FPL Bargain Bin: Early Season Value Targets
FPL Bargain Bin: Early Season Value Targets

This article is part of our FPL Bargain Bin series.

Most fantasy bosses have spent the month leading up to the season tinkering with lineups, and the time is waning for the first weekend of matches. But while we all stock up on Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane, there's only so much money to go around.

Bargain players are one of the more important factors to your team, as they can give you an extra boost in salary, whether on your fantasy squad's bench or being one of the last options for your starting XI. The two biggest things when looking for bargain plays is knowing that they'll actually see the field combined with having a favorable early slate.

That means going after Stoke players probably isn't a good idea with trips to Everton and West Brom between home matches against Arsenal and Man United in the first four weeks. But even a side like Burnley can be looked at because they host West Brom and Crystal Palace early.

GOALKEEPER

Ben Foster (£4.5m)
I conveniently listed Foster in this spot a year ago and he was worth the price, finishing tied for ninth with 113 fantasy points. He only had six clean sheets, but 115 saves stood out, which was tied for fifth most. The Baggies host Bournemouth and Stoke in early matches with trips to Burnley and Brighton, so there's a good chance Foster can grab at least one clean sheet in the first few weekends.

Joel Coleman (£4.0m)
Robert Elliott is the favorite super-cheap keeper (14.3 percent ownership), so I'll back a different promoted one. Coleman probably won't have many clean sheets after Huddersfield allowed 58 goals last season, but he's going to get a lot of work that will keep him somewhat relevant in the fantasy world. Similar to Tom Heaton or Lukasz Fabianski last campaign, saves will give Coleman enough fantasy value to stick him on your bench.

DEFENDER

Kyle Naughton (£4.5m)
With cheap defenders, you're usually not counting on clean sheets, it's more about everything else they do. Naughton started 31 matches last season for the Swans and should be near that total again. As a right back, he totaled 80 crosses and 20 shots. Teammate Angel Rangel (£4.0m) is on a ton of teams (21.0 percent), but he likely won't be a starter when the season begins.

Florian Lejeune (£4.5m)
I expect Lejeune to move into the starting XI for Newcastle after a solid pre-season with his new club. He's a bit under the radar in terms of fantasy, mainly because he's spent most of his professional career in Spain, starting 33 matches with a solid Eibar side last season. Lejeune is big and versatile but will likely feature at center-back for the Magpies. While DeAndre Yedlin is more widely owned, Lejeune is more of a differential.

Stephen Ward (£4.5m)
Once again, Ben Mee is far more popular than Ward, but I'll take my chances with the left-back who had 111 crosses last season. The bonus when taking anyone from Burnley is that they have two great fixtures, with early home matches against West Brom and Crystal Palace.

MIDFIELDER

Tom Ince (£6.0m)
I swear I'm not a Huddersfield fan, that's just how it works for promoted sides. I had Aaron Mooy in this spot but felt the extra £0.5m was worth it for Ince, who has experience in the Premier League and has looked great in the preseason with four goals. The selling point is that Ince is mostly an attacking midfielder, if not a forward at times. Think Gylfi Sigurdsson… but lesser.

Oriol Romeu (£4.5m)
This is purely a play to get a cheap midfielder who's almost a lock to start every match. He scored just once in 35 starts last campaign, but 13 clean sheets kept him from having a terrible fantasy season. With three home matches in the first four gameweeks, Romeu is a player who could increase in value while sitting on your bench. Or if you're a big fan, go ahead and start him against Swansea in the opener.

Nemanja Matic (£5.0m)
Ander Herrera (£5.5m) was on this list, but his recent hip injury could see him sit early on, so Matic gets the call as the only player from a big club I'll talk about. With the amount Jose Mourinho has praised Matic, it appears that he'll be in the starting XI on the first weekend. As a defensive midfielder, he doesn't provide a ton, but still had seven assists for Chelsea last season and will continue to rack up clean sheets. But if Herrera is ready, I'd pull the trigger on him, instead.

Claudio Yacob (£4.5m)
Here's another shot on a guy simply because he's cheap. Yacob hasn't scored in the last three seasons as a defensive midfielder, but he's worth saving half-million on when teammate Jake Livermore comes in at £5.0m. And again, their schedule is quite favorable in the first five gameweeks.

FORWARD

Tammy Abraham (£5.5m)
This one is fairly obvious because Fernando Llorente broke his arm in the offseason and doesn't look ready to start. Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, could get the call at Southampton in the first match with Jordan Ayew (£5.0m) alongside him. With Sigurdsson on his way out, someone will have to score for the Swans, right?

Jay Rodriguez (£6.0m)
Rodriguez has had a great pre-season for the Baggies and supposedly has a smile back on his face after getting relegated to the bench the last couple years at Southampton. With Salomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu his competition up front, Rodriguez will try to return to the days when he scored 15 goals in the 2013/14 campaign.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate. 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year.
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