The (Obscure) Ones To Watch

This is a community submitted article by Ian Manaton. You can find him on Twitter at @ianmanaton.

First and foremost let me set up what I will be going through here. I will be picking one player from each team who is not an obvious pick, but will still rack up points each week. You will not find anyone here who picks up 200 points over the course of the season. If your draft went anything like mine Aguero, Hazard, Sanchez and Rooney where the first four picks, and realistically they are the players that will hit 200 points. From the list below you may find one or two that could break 150. The perfect example of who I will be listing below is Ki from Swansea last season. The season before he was on loan at Sunderland, so there were doubts if he would even play at all. However he ended up with 112 points with a cheeky goal here and there. So below is the list, hopefully you can find the gem that takes you from the nearly man in your league to the winner.


First pick and it is one of the big teams. This is a difficult pick based purely on people going Arsenal heavy on their teams. Still Monreal should be someone you can still pick up. He does have competition with Gibbs for the left back slot, but towards the end of last season he nailed on his place as first choice, which was only confirmed by him starting in the Community Shield. On top of this with Arsenal getting a world class goalkeeper this year, they should also pick up a few more clean sheets.

In all honesty I should let you all know that I have put Chamberlain in my own team this week. The main reason I have not recommended him here is that when Sanchez comes back to full fitness Chamberlain’s place in the starting 11 will be under more pressure than it already is, and he is likely to be the one to miss out. This is when I will drop him from my squad.

Aston Villa

Moving on to Aston Villa and tactics Tim. There was a lot of choice here with the amount of new signings they have made, however the player I am choosing is Gestede. Losing Beneteke to Liverpool is a big blow, hopefully the signing of Gestede will soften the blow as he is a like for like replacement.

This is not the last striker on my list, and if your league is similar to mine you will need all the help with forwards you can get. The high point scoring strikers were the first ones to go in my draft, so picking up value from other strikers will be crucial.


The first of the promoted teams is up now. For this entry you only need to look at the effect Charlie Austin, Danny Ings and Rickie Lambert had when they came up from the Championship. The player is Callum Wilson. 23 goals last season is all you need to know, and with Bournemouth not bringing in anymore reinforcements up top he looks assured of his starting place.


Chelsea were probably the hardest team to pick from. They have the most rigid of starting 11’s who will get snapped up quickly, as not only do they score goals, they keep clean sheets. Also with Mourhino having a very small squad I have picked Matic, he may not bring in a huge amount of points, but he will play every week and the clean sheets Chelsea pick up will only help his points total.

Crystal Palace

For Palace I was very tempted to pick a forward, but with the signings of Wickham and Sakho in the past week there is no way to tell who will be getting the game time. Therefore I have gone with the safe pick of Dann. He is their first choice centre back, will pop up with a few goals during the season, and with the quality Pardew has brought into the squad Palace have been tipped to have a good season.


Everton’s lack of squad depth means that their big players would have already been picked up by now. The lack of European football will only help them during this season, and it is one of their signings from a big European team in Barcelona I have chosen here. Deulofeu will be familiar to some of you as he had a season on loan at Everton a couple of years ago. This should help him to settle, and he looks assured of more game time with uncertainty surrounding Mirallas’ future. In the past year he was on loan at Sevilla where he had a good season, and the quality he has is obvious, hopefully this is the season he brings more end product to his game.


There are big question marks at Leicester this season after sacking Pearson after the miracle that was the end of last season. Leicester than appointed the tinker man Ranieri, so expect a lot of changes during the season. Despite this someone who should pick up the points is Schlupp, he often finds himself higher up the pitch then left back, so does chip in goals and assists. Therefore being classified as a defender only helps, as he gets more points for these, and then added points when clean sheets are kept.


If you are like me and glad the football season is staring again you may have seen the occasional pre-season game to tide you over till this weekend. This is where my Liverpool pick comes from, Gomez who was a relatively cheap buy from Charlton looks like he could be going into the season as left back. Enrique is on his way out and Moreno did little to impress last season, so Gomez as first choice left back is not too far-fetched. If you are not a fan of this choice you could choose one of their forwards, but as they have bought in so many it is difficult to tell who will be getting games.

Manchester City

In past seasons Kolarov and Clichy have pretty much shared the left back slot at City 50/50, but with Clichy missing the last pre-season game with injury I have gone with Kolarov here. As he will also get a fair share of free kicks and with a rocket of a left foot, he can pick up a few goals when he does play.

Manchester United

Another new boy to the Premiership here with Darmian. United have now bought a player who actually plays at right back, so will not have to play a centre back in Jones or Smalling or a winger in Valencia there anymore. Despite popular belief United only let in 37 goals last year, and with Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin the back four will have much more protection from Midfield.

I will also add a bonus player here as his future is uncertain. Many players have left de Gea out their team as it is assumed he will be moving to Madrid, but that looks unlikely to happen before the season opener if it does happen. Even if it does happen de Gea will likely start in goal till the move does happen, so if he is free in your league I do suggest picking him up. That is what I have done.


Another team with a new manager, however unlike previous seasons Newcastle have spent a bit in the transfer market. My choice here is one of their new signings, Mitrovic. In his 2 years at Anderlecht he scored 36 goals at a better rate than one in two games. If he brings something close to this form to Newcastle he could be the pick of the season. Hopefully the rumours linking Austin to Newcastle are not true so he does not have competition for the starting spot upfront.


The second of the promoted teams, and the pick is similar to the Bournemouth pick. Jerome was Norwich’s top goalscorer last season, and without the signing on another striker he should be again this season. An added bonus here is Jerome has a wealth of Premiership experience from playing at Birmingham, Stoke and Palace.


In all honesty this was one of the easier picks, as Clyne went to Liverpool, Southampton bought Cedric in as a like for like replacement, and he is the choice here. He is already a full Portuguese international, and despite changes in managers and players over the past couple of seasons Southampton have had one of the best defensive records in the league. With Koeman in charge again this year I expect this to continue, and for Cedric to chip in with assists as well as a goal or two, just like Clyne did.


When I looked into this pick I was surprised just how many points my pick here got last year. Chadli picked up 140 points last year, just to put that into perspective that is more than Eriksen, Fabregas, and Sigurdsson. Just let that sink in for a minute. When people picked their Spurs’ players they would have gone Kane, Lloris, Eriksen followed by a couple of defenders. Chadli just does not come up on many people’s radar, and with no new midfielders coming in at Spurs he looks likely to pick up similar points this year


With Begovic moving to Chelsea it has left the number one spot open at Stoke for Butland, who is my pick for Stoke. Stoke have had a very good transfer window with champions league winners coming into the club, but even under Mark Hughes they still have a tight defence, and with Butland being confirmed as number one, there is not a better pick in the team.


As I mentioned before I have watched a few pre-season games, and I was surprised by how good Lens looked at Sunderland. With the Johnson situation still not cleared up he looks like he will be the number one wide player. Where ever Lens has played he has always scored goals, and can expect 10 plus again this year. It is only going to help that he has previously played for Advocaat, so he is with someone who knows how to get the best out of him.


Swansea with Gary Monk in charge where one of the surprise packages of last season, not many predicting them to do as well as they did with the style of football they were playing. For my pick from Swansea I have gone with one of their new signings Ayew. He can play out wide or through the middle, so will fit in well to how Swansea play. Ayew got 10 goals at Marseille last year, and with the departure of Bony, Swansea will be looking for goals all over the pitch, and hoping Ayew can get 10 again if not better.


Troy Deeney, for this pick see Callum Wilson at Bournemouth. I was close to just copying and pasting the paragraph here, but it is worth pointing out Deeney. He has got at least 20 goals in the past 3 seasons, and with rumours linking him to a move the Premier League before now the Watford captain should make his mark now that he is here.

West Brom

Ben Foster is the West Brom number one, that there is no doubt of. However do to his ALC injury from last year he is still two to three months from playing first team football. If there is one thing you can guarantee from a Tony Pulis team it is they will be organised defensively. Therefore Myhill is a solid pick, with a full pre-season behind him. If he starts off well there is no assurance Foster will go straight back into the team as well.

West Ham

Payet is my pick from West Ham, most of you would of heard of him as not only was he one of the first big money transfers of the window, he was also statistically the most creative player in Europe last year. He created 135 chances last season. That is more than Hazard, Fabregas, and even Messi. The question is will the West Ham forwards capitalise on that sort of quality. So while he may not be as fashionable as Fabregas, Payet could end up with more points than him this season.

That is the list completed, depending on the size of your leagues some of these players may already be picked, but you should find at least one or two who are not. If you think I am right/wrong or have no idea what I am talking about let us and others know about it on Twitter at @ianmanaton or @DraftFantasy, and perhaps share your undiscovered diamonds.

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