In fantasy football, it is always worth looking at the three promoted clubs every season for players to draft to your team. Other managers will focus on the players that have established themselves in the Premier League, but they could be missing out on a potential great pick-up.
It was Newcastle United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town that are the newly-promoted teams this season. A lot will be known about Newcastle considering they are returning to the top flight after only one season, but the other two have yet to feature in the Premier League.
Here are five newly-promoted players that you should consider picking in your Draft Fantasy team this year:
Dwight Gayle – Newcastle United
The Newcastle United number nine may not have won the golden boot last season in the Championship, but he was certainly the best striker in the division. He scored 23 goals, with one coming every 93.3 minutes. During his time at Crystal Palace, he showed that he could offer a goal threat in the Premier League, but he wasn’t given the first team opportunities that many thought he deserved.
At Selhurst Park, he scored a goal every 182.9 minutes in the Premier League. This is an impressive record considering that he was always in and out of the team. He is utilised better by Newcastle and he has the belief of his manager. It isn’t clear whether the Magpies will sign another striker to compete with him, but regardless, Gayle would be a good second striker in fantasy. Benitez rates him highly and he is full of confidence. He is ready for the Premier League and he will score goals this season.
Anthony Knockaert – Brighton and Hove Albion
Although the Frenchman didn’t impress in the top flight when he was at Leicester City, he is now a more mature player and he will definitely start the season in the team at the Amex Stadium. Last season, he was voted the Championship player of the year and rightly so. He contributed 15 goals and eight assists, which works out at a goal involvement every 164.9 minutes. The Seagulls rely on his dynamism to create chances and he receives lots of the ball on the right wing. The 25-year-old does take set pieces as well, which adds to his fantasy value.
It is unlikely that he will score as many as he did in the Championship, but he will be determined to prove that he belongs at the highest level. As a second or third midfield pick, he could prove to be a great selection as he will be involved in a lot of the attacking play for Brighton. It would be a gamble, but one that has the potential for high rewards.
Matt Ritchie – Newcastle United
The Scottish international had a good season with Bournemouth during the 2015/16 season and showed that he could compete in the top flight. It was a surprise that he opted to drop down a division, but he is now coming back as a better player. He has developed under Rafa Benitez and he will be eager to show that he made the right decision to move to Tyneside. Last season, he scored 12 goals and got seven assists. This wasn’t as good as Knockaert, but it remains an excellent haul.
One reason you may opt for Ritchie ahead of Knockaert is that he is going to be playing in a team that is more used to the Premier League. Newcastle have lots of top flight experience and that will help them at the beginning of the season. The winger also takes penalties and set pieces, which increases his value in the game. Benitez utilised set pieces effectively last season and it is likely that he will target them again this year.
Tommy Smith – Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield offer a risk in fantasy as they have made a lot of signings and it isn’t clear how they will line-up in August when the season kicks off. Their best fantasy option based on last season would be Tommy Smith. The right back is given the license to attack by David Wagner and he does offer a real threat when he gets forward. Last season, he contributed four goals and ten assists, which is an incredible return for a full back. To put that into context, he created more goals than either Knockaert or Ritchie.
The style that Huddersfield play means that they aren’t likely to keep consistent clean sheets, especially given the step up in quality. They conceded 18 more than the other two promoted teams last season, but Smith is worth drafting for his attacking upside alone. He is unlikely to be picked up early on and could be a great defensive pick late in the draft.
Lewis Dunk – Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton are dangerous from set pieces and that is a part of the game that Chris Hughton will want to target next season, especially against the better teams in the league. If they persist with their 4-4-2 formation, they will be solid in defence, but they may struggle to create clear-cut chances. This is why set pieces are so important and Dunk is one of their main threats.
During the last three seasons, he has scored 11 goals and Brighton will be hoping that he can contribute a few this year. Hughton will look for his side to be solid at the back and target clean sheets. As they were the joint-best defensive team in the league last season, it can be expected that they will be tough to break down and keep clean sheets. As a second or third choice defender, Dunk would be a great draft pick.