The eleven players whose position has changed between last season and the upcoming

The 2022/23 season will be remembered for many reasons, from Newcastle’s oil-backed Champions League charge, to Arsenal crumbling in April, to Leicester bowing out just seven years after winning the whole thing. It also marked the inaugural Varsity Fantasy Premier League (FPL), contested by 102 Varsity readers, and won by Cambridge philosophy graduate Daniel Gallagher. Last season, over 11 million FPL teams were created, a number likely to be surpassed this year, as it has been every season since FPL’s inception in 2002/03. Therefore it is as critical as ever to make the best decisions possible, and as such, here are my thoughts and observations ahead of the new season.

To begin with, eleven players have had their positions changed, as above. The FPL scoring system works such that defenders score more points than midfielders for scoring goals, and likewise for midfielders compared to strikers, so players reclassified to be more defensive are worth considering. Richarlison (7.0m) could prove a snip if he adopts the main striker role at Tottenham in the wake of Harry Kane’s potential transfer to Bayern Munich.

Who is the most exciting new signing? Nkunku (7.5m), Mac Allister (6.0m), and Timber (5.0m) are interesting options. I tend to steer clear of having many transferred players, especially if they are new to the Premier League, and wait a few gameweeks to see how they adapt and how many minutes they play before jumping on the bandwagon of the best one or two. To prepare for this, choose players at different price points, to make sure that a direct swap is possible, rather than needing to shift two players to manoeuvre one in.

The summer’s ‘friendly’ football has seen Bowen (7.0m), Eze (6.5m), and Nuñez (7.5m) enjoy strong pre-season campaigns. These players (among others) will be tracked intently to see if they can carry that form into the new season. Anderson’s seven goal contributions might make him a strong contender for the best 4.5m midfielder.


Mountain View

Decision theory specialist emerges victorious in inaugural Varsity Fantasy Premier League

Last year I favoured picking expensive defenders - which didn’t work, as nine of the top ten defenders last season started at 5.0m or less. However, I maintain that Alexander-Arnold (8.0m) is a worthwhile pick, since he will likely play in midfield, and Liverpool’s defence is unlikely to be leakier than it was last season. His high price has been perfectly set by the price-makers, as it has priced a lot of FPLers out of choosing him (28.3% selection - all selection figures in this article are as of 1/8/23), making his inclusion a tough decision. A defender hasn’t been priced this high since Baines and Vidic at 8.0m in 2011/12.

Speaking of barely precedented high prices, Haaland is only the fourth ever player to be priced at a steep 14.0m. He follows in the footsteps of Henry (2005/06, 2006/07), Ronaldo (2008/09), and van Persie (2013/14). Still, he is apparently a shoo-in, selected by 86.3% of managers, and it will take a lot of nerve to start the season without him. This has acted to the detriment of the other premiums, particularly Kane (12.5m, 12.2%) and Salah (12.5m, 24.2%), with the former’s aforementioned annual transfer saga not doing FPLers any favours either.

Haaland’s extortionate price, paired with the plethora of mid-range midfielder options, means that most FPLers are opting for a one-premium team, rather than the two-premium team that has characterised the last few seasons. These midfielders include Son (9.0m), Sterling (7.0m), and Fernandes (8.5m), whose prices have dropped by 3.0m, 3.0m, and 1.5m respectively since the start of last season, and who will become appealing picks if they perform as they are capable of. Top performers from last season like Martinelli (8.0m), Odegaard (8.5m), and Rashford (9.0m) have all received 2.0m price increases, and Mitoma (6.5m) and Almiron (6.5m) have accrued 1.5m rises.

My team, as of 1/8/23. Mbeumo (6.5m) is a popular pick following his position reclassification and the fact that he will have to step up into the main striker role after Ivan Toney’s eight month suspension.

My team, Mbeumo number five, has a little bit of Watkins (8.0m), a little bit of Colwill (4.5m), and a little bit of Pickford (4.5m). My team at the time of writing is shown above, which I don’t mind showing, as I suspect that I will keep chopping and changing until the deadline (11/8/23, 18:30). I currently don’t have a single player from my beloved Tottenham Hotspur - but I doubt that I’ll allow myself to start the season like that. Maddison (7.5m) or Richarlison will surely sneak their way in.

Clearly, there is a lot to consider – and it is within that fact that I find the joy of playing FPL. I don’t have a hypothesis as such for this season, but I will make a small prediction that heeds to the difficulty of consistently achieving highly at FPL: none of last season’s top 4 will finish in the top 10 of the Varsity FPL league this season. Please join, using the league code ki09w0, and I look forward to reconvening in nine months’ time.