With the new season inching closer, Goal takes a look at the best shot-stoppers available to virtual coaches, including some bargain buys
The 2017-18 Premier League season gets under way on August 11, meaning that fantasy football managers will soon have to finalise their squads for the new campaign.
The Fantasy Premier League game on the Premier League’s official website is also a popular choice for fantasy gamers, but regardless of what you use, we’ve broken down the best fantasy football goalkeepers, including a few bargains, to help you mould your squad!
BEST FANTASY FOOTBALL GOALKEEPERS
When considering what goalkeepers to choose for your fantasy football team, the first consideration is usually whether they are first choice or not. Most teams will stick to using one player between the posts for a season, so you want your number one to be playing regularly.
Naturally, clean sheets will boost a goalkeeper’s appeal, so those who have a formidable defence in front of them are sensible picks. Interestingly, however, shot-stoppers who are kept busy are often the highest scorers, so it is worth keeping in mind goalkeepers at clubs towards the bottom half of the table. For example, Burnley’s Tom Heaton was the highest scoring goalkeeper last season, despite being part of a team that lost 20 games.
Another key attribute to bear in mind is penalty-stopping ability as plenty of points can be gained this way through a long season.
|David de Gea||Man United||£5.5m|
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham – £5.5m)
Tottenham had the best defensive record in the Premier League last term, conceding just 26 goals in 38 games. Their captain and leader Hugo Lloris is the chief reason for that, saving and winning points for his team. Of the most expensive goalkeepers in this season’s game, Lloris scored the highest last year, with 143 points.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea – £5.5m)
Belgium international Thibaut Courtois is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he helped keep Chelsea’s title-winning defence watertight last season. He has a strong defensive line in front of him, which helps, but the former Atletico Madrid man is a colossus between the posts and is capable of pulling off the most impossible saves.
David de Gea (Man United – £5.5m)
Manchester United’s Premier League campaign in Jose Mourinho’s first term in charge was a disappointment as they finished sixth, but the Red Devils still had one of the best defensive records in the division. Only Tottenham conceded fewer goals than United, with the heroics of David de Gea on display all season. The Spain international has consistently been one of the best scoring goalkeepers in fantasy football and there is no reason why that should not continue this year.
Petr Cech (Arsenal – £5.5m)
Arguably the greatest goalkeeper of his generation, Petr Cech is still performing to the highest standards at the age of 35 and should retain the number one jersey for Arsenal this season. He has David Ospina and Emiliano Martinez pushing for his position, but the former Chelsea man remains a key player for Arsene Wenger and was one of the top five shot-stoppers last season, picking up 134 points.
Ederson (Man City – £5.5m)
Manchester City brought Ederson in from Benfica for a mammoth fee and the 23-year-old is ranked as one of the most expensive shot-stoppers in this season’s fantasy football. Claudio Bravo (valued £5m) was impressive during the Confederations Cup for Chile, but he is expected to return to Man City as number two to the Brazilian. Given the fact that he is relatively unproven, such a price seems steep, but Ederson was a key player in a Benfica side that conceded just 18 goals on their way to league glory last season.
Tom Heaton (Burnley – £5m)
Burnley suffered 20 losses in the Premier League last season, but they conceded fewer than most of the teams around them in the bottom half of the table and, for that, Tom Heaton can take plenty of plaudits. Heaton was the best goalkeeper in fantasy football terms last year, beating stars such as Hugo Lloris and David de Gea to top spot. The 31-year-old has a reputation as a penalty master, which adds further appeal.
Fraser Forster (Southampton – £5m)
Former Celtic star Fraser Forster has been immense for Southampton since joining in 2014, further enhancing his reputation as one of England’s best goalkeepers. The 29-year-old is known to make a crucial save or two and finished last season with the same number of fantasy football points as Petr Cech. Despite that fact, he is a tad cheaper than his Arsenal counterpart.
Jordan Pickford (Everton – £5m)
Everton have struggled to find a long-term successor to Tim Howard in the last few seasons, but, having splashed out £30 million for him, they will hope Jordan Pickford is that man. The 23-year-old accumulated over 100 points last season despite tasting relegation with Sunderland and, with a better defence in front of him at Goodison Park, he should earn a greater total this season.
BEST BARGAIN GOALKEEPERS
Unlike other areas of the pitch, there is very little variation in the prices of goalkeepers in fantasy football, but shrewd managers can save some money nevertheless.
The most expensive shot-stoppers are £5.5m and the cheapest is £4m – a price usually reserved for back-up or third-choice players. However, there are a number of talented individuals who fall somewhere in the middle.
Artur Boruc (Bournemouth – £4.5m)
It remains to be seen whether Artur Boruc retains his position as Bournemouth’s number one this season, with the addition of Asmir Begovic (also £4.5m) from Chelsea providing stern competition for the veteran Polish goalkeeper. Nevertheless, the 37-year-old was one of the best scoring shot-stoppers in fantasy football last season, coming not far behind Petr Cech and Fraser Forster, as well as beating the tally of Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet.
Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea – £4.5m)
Swansea endured a difficult campaign in 2016-17, which saw them sucked into a relegation battle. However, one of their better players was former Arsenal man Lukasz Fabianski, who managed to finish the season as a top-10 fantasy football goalkeeper, despite his side’s woes.
Matthew Ryan (Brighton – £4.5m)
Brighton were pipped to the Championship title last season by Newcastle, but Chris Hughton’s side nevertheless had the joint-best defence in the division along with the Magpies. David Stockdale, who was between the posts at the Amex last year, has departed, but Brighton have arguably upgraded with the addition of former Valencia and Genk man Matthew Ryan. The Seagulls have a fight on their hands to avoid relegation, but in Ryan they boast a solid keeper.
Karl Darlow (Newcastle – £4.5m)
Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United return to the Premier League as Championship winners and Karl Darlow was their number one as they posted the joint-best defensive record in the division. The 26-year-old played a handful of Premier League games in 2015-16, but the majority of his career has been spent in the Championship, where he was considered one of the most talented goalkeepers.
Heurelho Gomes (Watford – £4.5m)
Despite a number of impressive seasons with Watford, Heurelho Gomes is still chronically undervalued in fantasy football. The Brazil international, who counts Tottenham and PSV Eindhoven among his former clubs, was a top-10 goalkeeper in the game last term despite nearly suffering relegation and he would be a logical choice if one wished to save money in this area of the field.