Harvey Barnes is an exciting player that managers really should be moving into their teams for the upcoming run of fixtures. I wrote a similar piece about his potential almost a year ago, but I think he’s turned a corner since then and is ready to become a viable fantasy asset. Anyone that has watched him play know that he is an exciting player, but still somewhat raw.
Harvey loves to shoot, and has spent the majority of his 1551 minutes this season as a left forward. He bangs 2.50 shots per game, which is down from the absurd 3.55 of last season, but this is a reflection of his better shot selection, as he now puts up a much more interesting 0.34 xG/90. He’s shooting considerably more than some of the alternative choices at this price point, such as Ayoze Perez (1.93/90), Adama Traore (1.46/90) and Dwight McNeil (1.25/90).
He’s also quite creative on top of this, laying on 1.51 key passes per game, which is the second best in the Leicester squad after Maddison (among players with over 500 minutes). These underlying numbers have left him with a total expected goals of 5.90, which indicates a significant under-performance of almost 2 goals! His total expected assists tell the opposite story, as he has 6 from an underlying 3.03. With the turn in his fixtures, I think he has everything he needs to actually haul a few times.
Now I’m not just going to regurgitate Expected goals stats at you, lets take a look at how he plays. Below are two heat-maps from some of his recent games, in which we can see that he sticks tight to the left flank and likes to move into the box for a shot. His defensive contribution is also quite minimal, which is exactly what we want for an attacking fantasy asset.
His rawness when it comes to finishing is really his biggest weakness. We can see that of his five largest chances, he missed the target entirely 3 times. However, the fact that he’s getting into these positions in the first place is very appealing to me, as he really has the potential for a haul in any game.
The fixtures are very much in his favor, with the next 3 consisting of Norwich (A), Villa (H) and Watford (A). Over the last three games, Norwich has conceded 1.92 xG out of 6.25 from players specifically in the left forward position. Villa has conceded 1.61 from the left, while Watford has conceded only 0.4 xG out of 5.67 from that area.
In summation, Barnes is putting up very promising underlying numbers, and we’ve seen what he’s capable of when it clicks, like when he hauled against West Ham. The suspect defenses of the next 3 fixtures will provide him with ample opportunities to score, and his stats suggest that he will do better than his similarly priced teammates, like Perez. I will be bringing him in for the upcoming fixture run and I don’t think there’s a better option available anywhere near this price.