Five fantasy footballers that might have been swerved by the mainstreamers but if you’re caught sleeping on these lads, you *might regret it. (*probably won’t)

It’s back, finally… no, mate not just my articles, apologies for the lack of uploads but I had so many episodes of The Bill on record I just couldn’t stop watching, REAL football is back.

I’ve taken a breather from Sun Hill now so forget your dodgy reality TV and our bang average summer because it’s time to get serious and focus on the real world of… Fantasy football… that sounded better in my head to be honest.

Everything is on the line – bragging rights in the office, the wittiest team names, a few quid on the line and most importantly a money-can’t-buy (non-existent) crown to the 2017/18 champion.

I compare my fantasy football skills to my culinary prowess, it starts off as a great idea, then I realise I’ve no idea what I’m doing before googling the answer and making do with a mediocre mess in front of me. But this year is going to be different!

I’ve done my scouting (by that I mean I’ve been so desperate for football I ended up watching highlights of Huddersfield, Swansea and Bournemouth’s pre-season campaigns… I know but it’s that or Love Island, mate and I refuse to succumb to peer pressure.)

I’ve had a word with a few experts (well, TalkSport have given some tips and I’ve read Paul Merson’s column) and most importantly I’ve got my team name sorted, Pathetico Madrid. Decent.

Ready for my five golden picks you need to weave into your XI? These aren’t the ones that jump off the page but they’re decent value, will score points on a regular basis and will allow you the freedom to go and pick yourself some bigheads.

Picking a team on a budget and refusing to pay the big bucks? Sounds like a Tottenham Hotspur pre-season briefing doesn’t it? But you have my word, these lads won’t bottle it at the tail end of the season.

Some similarities though, Danny Rose didn’t want to be in my fantasy team either…

The GK you need in is Wayne Hennessey. Palace look well set up under Frank DeBoer and will need to be well drilled to stop another relegation threatened season. At £4.5million, stick him between the sticks and watch him palm some points your way. This one is a bit of a gamble tbf but with newly promoted Huddersfield on the opening day I’d back the Eagles for a clean sheet.

One defender that gets overlooked a lot is Christian Fuchs at Leicester. Last year was a torrid season for the former champions but they now look more settled under Shakespeare so I’d fancy them for a mid-table finish and Fuchs will be instrumental to that. With the addition of Maguire to the heart of the Foxes defence, they’ll concede less so assists, clean sheets and the odd goal could be headed your way provided you don’t ‘Fuch him off’.

In the middle of the park we’ve gone for an ever-present in the Rafa revolution, Matt Richie. This lad has a wand of a left peg and will be lining up every set-piece the Toon have. Rafa is an intelligent man so be prepared for a lot of well-worked set-piece maneuvers with Richie at the heart of them. At £6million a lot of Newcastle’s survival will rely on his quality so get him in your squad and save yourself some dough at the same time.

Now, here’s where the fun begins, our guy up top. We’ve picked a plucky Italian who finished last year averaging a goal every other game. Add to that four bonus points and an assist this could be the season of Manolo Gabbiadini. £7million is a shed load cheaper than the big hitters and whilst everyone sneaks in Kane, Aguero and Lukaku you could nab some secret points from the Saints hit-man. If you ignore all of the above, this is the lad you’ll regret sleeping on most.

Now, last year my picks flopped hard so take all of these with a pinch of salt and I have tried to give some alternative players.

It’s easy to say ‘Select Kane’ ‘Get DeBruyne in’ or ‘Stick Alonso as Captain opening day against Burnley’. But realistically everyone is doing the same and the difference between Champions League and Sunday League will be who you can have picking up points that they don’t have, so shop around.

I don’t want to be hypocritical so I’ll come clean, I’ve only got one of these four in my squad (I won’t tell you which one though) However I can assure you once the opening weekend is out the way I’ll be thundering a few of these into my XI.

Good luck for the campaign, unless you’re in my work league, in which case, why are you snaking my tips for, get out!

Stay clever,

Thanks for reading,

Take it easy.


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