of achieving bonus points, Leicester shine in this department: Fuchs (25), Mahrez (38), and Vardy (30) were 3 of the top 4 earners last season. The 4th inclusion? Harry Kane with 33 bonus points.

- Captains always play. Morgan is a safe set of hands and will not be rotated.

- Leicester don't have to compete with the Champions League just yet, so their winning formula should continue.

- Riyad Mahrez is player of the season. If he were anyone else, he'd have a massive stake like what Eden Hazard did to start the 2015/16 season.

Are there any doubts over Leicester players?

- Does Kante's departure render Leicester vulnerable? Perhaps so if you read the papers. Leicester were winning games before he arrived, so there is a chance that the system is just that good. Questions marks have been created nonetheless.

- There is a general consensus amongst the media that this season is all going to be about the Manchester clubs and the big boys, and the Foxes are likely to drop off into mid-table security. Leicester who? If you are buying into this message, then the player prices for Vardy and Mahrez just isn't justified.

- Arsenal at home for GW2 is a fixture that is causing slight hesitation. Arsenal did the double over Leicester last season. Vardy did however score 3 times against the club that tried to buy him this summer.

- Vardy has recently had surgery to resolve his long standing wrist injury. Is this going to have a small impact on the minutes he plays in the first few games?

- Could Vardy be rotated with Musa if and when a game is won?


Club: Man United

Position: Goalkeeper

Price: £5.5m

Fixtures: Bournemouth (a), Southampton (h), Hull (a)

What makes De Gea an essential for GW1?

- Dave is a guaranteed starter for Man United. The only other GK in United's rank that mounts a challenge is Sergio Romero, and he won't get game time unless De Gea gets injured or sold.

- De Gea is by far and away the number one choice for GK right now in the FPL. As of writing over 40% of players own the Spanish number one. He's on the 'Hype Train' so to speak.

- Of all defensive options for Man United, De Gea is the only sure start for GW1. Chris Smalling is suspended, and is £0.5m cheaper than Smalling (£6.0m).

- Jose Mourinho loves a clean sheet, so De Gea might be called upon more this season if United play in a similar fashion to his old Chelsea sides.

- If you're under the impression Man United are on the up, then De Gea is a solid option for your team. This allows for defenders in your draft squads to be comprised of varying clubs, freeing up forward picks if Zlatan and Mkhitaryan find some form at their new club.

- If you pay a blind bit of attention to the Premier League's FDR, Man United have an easy run of games between now and Leicester in GW24.

Are there any doubts over De Gea?

- Most journalists desperately want Man United to do well, but Mourinho's challenge won't be fixed overnight. It's easy to forget that Bournemouth beat Man United at home last season. It won't be an easy ride for Dave in GW1.

- De Gea only made 88 saves last season, a stat that ranks him in the bottom half of Premier League's goalkeepers. One aspect so endearing for a FPL GK is that they make lots of save to gain additional points. De Gea (like Joe Hart) will probably earn a maximum of 6/7 points if they keep a clean sheet.

- There are some really good value Goalkeepers in the FPL, with De Gea priced as the joint highest at £5.5m. This might detract from Dave's inclusion if your strategy is to put money in midfielders and forwards.


Just Missing Out: Kevin De Bruyne, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dimitri Payet, Shane Long, Alvaro Negredo, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Hull vs. Leicester - Hull players are a big no-go until they sort out their club.

Burnley vs. Swansea - Andre Gray and Tom Heaton are the obvious options, but we're not sold on them as a unit (yet).

Crystal Palace vs. West Brom - A couple of teams straddling along in mid table. We'd say that both teams have great options across the first 10 games, but no standout players that HAVE to be included as essentials for GW1.

Everton vs. Spurs - New manager, new club, new direction, we don't know what to expect from Everton. It's a tough trip for Spurs for that reason alone, but we expect the London club to pick up their good form last season. Kane's lethargic Euro's puts a big question mark over his head.

Boro vs. Stoke - Boro winning isn't a guarantee. A lot of hype has gone in their favour because of how well they has moved in the transfer market (Valdes, Negredo, etc) but Stoke are part of the Premier League's furniture and won't roll over. Equally so, Butland and Arnautovic should be kept in high regard.

Southampton vs. Watford - A brace of new managers in their first Premier League matches, with drastically different squads that finished last season, both the Saints and the Hornets are in the bracket of 'wildcard'. Imagine if you had a ticket to the game, would it really be an occasion where one or two FPL favourites would shine? We can gamble, but it's low odds with so many new variables added into the mix.

Man City vs. Sunderland - In Pep's first game, everyone is expecting Sunderland to be walked all over, but in truth, just like Southampton/Watford, it is a case of 2 new managers in their first Premier League games (in Moyes's case, a first game in a long while). Aguero is the only exception to the law. De Bruyne faces a lot of midfield competition, even if he is an obvious shout to start.

Bournemouth vs. Man United - The Cherries have had a bit of a makeover this summer (of sorts). Some established faces have left (Elphick, Distin, Ritchie) and they have brought in players that fit their mould (Ibe, Smith, etc) but Man United is a tricky test, even if it is because nobody knows what to expect from Mourinho in his first Premier League game.

Arsenal vs. Liverpool - We kind of feel like we shouldn't have to explain this one, but we will. Arsenal's senior players are all on holiday, lapping up the sun. It's heavily expected that the team will rotate for the visit of Klopp's Liverpool side. Whether or not the rotation issue is going to be that bad in reality, is yet to be seen, but question marks are enough to put off fantasy players... As for Liverpool, they have 2 first choice Goalkeepers, Defenders that are unreliable (in terms of playing), too many midfield options that can rotate, and the lack of Forwards that can stay fit. We're steering clear of this one as it stands.

Chelsea vs. West Ham - We were so, so, soooooooooooooooo close on putting Dimitri Payet into our list of essentials for GW1, but we holstered our weapons at the last. Yes, the Frenchman can score out of nowhere, and yes, he's an amazing option to have in your teams for every week, but no, against a Chelsea team with Conte in charge, we're not so sure. Even more so, Payet travels to Man City for GW3. It's a game that Chelsea could win, but we don't know because as it has been repeated many teams, a new manager creates an uncertain chaos. For Chelsea, no players standout as a vital FPL source, though some are taking the punt on Hazard and Fabregas. For the same reasons, it's a game West Ham could win. Like Arsenal/Liverpool, we'll sit this one out.

You can check out Payet's fixtures for West Ham below.

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015 specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, television, live music, festivals, and any relevant topic in the public eye.

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All aboard.


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