This article is part of our FPL Barometer series.
It has been more than 80 excruciating days since we last experienced the excitement of the Barclays Premier League (not that anybody's counting), but the new season is finally upon us after another summer of change. While we are limited to taking in various international tournaments and a handful of lukewarm club warmup friendlies when looking to wet our beaks in between the end of one season and the start of another, the European transfer window generally provides plenty of entertainment. This summer was no different, as high-profile veterans like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard left England's top league and the big clubs were up to their usual tricks, splashing out absurd amounts of cash in the name of strengthening their squads.
While a game has not yet been played in the 2015/16 Premier League season, several key Fantasy Premier League contributors from last year have already seen their stock affected by this summer's transfer activity. In the first edition of our EPL Barometer, you will be given an idea of what to expect from these popular fantasy commodities as the season commences.
When news broke that Sterling wanted to leave Liverpool, suitors from around the Premier League and abroad lined up with bids in hand in an effort to secure his services. The result? An English record transfer fee of roughly $75 million dished out by Manchester City.
Sterling provided decent returns of seven goals and seven assists in league play for the Reds last season, but his form was inconsistent partly due to his ever-changing position within Brendan Rodgers' team. With the midfield and defense already shored up at City, Sterling should be allowed to roam the wide positions where he is most effective.
The Citizens led the Premier League in goals scored by a margin of 10 over Chelsea last season, and with Sterling on the wing linking up with the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, his summer move looks to have vaulted him into the realm of elite FPL midfielders. Manchester City are firmly among the favorites to pace the Premier League in offense once again after their big coup.
Once considered one of the truly elite goalkeepers in world football, Cech lost his place at Chelsea to the much younger Thibaut Courtois last season as the club made a move toward the future. Cech was limited to just 10 starts in a season when the Blues played over 40 matches, but he illustrated his immense ability by keeping seven clean sheets in his sporadic time in goal.
This offseason, as a sign of respect to one of the greatest goalkeepers in club history, Chelsea management told the Czech international he would be allowed to move to any club of his choosing. Cech put that promise to the test, as he selected a move to cross-town rival Arsenal for a transfer fee of roughly $22 million, citing Champions League football as a primary factor.
Still in the prime of his career, the 33-year-old will join an Arsenal defense that finished third in the league in goals allowed last year despite inconsistent play from the likes of David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny in goal. During his last full season as a starter in 2013/14, Cech started 44 games for Chelsea in all competitions and helped the Blues to the best defensive record in the Premier League by a whopping 10-goal margin. As the undisputed No. 1 for a strong Arsenal team that finally seems to be ready to mount a serious title challenge, he should be one of the most reliable goalkeepers in all fantasy formats.
Rooney is a player who did not change clubs this summer but will benefit greatly from the business that the Red Devils have done in the transfer market. Often deployed at a deeper position last season, Rooney found himself playing farther from goal than he has throughout his career, managing only 14 goals and five assists in 37 appearances in all competitions. That type of return would be exceptional for most players, but Rooney totaled 19 goals and 15 assists the previous season and is only three years removed from scoring 29 goals.
Since the summer began, United have cleared the way for Rooney to return to his natural role as a central striker by offloading the likes of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao while adding midfield reinforcements including Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin. With Memphis Depay, Ashley Young and Juan Mata supplying balls into the box and support from behind, a return to the 20-goal plateau should in the cards for the captain, who should be relatively affordable to begin with after last season's suppressed output.
Trippier was a revelation for Burnley last season, demonstrating sound defensive awareness and leading the Premier League with 266 crosses despite playing for a side that was relegated after finishing 19th. As Burnley dropped back down to the Championship, Tottenham pulled off a shrewd piece of business by paying $5.4 million to acquire him.
The 24-year-old was considered an elite FPL commodity in formats that counted crosses last season, as he averaged exactly seven per game, and he stands to carry even greater value after his move to Spurs. Trippier's total number of crosses should remain about the same, while he is likely to garner at least a couple of extra assists with the likes of Harry Kane and goal-scoring midfielder Nacer Chadli to aim for in the box. Combine his projected offensive output with an increase in clean sheets, and Trippier is a virtual lock to rank among the top-5 defenders in nearly every format.
Ings burst onto the Premier League scene last season with Burnley when he scored 11 goals and added four assists, accounting for more than half of the team's 28 goals en route to relegation. With the Clarets on the way down, Liverpool swooped in and signed the 23-year-old striker in June.
Ings was the best player on the Burnley roster and the focal appoint of the attack, but he will be hard-pressed to hold down a place in the Liverpool starting 11 this season. Daniel Sturridge is working his way back to full fitness and Christian Benteke was recently signed for over $50 million, while Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert remain on the roster as depth options.
Ings has been scoring goals in preseason and will likely be given a run in the starting lineup if Sturridge misses time at the beginning of the season, but he will need to impress in order to keep a place in the team once the latter returns. Either way, expect Ings' offensive production to suffer this season after his summer move.
One of the low-key signings of last summer when he joined Manchester United from Athletic Bilbao, Herrera endured an up-and-down first season at Old Trafford. The Spaniard saw sporadic playing time for the first half of the season, but established himself as a fixture in the lineup later on in the year and finished fourth at the club with eight goals and four assists.
Despite the progress, the 25-year-old's prospects of taking another step forward in the 2015/16 season were dealt a serious blow when United doled out roughly $60 million to bring in Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin to bolster the midfield. Further forward, Juan Mata, Memphis Depay, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj will all compete for attacking roles in support of Rooney, further complicating Herrera's path to a meaningful role.
Herrera publicly stated that he embraces the new signings the club has made, citing his ambition to compete for multiple trophies with a strong squad. However, potential FPL owners should expect a decline in his individual production this season, and at a higher price to boot.
Saido Berahino(note: transfer not official at time of posting)
Berahino blossomed into a prolific scorer in his first season as a full-time starter for West Brom, finishing tied for sixth in the Premier League with 14 goals. An Englishman and just 21 years of age, Berahino drew significant interest from bigger Premier League clubs in the transfer market and is on the verge of being scooped up by Tottenham for a fee of approximately $23 million.
While he thrived as the go-to option on a lesser team, Berahino could struggle to find consistent minutes at Tottenham, who routinely deploy Harry Kane as a lone striker. Kane is entrenched as Spurs' top striker and the club is flush with attacking options including Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela in the supporting positions, which may limit Berahino to a substitute's role unless a change of shape is in the cards. His acquisition later in the transfer window could also cost him time at the beginning of the season as he acclimates to his new surroundings.
He should still be relatively affordable to begin the season despite last year's output, but those investing in him shouldn't expect a repeat performance after his move to North London.