We sit here on the eve of Round 4 in the Eliteserien still awaiting a Rosenborg win. Although they managed to score twice (will let them claim that own goal as their goal – I think they need it, to be honest) they remain winless, languishing above the relegation zone on a single point. You’d have to be more than brave to suggest they are in any real danger of dropping out of the division but at the same time, you’d be labelled something close to mad if you were to suggest they are in any way shape or form title contenders this season. Finishing third again has to be the aim – oh how the mighty have fallen.
I wanted to start by highlighting Rosenborg’s poor form because it plays into what I am looking at this week – are we getting our money’s worth? Are the most expensive players in the game worth investing in? Or can we find better deals elsewhere? If you are sitting there looking at your team and you have even one Rosenborg player, let me tell you… you’re being conned.
Three gameweeks in and we have already had eighty-four goals. That’s eighty-four goals in just twenty-four games. If you can’t be bothered to do the math, it means we’re seeing 3.5 goals a game. With games averaging over 20 shots, it’s hardly surprising we’ve only had 10 clean sheets from a possible 48. This league is full of goals which is what makes it to me so entertaining to watch. This is football 101 – get the ball and try and score. Put it in the back of the net and if you let one in, make sure to score another. It may not be to everyone’s taste but I love it.
Now on to what I want to talk about. How well are we, as Fantasy Football Managers, managing our finances? At the start of the season, we were given a 100mNOK budget and I’m interested in working where the majority of that money has gone. Have we focused too much on premium assets that we’ve sacrificed squad stability and balance, or have we prioritised building balanced, well-thought-out teams with as little of our budget being spent on big-ticket assets?
Some managers prefer to get as many premium players into their squads as possible. It may seem outrageous to some of us, after all, what if one of those big-name players doesn’t perform? Your rank can take a nosedive. Of course, when they do perform, they have such high ceilings it can often offset the risk so much it’s worth doing.
Other players (yours truly included) favour a more conservative approach in picking as few premium options as possible, as to afford more balance, adaptability and more importantly, point-scoring options who are more likely to grind out returns throughout the season, albeit with a much lower points-potential.
As far as I’m aware, these are the two most employed strategies when approaching with Fantasy Football – hold your cards close to your chest, biding your time, or throw caution to the wind and go all in. More often than not as the season pushes along, those who favour one approach might start to favour the other, being sure to be flexible in the face of change.
But the question still remains: do we buy the flashy convertible, throw back the roof, put metal to the floor and drive with the wind in our hair like we’re born to die, or do we buy a Volvo? Panache vs practicality.
The biggest argument I constantly hear against spreading the funds is that money tied up in your bench is wasted money. It’s a fair argument if you’re routinely going into gameweeks with over 20m in your benched players. The extra money could definitely go some ways to improving what you already have, but if you like to have back up players ready to go in case of any emergency or last-minute rotation, it’s not completely illogical. The main drawback of spreading funds around your team is that you are limiting yourself to have players with much lower ceilings, potentially yielding less points than you might otherwise get.
Anywho – onto the data. I will be looking at the Top 10 highest scoring assets in each position, grouping them into one of the four following categories:
Premium, Mid, Budget and Ultra-Budget.
The idea is to see what kind of correlation there is between player cost and points scored, to get a good idea of their true value. As ever we will look at % ownership to get a better idea of the lay of the land, but will not be evaluating who offers best points per minutes at this moment in time. I feel this is something for a future article much later in the season when we have more data at our disposal.
1) Makani (4.6m) 19pts [8.8%]
2) Myhra (4.5m) 17pts [11.0%]
3) Ahamada (6.0m) 14pts [3.0%]
4) Sandberg (6.0m) 13pts [21%]
5) Mbaye (4.5m) 11pts [7.3%]
6) Linde (6.0m) 10pts [9.4%]
7) Hansen (6.0m) 10pts [11.1%]
8) Klaesson (5.0m) 9pts [15.3%]
9) Mitov Nilsson (5.5m) 7pts [3.4%]
10) Khaykin (5.0m) 6pts [1.8%]
The goalkeepers sitting atop the pile are probably not who most would expect to see. Mjondalen’s Sosha Makani has conceded just once in three games, making ten saves and racking up 3 bonus points in the process. He’s been so good his ownership has grown by almost a factor of five since Round 1. More than half of Myhra’s points have come from one game in which he saved a penalty, made eight saves and got one bonus point. The 23 year-old Norwegian has made fifteen saves so far this campaign – the most in the division.
Overall, 6 out of the top 10 scoring goalkeepers are the most owned in the game, meaning we’ve done alright with our cash. While Linde and Sandberg owners will fully expect their number 1’s to top the points table come the end of the season, Makani and Myhra owners are getting far more bang for their buck right now.
Top 10 Scoring Goalkeepers Breakdown: 4 Premium, 3 Mid, 3 Budget
Premium goalkeepers seem to be slightly more consistent than any other bracket, but it’s hard to deny that mid-priced goalkeepers, for now, have the edge on their more expensive peers.
1) Gregersen (5.2m) 25pts [20.8%]
2) Hanche-Olsen (5.5m) 24pts [30.7%]
3) Nakkim (4.6m) 20pts [10.8%]
4) Haugen (6.5m) 17pts [5.2%]
5) Holmgren-Pedersen (5.5m) 16pts [12.3%]
6) Solholm Johansen (5.5m) 16pts [9.3%]
7) Kristiansen (5.5m) 15pts [6.3%]
8) Aasbak (5.0m) 15pts [9.5%]
9) Solheim (5.0m) 15pts [4.1%]
10) Dragsnes (5.0m) 15pts [3.2%]
Three of the top five highest-scoring defenders all play for Molde. This really shouldn’t come as much of a shock – they are hard to score against and being a very attack-minded team, their defenders are usually in on the action. Between them, Gregersen, Haugen and Holmgren-Pedersen have registered 5 attacking returns and 8 bonus points, despite only managing a solitary clean sheet.
Hanche-Olsen and Solheim are the two Stabaek defenders that make the top 10 – being one of only two teams (the other being Mjondalen) to keep two clean sheets in their opening three games. The former has been awarded two bonus points in each of his three appearances as well as getting a goal against Sandefjord. Mjondalen remain unbeaten and have conceded just once which means it should come as no surprise then to see three of their defenders in the top 10. Kristiansund’s Aasbak and Brann’s Kristiansen make up the numbers.
Overall, 2 out of the top 10 scoring defenders are the most owned in the game. Quite frankly, we’ve not done too well here. While some managers might be quick to point out high ownerships of ultra-budget defenders such as Vogt and Daland, they are the only two 4.0m defenders in the top 10 most-owned table.
Molde, Brann and Kristiansund defenders will be expected to continue to keep racking up the points, while it remains to be seen if the cheaper Mjondalen options will still be viable half-way through the season.
Top 10 Scoring Defenders Breakdown: 1 Premium, 8 Mid, 1 Budget
While we might be collectively looking in the wrong places, the good news is that mid-priced defenders are the ones bringing home the bacon right now and provide affordable options going forward.
1) Sandberg (7.6m) 29pts [17%]
2) Zinckernagel (8.2m) 28pts [32%]
3) Hauge (7.6m) 26pts [14.1%]
4) Pellegrino (9.1m) 26pts [16.8%]
5) Eikrem (12.6m) 22pts [45.2%]
6) Saltnes (7.5m) 20pts [23%]
7) Maigaard (8.4m) 19pts [5.7%]
8) Hove (5.5m) 19pts [1.0%]
9) Berg (4.5m) 18pts [30.3%]
10) Kassi (6.1m) 17pts [5.7%]
Free-scoring Bodo/Glimt are a team made of midfielders who love to score goals. And set up goals. And in general score fantasy points, as is made pretty obvious. Four of the top ten play for them and together they’ve earned a massive 92pts (23pts each). Considering that not one of them started the season priced any higher than 8.0m, that’s pretty ridiculous.
Niklas Sandberg has until recently been flying under the radar. Originally priced at 7.5m, you can certainly expect this number to keep on rising as he’s currently the second-highest scoring player in the game. A big part of his appeal is that he is on penalty kicks for Haugesund, and while his team have had an abysmal start to the season, he seems to be flourishing, scoring in every single game so far and getting an assist too.
Pellegrino’s 23pt haul against Aalesunds meant he went from being in slightly more than two thousand teams to nearly three times that in just one game week. His injury kept him out of Round 3, but due to his absurd haul still sits fourth in our list.
Eikrem has had a slow but steady start for his almost fourteen thousand owners, and a recent brace from Maigaard – earning him 14pts – has started to show he might be worth the money after all. Budget options Hove and Kassi have four attacking returns between them while BFP magnet Patrick Berg has managed to earn himself eight out of a possible nine bonus points in his first three games. He may only have scored once, but the BFP system clearly favours his industrious performances regardless of end product.
Overall, 7 out of the top 10 scoring midfielders are the most owned in the game which would seem to imply we know our midfielders somewhat better than our defenders. For whatever reason, we’ve been able to identify where the goals, assists and bonus points will be coming from a lot easier in midfield than in defence even though the legend himself Wolff Eikrem is just the fifth-highest scorer.
Top 10 Scoring Midfielders Breakdown: 2 Premium, 5 Mid, 2 Budget, 1 Ultra-Budget
Just like it was with defenders, it seems that the more reasonably priced options are not only offering the best value for money (something we’ll talk about in another article) but they’re actually scoring more points than their more expensive cousins. Patrick Berg has been criminally under-priced this season and represents ridiculous – utterly ridiculous – value for money at 4.5m, the cheapest starting price for midfielders.
1) Junker (8.4m) 31pts [31.9%]
2) Borven (11.0m) 25pts [34.1%]
3) Bamba (9.1m) 24pts [19.1%]
4) Salvesen (8.6m) 19pts [22.4%]
5) Bringaker (5.6m) 18pts [8.4%]
6) Vilhjalmsson (8.0m) 17pts [18.7%]
7) Abdellaoue (7.4m) 15pts [4.1%]
8) Shuaibu (6.0m) 14pts [2.8%]
9) Fridjonsson (7.5m) 12pts [2.1%]
10= Ammitzboll (6.4m) 9pts [0.9%]
10= Omoijuanfo (11.1m) 9pts [9.1%]
10= Berisha (9.0m) 9pts [10.9%]
Somewhat unsurprisingly Kasper Junker is the highest-scoring player in the game. And owned by 31.9% of managers, his affordable services have not gone unnoticed. After his brilliant hat-trick against Haugesund at the weekend, he scored and set one up against Rosenborg in their famous 3-2 win in Trondheim on Thursday evening. He is a player that looks relentless in his charge for goals, points and acclaim – I am absolutely certain he will be up there with the likes of Borven and Eikrem come the end of the season, that is if he doesn’t leave the club. If he keeps up this level of brilliance he’ll undoubtedly start attracting clubs from around Europe in need of a leading man. Hopefully, for our sakes, he stays in Norway for at least until the end of the season.
Borven, Bamba, Salvesen and Vilhjalmsson were always expected to be amongst the highest scoring forwards (as their relative ownerships should imply) but it’s the inclusion of IK Start’s Bringaker and Mjondalen’s Shuaibu that catch the eye. The former has managed a goal every game even though he was only given 45 minutes against Molde, and 23 year-old Shuaibu will have delighted the few managers who chose him in their initial Round 1 squads, with the Nigerian scoring twice and earning two bonus points to sit just five points behind Stromsgodset’s Salvesen.
Newly promoted Aalesunds potentially have themselves a capable goalscorer in Icelandic international Holmbert Fridjonsson, who despite only being given just over two hours of football has managed to score two of his clubs five goals this campaign. Abdellaoue was given just fifty minutes of game time in Sarpsborg’s first two games before deciding to give him the full ninety against Stromsgodset – what a decision that turned out to be. The Norwegian forward bagged himself a brace and all three bonus points to end the evening on 13pts.
Ammitzboll, Ohi and Berisha have all scored once to complete the list. Despite playing 260 minutes of football Berisha has only managed to find the net once while Ohi – deputising for James against Rosenborg and Start – has looked lacklustre, lazy and wasteful in front of goal. His one bonus point against Rosenborg in particular seeming somewhat of a charity rather than a reflection of his performance.
Overall, 7 out of the top 10 (12) scoring forwards are the most owned in the game, with James, Strand Larsen and Ostensen making up the numbers. My only reservation with this conclusion is how many of the players above are there due to a single performance, which seems to skew overall value. Looking at the top 6 players (Junker to Vilhjalmsson) gives us a much better understanding of where to look for consistent forwards who are playing regularly and offer more structure rather than one-off performances.
Top 10(12) Scoring Forwards Breakdown: 5 Premium, 4 Mid, 3 Budget
As we have 3 players tied on 9pts, this has opened the door for the premium options to walk in and be counted. Even so, it’s quite obvious that yet again the mid-priced options provide a good supply of points, in the absence of financial ruin. While many of us will expect to see both Molde forwards, Bamba, Junker and Borven near the top of the scoring charts at the end of the season, it looks as though we might have a few cheaper alternatives not too far behind as well.
While premium options should not be ignored, it is clear to me that mid-priced and budget-priced options are a vital mainstay of this game. This is a marathon, not a sprint and will require us to sometimes look outside the realm of what the hivemind might think to be acceptable. It’s early days but we’re already catching glimpses of certain players who may prove to be the diamond in the rough we’re all so eagerly searching for.
The most expensive players in the game are, bar a few, playing their part in giving us our money’s worth. It’s to be expected – they’re priced that way for a reason. But it should be clear to anyone in two minds before reading this article that there are a lot of reasonably-priced alternatives who are, up to this point, outperforming their value and giving us something to think about.
Overall I think can agree the vast majority of us have spent wisely thus far, which should be received as a huge positive as it’s often the case that we find ourselves attracted to the shiniest, most useless things that prove to be false investments. Right now that doesn’t seem to be the case. Even if some of us are truly woeful at managing our finances in real life, it looks as though for now our Fantasy Football investments are paying dividends.