By Neil Leverett
- New season of Fantasy Premier League returns this weekend
- Every Gameweek we pick a bargain forward, midfielder and defender
- Brentford, Southampton and Watford under the microscope for GW1
PREMIER LEAGUE – As another season of Fantasy Premier League begins this weekend, who are the bargain picks you should have your eye on for Gameweek 1?
Fantasy Premier League. For some, a happy companion to any Premier League season. To others, an obsession.
As fantasy managers across the globe battle to juggle a tight budget to accommodate not only the top players but the biggest points scorers elsewhere, in season’s past however, the emphasis has been more on differential signings, rather than marquee recruits, to make that extra difference each week.
With the new campaign kicking off this weekend, the very first week of FPL could leave many in an early pool of despair, but equally, it could set up the platform for a successful season.
As we focus each weekend on the players who could be the real picks to make a significant difference, who is on the radar from Gameweek 1’s bargain pool?
Forward: Ivan Toney (£6.5)
For our first trick, attentions turn to the Community Stadium in west London, as Brentford play their first Premier League outing at home to Arsenal and Ivan Toney will be looking to make an opening day statement.
A player who last season scored a mammoth 33 goals in The Championship, Toney was the second tier’s top scorer by some five goals, as he led the Bees towards eventual promotion via the playoffs.
Having made the switch from Peterborough United to fill the boots of Aston Villa-bound Ollie Watkins last term, Toney is now being talked of this season in the same vein as Watkins, and who could soon figure for England should he flourish in the top-flight.
Such is the Bees’ hitman’s expected impact, close to a third of all FPL managers in the game have Toney in their ranks (30.7%) after his three goals in pre-season.
Though some still have their reservations over Toney’s ability at the top level, in the short term this weekend and against an Arsenal side whose season path looks far from certain, the Brentford star could hit the ground running on Friday night.
For FPL managers, doing so at a snip.
Midfield: Nathan Tella (£5.0)
Without Danny Ings this season, Southampton’s lot looks a rather uncertain one. However, whilst Che Adams will now be the Saints’ focal point in attack, it could yet be Nathan Tella‘s chance to shine.
Blooded into the first XI by Ralph Hasenhuttl last season, the English midfielder registered a goal and two assists in only 733 minutes last term but looks set to play a far bigger part on the South coast this term.
Classified as midfielder, Tella could yet become fantasy gold this term, now expected to partner Adams up front in a tandem, and his pace and penchant to drive at defences, could see him become a real FPL hit.
A former Arsenal youth player and still only 22, his paltry price-tag could climb rapidly, so taking a punt for Tella to star at home to Everton during Rafa Benitez‘ first game in charge of Everton, could be a canny move.
Defence: Danny Rose (£4.5)
Making the cut in the back line for GW1 we turn to Watford, a team who in the past have added a timely points boost to fantasy managers not only for clean sheets, but in the full-back area, with both assists and the odd goal to boot. Accordingly, this season it might be Danny Rose who pricks a fair bit of interest.
Still surplus to requirements at Spurs, the former England left-back will this term try his hand not too far away from Tottenham shores and all FPL players know Rose’s quality distribution in the wide areas.
Enjoying his best season during the 2015/16 campaign, Rose amassed 109 points that year for Spurs with a goal, an impressive seven assists and eight clean sheets.
Though his powers have somewhat waned in recent years, Hornet’s boss Xisco Munoz is likely to run a tight ship at Vicarage Road, and Rose could come into his own again.
As Watford welcome Aston Villa to the nest this weekend, a close encounter could be in the offing, but with clean sheets the bread and butter of Watford’s chances of survival this term, Watford defenders could again be an easy source of points for owners.
For Rose, owned by just 0.8% in the game, if Watford do go on the shutout trail, that, coupled with his chances for spoils at either end of the field, should spike interest and at relatively cheap outlay.
Rose could be a very handy boost to start the FPL campaign.
Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 1 deadline is Friday, 18:30 UK time.
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