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Fantasy Football tips: Vital Game Week 1 pointers as the Premier League returns

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the Premier League and fantasy football are almost at our doorsteps.

Arsenal and Leicester kick off proceedings on Friday after a desolate summer of no football to sink our teeth into.


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Dream Team is back and better than ever

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Dream Team is back and better than ever

But normal service resumes, meaning it really is time to start preparing your fantasy football team ahead of a mouthwatering Game Week 1.

Dream Team is back with a bang – and completely free for all players to play this season – with a sizeable £750,000 prizepot at stake.

So how should you tackle Game Week 1?

Here’s a few vital pointers to take on board…

1 Avoid Manchester City attackers… for now

Pep Guardiola could decide your fantasy football team

Reuters
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Pep Guardiola has an embarrassment of attackers to choose from

Man City’s embarrassment of riches in attack might have Pep Guardiola licking his lips, but it’s left fantasy football players with a selection dilemma.

That’s because only Pep really knows how his formidable attacking unit will line up when they play Brighton on Saturday evening.

Sergio Aguero. Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva are all vying for positions meaning ultimately some pretty sizeable names won’t make the starting XI.

We suggest holding fire until City’s next game – at home to Everton – after getting a taste of how Guardiola plans to operate this season.

2 Be conscious of injuries

Adam Lallana's injury is a huge fantasy football blow

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Klopp has lost one of his best players to injury

Yes those pesky pre-season niggles have already hampered the hopes of some players before the campaign has even had a chance to put its pants on.

Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez is definitely out of the season curtain raiser against Leicester and is a major doubt for their trip to Stoke the week after too.

Liverpool were dealt a huge blow last week when Adam Lallana – one of their best players last season – was sidelined for nearly four months.

Both Sanchez and Lallana were popular picks last season and in the run up to the current one too, so make sure you know which players are going to fit and firing from the word go.

3 The curse of Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is a fantasy football must have in Game Week 1

Bradley Ormesher - The Times
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Lukaku scores one of his NINE career goals against West Ham

Death, taxes and Romelu Lukaku scoring goals against West Ham.

Those are the only three certainties in life, with Hammers fans having to watch the Belgian hitman repeatedly tear them apart for Everton down the years.

How did Lukaku get on in fantasy football last season?

Lukaku has a new home this season after his £75m move to Manchester United, but he’ll be chomping at the bit at the prospect of Slaven Bilic’s side visiting Old Trafford on Sunday.

The new United number nine has a pleasing nine goals against West Ham in the past, so we wouldn’t be surprised if he adds to that tally.


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4 Have you backed the hottest Premier League player right now?

Mohamed Salah's pre-season form makes him a fantasy football favourite

EPA
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Salah has been on fire in pre-season

Purists will tell you – and rightly so – that the business really starts when the season gets underway, but pre-season form does play a part in fantasy football picks.

And Liverpool new boy Mohamed Salah might just have been the most impressive player of the lot in the last month or so.

What will Liverpool new boy Salah bring to Dream Team?

  • 15 goals and 11 assists in Serie A for Roma last season
  • Had a higher rating (7.48) than Paulo Dybala (7.46) in Italy last season
  • Quick, nippy winger with a point to prove after failed spell at Chelsea
  • Get him in your Dream Team now

The £34m signing from Roma has been absolutely electric for his new side, scoring four goals against the likes of Bayern Munich, Leicester and Hertha Berlin.

At just £4m on the Dream Team game the Egyptian speed merchant might be the bargain of the season – so get him in your side before his price rockets.

5 In defence of Southampton

Ryan Bertrand could be worth your fantasy football time

Reuters
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Ryan Bertrand could be worth your time

You’ve only got three transfers a month – so treat them with the utmost respect.

That means your defence should stay pretty consistent to allow you to chop and change your attackers depending on form.

Looking at the first month’s fixtures, Southampton’s typically resolute defence could excel with clean sheets more than likely.


NOT PICKED YOUR FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM YET? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?


Saints play Swansea, West Ham, Huddersfield and Watford in their first four games, so the likes of Cedric Soares, Ryan Bertrand and Fraser Forster should all be under your consideration.

What’s different to fantasy football this season?

Well the main change between Dream Team this season and last season is that entry is absolutely free for all managers, with the golden prize pot at the end of the shiny rainbow an eye-popping £750,000.

There’s also a massive shake up on the Game Week front, with Game Weeks running from Friday to Thursday in 2017/18.

Which fantasy football team names are the most popular?

Team names have become almost as important as picking winning sides in recent years, with the punnier the better the general perspective.

So whether it’s Giroud Sandstorm, Neville Wears Prada or Teenage Mutant Ninja Skrtel, check out our foolproof list to help you decide.

Is Jay Rodriguez the fantasy football bargain of the season?

Keeping with bargain Baggies, you can’t argue with £2m for Rodriguez.

Considered one of the most exciting English forwards around not too long ago, a couple of lengthy injuries and a lack of game time has somewhat stunted the former Southampton man’s rise.

But a £15m move to West Brom this summer could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Jay Rodriguez could be the fantasy football bargain of the season

Getty Images - Getty
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Jay Rodriguez is West Brom’s only major signing this summer

A stunning goal against Leicester in pre-season tells us he’s more than capable of leading the line for Tony Pulis’ side, while West Brom’s favourable start to the season sees them up against just one of last season’s top eight in the opening eight Gameweeks.

You can stay up to date with all the latest fantasy football news with our fantasy football live blog and sign up to Dream Team for next season below…