The 2023/24 Premier League is just around the corner and not only will the matches between 20 of England’s best teams start from August 11, but also a virtual battle between millions will also start in Fantasy Premier League.
The digital point-based game has taken football fans by storm over the last decade so and become almost addictive for millions. The prospect of battling your friends or other fans and picking your favorite Premier League stars to shine has made it an irresistible obsession for millions.
Alongside the Premier League, the Fantasy Premier League drama will also kick-start on Friday. However, there could be a twist to the pointing system and player-picking choices this time around for one key reason: the injury-time alterations.
What injury time changes is the Premier League implementing?
Indeed, the Premier League is already confirmed to adapt the Qatar World Cup style injury time system. Basically, they will be delving away from previous methods to calculate injury times that are added before half-time or full-time. Teams and players will now be punished for too much simulation or wasting time tending to injuries or any time-wasting tactics.
This new method of calculating minutes to be added at the end of either half was tested at the World Cup. That resulted in games dragging onto beyond 100 minutes at times before of 10-15+ minutes of added time being placed.
This stirred a lot of controversy with players voicing their dismay, and Manchester United defender Raphael Varane recently tweeted his disapproval of the Premier League adapting this method for the upcoming campaign too.
With that being said, these significant injury time changes will not only impact the players but also the tactics for picking players in FPL as well. There are some tweaks that users could be forced into making and some really smart calculations need to be made to get the highest points.
Which players are FPL must-have with changes?
There could be certain categories that every FPL might look into before deciding the kind of players they want with these new changes. One type of player that should be nailed on are those who are guaranteed to play 90+ minutes on a regular basis. These are players with high endurance and goal potential, giving users maximum points.
Possible examples of the same could be the likes of Mohamed Salah, Bruno Fernandes and Harry Kane (who now looks set to stay at Tottenham). Even centre-backs for major clubs like Man City or Arsenal – like William Saliba, Ruben Dias or Lisandro Martinez can be key as they play entire games without being rested or substituted much.
Moreover, goal-contributing full-backs like Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luke Shaw are also great options as they now might get more time to set up potential late goals through set-pieces or crosses.
The likes of Salah and Kane scored over 200 points last season and are expected to consistently deliver this time too. Erling Haaland, of course, is nailed on for the Golden Boot and is a must-have – but he often gets substituted in matches – which means he isn’t nailed on for 90+ mins every game.
Which players could be game-changers under new injury-time rules?
While the name of the game in FPL has encouraged users to pick players who are guaranteed to start matches, that could change with these new rules. Because of the injury times being extended to crazy amounts, managers could be cautious with certain players and be encouraged to give their ‘super-subs’ more time.
This season, we might as well get to see substitutions made around the 60’ mark from teams who are in desperate need of goals. As a result, those impactful players with the reputation and capability of scoring or assisting goals after coming on as substitutions could be gambles worth taking.
That involves the likes of Callum Wilson, Leandro Trossard, Manor Solomon or even Reiss Nelson. These players are not guaranteed to start every game. But they were among the most impactful substitutes last season. Wilson, especially, is a menacing figure as a substitute and scored four goals after coming off the bench for the Magpies last season.
Trossard will probably be rotated with Gabriel Martinelli and he’s already proven his ability to thrive in this new system, having influenced a 101st minute equalizer in the Community Shield win over Man City. Picking these players with highly impactful nature could be a key move, especially considering they are lower priced than the prominent starters.
Solomon, for example, is worth around 5.5 and will mostly be used as a substitute – having scored three goals as one last season. Even Trossard (7.0) is worth a gamble considering his ability to make an impact in the Arsenal frontline. Once Chelsea forward Armando Broja (5.0) gets fit too, he can also be a decent pick for the price if you’re looking for a cheap forward.
How does this influence goalkeepers?
Of course, Premier League goalkeepers will probably be dreading the prospect of having to play more minutes because of these changes. The longer the game drags, the more their prospect of keeping a clean sheet goes down.
Even the likes of Ederson or Aaron Ramsdale, whose teams dominate all through matches, are now not nailed on to get clean sheets. FPL Managers might need to look slightly beyond just those who they feel are guaranteed to churn out clean sheets.
That is because keepers are often given big points for making many saves in matches and that could increase with the longer game time. David Raya made the most saves (154) in the league last season with Brentford, but he’s now on the verge of joining Arsenal, where he might not need to be that proactive.
On the other hand, goalkeepers like Jordan Pickford, Jose Sa or Bernd Leno – all solid shot-stoppers – could now get higher points because of their ability to make a lot of saves in matches. All three are below the 5.0 mark and can be clever acquisitions, at least as an alternate option.
Which players should be avoided?
With these changes, defenders will now be under major threat of losing more points and their clean sheets. Moreover, there is a possibility for more bookings among such players as games drag on, which could possibly lead them to resort to making nasty fouls towards the end.
There are also certain teams that FPL managers might opt to stay away from because of their tendency to concede goals in the final minutes. The likes of Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest conceded the most goals in the last 10 minutes of the 22/23 Premier League campaign – meaning their defenders and goalkeepers might be major risks.
In fact, it’s clever to buy fewer centre-back and more wing-backs who are capable of getting assists or higher bonus points with their chance-creation abilities. At least that could assure of more points in case that defender’s clean sheets are wiped off.
The player-choice pattern for the 2023/24 FPL campaign should be settled after a few game-weeks. But for the first few matchdays, managers need to think out-of-the-box to get ahead of the curve and definitely take the injury-time prospect into mind – because the injury times will definitely influence more games with dramatic last-minute goals and heartbreaks.