Official FPL have begun drip-feeding player prices for the 2019/20 season, with Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m), Matt Ritchie (£5.5m), Ricardo Pereira (£6.0m), Jack Grealish (£6.0m), Teemu Pukki (£6.5m), Andy Robertson (£7.0m), Ryan Fraser (£7.5m), Callum Wilson (£8.0m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) revealed so far. Here are some quick initial thoughts on those prices, whether they are justified and a final verdict.
Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m)
With 300 points across the last two seasons and over 140 in each case, a third consecutive season at £4.5m could not be justified. However, at £5.0m, he is arguably too expensive to rotate with another goalkeeper and West Ham’s defensive frailties are off-putting for a potential set and forget option. He is without doubt a very good goalkeeper, as West Ham’s 10th place finish contrary to the expected data detailed in the ‘Why the Premier League’s top six are under threat‘ article demonstrates.
Verdict: Requires a few price drops or West Ham to significantly improve defensively.
Matt Ritchie (£5.5m)
The first reclassified player was Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie who switched from midfield to defence. Although a player on penalties and set-pieces potentially playing out of position is usually attractive, the departure of Rafa Benitez this week and a tough run of fixtures to start the season most likely rules Newcastle assets out of contention in the early stages. But for those still considering Ritchie, 90MAAT’s recent article on him provides a compelling discussion.
Verdict: Avoid until a regular starting place is observed under the new manager.
Ricardo Pereira (£6.0m)
Pereira’s price is certainly higher than expected for a defender outside the top six. However, 2018/19 saw him manage 4.2 points per match – the same as Cesar Azpilicueta, who is regularly around the same price. In addition, Leicester’s promising campaign last season following the arrival of Brendan Rodgers certainly puts the Foxes in top six contention, especially given the shortcomings of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Verdict: Consider during favourable fixtures such as from Gameweek 9-17.
Jack Grealish (£6.0m)
A reputation boost of £0.5m appears to have been applied to Grealish. In 34 Championship appearances, he managed just six goals and seven assists in what was his most prolific campaign to date. To justify that price, he will need to manage an equal or better return in a tougher league which starts with a daunting trip to Tottenham. For more on Grealish, Who Got The Assist’s verdict can be found here.
Verdict: Wait to see how Aston Villa adapt to the top flight.
Teemu Pukki (£6.5m)
Albeit in the Championship, any player capable of scoring 29 goals in a season is worth considering. Norwich’s intention is to give last-season’s players the opportunity to establish themselves as Premier League regulars, which will ensure that new arrival Josip Drmic will not be an immediate threat to Pukki’s starting spot. And as Aleksandar Mitrovic showed last season with four goals in as many games, a tough run of fixtures is not the be all and end all.
Verdict: Form may override the tough fixtures.
Andy Robertson (£7.0m)
As the Virgil Van Dijk player analysis article indicated, £7.0m seemed about right for the Liverpool defence based on past prices. It appears cheap, especially considering that Bournemouth attackers Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson are more expensive. However, the greater value amongst defenders in general due to the potential to rotate cheaper options justifies that decision.
Verdict: Only avoid if Alexander-Arnold and/or Van Dijk are preferable.
Ryan Fraser (£7.5m)
A significant price hike was to be expected from last season’s sixth highest scoring midfielder. Fraser’s points were reflected in the underlying numbers as he topped both the big chances created and xA tables with 28 and 10.21 respectively. However, it is likely to be a crowded price bracket with the likes of Luka Milivojevic and James Maddison providing competition at potentially slightly cheaper prices.
Verdict: Consider from Gameweek 1.
Callum Wilson (£8.0m)
If he can stay fit, Callum Wilson looks the more enticing Bournemouth option at just £0.5m more than Fraser. The forward bracket often lacks a variety of good options with only 13 managing more than 2500 minutes in 2018/19. A points per match of 5.6 was the fourth highest amongst forwards, below Aguero, Aubameyang and Kane and more than Fraser’s 4.8. The price difference between him and King, who very marginally outscored Wilson’s expected data, will be key.
Verdict: A standout forward option ahead of two promoted teams in the first two gameweeks.
Mohamed Salah (£12.5m)
It is very rare that the top scoring player from last season drops in price. With 259 points last season, some promising early fixtures, no position change and the most goal attempts, shots in the box, penalty area touches and xG amongst 2018/19 midfielders, Salah has everything. There is little else to say aside from avoid at your own risk.
Verdict: The best player in the game.