Courtesy of our official content providers The Draft Society, here we bring to you 5 EPL Players to Watch this Draft Season! Check out our hints and tips on under the radar and upcoming players who you need to be bumping up your pre-season Draft Rankings.
5 EPL Players to Watch This Draft Season
As we’ve said above, these are Players to Watch this pre-season! And if you’re after even more content to help with your pre-season draft, we recommend checking out the Fantrax Fantasy EPL Draft Kit!
Milos Kerkez | Bournemouth | @DraftLad
22/23 Points: 316.5 (in Eredivisie)
22/23 Points Per Start: 10.7 (32 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: Picks 130+ (Round 11 in a 12-team league) but would go as low as 110 if need be
Analysis: Bournemouth’s recruiting tactics changed dramatically after Foley and Co. took over. Since January, they’ve signed some of the most promising U-23 players from abroad, and Kerkez is no different. The semi cherry-picked Twitter stat was that Kerkez is 1 of 5 U19 players, and the only defender, to have 10+ returns in all competitions from Europe’s top 15 leagues this season. Kerkez is a 19-year-old left-back who played for AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie and UEFA Conference League last season and previously played for AC. Milan, before they released him. This past season was a real coming out party for him and he was sought after by many UCL-involved sides, including Lazio and Benfica, but ultimately chose to come to the Cherries due to Iraola’s style of play.
Kerkez, on paper, is a good fit for the Iraola system, as a full-back who gets forward very well. He’s quick, he’s direct, he dribbles well, he crosses well, he overlaps well. He’s well-rounded enough (and quick enough) to be able to sustain that attacking output and be competent defensively. Quite aggressive in tackling and intercepting, Kerkez should do well on both sides of the ball fantasy-wise, racking up ghosts, but may get caught out in real life on occasion. Speaking of fantasy, Kerkez put up 10.7 PP90 and 8.1 GP90 last year in the Eredivisie for a 4th-place Alkmaar. He’ll likely be on the other end of the table this season and concede many more than 1 goal per game. Whether his ghost points can consistently outweigh multiple concessions will be the key driver for whether he’s a roster keeper for the season. But his well-rounded stat line and attacking contributions, coupled with an Iraola system that favors wide, direct players, make me think he’s a worthwhile punt in the late rounds. Take Matias Vina last season as a proof of concept. Kerkez currently has no ADP, so let’s keep him our little secret shall we?
João Pedro | Brighton | @JWillDraft
22/23 Points: N/A
22/23 Points Per Start: N/A
Recommended Draft Pick: 55-60 (12 Team League: Late Round 4/Early Round 5)
Analysis: In an impressive season with Watford in the Championship last year, Pedro posted a stat line featuring 11 goals and 4 assists. More importantly, though, if we convert his numbers to Fantrax Default Scoring, he was good for 10.1 ghost points per 90. Certainly, the Premier League tax means that those numbers don’t directly translate. But, with several key departures at the Amex and Pedro’s knack for counting stats, he’s one to monitor in drafts. If you see him slipping past the 5th round, he’s value there purely based on his potential and the prolific Brighton attack. He’s one to be cautious with, too, however. The Joao Pedro hype train has well and truly left the station. If his draft price continues to climb, don’t pay it. He’s certainly not a value in the 3rd or early 4th round. He faces competition with Enciso and others in the 10 slot, Mitoma and March on the wings, and Ferguson, Welbeck, and Undav up top.
Noni Madueke | Chelsea | @BantahB
22/23 Points: 90.5 (60th best forward – January transfer)
22/23 Points Per Start: 9.6 (7 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: 121-132 (12 Team League: Round 11)
Analysis: The former Tottenham Hotspur youth player and recently crowned 2023 U-21 Euro Champion was a shining light in an otherwise dark season for Chelsea during the 2022/23 EPL season. Noni Madueke started most of his games (5 of 7) in the latter portion of the season under the tutelage of Frank Lampard and it was during that period that Madueke was the 2nd highest in FPts (57.5). One of the things that stood out during Madueke’s debut season was his ability to rack up Ghost Points. In fact, by the end of the 2022/23 season, Madueke sat 5th in Ghost points per start for all Chelsea outfielders even though he was 20th for minutes played (635). His points production were via two main categories, Key Passes (KP) and Successful Dribbles (CoS). If you analyse the rate at which he created a chance or successfully dribbled past an opponent, he sat 6th and 2nd respectively for all Chelsea outfielders. If Madueke nails a starting spot in the Chelsea XI, Fantrax Managers may be obtaining an absolute steal in the latter portion of their drafts.
Casemiro | Manchester United | @draftgenie
22/23 Points: 240 (40th best midfielder)
22/23 Points Per Start: 10.0 (24 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: 73-84 (12 Team League: Round 7)
Analysis: Casemiro will be a very underrated fantasy asset this season due to his being classified as a “CDM”. His 9.5 points per start are not somethfiing to look past. Casemiro is an integral part of United’s setup and is a lock in the XI unless injured or….suspended. His disciplinary record is probably his biggest drawback; 9 total cards last year (2 of them reds). He missed multiple games through suspension, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him rack up another 2-3 red cards this season based on his play style. He is a very aggressive player, for better or worse. His ability to get all over the pitch led to 7.9 ghost points/start, which is a great floor for a player who also got 7 returns last year (4G and 3A). I would expect him to maybe increase that a bit as United improve offensively. His 28 key passes in 24 starts shows he gets involved in the attacking buildup but is also a major threat from set pieces. I am sure Ten Hag will be looking to improve United’s scoring from set-plays and Casemiro will be one of the focal points there.
He is worth drafting in the 7th round. He would make an incredible MID3/4 for any team, and should still be available depending where you are in the draft order. If you are set on rostering Casemiro this year, then you may need to reach for him in the 6th round, but I wouldn’t consider this too big of a reach.
Alexander Isak | Newcastle United | @wrigavin
22/23 Points: 226 (22nd best forward)
22/23 Points Per Start: 11.2 (17 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: 20-30 (12 Team League: Round 2/3)
Analysis: The former Real Sociedad striker arrived on Tyneside to great fanfare as one of the first few statement signings from the new owners. The silky Swede scored twice in his first three Premier League matches before suffering a long-term injury that sidelined him from October to mid-January. It took a couple matches for Isak to settle back into a groove, especially as he was often deployed in an unfamiliar left wing role to accommodate Callum Wilson, but he still managed to deliver double-digit goals in an injury-stricken debut season in England. While Wilson has been a long-time favorite of the manager, Isak is the type of player that can take the club to the level they aspire to, combining a keen eye for goal with exceptional movement and on-ball ability. He’s also at the age (he’ll turn 24 early in the season) where he’s coming into his prime years, whereas Wilson is at the tail end. It’s not a guarantee, but if Isak assumes the starting role as the number 9 from the beginning of the season and can meet or exceed his projected starts in the Premier League, he’s got the potential to establish himself as one of the best forwards and fantasy assets in the game.
Find our 2023-24 Fantrax Fantasy EPL Draft Kit here! And make sure you also check out the 23/24 Draft Kit from our official EPL content partners The Draft Society for Draft Rankings, Team Previews, Draft Strategy, Transfer Analysis, 23/24 Season Projections, and so much more!