With the Premier League season restarting this weekend, Fantasy Football is once again re-emerging in football fans’ consciousness. There are a host of popular players’ from last season, who look to be favoured once more. For instance, Trent Alexander Arnold is in 54% of teams. Even some players’ that did not play in the Premier League last season, have been selected in a high quantity of squads. New striker Timo Werner has been selected in nearly 50% of teams.
But what about the players that have slipped into the shadows of the Fantasy Premier League, overlooked by the masses, but nevertheless, assets that are sure to gain your team points. Here, we will pick out five players who could be your differential picks going into the new season. (Specifically, we’ve picked players with a squad selection of no higher than 2%.)
Illan Meslier – Leeds United – GK – £4.5m
Leeds conceded just 35 goals, as they finally gained promotion back to the Premier League last season. Following, disgraced goalkeeper, Kiko Casilla’s demotion, young Frenchman Illan Meslier took over the mantle as Leed’s shot-stopper. Despite only playing 10 Championship games, he conceded just 4 goals, keeping 7 clean sheets in the process. Impressively, Meslier’s 84% save percentage, was only bettered by Ryan Schofield, who played one game last season. In the Premier League, Leeds’ tight defence is set to be tested more rigorously. It’s improbable that Meslier will maintain such a high number of clean sheets, but he is likely to face more shots on goal. Considering his shot-stopping skills, Meslier’s likely to consistently rack up points.
Mohammed Salisu – Southampton – DEF – £4.5m
Mohammed Salisu is another newcomer to the Premier League, but don’t be surprised if he hits the ground running for Southampton. With Salisu in their defence last year, Real Valladolid conceded 8 goals fewer than the season prior. The Ghanaian made the 3rd most clearances in La Liga, and the 5th most blocks. Last season, Southampton had a relatively porous defence, conceding 60 goals. But the signs of progression are promising. In the second-half of the season ‘The Saints’ conceded just 23 goals, 14 fewer than the first 19 games. Now, with the addition of Salisu, the Southampton defence may become even more rigid.
Daniel Podence – Wolves – MID – £5.5m
It’s not too staggering that Daniel Podence has been largely overlooked so far. The midfielder recorded just one goal and one assist in his 9 Premier League appearances last season, after arriving from Olympiakos in January. That being said, Podence recorded 2 assists in the 4 Europa League games he played, as he began to cement himself in Nuno Espirito Santos’ plans. Considering that Wolves are defensively sound, conceding 40 goals last season, Podence is also likely to gain clean sheet points. At the very least, he represents a great bench option.
Grady Diangana – West Brom – MID – £5.5m
Mark Noble’ public outcry at the West Ham board for letting Grady Diangana go to West Brom should indicate the quality of the player. In 30 Championship appearances last season, the winger scored 8 goals, and assisted a further 7. Next season West Brom’s attacking onus will be on both Matheus Pereira and Diangana. Although its unlikely he will match his goal involvement from the Championship, the low ownership, doesn’t do justice to the impact that Diangana is likely to have on West Brom in the Premier League.
Eddie Nketiah – Arsenal – FOR – £6.0m
After Arteta’s arrival, Nketiah’s Arsenal career has sprung into life. He played in 13 Premier League games, and featured in Arsenal’s FA Cup run, following his loan spell at Leeds. Despite only scoring four times in all competitions, Nketiah is likely to feature heavily in Arteta’s attacking plans once again, dovetailing in the centre-forward position with Alexandre Lacazette. When forwards like Mitrovic and Ayew are in the same price bracket as Nketiah, many players have opted for the strikers who are likely to play more. But, considering the low ownership of Nketiah, and the attacking talent around him, he should at the very least provide you with a great back-up option.