Gameweek 1 FPL Q&A with FPLTips

9:32am Aug 8 2019

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk is now the most owned player in Fantasy Premier League ahead of Gameweek 1

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The Q&A series returns for the new Fantasy Premier League season, where we’ll be taking a look at the FPL community questions sent in to us via Twitter.

Like last season, we have received hundreds of fantastic questions from the FPL community, but sadly, we could only pick a handful of them to feature in this weeks article, so apologies to those we haven’t been able to answer this time around.

With Friday’s 7pm Gameweek 1 deadline vastly approaching, it’s time for the first FPL Q&A episode of the new Fantasy Premier League season.

Here are some of the questions sent in via Twitter (@_FPLtips) this week:

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FPLPriceChanges+ (@FPLPriceChanges) asks:

Q: “Who is the best Liverpool defensive combo? Van Dijk ownership is approaching 50%, can we afford to go without him?”

Van Dijk (48%) is set to go into Gameweek 1 as the most-owned player in the game, while Robertson is currently the 4th most-selected player (35%).

With the pair’s high ownership and security of starts, they look to be the safest Liverpool defensive duo to start the season with.

But while his game time may be more of a risk, there’s plenty of promise in Alexander-Arnold’s (25%) underlying stats that suggest he can outscore them, even if he does miss the odd game.

In the second half of last season (GW21-38), the right-back scored just 4 points less than his more highly-owned teammates (99 to 103), despite making 5 fewer starts, offering 7.1 points per game, compared to their average of 5.7 PPG.

His tally of 31 attempted assists ranked joint-2nd amongst FPL defenders for this period, only behind Lucas Digne (33).

No player achieved double-digits more times than Alexander-Arnold throughout last season. He hit 10 points or more on 9 occasions, level with premium midfielders Mané and Sterling.

By comparison, Robertson and van Dijk fired double-digits on 5 and 4 occasions, respectively.

So, clearly, Trent has the biggest upside when it comes to potential attacking returns, while van Dijk offers the safest option in terms of ownership and security of starts. The centre-back’s £0.5m saving could also be a key factor.

xhakalaca (@xhakalaca455) asks:

Q: “Thoughts about triple Bournemouth (Wilson + Fraser + King) for the first two Gameweeks?”

It might sound a little bit extreme but with opening fixtures against newly promoted Sheffield United and Aston Villa, it could actually be a smart move.

56 goals scored by Bournemouth last season was the best of any team outside of the ‘top six’, while only 4 teams had more than their 95 big chances.

Fraser and Wilson particularly did well against the ‘bottom six’ teams, offering averages of 6.9 and 7.6 points per game, respectively.

For this to work, I’d say the rest of your team would have to be fairly safe, with players you’re unlikely to need to sell anytime soon, since you’ll ideally be using up your first 2 free transfers to sell 2 of the Bournemouth attackers.

There lies one of the main risks; it leaves you less flexible in terms of selling other players who may be underperforming or injured or out-of-favour, etc.

However, if you manage to get that little bit of luck, the Bournemouth assets could make ideal placeholders for the players who become bandwagons in Gameweek 3.

Players like Barkley, Abraham, Zaha and Moise Kean all perhaps carry a rotation risk ahead of Gameweek 1 but may be settled and firing come Gameweek 3.

Yeet (@DatAngryGamer) asks:

Q: “Are Man City and Liverpool triple-ups a must have?”

With the two sides finishing so far ahead of the rest last season, whilst scoring the most goals and keeping the most clean sheets, it’s definitely tempting to start with 2 or 3 assets from each.

Sterling and Salah standout as premium picks for captaincy and it’s hard to look past nailed on defensive assets such as Ederson and Robertson, while Zinchenko could offer a cheaper way in to the Man City backline if he can nail down the left-back spot long term.

Having now recovered from injury, Kevin De Bruyne looked fresh and exciting in pre-season and may be able replicate or even exceed his 2017/18 points tally of 209, if he’s able to stay fit.

Ben Baker (@B_Baker1456) asks:  

Q: “How early do you intend to play your wildcard? Are you building a team for the first couple of Gameweek’s to change early, or going for the long run?”

An early wildcard has worked well in the past few seasons, so that’s the plan once again.

When selecting your Gameweek 1 team, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to stick with that squad for an entire season; you’ve got free transfers and 2 wildcards to make changes down the line.

One of the main skills in FPL is being able to get players in and out of your team at the right times, to coincide with their best points returns.

With that in mind, it can be useful to focus primarily on the first 4-6 Gameweeks with your initial lineup; targeting players with favourable fixtures and a proven history of delivering against lower table opposition.

It’s usually easier to build a long-term team in Gameweek 5, for example, since we’ll have 4 weeks of solid data to base those decisions on, rather than using historical stats and pre-season performances, like we have to ahead of Gameweek 1.

If everything is going well by Gameweek 4 and your team is still firing on all cylinders, you may decide to ride it out longer but at some point within those opening weeks, there’s likely to be a number of promising players who emerge as good value picks.

An early wildcard can allow you to jump onto these players without taking hits.

FPL_bits (@FPL_bits) asks:

Q: “Is Kelly a viable option now that Palace have signed Cahill? If not, please suggest a 4/4.5m nailed on defender.”

With Sakho still lacking fitness and Tomkins remaining sidelined, it looks like Kelly could get the start in Gameweek 1 but that may not last long if new signing Cahill slots straight in.

In terms of alternative options at £4.0m, Lundstram was used frequently for Sheffield United during pre-season and should see some gametime. But, given his central midfield role, he may face competition from the likes of Duffy and Luke Freeman.

Diego Rico started in Bournemouth’s 3-0 win over Lyon, their final pre-season game, and appears likely to retain the left-back spot in Gameweek 1, with Lloyd Kelly sidelined.

How long he continues to feature after that will likely depend on his performances and when Lloyd Kelly makes his return.

But for a starting squad, both Rico and Lundstram look viable for bench-fillers.

Finally, Joel Devanand B @joel_devanand) asks:

Q: “What are your thoughts on Chelsea midfielders? Must have (looking at a decent run of fixtures)? If so, can we trust Barkley?”

Chelsea absolutely have the fixtures to offer FPL returns over the first 12 Gameweeks, where they face just two ‘top six’ sides.

With Pulisic coming in as their most expensive player, at just £7.5m, there’s likely to be value in that midfield somewhere but it could be a gamble to start with a Chelsea midfielder against Man Utd in Gameweek 1, in what will be Lampard’s first league game in charge.

Barkley has had a promising pre-season, netting 4 goals and providing 3 assists, whilst appearing to be the side’s first-choice penalty taker when on the field.

But with competition from Mason Mount for the no.10 spot, the safest play may be to opt for a 2-week placeholder, maybe Fraser or Lucas Moura, with the intention of bringing in whoever emerges as Chelsea’s most promising midfield asset come Gameweek 3.

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Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips – Gameweek 1 FPL Q&A with FPLTips’ which was written and produced by @_FPLtips