This July nine of the best fantasy writers around gathered to talk FPL Draft rankings, player value and participate in a 10 Team FPL Draft mock. A mock – for those unfamiliar – is just a regular draft done with the knowledge that we will not be playing this league. It’s practice. But in the interest of providing the most value, we also added a ‘consensus’ pick. The nine experts in the room all got a vote on which remaining player was the best value for that team and the player with the most votes was selected.
|6||Kevin De Bruyne||Consensus Pick|
|7||Christian Eriksen||@Fantasy Gaffer|
Best Value: Difficult to say in the first round, but I will go with Alexis Sanchez. If Sanchez stays in the EPL with either Arsenal or Manchester City then I see no reason why he can not repeat as the best overall player within the Togga format.
Most Upside: Sergio Aguero – Basically, if Aguero can stay in Manchester City’s lineup each week (injuries, red cards, Gabriel Jesus) then he could easily end the year as the #1 forward.
Puzzling Pick: I am wondering if @nealjthurman really wanted Roberto Firmino with the 5th overall pick or was he simply getting under the skin of @FantasyGaffer?
My Team: With the 9th pick I had my choice of Dele Alli, Sergio Aguero, Phillippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, or Sadio Mane. They are all good picks, but Alli was the one guy I did not want to miss out on and I was comfortable taking whoever was left between that group with my next pick. I actually have concerns over the rest; Aguero (playing time), Coutinho (frailness), Jesus (playing time), Mane (knees).
Best Value: In hindsight @nealjthurman’s selection of Alexandre Lacazette was the best value in round two. The draft was conducted before Lacazette signed with Arsenal. As a group we agreed that non-EPL players who had a legit chance of transferring in could be selected as long as they were taken at an appropriate time.
Most Upside: Sadio Mane finished last year with the 15th most points among midfielders despite missing 11 games. If Mane can stay healthy then I could see him ending the year as a top 10 overall player and top three among midfielders.
Puzzling Pick: There has been less noise regarding possible transfers involving Andrea Belotti compared to the likes of Alvaro Morata. With Romelu Lukaku landing at Manchester United then it appears that Chelsea is the only club left looking for a big name forward, which would leave room for only one of Morata or Belotti. I do not blame @Smokey_Loogy for taking Belotti as he had already secured Harry Kane with the first pick and had the insurance of having back-to-back picks.
My Team: It would have been a huge risk to wait until my third pick (29th overall) to take my first forward, especially knowing how much this group values the top two tiers of forwards. I believe in Gabriel Jesus’ talent and I believe that Pep Guardiola will have him in the starting XI most every game.
|26||Ross Barkley||Consensus Pick|
|27||Jamie Vardy||@Fantasy Gaffer|
Best Value: Michail Antonio averaged 12.79 points per match (PPM) and accumulated the 16th most points among midfielders despite missing nine games. Great value in the middle of the 3rd round.
Most Upside: Josh King. 16 goals, three assists, 11.21 PPM. Undervalued because he has not produced over a number of years and because he plays for Bournemouth.
Puzzling Pick: David Silva played 34 games last season and finished with the 14th most points among midfielders, averaging 10.97 PPM. Some managers go with reliable players in the first few rounds while others opt for more upside. @ChuckBoothSport chose the reliable David Silva. Silva will not kill your team, but I also do not see him doing any better than last season.
My Team: Josh King has huge upside, finishing last season 9th among forwards. I felt lucky to choose King as the 12th forward off the board and believe there is a huge drop-off among forwards at this point.
Best Value: Ander Herrera will probably average just as many PPM as David Silva, yet Herrera was selected 12 picks later. The difference, Herrera has upside.
Most Upside: One of these days Nathan Redmond is going to put it all together. Is this the year? How many times have you heard those two statements regarding Redmond? I will give it one more year.
Puzzling Pick: Fernando Llorente over Raheem Sterling, Marko Arnautovic, and Pedro? I apologize @ChuckBoothSport as it is not my intention to pick on you! Much of my picks were similar to Chuck’s as I went with the reliable player over the player full of both upside and doubts.
My Team: Going into the draft I would have put good money on not having a defender before the seventh round (in reality that was the complete opposite as you will see later), but I could not pass up Marcos Alonso with the 32nd overall pick. In a lot of drafts Alonso is drafted as early as 18th overall due to averaging 2.5 PPM more than any other regular staring defender last season.
|43||Virgil van Dijk||@FantasyYIRMA|
|46||Bernardo Silva||Consensus Pick|
|47||Leighton Baines||@Fantasy Gaffer|
Best Value: Grabbing James Milner with the 44th pick was great value whether he is listed as a midfielder or a defender for the upcoming season. Milner finished last year with the 11th most points among midfielders. Side note: If Milner is listed a defender for the 2017/2018 campaign then expect him to be drafted a round or two earlier.
Most Upside: Matt Ritchie if he can come anywhere close to replicating his production in the Championship. Cesc Fabregas if he can get 20+ starts. And James Milner if Opta categorize him as a defender.
Puzzling Pick: Georginio Wijnaldum accumulated the 23rd most fantasy points among midfielders last year, but that was mainly due to making 36 appearances. Wijnaldum averaged a mere 8.97 PPM last year and will have to battle Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, and Mohamed Salah for playing time.
My Team: With the 49th overall pick I was not impressed with the value of any of the midfielders on the board, so, I selected Antonio Valencia as my second defender. Two defenders in the first five rounds?!?! Kind of crazy, but I was looking for reliability.
Best Value: I might be on my own here, but I believe that Kyle Walker can come close to reproducing the outstanding season he had last year regardless if he suits up for Tottenham or Manchester City. Walker is capable of being a top 30 player.
Most Upside: Olivier Giroud if he can secure a transfer to another EPL side, but a move to France is looking more likely at the moment. Raheem Sterling is my runner up if he can cement a role in Manchester City’s starting XI. Falling to the 53rd pick shows you how much confidence this group has in Sterling as he accumulated the 10th most points among forwards last year.
Puzzling Pick: Selecting Diego Costa with the 51st overall pick was a huge risk as all of the reports point to Costa heading to China or back to Spain.
My Team: Wilfred Ndidi was phenomenal for Leicester City after securing a move in January, averaging 10.97 PPM. After selecting defenders in both the 4th and 5th rounds I had to take a midfielder with my 6th pick. Also, I needed reliable production as Ndidi is my midfielder two.
|66||Ryan Bertrand||Consensus Pick|
|67||Anthony Martial||@Fantasy Gaffer|
Best Value: On a PPM basis Danny Rose was the second best defender in Togga last season. Rose was injured most of the second half of last term and is slated to start the upcoming season a few weeks late. If Rose misses just a few games then snagging him with the 65th pick is a real steal. Marko Arnautovic gets a shout here as well (10.36 PPM last season)
Most Upside: Anthony Martial is more likely to cement a place in the starting XI compared to Marcus Rashford now that Romelu Lukaku has signed with Manchester United. Martial is capable of being a top 30 player if he can get 25+ starts.
Puzzling Pick: Shkodran Mustafi. I already had two defenders (Alonso and Valencia), so, I should have been looking at an upside pick like Andy Carroll, Junior Stanislas, or Aaron Ramsey.
My Team: See above. In hindsight, if I wanted another defender, I should have gone with Hector Bellerin…much more upside.
|73||Patrick van Aanholt||@TalkinTogga|
Best Value: Did you see Hector Bellerin in the FA Cup Final?! There are plenty of good reasons why Bellerin was the highest ranked defender going into last season.
Most Upside: Junior Stanislas averaged 10.29 PPM last year and ended the season with a goal in each of his last three appearances.
Puzzling Pick: Xherdan Shaqiri is fun to watch, but he has yet to live up to the hype he had coming into the EPL. Shaqiri managed just eight double digit outputs last year. @Smokey_Loogy could have waited until the 12th or 13th round to make this selection.
My Team: At this point I had plenty of reliability in Alli, Alonso, Valencia, Ndidi, and Mustafi, but I went with another player who I think will produce consistent numbers in Granit Xhaka. In hindsight, this would have been a good time for an upside pick. Xhaka averaged 7.25 PPM last season, but in his last 14 appearances he tallied eight double digit returns.