Updated: Aug 23, 2021
The hype is real - or is it? A lot of factors go into how we feel about players in the run up to the Fantasy EPL draft. How did they finish this season? Did they join a better team or system over the summer? Were they injured? Will they benefit from another season in a new league? All of these things were considered when analyzing and predicting value for the upcoming draft. We have you covered with players whose value is inflated and should be avoided that early, as well as some undervalued assets that could outperform their average draft positions.
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Overvalued Fantasy EPL Players
Every draft has its players that have too much hype and are being taken way too early. It is crucial to recognize who they are, try to avoid them, and opt for value instead. These players are all coming off decent seasons but it is a deceptive facade. They'll be good but not that good, and they'll go earlier in the draft than they should. Saka's form in real life outshines his fantasy point value, Harrison is due for a second season dip, JWP's iron man gives some sheen, Lingard's hot streak inflates his value, and the temptation to reach for promoted players usually does not pay off.
Bukayo Saka | Arsenal | Midfielder
I love this kid in real life; he single-handedly saved Arsenal several times last season and he is only 19 years old. He is also very exciting to watch. However, this doesn’t fully translate into fantasy points. His purple patch in December & January resulted in loads of points but also reiterated his dependence on attacking returns. His ghost points per 90 was only around 7.5 and he ended the season with a whimper, averaging just over 6 ppg in the final two months. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll be a solid midfield asset but not worth a really high pick. He was taken too early in many mid-season drafts (2nd round) and I expect that to carry over into this upcoming draft.
Estimated Draft Pick: 2nd Round
Ryan's Draft Pick: 4th Round
Jack Harrison | Leeds United | Midfielder
Harrison and other Leeds assets proved to be great value over the course of last season. Jack was up and down but his highs were quite high. He benefited from increased set piece duties in the latter part of the season with injuries to Phillips and Raphinha. I’m not convinced by his ghost points just yet and Leeds could be susceptible to second season syndrome. This could lead folks to overreach for Harrison in the draft.
Estimated Draft Pick: Late Second Round - Early 3rd Round
Ryan's Draft Pick: 4th Round
James Ward-Prowse | Southampton | Midfielder
It pains me but JWP underperformed for long stretches last season. The fact that he played every minute (for the 2nd season in a row) gave him nice total stats that will look tasty when you’re drafting. But this masks his set piece dependence and lower floor. His ghost points have fallen off slightly. While he will continue to provide set piece danger and consistent starts - again, I love this man - I’d prefer more explosive assets at the draft position JWP will likely go off the board.
Estimated Draft Pick: Late First Round - Early Second Round
Ryan's Draft Pick: Third Round
Jesse Lingard | West Ham/Man United | Midfielder
The moonwalker surprised almost all of us, save his true believers, when he hit lofty heights after his January transfer to West Ham. His El Ghazi-like stretch was so legendary that even I had to trade him in. But it didn’t last as he petered out in the home stretch, only scoring double digits once in his last six games. His relatively modest ghost points per 90 of 7.5 didn't save him when the attacking returns dried up. Many managers will only remember the good times and not the lack of consistent ghost points. He will likely be drafted before he should.
Estimated Draft Pick: 3rd Round
Ryan's Draft Pick: 5th Round (if he remains at Man Utd, his value plummets to late round territory)
Many Promoted Assets
Everyone wants to be the hipster in the draft, pretending to have avidly watched the Championship last season. He is knowledgeable about relatively unknown players from the newly-promoted teams. I tried this by drafting Ruben Neves early in the 2018/2019 draft - and it cost me. The fact is that very few of these assets pan out (Mitrovic in Round 3, anyone?) and often it is the overlooked ones from these Premier League new boys that prove to be the real gems. M Pereira was an exception but even he took some time. You can usually wait a few GWs for these diamonds in the rough (e.g., Anguissa, Dallas, Furlong, etc) to emerge on the waiver wire. This is due to these assets either going undrafted or the fact that many managers drop promoted assets early in the season (even earlier than usual/earlier than more trusted players) due to the unknowns and lack of faith in players from new teams. So either trust in well-researched players or just wait and monitor the wire closely (I favor the latter). Promoted team assets will likely go way too early yet again; choose wisely.
Emi Martinez: Best GK by far last season and should further benefit from the updated scoring (which boosts GK stats). This has led to inflation, as he has gone as early as the 4th Round in some mock drafts. Leave him until at least the 9th Round - the disparity between him & another GK (e.g., Mendy or Alisson) who you can get much later in the draft is likely not big enough to warrant overreaching for Emi.
Kai Havertz: Yes, he is in the undervalued article but only because that was written months ago, prior to folks getting hyped about him, which likely stems from his goal in the Champions League Final and/or his performance in the Euros. Kobra Kai is now going in the late 1st Round or early 2nd Round, which is too high for me.
Pedro Neto: Amazing player but coming off a bad injury; he is due to be back in October at the earliest, which is a long time to be burning a roster spot and waiting for a high draft pick to return to form. It can be wise to invest and stash a great asset but only if you do it in the later rounds and you have the patience and roster space. 3rd Rd is way too early.
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