Want to wipe the floor with your friends? Follow our simple steps to being an FPL champion (Picture: Getty/Metro)

With just a matter of days until the Premier League kicks off on Friday night, football fans everywhere are scrambling to make last-minute changes to their Fantasy Football teams. Pre-season results are being scoured, injuries and suspensions checked, and strategies formulated.

But we’ve done all the hard work for you to create the perfect team to start the new FPL season with. It’s got goals, assists and clean sheets galore. And as well as working out at XI that can get you off to a flying start this season, we’ve got some handy tips that you cannot afford to ignore…


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
Don’t be the last person to clock on to an early season bargain, which can boost your bank balance (Picture: Getty)

Wildcarding early on is often seen as a mistake, a sign that you’ve messed up with your initial selection. But it needn’t be. Bracing for an early wildcard allows you to play just for the first three game weeks (or perhaps the first six) and transfer in any players who are massively over-performing early on.

These so-called ‘bandwagon’ players can make you a killing and massively increase your squad value. Think of the £6m priced Aaron Ramsey in 2013/14, when he scored or assisted 14 goals in his first 16 games, or £5.5m Riyad Mahrez’s 19 goals or assists in his first 17 games in 2015/16. Even last year, £4.5m Etienne Capoue’s four goals in the first five games made him a brief must-have.

Wildcarding at the beginning of the international break (after gameweek three) also gives you a longer period for players to increase in value – maybe even getting double and triple price rises – as well as presenting the opportunity to transfer in any players signed before the window closes.

Furthermore, the addition of the Free Hit chip – which lets you make unlimited free transfers for a single gameweek, then reverts your squad back to how it was originally – eases the need to keep a wildcard in reserve for double gameweeks and so on.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
Don’t be lured in by the excitement and glamour of new signings when sure-fire picks are available (Picture: Getty)

There is often a tendency to get over excited by new names and big signings, but tried and tested players will always be the safest bet. Mohamed Salah may be earning rave reviews in pre-season, but Sadio Mane is the established star and has hit double figures in each of his three Premier League campaigns.

Players from teams who have new managers should also be avoided, with huge question marks surrounding those early weeks – not just in terms of how the team will fare, but what the manager’s teamsheet will even look like. More often than not, players and managers take time to settle.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
Pick one goalkeeper and stick with him, having two strong keepers only creates unneeded dilemmas (Picture: Getty)

If you’re spending more than £9.5m on goalkeepers, you’ve already lost. The prospect of a rotating pair is a good idea in theory (switching out two mid-range keepers depending on fixtures), but in reality you are better off sticking with one starting keeper all season.

That means you should pick a £4.0m goalkeeper purely to sit on the bench – Rob Elliot, who could play for Newcastle, is most people’s pick but beware of price drops! – and then either a top-tier keeper, or, if you need more funds for elsewhere, a mid-table starter.

If you want to do the former, David de Gea is the stand-out option. If you favour the latter, West Brom have a very favourable series of fixtures to start the season, so pick Ben Foster.

Assuming that De Gea keeps two clean sheets in the first three gameweeks (14 points), that would work out at 2.55 points per million spent. If Foster keeps just one clean sheet (10 points) over that period, that would work out at 2.22 points per million. Perhaps not enough of a difference to justify spending so much more?


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
More than one in five managers have Angel Rangel in their team – what the hell is wrong with you?! (Picture: Getty)

This is fairly self-explanatory. If a player is transferred out often enough, their price will fall (if the threshold is met, their price changes accordingly at 2.30am). In the early weeks, you can haemorrhage money by sticking with the cheap bench options that everyone else is selling.

When people realise the likes of Angel Rangel (21.5% ownership) and Uwe Hunemeier (8.4% ownership) are not starters, they will transfer them out for players who actually have a chance of game time. Avoid having to follow suit by picking players who have very little ownership – and thus cannot be transferred out enough to drop in price – if you are just looking for a cheap bench filler. Check HERE to see when players are likely to increase/decrease in price.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
It’s pretty simple really: the best players play for the best teams, so make sure you’re well stocked (Picture: Getty)

This is not essential, but it always helps to try and have at least one player from each of the top six clubs represented in your squad. If you’re already preparing to wildcard early on, however, it may be worth being a tad more selective. Manchester City have probably done enough in pre-season to merit triple coverage, while Arsenal’s opening fixtures – which includes away trips to the Britannia, Anfield and Stamford Bridge – means you can probably hold off on picking a Gunner for now.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
Kante is currently the eighth most picked midfielder, despite ranking 60th in his position last season (Picture: Getty)

A surprisingly large amount of FPL managers still don’t quite get how the game works. You don’t need balance, you don’t need a proper back four and you certainly don’t need a defensive midfielder holding the whole side together. This is your chance to go full Garth Crooks on your lineup.

Full-backs who can score or assist provide huge value, though they are priced accordingly, but the more attacking your defender, the better – especially if they are part of an established, solid back-line. The recent prominence of back threes and wing-backs has made such players especially valuable.

Also take note of players with high pass completion rates. Anything over 90% (from at least 30 passes) will yield six BPS points, the most a player can receive beyond goals, assists clean sheets or penalty saves. Get enough BPS points, and a player will be awarded either one, two or three bonus points for their performance. That starts to add up over a season.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
We’re calling it now: Tom Carroll is 2017/18’s Capoue and the gateway to a Lukaku/Kane strikeforce (Picture: Getty)

One of the keys to building a good FPL team is finding value, especially early on – even if you have to transfer them in (see tip #1). This season, there are a number of players who might seem uninspiring, but could prove to be very smart pick-ups at the start of the game.

Should Gylfi Sigurdsson join Everton, Tom Carroll (£4.5m) could be given the Icelander’s creative No.10 role. He has excelled in pre-season, and recorded three assists in one match against Sampdoria. There probably isn’t a better prospect at that price.

Another player who could benefit from the absence of a star man is Willian (£7m), who will assume Chelsea’s creative burden in the absence of Eden Hazard.

Jonathan Walters (£5.5m) is listed as a midfielder but has led the line during pre-season for Burnley, and could take penalties given that he was tasked with that responsibility while at Stoke City. Tom Ince (£6.0m) has been on fire for Huddersfield in pre-season, while Glen Johnson (£4.5m) is now being used as a wingback by Mark Hughes.

There are plenty of potential bargains to be found if you look hard enough, though it goes without saying that any players you pick should be injury free where possible.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
You’ll either be very brave, or very stupid, to leave either Kane or Lukaku – or both – out of your team (Picture: Getty)

The great dilemma for many FPL managers is up front: Do you pick Romelu Lukaku or Harry Kane? Two proven goalscorers, who battled it out for the Premier League golden boot last season, and who should be primed to be even more prolific next season – Lukaku is in a better team with better supply now, while Kane missed two months through injury.

The simple solution is don’t choose between them; pick them both. That means playing a 3-5-2 formation, but there are enough good mid-range midfielders to justify it, while if Tammy Abraham can shake off a knock to start in the absence of the injured Fernando Llorente he could prove to be an excellent bench option.

One drawback to this tactic is that it probably prevents you from tripling up on Manchester City players, which could be a major oversight given how impressive they have been in pre-season. If you do have to pick just one of Kane or Lukaku, Kelechi Iheanacho (£7m) and Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) can complete an excellent front three.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football
He’s already been banging them in during pre-season, so Lukaku looks the safest captain pick initially (Picture: Getty)

Never plump for a rogue player when it comes to captain picks. You’re spending big on premium players for a reason, so always go for one of your big hitters in the most favourable fixture. Given Lukaku’s record against West Ham – he scored in nine consecutive matches against the Hammers – you’d be crazy to look past him for gameweek one.


The perfect FPL team: How to win at Premier League Fantasy Football

We’ve got presence from all the big clubs bar Arsenal (but you could easily swap out David Luiz for Sead Kolasinac, for example) and four elite (£9.5m+) players. Kane and Lukaku start in attack, and we’ve gambled on one or more of Carroll, Ince or Willian being the 2017/18’s sleeper/bandwagon must-have. Danilo is a cheap way into the Man City team and could score big before Benjamin Mendy returns from injury. Connor Goldson (who?) is the least picked, uninjured £4.0m defender on the game, so he sneaks onto the bench never to be seen again. We think it’s got every base covered.

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