Fantasy Statistics Deep Dive

I check the stats so you don't have to

Gameweek 5 in Review — September 18, 2019

Gameweek 5 in Review

Well. This was perhaps my worst ever week in FPL, especially coming right off a wildcard. When I go through tough times in my personal life, I can always rely on this game to make me feel a thousand times worse, something I didn’t even think was possible. Finishing on a whopping 36 points, I was 16 below the average score and ended up dropping an insane 770K to right outside the top million players. I really hope it can’t get any worse than this.

I channel the pain into my art

Goalkeepers

Adrian: 2 points

A real big brain move here, swapping out Nick Pope for Adrian gave me a solid net -1 points. This was a bit of a jammy score, if there hadn’t been an unsaveable weak foot banger in the 7th minute, a clean would have been kept and crisis averted, Adrian didn’t even have to make a save the whole match.

Michael McGovern: 0 points

Didn’t play.

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 2 points

I brought TAA in for his attacking output, as he seemed to be the only one doing anything. He rewarded me handsomely, with a pathetic two points. However, his underlying numbers were great, with 2 shots and 7 key passes. Returns are around the corner! I hope

Lucas Digne: 0 points

I am somewhat at a loss when it comes to Everton defense. One week they’re watertight, the next weak they’re leakier than Edward Snowden. After conceding a shocking 3 goals to a previously goalshy Bournemouth, Digne collected a yellow card to lock in the 0 pointer. Thanks.

Nicolas Otamendi: 1 point

This fixture in particular caused me the most grief. Otamendi is a clown. His defensive play was shocking, with his signature brainfart costing city a goal and the game. I got him in as I believe Zinchenko’s place is somewhat under threat from Mendy soon, but I’m not sure how reliable Man City will be for clean sheets anyways. The only silver lining is that Otamendi was threatening going forward, banging off 3 headed shots. He better score one soon.

John Lundstram: 1 point

I am an idiot. I am a mong. I was clearly blinded and influenced by his earlier haul, somehow playing him in every following week, much to my chagrin more than once now. As a rule I will stick to, I firmly promise to always play the attacker and leave Lunny on the bench.

Caglar Soyuncu: 2 points

Please forgive me for not including all the accents in this guys name, it was too much for me to handle. Unlucky to get only 2 points, as Manchester Utd somehow avoided the 0-0 scoreline this dross game deserved by being awarded yet another penalty. They’ve already had 4. That’s enough, time to stop.

Midfielders

Mohamed Salah: 9 points

Why have I forsaken you, Pharaoh? The armband was on Salad until Friday, until I gave it to a certain unnamed ginger. A classic Salah performance saw him net a goal and two bones, maybe I should just captain him every week. That’s probably a big reason why my set and forget team is outperforming my real one.

Kevin de Bruyne (C): 1 point

Okay I am now naming the ginger. Pep was feeling a little big for his boots, and decided to rest his key playmaker, best playing the premier league, Kevin de Bruyne. Fittingly, City was battered and had nearly no creativity whatsoever. This still wasnt enough to bring Kevin on before the 67th minute. He looked threatening, yet created nothing except some misery in my apartment.

Raheem Sterling: 2 points

Raz has been a bit off the boil. Two blanks in a row against fairly weak defenses, he failed to impress yet again. I cannot say I am as outraged about this one, as almost everyone had him captained, and had he scored my Kevin de Bruyne shaped pill would have been much more bitter to swallow.

Todd Cantwell: 6 points

Do you remember when I said always play the attacker? This is why. Cantwell was brought in for the great value he provides, and immediately proved his worth by scoring against Man City. This did me no good at all though as he was sat on my bench, so that the one point wonder Lundstram could play again. Sigh.

Matteo Guendouzi: 2 points

Arsenal had a similarly embarrassing weekend, drawing with bottom place Watford. Guendouzi held up 2-1 as he was subbed, and karma came to get him as Arsenal swiftly conceded another goal. He didn’t do much of note, delivering only a key pass, but what can I expect from bench fodder.

Forwards

Ashley Barnes: 2 points

My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined. I decided to switch up the structure of my team to facilitate 3 forwards, and was rewarded handsomely with two blanks. This was made even better by the double return that King got, who I slagged off every single week that I had him. Barnes didn’t even have good numbers this game, only taking one very low xG shot. Let’s hope he picks it up, because I’m worried.

Sebastien Haller: 2 points

My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined. I even wrote an article gassing this man up and slating Tammy Abraham. Guess what happened? He blanked and Tammy scored a hat trick. Maybe I should just let my cat make the fantasy picks for me. He had okay numbers though, with 2 shots and 3 key passes (finally some creativity!) This is one for the future but I wish it could be one for the present.

Teemu Pukki: 12 points

There is no end to the Pukki party. A goal, assist and 3 bones against the greatest team in English football history, there really is no reason not to own this man now, as he’s put one past both Liverpool and City. His underlying numbers support him, putting up 0.89 xG and 0.70 xA, a respectable haul against a mid-table side, unspeakably good against the former champions.

Sébastien Haller or Tammy Abraham — September 9, 2019

Sébastien Haller or Tammy Abraham

As we enter the international break, there is an abundance of high flying forwards to tempt managers, among these are the two similarly priced options Sébastien Haller (7.5) and Tammy Abraham (7.2), both of which have hauled for two consecutive Gameweeks leading up to the break. With great fixtures on the horizon for both of them, I’ve decided to take a deep dive into their statistics to decide which one is the better fantasy option.

While Haller missed a game through injury, Tammy was a bit part player for the first two weeks, leading them to have similar amounts of minutes played. In 270 minutes, Haller has registered 3 goals and 0 assists, while Abraham has managed 4 goals and 0 assists in only 257 minutes.

You start to notice some interesting differences when you look at the underlying expected goal statistics. Haller has an absolutely massive 3.03 expected goals, showing that he’s actually ever so slightly under-performing! To put this number into context, it lags ever so slightly behind Raheem Sterling’s 3.10 xG and surpasses Mohamed Salah’s 2.71, both of whom have played a whole game more than Haller. He impressively shoots 3.0 times per match, but provides 0 key passes, which is somewhat confusing as he came into the premier league with a reputation as a ‘creative forward’.

Tammy’s statistics tell a different story, his per game goal attempts are very strong, shooting 3.85 times and laying on 2.10 key passes per game. However, it seems like these shots are much lower quality, as he has only generated 1.81 expected goals, demonstrating a significant over-performance of 2.19. As most people who have watched Tammy play know, he isn’t an elite tier finisher, so I expect these numbers to come crashing down to earth soon. Creativity is one factor in which Tammy is superior, but its still nothing to write home about, with 0.86 expected assists to his name as of Gameweek 4.

To summarize what I’ve learned, it would appear that Haller is soundly the better option between the two similarly priced forwards. Nothing is a better indicator of a player’s quality than having their underlying statistics remain true to their real returns, and Haller has truly phenomenal underlying statistics. While his creative numbers are lacking, he could have picked up a fantasy assist had the stonewall penalty against him actually been awarded. Tammy no doubt will do well, but find the extra money to fund Haller if you can, as I would be scared to go without him for the upcoming run of great fixtures.

Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford — September 4, 2019

Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford

Anthony Martial (7.7) and Marcus Rashford (8.5) are the two key players when it comes to scoring goals at Manchester United, and when they’re on form, they’re quite a force to be reckoned with. While the form of Utd as a whole has been somewhat off recently, the underlying stats are fantastic and suggest they’ll be back and firing again soon. I’ll be doing a deep dive into the duo’s statistics to find out which is the better Fantasy option going forwards.

So far, there is nothing to separate the two of them when it comes to raw goal involvements, with both of them scoring 2 goals and providing 1 assist, as of Gameweek 4. Keep in mind however, that Martial has only played 3 matches to Rashford’s 4, due to a thigh injury.

Now lets take a look at the underlying statistics, to see if there’s something to separate the two. So far, Rashford has generated 3.30 xG in 358 minutes of Premier League action, indicating a significant under-performance of 1.30 expected goals. In the same time he has also provided a meager 0.28 xA, which suggests his 1 actual assist is a bit of an over-performance. He shoots an amazing 4.02 times per game, which is verging on elite territory! He also provides a respectable 1.01 key passes per 90, which makes him look like quite the option in the sub-premium price bracket.

Anthony Martial is somewhat less impressive, albeit in a somewhat smaller sample size. Over 270 minutes, the Frenchman has generated 1.17 xG, indicating an over-performance of 0.83. However, elite finishers commonly over-perform their expected goals tally, and anyone who has watched Martial play knows he is talented at slotting the ball away, more so than the sometimes wasteful Rashford. In his three matches, Martial provided a poor 0.14 xA, which leads me to believe that both of these players have little to offer outside of goalscoring. Martial takes a solid 2.67 shots per game but only lays on 0.67 key passes per 90 for his teammates.

One significant thing that needs to be discussed is penalties, of which Rashford has taken two, scoring one and missing one. While I think that this should not count against him, it certainly is beneficial to have a player sharing penalty duties in your fantasy team, it does skew the statistics a bit as each penalty adds 0.75 xG. The non-penalty expected goals generated by Rashford is actually 1.78 over 4 games, which can be expressed as 0.445 xG per 90, which is just slightly better than Martial’s 0.39 xG per 90.

To summarize what I’ve learned from this, I believe that Marcus Rashford is the superior option of the two. While Martial does have the benefit of being 0.8 million cheaper, as well as receiving an additional point for each goal and a potential clean sheet point if United could ever keep one, I still don’t think he quite measures up. Rashford’s huge shooting numbers, stronger underlying expected statistics and shared penalty duties suggest to me that he is going to be a much more reliable points scorer over the rest of the season.

Gameweek 4 in Review — September 3, 2019

Gameweek 4 in Review

Yikes. A bad week with a score 5 below average and a significant red arrow (-177k). Main culprits this week were Sterling and Martial, who did not manage to return to fitness and play, forcing me to play Lunny for the 3rd consecutive week, this time against Chelsea. Another shocking United performance also saw Wanny-B return a meager 2 points, while King remains uninterested in scoring goals. I’ll be evaluating each of my players performances individually.

Goalkeepers

Nick Pope: 2 points

I have nothing but patience and appreciation for the pope. A game against the second most potent attack in the league obviously would not let him get a clean sheet, but once again he was excellent on saves, and was only one away from getting an additional point.

Michael McGovern: 0 points

Didn’t play.

Defenders

Virgil van Dijk: 7 points

A clean and a bap. Finally. Liverpool bank their first clean of the season, and kept Burnley relatively quiet on the expected goals front. Hopefully this is the turning point for them, and we’ll get what we paid for with these premium defenders.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6 points

Well would ya look at that, both City and Liverpool managed a clean sheet in the same week. Worryingly, Laporte hobbled off early with what looked to be a long-term injury, which obviously would have a negative effect on City’s clean sheet probability, as Otamendi and Stones aren’t quite as comfortable in possession as the frenchman. This does however make Otamendi (5.4) a very appealing option going forward, as unlike Zinchenko, he faces almost no risk of rotation.

Lucas Digne: 5 points

He can do no wrong. Clean sheets were gone early doors, but Digne once again proved his worth by delivering a delicious cross for Richarlison to tuck away. The somewhat fortunate late red to Willy Boly (5.0) allowed Digne to sneak a bappé. He’s the second highest scoring defender, with two cleans and two assists in 4 weeks. Need I say more?

John Lundstram: 1 point

The minuteman Lunny is called upon once again at the last minute, this time in a very unfavorable fixture. He returned one measly point, but its one measly point more than Martial got me. Cheers John, back to the bench you go.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 2 points

I am a big dumb idiot. I will admit, I got fully caught up in the hype here, being blinded by the red arrows that not owning the ever-so-popular Manchester United players brought, I got two in. Wanny-B himself is a class footballer, but the club is just rotten to the core. Another miserable performance makes me want to show Wan the door, as the next few fixtures don’t really suggest many cleans anyways.

Midfielders

Mohamed Salah: 6 points

Quiet day at the office for Moham, but still managed to bag an assist. He was widely criticized for his selfish play on the weekend, refusing to pass to Mane and taking a harder shot for himself leads me to believe he has himself in his own FPL team. Love to see it, keep on hogging the ball mate.

Raheem Sterling (C): 3 points

Ouch. The first blank from Raz frustratingly came in a 4-0 demolition. He looked a bit off pace in the last game, but it seems like its finally caught up to him. That being said, he easily could have had an assist on the day if David Silva could hit a barn door. Lets hope Sterling finds that killer instinct again, sooner rather than later.

Kevin de Bruyne: 13 points

I had the armband on Kevin until Thursday. Sometimes its just better to go with your gut than to choose a captain to protect your rank, and this was one of those times. Kevin once again has looked sharp and involved in absolutely everything. Truly essential, and now a bit more viable as a captaincy option in my eyes.

Anthony Martial: 0

As previously mentioned, I am a big dumb idiot. As I was about to be priced out by the Barkley drop that never ended up happening (thank you FPLStatistics…) I took the ill advised decision to bring in Tony before he even played. He got hurt in the 90th minute, because of course he did. Benching him led to a big drop in my rank, and he probably wont be in my team much longer, injured or not.

Leander Dendoncker: 2 points

A thrilling match for Wolves got the CDM another reliable 2 points, were it not for his yellow flag, I would have played him this week. Alas, 1 entire point down the drain.

Forwards

Teemu Pukki: 2 points

A blank, alas. The Pukki party inevitably took a quick break, rather surprisingly against the defensively suspect West Ham. Supposedly, Issa Diop had the fantastic Fin in his pocket the entire match, could teams be figuring out how to keep him quiet? Anyways, I digress, you cannot be expecting the man to keep firing at the rate which he was for a long amount of time, and I fully expect him to find the back of the net again soon. Maybe after the City game though.

Josh King 2 points

Every week I come on this blog and write mean things about Josh King. At what point does it become bullying? The man just doesn’t help himself, another rubbish performance which had him less involved in goals than the right back and part time economist Adam Smith. Bournemouth as a whole had a week to forget, generating only 0.59 xG as a whole.

Mason Greenwood: 1 point

Another spectacular week for everyone’s second favorite young premier league player named Mason. He moved backwards rather than forwards in his quest for the elusive two points, playing only 6 minutes this week, despite Martial being unfit. Maybe if Rashford, Lingard and Periera are all out Ole will give the lad a chance!

Gameweek 3 in Review — August 26, 2019

Gameweek 3 in Review

Gameweek 3 was full of ups and downs. My first red arrow of the season, although just a very small one (down by 15k). This week was also my first hit of the season, as I took a -4 to bring in De Bruyne, Wan-Bissaka and Pukki in for the three sons: Sigurdsson, Robertson and Wilson. This immediately paid off with a net positive of 4 points including the hit, even with Wanny-B’s 0 point return. An absolutely shambolic week for defense, with my backline garnering a combined 7 points between the six of them. I’ll be evaluating the performances of my players one by one.

Goalkeepers

Nick Pope: 2 points

A bit disappointing here. Popey was in line for a clean sheet plus two bonus points up until Jiminez scored a penalty in the 97th minute to knock him all the way down to two points. Oh well, VAR giveth and VAR taketh away. Actually, VAR only taketh away, can’t remember the last time I was pleased with anything done by VAR.

Michael McGovern: 0 points

Didn’t play.

Defenders:

Virgil van Dijk: 2 points

Another week, another Liverpool clean sheet lost. It looked all but certain until Arsenal bagged a late consolation goal, but I suppose you can’t be too upset to not hold a clean sheet against top 6 opposition. Secretly though, after having taken Robbo out for a hit, I breathed a sigh of relief to see Liverpool defense fail once again.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 2 points

Well. Once again, city concede a wondergoal. A truly unsaveable free kick from Harry Wilson cost Zinch the clean sheet this week, but City did concede a fair few chances. We’re it not for some Ederson heroics, this scoreline could have been a bit closer

Lucas Digne: 1 point

What a roller coaster of emotions. Elation when Digne appeared in the starting lineup after his injury scare to despair when Everton humiliated themselves in another terrible performance, losing 2-0 to promoted Aston Villa. Three clean sheets in a row would be a bit much to ask for I realize, but Everton need to figure out how to score goals if Digne ever hopes to get another assist.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 0 points

Ouch oof owie my knees. Having been impressed by United xG conceded over the first two weeks as well as wanting a way out of double Liverpool defense, I took a hit to bring in last years legend Wanny B. He rewarded me handsomely with 0 points, thanks to two goals conceded ( to a Palace side that was yet to find the back of the net) and a booking. Now reports are coming out that Luke Shaw is ruled out for over a month, meaning he-who-shall-not-be-named will be getting another run in the first team, which makes me want to jerk Wan right back out of my side. I’ll practice some patience and give him a chance, but he needs to remember that Emerson is only one transfer away….

John Lundstram: 0 points

In similar fashion, Lunny also racked up and impressive 0 points. It was a toss up between playing him or playing King against city, and I chose wrong. Not to torn up about it as we can’t be expecting mad points from the man every week.

Midfielders

Ross Barkley: 2 points

Dross Barkley putting up his season high points return with 2! He wasn’t even in the starting lineup, only getting a look in when Pedro managed to hurt himself during the warmup. From what I’ve gathered, he was essentially played in defensive midfield to allow fat Frank’s golden boy mount to roam further forward. With a grand total of 3 points amassed over 3 weeks, I am punting Ross into the sun and out of my team.

Mohamed Salah: 15 points

Return of the Pharaoh! Salah slotted in a penalty and made an impressive run for a second goal, bagging all three bonus to haul an impressive 15 points. All the absolute mongs who jumped ship for Mane after one gameweek are forced to pay the price as Salah returns to the regularly scheduled programming. I’d probably just be better off capping Salah every single week but where’s the fun in that?

Kevin de Bruyne: 5 points

Glad to have a certain Mr. Deep Royne in my team! Putting up an assist for the 3rd consecutive week, the creative king of the Premier League is back to full power after injury destroyed his last season. Even though 5 points is a small return for the price, I know he will tick consistently over the entirety of the season, and at this low price he’s a must own.

Raheem Sterling (C): 8 points

Sterling bagged a goal. This was a classic Sterling performance, mostly anonymous for the whole game yet still gets one big moment and comes away with a return. Decent enough captain, especially when compared to a certain Harold, but his overall game is making me lean more towards Kevin for next weeks captaincy.

Leander Dendoncker: 1 point

The “safe choice” Dendoncker was benched for this game, only to provide a 31 minute uneventful cameo. The Europa league is clearly having an effect on this Wolves side, so I would steer clear of any of their assets for the time being.

Forwards

Joshua King: 2 points

It was a game against the strongest team in the history of English football, this was to be expected. King as well as Bournemouth in general looked a lot better this game, as they are much more suited to counter attacking football than breaking down a deep-lying defense. Were it not for more pressing issues however, he would be leaving my team, as I’m not convinced of his ability to get returns outside of penalties.

Teemo Pukki: 11 points

Anyone who said it was a stupid kneejerk last week now has egg firmly on their face. The fantastic Fin is in sensational form, bagging a goal and assist this weekend, and is now gearing up for even more when Norwich goes to the defensively suspect West Ham. Avoid him now at your own peril, with his ownership rising like a rocket, its become a defensive move to have him in to protect your rank.

Mason Greenwood: 1 point

Wow! Just Wow! So proud of little babby Greenwood, managing a 34(!) minute appearance, up from his previous best of 4 minutes! Mind you, he managed 0 shots or key passes, so he was kind of just running for half an hour. Still waiting on that big 2 point haul, I really feel like its coming soon!

Gameweek 2 in Review — August 20, 2019

Gameweek 2 in Review

This week contained some highs and some lows, but getting 59 points and a large green arrow has significantly lifted my spirits. Now at a much more respectable rank of 123,574 , the upwards climb must continue. Another big disappointment from Liverpool has me questioning my triple up, but I’ll be giving them another chance to prove their worth. On Sunday morning I awoke in a rage, seeing that fat fraud Frank had again inexplicably benched Barkley, but in the end him staying on the Chelsea bench allowed Lundstram to bring his 14 points off mine and save my otherwise mediocre gameweek. I’ll be going over my players individually below.

Goalkeepers

Nick Pope: 3 points

Can’t complain really. 3 points away against one of the most potent attacks in the league is plenty. Pope managed 7 saves, getting him those two tasty save points.

Michael McGovern: 0 points

Didn’t play.

Defenders:

Virgil van Dijk: 2 points

While Liverpool only conceded due to the Adrian brainfart, they were very fortunate to not concede again. Really worrying defensive performance allowed Southampton to get loads of good chances, outperforming Liverpool on xG. Van Dijk himself was just okay, no attempted shots or key passes in this game.

Andrew Robertson: 2 points

While Van Dijk was okay, I though Robertson was plain bad. Lost possesion many times and wasn’t sharp at all when it came to chance creation. He took one shot and delivered a weak key pass. Concerning performance overall from Liverpool, maybe double defense isn’t the way forward.

@alisson

Lucas Digne: 11 points

The man, the myth, the legend Lucas Digne! Top scoring defender in FPL delivers the goods once again and demonstrates why his ownership is so high among FPL veterans. He nabbed an early assist in an otherwise quite slow game, along with a second successive clean sheet to nab 2 bonus points. Worryingly, he hobbled off early as a precaution, and is now undergoing a scan, which does not inspire confidence as Everton play the early fixture on Friday. Get well soon Lucas!

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 1 point

Not great, but it was a game against top 6 opposition. Zinch was a solid Left Back all game, certainly not at risk of losing his spot for a poor performance, but didn’t really bring anything to the table besides that.

John Lundstram: 14 points

FPL legend after two games. Again playing as an attacking mid, he banged a goal, clean sheet and max bonus! Sheffield look really solid at the back and Lundstram is involved in all of their attacks. Dare I say it, he’s essential at 4.0.

Midfielders

Mohamed Salah (C): 3 points

Blech. I thought Liverpool as a whole were poor this week, but Salah looked especially tired after playing 120 minutes midweek. That being said, he still managed 3 shots and 0.41 xG. At least he was the overwhelming favorite for the armband so the blank didn’t end up hurting me all that much.

Raheem Sterling: 6 points

Can’t be too upset with a goal against top 6 opposition, but I really could have done without the needless yellow card and him being caught offside about five times, costing him any chance at bps. Sterling was lively as hell this game, blasting off 6 shots and 2 key passes. He also extended his streak of scoring in every game he has played in since the start of preseason.

Gylfi Sigurdsson: 3 points

Okay now this, I can be upset about. Another mediocre attacking performance from Everton, who have failed to score more than one goal in a game since last season. Sigurdsson did the same as last week, decent underlying stats with little to show for it. I know its only been two weeks and he has the tasty Villa fixture next, but I’ve had enough of him.

Ross Barkley: 0 points

Didn’t play. I was astounded when I saw fat Frank had benched him again, after keeping him on the bench for most of the Super Cup. However, his absence allowed my main man Lunny to come off the bench with 14 points. Nevertheless, into the bin you go Ross, with the rest of the failed punts.

Forwards

Callum Wilson: 5 points

Another lone assist from the Bournemouth frontman. This time, for drawing a dodgy pen. Once again, Bournemouth looked turgid going forward and I’ve realized that I want no part in their attack, certainly not at the insane price of 8.0, regardless of how good the fixtures are on paper.

Joshua King: 6 points

Look, I don’t mean to be overly negative, but Josh King is just useless. Yes, he grabbed a goal from the spot, but hes so far out on the wing that penalties are his only hope of getting points, which doesn’t sit well with me. The Norwegian Milivojevic does not have much time left in my team, but may survive due to the more pressing nature of other transfers.

Mason Greenwood: 1 point

Another late cameo from Greenwood, still working his way up to the lofty threshold of 2 points. Keep going buddy, you’ll make it one day!

Gameweek 1 in Review — August 16, 2019

Gameweek 1 in Review

After a (brief) 5 month hiatus from the ffdeepdive project, I am finally back and ready to go for the new season! I’ll be holding off on any statistical analysis until Gameweek 2 has come and gone as one week is too small a sample size to determine anything. From now on I’ll be evaluating the performances of all my players one by one every week, which hopefully will be useful as an insight into my thinking when I look back on previous decisions.

I ended the first week of the season with a reasonable 85 points, putting me around rank 600k. Not a terrible start by any means, but hopefully this will be my lowest OR of the season.

Goalkeepers

Nick Pope: 8 points

An excellent performance from the cut-price keeper! It seems like Sean Dyche’s poundland Atletico Madrid are firing on all cylinders again, beating Southampton 3-0 with ease. However, they conceded 1.09 xG over the game, and may not have gotten away with the clean sheet were it not for the heroics of Pope, leaving me somewhat skeptical about results against teams with a stronger attack. Pope is always good for at least a save point and you can’t really ask for more at 4.5.

Michael McGovern: 0 points

Didn’t play.

Defenders

Virgil van Dijk: 8 points

Another stellar performance from the big man. Grabbed a header early on and was consistently solid in defense. Liverpool worryingly failed to keep a clean sheet, and allowed more shots from promoted Norwich than they had at any home game of the 18/19 season. Let’s just hope this was a blip.

Andrew Robertson: 2 points

A blank from Mr. Reliable. As mentioned before, Liverpool failed to keep a clean and Robertson didn’t get away with any attacking returns. Liverpool have been uncharacteristically shaky, conceding twice in the Super Cup as well, and Allison’s injury doesn’t improve the outlook. One to monitor, a downgrade may be the move if things don’t improve.

Lucas Digne: 6 points

A clean sheet from Digne, nothing to complain about here. A bit disappointing that Everton were unable to score, but Digne was actually the most advanced player in their attack throughout the fixture, which bodes well for future attacking returns.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6 points

Little babby Zinchenko has really grown into his role as the starting Left Back for City, with another solid performance. He was relatively uninvolved in the attack, with one shot and key pass (both low xG chances), but the clean sheet was never in doubt as West Ham failed to trouble city.

John Lundstram: 3 points

I am absolutely delighted with these 3 points. The three most popular 4.0 defender mugs all ended up starting, but I believe Lunny stood head and shoulders above the rest. Playing OOP as an attacking midfielder, he deliver several dangerous balls almost leading to an assist and actually managed to get a bonus point. What a gem.

Midfielders

Gylfi Sigurdsson: 3 points

Pretty disappointed with the Icelandic talisman for not finding the net, but his underlying statistics very much assured me that I had made the right choice, racking up 4 shots and 0.57 xG, I’m sure he will be hauling soon.

Mohamed Salah: 12 points

There is only one truly essential player and his name is Mohamed Salah. With his 2 shots and 3 key passes, he earned 0.44 xG and 0.31 xA, resulting in a goal and assist. As we’ve seen over the last two years, this is no purple patch and I expect to be writing similar things almost every week about the Egyptian.

Raheem Sterling: 20 points

Raheem the dream machine! Absolutely overjoyed with an opening week hatty, with an assist snatched away by VAR review. This was really a classic Sterling game, doing very little for the entirety of the first half but still finding his way into dangerous positions to score easy goals. He was this weeks xG leader with a massive 1.59, and won’t be leaving my team anytime soon.

Ross Barkley: 1 point

From Boss Rarkley to Dross Barkley in a matter of minutes. I honestly could rant about this for pages. I have no idea what fat Frank was thinking making the Barkley for Pulisic substitution at 57′, at that point he was the most creative player Chelsea had and their entire attacking rhythm died the second he walked off the pitch. Seeing him omitted from what seemed to be the strongest 11 in the Super Cup has left me even more worried, if he plays anything less than 80 minutes this Saturday I will be ejecting Barkley into the sun.

Leander Dendoncker: 3 points

A solid performance from the Belgian CDM, who would have secured a huge haul had his goal not been ruled out by VAR. With his guaranteed minutes and position on the field, he seems to be the (somewhat obvious) choice of the 4.5 enablers.

Forwards

Joshua King: 2 points

Despicable. I had the utter misfortune of watching this game and the Bournemouth attack was absolutely turgid, you could have told me King wasn’t even on the pitch and I would have believed you. He generated 0.03 xG and 0.03 xA, which leads me to believe that these great fixtures has blinded me to the fact that he is in fact rubbish. In true casual fashion, I’ve all but decided to bin him after one game, unless he starts pulling up trees against the defensively suspect Villa.

Callum Wilson: 5 points

Wow I sure am glad I chose to double up on Bournemouth attackers. If you saw the assist, you would realize that he simply should have put that away himself, but at this point I’ll take what I can get. This opportunity did generate a sizable 0.80 xG, which isn’t too shabby. One thing I can take solace in is that Bournemouth is one of the most unpredictable teams in the league, last season they followed a 4-0 thumping of Chelsea with a 2-0 loss to a woeful Cardiff side. Fingers crossed he finds the net this weekend.

Mason Greenwood: 1 point

Not much to say here, a brief cameo appearance that was largely overshadowed by the debut of Daniel James. Still, 1 point is all I expected from a cheap option like him. With a little bit of patience, I’m sure he will one day manage to get me 2 points off the bench, At a stretch.

Joshua King or Callum Wilson? — March 20, 2019

Joshua King or Callum Wilson?

Joshua King (6.5) and Callum Wilson (6.5) make up a dynamic strike partnership that most fantasy managers will be familiar with by now. With the run of easy fixtures in Bournemouth’s future, many are wondering which of the two evenly priced forwards is the better option. With the abundance of excellent forward options available, the three spots available are all precious, so i’ll be taking a deep dive into their statistics and comparing them to provide some insight.

Not only are the two strikers even in price, they’ve both scored 11 goals apiece. We start to see a difference when looking at assist statistics, where Wilson has laid on 6 (and 3 assists for drawn penalties), while King has only managed a paltry 3. What makes this even more impressive is that Wilson has managed this in only 1906 minutes, compared to King’s 2395.

This chart compares the expected statistics of both forwards. Wilson has registered 10.89 xG, indicating a negligible over-performance of 0.11, while King has a very similar xG of 10.88, over-performing by 0.12. However, due to Wilson’s more limited minutes, he has 0.51 xG per 90, while King only manages 0.41 per game. Looking at the creative side, Wilson is much more of a creator as well, laying on a total of 4.85 xA, indicating an over-performance of 1.15. King has provided 3.64 xA for his teammates, suggesting an under-performance of 0.64. Due to the same minutes related issue, Wilson again trumps King with his 0.28 xA per 90 compared to King’s 0.11. From what I have already said, it’s looking clear that Wilson is the superior option, but I have to take another dig at King’s statistics even more to give a fair comparison.

King is the main penalty taker for Bournemouth, which is obviously a positive for fantasy managers. However, in the expected goals model, a penalty awards 0.76 xG, and Bournemouth have currently receive the second most penalties of any team in the Premier League with 9, which is obviously not going to be sustainable. These penalties have had a significant impact on King’s statistics, so to compare his value in open play to Wilson’s, I will use his Non-Penalty Expected Goals (NPxG).

Once penalties are removed, King sits at 6.32 xG, so when you consider that he has only bagged 6 non-penalty goals, shows that he is performing true to his underlying stats. These stats are however, much worse than Wilson’s. It seems as if, were it not for all of these penalties, King would not even be in the conversation for one of the three precious striker slots.

Wilson carrying King, as per usual

To wrap this up, I think its pretty clear that Callum Wilson is the better option going forward than his Norwegian teammate. His attacking statistics are better even when penalties are included in King’s, and absolutely dwarf them when they are excluded. While being a pen taker is a boon to a player’s fantasy viability, Bournemouth have already been fairly fortunate in the amount they have received, and it would be unwise to assume they will continue to be awarded to them at the same frequency for the remainder of the season.

Verdict: Wilson is the man

Jeffrey Schlupp — March 19, 2019

Jeffrey Schlupp

The German defender Jeffrey Schlupp (4.5) has caught manager’s eyes in the past few gameweeks, as he moved to an out of position role in center midfield, earning him 4 goals and 1 assist in the process. The attacking returns on top of the clean sheets he earns from his DEF listing make him an attractive prospect for the tail end of the season, so I’ll be taking a look into his statistics to see if his returns are sustainable.

The total xG generated by Schlupp this season is 2.60, indicating an over-performance of 1.40, while his total xA is at 1.29, suggesting an under-performance of 0.29. While he has only managed a meager 1269 minutes this season, his statistics since his positional shift are looking very good. Registering 1.42 shots per 90 and 0.92 key passes, really highlights his involvement in palace’s attack. One thing to note is that his xG and xA are both higher than those of the other popular cut rate attacking defender, Fabian Schär.

Jeffrey’s shot locations are also quite encouraging to look at. The majority of them coming from inside the box on the left hand side, he seems to be prone to decent shot selection rather than just letting them rip from wherever. However, I do notice he has only been on the end of two high xG (good scoring opportunity) chances, with most of his shots being 0.1 xG or less.

Many managers are hesitant when considering Schlupp, as the majority of us own the legend Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and are uncertain whether a defensive double up on palace would be a good idea. Well, I think it wouldn’t be the worst of ideas. Palace currently sits in 13th place, but only 7 teams have conceded more expected goals against. To add onto this, with the acquisition of Batshuayi, there has been a certain attacking impetus added to the side that had been missing over the earlier parts of the season, with palace scoring 8 goals in the last 3 games. Although they only generated 3.95 xG in this period, Schlupp will be an integral cog in the newfound strength of palace’s attack.

To wrap things up, I’d say that you would be hard pressed to find a better deal at 4.5 than Jeffery Schlupp. The attacking returns will slowly trickle in over the rest of the season, and with the clean sheets palace love to keep, Schlupp is sure to get you some decent returns.

Shots/90: 1.42
Key Passes/90: 0.92
xG/90: 0.18
xA/90: 0.09

Verdict: Baller

Harvey Barnes — March 15, 2019

Harvey Barnes

Harvey Barnes (5.5) is an attacking midfielder that has recently burst onto the scene with Leicester. Despite looking like he’s about 14 years old, hes proven himself to be somewhat useful, although he is yet to score a goal. In 631 minutes, he has racked up 2 assists. I have a feeling that he will be a fantastic asset for the remainder of the season, so I will take a deep dive into his statistics to see if the returns will keep on rolling in.

Harvey has managed to put up 2.40 xG, indicating a significant under-performance of 2.40 expected goals, and has laid on 1.36 xA for his teammates, which is an over-performance of 0.64 expected assists. It’s very promising to see these numbers compared to his actual stats, which suggests that he has been unfortunate not to score already, and perhaps the goals are coming right around the corner.

Now, before we look at his stats per game, its important to note that he has played a very limited number of minutes, which will obviously have an effect on his stats and distort our predictions of whether he will be able to sustain these numbers. That being said, he has an absurd 4.28 shots per 90 minutes, taking 7 shots in the game versus Brighton in Gameweek 28! To put this into context, Agüero averages 4.36 shots a game and is the best striker in the league. On the creative side, he also provides a respectable 1.43 key passes for his teammates per 90.

Next I will assess his shot locations. Its quite promising that most of his efforts come from inside the box, but he does seem to still fancy the occasional strike from range. One negative I would draw from this is that the chances he receives are not very high quality (xG <0.10), but this could improve as the squad warms to Brendan Rodger’s tactics.

To wrap this all up, I think that it’s very probable that while he may cool off a bit, the goals are coming very soon for Harvey Barnes. Especially at his cheap price of 5.5, you won’t be able to find better attacking value for the upcoming fixtures, where Leicester play Burnley (a), Bournemouth (H), Huddersfield (a) and Newcastle (H).

Shots/90: 4.28
Key Passes/90: 1.43
xG/90: 0.34
xA/90: 0.18

Verdict: Baller