Thursday marked the return of the hugely popular Fantasy Premier League.
With the season kicking off earlier this year the game has returned sooner than it usually does. The launch of the game has sprung a few surprises, not least the introduction of 'Chips' which can be used to give you an advantage in a gameweek of your choice.
However what will really be interesting fantasy football managers is how much the prices of players have changed since last season. As expected many of the league's star names have increased in price considerably.
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Defensive duo Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry will both set you back £7 million after impressive seasons. Midfield magician David Silva sees his price tag rise to a hefty £10 million while Premier League new boys Depay and Firmino have both been slapped with £8.5 million price tags.
To aquire consistent peformer Eden Hazard you'll have to fork out £11.5 million. Harry Kane is no longer a bargain buy as his price has rocketed to £9.5 million after his 21 goal season. Most alarmingly Sergio Aguero costs a whopping £13 million, meaning you'll have to take a sizeable dent in your £100 million kitty to bring in last season's top goalscorer.
In order to fit in as many players of this calibre as possible it's going to be necessary to select a few cheaper options to save money.
Here are a few stand-out players that can be picked up on the cheap:
KASPER SCHMEICHEL (£4.5 MILLION)
The Dane was in impressive form at the end of last season as Leicester managed to avoid relegation. At a mere £4.5 million he would be a good choice for your second goalkeeper. The Foxes have a fairly comfortable start to the season facing Sunderland, Bournemouth and Villa within their first five. These three fixtures present good opportunities for clean sheet points.
BOAZ MYHILL (£4.5 MILLION)
With Ben Foster out injured it looks as if Myhill is going to be Albions first choice keeper at the start next season. He'd be a smart acquisition for under £5 million. While he does face City and Chelsea in the first five he has a defence in front of him which proved to be quite tight at times last season.
WES MORGAN (£4.5 MILLION)
Despite Leicester's struggles last season the big defender managed a respectable 112 points. The teams kind start to the season makes him a good bet for some early clean sheet points. He managed two goals last season and is dangerous off set-pieces. The 31-year-old also featured in 37 games last season meaning managers would not be running the risk of him being rotated.
MICAH RICHARDS (£4.5 MILLION)
The Englishman will be looking to get his career back on track after joining Aston Villa. While clean sheets are not the teams forte if he slots in at right-back then there is the potential for assist points.
In the 2011/12 season, the last in which he played regularly for Man City, he managed six assists and 99 points. At such a low price he could be worth a punt as he'll no doubt be desperate to repair his career.
TOM CLEVERLEY (£5.5 MILLION)
Don't laugh. Yes he's been poor over the last two years but don't forget he was in excellent form towards the end of last season. He's a player who has been criticised but who also showed in his early days at United that he does have the ability, it's just a matter of confidence. It was clear last season that the Englishman's confidence was building up again.
The move to Everton seems perfect for him, he will now play under someone he's familiar with in Roberto Martinez. Granted it would still be a punt to select him for your team but it might be one worth taking if he can carry his good end of season form into the new campaign.
WILFRIED ZAHA (£5.5 MILLION)
The youngster had a torrid time at Manchester United but he has thrived under Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace. Last season he was able to display his undoubted talent much more frequently.
His price has risen by £0.4 million after he totted up 91 points last season. With the arrival of Yohan Cabaye strengthening the team further the future looks bright for Palace. As long as the team keeps performing then Zaha can surely only improve.
TROY DEENEY (£5.5 MILLION)
For anyone looking for this seasons Charlie Austin, Deeney could be your man. The forwards record last season speaks for itself. The Watford front-man scored 21 goals last season to finish as the joint second highest goalscorer in the Championship.
The step up to the Premier League will be a big one but the 14.5% who have picked him at the time of writing will be hoping he can pass the test with flying colours. If he can replicate the kind of form Austin produced then £5.5 million could soon start to look like a steal.
CALLUM WILSON (£5.5 MILLION)
Another striker from a newly promoted club. At just 23 years of age the Bournemouth striker is already starting to make a name for himself. He finished last season with 20 goals in the Championship just one less than Deeney.
Bournemouth have some winnable looking fixtures early in the season facing the likes of Villa, Leicester and Norwich within their first five. Thus Wilson could well make a quick start to life in the Premier League.
Bournemouth could prove to be a surprise package next season and so could their striker.
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