Round 1 (2) – Kevin De Bruyne
First off, Fantrax threw a wobbly right at the beginning of our draft, meaning that the team choosing first got both Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne! Wouldn’t be the worse start to a draft if you pulled that off. Hopefully Fantrax fixes their dodgy draft room before the real fun starts.
The top two picks sort themselves for me. If you’re lucky second in the draft and pick one is Fernandes then you get De Bruyne and vice versa. No brainer!
This first round was a slightly odd one for me, with the likes of Ollie Watkins and James Ward Prowse going much earlier than they should do. I’d expect to see Riyad Mahrez and Jadon Sancho take their places during the real thing. You’ll see later in the draft that all of us forgot about Sancho’s existence until round five which was a little embarrassing…
Pick of the round – Mo Salah at pick seven is very, very nice! He can be considered a sleeper at that point.
Round 2 (23) – Raheem Sterling
A stunning end to 2019/20 saw Raheem Sterling drafted in the top 5/6 in last season’s draft. A more difficult campaign for the City forward will probably see him fall in many drafts this time around. Even if he is battling Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden for a spot, you can’t let Sterling drop past the second round.
After a stunning Euros, pick 23 for Raheem Sterling could be a steal. If you’re worried about Pep roulette (who isn’t?), go after the Foden/Mahrez owners for those early trades.
Pick of the round – No one obvious. A rested Marcus Rashford could be good at round 2. Is it biased to suggest Sterling too?
Round 3 (26) – Lucas Digne
I don’t like taking defenders this early in the draft but Lucas Digne is a bit special in this game, especially with the pragmatic Rafa Benitez in charge. Despite Everton’s leaky defence last season as well as a suspension and a lengthy injury absence, Digne finished as the 5th highest scoring defender and 27th overall.
This was also my first mock draft experiment to see how I shape up if I do decide to go for an early, elite defender. As you will see, it went well enough but I am not sure I’d have the bottle to do it in the real thing.
Pick of the round – I love Adama Traore here. Jamie Vardy too.
Round 4 (47) – Dwight McNeil
Not the most glamorous pick but I don’t mind taking Dwight McNeil at the end of the fourth. Learning from previous errors (Willian in the second round last season), my aim is to take as few risks as I can early on and McNeil is as risk free as they come with guaranteed minutes and plenty of set pieces to boost up his score.
A reliable source of points, McNeil is exactly what’s needed as a MID2 next to the great KDB. I was happy with how the first four picks went!
Pick of the round – A fit and healthy Christian Pulisic could be a steal here. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at round four is also something I thought I’d never see.
Round 5 (50) – Danny Ings
I can’t help but feel that Danny Ings at this stage is an absolute steal. If I go in with a strategy to stack the midfield and end up with the Southampton talisman as my first forward then I’d be more than happy.
Interestingly, had I gone with that strategy (which is highly likely with the depth of the forward pool this season) I’d be sat with a midfield of De Bruyne, Saint-Maximin, McNeil and Harvey Barnes/Paul Pogba. Not bad.
Pick of the round – I’m going to say it. Danny Ings! This is where Jadon Sancho ended up going but I think we can safely say that won’t be happening once he is actually in the game.
Round 6 (71) – Bertrand Traore
After a solid first five, Bertrand Traore is my first wildcard pick. Having said that, I’m more than happy to take him in round six and can see him going earlier in many drafts.
The Villa winger always passes the eye test but can be a boom or bust Fantrax player. Traore isn’t the guy you get in for those dependable 6/7 point outings but every now and then he will haul in the 30 pointer that gets you over the line in a close matchup. As much as anything, he’s great fun to have in your side!
Pick of the round – Wilfried Zaha is great value here wherever it is he plays his football.
Round 7 (74) – Gylfi Sigurdsson
Here’s my first real gamble of the draft in the form of old Togga favourite Gylfi Sigurdsson. Everton’s formation under Ancelotti didn’t always suit the Icelandic playmaker and he often found himself left out in favour of James Rodriguez and (bizarrely) Andre Gomes.
When he did start, Siggy showed exactly why Everton paid the big bucks when signing him from Swansea but a new manager could (should) be the signal for regular first team football and the return of a premium asset. If he locks down that starting position, 7th round is an absolute steal. I’d be prepared to even go a round earlier depending on who else is left in the pool at that stage.
It’s worth keeping a keen eye on Everton’s pre-season fixtures…
Pick of the round – Emile Smith Rowe and Milot Rashica are certainly ones to watch at this stage.
Round 8 (95) – Jarrod Bowen
…and here’s my second gamble! Last season’s drafts saw Jarrod Bowen fly off the board in the 4th round in most drafts, earlier in some. However, Jesse Lingard’s mid-season arrival saw West Ham’s fortunes dramatically increase while Bowen’s fairly average season continued to be average. In fact, it ended mostly on the bench.
The young English forward will be desperate for a bounce back season. He’s far too talented to not enjoy a long successful Premier League career and, even though I have described his form as average, he still scored 8 goals and assisted a further 6. A potential bargain at round eight!
Pick of the round – Ferran Torres could be great value here. He certainly will be if we see a Bernardo Silva esque second season.