20 Teams: 20 Players looks at the best fantasy football options from each team, each week. From the must starts to the best of a bad bunch, here are this week’s picks for Gameweek 1 of the 2016/17 season.
Arsenal (Liverpool H)
Aaron Ramsey: With Mesut Ozil unlikely to feature, Ramsey should get an opportunity to stake a claim for the number ten role against Liverpool’s shaky back four. The Welshman was excellent at the Euros and could bring that form to the start of the season.
Bournemouth (Man Utd H)
Callum Wilson: Wilson was one of the top scorers in the Premier League early on last season, before a torn ACL robbed him the rest of his year. Old Trafford is a tough place to score goals, but if Bournemouth get one he’ll likely be the source.
Burnley (Swansea H)
Tom Heaton: Delivered ten clean sheets in a struggling side that was eventually relegated two seasons ago. A home tie against a Swansea side with no strikers is a great early match up.
Chelsea (West Ham H)
Eden Hazard: Hazard had a tough year last year, but showed himself returning to his best towards the end of the season. Antonio Conte may bring out the best in the Belgian playmaker, who was being talked about as the best player in the league at this time last year.
Crystal Palace (West Brom H)
Joel Ward: West Brom are traditionally a side you pencil in as being likely to deliver clean sheets at both ends and so Palace defenders are certainly most appealing from this viewpoint. Joel Ward managed a couple of goals towards the end of last season. Were they flukes or has he added some attacking threat?
Everton (Tottenham H)
Leighton Baines: Despite the loss of John Stones, we’d expect Everton to be vastly improved defensively this season. Under Roberto Martinez they constantly had the most defensive errors each season, but new boss Ronald Koeman simply won’t tolerate it. The defensive talent they have is plentiful. Now they have a manager who can harness it, they should be much improved.
Hull City (Leicester City H)
Abel Hernandez: Hull look a disorganised rabble at the moment and one wouldn’t have high hopes for any of their players against the champions. Hernandez put together a great season last year for them.
Leicester City (Hull City A)
Jamie Vardy: Took his goal well in the Community shield and has an even better foil than last season in new signing Ahmed Musa. Their partnership could be devastating.
Liverpool (Arsenal A)
Roberto Firmino: Firmino has been playing a false nine role for Klopp this pre-season with Daniel Sturridge injured and seems set to take that role in Gameweek 1. Arsenal could be missing their top four centre-halves, which would make this an enticing match up.
Manchester City (Sunderland H)
Sergio Aguero: The Argentinian striker has the perfect opportunity to get his campaign off with a bang against a Sunderland side that are prime relegation candidates. We’d be stunned if he doesn’t find the net at least once.
Manchester United (Bournemouth A)
David De Gea: Jose Mourinho’s sides don’t always win with style but they usually win and often do it by compiling clean sheets. The Portuguese manager believes in winning with solidity first and often have the best defensive records in the league. He hasn’t had a keeper of De Gea’s calibre since Stephen Hunt’s knee collided with Petr Cech back in 2006.
Middlesborough (Stoke City H)
Alvaro Negredo: Negredo has Premier League pedigree and actually got off to a terrific start at City before his lone season tapered off dramatically towards the end. His goals could be crucial to Boro’s chances of survival.
Southampton (Watford H)
Shane Long: Long took his game to another level towards the end of last season, with improved finishing to match his customary tireless running. A fifteen goal season could be on the cards for the Irishman, and he’ll look to start off with a goal against a Watford side that ran out of steam badly at the end of last season.
Stoke City (Middlesborough A)
Marko Arnautovic: Arnautovic put together a man of the match display for Stoke City as he scored the opener in their 1-1 draw with Sunderland in Gameweek 36. He remains their most viable fantasy option – barring Bojan no other Stoke player has scored in a four game stretch where they conceded 13 in total.
Sunderland (Man City A)
Adnan Januzaj: Hard to see much hope for Sunderland in this one. Januzaj may thrive under the only boss to get out the best of him so far in his young career.
Swansea (Burnley A)
Gylfie Sigurdsson: The Swans have lost several key players this summer in Ashley Williams and Andre Ayew, but Sigurdsson remains the key to their survival. He should open his account against newcomers Burnley this weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur (Everton A)
Christian Eriksen: Eriksen got lost a bit in the shuffle early on last year, as the emergence of Dele Ali confused the Dane’s role in the team at times. However, by the end of the season the former Ajax man had adapted and finished as one of the highest point scoring midfielders once again. With his ability from set pieces, he’s our go to Spurs midfielder.
Watford (Southampton A)
Troy Deeney: Watford’s captain took a back seat to Odion Ighalo early on last season, before finding his feet in the second half. Look for him to start the season faster this time around.
West Brom (Crystal Palace A)
Salomon Rondon: Rondon managed nine goals in a wholly defensive side last year and is an under the radar option to have a breakout campaign. He seems to have overtaken Berahino as West Brom’s top striker.
West Ham (Chelsea A)
Dimitri Payet: A year ago, some of us barely knew this man’s name. This year he’s one of our favourites to win player of the year.