In this edition of our FPL Price Review Series (see the links below for the rest), I’ll be looking at our options in goal. My Rotoworld colleague Sean Sullivan covered defenders yesterday while I tackled forwards on Tuesday, and in the next day Sean will complete this off-season’s edition with the best values in midfield as you continue your painstaking iterations of choosing an FPL.com team.
Naturally, Liverpool Goalkeeper of the Year Alisson and Manchester City’s Ederson come in as the most expensive options at £6.0, which will really give fantasy managers a tough decision given the multitude of options available. Jordan Pickford looks to have made the biggest jump as the Everton stopper is now £5.5, on par with David De Gea and Hugo Lloris. And lastly, the £4.0 options look less formidable than ever as none of the options are expected to get any minutes barring a series of injuries.
Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of the 2019/20 season. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column. Just four weeks before the start of the season!
Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham) £5.0
I feel like Fabianski is here every year, because FPL always undervalues the Polish international even after a price rise. After all, this is a guy who has posted three 140-point-plus seasons in his last five years as a starter while also hardly missing a match. With West Ham last season, Fabianski recorded a career-low seven clean sheets and yet still finished in the FPL.com top five in points mostly thanks to his league-leading 148 saves, which was a whopping 20 more than any other keeper in the league (Watford’s Ben Foster came in second).
At £5.0 Fabianski finally got the price boost he deserves from £4.5 yet £5.0 still looks like a steal, especially when looking at the Hammers opening schedule. After opening at home against the defending champs in Manchester City, West Ham have Brighton, Watford, Norwich City, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace which should be full of points for a solid, shot-stopping goalkeeper like Fabianski. Actually, until Week 13, it looks like Fabianski has one of the highest upsides among any keeper not named Alisson or Ederson.
Bernd Leno (Arsenal) £5.0
If you have concerns about West Ham’s defense (which is natural given their 55 goals conceded was the worst in the Premier League top 10 last season), Bernd Leno at Arsenal is one of my favorite picks in the FPL.com format. He’s the only keeper at a top-six club who is available for less than £5.5 and now there is no threat of Petr Cech behind the German international ready to swoop in at any moment. And Arsenal showed their defensive aptitude toward the end of last season under Unai Emery, conceding only one goal in a seven-match stretch in all competitions in March/April, which also happened to coincide with the return of Laurent Koscielny from a long-term injury.
The Gunners opening schedule is a mixed bag with Newcastle and Burnley in the first two weeks being offset by Liverpool and Tottenham to end August, but then the schedule really opens up as the Gunners play eight teams outside of last season’s top-10 through the middle of December—have a look and the sight of all of the green tags, or the absence of the red, will have your mouth watering. If you’re wary of spending £5.5 or more on a goalkeeper, Leno is your best option, and one I expect to pay dividends.
Mat Ryan (Brighton) £4.5
This spot was actually reserved for the starting Burnley keeper but that looks like more of a mess by the day. Joe Hart was the main starter last season, Nick Pope just signed a new contract, and Tom Heaton has been keen on a move to Aston Villa. All three are listed at a bargain £4.5, but it seems that not even manager Sean Dyche has a clue as to who will be the No. 1 this season. Until we know more, it’s better to avoid the Burnley trio for the moment, unfortunately, but keep an eye on any announcement because there will be real value in the Claret starter (my money’s on Pope).
But Brighton’s Mat Ryan presents your next best option at £4.5 if you prefer platooning your keepers. The Australian recorded more than 100 points in his first EPL season despite missing a month due to the Asian Cup in January. And the Seagulls opening schedule means that you really only have to find a replacement for Ryan in three of the club’s first 11 games as most of the matchups are pretty favorable. A Mat Ryan-Wayne Hennessey platoon could work out pretty well in terms of the fixtures if that’s the route you want to take to save you at least £0.5 on a pair of keepers.
Among premium keepers, this looks like the toughest dilemma. Lloris had a massive season last year, putting up his highest-ever point total despite posting the fewest minutes and the second-lowest clean sheet total in his six-year Premier League career. Only Liverpool’s Alisson averaged more points per match than the French international, who followed up his World Cup victory with a trip to the Champions League final. And to add the cherry on top, Spurs’ schedule to start the season looks great with only Manchester City and Arsenal as obstacles in the first nine weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, it’s hard to see a world-class keeper like David De Gea have another down year. Really, De Gea took the brunt of the blame for a poorly-organized Manchester United defense (good thing they re-signed Ashley Young right? Right???) that only recorded seven clean sheets. The Spaniard did have an off year, but he still managed to finish third in the Premier League in saves. I would still lean toward Hugo Lloris based on sheer consistency, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see De Gea come back with a massive year for the Red Devils.