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Budget goalkeeper Ruddy set for string of Virtual FPL starts after Patricio injury

We reflect on the weekend double-header of Virtual FPL action and look ahead to Tuesday’s fixtures in our latest article on Ragabolly’s popular Fantasy management game, which has attracted almost 3,200 entries at the time of writing.

READ MOREHow to sign up and play Virtual FPL

GAMEWEEK 6/7 NOTES

(The full results from Gameweeks 6 and 7 are available via the Virtual FPL fixtures page or the game’s Twitter account.)

Ruddy Faces… A First-Team Stint

Virtual FPL managers in the market for a sub-£4.5m goalkeeper may have a temporary solution on their hands.

Rui Patricio (£5.1m) is set for an eight-week spell on the sidelines as a result of getting injured in Gameweek 7, so John Ruddy (£4.3m) looks set to deputise in his absence.

Wolves haven’t been particularly watertight at the back in this simulated season, registering just one clean sheet and conceding on 14 occasions – only three teams have shipped more goals.

However, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have had arguably the trickiest of starts, playing six of the current top ten in their opening seven fixtures.

Four of their next five games are against opponents who sit in the bottom six for goals scored.

Doherty Returns

On the subject of Wolves assets, Matt Doherty (£6.3m) returns from injury in Gameweek 8 after a four-match absence.

The Irish wing-back has already registered 20 attacking involvements (AI) in just 248 minutes of pitch-time, with his minutes-per-AI average second only to Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) among regular first-team defenders.

Doherty already has two goals to his name this season, too.

Penalty Watch

These are the players we know are on penalty-taking duties from Virtual FPL league fixtures this season:

Arsenal: Aubameyang
Brighton: Maupay
Crystal Palace: van Aanholt
Everton: Sigurdsson
Leicester: Vardy
Man Utd: Rashford
Newcastle: Ritchie
Norwich: Pukki
Spurs: Kane
Wolves: Jimenez

There are no huge shocks there (Luka Milivojevic (£6.7m) wasn’t on the pitch when Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m) stepped up for Palace) and the penalty-takers for the remaining ten Premier League clubs we can probably take a good guess at from this season’s FPL data.

If you’ve run a friendly simulation and seen anything of note regarding those on duty from 12 yards, let us know.

Ragabolly confirmed at the weekend that missing penalties – as Neal Maupay (£5.7m) did twice in Gameweek 1 – doesn’t make any difference, while the spot-kick takers are “consistent unless the two main penalty takers are not on the pitch”.

With Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m) injured for the next 13 Gameweeks and Leighton Baines (£4.9m) not a regular starter, it will be interesting to monitor who steps up from the penalty spot for Everton if they get one in the near future.

Clean Sheets

So far we have had 29 clean sheets in this Virtual FPL season, an average of 4.14 per Gameweek.

That in itself is on the low side compared to “real-life” football (5.17 is the average per Gameweek in the Premier League this season) but away shut-outs are even scarcer: there have been only eight clean sheets recorded by visiting teams (out of a possible 70) in this 2019/20 Virtual FPL campaign.

Liverpool and Burnley have both managed to secure two shut-outs on the road, with Watford, Sheffield United, Southampton and Everton registering one apiece.

Six of the eight clean sheets recorded in away fixtures were banked in the first three Gameweeks of the season and we have had just two since.

Fixture Difficulty

Wolves, Norwich, Spurs and Manchester City sit near the top of the team attack column despite having some tricky matches to start with, so does fixture difficulty matter in Virtual FPL?

In terms of attacking involvement, the results are a mixed bag.

Using Ragabolly’s colour-coded fixture ticker, we have looked at how many attacks teams are racking up in games of varying difficulties.

Where purple is the hardest and green the easiest, the average number of team attacks per game are as follows:

FixtureNumber of games so farAvg attacks per team per game
Purple311.3
Red3917.1
White4516.5
Green5316.2

There really isn’t a lot to separate the results above; in fact, teams are averaging 0.9 shots more per game in the tougher (red) fixtures than the easier (green) ones.

There are possibly some reasons for this – namely that the more attack-minded teams like Wolves, City and Norwich have had the harder starts – but there have been numerous instances of teams racking up season-high attack tallies in so-called trickier games.

However, looking at attacks conceded, the results go the way of the fixture difficulty:

FixtureNumber of games so farAvg attacks conceded per team per game
Purple333.7
Red3921.3
White4515.8
Green5312.5

Attackers might be more fixture-proof than defenders, then, if the above evidence is anything to go by – although it’s still relatively early days.

Rotation Roulette

Virtual Pep emulated his real-life incarnation by benching Riyad Mahrez (£8.4m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.9m) on Saturday, despite the pair having racked up the points in the Gameweek 5 win over Bournemouth.

As Ragabolly reminded us at the weekend: “Mahrez scoring gives him a better nailed-on status, say from 60% to 80% [chance of starting], but never 100%.”

In all fairness to the simulated City boss, rotation was an issue elsewhere over the weekend.

The hitherto ever-present Joe Gomez (£5.3m) made way for Joel Matip (£5.2m) in the Liverpool defence, while Chris Wood (£6.1m) was benched for Burnley’s 1-0 defeat at Brighton on Sunday.

Ricardo Pereira (£6.3m) and Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m) were even demoted to substitutes against Arsenal in Gameweek 6 but did return at Bramall Lane a day later.

More to Come from Salah/Mane?
FPL Double Gameweek Planning - The Same But Different

Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) and Sadio Mane (£12.4m) sit first and second for vFPL points and first and third for attacking involvement following the completion of Gameweek 7.

And yet, the pair have relatively under-par chance-to-return conversion rates.

Sixteen of the top 25 outfield players for Virtual FPL points this season have double-digit conversion rates, with the average in this elite group at just over 12%.

Salah and Mane’s, by contrast, is around the 9% mark.

Might the Liverpool pair be slightly underachieving a tad, then, despite their recent hauls?

Value-for-money Pukki

Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) is the best-value attacker in Virtual FPL this season, returning 7.38 points per million spent.

Not only that, but he is also the best-value vFPL asset in terms of attacking involvement, too, delivering 12.77 attacking involvements per million.

Team-mate Emiliano Buendia (£6.0m), who has already racked up seven assists, is second for that statistic.


VIRTUAL FPL PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE

UPCOMING FIXTURES

TOP SCORERS/ASSIST-MAKERS

STATS TABLES

Our spreadsheet that details team attacks (both for and against) by Gameweek and overall has been updated after the weekend’s results and has been slightly tweaked, so that the fixture difficulty rating colour (according to Ragabolly’s ticker) is reflected in the relevant Gameweek.

The updated standings are below:

TopMarx has also updated his interactive player stats spreadsheet after Saturday and Sunday’s matches, meanwhile.

A number of the stats featured in this article, indeed, come from his excellent document.

The stand-alone spreadsheet can be accessed via this link, with Fantasy managers able to make their own copy by selecting “File>Make a copy”.

INJURIES AND BANS

The only player currently suspended in Virtual FPL, Danny Ings (£7.1m), serves the final game of a three-match ban in Gameweek 8.

Matt Doherty (£6.3m) is back from injury on Tuesday, while Dele Alli (£8.3m) has only one more match on the sidelines to go before he returns.

Rui Patricio (£5.1m), as we have discussed, will miss Wolves’ next eight fixtures.

There were six other new injuries to report from the weekend, two of them long-term: Frederic Guilbert (£4.4m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m) will be out of action until Gameweeks 20 and 21 respectively.

Mamadou Sakho (£5.0m) and Tyrone Mings (£4.5m) will return in Gameweeks 9 and 10, with Charlie Taylor (£4.3m) and Dominic Solanke (£5.2m) available in the following round of fixtures.

RANKINGS

Fantasy Football Scout mini-league leader DeltaFox remains top of the overall standings, while five other Virtual FPL managers in the top ten above are signed up to our mini-league: The Balance, Dheeraj Raja, Aritravo, MCR Reds and Eddie Campbell.

World number 24 Franciso Lamarque heads Greyhead’s Great and the Good league, while moderator LEGOmaniac is top of the Mods and Cons mini-league and sits 70th in the world.

You can join the Fantasy Football Scout mini-league by entering the code 9RV4A via the below link.

JOIN THE FANTASY FOOTBALL SCOUT VIRTUAL FPL LEAGUE HERE

29 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Ginkapo FPL
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    A message for you Ruddy

    1. Skonto Rigga
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      Ruddy Hell, It's Rui and John

  2. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    What a brilliant write up, Neale. Very helpful.

    Are you writing a VFPL article every 2 gameweeks? What's the plan? I need to start waiting for these before making a transfer.

    1. Skonto Rigga
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      Currently three a week, so one after the weekend double-header, the Tuesday matches and the Thursday matches. That *could* change, however, if we get any sort of indication that FPL is returning. I've been burning some annual leave during the downtime, too, so it may drop to two a week if/when I'm off.

  3. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    Strange how Schmeichel was dropped from the starting 11. He's usually nailed out ... Did his form rating drop to a very low level?

    1. Ragabolly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      I made it such that players can (very rarely) miss out on a random game because of sickness or something like that.

  4. bitm2007
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    Excellent article.

    I'm not surprised about the reduced number of clean sheets, I done some that yesterday and discovered that goals scored per GW is 29.57 in VFPL compared to 27.22 in the PL.

    1. bitm2007
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      done some maths yesterday

      1. Skonto Rigga
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 19 days ago

        Good stuff! Yeah I think Ragabolly himself said at the weekend that there are slightly more goals being scored than he would like at present but he'd leave it be for the time being. I'm personally a fan of the attack-first mentality!

        1. bitm2007
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 19 days ago

          Yes his reply in that regard was

          To be honest, before the season started I had the option of tweaking the average number of chances per game and I thought I reached a state where enough goals are scored but not way too many. So far it's been a little too many, but also people do love goals

          1. Ragabolly
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            2 months, 19 days ago

            Yeah I will not intervene but I do expect it to slow down on its own.

  5. fish&chips
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    Pope (4.0)
    TAA, Doherty, Stevens, Fernandez, Tailor,
    Salah, KDB, Fernandes, Sarr, Saka,
    Ings, Rash, Jimmy

    1.1 ITB
    WC, FH & BB available

    With the small prospect of an FPL restart back, how am I looking? I'm 2,500 OR and wanting to finish as high as poss. Rather not be boring and build 100% to the template so happy to take some risks.

    1. FPL Pillars
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      A lot of solid picks, looking good with as little information as we know now.

  6. BNMC
    2 months, 19 days ago

    Not sure I feel comfortable with Saiss now, following the Patricio injury.

    1. bitm2007
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      I'm keeping for now because he rotates well with Lescelles, but I've got more confidence in the Newcastle D in VFPL than Wolves ATM !

  7. dino1980
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    Hello, The Balance here. Really enjoying these articles Neale, thanks to you and TopMarx for the stats and insight. Very much enjoying this game, thanks Ragabolly for creating it.

    1. Skonto Rigga
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      My pleasure, I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying the articles - I'd second your praise of Ragabolly and TopMarx. Hope you continue your strong start!

  8. Karan14 (Brazil Nuts)
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    Where can I find all the remaining fixtures rated by difficulty for FPL?

    The FFS ticker just seems to be showing GW36-38.

      1. Karan14 (Brazil Nuts)
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 19 days ago

        Thanks a lot bud!

  9. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    Not sure who plays which here, so feel free to ignore one of them in your answer, but stuck on these dilemmas.

    V-FPL. Which to play?
    A. Lascelles (Sou)
    B. Cantwell (ARS)

    Champ Manager. Best defensive fixer?
    A. Staunton to Taggart (WHU)
    B. Tarrico to Gaardsoe (sun)
    C. Melchiot to Boro defender (Gordon or Festa probably) (liv)

    1. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 19 days ago

      Lascelles also at home - oops.

      1. bitm2007
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 19 days ago

        I'm going Lescelles Newcastle have kept two clean sheets in row, plus he added an assist last GW for a 12 point hall to add to his 6 points the week before.

        I'm not playing Champ Manager

  10. BananaNose Maldonado
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 19 days ago

    What do we make of Aston Villa being second stingeist for attacks conceded in VFPL, and Norwich being fourth stingeist? Is this just statistical wobble, and we should expect to see them conceding more soon? Is this due to easy early fixtures (at least for Villa)? Is there something else going on that will make these sides more difficult to break down than would be expected based on this season’s data?

  11. Someday, Nugget!
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 18 days ago

    I've just noticed the GW history on vFPL. Great work, Ragabolly 🙂

    1. Ragabolly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 18 days ago

      Added it today, thanks! I also added easier way of changing bench order

      1. Someday, Nugget!
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 18 days ago

        That's a nice solution. Very slick!

  12. wayne50
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 18 days ago

    Ragabolly - Is there a second wildcard available and if so at what GW?. Really enjoying the game.

    1. Ragabolly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 18 days ago

      Thanks mate! Yes, after GW19.