The 2021/22 Premier League season is around the corner and it brings with it all the headaches of a brand new Fantasy Premier League season. With a budget of a 100 million, price increases and positional changes, the world needs their budget options and that does mean saying goodbye to old friends.
Well, we’ve been spoilt over the last few seasons. First, it was Tom Heaton in the 2018/19 season before Nick Pope transformed the budget goalkeeper into a rival for an elite one in the 2020/21 season. And yet, nobody on this planet has ever come close to producing what Emiliano Martinez managed for Aston Villa because somehow, Arsenal handed Villa and FPL bosses a god. He started at a meagre £4.5m and finished the season at £5.3m with 15 clean sheets, 142 saves and 186 points.
Downright stunning from the Argentine and it, rightfully, earned him a price bump to £5.5m which still places him in the affordable branch. Even Illan Meslier earned a price bump to £5m which has dwindled the choices available in the £4m to £4.5m bracket. But don’t you worry because there are quite a few options to pick from and that does include a few new ones. We start at £4.0m and unfortunately, there are just thirteen options at the start of the season, in this bracket but only a few look like they’ll get minutes.
David Steer, Alex Runar Runarsson, Asmir Begovic, Tom Heaton, Mark Gillespie, Andreas Sondergaard and Danny Ward are all back-up keepers which leaves us with quite literally two good options; with the first being Ben Foster. Yup, good ol Ben Foster is still playing and he did share goalkeeping duties with Daniel Bachmann (£4.5m) last term for Watford although the Danish international might be the first team man this time around.
Still, the veteran Foster is not a bad option to have although Angus Gunn (£4.0m), the second option, might not be the worst pick. He does play for Norwich City, who conceded a lot of goals in their last Premier League outing, but now they have a chance to impress and improve. Still, a dicey pick though which is why we move onto the next bracket, the £4.5m. It is here that you’ll find the best options in the form of Alex McCarthy, Robert Sanchez, Vicente Guaita, and Martin Dubravka.
1) Daniel Bachmann + Ben Foster
– high save + bonus points potential
– guaranteed starter + backup duo at just 8.5m
– differential keeper option
– promoted teams goalkeepers from the past few seasons have averaged over 4 points per game
– this year’s Emi Martinez 👀¿ pic.twitter.com/QveyV5xJqH
— FPL Kush (@FplKush) August 6, 2021
They’re not the only ones with Brentford’s David Raya, Tottenham new man Pierluigi Gollini, Watford’s Daniel Bachmann, Karl Darlow and a few others also present. The options are limitless but the best choices might just be between Sanchez, Gollini and David Raya, even if they are rather inconsistent picks. Now while Sanchez, on paper, might not be a popular pick, Brighton’s defense were only behind Chelsea and Manchester City for big chances conceded last season.
Not only that, since Sanchez started playing, he is fourth amongst all keepers for clean sheets but does drop down to 16th and 13th when it comes to saves made and bonus points respectively. A low ceiling but when Brighton do well, their defense tends to do very well and they’ve got a killer start to the season which may be worth the risk. Now we come to the debatable budget options in the £5m bracket and once again the options are plentiful especially given the quality.
Wolves’ new man Jose Sa is a wild-card pick but he is the only one as Meslier is joined by Bernd Leno, Lukasz Fabianski, Kasper Schmeichel, the two Manchester United keepers and Kepa. But the pick to go for might just be Alphonso Areola who is now playing for West Ham. A neat option considering that the Frenchman scored 124 points….whil playing for leaky leaky Fulham last term.
Much like Lord Lundstram, Stuart Dallas has now been turned into a midfielder and once again, at £5.5m he does qualify as a budget pick. But that’s a story for another section and yet it’s unlikely that anyone does as well as he did for many FPL teams last season. But unlike goalkeepers, FPL bosses have quite a few budget defender options as per the usual. Unfortunately, good performances have seen the likes of Ezri Konsa, Aaron Cresswell, Vlad Coufal, Kyle Walker-Peters and co all jump up to the £5.0m price-tag.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have choices. With Andy Robertson injured for a few weeks, Konstantinos Tsimikas might be a decent kick at £4.0m and the same goes for Leicester City’s Daniel Amartey, at the same price, who has been shifted to a defender. That combined with injuries to Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana could see Amartey play regularly. Move further up into the £4.5m bracket and the options pile grows and grows and grows.
Tariq Lamptey, Luke Ayling, Joachim Andersen, Matt Lowton, Dan Burn and the young Tyrick Mitchell are the big options here alongside Arsenal’s Ben White and Rob Holding. But Ayling, Andersen and Lowton might be the best choices given that they hit 100, 93 and 103 points respectively last season. Conor Coady (£4.5), Holding and White all scored higher but you might want to wait and see what happens to Arsenal and Wolves before making a decision there.
🔍 | PLAYER FOCUS
Vladimir Coufal last season 🆚 all defenders £5.5 and under:
Assists: 9 (2nd)
Chances created: 45 (3rd)
Big chances created: 9 (3rd)
xA: 3.95 (4th)
Will the West Ham defender out perform his £5m price tag this season?#FPL #FPLCommunity #FantasyPremierLeague pic.twitter.com/0QMAMJNrtH
— Fantasy Football Scout Community (@FFS_Community) August 10, 2021
However, another, potentially differential, pick is Joel Veltman and if the defender plays regularly then he’s definitely a choice to pick. When the Dutch international plays for Brighton, their numbers are very very impressive but injuries and rotation is a concern there. Ownership stats are skewered though with White picked by 26% of teams, at the time of writing, and Ayling is a far off second at 11.9% ownership while Veltman comes in at fourth with 3.7%.
A shocker is that Norwich City’s Max Aarons is two places below at 2.6% and for those who don’t remember, he scored 66 points in the 2019/20 season for the Canaries. They do have a tough fixture list to start with, so he’s one for the watchlist. But what might be a rather weird pick is Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.5m), who has been turned into a defender in FPL although with the arrival of Joachim Andersen, he could very well be back in midfield.
That allows us to dream for the potential of goals and extra bonus points could very well be on the cards, so keep an eye out. Moving onto the very edge of the bracket at £5,0m and once again, the options might make your eyes spin but that’s what we’re here for. Personally, not picking Junior Firpo and Cristian Romero might be a concern especially since something tells me both men might just fit right in at Leeds United and Tottenham respectively.
The latter is Toby Alderweireld’s replacement, so expect consistent game-time. Matt Doherty, Seamus Coleman, Caglar Soyuncu, Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Matty Cash are the other options to place on a watchlist. But with Jannick Vestergaard’s impending move to Leicester City, combined with their injury issues, expect him to get game time alongside Ryan Bertrand.
Yet, the best possible pick has to be Vlad Coufal and Matt Target with the duo up there as some of the best defenders from last season. The former netted 128 points while the latter hit 138 by the end of the season, thus earning a price-bump.
Now given that the most expensive midfielders sit around the £12.5m mark, the budget boys sit around half that or less if there are options worth keeping below that. But we’ll start at £4.5m bracket although your best choice there might be watchlisting Jacob Ramsey. A very offensive midfielder, the starlet got minutes towards the end of last season, impressing with 28 points.
But he might be the only option, aside from Josh Brownhill, as this bracket is filled mostly with defensive midfielders and young kids. The same can be said about the £5.0m bracket as well although the standout options there happen to be Tyler Roberts, Brentford’s Christian Norgaard, most of Watford’s midfield options and Declan Rice. Not exactly, stellar choices but still ones worth keeping an eye out on although the Hornets and Denis Praet might be worth a pick.
And finally, we arrive at the bracket we’ve all been waiting for at the £5.5 mark which is where the superb Stuart Dallas lies. He’s joined by Everton new boy Andros Townsend, who hit 94 points last term for an average Crystal Palace, Solly March and a variety of options. But Emile Smith Rowe’s breakout 2020/21 season might make him the best choice in the bracket especially with him netting 74 points despite playing for less than half the season.
7 Emile Smith Rowe has emerged as a key player and signed a new contract. Arsenal’s Premier League win percentage with “The Smith” in the starting line up was 67%. Without him starting it was just 30% last season. Let’s hope there’s no 2nd season struggle
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) August 12, 2021
As far as newly-promoted options go, look no further than Bryan Mbeumo who had an absolutely explosive 2020/21 season in the Championship. He scored 8 goals and added ten assists by the end of the season with only Ivan Toney doing more than him. And at £5.5m, he might be the bargain everyone has been looking for this term although spend an extra million and you’ll get Raphinha, which is why we’ve extended the budget options to include £6.5m players as well.
Because the Leeds United attacker is someone well worth the price-tag especially given the fact that he’ll likely be on set-pieces and corners. Although in the £6.0m to £6.5m bracket, the options pile has hit an all-time record because once again, we’ve got nothing but choices. Eberechi Eze might miss the first half of the season but he’s a watchlister, so is Leandro Trossard, Jack Harrison, the set-piece guru James Ward-Prowse, young superstar Pedro Neto, Bukayo Saka and a few others.
But the real gems might be Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey, the very exciting Francisco Trincao and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr. All four men have proven their prowess in other leagues, and the Championship, with Buendia and Sarr doing it in the Premier League as well. They’re all between the £6.0m and the £6.5m bracket which makes them rather interesting picks especially both Bailey and Buendia now that Jack Grealish has moved to Manchester City and up to the £8.0m price-tag.
Patrick Bamford (£8.0m), Callum Wilson, (£7.5m), Ollie Watkins (£7.5m), Michail Antonio (£7.5m) and a few others are all gone. Well, not really one but moved up and away from the budget superstar bracket and into the mid-range bracket instead, which will hurt teams. But our options are limited especially between the £4.5m to £6.0m bracket, it has seen the budget bracket extend just a bit. However, while limited, the options between the £4.5m to £6.0m are still worth the punt especially with the likes of Danny Welbeck, Joelinton and Andre Ayew (all priced £6.0m) all present.
They’re joined by the three Burnley strikers Ashley Barnes, Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra, with Aaron Connolly, Jean-Philippe Mateta, and Wesley (all £5.5). But the real choices happen to be Troy Deeney (£5.5m), Andre Gray (£5.5) and Joao Pedro (£5.5m) with the three Watford forwards netting a combined 21 goals in the Championship last term. Not great but that’s the options you have unless the Teemu Pukki train (£6.0m) floats your boat as he scored….26 goals in the Championship and still didn’t win the Golden Boot.
🏴 Top scorers in the Championship last season:
🥇 Ivan Toney – 31
🥈 Adam Armstrong – 28
🥴 What could have been for Newcastle… pic.twitter.com/Wx3Gjjq7Ej
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 12, 2021
No, that went to Ivan Toney (£6.5m) and he netted a mammoth 31 goals, not a joke, and 10 assists by the end of the 2020/21 season. Not to mention another Brentford star is Marcus Forss (£5.5m) who added 10 goals from just 16 starts and together they make up the Bees’ front-line. Toney (30.7%) is already a favourite with only Danny Ings picked by more teams (35.3%) and that’s ahead of the likes of Harry Kane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and co.
The budget picks don’t end there though because with Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.5m), Neal Maupay, Rodrigo and a few others all available, the options are limited. Keep an eye out for Tammy Abraham (£6.5m) though because if he stays in England, then the 23-year-old might be one to watch for. And yet, it doesn’t end there either as we’ve got one more for you in the form of Adam Armstrong and the Southampton man has signed to replace Danny Ings, arriving on the back of a 28 goal Championship season.
At £6.0m, he is a little pricey as compared to the rest but one worth the risk especially given that he might be just what the Saints need although given the forward some time to readjust to the top tier, his last appearance was in the 2014/15 season.