The Premier League kicks off this coming weekend which means football fans around the world are busy putting together their fantasy team.
While plenty of team owners will blow their wildcard after the first gameweek, then forget about the whole thing by October, others will be in it for the long haul so unearthing a few bargains whose value will rise over the course of the campaign is crucial.
Once you have attempted to shoehorn Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas into your team, you’ll be left with a tiny budget and a lot of spaces to fill so here’s a few options who won’t break the bank.
Lukasz Fabianski | Swansea City | Goalkeeper | £5 million
The highest scoring goalkeeper in the game last season with 151 points, Lukasz Fabianski is cheaper than any of the ‘big guns’ and will be the club’s first choice, with only newly signed Swede Kristoffer Nordfeldt in a position to challenge him.
The ‘Flappyhandski’ nickname bestowed on the Polish international during his Arsenal days is well and truly gone, and he is part of a settled defensive structure that includes stalwarts Ashley Williams, Angel Rangel, Neil Taylor and Federico Fernandez.
Phil Jagielka | Everton | Defender | £5 million
Fantasy football’s Mr. Consistency, Phil Jagielka has cracked the 100 point mark in eight of his nine seasons. Indeed, last time round he finished above Everton team mate and deadball specialist Leighton Baines who for many team owners is a staple. By opting for Jagielka over Baines you save yourself a very handy £1 million so he is well worth considering.
If John Stones remains at Goodison Park then Roberto Martinez will have a strong set up at the back to compliment a midfield and forward structure that has been boosted by the signings of Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu.
Hector Bellerin | Arsenal | Defender | £5.5 million
The signing of Petr Cech has made Arsenal defenders a lot more appealing this season, and all bar Laurent Koscielny are available for £5.5 million or under. However, when you average out each player’s points per game record last season, full back Hector Bellerin comes out on top.
The 20-year-old Spaniard has firmly established himself as the club’s first choice right back and collected an impressive 77 points from 20 games (3.85 points per game). That points per game average improves to 4.5 if you only consider his 17 starts.. By way of comparison, Per Mertesacker started 35 games and was the club’s top scoring defender with 121 points (3.45 points per game).
Jordan Ibe | Liverpool | Midfield | £5 million
Liverpool may have lost an exciting young talent in Raheem Sterling during the offseason but there looks to be a ready made replacement waiting in the wings. Jordan Ibe showed plenty of quality when called upon towards the end of last season and the 19-year-old is keen to force his way in Brendan Rodgers’ starting line up on a more permanent basis.
At just £5 million, Ibe is a must have in your squad, especially if Rodgers decides that new striker Christian Benteke is not receiving enough service. Benteke thrived last season when Aston Villa put in crosses from wide positions and Liverpool aren’t exactly flush with wingers so Ibe represents an obvious choice to fill that role.
Rickie Lambert | West Bromwich Albion | Striker | £6 million
The romanticism of Rickie Lambert’s move to Liverpool last summer failed to amount to anything on the park as the veteran striker scored just twice in 25 Premier League outings. However, the England international netted 28 times in two seasons with Southampton before switching to Anfield, and his recent move to West Brom could be a catalyst for a return to form.
Lambert is likely to play up front with Saido Berahino, who was a solid fantasy contributor last season, and they should be quite productive as a pair. Lambert has already shown that he still has an eye for goal with a brace on debut for the Baggies in a friendly against Bristol Rovers, and at £6 million is a very handy option to have as a third striker in your squad.
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