What’s up everyone?  I’m iKon and I’m new here, so let’s jump into it, shall we?  I’ve been following the Premier League honestly for only about four or five years, and being born and bred in the U.S., had no real allegiances.  Because of this, I wanted to be the cool fan and picked a super hipster Swansea team to follow.  Ah, for the days of Michu and Michael Laudrup.  In any case, I made my pick and I’ve stuck with them through the relegation scare last year, and the probable scares to come as well.

In any case, that fandom naturally led me into FPL as well, as the best way to really envelop myself into the full experience of the league. Fantasy soccer’s a beautiful thing, with no real offseason to speak of and transfer talk *literally* across the world constantly fueling necessary adjustments in the fantasy realm.  With that, I’ve taken my first attempt at building a team to start the year that will obviously need plenty of adjustment as the year goes on… (But that’s what we’re here for!)

To start designing this year’s squad, I realized I’ve been a little too ready to depend on the smaller squads’ lone player of quality, and that has cost me. As much as a Defoe or Sigurdsson has the ability to impact your squad, they have to be put into situations to score points, and that’s a much trickier thing to rely on week to week.

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Wednesday’s from now on are the day when we let nothing hide between friends.  It is fairly simple: I will show you my team for the next three Wednesday’s leading up to the start of the season.  I do expect that if you read this that, you do the exact same thing because two heads are better than one, and 10 is even better.  Get it?  Cool.  So this is draft number six on the year for me so far, the others were more fiddling out of boredom, but now that we are starting to see news out and about pertaining to certain teams formations, transfers and injury updates.  So enjoy this early look at Smokey’s team and critique away, because I prolly deserve to be slandered for my thoughts and team selection.  Cheers!

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Building a defense is the keystone to a good fantasy team.  The only problem is getting the right ones from the right teams at the right time.  Sound easy enough… wrong!  With so many names and rotation risks for so many teams, how do we know who will do what and when?  We don’t, but it never hurts to start with a team that has the makings of a top-3 defensive unit for the upcoming year.  I introduce you to Victor Lindelof.  the new signee for the Red Devils that looks like a key piece for a Mourinho defense that can be the makings of a solid United squad.  His only fall back is that he doesn’t have the year after year pedigree that we can say makes us sleep better at night.  With only one season to his credit with over 1000 minutes, the neophyte to the Premier may be viewed as a wait and see proposition. Though we will have to see how he is utilized in the defensive scheme of things.  As of now, he looks to have a starting spot based on what United has in the cupboard.  So should Victor be part of your initial squad?

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Anyone with a reading comprehension level above the fifth grade knows what Brexit is.  I am just putting my own Razzball spin on it and building a team based solely from teams not in any European tournaments. For the people that aren’t getting the concept, it is teams not in the Europa or Champions league tournaments.  Fairly simple, just playing on the whole Brexit idea as a gaffe.  So building a team without the top-7 teams this year is quite the horrorfest, as all those teams are fully investable in the standard fantasy team.  With not being able to choose players from Chelsea, Spurs, Man city, Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal and Everton, it takes away arguably the top 60% of fantasy assets.  Do I recommend this as a final draft, sure.  It has it’s benefits and fallbacks.  Benefits being the previous two league winners didn’t participate in either Europe based tournament and both managed to finish in the top-3 defensively the subsequent year.  Those two teams being Leicester and Chelsea, and we all know how good the fantasy assets on those teams were in the years that they won. Negatives?  You don’t get to use a ton of the most-owned, viable fantasy assets from those seven teams. It is going to be fun regardless.  So here is a draft idea for the no Europe based tournament players. I am using price this year, ownership this year, and point return from last year to guide my hand, since I am sans service dog here.  Cheers!

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When a useful fantasy name comes on board to the fantasy universe, we instantly ask two questions: Does Mo Salah have the skill set that translates to the FPL? Second, does his price give him the worthiness of a roster spot?  Addressing this is not as cut an dry as yes and yes.  It is more like maybe and maybe.  His skill set definitely portrays a type of player that can flourish in the Premier League.  After coming over from Seria A, he boasts stats that ooze potential for possibly the same thing.  Last season he scored 15 goals and had 11 assists.  Now transfer that over to the premier and he would have easily been in the top-6 of midfielders for points.  But that’s where the cut and dry comes in.  Seria A is not the Premier and vice versa.  They are like identical cousins, yeah they grow from the same family tree but one is an account and the other is an actuary.  Similar but different.  He goes to a team that surrounds him with players of value and skill set that he should be able to carve out enough tallies to make him useful.  Tallies are what we need.  For him to be a rosterable fantasy playerh he would need to get 20 goals/assists on the year.  The big question is: is that possible?

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The game has been open for two weeks now.  So it is a good exercise to take a look at the growing number of FPL players are doing with their funds.  Because the 20-plus drafts that they have done during that time aren’t enough, we need hard numbers.  Facts in hand.  Because the FPL universe, especially in the preseason, is a giant lemming fest of FPL experts spitting the same info… just repackaged into something new.  The best advice you get isn’t from me, which it usually is, but from building your own team and using common sense.  The ownership of guys has never dictated anything to me.  Form (which we don’t have right now) and schedule (which we most certainly do have are the best tools in your tool belt).  Watch your preseason games.  Get a feel for the starting XI that are developing in interesting circumstances for position battles. With two more weeks until the season starts we still have more incoming transfers in the summer window, injuries, and manager dissatisfaction of their players to come.  So yes, look at the ownership of players and use that to your advantage to not sway your decision, but to help make it yourself.  Here’s a look at the FPL most owned 15 players that are currently swaying the market.  Cheers!

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Face the facts, every team that participates in the saving money on at least one to three bench players in their selection process.  It’s a fact.  Now when perusing the rank and file of pricing breakdown on the official game, the end goal is to find value where the value is helping you.  The value that is there to help you is the cheapest, a player that may give a return/or not a return… you don’t really care what his output is.  Looking for the cheapest players at defense, midfielders, and to some degree forwards is the straw that stirs the 100m drink.  Without the assets of having a 4.0-4.5 defender, a 4.5-5.0 midfielder, and a cheap third striker are the spices that add to the stellar starting XI that everyone sports.  Is it better to just punt and roster useless options?  No.  Grab the cheapest options in the salary constraints that I just laid out and use them to add to your team.  (Basically looking for this year’s Etienne Capoue.)  So from here on out, it is the Capoue challenge to find the best, cheapest option to lock into your opening day line-ups.  So instead of you going to do all the research yourself, we did it here.  Here’s the best dumpster dives for the beginning of your season.  Cheers!

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Having a ton of fantasy assets is usually a good thing when you have 20 teams to choose from in terms of the FPL.  It is still the preseason, but when you look at one team that has a very vocal midfield in terms of capability for fantasy fruitfulness, who do you choose?  The right answer may be none.  And stay with me here…  When given too many choices, not wanting to over-invest is the right answer sometimes, skipping the obvious and selecting zero instead.  With the likes of Phillipe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Adam Lallana, Georgino Wijnaldum and now a forward but still relevant for this discussion Roberto Firmino, how do you just choose one that hits every week.  That is almost damn near impossible.  With the way that Liverpool offense flows, there isn’t one guy that will get all the fantasy goodies like on other teams.  Dispersion of goals and assists (since that is where most midfielders and forwards get their points) in this case, is a bad thing.  When they face teams in the middle of the season once, we know who will be bad defensively.  Sure, loading up seems like a good idea, but to start the year?  No thank you.

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The metric for team-building has always been to avoid the tippy top of defenders when it comes to price.  That problem is getting a lot harder this year as nine defenders are priced at 6.5 or higher, and another ten over 6.0.  We all like to save a buck here or there, but that is why I am here.  To buck the trend, come up with either really smart or really dumb ideas, or to just be some sort of comic relief in the world of FPL.  All of what I just said is true, it’s just in the eye of the beholder for smart/dumb ideas.  So this year I have seen the same trend and a lot of complaints from the FPL heads that defenders are too high and not worth it as they scour for usefulness in the lower tiers of pricing.  I am going the opposite way currently, and all it will cost you in the end is 2m bucks.  I got last years stats in my pocket, and I know they don’t always correlate. The beautiful thing here is that there are so many options on high priced defense that you aren’t committed to just go with the chalk guys.  Keep on reading… I made a fun chart for you to peruse, and will have more goodies after the jump!

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Every year, the hype wagon and subtle love affair for the promoted teams players happens.  It happens, sorry not sorry, but it does.  They come in with their Championship league stats all shiny and got the fantasy world by the tail.  I get it, they did great things in a league that is below the Premier.  For the official game, they have an additional appeal because we have seen it in the past that they can rise to be a useful cheap piece.  Deeney years ago, Andre Gray after that, and now we are hit with the influx of familiar names that have played in the Premier and are now back… at a discount now.  The fantasy attributes that Brighton, Huddersfield, and Newcastle boast have some usefulness as salary fillers or just a plain dump in some cases.  Because the four-buck defender still happens. So today we are focusing on some of the better fantasy options from the promoted squads and how they can aide in your quest to build the perfect XI or XV if we are being completely honest.  Because those four bench spots still matter when you are comprising your roster with a 100m budget.  So enjoy the kind words about this years crop of promoted players, you may or may not hear their names again this year so get a pad and pencil ready or since we have technology earmark this page with a cool bookmark that you got from the school library.  Cheers!

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