The Euros may not be over yet, but it is already that time of year; clubs are teasing or outright revealing their players’ Fantasy Premier League prices, and the game is set to be reopened in the coming weeks. Leeds United provided FPL players with plenty of cheap options last season, with Illan Meslier, Stuart Dallas, Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford all passing the 150-point mark.
While players have inevitably seen price increases, Leeds’ FPL assets still represent real value for money, and we have broken down the Whites players to target and avoid as the new campaign slowly draws closer.
Given Kiko Casilla’s backup status on the pitch and controversial status off it, Meslier is clearly the only option to consider between the sticks. Although the most committed FPL players will be more appealed by the 4.5 million options such as Brighton’s Robert Sanchez, Meslier still represents great value despite his rise to 5 million ahead of the new season.
The France U21 international became the first goalkeeper aged 21 or younger to keep 11 Premier League clean sheets last season, and also bagged 36 saves points and 20 bonus points. Leeds’ commitment to Marcelo Bielsa’s attacking brand of football left them vulnerable in defence at times last season, but this only proved to benefit Meslier’s FPL owners.
Illan Meslier - £5.0m— Seb Wassell ️ (@SebWassell) June 20, 2021
- He's not Sanchez, but he's up there.
- One of the better value GKs last season and will likely benefit from Leeds' style once again.
- Worth noting that Leeds seriously overperformed their xGA at the end of last season due to poor opposition finishing. pic.twitter.com/xeCweQRmFB
Only three goalkeepers made more saves than the 21-year-old last season, as he proved capable of winning Leeds points despite facing plenty of shots on goal. Although Bielsa’s defence adapted to the top flight as the campaign went on, Meslier will still be required to keep his side in matches next season, and his potential dictates that he should expect to steadily improve as he builds up experience in the Premier League.
Final recommendation: Buy Meslier.
Dallas’ move to midfield in next season’s FPL takes away Leeds’ best defensive asset in the game, but there is still plenty to consider in this position. Most intriguingly, the Whites can expect to bring in at least one defensive reinforcement at left-back - ideally, one who provides as much attacking threat as Ezgjan Alioski while also proving reliable defensively.
With Alioski’s contract situation still unresolved, there are only five defensive options to select from Leeds’ squad in FPL as things stand. Centre-backs at Elland Road attracted little attention due to rotation forced by injuries throughout the last campaign, while they collectively scored three goals. However, a full pre-season should help Leeds avoid another injury crisis.
The Centre Backs - £4.5m DEF— Seb Wassell ️ (@SebWassell) June 20, 2021
- Cooper, Struijk, Llorente and Koch.
- Wait and see on who starts. I have it down as Cooper and Llorente at the moment.
- Worth noting that Bielsa cited Koch, Struijk and Llorente's ability to cover DM in the absence of Phillips recently. pic.twitter.com/CzIm0jNR7c
Diego Llorente’s form over the second half of his debut Premier League season has left him as a likely starter heading into the new campaign, while Robin Koch’s involvement was limited by injuries. However, the latter impressed while filling in for Kalvin Phillips and could easily win back his place at centre-back. Club captain Liam Cooper faces a tough battle keeping his place in the starting eleven, as fellow left-footer Pascal Struijk looks to build on an excellent breakthrough season.
Ultimately, their lack of goal threat means there are better Leeds options available to FPL managers, while the lack of certainty over who the starting duo will be is also somewhat off-putting. But with all centre-backs coming in at 4.5 million, they could definitely be revisited throughout the season as potential additions.
Luke Ayling - £4.5m— Seb Wassell ️ (@SebWassell) June 20, 2021
- Now that Dallas is a MID, Ayling could well be the premier Leeds defensive asset.
- 0 goals, 0 assists last season but put up enough xG and xA to have challenged Dallas at times.
- Would expect to spend more time at RB than last season (periods at RCB). pic.twitter.com/3jvE8EZYdI
If it’s a guaranteed starter you’re after, look no further than Luke Ayling (also priced at 4.5 million), who featured in all but 20 minutes of the 20/21 campaign. While he failed to register a goal or assist, he registered a similar expected goals tally to Alioski and bettered Dallas’ expected assists. In fact, they were the only Leeds defenders to achieve more Ayling’s final score of 100 FPL points last season.
With Leeds’ defence adapting well to the top flight during the second half of the season, a first team addition at left back would balance the back line nicely and could give Ayling slightly more freedom going forward. Whatever happens, Bielsa’s side will be aiming to concede less and score more than they did in 20/21, and it seems unlikely that Ayling will fail to register a goal contribution for a second successive campaign.
Final recommendation: Hold back on the centre-backs (for now), consider Ayling but wait and see who joins at left-back.
Leeds’ midfield offers a few strong options to consider ahead of the start of the season; Dallas still would have scored well over 100 points if he were a midfielder in 20/21, while Harrison - whose price has not yet been listed with his permanent transfer to Elland Road still to be confirmed - will look to build on his 16 goal contributions in the last campaign.
However, the standout option is undoubtedly Raphinha. Valued at 6.5 million, the Brazilian feels like he could have easily had an extra million added to his price tag, but there will be no complaints from FPL players looking for a bargain in midfield. Around a third of the season had passed by the time the 24-year-old cemented his place in the first team last season, and he still managed six goals and nine assists.
Raphinha - £6.5m MID— Seb Wassell ️ (@SebWassell) June 20, 2021
- £0.5m if not £1.0m too cheap.
- Leeds' main attacking threat, whether that be scoring or assisting.
- Likely to return on all or most set-pieces, from which he has a solid record.
- Can do this: pic.twitter.com/dmJtmg54Ee
Over the course of an entire Premier League campaign, expect both tallies to increase. The former Sporting Lisbon and Rennes star poses a real threat shooting from distance, while his tendency to take risks when passing rather than choosing the safer option increases his chances of creating goalscoring opportunities for his teammates.
Harrison will almost certainly be priced in a similar region to Raphinha, but will still provide a decent differential option - Raphinha’s pricing has garnered interest from across the FPL community, meaning Harrison will fly under the radar in comparison, and the fewer players that own a player, the better the rewards that are reaped from being one of the few who own him.
Stuart Dallas - £5.5m MID— Seb Wassell ️ (@SebWassell) June 20, 2021
- 0.5m too cheap.
- We may well sign a CM, which could affect his role, but he plays.
- Overperformed xG by about 2x last season.
- Likely to continue to impress, but it'll bring fewer points now that he's no longer a DEF.
- On some set pieces. pic.twitter.com/bt06vJ1IF3
Elsewhere, Dallas represents one of the better cheaper options at 5.5 million, despite there being a decent chance of his continued involvement in defence with Leeds looking to bring in a central midfielder during the summer window. He was named Leeds’ player of the year last season, but it is unlikely that the Northern Irish international will hit those heights again, especially with his first team place not being entirely guaranteed.
Mateusz Klich, also priced at 5.5 million, could prove to be a shrewd buy depending on how much he benefits from a full pre-season. Despite looking jaded for much of last season, the 31-year-old still registered nine goal contributions, and against Burnley in the run-in he proved he still has long-ranged goals in his locker. However, he admitted himself that he is beginning to struggle with the demanding nature of Bielsa’s leadership, and he faces an uphill battle to remain a consistent first team option.
Mateusz Klich - £5.5m MID— Seb Wassell ️ (@SebWassell) June 20, 2021
- Assuming we do not sign a CM, he has likely regained the more attacking 8 spot alongside Dallas.
- Has a strong history of goal threat when playing.
- However, has likely lost penalties to Bamford. At least until Pat misses... pic.twitter.com/37fqSK6P9I
None of the other midfield options represent good options for FPL; as a holding midfielder, Kalvin Phillips will rarely win more than two or three points per game, while Helder Costa and Tyler Roberts will probably see their minutes limited in the opening weeks of the season at the very least. Ian Poveda and Jack Shackleton are obvious no-goes, with neither looking particularly close to breaking into the first team.
Final recommendation: Keep an eye out for midfield additions, but prioritise Raphinha and Harrison as your Leeds midfield assets.
Only Harry Kane managed more points than Bamford (194) among forwards last season, and the striker is subsequently subject to a major price rise. He cost 5.5 million at the start of last season, and that had risen to 6.6 million by the final gameweek. However, he now represents a mid-range option alongside the likes of Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins at 8 million.
Do not be put off by an obligation to part with more money to acquire Bamford’s services though. He settled into the Premier League last season with 17 goals and seven assists, and will surely build on those tallies as Leeds look to strengthen over the summer. New additions at left-back, central midfield and out wide will increase the pool of talent putting chances on a plate for the ex-Middlesbrough frontman.
Patrick Bamford - £8.0m FWD— Seb Wassell ️ (@SebWassell) June 20, 2021
- £0.5m too expensive for me.
- Starts at 9.
- Likely to return with strong goal threat once again and will retain penalties (until he misses at least).
- However, given the price and other options, he could be one for later in the season. pic.twitter.com/NsFYzKPddP
But if you are reluctant to splash the cash on Bamford and are in favour of bolstering your midfield, Rodrigo represents good value at 6.5 million and is looking like Leeds’ most underrated FPL asset. The Spaniard suffered from a lack of a pre-season, leading to issues with injuries and illness that made for inconsistent first team involvement. Four goals in as many matches in last season’s run-in, however, point to Leeds’ record signing making his price tag count in the upcoming campaign.
Although Bamford is unlikely to budge from his number nine role, Rodrigo has had time to get a feel for his new post at central-attacking midfield. Furthermore, he will strongly benefit from a full pre-season break, and although he deserved to be in Spain’s squad for the European Championships, his omission will ensure he gets a proper rest. On paper, he rivals Raphinha as Leeds’ most naturally gifted player, and expect him to improve on his tally of seven goals last season.
Final recommendation: Aim for Bamford, but settle for Rodrigo if you want to bolster your midfield or defence - both should be good assets.
Which Leeds player will be the first in your FPL team this season?
This poll is closed
Which Leeds asset will be the first to enter your FPL team? Who among Bielsa’s squad do you think will fly under the radar this season? Vote in the poll above (viewable in browser) and let us know in the comments below and on Twitter.