Last Season: Finished 7th, 61 Points, 62 Goals For, 44 Goals Against
2016-17 Summary: With new ownership came a renewed sense of promise for Everton in 2016. New joint-owner Farhad Moshiri arrived with the promise of pushing Everton into the next tier of the Premier League’s new elite, and the club made sure that its manager had the pedigree. In came Ronald Koeman, pried from Southampton for big money and an even bigger war chest to accommodate his transfer needs.
Despite losing star defender John Stones to Manchester City just a week before the season started, the Toffees emerged from the transfer windows a stronger side, making a number of additions that fortified their depth and turned them into a contender. In came Idrissa Gueye, Yannick Bolasie, Ashley Williams and Morgan Schneiderlin, while Koeman committed to youth with moves for instant-impact attackers Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman amid the rise of Tom Davies and Mason Holgate.
That depth showed in the club’s consistency throughout the season despite long-term injuries to Bolasie and Seamus Coleman while depending less on former stalwarts Ross Barkley and Phil Jagielka. The club never dropped into the bottom half of the league, never straying from a comfy seventh place from Boxing Day until the end of the season. However, Koeman will have to take the Cup competitions more seriously if he wants to take the club to the next level—Everton dropped out of the FA Cup in the first round and the League Cup in the second round. And then there comes actually keeping up with the elite sides—Everton won only two of its 12 games against the top six.
2017-18 Forecast: There is only one real question about Everton entering the upcoming season: How does the club account for the loss of Lukaku. The Belgian international scored 25 of the club’s 62 goals, where no other player on the roster managed more than Barkley’s five. But similar to the John Stones approach from last season, Everton emerges stronger and deeper as a whole. In attack, Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez arrive; in defense, Michael Keane and Cuco Martina.
The Toffees are well-stocked for a season that will now include the Europa League, after qualifying for the playoff round last week, and Koeman is still looking to add more with a move in the works for Gylfi Sigurdsson, another attacker and a versatile defender. However, it won’t be easy to start the season with such a loaded schedule: games against Stoke City, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United kick off the year.
Salary Cap Fantasy Notes: From a salary cap perspective, it’s going to be difficult to get yourself to chase too many Everton players at the beginning of the season with such a tough schedule through Week 5. But one player that warrants heavy consideration is Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United legend is priced at just £7.5, the lowest he’s ever been in fantasy Premier League. Rooney played only 1,540 Premier League minutes last season but still managed five goals and five assists from a midfield role. Now back at Everton, Rooney has to prove he’s not a washed up superstar, and he’ll surely get the playing time with Lukaku’s boots to fill up top.
With the constricted, penny-pinching feeling of this year’s FPL.com setup, I’ve found my go-to cheap defender in the Everton defense. With Seamus Coleman still out indefinitely as he recovers from a broken leg, Cuco Martina has been receiving the looks at right-back and right-center back (in a three-man setup) over Mason Holgate. Brought in on a free transfer this summer with the sole purpose of covering for Coleman, Martina is available for just £4.5, making him look like a steal as long as he gets the nod over Holgate when the season rolls around.
Draft Fantasy Notes: From a draft perspective, there aren’t too many early-round picks from the Toffees. The playing prospects of Barkley and Klaassen rely heavily upon whether the club can bring in Sigurdsson, who would be a definite early-round pick under Koeman’s leadership. Michael Keane and Ashley Williams are solid picks and Jordan Pickford in goal will surely benefit from more clean sheets with such a strong setup in front of him compared to Sunderland last season.
But Leighton Baines should still be heavily considered as a defender, if he drops past the first few rounds, with his attacking prowess even though Rooney may take over penalty duties. I also think Yannick Bolasie could be one of the year’s biggest claims off the waiver wire once he returns from a long-term knee injury—so keep an eye out for when he returns because he will add a significant boost to your attack.
What to Watch Before September 1?
- Does Everton cough up £50 million for Gylfi Sigurdsson after seeing its original £40 million bid rejected by Swansea City?
- Does Ross Barkley see out the final year of his contract and leave on a free next year? Or does the one-time prodigy cut his losses upon Sigurdsson’s arrival?
- Koeman still wants another forward to add depth behind Rooney, but who is out there within the club’s price range?