Chris Wood (£6.5m) has the opportunity to be a cost-effective third striker in Fantasy Premier League this season.
His underlying data suggests that a clear run in the team without injuries that restricted him in 2017/18 can bring out his best.
In our latest Great Expectations piece we assess the case for trusting Wood with a place in our squads.
Our recent research into the Burnley squad showed that Wood is the club’s most dangerous goal threat for 2018/19. In the most recent campaign, no Clarets player averaged more shots in the box per game (1.5), touched the ball as many times in the penalty area (3.1) or had a higher goal conversion (25.6) than the New Zealand international. Ashley Barnes (£6.0m) was the only one of his team-mates to average more shots, but Wood still outscored him 10 league goals to nine.
In the back-end of last season, Wood was boasting form that kept pace with some of the Premier League’s heavy hitters. After recovering from a knee injury to return in Gameweek 29, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) and Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) found the net more often than the Burnley man’s six times. Even more impressive was that Wood achieved that feat in fewer starts too, his seven comparing with Vardy’s nine and Aubameyang’s 10.
Over the aforementioned period, Wood ranked seventh for shots, was joint third for efforts on target and joint-fourth for goal conversion among players who had taken at least 10 shots. But crucially, only Aubameyang was afforded more big chances out of forwards.
Wood’s first season at Turf Moor did not exactly run smoothly. Two injuries throughout the campaign limited him to just 24 starts, but a break over the summer has helped him get back to full fitness – in time to assist Sam Vokes (£5.5m) against Aberdeen in the Europa League. Meanwhile, Barnes has struggled with blisters over pre-season allowing Wood to string together some early consistency in the team.
Having a full season of starts in Lancashire should unlock Wood’s potential, considering his minutes per goal data from 2017/18 was so impressive. He averaged a goal every 163.3 minutes, almost the same as Vardy’s 162.8, who finished as the second-highest scoring forward in FPL. Romelu Lukaku (£11.0m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) were among the bigger names below Wood in this respect, with 179.3 and 185.1 minutes per goal respectively.
The only thing to be wary of is that Burnley’s involvement in Europe could trigger more rotation at Turf Moor than before, although manager Sean Dyche tends to avoid it where he can.
RUB OF THE GREEN
Burnley have a very favourable start to the 2018/19 season when it comes to the fixtures, which can often prove a factor in having a good overall season. With the exception of Manchester United in Gameweek 4, every match in the first eight Gameweeks for the Clarets is against a team that finished outside of the Premier League’s top 10 last season. Watford, Bournemouth and Huddersfield will all come to Turf Moor, as will United, while trips to Southampton, Fulham, Wolves and Cardiff could all yield goals for Burnley and Wood.
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