The confetti has barely cleared from the closing ceremonies in Moscow, yet already we have already seen a week of Premier League games come and go. It is now time to make the customary overreactions to good early season performances so I think we can look forward to seeing Crystal Palace in the Champions League next season, Richarlison to win the Ballon D’Or and Maurizio Sarri to be wearing a dirty pair of pyjamas with a rip in the backside on the touchline by December.
The Premier League is a rushed and hectic place this year with a number of significant coaching changes, personnel changes, promoted clubs with soaring expectations and Tottenham doing absolutely nothing, at all, not a single change. With significant adjustments to traditional top 6 teams such as Emery taking over at Arsenal and Sarri at Chelsea, the first few weeks of this season will inevitably see unknown players become household names and household names become Cesc Fabregas.
This year shows a change in the Premier League format as we see the transfer window close before the start of the season. Whilst, the new window isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it does mean that Premier League draft fantasy players can get some much-needed stability at the start of the season. With last minute additions to fantasy leagues at the deadline this year like Kepa Arrizabalaga and Yerry Mina, the first week on the Premier League waiver wire could very well make or break fantasy seasons.
So with that in mind, I will be recommending players with less than 65% ownership that you should be considering adding to your Draft Fantasy Premier League teams in free agency or in the waiver wire this week.
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Premier League Draft Week 1 Waiver Wire
1. Kepa Arrizabalaga – Goalkeeper – Chelsea – 59% Owned
The Spanish back up international signed for a nice 71 million pounds replacing Thibaut Courtois as Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper shortly before the transfer window closed. Kepa may not be as highly touted as Courtois but Spanish journalists assure us that Kepa is the real deal. Under Sarri at Chelsea, we can expect him to keep clean sheets. He should therefore be the number 1 waiver wire pick up this weekend.
2. Yerry Mina – Defender – Everton – 35% Owned
An absolute Coupe for Everton, I’m still scratching my head as to how they managed to pull this one off. Mina signed from Barcelona on deadline day for what seemed like an underwhelming 27.5 million pounds and will likely be in Everton starting eleven as early as this week. Mina was highly sought after with Lyon and United also apparently interested in signing the 23-year-old Columbian. Playing in front of another World Cup star Jordan Pickford, Mina has potential returns at both ends of the pitch and I would expect his ownership to be in the 80’s within a couple of weeks.
3. James Milner – Midfielder – Liverpool – 42% Owned
It’s taken Milner just 16 years to get the respect he deserves in the Premier League, as this weekend pundits described how he has been one of England’s ‘best ever Premier League players. At 32 Milner may be on the decline but he can play at any position on the pitch and his work rate is still at elite levels. If the Swiss army knife defender can stay in Liverpool’s side all season he will be a solid every week fantasy starter with upside for fantasy purposes.
4. Callum Wilson – Forward – Bournemouth – 39% Owned
It was interesting to hear the pundits this week talking about how with Arsene Wenger leaving the Premier League; Eddie Howe is now the longest-serving manager in the league. With that stability and it being Bournemouth’s 3rd consecutive season in the Premier League, it does appear likely that we can expect stable performances from Bournemouth and if he’s healthy I think we can expect Callum Wilson to be their best-attacking threat.
It was a mixed bag for him against Cardiff as he did get a goal and an assist, but also took a terrible penalty that was saved by Neil Etheridge. It’s unclear whether Callum will get the next penalty opportunity but he does appear to be a decent option against the lesser sides. Bournemouth has West Ham next week who allowed 4 goals against Liverpool last week.
5. Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Defender – Crystal Palace – 16% Owned
Wan-Bissaka did not play much for Palace last season as injuries and Joel Ward kept the 20-year-old down to four appearances. When given the chance to start on Saturday against Fulham Bissaka impressed with a nice dribble and assist to Zaha in the second half as well as getting a clean sheet as Palace beat Fulham 2-0. Bissaka is a converted winger and his attacking ability was evident on Sunday. If he continues to start Bissaka could become a consistent every week fantasy asset this season.
6. Ryan Fraser – Midfielder – Bournemouth – 38% Owned
Fraser scored the other goal that Callum Wilson assisted on Sunday against Cardiff and generally looked dangerous going forward. It shouldn’t be expected that Bournemouth will repeat those kinds of performances against better opponents but Fraser should be a solid option to get attacking opportunities most weeks. For what it’s worth Fraser mentioned he was hoping for ’10-12 goals this season’ in his post-match interview.
7. Wayne Hennessy – Goalkeeper – Crystal Palace – 17% Owned
Hennessy’s 6 saves on Sunday against Fulham doesn’t do justice to just how well he played against the Premier League new boys. Hennessy made some outstanding saves and with Palace’s back four he may well continue to get those save opportunities. He has a tough matchup against Liverpool this week but after that has a dream run of fixtures where he could be a threat for a clean sheet every week. Excellent streamer option.
8. Kelechi Iheanacho – Forward – Leicester – 39% Owned
Iheanacho started up front instead of Vardy in Leicester’s 2-1 opening day loss to Manchester United on Friday night. Vardy played in the World Cup (barely) and picked up a knock so may have needed some extra time to be fit for the opening game. That being said Vardy will turn 32 this season and all those Vardy parties may take their toll on the speedy forward. Iheanacho has shown flashes of quality in the past at Leicester and Manchester City and if he finds his way into more starts could be a nice early season pick up.
9. Alireza Jahanbaksh – Forward – Brighton – 52% Owned
The new Brighton forward must have thought he had the title of hardest to pronounce name sewn up before Chelsea signed Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Iranian international came on for Solly March 19 minutes before the whistle in Brighton’s 2-0 defeat to Watford. The seagulls looked poor on Saturday and watching 34-year-old Glen Murray hobble around the pitch was painful. Jahanbaksh looked promising in his short debut and we can expect more starts in the coming weeks as Brighton look to find some form.
10. Joselu – Forward – Newcastle – 13% Owned
Despite Alan Shearer’s damning indictment of Mike Ashleys transfer activity, Newcastle looked pretty handy against a good Tottenham side on Saturday. Rafa is going to get the best out of the players he does have at Tottenham and that was evident on Saturday with Joselu, Kenedy, Shelvey and Matt Richie all looking solid going forward. Joselu has a good chance to be an every week starter and should have a good chance to get some returns against Cardiff on Saturday, although the fixtures after that are tough.
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