Budget Enablers in FPL: GW 1

This new weekly article profiles low-cost FPL players that you may wish to consider for selection in your Fantasy Premier League starting eleven when looking to enable funds to be spent elsewhere in your team, starting with GW1

Firstly, I would briefly like to introduce myself as a new addition to the FPL Connect team under the Twitter handle ‘mh59bur’.

I have always finished at the top 75k mark or below since my first season in 2013/14 with one top 10k finish. My FPL team ID is 9415. I like to interact on Twitter with other FPL enthusiasts, so I look forward to engaging with readers throughout the season.

Goalkeeper – Nick Pope (4.5m) vs Southampton (H)


Burnley’s shot-stopper is the pick of the 4.5m keepers for me now that Tom Heaton (also 4.5m) has joined Aston Villa. His stellar 2017/18 season where he racked up 11 clean sheets and 19 bonus points proves his FPL pedigree.

Despite the GW1 opening fixture against the Saints seemingly being the easiest until GW5, the England keeper will rack up plenty of save points across these games. Sean Dyche sets up his centre-backs in a way that they funnel opposition play outside the box through the middle.

As a result, the other side, in frustration,  invariably tend to take a pop at goal from long range with the Clarets’ netminder favourably saving most of any shots on target.

Defenders (all £4.5m)


Kiko Femenía vs Brighton (H)

Watford have historically got off to a flyer in recent Premier League seasons and their opening run leads me to think no differently this time round.

First up is the Seagulls who weren’t exactly prolific up front last season and it is still early days under the new management of the attack-minded Graham Potter.

The Spanish right-back, who can also play right-midfield, likes to bomb on forwards. He will most likely play behind Will Hughes who tends to drift inside meaning that he will make plenty of overlapping runs and put inviting crosses into the opposition box.


Adam Smith vs Sheffield United (H)

Another right-back to consider, this time one who plays for a team that boast the easiest opening two fixtures on paper. With Bournemouth facing off against The Blades followed up by Aston Villa away, Smith represents a decent pick to start off with.

He has also played at right-midfield before, which might mean that Eddie Howe will push him forward during the later stages of a game if the Cherries are trying to protect a lead.

With Bournemouth’s usual right-midfielder, David Brooks, being out injured for three months, I do wonder if this will be the case.


Charlie Taylor vs Southampton (H)

If you would rather deploy a premium keeper in goal instead of Pope but still want to cover Burnley’s solid defence, then look no further than the Clarets’ left-back ahead of the season opener.

Taylor will be expected to use his crossing and dribbling prowess to supply his side’s front-line so there is a chance of an attacking return alongside clean sheet points. Ensure that you find a rotation partner for him to cover Burnley’s tougher fixtures.

Midfielders (both £6m)


Ross Barkley vs Man Utd (A)

Fancy a cheap punt in midfield from a top 6 club? Until Willian returns to the fray, I am confident that Chelsea’s number ten will be on penalty duty after his pre-season exploits. For me, that is enough of a reason to pick him in my own FPL side along with his set-piece expertise.

His new position behind the striker partially explains why he was the Blues’ leading goalscorer and assist-maker in pre-season (five and three respectively).

The England man faces tough competition from the promising Mason Mount (also £6m), which is why there is some risk, but my feeling is that he will develop strongly under Frank Lampard.


Abdoulaye Doucouré vs Brighton (H)

This observer is very surprised that the talented Frenchman is still on Watford’s books, such have been his strong performances for the Hornets in central midfield.

With a minimum of eleven goals and assists combined in each of the past two league seasons, his form will be largely responsible if Watford are to again get off to a flying start with their kind opening run of fixtures. He has a licence to powerfully roam forwards whilst his midfield partner, Etienne Capoué, sits back.

Forwards (£6m and below)


Christian Benteke (£6m) vs Everton (H)

With Wilfried Zaha crucially staying at Crystal Palace, the big Belgian will still be supplied with quality chances.

Questions remain over whether he can recapture his Aston Villa form from a few seasons ago but he is the Eagles’ main striker and will therefore be backed to come up with the goals.

He faces two of the three promoted sides in his side’s opening four fixtures giving him a decent platform to show he deserves to play up top.


Jurgen Locadia (£5.5m) vs Watford (A)

Brighton’s attacker makes my list simply because he is the cheapest forward in FPL who is the most nailed on to start the opening round of fixtures after a decent pre-season.

He will start on the right of a front three in a 5-2-3 formation, which indicates that he will not solely be stationed on the wing and thus be allowed to come inside with width also being provided by Martin Montoya from right wing-back.

He has indeed stated that this is his preferred position. With the Seagulls’ kind opening run and the promise of Potter’s attacking style, I view the Dutchman as an enabler for funds being spent back in midfield and defence, where more value lies in my opinion.


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