In my strategy article I advise going with a midfield that fits into the following structure: 2x 9.0+; 1x 7.0 – 8.5; 1x 5.5 – 6.5; and 1x 4.5. However this is dependent on the players available at each price point. There are usually going to be players who will score well in the 9.0+ bracket, but for example this season there isn’t much in that 7.0-8.5 price bracket I’m interested in. As it happens Bernardo’s performance in the community shield has created an option, but i may consider going with two 6.5 options instead of filling that 7.0-8.5 slot.
Below are the options that I’ll be considering for my midfield for GW1.
Salah (13.0) / Mane (9.5) [WHM, cpl, BHA, lei] [tot, SOU, che, MCY]
Salah needs no introduction, he became the top scoring fantasy football player of all time last season with 303 points, comfortably topping the charts for shots and shots on target. In preseason Salah has netted two goals and two assists in four appearances, and looks like he’s picking up where he left of last season. With an ownership 53% and most managers likely to captain him GW1, I would recommend having him in your team and putting the armband on him GW1.
Due to his high ownership last season, just owning and captaining Salah for his hauls wasn’t enough to significantly rise up the ranks without owning another Liverpool player. If you fancy a Liverpool midfield double up Mane would be the one to go for. Liverpool will score goals over the first 4 GWs and Mane will likely be involved, he’s looked lively preseason and has scored two penalties (while Salah was on the field), so he may even be on penalties for the start of the season. Firmino is also an option in attack if Mane doesn’t appeal.
Sanchez (10.5) [LEI, bha, TOT, bur] [wat, WOL, whm, NEW]
On his day Sanchez is an explosive option who is dangerous to go without, however he hasn’t quite settled yet at United. He has looked lively in preseason, but it’s hard to tell with so many other players missing due to the world cup. United do have good fixtures though and Sanchez always has the potential to score well. With a current ownership of just 8.7% Sanchez could be a good, albeit expensive, differential to fire you up the ranks if he does well. Although with a low ownership it won’t hurt you too much if he does well and you go without.
Eriksen (9.5) [new, FUL, mun, wat] [LIV, bha, hud, CAR]
Central to everything Spurs do, Eriksen came second for both shots on goal and chances created last season, behind Salah and KDB, respectively, finishing 4th in the overall midfield standings with 199 points. Spurs have two nice fixtures to start, however have made no signings this summer so far, and have had most their team back late from the world cup, having had no preseason. It’s possible they’ll have a slow start, but Eriksen is still a good option for those wanting a Spurs mid.
Mahrez (9.0) [ars, HUD, wol, NEW] [FUL, car, BHA, liv]
City’s fixtures from GW2-7 are insanely good, they will score goals over that period, and lots of them. If on the field Mahrez will score well, he was 5th in the overall midfield rankings with 195 pts last season playing for Leicester, so he should score more this season playing for City (if he get’s the minutes!). The risk is rotation. I think Mahrez will start GW1 but when Sterling comes back his place will be under threat. Sane (9.5) is another option who will also score well if he’s on the pitch. The risk with Sane is if Pep goes to a 3-5-2 I think he will miss out.
Sigurdsson (7.5) [wol, SOU, bou, HUD] [WHM, ars, FUL, lei]
Everton had a poor season last year, as did Sigurdsson, although in his defence he was being played out of position on the left, and was injured for the last two months of the season. Siggy looks like he may get to play his preferred number 10 position this season, and will also monopolise set pieces. Just be wary of Everton’s pre-season form, they haven’t won yet. Even so they’ve got some good attacking players, so should still score goals.
Bernardo Silva (7.5) [ars, HUD, wol, NEW] [FUL, car, BHA, liv]
After a scintillating display in the community shield, Guardiola essentially said Bernardo was nailed on for GW1. He’ll play a bit deeper than Mahrez and Sane, but does save 1.5-2.0, and offers a cheap route into the City attack. Bernardo bagged an assist in the community shield, and has also scored a couple in preseason. I think he will be rotated with David Silva going forward, but David was absent from the Community shield with no news on his return date. Just bear in mind you may have to burn a transfer on Bernardo a few GWs in once rotation kicks in.
Richarlison (6.5) [wol, SOU, bou, HUD] [WHM, ars, FUL, lei]
Richarlison is the best and worst fantasy football option in the game, he was 3rd for total shots last season playing for Watford, but only scored 5 goals, indicating he can’t hit a barn door. However a combination of his price, fixtures, stats, and the fact he now plays for an arguably better team (Everton) is enough for him to be in my GW1 team. If he can improve on his finishing he will comfortably outscore his price.
Sessegnon (6.5) / Schurlle (6.0) (CPL, tot, BUR, bha] [mci, WAT, eve, ARS]
Fulham have done some astute business this transfer window, and look to have built a fairly decent side. They also have a few good fixtures to start the season. Sessegnon looks like he will line up on the left wing and, along with Mitrovic, Fulham’s main man last season scoring 16 goals and 8 assists. If he can repeat last years form he could well be worth his price. If you need to shave 0.5 off your squad, then Schurlle could be a good alternative, there’s no doubting the German internationals calibre, and he only needs to get the odd goal and assist to offer value.
Maddison (6.5) [mun, WOL, sou, LIV] [bou, HUD, new, EVE]
Signed from Norwich for £24 million Maddison netted 14 goals and 8 assists for Norwich in the Championship last season. With Mahrez gone, Leicester will look to Maddison to fill the void. He will likely be on all set pieces, and will be interesting to see if he can make the step up to the prem. Maybe one to wait and see for me, but a good option if you like Leicester’s chances early on.
Jota (6.5) [EVE, lei, MCY, whm] [BUR, mun, SOU, cpl]
The talisman for Wolves, Jota scored 17 goals and 5 assists as Wolves won promotion to the premier league. Jota will line up on the left of a front three, and has had a strong preseason with two goals and one assist. Wolves have made some excellent signings, however it’s too early to say how they will gel.
Neves (5.0) [EVE, lei, MCY, whm] [BUR, mun, SOU, cpl]
Neves appears to be a popular pick due to his goal record (6) last season. However these were all long range strikes and Neves plays in a holding midfield position, meaning he won’t have the attacking threat of Jota at 0.5 more. I usually like to only spend 4.5 on my 5th midfielder to sit on my bench, but if you wanted to spend 0.5 more and have an option with a bit more attacking threat, Neves could be the one for you.
For my 5th Midfielder I look to spend the least amount of budget possible (4.5) on an option who is nailed on to play 90 minutes. Stephens of Brighton looks to be one such option. He won’t get me any attacking returns but will come on for 2 points if needed.
I think I’m set on going with Salah (13.0), Richarlison (6.5) and a 4.5 5th midfielder bench option. I still need to decide on whether to go with Mahrez (9.0) or Bernardo (7.5), and if I want to double up on the Liverpool midfield with Mane to go alongside Salah.
If i do go with double Liverpool it will look something like:
Salah, Mane, Bernardo, Richarlison, Stephens.