The long wait for league football to return has already finished with the lower leagues kicking off over the weekend, but the Premier League has made us wait an extra week!
With its return on Friday night, we also have the return of Fantasy Premier League!
If you’re a fanatic like me then I’m sure you’ve already cycled through every squad looking for answers. But for new managers putting their squads together this week, here is RealSport’s definitive guide to all 20 teams, looking for the big guns, the hidden gems and the players who you should avoid like the plague!
There is also a RealSport League for you to sign up to, with a cash prize! (TBD) To join simply click here or use the code 10857-6022.
Leicester (H), Stoke (A), Liverpool (A), Bournemouth (H), Chelsea (A), West Brom (H).
3/5:Two away games against top six sides and a trip to Stoke could cause them problems in the opening weeks.
Main Man – Alexis Sanchez (12.0m)
Last year’s top points scorer in the entire game is surprisingly overlooked by most people due to uncertainty over his future.
If he stays in England he has the power to punish any doubters, although he is unlikely to be pushed up front this year after the purchase of Alexandre Lacazette.
Defensive Pick – Petr Cech (5.5m)
Petr Cech had some wobbly moments last year, but is still a goalkeeper who will make his mark on the season to come. Cech is the least likely to be hit by rotation and will be one of the top goalkeepers in May.
Gamble Pick – Aaron Ramsey (7.0m)
The fantasy darling of 2013/14, he has not been able to replicate that year due to a strong of injuries. However, the new formation Wenger played at the end of last season gave the Welshman license to bomb forward and this could lead to him rediscovering that goal scoring form.
Steer Clear – Olivier Giroud (8.5m)
He suffered from rotation last year, although he still managed 12 goals from limited starts and substitute appearances. With the arrival of Lacazette he will now be a back up option, or could leave altogether.
West Brom (A), Watford (H), Man City (H), Arsenal (A), Brighton (H), Everton (A)
2/5: Some very difficult away games together with a visit from Man City and it could be a tough couple of months on the south coast.
Main Man – Jermaine Defoe/Josh King (8.0m/7.5m)
Last season Josh King became a fantasy darling as he was pushed up as a striker (but listed as a midfielder) and managed 16 goals, while Jermain Defoe scored 15 for relegated Sunderland.
Whoever starts as Bournemouth’s main striker will be one to watch as he leads a strong attacking side.
Defensive Pick – Charlie Daniels (5.0m)
Bournemouth’s defence can be inconsistent, but it has been reinforced with the arrival of Asmir Begovic over the summer. This increases their clean sheet potential, and Charlie Daniels gets plenty of points from his attacking contributions. He is a guaranteed starter and excellent value for money.
Gamble Pick – Junior Stanislas (6.0m)
Junior Stanislas has been an inconsistent starter for Bournemouth, but he can turn a game on its head. He was the leading figure in their demolition of Hull, managing a goal and three assists in a single game. If he can nail down a starting spot then he could be an excellent differential.
Steer Clear – Adam Smith (5.0m)
Adam Smith is not a viable option simply because Daniels offers more than Smith for the same price. Smith is also struggling with injury in pre-season so is unlikely to start the campaign with the rest of the squad.
Man City (H), Leicester (A), Watford (A), West Brom (H), Bournemouth (A), Newcastle (H)
3/5: A baptism of fire in their first ever Premier League match is followed by a string of winnable games, although three away games in five is not ideal.
Main Man – Anthony Knockaert (6.0m)
Anthony Knockaert joined Brighton in January 2016 and, after a slow start, he was instrumental in their promotion last season.
He managed 15 goals from the wing and that attacking prowess will be vital to their chances of staying up this year.
Defensive Pick – Lewis Dunk (5.0m)
If you're picking a defender from a newly promoted side then you want two things: Guaranteed starting position and the slightest possibility of a goal. Dunk provides both having played 37 matches last season, scoring twice.
Gamble Pick – Glenn Murray (6.0m)
It may seem odd that one of the Championship’s top scorers is a gamble, but there is a history of players failing to make the step up. Murray also has a history of not quite making the grade at the top level. He could transfer his confidence to the new season, or flop.
Steer Clear – Liam Rosenior (4.0m)
It's always tempting, especially with newly promoted sides, to find the cheapest player out there and dump them on your bench to save some cash. However, there will come a time when you will have to call on that third substitute due to injury or rotation, and you want them to answer the call, not stare back at you with a big fat zero.
Chelsea (A), West Brom (H), Spurs (A), Crystal Palace (H), Liverpool (A), Huddersfield (H)
3/5: Those away games look horrendous, but if you find a decent rotation to take advantage of Burnley’s home fixtures then you could do very well.
Main Man – Tom Heaton (5.0m)
Last season's top scoring goalkeeper and shot-saving machine, Tom Heaton earned a lot of praise and a spot in many fantasy teams. He will struggle against top opposition, but in a well-organised rotation he could be a gold mine.
Defensive Pick – Ben Mee (4.5m)
After Heaton, Ben Mee is a cheap way into this Burnley defence. It remains to be seen how well he does after Michael Keane left for Everton this summer, but you can be sure of some clean sheets in the opening few weeks.
Gamble Pick – Robbie Brady (5.5m)
Brady managed three goals and four assists in Norwich’s relegation season, but couldn't nail down a starting spot last year. He is a dead ball expert and should be on set pieces, as long as he makes sure he starts!
Steer Clear – Andre Gray (6.5m)
Andre Gray was the Championship’s top scorer when Burnley were promoted, but so far has not replicated that form in the Premier League. He missed a large chunk of last season due to suspension and is often rotated out when he is available.
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