The Fantasy Football Scout end of season awards have officially been launched with the first poll now available to vote in.
As ever, we begin with the goalkeepers, assessing the key candidates on the strengths of their 2019/20 from a Fantasy Football perspective.
Overall points, price and value in Fantasy Premier League are all factors to consider.
It must be said that the goalkeeper position was a tricky one to navigate once again this season, although for completely different reasons than the previous campaign.
In 2018/19, the high-performing assets were largely more expensive ones from big clubs. But their respective sides, of course, required attention in other positions and most of the budget options proved reliable only for short spells at a time.
Arguably, 2019/20 was the complete opposite. This time around, the expensive premium options failed to provide the usual level of consistent returns allowing some of the cheaper mid-price assets to assume ‘set-and-forget’ status. Although, even then, it was a somewhat underwhelming year for goalkeepers in the £4.5m price bracket…
2018/19 Team of the Season Review – Goalkeeper
- Goalkeeper: Alisson
- Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Matt Doherty
- Midfielders: Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling, Ryan Fraser, Eden Hazard
- Forwards: Raúl Jiménez, Sergio Aguero
After securing a place in the 2018/19 Team of the Season, Alisson did not have the best follow-up campaign.
2019/20 began in the worst way possible for Liverpool’s goalkeeper, as he picked up an injury just 38 minutes into the Gameweek 1 win over Norwich City.
Even though that unlocked Adrian as a £4.5m option in the Reds’ defence, they still only kept two clean sheets from a possible nine before Alisson’s return.
And even the Brazilian’s comeback did not help stop the rot at the back as Jurgen Klopp’s men struggled to match the defensive heights of 2018/19, ironic considering they ended up winning the league this year.
After collecting 21 clean sheets during his first campaign in English football, it took Alisson until Gameweek 16 to secure one in 2019/20. With issues elsewhere in the defence, despite a return from injury in Gameweek 9, he went another seven matches before earning that all-important shut-out.
In the end, Alisson did manage to get a total of 13 but, as is to be expected with a big club, he could only supplement this with 58 saves.
Therefore, it was a score of just 122 points this season, 54 fewer than the year before. It also made for an inferior points-per-game total, Alisson averaging 4.2 in 2019/20 compared to 4.6 in 2018/19.
It was quite the debut campaign in the Premier League for Dean Henderson, whose total of 160 points was the second-highest among goalkeepers, making him a rare shining light among a drab £4.5m bracket.
With four double-figure hauls between Gameweeks 18 and 30+, that impressive overall score came from a total of 13 clean sheets, an impressive tally for a newly-promoted shot-stopper, as well as 16 bonus points and 97 saves.
Those additionals carried mixed value for Fantasy managers. While the 16 from bonus was the third-best in the division, eight different shot-stoppers produced more stops than Henderson.
It is that fact that probably denied the Sheffield United man the prize of highest-scoring FPL goalkeeper, but Fantasy managers should consider the quality of saves Henderson made this season, especially as he could be fighting for starts at Manchester United in 2020/21.
Across the course of this season, the Blades’ goalkeeper recorded an xG Prevented score of +8.30, behind only Hugo Lloris (+9.50). That means the saves he did make were mostly from very high-quality chances. Combining that with Manchester United’s 36 goals conceded in 2019/20 (third-best) could be a powerful pairing next year.
2019/20 was a season of improvement for Wolves’ defence, which was good for the roughly 10% of managers who backed Rui Patrício.
During their debut Premier League campaign, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were certainly adept at keeping things tight at the back but they often struggled to convert this into clean sheets.
With just eight shut-outs in 2018/19, Wolves’ second season in the top-flight saw a continuation of astute defensive play but, largely thanks to Willy Boly’s return from injury, there was a much more mature approach to closing this out into clean sheets.
It was 13 of these, in the end, of Patrício, the joint-third-best in the Premier League.
That was enough for 153 points across the campaign, the fourth-highest among goalkeepers.
However, what hindered the Portuguese international from taking his Fantasy value to the next level, perhaps combined with his starting price of £5.0m, was the lack of additionals.
With Wolves playing a style of football that largely protects the goalkeeper, he managed only 90 saves and eight points from bonus.
Even though he missed out on a share of the Golden Glove, 2019/20 was still an incredible campaign for Nick Pope, the only other £4.5m option to offer real prolonged value across the season.
16 clean sheets for Burnley, the club’s highest ever tally in a top-flight season and second only to Ederson this year, was the lynch-pin of Pope’s 170-point score, his best-ever.
But it was the additionals that made the difference for the Clarets’ rapidly improving shot-stopper.
His 120 saves was the fourth-highest in the division while nobody in the same position came close to matching his 23 bonus points.
Pope really does offer the complete package for goalkeepers. Some offer clean sheets without much prospect for saves or bonus, while others can secure those additionals on account of facing more shots but, inevitably, this means fewer shut-outs.
With Burnley’s style of play, which does allow plenty of attempts on goal to their opponents, helps Pope register saves and bonus, but because they are good at limiting these shots to outside of the box, the clean sheets are also much more achievable.
The question now is whether or not this will still constitute value for money in 2020/21 when Pope is likely to be as expensive as £5.5m.
While not hitting the dizzy heights of Pope and Henderson, there was something on offer from £4.5m option Aaron Ramsdale for spells in 2019/20.
A total score of 126 points across the campaign does not look too special on the surface but it was good enough to finish in the top-five for the Value (Season) statistic on the official FPL site, working out at 28.6 points per million spent.
Bournemouth’s perennially porous defence allowed Ramsdale to rack up 128 saves, more than Pope and behind only Martin Dúbravka and Tim Krul in the overall standings.
The autumn was when Bournemouth’s goalkeeper was the most popular. Between Gameweeks 6 and 12, the Cherries kept three clean sheets and Ramsdale scored 41 points across the seven matches.
Averaging 5.9 points per game during this period, he also added an assist into the mix, one of just three goalkeepers to register one in 2019/20.
Ramsdale’s efforts have been good enough to earn transfer rumours of a purported move to stay in the Premier League despite Bournemouth’s relegation. Depending on what the future holds for him, Fantasy managers would do well to keep an eye on him moving forward…
It was another solid if not spectacular year for Mat Ryan, who was somewhat overshadowed in the £4.5m bracket by Pope and Henderson.
135 points was only just good enough for the top 10 among goalkeepers, and lower than his personal best of 146 during his debut campaign, but there was still something on offer for his 11.5% ownership.
Allowing greater spending elsewhere, the Brighton goalkeeper finished in the top five for points per million spent, his score of 28.7 beaten only by Patrício, Henderson and Pope.
It was also a top-five finish for Ryan’s total of 117 saves and 14 bonus. It was perhaps clean sheets where he came up short compared to the high-performers, with a total of just nine.
However, there is potentially a lot to like about the Australian for 2020/21, who might just be able to stay in the £4.5m bracket for a fourth successive season. If he can sustain his level of saves and bonus with greater conversion rate on the clean sheets could come a landmark season for Ryan.
Despite the disappointing finish to the campaign for Leicester City, Kasper Schmeichel was an important Fantasy asset during the first half.
In the first 15 Gameweeks of 2019/20, the Foxes’ shot-stopper produced seven clean sheets, two more than any other during that period. At the end of the campaign, his total of 13 was the third-best in the division.
Eventually, both Pope and Henderson overtook his season score and Schmeichel ended up finishing in third-place among goalkeepers, 156 points his best-ever FPL return.
His starting price of £5.0m and the cheaper option of Caglar Soyuncu in the same defence did stop the former Manchester City man from ever soaking up humongous levels of ownership but for a prolonged period he was one of the most reliable goalkeepers of 2019/20.
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