This shortlist covers players who are relatively low owned by fantasy managers, offer great value, and have the potential for a very strong season.
Defensively, Spurs have been impressive since Project Restart, with their only defeat coming at Bramall Lane. Spurs conceded just 8 big chances in this period, with only Wolves conceding fewer (6). Davies started every Premier League game at left back since the restart, highlighting that Davies is Mourinho’s first choice left back and will most likely only be rested for Ryan Sessegnon in Europa League games. Davies (£5m) is currently owned by 1.9% of fantasy managers and is a cheap way into the Spurs defence, in contrast to their new signing Matt Doherty, priced at £6m.
Spurs also have a great opening run of fixtures, with their only difficult game coming against Manchester United.
Davies recorded 5 goal attempts and 300 touches in the oppositions half at a price bracket of £5m or less under Project Restart, indicating significant potential for attacking returns this season. Davies could prove to be a bargain at £5m if he can emulate his form from the 17/18 season, where he registered 7 assists and scored twice.
During Project Restart, the 6 ft 4 Czech international scored 3 goals and was a real threat for West Ham, especially from set pieces (6 attempts). Playing alongside Declan Rice in a 4-2-3-1 enabled Soucek to make runs from deep into the back post, a prime example being this goal against Watford.
West ham scored the 6th highest goals (14) during Project Restart, scored the highest amount of goals from direct corners (4) and had the second highest attempts from crossed corners (20), which highlights West Ham’s threat from set pieces and increases the appeal of Soucek. In the price bracket of £5.5m or less, Soucek recorded the most goal attempts (18) and the joint highest penalty box touches (29). If West Ham can carry on with the momentum they found during Project Restart, Soucek could prove to be a great ‘set and forget’ budget midfielder at £5m.
Sheffield United recorded 13 clean sheets last season and only conceded 39 goals throughout, with only Liverpool and the Manchester clubs conceding less goals. Ramsdale (£5m) has been brought in as the successor to Dean Henderson, and is a cheaper alternative to Edna Stevens and George Baldock, both priced at £5.5m. Ramsdale was a rough diamond for Bournemouth last season, a team which only kept 5 cleans sheets and conceded 65 goals.
Ramsdale had a respectable save percentage of 68.4% and made the third most saves (131) last season. Ramsdale is currently owned by 7.1% of fantasy managers and could prove to be a bonus point magnet this season, under a defensively sound Sheffield United team. The blades have a decent opening run of fixtures, but have a difficult period between game week’s 6 to 8, so transferring in Alex McCarthy as a backup could be a good idea.
With Manchester United having a blank in the opening weekend of fixtures, Rashord’s ownership sharply declined to 6.4%, making him an excellent differential. Manchester United have a favourable run of fixtures to start the season.
Last season Rashford had an impressive return, scoring 17 goals and registering 8 assists. This season, he has been reclassified as a midfielder and would’ve scored 203 points if this was the case last season. It can therefore be assumed that both Rashford and Greenwood will become more attractive options relative to Martial due to the positional changes. During Project Restart, Rashford recorded 51 penalty area touches, whilst Fernandes and Greenwood recorded 32 and 26 respectively. Only Fernandes had more big chances (8) than Rashford (7), however Rashford had 4 more shots inside the box than Fernandes during this period. Rashford also created the most big chances (5) during this period, whilst Fernandes and Martial respectively created 3 and 2.
The underlying stats highlight that Rashford could be a more credible option, especially now over Martial who has been reclassified as a Striker and would’ve been 31 points worse off last season. The £1m saving of selecting Rashford over Fernandes could prove to be a good decision as Rashford is a bigger threat from open play. This is supported by Rashford’s non-penalty xG (3.46) during Project Restart being higher than Fernandes’ (2.26).