It might seem like you’ve only been away for a few weeks, but the Premier League is back on Friday, which means time is running out for you to get your fantasy team in shape.
With all the transfers and new teams to keep track of, getting a fantasy team you’re happy with on opening day can be a daunting task.
Has the new striker settled down? Can promoted defense remain solid in a higher division? This guy scored goals in another country, but can he translate that form into the Premier League?
There’s a lot to take into account, but Stats Perform has looked at Opta’s numbers with the aim of lending you a hand, so here are four picks that might be worth considering…
JOSÉ SA (Leeds United v. wolves)
Players like Alisson and Ederson may be more likely to get clean points for you, but many fantasy football players see the goalie as an area to save a little money.
Sa might be a solid option to consider if that sounds like you. The Portuguese goalkeeper avoided more goals than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League last season (8.5), according to expected goals data – second best was David de Gea with 2.8.
Likewise, only Alisson (76) had a better save percentage (75) than Sa (minimum 1,000 minutes played), highlighting how reliable he was when called up.
REECE JAMES (Everton v. Chelsea)
Despite missing much of the season with an injury, James was a standout when he was fit.
His 14 goal appearances (five goals, nine assists) were a Premier League record among defenders alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, although the latter played nearly 1,000 minutes longer.
That move gave him an average involvement of a goal every 133 minutes. Of all the defenders who played at least 90 minutes, this was the best record. He can be expensive, but James can be a real asset.
DEJAN KULUSEVSKI (tottenham x Southampton)
It’s not easy to step into a team mid-season and impress almost instantly, but that’s essentially what Kulusevski did last season, proving to be an extremely reliable player when Tottenham won Champions League qualification.
The service he provided to his fellow strikers was invaluable as he recorded eight assists – between his debut on 9 February and the end of the season, no Premier League player has scored more goals.
He also scored five goals, giving him a goal involvement total (13) that was only surpassed by Karry Kane, Son Heung-min (both 19) and Kevin De Bruyne (15) in the same span.
If he manages to reach that level again, Kulusevski will be a fantasy favorite.
GABRIEL JESUS (Crystal Palace v. Arsenal)
Most people will make Erling Haaland their top pick in offense – you can’t blame anyone for that, but it comes at a cost.
Jesus may have left Manchester City just because of Haaland, but early indications are of the Brazilian international and Arsenal could be a great match. He will also be cheaper than the man who replaced him at the Etihad Stadium.
But neither should we ignore how good a player Jesus – who has scored seven goals in five pre-season games – really is. After all, only once before has he managed more goal involvements (16) than he did last season, and he was mostly playing on the right wing.
Furthermore, his Premier League minutes per goal ratio (minimum 1,000 minutes played) since his debut is fifth best (107) – he will now be a regular starter, and many expect him to flourish.