FPL first-draft team reveals: 5-3-2 with Haaland and Salah

With Fantasy Premier League (FPL) live for 2022/23, we’ll be welcoming back our stellar team of Pro Pundits and Hall of Famers for the new campaign.

We’ll be hearing from a different writer every day in the aftermath of the FPL relaunch, to get their thoughts on the pricing and to see their initial picks.

Our writers will be providing regular articles and team reveals throughout the new season, with only Premium Members able to access every single one.

First up is five-time top 1k finisher Tom Freeman, who is now on board as Scout’s Deputy Editor.

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After four days of price reveals, Fantasy Premier League (FPL) opened its doors for the 2022/23 campaign on Tuesday.

So, in this, my first column of the new season, I thought I’d jot down some initial thoughts on strategy, plus teams/players that have caught my eye, and then build a very rough first draft based around that.

There are still just over four weeks to go until the season gets underway, and lots will change during that time, so I’m treating this as a kind of pre-season Watchlist that I can then develop.


Firstly, the most important takeaway from Tuesday’s launch: Fantasy managers will get unlimited transfers during the six-week hiatus between Gameweeks 16 and 17, when the Premier League takes a break to accommodate the World Cup.

It’s effectively a third chance to completely overhaul your squad, as the two usual Wildcards remain in place.

As you have to use the first one by Gameweek 16, the season is almost split into quarters, which means I think we can afford to be a bit more aggressive and short-term with our initial picks.

This means I’m not really looking beyond Gameweek 6 for my initial set-up, as realistically, the latest I’ll use my first Wildcard – in between Gameweeks 8 and 9 – is the September international break.

As a result, I’m considering Aston Villa’s Lucas Digne (£5.0m) in an attempt to capitalise on those opening four fixtures against Bournemouth, Everton, Crystal Palace and West Ham United.

By which point, he can then be moved onto someone in the £4.5m defender pool, a bracket I really like this year.


The £4.5m defender category is absolutely stacked with talent this year, and due to the kind pricing of the premium options, I feel it might be ignored.

And I like the idea of moving this spot around during the season to capitalise on certain fixture swings, with the names below all catching my eye over the past few days.

For example, James Justin (£4.5m) and Sven Botman’s (£4.5m) good runs start in Gameweek 6, while Vladimir Coufal’s (£4.5m) is a week later, something I touched on in my recent ‘When to best ‘hop on’ players with good fixtures’ article.

Player Team
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White Arsenal
Lewis Dunk, Tariq Lamptey Brighton and Hove Albion
Marc Guehi Crystal Palace
Timothy Castagne, James Justin Leicester City
Sven Botman Newcastle United
Vladimir Coufal West Ham United
Rayan Ait-Nouri, Jonny Wolverhampton Wanderers


Given that Chelsea have consistently been one of the best defences in the league under Thomas Tuchel, their assets feel a little under-priced this year. Edouard Mendy (£5.0m), plus both wing-backs at just £6.0m, could offer real value, even if the mooted switch to a back-four formation comes to fruition.

A lot will depend on recruitment and if they can successfully replace Antonio Rudiger, but if they can, a £5.0m starting ‘keeper from a Champions League-level defence feels like a sound investment, especially if you think they can improve on last season’s tally of 15 clean sheets.

The impact of a switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation could also boost their attacking output, which is why I have included Mason Mount (£8.0m) in my first draft. However, if Raheem Sterling (£10.0m) completes his move from Manchester City, I have a feeling he could really shake things up, with the prospect of Raphinha (£7.0m) feeding him from the right-flank a mouthwatering one for FPL managers. In that scenario, the winger would almost certainly make it into my Gameweek 1 team.


So, it’s safe to say a lot will change between now and next month’s Gameweek 1 deadline, but isn’t it fun being back talking FPL again armed with all the info?

Also, a quick shout out to Pras and Andy, who made some really nice points in last night’s ‘How to build a first draft’ video, which I’ve linked below in case you missed it.

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