The 2019-20 Premier League season gets underway on Friday and there are a lot of new players to get acquainted with! We've had plenty of signings from other leagues, not to mention the three teams promoted from the Championship.
Here's a quick look at 10 new players I'm excited about, from a fantasy perspective:
Christian Pulisic, Chelsea: I can't wait to see how the 20-year-old American performs in the biggest league in the world. The pressure is certainly on, as Chelsea paid 58 million pounds for Pulisic. He'll likely fill the place formerly occupied by Eden Hazard, the league leader in fantasy points last season. Pulisic is already available in ESPN's fantasy game as a Tier 1 midfielder and will probably be a popular pick in Matchweek 1. However, some of the best players in the world are in that tier -- including Mohamed Salah, who was tied for the league lead with 22 goals last season. Pulisic never scored more than four goals in any season with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, so he's got a lot to prove.
Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal: Arsenal paid even more for Pepe than Chelsea spent on Pulisic (72 million pounds), but he has a much better track record, albeit in a weaker league. The 24-year-old Frenchman finished second in Ligue 1 with 22 goals last season, behind only Kylian Mbappe, and was also tied for second in the league in assists with 11. Pepe only signed with Arsenal late last week, and isn't available in the ESPN fantasy game yet. It may take him a little while to get settled. Once he does, though, Pepe could be a fantasy star -- both by scoring goals himself, and by setting up teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who scored 22 and 13 goals last season, respectively.
Moise Kean, Everton: Kean's move from Serie A champions Juventus was only made official on Sunday, so he's also not available in the ESPN game yet. Still, he'll be another fascinating player to watch this season. Everton had two of the top-10 players in the league in terms of chances created last season: midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson and fullback Lucas Digne. However, they lacked a true goal-scoring center forward. Kean could be that player, but he's only 19 years old and made only 13 appearances (five starts) for Juventus last year. He did score six goals in only 535 minutes, which is better than a goal-per-90 minutes. Nobody else in Serie A averaged more than 0.73 goals-per-90.
Joelinton, Newcastle: What do you know? Newcastle made a big signing! Well, they kind of had to after losing their top two scorers from last season, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon. Joelinton cost 40 million pounds, so the club clearly has high hopes for him. The 22-year-old Brazilian had seven goals and five assists in 28 Bundesliga appearances (25 starts) for Hoffenheim last season. That's not bad, but certainly not great either. Now he's joined a team with little creative firepower around him -- and one that will probably be battling against relegation. Once Joelinton is available in the ESPN game, I might consider him as a Tier 2 forward when up against another weak team. He did score a goal in Newcastle's 2-1 preseason win over St. Etienne on Saturday.
Sebastian Haller, West Ham:
I'm much more excited about watching (and potentially picking) Haller this coming season. He cost his side a similar price (40.7 million pounds), but had much better numbers than Joelinton in the Bundesliga last season. He is also joining a more talented squad. The 25-year-old Frenchman finished with 15 goals and nine assists in 29 appearances (23 starts) for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, while adding five goals and three assists in 10 Europa League appearances. Playing alongside creative forces like Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini and fellow "newcomer" Pablo Fornals, Haller could have a very productive season. Consider him to be among the best Tier 2 forwards once he is available.
Rodri, Manchester City: The two-time defending champions made one big signing this summer. This is the one -- a 23-year-old, formerly of Atletico Madrid. He's a defensive midfielder, so don't expect many goals from him. In fact, he only scored three times in 34 La Liga appearances last season. You might still want him in your fantasy lineup because Rodri finished No. 11 in passes completed last season, despite playing for a La Liga team that was only 10th in the league in total possession (49.1%). Now he's joined a team that led the Premier League in possession last season, at a whopping 67.7%. Sure enough, Rodri led his new side with 57 passes completed in their Community Shield win over Liverpool on Sunday. If and when Rodri becomes available in the game, likely at Tier 2 midfielder, he'll have a high fantasy floor.
Tanguy Ndombele, Tottenham Hotspur: Hey, Tottenham made a signing, too! After not bringing in a single new player last season, Tottenham splashed the cash on Ndombele early in this transfer window. The 22-year-old Frenchman arrived for 55.5 million pounds, after playing two seasons with Ligue 1 side Lyon. Ndombele, like Rodri, is not a goal-scorer, He only had one tally in 34 Ligue 1 appearances last season. That said, he is more of a creative player, generating seven assists last season, and six the year before. Plus, he was No. 13 in Ligue 1 in passes completed. Tottenham was fourth overall in the Premier League in possession, at 59.1%. Expect Ndombele to be another Tier 2 midfielder with a pretty high floor -- and a little more upside -- if and when he becomes available in the game.
Teemu Pukki, Norwich City: The Canaries are back in the Premier League and Pukki played a huge role in their Championship-winning campaign from last season. The 29-year-old Finnish forward finished with a league-high 29 goals in 43 appearances. Pukki also led the Championship in shots, adding nine assists. He's already available as a Tier 2 forward, but I certainly won't be picking him in Week 1, up against Liverpool at Anfield. Also, keep an eye on teammate Emiliano Buendia, a 22-year-old Argentine who scored eight goals last season. Buendia was tied for second in the Championship with 12 assists, and was third in chances created. He's already available as a Tier 3 midfielder.
Billy Sharp, Sheffield United: Sheffield United finished second in the Championship last season, also earning automatic promotion -- and Sharp was a big reason why. He was No. 5 in the league in goals scored, with 23 tallies in 40 appearances. Sharp is also already available as a Tier 2 forward. However, I'm not nearly as high on him. Pukki took 144 shots last season, nearly twice as many as Sharp (75). Pukki also had 20 more chances created, and five more assists. Plus. Sharp is 33 years old and his side just spent a club-record 20 million pounds on Swansea forward Oliver McBurnie. Also, Sharp did not start in their final preseason game. Be wary.
Conor Hourihane, Aston Villa: Jack Grealish is Aston Villa's captain and has a much higher profile, but I'm more excited about Hourihane. Grealish had six goals and seven assists in 34 appearances last season. Hourihane beat him in both categories, with eight goals and 11 assists. Hourihane did make 12 more appearances than Grealish, but only played 320 more minutes. He also bested him in both goals- and assists-per-90 minutes. More recently, he scored two goals in Aston Villa's 3-1 preseason win over RB Leipzig on Saturday. Both players are available at Tier 3 midfielder, but Hourihane is the better choice.