The Championship season starts again this Friday, and that means that so does GAFFR Fantasy Championship. After a successful first season, we’re all hopeful for a bigger and better second season. More people are signing up this year and with that in mind, we’ve got a preview article to help you with your decisions on who to look out for in terms of teams and players.

The Relegated Teams

The obvious place to start with this is the relegated Premier League teams of Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United. As with most seasons in the Championship, these are immediately set to be three of the best teams in the division, so provide a great place to start looking for fantasy assets.

We’ll start with the slight favourites for the division according to the bookies, Fulham. There is still a strong squad at Fulham, particularly at the Championship level and a new manager in charge in Marco Silva. When it comes to GAFFR, the standout asset is obviously Aleksandar Mitrovic. The big Serbian is priced at 11.0m and seems to be back in favour. If he can produce close to his previous performances in the division again, he’ll be well worth the price tag. One of the most notable Championship purchases of the summer has definitely been Harry Wilson, and at a price of 9.5m, he could be another great asset for this season. Finishing in the top 10 for midfielders in GAFFR last season, Wilson is now playing for an even better team (sorry Cardiff fans!), so you’d hope for even better output this season. The other two main assets for Fulham are the two full backs, Kenny Tete (6.0m) and Antonee Robinson (6.5m). Robinson is probably the better of the two, but the early indications are that Silva wants the full backs to get high, so both could be really good options in GAFFR this season. Finally, keep an eye on Fabio Carvalho, priced in the game at 5.0m. He made a couple of Premier League appearances late last season, scoring a goal. If he starts, it could be an incredible avenue into the Fulham attack.

Next up, we have West Brom. They have a new manager in Valerien Ismael, who did so well in the division with Barnsley last year, and brought captain Alex Mowatt to the Hawthorns with him. The standout asset from West Brom would be Matheus Pereira, but he seems to be on his way out of the club. The most popular assets seem to be the two wing backs, Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend, both priced at 6.0m. Both are encouraged to get forward in this system, they look to be great picks going into this season. Semi Ajayi at 6.5m might be an option as a set piece threat, but at 0.5m more than the wing backs, it remains to be seen whether he would be able to make up the difference there. In attack, Grady Diangana (9.0m), Matt Phillips (7.5m) and Karlan Grant (9.5m) have started the majority of the games in preseason. If that is the front three, all provide very good options, especially Phillips as a 7.5m midfielder. The other main option to watch there would be Callum Robinson, also priced at 9.0m in midfield.

Finally, we have Sheffield United. A clean sweep of new managers here, with Slavisa Jokanovic taking over at Bramall Lane. Jokanovic has two previous promotions from the Championship on his CV and there will be hopes he can add a third here. The reliable defensive assets like Basham (6.5m), Baldock (6.5m) and Egan (6.0m) are all potentially good options for this season. The other player that could do really well for managers if he gets in is Jayden Bogle at 6.0m, but that remains to be seen. In attack, a Sheffield United forward is a good way to go, you just have to pick the right one of McBurnie (9.5m), McGoldrick (9.0m), Brewster (8.5m) and Mousset (8.0m)! The other attacking option to potentially keep an eye on is Ollie Burke, as a 7.5m midfielder.

The Best of the Rest

The obvious place to start here is Bournemouth. Another team with a new manager in Scott Parker, they are the other main contenders going into this season. They are another one whose star man in Arnaut Danjuma is set to leave the club. They do however still have some very good fantasy assets. Dominic Solanke is 11.0m and will look to lead the line again successfully this season. David Brooks will be hoping for a bounce-back season at 8.0m after a bit of a disappointing 20/21 season. With Bournemouth likely to be solid defensively this season, the standouts there are probably Mark Travers at 5.0m following the departure of Asmir Begovic, and Jack Stacey at 5.5m. Stacey did go off injured at the weekend, but assuming he misses minimal time, he could be a very good pick!

Next among these is Cardiff City. They were good under Mick McCarthy last season and they would be expected to be up there this season. Their preseason has been rocky though, with a number of important players for both them and GAFFR managers having been significantly disrupted. The main man is Kieffer Moore (10.0m) up top, but after being away at the Euros, he has had Covid and hasn’t been able to appear at all in preseason. This means new arrival James Collins at 7.5m could be even more viable now. Favoured defensive assets Perry Ng (5.0m) and Sean Morrison (6.0m) both returned from absences with Covid and a dislocated elbow respectively on Saturday and, along with Aden Flint (5.0m), are the three Cardiff defensive assets for managers to look at

QPR look set for a good season and with how attacking they are likely to be, a number of their players look like good Gaffr options. Ilias Chair (7.5m) and Chris Willock (6.0m) look like great midfield options. Charlie Austin (9.0m) and Lyndon Dykes (8.0m) will both get goals for your teams. There are also good options defensively for them though. Dieng (5.0m) the goalie is a good option, as are the likely wing back starters of Odubajo (5.0m) and Wallace (4.5m), although Wallace’s place may be under threat from McCallum (4.5m) who has come in on loan from Norwich.

The likes of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Stoke, Nottingham Forest and Reading will all be among those hoping to push towards the playoffs this season. Here I’ll just pick out a couple of assets from each of these teams: from Middlesbrough, Paddy McNair (6.0m defender) and Duncan Watmore (6.5m midfielder); from Millwall, Scott Malone (6.5m defender) and Jed Wallace (10.0m midfielder); from Stoke, Nick Powell (8.0m midfielder) and Tyrese Campbell when he’s fit (8.0m forward); from Forest, Blackett when he’s fit (5.5m defender) and Alex Mighten (6.0m midfielder); and from Reading, Andy Yiadom (5.0m defender) and John Swift (6.5m midfielder).

Finally, I will just highlight some potential assets from the rest of the teams in the league. Callum Brittain and Michal Helik (5.5m defenders from Barnsley), Adam Armstrong, obviously assuming he stays at Blackburn (11.0m forward), Jay Dasilva (5.0m defender from Bristol City), Callum O’Hare (5.0m midfielder from Coventry), Harry Toffolo (5.5m defender from Huddersfield), Elijah Adebayo (6.0m forward from Luton), Jonson Clarke-Harris (6.0m forward from Peterborough) and Connor Roberts once he’s back from injury (7.5m defender from Swansea).

There we have it. Hope you find this interesting/useful and enjoy playing GAFFR Championship this season!