The first lineup lock is just around the corner as Liverpool and Norwich will meet for a Friday evening clash and it’s finally time to get the last tinkers in before it’s time for the show. The 2019/20 Premier League season is here and I’m back with a new player picks column.
Top Transfer Targets will take a look at the ownership tiers breaking down the best option for each. The tiers will be broken down into 25-40 percent owned, 15-24 percent, 10-15 percent, under 10 percent and will also include each week’s Punty McPunterson who is a player under five percent that I’m backing to score each week. Later in the season, this article will also include players to offload but with this being the beginning of the season, there’s no one to offload.
Let’s look at this weekends fixtures:
Friday 9 August
Liverpool v Norwich
Saturday 10 August
West Ham v Manchester City
Bournemouth v Sheffield United
Burnley v Southampton
Crystal Palace v Everton
Watford v Brighton
Tottenham v Aston Villa
Sunday 11 August
Leicester v Wolves
Newcastle v Arsenal
Manchester United v Chelsea
Don’t get caught out in the crowd (25-40 percent owned at the time of writing):
Lucas Digne (DEF Everton, 6.0m 26.1%): The first name on my team sheet this week and likely all season is Digne. The eighth highest scoring defender of last season while only starting 33 of Everton’s games due to how late the transfer was finalized, Digne has a shot at being the highest scoring defender in FPL this season. Splitting set plays with Gylfi and playing essentially as a midfielder while being a defender, Digne was able to be a reliable source of bonus points last season with 22, third most of all defenders. Digne getting four goals and assists also doesn’t seem like an outlier. A week one matchup with Crystal Palace will see Dinge owners roll in the points.
Harry Kane (FWD Tottenham, 11.0m 28.3%): August may be far from Kane's most prolific month but that doesn’t mean that he should be ignored. Finally having a summer to rest with no international tournaments and facing shaky defenses for three of the first four weeks of the season, Kane is poised to score in bunches making everyone forget about his end of season ankle woes. Aston Villa essentially purchased an entirely new defense that will be up against it in the season opening fixture at New White Hart Lane. A brace or more from Kane doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility at all.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (DEF Liverpool 7.0m 25.1%): Liverpool defenders are in demand with three of the top five owned defenders all coming from the Reds. They’re highly owned for good reason due to them all being top tier options but the defender with the lowest chance of regression is Alexander-Arnold. This is due to being involved in set plays and having a target like Virgil van Djik (48.1% owned and therefore not mentioned) to put them into the back of the net.
Worth your consideration (15- 24 percent owned)
Ryan Fraser (MID Bournemouth 7.5m, 20.1%): Like Everton, Bournemouth will open with what should be an easy run to start the season. An opening fixture with Sheffield United could be tricky but if I'm backing one Cherry, it's Ryan Fraser. Trailing only Eden Hazard in assists last season with 14 to his name, the wee man is still a great FPL option and the injury to David Brooks will ensure that no one is popping Fraser's scoring chances anytime soon. The addition of Harry Wilson will provide another intriguing attacking option but it won’t get in the way of the law firm of Fraser, Wilson and co.
Kevin De Bruyne (MID Manchester City 9.5m, 15.4%): With a drop in price due to injury I'm surprised that de Bruyne is in such a low amount of FPL squads. He's looked like his old self in preseason and it's not like West Ham is an above average defensive team. de Bruyne is only one year removed from having being involved in 24 goals. Considering that the year prior, de Bruyne was involved in 22 goals, I see no reason why you can’t expect 20+ goal contributions from de Bruyne this season. That’s highway robbery at his price.
Solid if not stellar (10-15 percent)
Gylfi Sigurdsson (MID Everton 8.0m, 14.9%): Everton is going to score goals and Sigurdsson will be involved in them. He had a hand in 35 percent of the Toffees goals last season thanks to 13 goals and six assists and will look to be heavily involved again. Sigurdsson is rarely spetactuar for FPL purposes but can provide a steady anchor to build your squad around and help your points total at the end of the season.
Lucas Moura (MID Tottenham, 7.5m, 10.1%): With Son Heung-Min suspended for the first two games of the season, Lucas will look to continue his impressive form alongside Harry Kane. Coming off of a 10 goal season last season, Moura will come into the season with a fire under him as he doesn’t want to lose out on most of his playing time when Son returns from suspension. There will be goals as Tottenham faces Aston Villa and there will also be enough of the ball to go around between Moura and Kane.
Rolling the dice (under 10 percent)
Divock Origi (FWD Liverpool 5.5m, 2.9%): Looking for short term replacements up top, it doesn’t get much better than playing a newly promoted team with injuries in defense. Origi
played sparingly last season but should be playing in place of Sadio Mané. He’s only a 1-2 week replacement but Origi will outplay everyone in his price bracket and can easily be moved with an early wildcard.
Ross Barkley (MID Chelsea 6.0m, 7.4%): This one hurts to back but a healthy Ross Barkley playing an advanced attacking position and on penalties cannot be ignored. Chelsea was one of the top teams versus top six sides last season making their players as close to being fixture proof as a team not named Liverpool or Manchester City can be. Barkley’s health makes him a precarious full season pick but considering that he’s in the same price bracket as Harry Wilson (!) it will be easy to move off of Barkley later in the season. Barkley was productive in a deeper role last season with three goals and five assists so if he moves into a more advanced attacking position similar to what he was used to at Everton, double digit goals could follow.
Riyad Mahrez (MID Manchester City 8.5m, 1.2%): With Leroy Sané dealing with an injury to his ACL (the extent of that damage is unknown at this point) it’s time for Mahrez to show why Manchester City signed him. After the year one easing in period, Mahrez will be ready to flourish in Pep Guardiola’s system and show that his price tag is an absolute bargain. Coming off of a championship run in AFCON, Mahrez is already rounding into fitness and I’d back him to score versus West Ham even if he doesn’t start the game.