Playing fantasy football? Here are some tips, bargains and players to avoid

With the World Cup done and dusted, it’s time to look closer to home.

The 2018/19 Premier League kicks off on Friday August 10, a day after the transfer window slams shut – so you should probably start thinking about your fantasy football team.

If you’re determined to claim bragging rights – or even hard cash – from your friends and family, you’ll need to identify the must-haves, bargains and potential flops.

But how can you get the most bang for your buck?

Well, players from newly promoted sides, rising stars and under-the-radar signings often come with modest transfer fees, so they’re always worth a look.

Those whose managers favour a squad rotation system, though, should probably be avoided along with those whose teams have some tricky early fixtures to contend with.

Here, with a little help from the Mirror’s data unit, we’ve provided our top tips, bargains and players to steer clear of when selecting your line-up…

5 bargains

Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)

Position: Goalkeeper

Price: £4.5m

New West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has been busy in the transfer market, making several savvy buys – including experienced goalkeeper Fabianski.

The big Pole, 33, has joined the Hammers in a £7m deal from Swansea, for whom he shone despite often having a leaky defence in front of him.

Unsurprisingly, he’s proving popular with players of the official Premier League fantasy football game, with 25.5% sticking him in their side.

Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth)

Position: Defender

Price: £4.5m

You can usually rely on Daniels to chip in with a few goals and assists from left-back.

His knockdown fee is based on the 61 goals Bournemouth shipped last season, but if Eddie Howe can add defensive reinforcements this summer, it could aid Daniels in the clean sheets stakes.

Ademola Lookman (Everton)

Position: Midfielder

Price: £5.5m

Ignored by Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, Lookman joined RB Leipzig on loan in January.

The move was the making of him. He started seven games for the Bundesliga side, scoring five goals and assisting three.

Still only 20, he looks set to get his chance under new Toffees boss Marco Silva. Moreover, he is likely to be used as a wide forward, meaning he could end up becoming your team’s bonus striker.

Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield)

Position: Midfielder

Price: £5.5m

Huddersfield’s best player last season, Australian Mooy contributed four goals and three assists.

Rarely injured or suspended, he should start most games for the Terriers.

If a bigger club swoops, his point scoring potential could be given a further boost as he may end up with more clean sheets to his name too.

Cenk Tosun (Everton)

Position: Forward

Price: £7m

Playing in an Allardyce side devoid of creative spark, Tosun somehow managed to score five goals in 14 appearances for Everton after joining in a £27m January transfer from Besiktas.

With attack-minded Silva now in charge at Goodison Park, the chances in front of goal should come thicker and faster for the Turkey international.

3 must-haves

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Position: Midfielder

Price: £13m

Midfielder? Really? Salah, operating in a wide forward position, was quite simply sensational in his debut season for Liverpool.

The Egyptian scored a mightily impressive 32 goals in the Premier League, earning him the Golden Boot.

You can’t even think about leaving him out, can you?

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Position: Forward

Price: £12.5m

A quick glance at Kane’s statistics for the past four seasons will tell one thing – he guarantees goals.

And in the world of fantasy football, goals mean points.

His track record suggests he’ll score anything between 21 and 30 goals. Expensive, but surely worth it.

Pierre-Emerick Abuameyang (Arsenal)

Position: Forward

Price: £11m

Thirteen appearances, 10 goals, four assists – Aubameyang had a very good start to life at Arsenal.

The Gabon striker, signed from Borussia Dortmund for £56m in January, took to the Premier League like a duck to water.

Now fully up to speed and with a full pre-season under his belt, he should be even better next time out.

A genuine contender for the Golden Boot – and a full £2m cheaper than Salah.

4 players on the up…

Picking up the best players from newly promoted sides can be key in fantasy football.

It’s a good way of finding cheap players who will will grab you bucket loads of points, giving you an advantage over your less clued-up rivals.

To help you, our data unit has worked out how many points they would have won based on the number of goals and assists they had in the Championship last season.

Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham)

Diogo Jota (Wolves)

Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolves)

Position: Midfielder

Price: £5.5m

Nine goals and 12 assists would have earned Cavaleiro 81 points last season.

Junior Hoilett (Cardiff)

Position: Midfielder

Price: £5.5m

The former Blackburn and QPR player, 28, scored nine and set up 11 for the Bluebirds last season.

That would have been worth 78 fantasy football points.

3 players to avoid

Petr Cech (Arsenal)

Position: Goalkeeper

Price: £5m

You might see Cech’s meagre price and be tempted to stick him in your team.

He is, after all, a four-time Premier League winner, four-time FA Cup winner and Champions League winner.

There’s a reason why his price is low, though.

Now 36, he’s past his peak and looks set to play second fiddle to the Gunners’ new £22.5m signing Bernd Leno in Unai Emery’s first season in charge.

Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)

Position: Defender

Price: £6.5m

Dead-ball specialist Alonso has enjoyed a couple of good seasons at Chelsea, scoring 13 goals and making five assists in 64 appearances. Not bad for a left-back.

The Spaniard, 27, also contributed to 27 clean sheets. But just how much of his success for the Blues has been down to Antonio Conte’s system?

If new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri doesn’t play with wing-backs or afford him the same freedom to get forward, the goals and assists could dry up.

Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)

Position: Forward

Price: £10.5m

Granted, Jesus’ record in the Premier League is pretty good.

The Brazilian, 21, has scored 20 goals in just 39 appearances – but he isn’t guaranteed to start.

Pep Guardiola tends to play with one striker, meaning both Jesus and Sergio Aguero are likely to spend time warming the bench.

And if the World Cup was his audition for your team, he surely failed.

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