Ahead of the 2020/21 curtain raiser between Fulham and Arsenal on September 12th 2020, we have combed through every Premier League clubs and identified the players who we believe have been overpriced in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game this season. This leads us to talking about the impact of having inflated prices in the game. All aboard.
Premier League 2020/21: Gameweek 1 Fixtures
The upcoming league campaign, with Leeds, West Brom and Fulham joining the league in the place of Norwich, Bournemouth and Watford, is set to start on Saturday 12th September 2020.
Champions Liverpool entertain Championship winners, Leeds, whilst Fulham and West Brom both start their seasons' with home fixtures against Arsenal and Leicester respectively.
Due to Man City and Man United competing in the latter stages of european competition to end the 2019/20 season, the Premier League have a 30-day no compete clause once the season, which means that both Manchester clubs have had their fixtures against Burnley and Aston Villa postponed to a later date.
Premier League 2020/21: Overpriced FPL Players
The main reason for writing this article is that on Thursday evening (10th September 2020), less than 48 hours away from the start of the Premier League season, for the first time I was looking at creating a draft FPL team that I could be happy with and found that 9 out of 10 times I was being sucked into creating a template team - this season you can go one way by playing safe, or every other team is extreme and you go nuts with an entire team of players that nobody else has.
What is the pricing structure doing to the FPL game?:
Initially, I was going to include some overpriced player prices as part of our Gameweek 1 FPL Forecast article. Having combed through every single club in the league, it became clear that the five-page long list was too much to digest amongst other nuggets of information ahead of the new season, so this has morphed into its own analysis just a day before the first ball is kicked and I believe that it will highlight the need for a relaxation of player prices - not only are we living in a Covid-19 era of football where rotation will be likely and games will be postponed as players contract the virus, but the game is becoming less reflective of the efforts on the field and ever so more each season is becoming a game purely about budget management, ahead of the football itself.
I have a few bones of contention that I will flesh out. First is the ceiling of players above £11.0 million in the game strains and stresses the options available to players. Having played multiple Fantasy games in the past, the highest ceiling for players is typically £11.0m. MLS Fantasy refuses to start players at a higher price, besides great exceptions (Carlos Vela at LAFC comes to mind after breaking the scoring record in MLS in 2019).
The FPL has on occasion upped the prices for Mohamed Salah (LIV), who at one stage started at £13.0m in the game after becoming the first player to hit 300 points, with The Egyptian King earning 303 points during the 2017/18 season.
The 2020/21 season sees a handful of players all above the £11.0m mark - Aubameyang (£12.0), Salah (£12.0), Mane (£12.0), De Bruyne (£11.5) and Sterling (£11.5). You also have the most expensive defender price in the game, with Trent Alexander-Arnold starting at £7.5 million. When you start high, there has to be concessions made lower down the pecking order, but this hasn't happened, and as you're about to see, there is a culture of over-pricing players based on a few factors other than their footballing ability: the crest, the hype and the incompetence at those administrating the FPL game when they outlay their player prices. In short, you can't have hyper prices without having a relaxed approach from the bottom up to balance out the game.
This higher ceiling, combined with a refusal to balance budget options and mid-range selections - there are a total of 33 players to date who are £7.5m or more - leaves the game stretched for choices, analysis and excitement - leaving a community of players forced with few alternatives than to pick a template team. Furthermore, I do not agree with the tone of argument that I am wrapped into every single time I engage in FPL talk on social media relating to this subject that this year will be more of a positive challenge as players will have to be more creative in getting the best out of their squads. This also isn't happening this season as players flock to very few highly-selected options - Allan Saint-Maximin (NEW) is currently selected by 21.4% of FPL players as he is one of a couple of respectfully priced midfielders.
What I would ultimately like to see is a review of the game's pricing structure so it makes sense. Currently, all of these players listed will be hurt and damaged due to their price - to make the game more diverse and have more unique teams ahead of 6 million templated teams - they need to open the door by making more players accessible to the game. That means reducing a host of prices ever so slightly in certain areas for players that did not live up to their potential, so they have an opportunity to organically grow, instead of starting high because of a preconception that the player will deliver points.
The player prices that I have listed below, and the short and often sarcastic comments, are generally my musings (and frustrations) about the state of the game leading into Fulham's opener against Arsenal tomorrow afternoon.
Club by Club Guide:
David Luiz (ARS) - £5.5m: No Arsenal defender should be above £5.0m.
Kieran Tierney (ARS) - £5.5m: See above.
Mesut Ozil (ARS) - £7.0m: Doesn’t play football. Doesn’t deserve this price. Plays less than Gareth Bale, with football his second sport behind Golf.
Matthew Cash (AVL) - £5.0m: A few good games as full-back at a Championship squad that couldn't make the play-offs isn’t justification for being a £5.0m defender at a team that doesn’t keep many clean sheets. This price was purely 'media hype' upon Cash's arrival to Villa, and ironic given his name that he is more expensive than he should be.
Tyrone Mings (AVL) - £5.0m: No Villa defender should be above £4.5m.
Jack Grealish (AVL) - £7.0m: Not really viable as he is competing with players from 'Top 6' clubs. Maybe the FPL overlords expected a move to a club higher up the table? Would have been better served at £6.5m given he plays for Aston Villa.
Conor Hourihane (AVL) - £6.0m: The occasional set-piece in a team that doesn’t score. Didn't perform or live up to the initial 'hype' of being a key player, so this should have been reflected in his price.
Jota (AVL) - £6.0m: 17 points last season. Didn’t play. A million over-valued.
Adam Lallana (BHA) - £6.5m: Output the last 3 seasons has been 1 goal and 2 assists. He should have been priced alongside Saint-Maximin, the benchmark for a budget midfielder, or at most at £6.0m, though my gut says that he'll struggle to stay fit and is a massive risk at any type of higher price.
Pascal Gross (BHA) - £6.0m: Heavily rotated last season. Should have been £5.5m.
James Tarkowski (BUR) - £5.5m: This price is only set as there is an expectation that Tarkowski will move to a ‘bigger’ club, rather than his value. Should have been £5.0m.
Fikayo Tomori (CHE) - £5.0m: Has been put at £5.0m to be on parity with other Chelsea defenders, despite only having a small run in the team.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CHE) - £6.0m: 12 points last season. Injury prone. At another club is priced a million cheaper.
Mason Mount (CHE) - £7.0m: Was a good breakout player last season but I feel like he’s been given a £0.5m price hike because he plays for Chelsea. Will lose value almost immediately when he’s pushed out of the team and rotated due to Ziyech and Havertz.
Tammy Abraham (CHE) - £7.5m: An aggressive price for a player who has to compete with Werner and is fighting for minutes for Giroud. I understand that Tammy had a good season last year, but this price does add a headache.
Lucas Digne (EVE) - £6.0m: The FPL takes into account ‘what could be’, when in reality the Frenchman didn’t have a good season and should have been £5.5m at most.
Yerry Mina (EVE) - £5.5m: Michael Keane (90) got more points than Mina (78) but is £0.5m more expensive. Just doesn’t make sense. Kills him as an option for earning basic appearance points across the season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE) - £7.0m: I’m aware he is on set-piece duty, but he’s a bit part player that looks like he is on the way out. Was outscored by Grealish, Lucas Moura, Mount and a host of other £7.0m mids.
Bernard, Walcott, Iwobi (EVE) – all £6.0m: All rotation and bench fodder on a weekly basis. No value in these picks whatsoever.
Richarlison (EVE) - £8.0m: Priced just below Danny Ings and Raul Jimenez, who were staples last year. The move as a Forward will hurt the Brazilian when he ends up on the wing at spells in the season.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE) - £7.0m: Should have been priced alongside Chris Wood (136pts) at £6.5m who outscored the Evertonian. Seems like there is special dispensation to put DCL at this price considering Ancelotti's side finished below Burnley.
Moise Kean (EVE) - £6.0m: Didn’t play football last season. Probably won’t this season.
Cenk Tosun (EVE) - £6.0m: No. Just no.
Jonny Evans (LEI) - £5.5m: Nobody in their right mind will ever picks Evans at this price.
Timothy Castagne (LEI) - £5.5m: A Champions League full-back at Atalanta, sure, but this aggressive pricing at its finest. It's given Castagne no room to grow into his price given that Leicester aren't City or Liverpool.
Kelechi Iheanacho (LEI) - £6.0m: Hard to put him at this price when he sits on the bench for a living and we now know what to expect.
Joel Matip (LIV) - £5.5m: Priced at this just to be on parity with Joe Gomez, when in truth he might not play.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (LIV) & Xherdan Shaqiri (LIV) - £6.5m: Both are a million more expensive than the central midfielders in Liverpool’s squad, without ever getting the points to justify the price – it’s been done because they occasionally play on the wing.
Sadio Mane (LIV) - £12.0m: Being priced alongside Mohamed Salah has killed Mane as an option, which is a great shame. Should have been £11.5m to create a different dynamic for FPL players, with the £0.5m additional for Salah being his penalty kick duty.
Takumi Minamino (LIV) - £6.5m: Not for me, dawg. Bench warmer with the occasional start. Probably the most expensive sub in the game (that doesn’t play for Man City).
Roberto Firmino (LIV) - £9.5m: Ings and Jimenez both got 40 points on Firmino last season, but is a million more expensive. Was not a stellar goal-scoring season for Bobby and even though he plays for Liverpool, should have seen a slight reduction in his price so he could have been compared with the aforementioned attackers.
Nathan Ake (MCI) - £5.5m: Got relegated with Bournemouth. No idea if he'll be a starter. The move alone doesn’t justify the price. Priced just to be on parity.
Joao Cancelo (MCI) - £5.5m: Perhaps the most wasted player in the City squad. Not worth the cost given Pep roulette.
Benjamin Mendy (MCI) - £6.0m: Too high of a price for a player who has the tensile strength of a paper bag in a rainstorm.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (MCI) - £5.5m: Being on parity is not a good thing when most City defenders are £5.5m. Zinchenko, like Ake, has no right to be at this price.
Raheem Sterling (MCI) - £11.5m: Should have been cheaper than KDB, who is the man at City. Sterling is patchy at times and doesn't have set-pieces that will keep KDB ticking over.
Gabriel Jesus (MCI) - £9.5m: The exact same argument for Bobby Firmino can be applied to Jesus at City, only Jesus will be rotated heavily.
Eric Bailly (MUN) - £5.0m: 9 points last season. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
Diogo Dalot (MUN) - £5.0m: 4 points last season. God damn this price is ridiculous.
Marcos Rojo (MUN) - £5.0m: 3 points last season. Good lord.
Phil Jones (MUN) - £5.0m: 2 points. Less points. Same price. How low can you go?
Chris Smalling (MUN) - £5.0m: 0 points. Bottom of the barrel. I think I hate this game.
Paul Pogba (MUN) - £8.0m: Has had his penalty kicks taken away. The most expensive DM in the game and won’t get big numbers this season.
Juan Mata (MUN) - £6.0m: To have this price, you need to play football.
Jesse Lingard (MUN) - £6.0m: This lad can’t even play football.
Odion Ighalo (MUN) - £6.5m: I’m about to scream into a pillow. This price is just infuriating. Priced alongside Callum Wilson, a starter at another club.
Karl Darlow (NEW) - £5.0m: Just when you think you have a Martin Dubravka replacement, with the first choice keeper out of the West Ham game, you see Darlow’s price. Pass.
Fabian Schar (NEW) - £5.0m: Slowly being phased out at Newcastle. Not a starter and becoming injury prone. Should have been £4.5m.
Christian Atsu (NEW) - £5.5m: I forgot that Atsu was even at the club. Priced alongside Saint-Maximin, so of course Atsu’s above his station.
Joelinton (NEW) - £6.0m: 2 goals. 2 assists was apparently WORTHY OF A PRICE RISE!! This is a Forward, who not only has been replaced by Callum Wilson, but was mocked religiously in his debut season. You literally cannot excuse this price and I will fight people to the death and use this as my signature case if someone agrees with how this game structures its player prices. What an absolute joke.
Dwight Gayle (NEW) - £6.0m: Takes 10 chances to score and has been known to be an elite Chapionshp attacker that can’t cut mustard in the Premier League. I probably wouldn’t put Gayle in my team at £3.0m in the game.
Enda Stevens (SHU) & George Baldock (SHU) – both £5.5m: The full-backs at Sheffield United are good players and both got 142 points. I just feel that these prices will turn a lot of players off and denies what could be a good couple of options if second season syndrome doesn’t hit.
John Fleck (SHU) - £6.0m: Sticks out like a sore thumb when every Sheffield United midfielder is £5.5m or less. I like Fleck as a player, has lots of energy and drive, but I genuinely wonder who actually sets these prices.
Lys Mousset (SHU) & Billy Sharp (SHU) – both £6.0m: Sheffield United will sign an attacker that will price both of these players further on the bench. Also, they are just generally £0.5m more than they should be given they aren't locked on.
Yan Valery (SOU) - £5.0m: The mind boggles why Valery is not £4.5m. Not a starter and is more than new recruit, Kyle Walker-Peters.
James Ward-Prowse (SOU) - £6.0m: It took JWP 8 years to just get over 100 points last season (he managed 117pts). These points are indicative of a £5.5m midfielder at best.
Nathan Redmond (SOU) – £6.5m: I love Nathan Redmond. I was there in Southampton to watch him score on his Saints debut against Watford years ago, but I feel that this price will push him out of the market until he starts dropping in price. £6.0m would have been perfect for him.
Davinson Sánchez (TOT) - £5.5m: Being a Spurs defender in this day and age doesn’t mean you should be an automatic £5.5m defender. Would be better served as a £5.0m option.
Japhet Tanganga (TOT) - £5.0m: Broke through last season and had a few good performances, but being on parity with Davies, Rose, Dier and Sessegnon has hurt Tanganga massively. Should be a £4.5m differential for when there are injuries.
Giovani Lo Celso (TOT) - £7.0m: Should be priced the same as Erik Lamela (£6.0m) as they serve the same role in the team, with both slotting in when there are injuries and tactical line-up changes. Likee most on this long list, nobody who has more than a singular braincell will pick Lo Celso at this price, especially when Lucas Moura is the same value.
Tanguy Ndombele (TOT) - £6.0m: There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to use that can paint a picture as to why Ndombele is this price. The FPL decision makers must have got smashed on a night out and done this as a joke – then again this would imply that this institution has a sense of humour.
Oluwasemilogo Adesewo Ibidapo Ajayi (WBA) - £5.0m: I am saying this through cupped hands for dramatic effect… ‘No West Brom defender in the history of FPL has ever, ever, everrrrrrr been worth £5.0 million!’
Matheus Pereira (WBA) - £6.0m: The game should have given Pereira a chance before the price kills his FPL appeal right off the bat. Looks a half decent player but needed to be viable.
Pablo Fornals (WHU) - £6.5m: I’m getting Scooby and the gang back together to solve this mystery. There’s no real human on the planet, other than Fornals himself, who would own him at this price.
Robert Snodgrass (WHU) - £6.0m: Allan Saint-Maximin is cheaper, younger, better and part of a squad that finished higher. Says it all.
Jarrod Bowen (WHU) - £6.5m: If Scooby can’t solve this one, I might just call the police to get to the bottom of why these Hammers midfielders are criminally over-priced. They’re more expensive than Everton’s and these prices in midfield are just not reflective of West Ham’s position in the league or their general performances.
Manuel Lanzini (WHU) - £6.5m: Another one! Being injured for most of last season should have been Lanzini put at £6.0m or below.
Felipe Anderson (WHU) - £6.5m: No, no, no, no, no, nooooooo. The fall from grace for the Brazilian winger last season should have seen a bigger drop in price.
Sébastien Haller (WHU) - £6.5m: Couldn’t score in a brothel based on his first season. Maybe the West Ham effect is the problem, but to be priced at the same level as Chris Wood is just not acceptable.
Rui Patricio (WOL) - £5.5m: I’m not sure Wolves are ready to have their Portuguese international goalkeeper at this price bracket. Just feel that this price will destroy him as an option when most defenders are £5.0m.
Jonny (WOL) & Willy Boly (WOL) - £5.5m: See above. I’m losing my patience with defensive players being priced above their grade.
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