Fantasy EPL Gameweek 10: The Underlying Numbers
A big difference between traditional Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Football and the new draft format championed here at Fantrax is the scoring system. Fantrax offers a much more intelligent way of scoring points, such as through the adoption of the widely regarded “Togga Scoring”. The reason I mention this is because, in traditional FPL, focusing on the big three – goals, assists, and clean sheets – is absolutely essential to success. But in Togga Scoring, you can maneuver your way to victory through other means: the underlying numbers.
Underlying Numbers: What Are They?
The underlying numbers include key passes, shots on target, successful dribbles, accurate crosses, aerials won, interceptions, clearances, and tackles. The beauty of this scoring system is that it favors defenders just as much as it favors attackers, which makes sorting your team based purely on matchups a lot more difficult (but that’s the way it should be!). One way that may help identify some players on the verge of breaking out, or others that are due a fall, is to look at how reliant they are on their underlying numbers. A midfielder with a decent FP/G, but without a single assist or goal (hello, Oliver Norwood) could be poised for big things if he catches a break or two. Likewise, a forward banging in the goals and with a nice, but not exactly spectacular, FP/G (Jamie Vardy, perhaps) might find his fantasy value drop if the goals dry up.
Last Time Out in the Underlying Numbers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
*points taken from GW 8 only (didn’t start GW 9)
Leicester’s attack. West Ham’s defense. My predictions. Three things that have been terrible over Gameweeks 8 and 9. A four out of 12 success rate last time out is beyond poor, and a major comedown from the high of 11 out of 12 in the previous article. Van Aanholt’s was unfortunate – if you take away the goal he scored when he became penalty taker in Milivojevic’s absence (the same Milo that played every single minute last season), then his FP/G would have continued along its dire road. But aside from that, the calls were not good ones. Everton’s defense deciding to turn up (or perhaps West Ham’s attack deciding to be absent) in Gameweek 10 proved particularly beneficial for Michael Keane…and less so for me. Back to the drawing board.
Gameweeks 10 and 11: Targets and Tales of Caution…
…Underlying Numbers: High Reliance Players
The table above shows the players who are most reliant on either clean sheets (defenders) or assists and goals (midfielders/forwards). It should be noted that the calculations don’t take into account lost points, which certainly impacts players like Dunk, who enjoy the odd yellow card or four.
None of these defenders should have high value and ownership numbers reflect that, with only two being owned in more than 45% of leagues (van Aanholt and Dunk). Whilst it may be tempting to stream them if they have a good looking matchup on paper (Diop faces Sheffield United this weekend), just remember that one goal has a considerable impact on their fantasy scoring…and goals are very difficult things to predict! Dunk’s 62% ownership is particularly head-scratching. Removing his two assists (something that I think is fair, given that he has managed just three in his previous 74 league games) would reduce his 6.3 FP/G to a mere 4.5.
The midfielder list is a set of intriguing names, with some bona fide stars and some unpredictable talents. It is the latter group that are the intriguing ones, and I have cautioned the likes of Wilson and James already in previous articles. Wilson’s fantasy scores have declined rapidly since his electric introduction to the Bournemouth side, and he also has the drawback of being subbed in every game so far (he’s yet to even make it to the 80-minute mark). James laid on a great assist for Rashford in the game against Liverpool, but that’s pretty much all he did. To demonstrate, the table below is a list of all the players who tallied one assist in Gameweek 9 and the points they ultimately totaled; it reflects James’ high reliance and lack of underlying numbers nicely.
Finally, the forward list is full of big names. Almost all are in the bracket of: “if you have them, you play them”, regardless of matchup. Of the ones that probably don’t fall into this category; the Burnley duo of Barnes and Wood, next face a Chelsea defense that has gone from ridiculed to resolute before traveling to a Sheffield United side that has conceded just four goals in five games at Bramall Lane. Aston Villa’s Wesley faces an even tougher next two weeks when they face off against Manchester City and Liverpool. Despite their injuries, City’s defense ranks tied-6th best in the league according to xGA (bookends removed), whilst the Liverpool defense is even better, ranked 2nd.
Finally, patience with Pukki seems to have ran out for many people, and it shouldn’t be that surprising. Norwich has scored just one goal in their last four games and the attacking talent that produced fireworks in the opening month of the season is now struggling to produce even the occasional party popper.
…Underlying Numbers: Low Reliance Players
This time, the elite names are found in the defender list, with TAA, Robertson, and Ricardo Pereira all star assets. Aurier and Emerson could be in the tier just below if they were guaranteed starters, but that’s a big “if”, whist Rico and Pieters are a game or two away from ticking the box of being this season’s big surprises. Consequently, only Young has low enough ownership to provide possible streaming value. Interesting fact: Liverpool are keeping a clean sheet in 22% of games this season compared to 55% last season…if you fancy them to regain their formidable form of last year, the FP/G’s of Robertson and TAA would go from being excellent to being KDB/Aguero-level…worth a trade maybe? (For what it’s worth, my answer is no. Van Dijk looks a shadow of himself and he is – clearly – an integral part to their defense).
Several midfielders fit the ‘300-minute + 5 F/PG’ criteria and have yet to score or assist (and therefore have a 0% reliance). The list above is sorted by total FPL points, so Norwood is “best”, with a 0% reliance whilst accumulating an impressive 84 points so far, and I’ve advocated for the Sheffield United midfielder in the past. I also recommended Hojbjerg last time out, and this nice thread here lends further support for why Southampton assets could prove valuable in the coming weeks. McArthur has had a consistent and sizable home-away split in his fantasy scoring, so that is something that should be monitored if you’re considering streaming the Palace man.
Finally, the forwards list has a number of players currently underperforming their pre-season value. Owners of the top four, in particular, will be very disappointed in their returns so far, whist Pepe’s FP/G is decent, but perhaps lower than expected for a guy Arsenal paid £70m for. That, though, could be a good thing for people who don’t own them: their stock is low and trades could be easier to negotiate. Elsewhere, it should be noted that Richarlison surprisingly led the line for Everton in what was probably the club’s best performance this season.
Targets in Defense: Christian Kabasele (2% ownership) and Ashley Young (33% ownership)
It’s tough finding some low-owned players here, but the Watford centre-back and Manchester United captain are probably the best options. Watford’s defense isn’t as bad as people think and Kabasele is coming off back-to-back double-digit hauls. Young should retain his place for a little while longer after Shaw’s injury setback, and United have looked good defensively and may be due a clean sheet.
Targets in Midfield: Davy Propper (37% ownership) and John Fleck (9% ownership)
Propper has an FP/G north of 8, despite tallying just one assist. The underlying numbers – including six key passes in his last two games – are promising and Brighton play at home in both gameweek 10 and 11 so he could be a nice pickup. Fleck has been incredibly consistent over the last five games, scoring 9.5, 7.5, 9, 8.5, and 8. He faces West Ham at the London Stadium before a home game against Burnley; neither of which should halt the solid run of returns.
Targets in Attack: Nicolas Pepe (96% ownership) and Wilfried Zaha (99% ownership)
Not including the ones in the table above, the only other forwards with at least 300 minutes played and a reliance of less than 30% are Oliver McBurnie, Andre Gray, Dominic Solanke, Che Adams, and David McGoldrick – none of whom are guaranteed to start. So the “targets” have to be trade ones, rather than waivers, and Pepe and Zaha might be the best bets here. Pepe’s substitution on Monday – when young Saka was left on – might have owners questioning his worth, but Lacazette should return to the starting lineup in gameweek 10 to strengthen Arsenal’s attack. In the two games Lacazette started, Pepe scored 12.5 and 17 points.
In 2016-17 Zaha had 16 goals/assists, in 2017-18 he had 12 goals/assists, and in 2018-19 he had 15 goals/assists. At (almost) the quarter mark of this season he has 0 goals and 1 assist. He didn’t become a bad player overnight, and Palace are no worse a team that in the three seasons past. He will surely hit a productive patch sooner or later.
The Final Whistle
So that’s your lot for this week’s underlying numbers. Take a look at Kabasele, Young, Propper, and Fleck, and throw a trade out for the likes of Pepe and Zaha. Next week the EPL Points Against returns. Note, all fantasy points numbers are based on the Togga-scoring format, whilst % ownership was correct as of Tuesday 22nd of October. Predominant sources used include www.premierleague.com, www.understat.com, www.sofascore.com, and www.whoscored.com.
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Good luck in Gameweeks 10 and 11!
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