Fantasy Premier League: Budget Picks

The budget players are the picks that enable you to win mini-leagues. The premium options and high hitters are almost consistent in their delivery (read: multiple season performances by starts like Salah, Kane, Mane, KDB, Son, and Trent-Alexander Arnold etc.) and therefore easy to own and forget after getting them in the team. However, the budget players are almost hidden, before they blow up the scene, and are then priced higher the next season, removing them from the ‘budget’ category.

In this piece, we try to find the next Dallas and Lundstram, the Bamford and the Martinez. We have divided our article into three parts for analysing the budget category picks for the 21/22 FPL season –

Defenders

1. Konstantinos Tsimikas: Liverpool: £4.0m (DEF)

A £4.0m full back that will be in the starting line-up? Get in. Play for Liverpool? Preach. Tsimikas is almost a dream come true for FPL managers with two big unachievables becoming achievable – a £4.0m starting defender, a budget Liverpool option.

It’s not much about how good Tsimikas is. It is all about how much he is price at, and what system he plays in. Even if gets 0 attacking returns in the first couple of months (till Robertson is out injured), he shall still be a good pick on the basis of the potential clean sheet returns from the Liverpool team that has a good set of fixtures available.

2. Ben White: Arsenal: £4.5m (DEF)

Ben White was the budget pick before Robertson got injured in the pre-season friendly. He is the cheapest defender guaranteed to start in the 7 best defences from last season.

Arsenal were in fact the third best defence last season in terms of number of goals conceded and 5th best for both, xG against and number of clean sheets. Moreover, these defensive performances and numbers were attained despite multiple injuries in defence and midfield.

If last season is anything to go by, Arsenal will at least be amongst the better defensive teams (if not amongst the best ones, due to addition of a good defender in the team).

3. Luke Ayling: Leeds United: £4.5m (DEF)

Like White, Ayling is a cheap entry into a decent team. Although Leeds were a bit loose at the back while conceding goals, there shape was sorted in the second half of the season with much better defensive displays on showcase.

Further, Leeds are a very fluent side when it comes to attack, and full backs are a big part of it. Ayling is an essential part of this fluent attacking system and can be expected to make a fair amount of attacking returns for the price point.

His stats from the previous season are a bit misleading, as Ayling was forced to play at Centre-back for multiple matches due to injuries, thereby affecting his attacking potential.

Midfielders

1. Stuart Dallas: Leeds United: £5.5m (MID)

Stuart Dallas needs no introduction. The Leeds midfielder was listed as a defender last season, which rocked up the FPL with him earning points from both, his attacking contributions from the midfield, and clean sheets from the defensive performance of his team. That enabled him to earn a fair chunk of extra points.

However, even if you adjust his performance from last season, by reducing a point per goal, and reducing 3 points per clean sheet, his FPL points tally still stands at an impressive level for a budget midfielder. (8 goals; 3 assists)

Most Leeds United players saw a big price rise, however, since Dallas was shifted from DEF to MID; his price change was kept under check, therefore making him a favorable pick for us. Also, he is completely integrated in the XI and can be presumed to play each and every match when fit.

2. Emile Smith Rowe: Arsenal: £5.5m (MID)

ESR has an incredible 4.6 points per 90, which translates to roughly 138 points if he plays 30 matches (fair estimate for a player in the first XI). This however, does not even take into account that his position change from Central Midfield to Attacking Midfield (No.10) has been mooted for this season. Such a positional change should be make him a better FPL pick overall.

Last season, ESR showed a good knack for creating chances and even got at the end of some. He assisted 5 goals and scored 2 in the 1400 odd minutes he got. However, his creativity from deep made me the most fluent of Arsenal players, thereby justifying the decision of Arteta to shift his to play in an advanced role.

3. Bryan Mbeumo: £5.5m (MID)

The fact that Brentford are a team with attacking flair is also on Mbeumo. He is part of the reason how they play attacking football and one of the beneficiaries of the same too.

Although he has been listed as midfielder in the FPL, he often plays as the second striker along with Toney in a two-striker formation. Where not playing as a striker, who can be seen on the wing, with the same attacking flair.

Mbeumo had 11 assists in the Championship last year, along with 8 goals to show in the roughly 3000 minutes he played through.

Attackers

1. Rodrigo: Leeds United: £6.5m (FWD)

Rodrigo would have been at least £7.5m had he not have missed substantial number of matches through two spells due to a knee injury and then due to COVID-19. Very much a Bielsa type player, Rodrigo impressed massively in the limited number of opportunities provided to him. He finished the season with 7 goals and 4 assists in just 1279 minutes, translating to roughly a 0.77 goal/assist every 90 mins. (7+ returns every 10 matches)

He has been the perfect player in the pre-season, and is raging to restart his Leeds career by playing a free role alongside Bamford in the Leeds attacking line-up.

2. Ivan Toney: Brentford: £6.5m (FWD)

The highly owned forward has been the talk of the town this season between the FPL managers for the striker spot. Priced at just £6.5m, he is amongst the cheapest strikers in the game guaranteed to start week-in and week-out.

He had a glaring season in the Championship last year, where he scored 31 goals along with 10 assists. Further, Toney is also on penalty duties for Brentford, which assures you a safety net in picking him.

Brentford also play very attractive and attacking football, which should support Toney, as he is bound to get multiple chances to score goals through-out the season.

3. Neal Maupay: Brighton: £6.5m (FWD)

Maupay carries a bit of a reputation which keeps most of the FPL managers away from him. His reputation, is most towards the negative side, of a nuisance who misses a lot of goal chances.

While both of them are true to an extent, we FPL manager should only be concerned by how many FPL points can the player give us. There, his qualities are amplified, with Maupay scoring 10 goals and 8 goals in the last two seasons, with 3 goals and 2 goals in these seasons respectively. It is to be noted that these goals contributions came in just 2763 and 2508 minutes only.

With Welbeck out injured again, Maupay can be expected to start for Brighton with favourable fixtures on offer. This opportunity may grant him a chance to cement his place in the line-up and carry on another season with 10 Premier league goals, with a hope to reach 15 goals, given the slow and steady improvement of Brighton as a team.