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This is all of the latest news and commentary as far as we're concerned.

Team Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion

Joshua Landon

Written by Scott Fraser (@scottfraserrrr)

Brighton & Hove Albion:

Newly promoted players often struggle to find themselves any owners, based mainly on the "unknown factor," most of us don’t pay any attention to the Championship, so unless we’re looking at players who have already had a stint in the Premier League, we don’t know what we are going to get. 

With Chris Houghton at the helm, Brighton kept the most clean sheets in the Championship, conceding just 40 goals as they clinched promotion.  Houghton has managed in the Premiership before so should now knows how to set his teams up to give themselves the best chance of survival.

After playing Man City on the opening day, the next 5 fixtures are friendlier as they face Leicester and Bournemouth on their travels with West Brom and Newcastle coming to the Amex. Lets take a look at who you could bring into your line up.

Defense

Lewis Dunk started 43 games as Brighton came 2nd in the Championship last season, he managed 2 goals and 1 assist over the season alongside contributing to Brightons solid defensive record. Priced at 4.5 he could be a good option as your back up defender, especially for when Brighton are playing at home. 

Similarly to Dunk, Shane Duffy (4.5) netted twice but in 31 games to Dunk's 43, coming in at 6'3" he will provide a great threat from set pieces and could find himself in the bonus points quite regularly.

Another option in the Brighton back line would have been David Stockdale; he kept 21 clean sheets with 12 of them coming at the Amex. However after deciding to reject a contract offer from Brighton in favour of a move to Birmingham, Australian Matthew Ryan has been drafted in. He’s unproven in England, but being priced at 4.5 makes him a tempting option as a back-up goalkeeper, deploying him in a similar way that many used Pickford last season, save and bonus points.

Despite their stellar defensive record last season, I would only look at Brighton defenders as back up players as the Premiership will be a whole new challenge. However, saying that, if the defence stay as resolute as they did last season then you could be looking at some very valuable clean sheet and bonus points.

Midfield

The main player I would consider in the Brighton midfield could be FPL gold: Anthony Knockaert. The Championship Player of the Year and priced at 6.0, Knockaert played 42 games last season and came away with 15 goals and 8 assists, a good haul for a midfielder.  

FPL managers, including myself, will be hoping that Knockaert can take advantage of Brighton being written off from the outset and cause teams some problems, just as he did in the Championship last season.

Pascal Groß was Brighton’s first signing after securing promotion, coming from relegated Bundesliga side FC Ingolstasdt 04. Despite Ingolstadt only recording 8 wins and scoring 36 goals, Groß  managed to chip in with a respectable 5 goals. Upon signing Houghton was quoted as saying:

“He offers something different, as an attacking midfielder operating behind the forward line, he will give us a new option going into the new season”

This is where Groß becomes a very interesting option, he’s priced at 5.5. which is slightly cheaper than team mate Knockaert. Last season in the Bundesliga, Groß created a whopping 95 chances, more than any other player in the league (yes, even more than your household Bayern and Dortmund players). With a current 0.3% ownership he could be the differential you need if he finds his feet.

Izzy Brown is the latest option in Brighton's attack after a successful loan spell at Huddersfield where he bagged 5 goals and an assist in his 21 appearances (including the winning goal in the play off semi final). The 20 year old will be looking to make his mark in the Premier League to celebrate his recent 4-year contract extension at Chelsea. At 5.5 he could be a dynamite option for your midfield to enable you to invest funds elsewhere.

If 5.5 is still to much too tempt you then your next best bet would be Solly March at 5.0. He battled with Dale Stephens (4.5) for a place on the left wing and I would expect him to keep the spot, he scored 2 goals and bagged 3 assists in 21 games last season, so returns will be minimal but he could find a place as your last midfielder.

Forwards

Brighton’s top scorer last season was Glenn Murray with 23 goals in just 39 games. Having had spells in the Premier League before with Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, Murray's Premier League experience is as follows: 52 appearances, 76 shots, 35 (46%) on target with 11 goals (2 penalties) and 4 assists. 

With Knockaert and now GroB playing behind him, Murray certainly shouldn’t have a shortage of chances, and with 5 headed goals in the Premiership he is certainly a great target for Knockaert to find from the wings. Coming in at 6.0 he could be seen as a viable third striker option

If you feel 6.0 is too much to part with for a Brighton forward, then Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed were both used as back ups to Murray and both bagged a respectable 11 goals each. They are both priced at 5.0 but I wouldn’t be expecting them to start.

 

A big thanks to Scott for this preview. You can find an earlier version of this article at FPL Addicts.

 

The Beginner's Guide to Winning at Fantasy Premier League (Redux)

Brandon Kelley

With our most recent Ten Rules for FPL Success tune-up podcast in mind, we're posting this "beginner's guide" infographic from our pals at Guide to Matched Betting. You might remember a similar graphic from the start of last season, but this one has a fresh design and now features the "free hit" chip. There are good talking points here regarding budget layouts (team structure), set piece takers, and transfer timing. Some of this stuff runs up against the more unconventional Always Cheating wisdom, but it's all well worth a look.

This infographic image is reposted in cooperation with Guide to Matched Betting.

Pre-Season Price Predictions

Brandon Kelley

As discussed on our recent podcast episode #82 (click to listen), here's a breakdown of all of our 2017/18 player price predictions. Since we recorded the pod, we've already learned from @OfficialFPL that Alexandre Lacazette will come into the game at £10.5. We'll know more (we'll know everything) when the new FPL site launches next week. Hit us up in all of the usual places with your own predictions.


NEW(ish) PLAYERS

Bernardo Silva (MCI)
  £8.5  (Brandon)
  £8.5  (Josh)

Ederson (MCI)
  £5.5  (Brandon)
  £5.5  (Josh)

Mohamed Salah (LIV)
  £7.5  (Brandon)
  £9.0  (Josh)

Victor Lindelöf (MUN)
  £5.5  (Brandon)
  £5.5  (Josh)

Davy Klaasen (EVE)
  £6.5  (Brandon)
  £7.5  (Josh)

Jordan Pickford (EVE)
  £5.0  (Brandon)
  £5.0  (Josh)

Michael Keane (EVE)
  £5.5  (Brandon)
  £5.0  (Josh)

Sandro Ramirez (EVE)
  £7.5  (Brandon)
  £7.0  (Josh)

Nathan Aké (BOU)
  £5.0  (Brandon)
  £5.0  (Josh)

Asmir Begovic (BOU)
  £5.0  (Brandon)
  £4.5  (Josh)

Jermain Defoe (BOU)
  £7.0  (Brandon)
  £7.5  (Josh)

Jay Rodriguez (WBA)
  £6.5  (Brandon)
  £6.0  (Josh)

Pablo Zabaleta (WHM)
  £5.0  (Brandon)
  £5.0  (Josh)

Alexandre Lacazette (ARS)
  £8.5  (Brandon)
  £9.0  (Josh)

Sead Kolasinac (ARS)
  £5.5  (Brandon)
  £5.5  (Josh)

Tammy Abraham (SWA)
  £6.0  (Brandon)
  £6.5  (Josh)

LAST SEASON'S TOP 5 BY POSITION

Goalkeepers:

Tom Heaton (BUR)
  £5.0  (Brandon)
  £5.0  (Josh)

Hugo Lloris (TOT)
  £5.5  (Brandon)
  £6.0  (Josh)

Thibaut Courtois (CHE)
  £6.0  (Brandon)
  £6.0  (Josh)

David de Gea (MUN???)
  £5.5  (Brandon)
  £5.5  (Josh)

Petr Cech (ARS)
  £5.5  (Brandon)
  £5.5  (Josh)

Defenders:

Gary Cahil (CHE)
  £6.5  (Brandon)
  £6.5  (Josh)

Marcus Alonso (CHE)
  £7.0  (Brandon)
  £7.0  (Josh)

César Azpilicueta (CHE)
  £6.5  (Brandon)
  £6.5  (Josh)

Kyle Walker (TOT???)
  £6.0  (Brandon)
  £6.0  (Josh)

Leighton Baines (EVE)
  £5.5 (Brandon)
  £5.5  (Josh)

Midfielders:

Alexis Sánchez (ARS???)
  £11.5  (Brandon)
  £11.0  (Josh)

Dele Alli (TOT)
  £9.5  (Brandon)
  £10.0  (Josh)

Eden Hazard (CHE)
  £10.5  (Brandon)
  £10.5  (Josh)

Christian Eriksen (TOT)
  £9.0  (Brandon)
  £9.0  (Josh)

Kevin De Bruyne (MCI)
  £10.0  (Brandon)
  £10.0  (Josh)

Forwards:

Harry Kane (TOT)
  £12.5  (Brandon)
  £13.0  (Josh)

Romelu Lukaku (EVE???)
  £11.0  (Brandon)
  £10.0  (Josh)

Diego Costa (CHE)
  £10.0  (Brandon
  £10.5  (Josh)

Sergio Agüero (MCI)
  £10.5  (Brandon)
  £11.5  (Josh)

Jermain Defoe (BOU)
  £7.0  (Brandon)
  £7.5  (Josh)

Poetry Corner: "Zlatan's 69 Touches in the Box"

Brandon Kelley

Touchin' inside your box! It's "poetry corner" time with Lucian.

Touchin' inside your box! It's "poetry corner" time with Lucian.

Our friend Lucian Mattison (also known as the official Always Cheating Poet Laureate) has submitted his first poem for your enjoyment. It will not only open your eyes to how Zlatan plays football, but you may also learn a thing or to about how the big Swede touches the ones he loves. Believe it or not, Lucian is actually a real-life poet and you can learn more about his work or buy his debut collection Peregrine Nation at his website.

Zlatan's 69 Touches in the Box
by Lucian Mattison


The first was quick, 

only the blink
of a phone
screen, finger tap
snapshot of Zlatan
from a bleacher
seat, indistinguishable
among the sea
of away shirts
*
Top-knot to top

notch, three goals
carved into his post. 
He knew everyone
needed to know
that he knew how
to make the skeptics say:
This guy, yeah, 
he fucks
*
like a 69

year old man,
his heart now beats
out of his shirt,
body broken down
after the first four
strokes, lazy lover
on his laurels already
ready for sleep.
*
Six matches nine-

ty minutes, so many
blanks shot
off the score sheet.
Head in his hand,
short of breath,
whose responsibility
is it to clean up
his mess?
*
Rash decisions

see yellow, suspension
of belief in what
we accept
as proven—a red rash
on Mourinho's
perineum. We all
collectively wonder
what's the other Rash for.
*
Big Z's goatee brushes

glass, breath hot against
the window. January
snow and blackbirds
temporary guests on the sill. 
Sixty and nine touches,
The Mirror starts to sing
the daintiest dish
set before the king.

If you want to hear more from our Poet Laureate, let us know. Or, heck, send us your own poems or tweet your FPL haikus. Whatever works. Hail Cheaters.

Fantasy Premier League BPS Leaders through Gameweek 9

Joshua Landon

Congratulations to Bournemouth's Adam Smith! Whoever he is. 

Congratulations to Bournemouth's Adam Smith! Whoever he is. 

As discussed on this week's podcast, here are the Fantasy Premier League Bonus Points (BPS) leaders through Gameweek 9. For Zlatan Ibrahimović owners, the data below goes a long way towards explaining how his season has gone off the rails. 

Here'ss the Top 1o: 

And here are the individual leaders in select individual BPS categories:

Are Premier League players more likely to score on their birthday?

Joshua Landon

Inspired by Laurent Koscielny's bicycle kick goal on his birthday on Sept. 10, I was curious if there was a history of other players with a record of success on their birthday. Per OPTA (found here), 53 Premier League players have scored on their birthday. Before Koscielny's goal, Christian Eriksen was the last player to score on his birthday, doing so on February 14, 2016. 

I pulled stats for a sampling of attacking English Premier League players to see if they had a record of scoring on their birthday in the Premier League, Champions League, etc. With the help of the invaluable TransferMarkt website, I looked back at approx. 3-4 years of results for each player to see how they did if and when a match fell on their birthday. 

The results? Interesting but inconclusive. Of the 58 players on this list, 10 (17%) have recorded either a goal or an assist on their birthday (based on my far-from-scientific research), with another 11 (19%) having birthdays in the June/July off-season. Although it may sometimes feel as though there are a seemingly infinite number of matches, it's actually not all that common for a player to have even played a competitive match on their birthday, either because their birthday falls during the summer, at midweek, etc. 

For the 2016/17 season, there are at least 5 players who will play a match on their birthday - and in an interesting coincidence for this article, both Mesut Ozil and Nolito have their birthdays and matches set to take place this Saturday, 10/15.  The other players with matches currently scheduled for their birthday are Christian Benteke (12/3), Wilfried Bony (12/10), and Andre Ayew (12/17). 

From an FPL perspective, there doesn't seem to be any data here that makes an overwhelming case for buying/captaining players on their birthday, but it will be interesting to see whether Mesut Ozil (home to Swansea) or Nolito (home to Everton) help to make a case this weekend for doing so in the future. 

International Break Discussion: Wildcard Targets & Team Value

Joshua Landon

Is Brendan Galloway on your wildcard radar? 

Is Brendan Galloway on your wildcard radar? 

Guest post by Hrishikesh Barad (@FPLantarctican)

The current international break marks the end of three gameweeks for the Premier League and the transfer season, too. In the Fantasy Premier League there could not have been a better climax to GW3, with attacking giants Aguero & Zlatan blanking after a gameweek where they racked up 13 points each, Sanchez and Hazard looking like must-haves for the rest of the season, and a possible ban of at least 3 matches for the 13.1 million priced Aguero.

Every fantasy football manager has been waiting for the FA to make a decision on Aguero before they decide to make the Wildcard move in FPL. With yesterday's confirmation of a violent conduct charge on Aguero by the FA,  many managers have chosen to play their wildcard and will look to start Gameweek 4 with all guns blazing with a newly re-established team consisting of at least two premium midfielders and Ibrahimovic in the front, and fill the remaining spots with the in-form players.

The Importance of Team Value

Before discussing useful differentials for your wildcard team and must-have picks for your FPL team going on to Gameweek 4, I'd like to share some knowledge on how to increase your Team Value (especially important this season with the inflated prices of players) and how you can avoid silly mistakes I made a couple of seasons back, eventually ending up with a lower team value during my wildcard. 

The foremost thing you need to know is that the buying price and the selling price of a player can be different. Let me explain with an example: suppose the current price of Redmond is 6.1 (which increased from 6 some time back). If you have him in your team, then the selling price of Redmond is still 6.0 and not 6.1. On the other hand, if you do not have him and want to transfer him in, then his buying price will 6.1

Then when does the selling price of a player increase? Remember this small phrase: "For every 0.2 price rise, there's a rise of SP by 0.1." Suppose you bought Ibrahimovic when his price was 11.5 but after racking up 24 points in three gameweeks his price rose to 11.7. Now 11.7 is the buying price of Ibrahimovic, although his selling price (as you may see on the transfers page) is 11.6. With an aim to increase the team value of their FPL team, many enthusiastic managers transfer in every player on the rise, just like I did a couple of seasons back. 

So the mistake I committed was transferring out a player like Hazard (whom I wanted back in my final WC team) in favour of a player like Sanchez, whose price appeared to be rising that night. What I didn't realize: the Hazard I sold for 11.1 had a selling price of 11.0 so when I will bring him back into my side, I will have to buy him for 11.1! So a straight -0.1 team value for me right there. I am sharing my own experience so that readers of can avoid my mistake and not experience the frustration of losing overall team value. All you have to remember is: do not transfer out players  you plan to keep in your wildcard team that have increased in price as since GW1.

 

Wildcard targets from Gameweek 4 Onward:

Easiest fixtures: Crystal Palace, Tottenham, West Brom, West Ham, Arsenal & Everton.

Defenders: 

  • Dann/Souare

  • Rose/Walker

  • Evans/Galloway

  • Collins

  • Williams/Baines

In my opinion, you must have at least three defenders from the above teams since they have the highest probability of clean sheets and bonus points too. Players like Dann, Rose and Williams have a history of attacking returns as well as bonus points. I have not included Holgate since Coleman is expected to come back into the side soon. 

Midfielders:

  • Premium: Sanchez, Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne

  • Moderate: Nolito/Sterling, Ozil/Cazorla, Mirallas/Barkley, Lamela, Redmond

  • Cheap: Capoue, Fletcher, Clayton, Snodgrass

Attackers:

  • Premium: Ibrahimovic, Kane

  • Moderate: Lukaku, Benteke, Costa, Perez

  • Cheap: Defoe, Negredo, Iheanacho

As I mentioned earlier, two premium mids and one premium forward must be the pivots around which you base your wildcard team. I wouldn't suggest you jump on the recent or deadline day signings as of yet, but you can surely keep them on your watch list. 

I've activated my own wildcard and shall be sharing my own team's picks during the international break. You can give a follow to @FPLantarctican for regular updates. Please do not hesitate to drop any of your queries or RMT requests. Enjoy, it's just a game.

Guide to Matched Betting: A Beginner's Guide to FPL

Brandon Kelley

In the afterglow of our most recent Always Cheating podcast episode "10 Tips for FPL Success," we found this infographic over at Guide to Matched Betting to be particularly fun and illuminating. Take a gander here at their "Beginner's Guide to Winning at Fantasy Premier League."

This infographic image is reposted in cooperation with Guide to Matched Betting.