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Should FPL managers have burner slots in their teams?

Every penny counts with FPL’s £100m budget and having a substitutes bench allows managers to have some burner slots.

With a 15-man squad each matchday, it’s often thought that a manager only really needs 13 or 14 active players to switch around. Therefore a few spots can go to the cheapest players possible, maximising every crucial £0.5m needed to squeeze in someone like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah or Harry Kane.

In our recent glossary of FPL terms, burner slots were described as:

“A position in our squad which is sacrificed to allow budget to be used elsewhere. These players are ones who are the cheapest available in the position and are unlikely to play any minutes, for example, a £4.5m forward.”

So it’s advised that FPL managers use a couple of places on these, with the added benefit of having less stress over team selection if fewer names are capable of causing regret.

Until the first Wildcard gets activated, there’s some guesswork involved. Just because it’s the cheapest price point doesn’t mean nobody will play from it. Here are some names that could still provide game time.

Burner slots

£4.0m goalkeeper

In a position that usually doesn’t see real-life rotation, a cheap-as-chips back-up is unlikely to get much usage.

  • Alphonse Areola is by far the most popular, currently in over 30% of squads. He’s deemed the most likely £4.0m stopper to be his club’s first-choice, although Lukasz Fabianski will make it difficult.
  • If the financial problems at Wolves force a Jose Sa sale, Daniel Bentley could take the gloves.
  • Nottingham Forest’s Wayne Hennessey and Bournemouth’s Mark Travers could step in.
  • Other names like Stefan Ortega, Caoimhin Kelleher, Matt Turner and Fraser Forster could become £4.0m starters at top clubs, although it’s wastes part of the three-per-club maximum.

£4.0m defenders

Previously, names like John Lundstram and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have become legendary picks because of their unexpected FPL usefulness. This time, each of the promoted trio provides options.

  • Play-off winners Luton regularly start Amari’i Bell and have just captured Man City wing-back Issa Kabore on loan.
  • Burnley have Jordan Beyer and possibly Hjalmar Ekdal. However, like Luton, they blank in Gameweek 2.
  • George Baldock has been a solid starter in Sheffield United’s last few seasons.
  • Elsewhere, there’s a chance that Chelsea’s Malo Gusto begins the season – depending on Reece James’ fitness.
  • Whereas Brighton’s Jan Paul van Hecke and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite have an outside chance of playing.

£4.5m midfielder

So far, it looks like a tough category. This year’s pricing has denied an obvious name that can follow Andreas Pereira, adding even more reason to go 3-5-2.

  • Luton’s permanent signing of Marvelous Nakamba will bring minutes but not much more.
  • Naouirou Ahamada has been regularly starting Crystal Palace friendlies, adding a goal and two assists.
  • Beyond that, it’s just hoping that the path of Andreas can be replicated, where a big club sells to lower down the league. Maybe Tanguy Ndombele, Marquinhos or Amad Diallo take that route.
  • Meanwhile Sheffield United can try bringing James McAtee or Tommy Doyle back from Man City.

£4.5m forward

There’s limited ideas up front too.

  • Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun has just scored 21 times for Reims in Ligue 1. FPL managers will hope a fellow Premier League side spends big money on him.
  • Jordan Archer could get cameos at Aston Villa.
  • At West Ham, Divin Mubama has already netted three pre-season goals but competition amongst team-mates is strong.
  • There’s an outside chance of participation for Nottingham Forest’s Hwang Ui-jo and Luton’s John McAtee.

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