Andrew Gastelum

Season Preview

print article archives RSS

FPL Price Review: Goalkeepers

Sunday, July 8, 2018


With the onset of July, I’d like to welcome one and all to the 2018/19 Premier League season. I know the World Cup is all we want to talk about at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add to the fun by perusing the recently released FPL.com prices and making five different teams with just £100m that’ll have you debating players until the season starts.

 

 

So, on a World Cup off day, if you want to satisfy that bubbling soccer curiosity, Sean Sullivan and I will be breaking down every position to look for the best value buys and sleeper picks to help you with your selections in what looks to be the toughest year of Fantasy Premier League yet (we say that every year and yet it’s always true).

 

 

We’ll start with goalkeepers, where most of the big moves have already been made despite the majority of transfer business waiting until after the World Cup ends. Throughout the week, we’ll be sure to link you to all of our FPL.com positional analysis in our forthcoming columns.

 

 

Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of the 2018/19 season. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column. Just five weeks before the start of the season!

 

 

GOALKEEPERS:

 

 

Bernd Leno (Arsenal) £5.0

 

The winner of the Petr Cech-Bernd Leno battle in goal at Arsenal will surely have the best value for a goalkeeper entering the upcoming season, and, with a new manager and a new approach at the Emirates after years of Arsene Wenger’s rule, I’m putting my money in the Leno basket. The 26-year-old arrived in a £19.3 million move from Bayer Leverkusen, where he dominated the Bundesliga with 45 clean sheets in the last four seasons (only Manuel Neuer recorded more), including nine penalty saves to make him the active Bundesliga leader upon his exit.

 

 

Often considered the man who would someday replace Neuer for the German team, Leno was somehow overlooked in the doomed Germany team at the World Cup this summer despite starting throughout the Confederations Cup last summer, but he looks set to replace a 36-year-old Cech and usher in a new era under Unai Emery. Either way, if Cech somehow wins the keeper battle, you can’t go wrong with a £5.0 keeper from a top English side where defense has already been the imperative in the transfer market with moves for Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis and moves for Steven N’Zonzi and Lucas Torreira on the table.

                         

 

 

Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham) £4.5

Speaking of making defense a priority, no one has more need defensively this summer than West Ham, who shipped the most goals in the Premier League last season (68). However, the club has made two massive moves to mitigate its defensive problem immediately. The first was to lure former Manchester City boss and Premier League champion Manuel Pellegrini to East London in what is the club’s biggest hire ever. The second was to sign prolific Premier League stopper Lukasz Fabianski from Swansea City over the last week.

 

 

With Pellegrini promised a hefty transfer kitty and with moves for young defensive stalwarts in Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks, the defense had already undergone stark improvements from last season. But the addition of Fabianski adds a whole new element to a club that has struggled with inconsistency in goal with Adrian and Joe Hart over the past few years. Despite playing for a relegated side, Fabianski led the league in saves and finished third overall in fantasy points. So, at £4.5, Fabianski looks like the best cheap option you can find.

 

 

 

Ben Foster (Watford) £4.5*

While the three relegated sides from last season put together atrocious campaigns until the looming prospect of relegation led to a late-season boost, the clubs actually have some top-shelf goalkeeping stars: Lukasz Fabianski moved to West Ham and Ben Foster made the switch back to Watford (where will Jack Butland land? Did he wait until too late to make his move after the World Cup?). Despite his age, he’ll turn 36 during the upcoming season, Foster made an astute move to sign with the Hornets, considering Heurelho Gomes is on a sharp decline at age 37, and remain in the Premier League.

 

 

Foster still put together a quality season last season with 85 saves and 11 clean sheets considering he played for the worst team in the league. More importantly, after years of niggling injuries, Foster missed only one Premier League match last season. While he has yet to be listed in the FPL.com ranks, expect him to be priced at £4.5, as he always is, making him an extremely valuable pick as rotation keeper (possibly even with Fabianski if the schedules line up well).  

 

 

 

Neil Etheridge (Cardiff City) £4.5

My sleeper pick for the year comes from Championship winners Cardiff City, where Neil Etheridge became a force in the second division last season. After helping the Philippines qualify for the Asian Cup in March, the 28-year-old keeper will achieve another milestone by becoming the first Southeast Asian player to play in the Premier League, barring a move by Cardiff for, say, Jack Butland this summer. But let’s keep the focus on what we know, which is that Etheridge is coming from an experienced team with a coach with plenty of Premier League experience in Neil Warnock.

 

Last season, Cardiff City conceded the least goals in the Championship last season with Wolves—just 39 goals in 46 matches. Among those 46 matches, Etheridge led the club to 19 clean sheets, also a joint-best, while making more starts than any other player on the team as the clear No. 1 option in goal. With Bournemouth, Newcastle and Huddersfield Town to start the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cardiff take a page out of Huddersfield’s playbook last season and start off with three straight clean sheets.  

 

 

 

Nick Pope (Burnley) £5.0

For my warning pick, the Nick Pope surge from last season has me wary, for multiple reasons. While Pope broke out with an impressive campaign last season, one that saw him break into the England World Cup team despite astronomical odds just a year ago, the return of long-time Burnley keeper and a Sean Dyche favorite in Tom Heaton from a serious injury means that Pope is going to have to fight against the odds once again to maintain his starting spot. I still expect him to start, but the uncertainty before the season is what makes me wary of selecting him as my No. 1 keeper. At £4.5, he’d surely be worth the risk, but at £5.0 there are other sure options.

 

 

My next concern with Burnley is the added impact that playing through their first Europa League gauntlet will have on the club’s domestic campaign. While their form and focus will surely be affected, Dyche could very well opt to rotate keepers on a weekly basis during Europa League campaigns. And with no Rob Elliot-£4.0 starting options like last season, you’ll have to supplement Pope with a good backup or risk being left with an unstable option in certain weeks. Until I know more about the Burnley setup, I’m going to pass on Pope.

 








Video Center

  •  
    NASCAR Fantasy: New Hampshire

    NASCAR Fantasy: New Hampshire
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Top Targets

    Waiver Wire: Top Targets
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Get Tucker

    Waiver Wire: Get Tucker
  •  
    MLB: Snag Odor and Eovaldi

    MLB: Snag Odor and Eovaldi
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Grab Ohtani

    Waiver Wire: Grab Ohtani
  •  
    NASCAR: Grading picks

    NASCAR: Grading picks
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Go Conforto

    Waiver Wire: Go Conforto
  •  
    MLB: Buy Kiermaier & Story

    MLB: Buy Kiermaier & Story