The Hammers are one of the hardest teams to peg coming into the 2017/18 campaign. They currently have 7 players injured – Aaron Cresswell, Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll, Michael Antonio, Diafra Sakho, Sofiane Feghouli, Chekhou Kouyate – but have transferred in a few playmakers that should help them get through a pretty tough schedule to start the season. Marko Arnautovic and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández are the two big names here, and both could provide great value for a number of FPL managers this season.

Hammers start the season away to Manchester United, but have great fixtures immediate after, facing Southampton (A), Newcastle (A), Huddersfield (H) and West Brom (A) from weeks 2-5. That stretch is followed with a tough home match versus Spurs in Gameweek 6, and then back into the green fixtures with Swansea (H), Burnley (A), Brighton (H) and Crystal Palace (A).  While starting the season with three road starts might prove difficult, keep in mind that they do not possess too much of a “home field” advantage going into just their second season playing home matches at the London Stadium.

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After Arsenal’s first finish outside the top-4 in 21 years, the Gunners enter a season with a decent amount of uncertainty. Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil, the top two scorers for Arsenal in the FPL last year, are nearing the ends of their contracts with no sign of extensions, and there’s still time this transfer session for one or either of them to move.  As usual they have a bevy of talented but oft injured midfielders and solid defenders, but the real treat this year is the expensive new striker Alexandre Lacazette, who comes over from Lyon after scoring 28 goals last year.

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Anyone remember the days of yore when the uproar and hoot-nannying was out of control over his transfer fee.  Well if you are a footie fan the Neymar deal with PSG has put that monster under your bed to rest.  this year seemed like a perpetual record transfer fee for each team in the Premier…and likely so the market has gone past us and the money with TV and such rules the world.  Lost in all of this fuss is that Paul Pogba is a good football player, and a growing to be a better fantasy asset for the Red Devils this year.  And they Aren’t even done spending on talent to surround the superstars on their team with more superstars.  So what can Paul Pogba do for you this year in the official game that he didn’t do last year at the glorified nature of his being with all the hype and none of the fantasy booty.  His price is cheaper than last year’s end price and I am here to learn you something about him for the official game this year.  Stay tuned, your midfield will have one locked in starter for week one after the bump.  Cheers!

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When perusing the the list and prices of forwards, it is easy to wanna shop exclusively at the posh department stores.  But the prices of them will limit the ability to have more than two.  Is two enough, sure, but when isn’t three the magic number?  They allow you to roster three, so why not take full advantage of what they are giving you and add that to your fantasy tool belt?  With the entire world rostering or having their hand in on Lukaku (48% owned) at £11.5,  Kane (35% owned) at £11.5, and Lacazette (17.6% owned) at £10.5.  Those are the three highest-priced and owned strikers in the official game. With the numbers of fantasy entries into the fantasy jambalaya where do we find differentials and better yet where do we find players on a budget.  So where are the extras shekels being scraped together for a useful yet intrinsically awesome third striker with differential appeal.  I will tell you where you can find some ideas on this.  This post.  You got this far into the intro to quit now, so you might as well sit back relax and enjoy the bellowing words of usefulness. Cheers!

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Wednesdays 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 and that, you’ll 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 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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The Prem darlings from just two seasons ago crashed and burned in their attempt at a title defense for 2016/17 campaign. Despite dropping over £60million in transfers in order to contend for both the Prem and Champions League trophies, their new signings, Ahmed Musa, Islam Slimani, Luis Hernandez (left in January) and Nampalys Mendy did not even approximate their weight in pounds. Islam Slimani – heretofore to be known as the Muslim Slim Jim – was the only new signee not to struggle, tallying 7 goals, 4 assists and 35 shots in 1279 minutes playing striker coming off the bench. 

Their season was very much a tale of two teams: since Shakespeare took over the team last February at the end of Gameweek 25, the Foxes surged from 17th place and 1 point above relegation to finish the season in 12th place, 10 points clear of relegation and a mere 3 points behind sole possession of 8th. Part of their success was a return to the 4-4-2 formation that won them the Prem Title in 2016, and certainly their old manager had begun to rub people the wrong way. Ranieri’s 2016/17 campaign was characterized by unnecessary rotations and constant meddling with formations, resulting in abysmal 24 goals scored while allowing 43 in 25 matches. Shakespeare’s return to the basics led to the Foxes scoring 24 more while only allowing 20 in 13 matches, 6 of which were throttled down their throats by Spurs in the penultimate week of the season; if you take out those 6 goals, that’s 14 goals against in 12 matches (1.17 goals conceded/match, right on par with Arsenal’s 1.15 goals conceded/match rate for the entire season).

It’s a new season, and Leicester City does not have Champions or Europa League as a distraction this campaign, which gives me hope that they will be focused on winning the FA Cup or maintaining a higher position in the top half of the table as they look to compete again in continental fútbol.

What does this all mean for fantasy? Leicester’s nose dive last season and surprise season two years ago has created good value here, prettay prettay good value. Their two most expensive players, Vardy (3.5% owned) and Mahrez, are both priced at £8.5, cheap when you consider that Man City has 5 midfielders over 8.0 (thanks Smokey). Also keep in mind that Mahrez has been the focus of transfer rumors all summer (see below), and very well could be the man to replace Alexis Sanchez should Arsenal part ways with him. In terms of attacking, it would seem that Craig Shakespeare would do well to experiment with both Vardy and the Muslim Slim Jim up top.  At £7.0, Muslim Slim Jim might be too expensive for most budgets as a 3rd striker with no track record, and if Kelechi Iheanacho (more on him below) does indeed finalize his transfer to Leicester, he might remain a fixture on the bench for the upcoming season.

The calendar has turned to August, so let’s speculate who are the players to focus on, and what it means for your squad…

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The biggest thing I always hear around the inter-webs is: will Davy Klaassen’s skill on the pitch translate to something of a fantasy commodity?  The best answer people never give is: we will see. Listen, I get that he is a well-hyped player coming over from the Eredivisie, but how will his skill be a good thing for Everton?  The Toffees have a bigger hole to fill with the departure of Romelu Lukaku, but that post will be coming in the next week or so… let’s stay with the guy who are going to be the facilitators of goals for himself and others.  Klaassen had 14 goals and 8 assists last year in 2800 minutes played in the play-making/attacking role for Ajax last year.  Now, the League is not on par defensively with what the Premier brings, but has it’s pluses and minuses to help it match-up a bit.  So we can say that Davy is going to be used in a similar fashion as he was previous and play behind the front two of Rooney/Sandro or both in some sets.  That is a good thing because I think both of those top players offer up different things that will unlock the midfield for the Dutchman.

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As the season fast approaches, I’ve honestly found myself scrambling to learn about the new entries into the Premier League (and consequently, FPL) this year. As an American follower of the game, I find it easy enough to keep up with the big clubs and their transfers and gossip, but digging into the under covered bottom half of the table is an entirely different story.

With that, this article helps to at the very least set some broad guidelines for what to expect from each of the newly promoted teams. I’ve written in the somewhat familiar Love/Hate/Surprise format, but it’s important to qualify those categories when talking about teams that might be headed right back down to the Championship (looking at you Huddersfield). Think of the categories more specifically like Not Terrible/Terrible/Maybe Not Terrible? and you’ll be much better off…

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A good defense, is the best offense.  I wish I was the brilliance behind that statement, but it was definitely said by someone smarter than me, well… not smarter, just older.  So they had the chance to say it first, there, that makes my OCD feel better.  Setting yourself up for the first 6-8 weeks of the year is always a keen thing to do.  The chart in this feature will give you the tool to look at the match-ups as they sit now and how they are favorable or not.  It works in the stop light fashion. Green means go for it, Yellow means caution, and red is obviously a warning sign.  It is still preseason though, so making presumptions is always a dangerous game.  By game week 3, we should know who is nodded on and who isn’t.  Also, that is when the summer transfer window shuts so it is a what you see is what you get kinda deal.  So enjoy the chart and I hope it helps in your selection process.  Cheers!

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So do you like Fantasy Sports? Do you like soccer? Have you ever made a drunken bar bet and then been asked to not only justify your unjustifiable hubris, and then asked to actually come through and perform your favorite Nicki Minaj song in public?  Well, two outta three ain’t bad. … So, if you’re still with me, let’s see how a Novice fairs playing EPL fantasy soccer this season.  The pricing value scale will be as follows:

  • Buy. Just like with every new generation of the iPhone, you’re willing to wait in line to overnight to get this.  Full price be damned, this is worth it.
  • Grab. Lightning deal online. Get it now, the price won’t get better and it’s a good investment.
  • Avoid. This is that van that pulls up next to you at the gas station and says, ”Hey, wanna buy some speakers?” The answer is always no.     
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