Fantasy Premier League is back. Our annual pre-season preview of 30 players to consider for your 15-man squad is live and we’ll be publishing our regular weekly tips throughout the season.
Here’s our Gameweek 1 preview. These are short-term, single week options - rather than the medium and long-term tips included in the pre-season preview - but still should be good to keep around for at least a couple of weeks yet.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (c)
You can read too much into pre-season form but Aubameyang has picked up from where he left off last season, notching in friendlies as well as the Community Shield. Reclassified as a midfielder, he will score an extra point for every goal and every clean sheet.
The Arsenal forward opens the campaign against newly-promoted Fulham - who were not exactly free-scoring in the Championship last year - and Aubameyang is usually a reliable flat-track bully, punishing weaker opponents.
On paper, the champions at home to a newly-promoted team on the first day of the season should be a banker. In reality, it’s difficult to get a handle on just how good Liverpool’s opponents Leeds will be.
That - and a sluggish pre-season - means Salah does not get our captain’s armband this week but it is still a risk to go without him entirely, given that he is likely to be backed by a lot of managers and could deliver a big points haul.
Put simply: if Werner lives up to expectations, he will be a steal at £9.5m. The same goes for a number of Chelsea’s midfielders and forwards, who are all modestly priced considering their explosive potential.
Werner, though, is probably the one best-placed to hit the ground running after arriving several months ago. Frank Lampard’s side travel to Brighton, who conceded the fourth-most goals in the top flight post-restart.
Wolves’ defence is hugely underrated. Last season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s conceded the fifth-fewest goals and were the second-best at the back according to underlying expected metrics. In Sheffield United, they face last season’s fifth-lowest scorers.
If only there was a little more certainty over who will stay and start. Romain Saiss can be fairly confident of his place and comes in at a mid-price £5.0m. We will have a better idea of whether £4.5m-rated Ruben Vinagre is sticking around after this weekend.
Not only the best goalkeeper option for this opening weekend but potentially a set-and-forget for the season. McCarthy’s price is the major plus point, with him coming in at just £4.5m when most starting ‘keepers are at least £0.5m more expensive.
Yes, this is largely the same Southampton side that conceded nine at Leicester nearly a year ago but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side tightened up at the back during the second half of last season while opponents Crystal Palace consistently struggled for goals.
Honourable mentions: Kasper Schmeichel, Kieran Tierney, Kai Havertz, Tomas Soucek, Michail Antonio
Captain: Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang
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