A significant change is coming to the Premier League -- and Fantasy Premier League, of course -- for this upcoming season. The summer transfer window will close prior to the matches in Gameweek 1. Our podcast celebrates this as a positive change.
Historically, the transfer window closed around the same time as the first international break of the season. In the fall, there are three international breaks -- meaning there are no Premier League matches those weekends. The first is in September, followed by one in October and another in November.
That first international break -- usually some time around the first of September, when the summer transfer window used to close -- provided you with a significant milestone. Squads were settled, and some consistency existed to determine who to transfer in to your FPL lineup.
These international breaks still provide you with milestones every 4-5 weeks as the season begins. Even though the summer transfer window closes before GW1, as opposed to September 1 (right around the first international break), it is still a proper timeframe to use as you attempt to determine where to start with setting your first FPL lineup.
So if GWs 1-4 are a good timeframe to use to determine who to transfer into your FPL lineup to start the season, then which players should you consider? Last week, we began by looking only at GW1's fixtures, and we determined that there are no really obvious places to go. This week, let's zoom out a bit and take a look at which clubs have the best schedules to open the season until that first milestone -- Gameweeks 1 through 4.
- Arsenal - MCI, at CHE, WHU, at CAR - A new manager and two tough matches to start the season might be a deterrent, but their attacking options are always appealing.
- Bournemouth - CAR, at WHU, EVE, at CHE - These fixtures are not terrible, but who exactly would you want to transfer in?
- Brighton & Hove Albion - at WAT, MUN, at LIV, FUL - This is a mixed bag and will likely keep you from transferring in anyone except a fringe player or two.
- Burnley - at SOU, WAT, at FUL, MUN - Their first-ever Europa League campaign should make you pause in general this upcoming season, but those first three matches are promising.
- Cardiff City - at BOU, NEW, at HUD, ARS - Cardiff could not ask for more to start the season. Those first three matches are opportunities. Now, we just need to figure out who they have that is ownable.
- Chelsea - at HUD, ARS, at NEW, BOU - Let's see who they have in their squad once the season starts and how their new manager lines them up. The fixtures are tasty, though, so this is one club to watch for the opening segment of the season.
- Crystal Palace - at FUL, LIV, at WAT, SOU - They were the darlings of FPL to end last season, and they will tempt you again to being this season. Hopefully, for their sakes, they will still have all the same players you want to transfer in.
- Everton - at WOL, SOU, at BOU, HUD - They will need to gel under a new manager, but this is another club to pay attention to.
- Fulham - CRY, at TOT, BUR, at BHA - Things could be worse, but this will still be a challenge. If you treated Fulham players the same way you treated Swansea players last season, it might not be the worst thing.
- Huddersfield Town - CHE, at MCI, CAR, at EVE - Yeah, you will want to stay away during those first two matches. By Gameweek 3, you will probably want to use your free transfer somewhere other than on a Terrier.
- Leicester City - at MUN, WOL, at SOU, LIV - There are some tricky fixtures here, but Leicester also might be good again. This is one to watch.
- Liverpool - WHU, at CRY, BHA, at LEI - Put Liverpool on the list of clubs, alongside Chelsea and Everton so far, whose players you want to transfer in.
- Manchester City - at ARS, HUD, at WOL, NEW - That Arsenal match will be supercharged at the Emirates. After that, it's only good things for your preferred City players.
- Manchester United - LEI, at BHA, TOT, at BUR - If you want to transfer in a United player, you will do so, regardless of their fixture list. This list, however, is mixed, so buyer beware.
- Newcastle United - TOT, at CAR, CHE, at MCI - It could be worse. It could be someone other than Cardiff in Gameweek 2. In all seriousness, you will want to transfer in Newcastle players at some point -- just not at the start of the season.
- Southampton - BUR, at EVE, LEI, at CRY - Right away, Southampton will know if they belong back in the middle of the table. Under Mark Hughes, there is little reason for optimism.
- Tottenham Hotspur - at NEW, FUL, at MUN, at WAT - Your regular Spurs players should intrigue you. However, everything centers around one question: Is this finally the year that Kane breaks his August curse?
- Watford - BHA, at BUR, CRY, TOT - If you have one Hornet on your squad, it might not be the worst thing. Besides, you only ever want them in the first half of the season anyway.
- West Ham United - at LIV, BOU, at ARS, WOL - This is another difficult yo-yo schedule to predict. With a new manager, you might want to wait and see.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers - EVE, at LEI, MCI, at WHU - This will be tricky for the newly promoted club. They have made some promising signings, but you will probably want to wait until later in the fall to pursue them.
There is still so much to learn about clubs and players and who will be available to start the season. However, based on fixtures for the first segment of the season, there are 5 clubs you will want at the top of your list. After that, well, I guess we will wait and see.