Fantasy Football: 10 players who have caught FPL managers by surprise this season

  • James Jones

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Every season there are several players who FPL managers just cannot go without having in their teams.

More often than not it’s the usual suspects every year but every now and then we get new, often cheaper, names who end up being the must-have stars, while some of the bigger names may see their form go a bit limp over the course of a campaign.

This season has been no different, with some players not doing so well despite being expected to, while many unexpected stars have delivered surprising stamina by returning the goods on a consistent basis.

So here’s a look at the 10 players who have surprised FPL managers throughout 2020/2021…

Patrick Bamford

Patrick Bamford

Many questions whether Patrick Bamford had the minerals to deliver in the Premier League, having netted just once in the top-flight previously.

But the striker has caught everyone by surprise this term, netting 15 goals and providing 10 assists, making him the fifth highest scoring FPL player in the game by the end of GW33.

Marcelo Bielsa has gotten the best out of Bamford and the 27-year-old, priced at just £5.5m at the start of the season and now at £6.3m, is owned by almost 39% of FPL managers.

Bamford has absolutely smashed it this season and has proved all of his doubters wrong.

Mason Mount

Mason Mount

It’s been a strange season for Chelsea, but Mason Mount has been just the package in a campaign that has seen most of the Blues’ big summer signings flop.

Timo Werner was the man brought in to fire Frank Lampard’s side towards a serious title challenge, but it just hasn’t worked out for the German – who has constantly fired blanks in front of goal - and Lampard eventually lost his job.

Thomas Tuchel appears to be getting a slightly better tune out of the striker, but it’s Mason Mount who has shined brightest, much to the surprise of many FPL bosses.

The England international has 141 FPL points to his name up to GW36, with six goals, seven assists and 16 FPL bonus points, making him Chelsea’s highest scoring player in FPL this season.

Stuart Dallas

Stuart Dallas

Much like most of Leeds United’s players this term, Stuart Dallas has surprised everyone with the impact he has made on their Premier League return.

Despite many acknowledging that Leeds’ squad was made up of mostly Championship quality players, they’ve stunned everyone with their style of play to mount a serious top-ten challenge.

Dallas has been key to that, with eight goals, three assists and 15 FPL bonus points, proving that a stab in the dark by picking him at the beginning of the season would’ve paid off handsomely.

And as a £4.5m valued defender in the game at the beginning of the season, many managers will be kicking themselves for not selecting him from the start - he’s now worth £5.2m.

Matheus Pereira

Matheus Pereira

West Brom’s season has been a massive flop – not even Sam Allardyce has been able to save them – but Matheus Pereira has emerged as a very shrewd option for FPL managers.

Starting the season at £6.0m, he’s now just £5.4m despite contributing ten goals and six assists to the Baggies’ survival efforts, earning himself 15 FPL bonus points in the process.

It’s never been attractive to own a player who plays for a side desperately battling against the drop, but Pereira has been the exception all season. This is proven by the fact he’s the only outfield West Brom player with over 100 FPL points this term.

Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard

This will of course come as no surprise to anyone, but Jesse Lingard’s loan spell at West Ham has been mind blowing.

Having not played a single Premier League minute for Manchester United during the first half of the season, Lingard joined West Ham on loan in January, with many wondering whether or not he would even get a game while David Moyes’ men continued to disrupt the top six and mount a genuine top-four challenge.

But Jesse Lingard walked straight into the Hammers’ starting XI and netted twice on his debut, in a 3-1 away win at Aston Villa. He hasn’t looked back since.

It took until GW22 for the 28-year-old to play his first top-flight minutes of the season and by the end of GW35, he had nine goals, four assists, 13 FPL bonus points and 94 overall FPL points. He’s now owned by 30% of FPL managers.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool romped away to the title last season and Trent Alexander-Arnold was one of the stars of that success, with four goals, 15 assists and 14 clean sheets to his name in 2019/2020. That’s why he started this season as the most expensive defender in FPL - £7.5m.

However, much like Liverpool’s title defence, it’s pretty much been a dead rubber for the England international, who has not been the same player we’ve all been used to seeing on the right side of defence for the Reds.

By the end of GW33, TAA had only registered two goals, five assists and eight clean sheets, and is currently on course to post his worst FPL points total since his breakthrough season in 2017/2018.

Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota

Despite missing the bulk of the season through injury, Diogo Jota’s first season as a Liverpool player has certainly surprised most.

While everyone expected Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to continue dominating Liverpool’s attacking output, Jota has almost disrupted the norm and can potentially be considered a starter over Firmino moving forward.

Eight goals in 17 Premier League appearances this season has been a very unexpected return for a player who had to fight his way into one of the most prolific attacking trios in world football, but somehow he’s done it.

Mane, Salah and Firmino have all had underwhelming seasons, despite Salah still netting over 20 goals, and Jota has capitalised.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale’s return to north London, on loan from Real Madrid, had everyone excited at the time, but it hasn’t really worked out in the way he and Spurs fans would have invisaged.

The Wales international has only made 15 Premier League appearances, by the end of GW33, and didn’t complete a full 90 minutes once during that time. Nine goals and two assists do help to alleviate the surprise somewhat, but his return has been a limp imitation of what he produced during the 2012/2013 season before his switch to the Spanish capital – 21 goals and nine assists!

Ahead of GW36, Bale has 92 FPL points, which doesn’t put him in an attractive position when compared to some of his other teammates this term.

John Lundstram

John Lundstram

The Sheffield United man was last season’s bargain must-have, with the midfielder/defender starting last season as a £4.0m defender and rewarding managers with five goals, four assists, 10 clean sheets and 15 FPL bonus points.

This season he was understandably priced at £5.5m ahead of GW1 and many FPL managers raced to ensure they had him in their teams, but there has been a fire sale almost every week since and he’s now worth just £4.8m in the game.

That’s because, much like Sheffield United’s limp attempt at avoiding second-season syndrome, Lundstram has failed to find the net, assisted just twice and recorded a measly two FPL bonus points all season.

It’s fair to say, the 27-year-old, will forever go down as one of the biggest FPL one-season wonders in history.

Matt Doherty

Matt Doherty

Eyebrows were raised when Tottenham managed to sign Wolves’ Matt Doherty for just £15m last summer, despite the Republic of Ireland international being a key player in Wolves’ back-to-back 7th-placed finishes with eight goals and 15 assists from right-wing-back during that period.

But since his switch, Wolves have struggled to replicate their previous two seasons’ work by floating in and around the bottom half of the table and Spurs will be feeling like they got sloppy seconds with their new man.

Doherty has struggled to tie down a consistent starting berth since his arrival, making just 15 Premier League appearances and recording just two assists.

Many will have raced to get him in their FPL teams at the beginning of the season, safe in the knowledge that they knew what they were going to get from a proven FPL points scorer. Instead, he’s been a complete flop, seeing his FPL price go from £6.0 in GW1 to £5.6m in GW35.

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