Football is officially back (well, sort of officially anyway) this weekend when champions Chelsea take Arsenal at the annual Charity Shield curtain raiser. And while we may have to wait until the Premier League starts the week after, which means Fantasy is almost back too!

Premier League Fantasy Tips 2017/2018

Whether you’re a hardcore Fantasy aficionado or a humble beginner (in which case – head over to our Beginner’s Guide to Premier League Fantasy), everybody needs a tip or two. We’re by no means experts, but we do take this stupid game far too seriously for our own good. So here are our ‘ones to watch’ for the 2017/2018 Premier League Fantasy season.

Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers are usually the toughest to get right. Spending top dollar on one the big boys always seems like a no brainer until you’re struggling to find that extra £1mil on a Forward. Having said that, this year the price differences between the top ranked and the bottom feeders really isn’t much at all. We’d still say that the first thing to remember is that keeping clean sheets isn’t as regular as you think, and some of the bigger clubs – namely Man City and Liverpool – don’t keep many at all.

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If you want one of the big boys, firstly we’d suggest passing on Thibault Courtois (5.5) – Chelsea’s fixtures are just too unpredictable and they ended the season conceding regularly. To us, David De Gea (5.5) would seem like the safest option. Not only does he have by far the nicest early fixtures on paper, Mourinho is notorious for setting up not to concede.

Once you have your top dog, check the upcoming and see whose fixtures work nicely in tandem. For value, we can’t look past Ben Foster (4.5). Not only is he a bargain at that price, Tony Pulis (particularly at home) is a godsend to the world of Fantasy football and you’d be a fool not to take him given West Brom play Bournemouth, Stoke and West Ham at home early doors. They’ve also got seemingly kinder ties away to Burnley and Brighton thrown in too. Joe Hart (4.5) may also be worth keeping an eye on if West Ham can patch up their leaky defence.

Defenders

This year, we think Defenders are where things get really tough in Fantasy. Chelsea dominated the category in scoring last year with Gary Cahill (6.5), Marcos Alonso (7.0) and Cesar Azpilicueta (6.5) taking Gold, Silver and Bronze. But this year, defenders at the big boys are just too highly priced. And, as mentioned before, Chelsea’s fixtures aren’t great, while City and Liverpool cannot be relied on. Which means most of the value comes from players at teams towards the bottom half – an issue in itself.

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But our one ‘must-have’ this season is Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier (5.5). With Kyle Walker (6.5) moving to City, the right back spot is now essentially Trippier’s. And given Spurs’ attacking style and ability to keep things tight at the back, he’s a no brainer. We just hope the move to Wembley – a ground Spurs have a notoriously poor recent record at – doesn’t rock the boat too much.

Man Utd’s early fixtures are quite simply lovely, which means despite the prices you should probably be picking up at least one of their defenders. There’s also some good value if you look beyond the likes of Antonio Valencia (6.5). Given the money he went for in the summer, we’d expect Victor Lindelof (5.5) to start the season alongside Eric Bailly (6.0), making him the best valued in the squad.

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On the cheaper side of town, we’re looking at Burnley’s Ben Mee (4.5) and West Brom’s Craig Dawson (5.0), based on fixtures, both teams’ ability to keep things tight at home, and also their knack for a goal.

Other Defenders to consider early on in the season are Southampton’s Cedric (5.0) and Uwe Hünemeier (4.0), who could be a real steal if Brighton can somehow make the AmEx a fortress.

Midfielders

Now this is where you can get creative. There are a whole load of Midfield options this season in Fantasy and we’re to be honest we’re not going to say that we think many are really a must. But there are some you should definitely be considering at the very least.

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While Alexis Sanchez (12.0) was the top scorer overall last season, the price difference between him and Dele Alli (9.5) is just too great to ignore the Spurs midfielder. He’s been a stud for two seasons running now, so any Wembley worry you may have should be curbed a little.

Kevin De Bruyne (10.0) is also priced fairly and is almost certain to keep things ticking over through assists alone – the Belgian had a mammoth 21 last season. While he’s not fit for the start of the season, obviously one eye should also be on Eden Hazard (10.5).

But with all that money being spent on the studs, you’re going to need to get thrifty with at least a couple of midfielders. We likes the look of Nathan Redmond (6.5) given Southampton’s fixtures and a strong performances at the UEFA U21 tournament at the start of the summer. Chelsea-loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek (4.5) could also be a steal if he starts at Crystal Palace.

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There’s also good potential value in the likes of Wilfried Zaha (7.0) and Willian (7.0) given Hazard’s injury. We’ll also be keeping a firm eye on Henrikh Mkhitaryan (8.0) who could be superb value if he can re-find his Dortmund form in his sophomore year at United.

Forwards

With Forwards, we’re a firm believer in taking a least of the big boys. And for 2017/2018, there are actually plenty of options – the most obvious being Harry Kane (12.5). He may be the most expensive player on the game but we don’t really need to sell him to you given he almost bagged 30 goals last season.

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Other options include new boys to the league Alvaro Morata (10.0) and Alexandre Lacazette (10.5), and obviously United’s main man this season, Romelu Lukaku (11.5). Whether or not he was Mourinho’s first choice or not – or whether he has a first touch or not – the Belgian is almost guaranteed to score goals. And lots of them. You just might not be able to afford both him and Kane.

Sergio Aguero (11.5) is always going to look attractive too but we’d recommend giving it a few weeks to see who Guardiola plays out of him Gabriel Jesus (10.5). Either way, whoever gets the game time will obviously be a pretty safe purchase.

There’s a fair few mid-value forwards too with Wayne Rooney (7.5) now back at Everton – though, we’d wait to see his role before he gets the nod. Jermain Defoe (8.0) will score goals wherever he is, as will Christian Benteke (8.0) at Palace, and Javier Hernandez (7.0) back in the Prem could also be a real steal too.

On the cheaper side of things, look no further than Tammy Abraham (5.5) at Swansea who could have a real breakout year following his loan move from Chelsea.

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