A Statistical Overview GW1-12: Forwards

Opinions, Stats

The final international break of the year is almost over so I thought I’d take a look back at the  basic statistics and key performance indicators from GW1-12 that I tend to use when creating the watchlist and making transfers. Yesterday was the midfielders, so today it’s on to the forwards.

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The Basic Stats

Goals:

  1. Aguero (8)
  2. Aubameyang (7)
  3. Wilson, Murray, Kane (6)

Assists:

  1. Wilson (7)
  2. Aguero (6)
  3. Jimenez (5)

Bonus Points System:

  1. Aguero (308)
  2. Aubameyang (254)
  3. Wilson (220)

Bonus Points:

  1. Aubameyang (11)
  2. Kane (10)
  3. Aguero, Arnautovic (9)

Sky MoM Awards:

  1. Lacazete (2)

The Underlying Stats

Goal Attempts:

  1. Aguero (54)
  2. Mitrovic (43)
  3. Kane (40)
  4. Jimenez (35)
  5. Ings (33)

Shots In the Box:

  1. Aguero (41)
  2. Wilson, Kane (31)
  3. Mitrovic (30)
  4. Ings (27)
  5. Jimenez (25)

Shots on Target:

  1. Kane (20)
  2. Aguero (19)
  3. Arnautovic (16)
  4. Mitrovic, Jimenez, Morata (14)
  5. Wilson (13)

Chances Created:

  1. Aguero (19)
  2. Jimenez, Wilson, Firmino (17)
  3. Ings (15)
  4. Arnautovic, Perez, Vietto (14)
  5. Giroud, Lacazette, Zaha (13)

Big Chances Created*:

  1. Wilson (7)
  2. Jimenez, Deeney (4)
  3. Aguero, Firmino, Vietto, Giroud, Josh King (3)
  4. Ings, Arnautovic, Kane, Aubameyang, Mitrovic, Success, Iheanacho, Jesus, Vardy (6)

*defined as providing an opportunity where the receiving player would reasonably be expected to score and manages to get a shot away.

Touches in the Opposition’s Penalty Area:

  1. Aguero (90)
  2. Wilson (81)
  3. Arnautovic (76)
  4. Kane (67)
  5. Lacazette (62)

Successful Tackles:

  1. Firmino, Lacazette (11)
  2. Vietto (8)
  3. Zaha, Ings, Jimenez, Success (7)
  4. Arnautovic, Joselu, Ayew (6)
  5. Aguero, Deeney, Vardy, Iheanacho, Perez, Morata (5)

Successful Passes:

  1. Firmino (339)
  2. Aguero (251)
  3. Jimenez (250)
  4. Mitrovic (233)
  5. Arnautovic (214)

Opinion

What’s plain to see from the stats above is just how much of a standout option Aguero has become amongst forwards. Ranking first for goals, goal attempts, shots in the box, and touches in the box; he also features heavily on the creative side. In fact, he is first in the league for total goal involvements with 14, and can only be bettered by Alonso and Hazard in terms of points. Unlike in recent seasons where he’s seen regular rotation with Gabriel Jesus, Aguero finally seems to have nailed down a starting spot under Pep too. Having been named in the lineup for all 12 league games, he’s delivered an average of 6.7 points per game thus far. That level of consistency means he’s a captaincy option most weeks, and makes him the go to striker for any fantasy manager.

The other major talking point to note is the distinct lack of other forwards from the ‘top 6’ teams amongst the stats. Rotation, poor form, and the value being provided by the strikers on ‘lesser’ teams, have rendered them as almost complete non-entities as far as inclusion in our teams go. Even multiple golden boot winner Harry Kane, whose stats have shown a glimmer of improvement in recent weeks, has struggled to impose himself as an option due to his restrictive price tag. Of course this could change in future with fixture swings and the like, but there’s just no justifiable reason to spend £12.3m when you can get comparable performances from the likes of Wilson (£6.8m) and Jimenez (£5.8) at such discount prices.

I’ve got to be honest, I can’t ever remember a season whereby the premium forwards have struggled in such a way. They have always been the main staple of my FPL side, and the focus of almost every captaincy decision; yet this season is just different somehow. Defiantly sticking by the headline acts hasn’t been working, and realising the value to be derived elsewhere has been more important than ever.

It would take a braver manager than me to do so, but there’s even an argument for losing Aguero and rolling with the likes of Wilson, Jimenez and Arnautovic for a ridiculous bargain cost of under £20m…….it is Black Friday afterall!!

All stats are per the Official FPL and Sky FF websites
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A Statistical Overview GW1-12: Midfielders

Opinions, Stats

The final international break of the year is almost over so I thought I’d take a look back at the  basic statistics and key performance indicators from GW1-12 that I tend to use when creating the watchlist and making transfers. Yesterday was the defenders, so today it’s on to the midfielders.

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The Basic Stats

Goals:

  1. Hazard (7)
  2. Richarlison, Mane, Salah, Sterling, Martial (6)
  3. Sigurdsson, Pereyra (5)

Assists:

  1. Fraser (6)
  2. Gudmundsson, Sterling, Sane (5)
  3. Ramsey, Hazard, Salah, Shaqiri, Doucoure (4)

Bonus Points System:

  1. Hazard (291)
  2. Fraser (276)
  3. David Silva (264)

Bonus Points:

  1. Hazard (13)
  2. Mane, Martial (11)
  3. Fraser (10)

Sky MoM Awards:

  1. Hazard, David Silva, Fraser, Pereyra, Richarlison, Maddison (3)
  2. Milner, Sigurdsson, Sterling, Barkley, Hojbjerg, Doucoure, Salah* (2)

*Salah is classified as a forward in Sky FF

The Underlying Stats

Goal Attempts:

  1. Salah (48)
  2. Schurrle (37)
  3. Pogba (36)
  4. Neves (32)
  5. Hazard (30)

Shots In the Box:

  1. Salah (33)
  2. Mane (21)
  3. Hazard, Sterling (20)
  4. Mahrez, David Silva, Pereyra (18)
  5. Richarlison, Paterson (16)

Shots on Target:

  1. Salah, Pogba (19)
  2. Mane (14)
  3. Hazard, Sterling, Schurrle (13)
  4. Mahrez (11)
  5. David Silva, Richarlison, Walcott, Sigurdsson (10)

Chances Created:

  1. David Silva, Willian (34)
  2. Fraser (32)
  3. Hazard (31)
  4. Sigurdsson (30)
  5. Seri (27)

Big Chances Created*:

  1. Fraser (13)
  2. Hazard (10)
  3. David Silva (7)
  4. Willian, Bernardo Silva, Maddison (6)
  5. Salah, Sigurdsson (5)

*defined as providing an opportunity where the receiving player would reasonably be expected to score and manages to get a shot away.

Touches in the Opposition’s Penalty Area:

  1. Sterling (104)
  2. Salah (98)
  3. David Silva (77)
  4. Hazard (64)
  5. Sane (61)

Successful Tackles:

  1. Gueye (34)
  2. Milivojevic (28)
  3. Ndidi (27)
  4. Billing (25)
  5. Mooy (23)

Successful Passes:

  1. Jorginho (1,082)
  2. Xhaka (817)
  3. Fernandinho (747)
  4. Seri (622)
  5. David Silva, Kante (615)

Opinion

I guess the main takeaway from the stats above is just how dominant the premium midfielders are. And, let’s face it, that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. We all know the qualities possessed by the likes of Salah, Hazard & Sterling; they are world-class and have the previous history to back up current performances. If you’ve managed to fit all three into your team, you’ll likely be a happy manager about now.

Therein lies the problem though. Unlike with the supposedly ‘Premium’ defenders, FPL towers have realised the importance of these midfielders and priced them accordingly. Salah & Sterling in particular have seen significant price rises from last season, and thus provided one of the major talking points of the season……..can we go without Mo Salah?

I visited this issue earlier in the season & looking the stats, my opinion still hasn’t changed. That £13.0m may be a big chunk of your budget, and his strike partner Mane may have managed to match him closely thus far, but we are talking about forgoing a player who is close to matching his stats from last years record-breaking season. Say what you like about Liverpool’s seemingly stuttering attack, but Salah is far and away the leader in terms of the chances he is getting and everything seems to point to a huge score being just around the corner.

There will always be the argument for what you could do with the extra funds, but given the value available in other positions, I just don’t see where you would spend it. Beyond the top three, there is very little to separate the rest in terms of points, and the mid-price midfielders are easily being matched by the ‘premium’ defenders who actually cost less. However, if you do feel the need to look past them, then the stats do throw up a few standout performers.

At only £6.2m, Ryan Fraser is currently providing the best value in the game, topping the charts for the most big chances created and assists. I have no doubt that his output will regress given Bournemouth’s toughening fixtures, but I’m happy to go on record and predict that he’ll still exceed expectations for a player of that price. After all, Bournemouth are never afraid to attack and are 5th in terms of goals scored this season, sitting above the likes of Man Utd, Spurs and Everton.

The other standout comes in the form of David Silva. If anyone is looking for an alternative to Sterling in the City midfield, then he is definitely your man. Much has been said about his age, the need to manage his minutes, and the infamous Pep rotation. But the stats show that the little Magician has proved more influential than ever, missing only 2 games from 12. And at the ripe old age of 32, he seems to have added a greater level of goal threat to his game to help his cause. Sterling may still have the edge on the goal scoring front, having notched 6 to Silva’s 4, but the difference in the underlying numbers is minimal due to the Spaniard’s exceptional creativity. If you don’t need Sterling’s explosiveness for the captaincy, then Silva could more than fill the void.

The final considerations for me are the Everton duo of Richarlison and Sigurdsson. Completely different players in terms of style and influence, yet they can hardly be separated.  6 goals and 1 assist for Rich, compared to 5 goals and 2 assists for Siggy, amounts to a difference of only 2 points. Those of you following the watchlist will know that I’ve flip-flopped between the two for the last few weeks, but I think the predicted shift to the striker position, and better numbers in front of goal, has finally sealed the deal for the cheaper Brazilian.

As for the rest of the options, I’m sure at some point they will all have their merits. However, if you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been swayed by the consistency of those ‘premium’ defenders and won’t be moving away from that anytime soon….if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!!

All stats are per the Official FPL and Sky FF websites

A Statistical Overview GW1-12: Defenders

Opinions, Stats

The final international break of the year is almost over so I thought I’d take a look back at the  basic statistics and key performance indicators from GW1-12 that I tend to use when creating the watchlist and making transfers. Yesterday was the goalkeepers, so today it’s on to the defenders.

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The Basic Stats

Clean Sheets:

  1. Laporte, Robertson (7)
  2. Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Alonso, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger (6)
  3. Alderweireld (5)

Goals:

  1. Bamba, Duffy, Dunk, Holebas, Maguire, Tarkowski (2)
  2. 31 defenders have scored just the single goal so I won’t list them all. However, the most popular options include Alonso, Laporte, Walker, Trippier, Doherty, Jonny, R.Peirera, Balbuena, Keane.

Assists:

  1. Alonso (7)
  2. Mendy (6)
  3. Bellerin, Trippier, Holebas (4)

Bonus Points System:

  1. Alonso (322)
  2. Robertson (290)
  3. Rudiger (270)

Bonus Points:

  1. Alonso (14)
  2. Robertson (12)
  3. Doherty, Wan-Bissaka, Keane (9)

Sky MoM Awards:

  1. Doherty, Van Dijk, Wan-Bissaka, Ake (2)

The Underlying Stats

Goal Attempts:

  1. Alonso (21)
  2. Doherty (19)
  3. Keane (16)
  4. Rudiger (15)
  5. Van Aanholt (14)

Shots In the Box:

  1. Keane (16)
  2. Doherty (15)
  3. Alonso, Balbuena (13)
  4. Bamba (12)
  5. Ake, Maguire (11)

Shots on Target:

  1. Doherty (9)
  2. Maguire (8)
  3. Keane, Rudiger, Shaw, Cook (5)

Chances Created:

  1. Holebas (21)
  2. Digne (20)
  3. Trippier (19)
  4. Doherty (17)
  5. Bertrand (16)

Successful Tackles:

  1. Wan-Bissaka (30)
  2. Pereira (26)
  3. Lowton (22)
  4. Robertson, Le Marchand (17)
  5. Azpilicueta, Alexander-Arnold, Mustafi, Bamba, Diop, Jonny (16)

Successful Passes:

  1. Laporte (988)
  2. Rudiger (905)
  3. Luiz (880)
  4. Van Dijk (794)
  5. Azpilicueta (737)

Opinion

As with the goalkeepers, it’s the same names that are cropping up time and time again throughout the various categories. It’s not particularly difficult to see why the likes of Alonso and Robertson top the defender charts, and it’s pretty easy for me to say they are practically a must own at this point.………because these two are absolutely must own as far as I’m concerned, and here’s why.

Defenders are all too often seen as the less glamorous position in the game, and over the years I’ve seen them relatively ignored. Filling the entire defence with £4.5-5.0m options used to be template, and something I’ve regularly been guilty of as I took up the never-ending pursuit of landing the most explosive attacking players in the game. However, like it not, the game has changed both on the field, and for FPL.

Yes, Alonso and Robertson come with very premium price tags for a defender. And yes, there will always be the obvious argument that the money could be better used elsewhere (as it was in seasons past). But, ignoring their classification as defenders for a moment, why would you not want to own two of the highest scoring players in the game? Surely that is the whole point of the entire game, no? In fact, Alonso is currently THE highest scoring player for only £7.1m, whereas Robertson can be bettered by only a handful of players, none of which come in cheaper than his £6.5m price tag. If you’re looking for value, then there it is plain as day!

As for the stats themselves, I must say that my opinion has changed dramatically in terms of defenders in recent years. It might be an unpopular point of view, but I don’t actually think they mean too much. As Fantasy managers, we can often try to be too clever, over complicating things by constantly searching for value via that extra attacking potential, and often ignoring the obvious – the clean sheets.

In fact, it’s happening now with those searching for a Mendy replacement. Twitter is currently full of people arguing in favour of defenders like Everton’s Digne because he’s “only £4.8m” and “creates so many chances” for a defender. However, the reality is that Digne has only registered 1 assist from all those chances, and Everton have only kept 3 clean sheets in the 12 games so far. Over 38 games that might amount to 3 assists and 9 clean sheets; a decent return which seems fairly reasonable given Everton managed 10 last year.

However, when you compare that to the other main contender in Laporte (who hardly features in the stats above), the difference is obvious. He has 1 goal to his name, has established himself as the first choice centre-back within the best team/defence in the league, and City are well on their way to matching last year’s total of 18 clean sheets having registered 7 already. Ignoring any other potential attacking returns, that will equate to nearly double the points of Digne, while providing a level of points equivalent to that of a 15+ goal a season striker. So for just over a £1m more in price, I know who I would rather have.

Again, I know the usual arguments will rear up in that Digne is cheap enough to rotate in and out, but chances are that the other players he’s rotating with will be of a similar mould. Of course this could just be the Sky Player in me trying desperately to conserve transfers, and I accept that there are many ways to play game. But, instead of wasting time and effort chasing the next cheap “potential” for points as indicated by the stats, why not just plug in the likes of Alonso, Robertson and Laporte for the rest of the season and call it a job well done!

All stats are per the Official FPL and Sky FF websites

A Statistical Overview GW1-12: Goalkeepers

Opinions, Stats

The blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground recently but I thought I’d come back with a slight change of pace. Anyone who follows the blog team on twitter will have already seen its rise to a rank of 658 overall, so instead of reviewing its performance again, I thought I’d take a look back at the basic statistics and key performance indicators that I tend to use when creating the watchlist and making transfers.

Over the next few days, I’ll look at each position individually in the hope that it might help myself and others to identify the players who have been coming to the fore over the first 12 gameweeks. Today, it’s the goalkeepers.

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The Stats

Clean Sheets:

  1. Alisson, Ederson (7)
  2. Kepa (6)
  3. Begovic, Patricio, Dubravka, Lloris, McCarthy, Schmeichel (4)

Saves:

  1. Hart (53)
  2. Fabianski (51)
  3. Ryan (46)

Save Points:

  1. Fabianski (15)
  2. Hart (14)
  3. Ryan (13)

Penalty Saves:

  1. Etheridge, Pickford (2)
  2. Hart, Hennessey, Bettinelli (1)

Bonus Points System:

  1. Hart (258)
  2. Alisson (244)
  3. Pickford (234)

Bonus Points:

  1. Ryan, Pickford, Fabianski (7)
  2. Hart (6)
  3. Dubravka, McCarthy, Lloris (5)

Sky MoM Awards:

  1. Patricio (2)
  2. Hart, Pickford, Ryan, Lloris, Cech, Leno (1)

Opinion

Earlier in the season, I discussed the benefits of opting for a £4.5m goalkeeper over the alternative premium options, and nothing from these stats has yet to convince me otherwise. Yes, Ederson and Alisson sit atop the standings due to their team’s ability to keep clean sheets, and I’m certainly not disputing that will likely finish there come May. However, every other indicator suggests that the budget options can perhaps keep pace via other means. The likes of Hart, Ryan and Fabianski are dominating in terms of saves/bonus points and are more than making up for their lack of clean sheets (3,3 and 1 respectively).

In fact, of the current top 10, only four cost £5.0 and above, and only three come from one the league’s top six teams. So, given the outfield options available from the likes of City and Liverpool, and with a spread of only 10 points between the remainder of the top 10, I would argue that you could still save £1m here without compromising the performance of your team. 

 

All stats are per the Official FPL and Sky FF websites

Wildcard Conundrums

Opinions

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With the coming of international break boredom, so begins Sky Fantasy Football’s first overhaul period. It’s a welcome opportunity to revamp the team; ditching your duds without a semblance of remorse, and more importantly, without your transfer count taking a single hit. If that sounds familiar to the FPL players among you, it’s essentially the wildcard, but without having the choice of when to play it.

Now, for those that have been following the journey so far, you will be aware that the whole point of this blog is to see if I can play FPL successfully using a Sky based method. That includes adopting its transfer limits and game structure, so guess what people – the blog team’s first wildcard is………..

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For the past two weeks, I’ve been organising notes, scouring the stats, listening to podcasts, and for what? To rip up two teams that have actually started the season pretty well – top 1k in Sky and top 100k in FPL! I’m gutted it’s come around so quickly to be honest, but I suppose it’s better than having to chase down a bad start.

So, as I sit here awaiting the manager press conferences before pondering those final few decisions, I thought I would address some of the dilemmas that managers like myself might be currently facing.

Premium Goalkeepers

My starting strategy was to get a premium set and forget option, and I’ve been on Ederson since day 1. A sure-fire way to avoid Pep’s defensive rotation and £0.5m cheaper than De Gea, that was a no-brainer right?!

Apparently not. Despite getting an assist in GW2, he sits only 6th for GK’s with a single clean sheet and 5 saves across four gameweeks. Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that he’ll be up there come the end of the season, but when the likes of McCarthy (2nd) and Hart (4th) cost £1m less, have more clean sheets, and have picked up an extra 6 points each for 20+ saves alone, then that £5.5m price tag is becoming harder and harder to justify.

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In fact, apart from Alisson (who has just shown he has the odd howler in him), none of the premium options are proving their worth. Of the top 10 GKs, 6 started the season at a budget friendly £4.5m, and only 3 come from the usual ‘top 6’ teams. Plus, it just so happens that those 3 teams are Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea – arguably the most attacking in the league – and owning a GK from one of them prevents us from getting a third attacker should they be required.

There is definite value to be found elsewhere in that GK bracket, so Ederson just has to go for me.

The Left-back Revolution

A glance at the overall standings is enough for anyone to notice that there’s some sort of revolution happening. Of the current top 5 scorers in the game, four are defenders who apparently apply their trade at left-back, although I’d argue that their heat-maps tell us otherwise.

Alonso, Mendy, Robertson and Holebas are playing like wingers and are currently averaging between 8-11 points per game through a combination of both defensive and attacking returns. That’s a ridiculous level of scoring, and aside from Holebas, I just can’t see the others regressing all that much given how their respective teams have shaped up in these early stages.

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For anyone on a Wildcard, I would strongly recommend trying to squeeze in at least two of these flying wing-backs, if not all three. Luckily for me, I’ve had Robertson in from the start, and I spent a precious transfer on getting Mendy in GW2 just to curtail the damage. However, with limiting my use of transfers until now, I’ve had to watch from afar as Alonso has demolished everything in front of him. His 1 goal, 5 assists, 2 clean sheets and 9 bonus points have been a real rank killer, as he’s blitzed his way to the being the top scorer in the game.

Spoiler alert……..he’s one that is definitely coming in on my wildcard!

Mo Salah or No Salah?

The biggest dilemma facing those on a Wildcard is can we go without Mo Salah? That £13.0m is a big chunk of the budget, and with Liverpool entering a pretty rough stretch of fixtures that includes Spurs, Chelsea and City in three of the next four league games (not to mention a few European ties with PSG and Napoli), is it really that unthinkable?

The waters are muddied even further when you look at the performances of his Senegalese strike partner. After Alonso, Sadie Mane currently sits 2nd in the overall standings courtesy of his 4 goals and 8 bonus points, and has outscored last years top scorer by 39 points to 27. For a £3.0m saving at the time of writing, its easy to see why many in the community believe he could provide adequate Liverpool attacking cover over that difficult stretch.

Having looked at a wildcard draft without Salah in it, I must admit I’m tempted. That £3.0m difference could mean a Mane and David Silva, as opposed to a Salah and Neves, and the squad unequivocally looks far more balanced for it. However, my problem is this – we are talking about forgoing a man who broke all sorts of records last season, and despite being outscored by Mane so far, has still registered 2 goals and 2 assists.

However, once we delve further into the underlying stats, it becomes clear that Salah abandoners may be acting a little hastily.  He dominates in every category, having had more big chances (5), more shots in the box (12), more shots on target (7), and more attempted assists (13) than any of his midfield counterparts. Even those difficult league fixtures shouldn’t be too off-putting given that Salah scored 7 goals in eight matches against them in all competitions last season.

I can’t help but feel that had the Egyptian taken one or two more of those big chances, then we wouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of life without him. Put simply, going without Salah would be a huge decision at this early stage of the season and it’s one I’m not prepared to make just yet. Everything seems to point to a huge score being just around the corner, and I for one want to have him in my team when it happens.

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