Top 5 FPL picks – Newcastle
Disclaimer: The Transfer Window is still open and things could dramatically change for some, or all players mentioned in the Article. The content is however of substance at the time of publishing.
Newcastle won the relegation race in the 20/21 Premier League season by finishing 12th in the table. This race had multiple clubs, including Newcastle, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Brighton, Burnley and the not so fortunate ones in Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United. Despite finishing on top of this pile, Newcastle had a very dire season and left it very late till the last few game weeks, when the Toons won 3 of the last 4 matches. To be fair to the teams that ensured another season of Premier League football, Burnley placed 17th at 39 points, a full 11 points away from the 18th place now relegated Fulham at 28 points. Moreover, the difference in points between 17th place Burnley and 12th place Newcastle was just 6 points. So it was not as messy a dogfight as one would generally picture it to be. The lower mid table club had it relatively easier than similarly placed sides in the previous seasons due to the dire performances of the relegated sides.
Coming back to Newcastle, and especially FPL, Newcastle was amongst the direst sides with only 1 FPL asset crossing the 100 points mark, which just tells you how difficult it would have been for us to research and chalk out 5 assets for you. They have consistently won 11/12 matches and earned 44/45 in the last four premier league seasons despite a change in managers and wholesome changes in the team, which shows you that the squad will most likely escape relegation somehow. However, that is not merry news as that means the FPL assets shall have potentially low ceiling. The only upside is that their players are amongst the cheapest assets and therefore, finding a bargain or two might be possible if Newcastle get into a run of good games at some point in the season.
We will first analyse the opening set of fixtures and the proceed with the top 5 picks from Newcastle as per our team in order of preference –
1. Callum Wilson: £7.5M (FWD)
We earlier referred to a stat that there was only a single player that crossed the 100 point mark, and obviously it was Callum Wilson. His 134 FPL points came in just 2081 minutes with an astonishing rate of approximately 5.8 points per 90 which pegs him with the elite FPL lords of £12M. Being a forward for a team that does not have many recognised and consistent attackers, his 12 goals and 6 assists got him an extra 22 bonus points.
Callum had a troubled 20/21 season where he saw 4 injuries blowing away 99 days from his availability that made miss out on 12 matches for Newcastle. If he is able to keep himself injury free this season, Newcastle are not that bad an attacking side, with Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Ryan Fraser and Almirion out there to support Callum Wilson. Newcastle are also heavily linked to Joe Willock from Arsenal as the youngster impressed on loan last season.
Although there are decent options available at £7.5M, Wilson isn’t a cheap and easy pick to have. However, he is the talisman for Newcastle and everything good that they do goes through him. Wilson can, and should get a small shot given that Newcastle has comfortable fixtures in which they face a single big 6 club in the first 7 fixtures, and only 3 of them in the first 12 fixtures. For FPL Managers that like to begin slow and safe and only make wholesome changes after the budget team and picks are apparent can go with Wilson as their forward. Wilson also has additional penalty duties that make him a bit more lucrative.
2. Jamaal Lascelles: £4.5M (DEF)
No Newcastle defender played more than 2080 minutes last season. Moreover, Newcastle has 9 (NINE!) defenders listed on the FPL website (at the time of publishing), the least of which also played 822 minutes. That, by all means, is a terribly inconsistent back line. The moves and changes were partially forced on the manager Steve Bruce due to injuries, while the others were due to rotation and change in formations.
In such a scenario, Jamaal Lascelles at £4.5M presents the only stable option being the skipper of the side. He could only churn out 1625 minutes last season due to injuries, but despite that managed a couple of goals, which he seems to have a knack for. The only reason why he is preferred over other defenders is due to lack of rotation risk, and a slight potential as someone who gets at the end of crosses.
3. Karl Darlow: £4.5M (GK)
Feels like shifting 1 year back again. Martin Dubravka gets a freak injury in the pre-season and suddenly Darlow becomes the No.1 for Newcastle for the foreseeable future (at least for the next 6/7 matches, like last year). However, we all know how injuries in football work, with 20/21 Dubravka being the perfect example of how the return dates keep on getting shifted with each week passing by. Now Darlow may not get as long a run as he got last season (where he was still the preferred goal keeper even after Dubravka returned from injury). But even by conservative means, Darlow is expected to start for Newcastle in the first couple of months, where the fixtures favours the Northampton born Englishman.
Why Newcastle goalkeeper? Well because they have a history of decent points total and saves made, which help in extra points plus some bonuses. Dubravka finished the FPL season with 131 and 143 points in the two years before the previous one. Whereas the combination of Darlow and Dubravka got a total of 128 points last season.
So with the rider that we choose Darlow only for the initial set of fixtures, he is our #3 pick from Newcastle.
4. Miguel Almiron: £5.5M (MID)
Our list should ideally end at the third pick (who was also in it due to a stretch); but since our series has five picks for every team, here we go with the remaining two.
The primary reason why Almiron is in the list over some of the other Newcastle players is due to the fact that he is £5.5M, and hence a smaller liability than others. Secondly, Almiron spends a lot of time on the ball for Newcastle in the final third. He had the most touches in the final third for Newcastle and the second highest carries by far in the team and resultantly, the most progression distance.
His FPL returns have however been poor with two consecutive seasons of scoring 4 goals and 2 assists with an average FPL points tally of 103 points in these two seasons. These poor returns raise doubts despite him passing the eye-test. In conclusion, his decision making at the last stages may be the key behind the lag in his potential and results. However, that said, he has all the tools and the opportunities to be a true differential suddenly if Newcastle hit the ground running.
5. Jamal Lewis: £4.5M (DEF)
Lewis was one of the most promising full backs when he came up from the Championship with Norwich City. His first season in the top division was fairly below average as Norwich went straight back down to the Championship. However, with age on his side, many top-tier sides were willing to take a bet on Jamal Lewis, and therefore he earned a move to Newcastle. Last season, his second in the Premier League, also did materialize into anything great apart from a few glimpses of quality here and there.
These inconsistencies saw him being dropped from the line up in favour of the much more consistent Matt Richie, who repaid the trust of his boss with decent performances, as are expected from him. However, Lewis is a year more experienced now and Richie is one year more towards the “past it” age. This should give Lewis some renewed hope towards finally coming good to his potential and earning his Newcastle team some matches.