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HomeFantasy FootballThe best ever Fantasy Premier League cult heroes as Leeds favourite retires

The best ever Fantasy Premier League cult heroes as Leeds favourite retires

Fantasy Premier League has a way of turning your average, workmanlike top-flight footballers into beloved cult heroes. 

You see, millions are battling for the highest rank possible every single season and that’s often achieved by having the best available players in your team. But a limited budget means you can’t always have the cream of the crop on your team.

FPL managers have to be smart and find hidden gems, bargain buys and unfancied players who will give them the edge over their competitors. These footballers tend to be forgotten by everyone else, but remembered and immortalised as fantasy legends among the FPL community.

One such figure who falls into that category is Stuart Dallas, who had a remarkable first campaign in the Premier League after Leeds United won promotion. Sadly, the former Northern Ireland international this weeked announced his retirement from the game due to injury.

The 32-year-old has called time on his career sooner than he would have liked, but he has achieved a certain level of immortality, living forever in the hearts and minds of FPL fanatics who benefitted from his brief but glorious run of form in the top flight.

 

Dallas is not a one-off; there are dozens of players who are as fondly remembered for similar reasons. We’ve commemorated a few here, although this list is by no means exhaustive or definitive.

Nine of the best FPL cult heroes ever:

Stuart Dallas 

When Leeds returned to the Premier League after 16 years away in 2020/21, doubts were raised over how Marcelo Bielsa’s high-pressing, ultra-attacking approach would adapt to the top level of English football.

But the Whites were a breath of fresh air and could be deadly effective too, even if they were often suspect at the back. Patrick Bamford soon became a must-have forward, but one man stole the headlines fantasy-wise.

Stuart Dallas was everything you could hope for in a bargain basement defender; he was super cheap at £4.5m, played out of position further up the pitch, and had an eye for goal in a team that scored plenty of them.

The versatile player racked up 171 points, including an impressive 17-point haul against Man City, to be the highest-scoring defender in FPL that season. He also had the 11th-most points of any position.

Of course, if you had listened to our advice that pre-season, you would have had Dallas in your team from the start.

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Michu

Everyone’s favourite bargain midfielder-who-was-actually-a-forward in the history of FPL, Michu took the English top-flight by storm in the season of 2012/13.

The Spaniard arrived in Wales as a virtual unknown eight years ago, but took the Premier League by storm, scoring 18 goals in 35 appearances. And not only was he misclassified by the game’s administrators, but he was dirt cheap too.

The now retired striker’s form fell off a cliff the following season though, especially as the injuries began to mount up. We’ll probably never have another Michu again, which makes his place in the annals of FPL history all the more special.

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John Lundstram

For one incredible season John Lundstram was everyone’s favourite fantasy football asset, becoming a popular pick early on in 2019/20 after being categorised as a defender despite playing in midfield.

When ‘Lord Lundy’ started banging in the goals on a semi-regular basis, he quickly became the must-have player in FPL, especially since Sheffield United possessed one of the best defensive records in the division that year (weird as that might be to read now, it was true). And the former Everton midfielder started the season priced a measly £4.0m. Bargain.

 

Dimitri Payet

When it comes to brand new imports to the Premier League, the rule of thumb in FPL circles is “wait and see”. You never know if a foreign signing is going to settle in his new surroundings, how he’ll fit into the team and whether or not they’ll adapt to English football. For whatever reason, this rule counts double for Ligue 1 recruits.

Considering Dimitri Payet had more assists than any other footballer in Europe’s top five leagues the season before he joined West Ham United from Marseille, this writer ignored that advice and was recompensed generously. The French playmaker got an assist on debut, before scoring the very next week.

Despite injuring himself midway through the campaign, Payet still ended the season with nine goals and 12 assists, helping the Hammers finish 7th in the table. Despite his brilliant performances, he left London a year and a half after signing. We still miss you, Dimitri.

Remember how special Payet was in 2015/16 Premier League season

Luka Milivojevic

Serbian international Luka Milivojevic has to have been one of the most unassuming and under-the-radar footballers in the Premier League, and yet the Crystal Palace midfielder is an FPL hero for many managers.

There is nothing special about the Serb’s all-round game: he’s a tidy player with a middling passing range and very little speed. But he has one thing in his locker that is perfect for fantasy sports: set-piece mastery.

In particular, Milivojevic was very effective from 12 yards out. Between 2017 and 2019, he scored 22 goals, 17 of which were penalties. A whopping 78.5 percent of his total goals during his seven-year stint in the Premier League came from the spot.

 

Wilfried Bony

In 2013/14 there was a Michu-shaped hole in our lives. Our most beloved Spaniard was no longer an FPL asset, leaving us bereft of a bargain goalscorer. Thankfully, Swansea City replaced him with an Ivorian who was just as good.

Wilfried Bony arrived at the Welsh club and became an instant bombshell, scoring 16 goals in his first season. He continued that form into 2014/15, which turned the head of Manchester City. Unable to form a coherent partnership with Sergio Aguero, he faded into the background before moving to Stoke.

A return to Swansea in 2017 didn’t pan out as hoped, scoring just three league goals in two seasons. But at least we’ll always have that glorious season and a half.

Odion Ighalo

In the 2015/16 campaign, Watford’s Odion Ighalo was an FPL godsend. He was not only deadly in front of goal, but he was cheap too with a starting price of just £5.0. He scored on debut and went on a scoring streak that saw him end the season with 16 goals and six assists.

The Nigerian became an instant legend among FPL managers, but it was the false dawn to end all false dawns; he went on a 599-minute scoring drought at the latter end of the season, before scoring just once the following year.

He was duly shipped off to China, but in one of the most surprising moves in Premier League history, arrived at Manchester United in January 2020 for a short-term loan.

Ighalo still couldn’t find the net in the Premier League, but he did score five goals in the FA Cup and Europa League. These days he can be found banging in the goals in the Saudi Pro League.

Clint Dempsey

The highest goal scoring American in Premier League history, Clint Dempsey became an FPL legend in 2012/12 by becoming the highest scoring midfielder of that season by bringing in 17 goals, six assists and 209 points.

The Texan wasn’t all that cheap, coming in at £8.5 at the start of the season and finishing at £9.8, but his attractiveness as an FPL asset came in the fact that he played so far forward for Fulham. His points total was just two off the almighty Sergio Aguero’s that year.

Dempsey left Craven Cottage for Spurs that summer, where he failed to nail down a regular place in the starting line-up. He was never an FPL asset ever again, but he did bring managers so much joy for a couple of seasons in west London.

 

Charlie Austin

The Hungerford striker had dodgy knees and wavering form over the years, but Charlie Austin won the hearts of FPL managers in 2014/15 when he provided 18 goals and six assists for a pretty rotten QPR side. Despite his goalscoring heroics that year, the London outfit finished bottom of the table.

Austin finished fourth in the scoring charts though, and he had more goal involvements that season than the likes of Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Wayne Rooney, David Silva and Robin van Persie. It was, of course, the type of season he would never replicate, although he did have a decent run with Southampton in later years.

Kevin Mirallas

It’s hard to believe now, given how he just gradually faded away from the Premier League before seemingly disappearing without a trace, but Kevin Mirallas was considered one of the most naturally gifted players in the division during his heyday at Everton.

The Belgian wide attacker was exciting and lethal on his day, but he was also relatively cheap, making him an FPL favourite from the get-go. He provided 29 goals and 21 assists in 151 league appearances for the Toffees, with his peak coming in the 2013/14 campaign where he finished with nine FPL goals and seven assists.

It was felt almost certain that he would move to a bigger club, but for all his amazing skill and ability, Mirallas’ attitude and temperament was often called into question. He famously took penalty duties away from Leighton Baines in a game against West Brom in January 2015, and he was never viewed the same way at Goodison Park ever again.

Honourable Mentions: Gareth McAuley, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Marcos Alonso, Chris Brunt, Rickie Lambert, Amr Zaki, Ryan Fraser, Saido Berahino.

Read – 12 FPL tips to help you master Fantasy Premier League

See Also – Fantasy Premier League: 60 FPL team names for 2023/24

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