Top three picks for FPL Gameweek 1

Every week David Munday will be sharing his top three picks for the Gameweek with us. Ahead of the first deadline of the season, David shares his top three picks for FPL Gameweek 1.

At this time of year, I find that I see the same premium options and well-owned names everywhere I look. In an attempt to cut through some of the noise, I thought I would talk through some of the budget options I am considering for 2022/23. The hope is that they help you fit as many of the expensive players into your team as possible.

PEDRO NETO (£5.5m)

At the start of a new season, I always like to have an attacking £5.5m midfielder I feel can provide excellent value. Someone who can be a key feature of a front-three who has shown great potential in the past. That’s where Pedro Neto comes in for the 2022/23 campaign.

Some managers have reservations about the Portuguese international but I think he is worth a punt. Firstly, Wolves have great fixtures in the first six Gameweeks. They rank third-best behind only Man City and Liverpool for attacking difficulty on the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker. I especially like the Leeds (away) and Fulham (home) fixtures up first. 

As for Neto, only Morgan Gibbs-White had a better minutes-per-chance figure among Wolves players last season. The 22-year-old also fared well the last time Wolves were without Raul Jimenez (£7.0m) through injury. The Mexican is currently out for the first few weeks of the new season. Between Gameweeks 11 and 38 of the 2020/21 campaign, when Jimenez was sidelined with a nasty skull fracture, no colleague bested Neto for attacking returns (seven). Admittedly, he only found the net twice but that was not for lack of trying. Only Fabio Silva outperforming Neto for shots in the box, big chances and shots on target among Wolves players. Meanwhile, Neto was also top for assists and big chances created among his teammates during this period of Jimenez’s absence.

SVEN BOTMAN (£4.5m)

I can’t remember a summer where ‘Big at the Back’ has lasted as long as and earned as many advocates as this ahead of Gameweek 1. Me? I’m still a little bit old-fashioned when it comes to defenders. You can’t beat a tidy £4.5m option to rotate with another one. Especially if it means spending more money in the attacking positions. Sven Botman is the one I’m most sure about in my current draft. This is largely due to Newcastle’s improved defence under Eddie Howe, something I never thought I’d write!

In the second half of last season, only four clubs kept more clean sheets than the Magpies, and only five gave up fewer shots. That’s a far cry from where Newcastle have been under previous managers and, dare I say it, a Howe side at Bournemouth too. With Nick Pope (£5.0m) joining the ranks, they will surely go from strength-to-strength this season. Between Gameweeks 20 and 38 of 2021/22, the former Burnley man was top among all goalkeepers for expected goals prevented (xGP). Botman is my chosen representative to capitalise on this. Considering the club forked out £35m for him over the summer, he feels the most nailed on of the centre-backs. He is also easier to rotate with a Brentford or Everton defender in Gameweeks 3 and 5, when Newcastle face Man City and Liverpool respectively, than Kieran Trippier (£5.0m).

NATHAN PATTERSON (£4.0m)

Many of you will know I’m a big fan of a £4.0m defender. While we are unlikely to ever see the likes of Lord Lundstram again, there are still plenty of options worth considering in this bracket this season. Everton’s Nathan Patterson is the chief of those, in my opinion. The left-back is something of a rising star at Goodison Park and has already passed the pre-season minutes test. For those keeping an eye on the Pre-Season Minutes Spreadsheet over on Fantasy Football Scout.

Only Jordan Pickford and Anthony Gordon have been more involved in the Toffees’ four summer fixtures than Patterson. He has featured in 70.3 per cent of the available minutes, more than any other full-back at the club. He also has two assists to his name in that time, adding an extra feather to his bow. It would appear he is nailed to start the Gameweek 1 visit of Chelsea. Even though that’s not a nice fixture, the 20-year-old can easily sit on your bench and potentially swap in for someone when he faces Villa away in Gameweek 2, Forest at home in Gameweek 3 or Brentford away in Gameweek 4. 

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