Wrapping up the 2017/18 Fantasy Premier League season, here are five things that stood out for me in view of the following season.
The second coming of Mohamad Salah
Mohamed Salah is living proof that you can succeed in the Premier League at the second time of asking. Whether his mediocre days at Chelsea was due to a lack of experience, being in the wrong team or having the wrong manager, it will probably never be resolved. Nevertheless, the Premier League Player of the Season accumulated 303 points to top the FPL charts, winning the Golden Boot in the process. Next season, the Liverpool star will no longer be a surprise (and probably get a fantasy price hike too). It will be interesting to see if opposing managers can find a way to deal with him.
Trust in the Burnley defence
Burnley proved their defence was not dependent on personnel. Throughout the season, we saw disruptions to their backline, yet there was no drastic drop in their performances. For example, one of their standout performers from the previous season, goalkeeper Tom Heaton, played only three and a half matches before succumbing to injury, but replacement Nick Pope (152 points) stepped up very strongly. Sean Dyche’s team finished the season at seventh, conceding only 39 goals, which was bettered only by the top five and made worse by a 5-0 thrashing by Arsenal (who incidentally conceded 51 goals). On top of that, their players were all available at affordable fantasy prices!
The Manchester City merry-go-round
At the start of the season, many expected Gabriel Jesus to supplant Sergio Aguero as the lead Manchester City striker. Despite only playing 25 games, the latter still managed to score 21 goals, while Jesus scored 13 goals in 29 games. The Argentine has stated that when his contract with City expires in 2020, he plans to return to former club Independiente. As such, he is very likely to still be in the team next season and continue to star for City. Having said that, fantasy points wise, there were three players above Aguero: Raheem Sterling (229), Kevin De Bruyne (209), and Leroy Sane (179). They should continue to rack up the points next season, making investment in at least one City player necessary.
Can Arsenal bounce back?
This season, Arsenal failed to place any player in the top 30 fantasy point scorers. Their highest was Alexandre Lacazette (138 points) at 34th, which tells you a lot considering how disappointing his first season was. Nevertheless, next season the Gunners will have a new manager, and the former Borussia Dortmund duo of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan will be playing their first full season. Their partnership has shown some promise, and with a fit Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, they should be able to create some fantasy carnage under the right leadership.
Wilfred Zaha (136 points) was key to Crystal Palace’s survival this season, but whether he’ll stay is anyone’s guess. His fantasy output might not be as great if he’s not the big fish in a small pond as he is at Palace.
Two players from one promoted team made it into the top 30 fantasy point scorers: Pascal Gross (164 points) and Matt Ryan (146 points). Both are expected to stay and could very well thrive.
Riyad Mahrez (195 points) and Jamie Vardy (183 points) finished next to each other in terms of total fantasy points, but Mahrez is bound to try to angle for a move yet again.
And finally, will Xherdan Shaqiri (155 points) attempt to get back into the Premier League? As one of only two players from the relegated teams to it into the top 30 of fantasy points, the other being Lukasz Fabianski (157 points), a team like Everton might try for him, or even Leicester if Mahrez moves on.