With the first deadline of the season fast approaching, it is time to reveal the official Fantasy Football Cheat team for gameweek 1. After several hours of research and head scratching, we are ready to talk you through our thoughts, deliberations and decisions as we select our team for the opening gameweek of the season.
This Season’s Objective
Whilst winning the FPL is clearly everyone’s primary objective, it is also worth putting in place a few personal milestones you would like to hit. This season our objective is simple. We want to achieve a new personal best finishing position in the FPL.
Over the last 4 years our fantasy team has twice finished in the top 7,000 in the world (out of over 2.5 million teams), however our best ever finish came in the 2010 / 11 season when we finished in position 3,912. Our aim is therefore to finish this season positioned 3,911 or better.
To do that we need to get off to a good start. Here’s how we plan on doing it…
This Week’s Strategy
It’s the opening gameweek of the season, and there are tempting player options all over the place. New signings like Hazard, Cazorla and Kagawa are all names that spring to mind. Or how about some of last season’s out-performers like Kompany, Dempsey, Bale and Van Persie. Whilst all need to be considered, in selecting our opening team of the season, the key aim for us is to strike the right balance.
Our strategy is therefore pretty simple, and that is to choose a squad that will give us a solid foundation for the upcoming season. We are not interested in taking big risks that could, if they come off, result in us sitting on top of the leaderboard come the end of gameweek 1. We are more interested in selecting a solid squad that will simply get off to a good start. At this stage no one knows who this season’s gems are going to be, but we want to be able to select them as soon as we see them, as opposed to using up our free transfers correcting mistakes from selection errors made in gameweek 1.
In summary, this week is all about choosing wisely, and getting our team nicely set up for the long season ahead. Therefore, whilst there is an opening Double Gameweek for Reading and Chelsea, we are not minded to chase it too hard.
The Gameweek 1 Squad
Please find below our full squad of players for gameweek 1.
Let us talk you through our thought process behind the selection of each of these players…
The temptation here is to go big, and splash the cash on one of the expensive keepers. However, we have chosen to avoid temptation, and have instead chosen a couple of cheaper keepers, thus saving money for our midfielders and forwards.
Our main keeper this season will be Friedel, who was the 4th best keeper in last season’s FPL. Aswell as being great between the sticks, he has the added advantage of a great run of opening fixtures. At £5.5m he feels like good value. Our second keeper is the much cheaper Begovic of Stoke. At £4.5m he will be used less frequently than Friedel, but he does offer clean sheet potential when called upon.
For us, it is all about batting clever when you select your defence. Get carried away and spend too much, and you won’t be able to afford the high scoring midfield and forward options. Apart from anything else, unless injury forces our hand, we will only ever field 3 defenders at the back anyway. So, we have decided to keep our spending to a minimum here. So, who have we gone for?
To keep costs down, we have opted for a defender from each of the promoted sides in Pearce (£4.5m), Clyne (£4m) and McCartney (£4m). Each one of them is highly rated at their respective clubs and should be in the Starting XI. Our aim here is simply to get cheap but guaranteed starters. Pearce of Reading has the added advantage of having a Double Gameweek in gameweek 1.
Our other 2 defenders are Williams and Lescott. Williams was part of a solid Swansea defence last season, and enjoys a great run of relatively easier fixtures at the start of this season. At £5m he feels like good value. Lescott is our most expensive defender at £6.5m, and strangely he is also our only real risk at the back. Whilst City are a superb defensive side, Lescott is a risk as you cannot be 100% sure that he will always start. Experience tells us that Kompany is the only real guaranteed starter in the Man City defence, but at £7.5m he is too expensive for us. We are therefore conserving cash and selecting Lescott on the assumption that he will start for Man City, which on balance we feel is a fair assumption to make.
Ok, this is where the fun begins! We have pulled together a midfield that we are really pleased with, especially when you see who we have lurking upfront aswell!
It is worth mentioning at this stage that we have decided to stand back and watch the ‘big name’ new summer arrivals for the time being. Whilst Hazard, Kagawa and co may blow the lights out, we would rather see them do it first and then jump on the bandwagon shortly after it starts. It can take a while to settle in to life in the Premier League, and we don’t want to own them whilst they bed in. So, who have we gone for?
Our most expensive signing is Sigurdsson of Spurs. We were sorely tempted by Bale instead, but couldn’t stretch the extra £0.5m to buy him! However in Sigurdsson we feel we have a great player. He was prolific at Swansea last year, and has had a superb pre-season at Spurs. At the time of writing, most fantasy managers (19.6%) have gone for Bale, so Sigurdsson’s lower ownership of just 3.3% could prove to be a nice differential.
Elsewhere in our midfield we have gone for reliable quality in the form of Yaya Toure (£8m) and Pienaar (£6.5m). Pienaar had a great finish to last season, and if continues to link up well with Jelavic, then we feel his point scoring potential this season is likely to be high. At £6.5m he appears to offer good value.
Our final two picks are Michu (£6.5m) and Noble (£5m). Michu is a new arrival at Swansea and comes with a great reputation. He has had a superb pre-season and looks like a tasty attacking midfield prospect. Given his low price tag as opposed to other new premier league summer transfer signings, we are willing to take a gamble on Michu from gameweek 1. Moving on to Noble, the influential midfielder takes penalties and free kicks, and contributed 8 goals and 10 assists last season for West Ham. At £5m he feels like a bit of a steal.
We have gone all out up front this season! The big points are more often than not scored by the forwards, so it is worth having the big guns peppered across your front line at the start of the season. Let’s talk you through our selections here…
The one that probably needs most explaining is Torres. After a poor season last year, the Spaniard is in their primarily because of Chelsea’s Double Gameweek in gameweek 1. Without the Double Gameweek, we would not have selected him. However, with Wigan and Reading his opponents in gameweek 1, it is simply too good an opportunity to pass up on.
Rooney needs little explanation! Clearly the arrival of Van Persie at Old Trafford does mix things up a bit though. At the time of writing, we are concerned that RVP will not get a full 90 minutes in gameweek 1 due to his limited pre-season game time. We have therefore decided to select Rooney. We will, however, be keeping a very close eye on RVP’s progress in the early gameweeks. If he shows any signs of exploding into form, we will do all we can to get hold of him on the ‘B of the Bang’ (as Linford Christie likes to say!).
Finally there is Tevez. The safe bet up-front at City is Aguero, but at £2.5m more than Tevez, that is a fair premium to pay for a bit of safety. In fact, at £9m, we feel Tevez is too tempting to pass up on. Whilst we run the risk of rotation by selecting Tevez, we are comforted by the fact that he has had a superb pre-season, looks in great form, and appears to have made his peace with Mancini.
Team Selection & Formation
Our preferred formation is 3-4-3, and we are going to stick with that for the opening gameweek of the season.
With both Friedel and Begovic away from home, we are going to start with Friedel between the sticks. Joining Begovic on the bench will be the defender’s McCartney and Clyne. Clyne has a tough fixture away at Man City, and we prefer Pearce over McCartney due to Reading’s Double Gameweek. The final place on the bench is taken by Noble, primarily as we prefer the attacking prospects of our other 4 midfield options.
The Captain’s Armband
This week the choice of captain was a very simple decision! With Torres enjoying a Double Gameweek against Wigan and Reading, he is the obvious candidate to be given the Captain’s armband.
Our vice captain is going to be Tevez. The Argentinian striker is in great form, and we feel he has the potential for a great opening gameweek given he is playing newly promoted Southampton at home.
Last Minute Changes!
As it is the opening gameweek of the season, there will be plenty of team news flying about on Friday. In the unlikely event that some injury news emerges that means we need to make changes to our team, we will update this section of the article as soon as any changes are made. We will also send out alerts on both Facebook and Twitter to make you aware of the changes. It is unlikely to happen, but we felt it worth mentioning just in case it does!
Stay Ahead of the Chasing Pack!
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