This past season saw several players put in outstanding “breakout” fantasy Premier League seasons. These included the likes of Harry Kane, Saido Berahino, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Kieran Trippier, and even Jason Puncheon. What set them apart from other players was the fact that they were previously unknowns in the world of fantasy soccer.
Sigurdsson was a decent player while at Tottenham, but his move to Swansea gave him new life and that benefitted those FPL managers that took a chance on him. While with Spurs last season he played in 26 matches with 14 of those being starts, and scored five goals.
In his new environment in Wales, Gylfi went on to score seven goals and provide 10 assists through the season while playing in 32 matches (all of them starts). It is an interesting thought to wonder how many more he could have gotten if the Swans could have kept Wilfried Bony. Prior to his transfer Sigurdsson had eight assists with three of those being fed to Bony.
Now, breaking down Sigurdsson’s stats for last year is just to point out that he is pretty much the definition of a breakout player. He has always had potential and being given the additional playing time allowed him to really show what he can do.
The debate here is which players can become this season’s breakout fantasy players. I will choose one to two players from each position as possibilities to put in performances for the 2015-16 fantasy Premier League season.
There are a few guidelines to look at first before choosing these players. These need to be players that have had potential in the past and will now have a significantly better season. A players transfer fee, wage, or star power does not matter. Players recently promoted to the Premier League will also count since they will start the season with the potential to do well or to fail miserably (i.e. Kieran Trippier last season).
I would say that last season saw several keepers really standout throughout the season and none of those were the high end sort like Thibaut Courtois or Hugo Lloris, but instead were players like Lukasz Fabianski and Tom Heaton.
My main pick in goalkeepers is Petr Cech. His move to Arsenal means that he will again be a regular starter and the Arsenal defense is one that has finally shown signs of improvement that included 13 clean sheets. With a player the caliber of Cech between the sticks I can see this number improving.
For the second pick I’m tempted to go with Boaz Myhill, the problem is that he’s not guaranteed a spot as a starter considering that Ben Foster is likely to return. Instead, I will take a shot at Jack Butland becoming Stoke City’s new number one. In three appearances he made nine saves for an average of three saves per game which does put him in the top 15 for average saves per game. He is only 22 years old and could make mistakes, but since he is so young he has a lot of potential.
Jeffrey Schlupp is a player that was starting to put things together towards the end of the season. His ability to get forward while also providing cover at the back made him one of the better fullbacks in the league. It did help that Leicester City turned their season around and there are some question marks going into the 2015-16 campaign, especially with Nigel Pearson being fired. Still, the fact that he settled in well and contributed the way he did shows positive signs. This is a player who was a top 15 defender in Togga and led defenders in successful takeons with 64.
Simon Francis is yet another fullback that should shine in the Premier League. Most of the top defenders in fantasy Premier League are fullbacks and Francis will get his chance with Bournemouth to put himself in the frame for FPL managers this season. He is another all around player who averaged 2.9 tackles and 2.4 interceptions per game. In addition he contributed a goal, six assists, and nearly 57 passes per game with 1.8 key passes per game.
Norwich Ciy’s Nathan Redmond is one of the bright young English talents and at just 21 years old he has plenty of potential to fulfill. Having started his career with Norwich City in the Premier League he already has experience. In addition, spending a year in the Championship fighting for promotion can only give him a boost. In 46 appearances last season he scored six goals and provided the second most assists in the league with 13. His average of 2.5 key passes per game was the fourth highest in the Championship and he created 2.54 chances per game. He’s a dynamic player that should do well for any fantasy Premier League team.
While he was a very expensive purchase for Manchester United last season, Angel Di Maria is still a player with unfulfilled potential. He disappointed more often than not, but there were flashes of his brilliance seen at points throughout the season. Despite starting just 20 matches and making a sub appearance in seven more, he still managed to score three goals and provide the third most assists in the league with ten. This could be the season that Di Maria steps up to the next level of play and becomes a true Premier League superstar to rival the likes of Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez.
This is the one area that I have a difficult time predicting and that comes down to the fact that finding quality strikers that are consistently scoring goals is very difficult. It is so difficult that even scouts and managers have a hard time finding players to fill this role.
If there are two players to add here I would say to look at the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Ayoze Perez. Both showed signs of promise last season and both have the potential to break out and prove their fantasy value this season.
There are plenty more players out there that could impress this season including several coming up from the Championship. Matt Ritchie is one player that I plan to watch closely. Elsewhere there are several young players including Callum Wilson, Francis Coquelin, Gerard Delofeu, and Jack Grealish all of whom could become fantasy Premier League break out players.