With just a few days to go until the new season, the Belgian Pro League has launched its fantasy football platform for the year. We now know the prices for all the key players and have put together this guide to help first time players try and put together a team capable of winning. This year we have teamed up with the Belgian Football Podcast to run a league for all our followers. The link to join will be at the bottom of this article.
We will look at a bargain for each position, a must have and then ones to avoid to start the season.
Every fantasy player is looking to find the edge with a bargain buy. Starting from the back, Senne Lammens at €4m could be worth a punt as a second goalkeeper. With first choice goalkeeper Jean Butez heavily linked with a move away by the end of the window, Lammens could well become the starter by September. As second keepers are usually ones that people pay the least for, Lammens is a no brainer.
Another €4m option of Koki Machida of Union St Gilloise. With two first choice defenders having left the side, and only one come through the door, Machida may well be in line for a starting role this season. Last time he was a head coach Alexander Blessin loved playing a back three, meaning that Machida will certainly have a higher chance of getting minutes. With the low price tag, he could be another bargain.
In midfield, one of our players to watch this season is also on the cheap side. Sint-Truiden lost a lot of key players in the summer, but on incoming comes with a reputation for scoring and providing assists. Ryotaro Ito scored 16 goals for his previous side, and piled on the assists as well. You’d expect he will carry the load for a Sint-Truiden side that have few creative options. If he can provide the spark for them, he could be another bargain at just €4.5m.
Nathan Opoku at €4m is probably the best bargain buy you could find amongst the strikers. He looked exciting at the back end of the season, and OH Leuven have no other out and out strikers at this moment in time. If he has to carry the load, he should get chances as their is creativity in the well coached side. If you have spent most of your budget on premium players elsewhere, Opoku could be a hidden gem that gives you the edge.
While Jean Butez was part of the leagues best defence last season, the transfer speculation surrounding his future means that going for him at the premium price does have some risks. If you want to grab a goalkeeper for the long haul, Simon Mignolet at €6m should be a reasonable option. Club Brugge should dominate possession against most sides they face, while it seems clear that the experienced goalkeeper will be the number one for this season. the €0.5m saved on not going for Butez opens up a few more options elsewhere.
At €7m, last seasons leading defender Maxim De Cuyper is by no means cheap. At Westerlo he was the main man, but now back at his parent side Club Brugge, we do not yet know how much of an influence he will have. He took penalties as well last season, which added to his score. Instead, going for someone like Mark McKenzie at €5.5m could be money well spent. He showed he was a threat from set pieces at the back end of last season, and Genk’s defence should be solid enough to pick up some clean sheet points.
Mike Tresor and Hans Vanaken lead the midfielders in terms of price. Tresor may be off, so if you want a premium midfielder Vanaken is the one. However, Tarik Tissoudali is also listed as a midfielder. We do not yet know how Hein Vanhaezebrouck will fit Tissoudali, Hugo Cuyper and Gift Orban into his side, but all can grab 20 goals. Tissoudali, at just €8m, seems a great pick up. With the injury behind him, a return to his best could see the Moroccan talent rack up some fantasy points this season.
If you have the €11m remaining after building your squad, Hugo Cuypers is worth spending the money on. The Belgian striker was excellent last season and is worth considering if you have the budget. Of those left over, Kevin Denkey could be a shrewd move. Cercle Brugge’s top scorer Ayase Ueda is likely to leave, meaning Denkey will be leading the line. He can score, but he is also great at providing for his teammates. The Togolese international will only cost €7m, but without Ueda he will likely jump in price.
Best to avoid:
We’ve already mentioned Jean Butez, with the transfer speculation looming around him it feels wise to hold fire on picking him up if you can. At €6m, Arnaud Bodart is pricey. Standard Liege have lost some key defenders and look light at the back. Bodart could be busy, and they could be a lower mid table side because of that. There are probably better options out there than using €6m of your limited budget on the Standard keeper.
At €5m, Boris Lambert is a pricey option if for some reason you want an Eupen player. He scored reasonably well at the start of last season, but Eupen have lost a lot of key players and look defensively weak. They are expected to be in the relegation dogfight for the entirety of the 2023/2024 season, and it is unlikely that Lambert and co will keep many clean sheets. for €5m, there are plenty of other defensive options out there.
Personally, I am a big fan of Patrick Hrosovsky, however from a fantasy point of view, €8.5m seems rather steep for the Slovakian midfielder. Three goals and four assists last time out for a player who links play rather than createsis by no means bad, however at that price you could find cheaper options who will score more points.
Players may look at last seasons stats, see just €8m for Gianni Bruno and think that is a bargain. However, his future is so uncertain. If he stays in the league, then sure pick him up later. But he is unlikely to get a look in with Tissoudali, Cuypers and Orban in the Gent squad. For the same price you could get Kasper Dolberg, pretty much a guaranteed starter for Anderlecht if fit.
Plenty will have other names to fill these categories, and that is what makes fantasy football so entertaining. If you fancy a challenge, even if you are just getting into the league for the first time this year, join our league with the code 6QPG72.