Pro Pundits - Sam

Why I look to the underlying stats rather than FPL points for early-season transfers

FPL Family’s Sam explains how player stats help her decide whether to stay loyal to a Fantasy asset early in the season.


Transfer strategy and planning is one of the biggest parts of Fantasy Premier League management in the first few Gameweeks of the season.

There are always some players who come from nowhere to embark on a fantastic run, regardless of fixtures. This season, players like Patrick Bamford (£5.8m) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.4m) seem to be falling into that category.

With these players, it makes sense to move early and benefit not only from their form and FPL points but also from price rises and therefore valuable improvements in team value.

However, there are others who have made an excellent start to the season and returned good early points for their managers but who haven’t necessarily had the history of consistent FPL returns. This makes many experienced Fantasy managers wary and question whether they are a wise investment in the long term or whether they are a transfer waiting to happen in a few weeks when the purple patch ends and their returns falter. 

For me, Alexandre Lacazette (£8.5m) may very well fall into this category, which potentially explains why his ownership is still very low even though he has returned seven points in each of the opening three Gameweeks of the season.

Separating the long-term picks from those that have short-term potential and those that we should avoid altogether can be a challenge, especially when this is coupled with decisions on players that you own already and would have to make way for one of these in-form assets. 

During pre-season, I was hugely impressed with Che Adams (£5.9m). He was eye-catching with his attacking returns, positioning, partnership with Danny Ings (£8.4m) and general all-round match fitness and attitude. Fast forward to Gameweeks 1 and 2 and Southampton really struggled to get going. At this stage, Adams took a price drop as many managers looked to make the move away from a Southampton team who seemed off-kilter.

However, a look through the Premium Members Area suggested that actually, it wasn’t necessarily an easy decision and that the underlying stats were there to support maintaining the faith in Adams. Maybe, just maybe, transferring him out was premature. 

Adams’ expected goals (xG) tally across the opening two Gameweeks suggested he was incredibly unlucky not to have returned. His xG currently is sitting at 1.28 for the 2020/21 season, his expected goal involvement (xGI) is 1.52, and he ranks very highly in Joe’s ‘Goals Imminent’ table – so his underlying stats suggested he is worth some loyalty.

He has had 89 touches so far this season, registering a touch every 2.7 minutes, with a goal involvement of 50% and a successful take-on percentage of 100%. His total of six goal attempts is more than Anthony Martial (£8.9m) with two, Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) with four, and level with his much more expensive teammate Danny Ings (£8.4m) and Jamie Vardy (£10.0m).

Adams finally returned in Gameweek 3, registering his first assist of the season as Southampton bounced back from their defeat by Spurs in Gameweek 2. That wasn’t before he had taken a price drop ahead of the game against Burnley, however. 

It can be very easy at the start of the season to look at players like Adams and “rage-transfer” them out for others in the same price point that have performed well or indeed to take hits and redistribute money to upgrade these players.

This is when the Premium Members Area really comes into its own for me, as purely looking at points scored isn’t often reflective of the way the season has started for the player – so there is potential that you lose a player before they come good.

werner-replacements 2

The aforementioned Vardy is an example of this. On paper, he is a perfect FPL asset with five goals so far. However, those five goals have come from just six shots, and four of them were penalties. When you look at Vardy’s xG of 3.60 he looks like a fantastic option, which with the level of penalties awarded this season he is. However, his non-penalty XG is just 0.45 and that is far lower than we would expect for a player of his price tag.

Looking closely at the underlying stats alongside the eye test is essential for ensuring the right transfers. It does seem easier to stay loyal to players who sit in the value bracket, however the underlying stats for the early Gameweeks applies to the premium assets just as much.

Going into Gameweek 1, the lack of clarity around Manchester United in terms of transfers and player fitness meant that I made a last-minute decision not to start the season with Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) or Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) on the bench and instead bring in Son Heung-min (£9.0m) for Spurs’ opening game at home to Everton. At the end of that Gameweek, I decided to ignore the underlying stats for that Everton game and make my preplanned transfer, which was to swap Son for Fernandes. This was a big mistake. Son scored four goals in Gameweek 2 against Southampton, whereas Fernandes blanked versus Crystal Palace.

For me, this taught me a valuable lesson both in terms of flexibility and not being afraid of going against the original planning. 

The eye test and Premium Members Area comparisons have always been a vital part of the way that I manage my FPL team but I often use it more for the budget and mid-priced options. 

The Son fiasco has made me aware that underlying stats are just as important for the premium players as they are for the cheaper options. Overall, missing out on Son’s haul hurt but it proved to me that loyalty pays off – so long as the stats back up the decision to hold.


Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 3

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

566 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Dele
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 2 days ago

    Podence spotted in training!!!

    https://twitter.com/bendinnery/status/1311597747217326080?s=21

    1. Baines on Toast...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      I think FFS are more inveseted in Podence's fitness than Podence himself 😀

    2. Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      2 months, 2 days ago

      PODENCEEEEEE

    3. Jon Walter's Hatty
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Wow some good news. No doubt someone will smash into his shoulder during it...

    4. Pukki Blinders
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Enjoy his 1 assist every 5 games

      1. Boxwoods
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        2 in 2?

  2. Oldie99
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 2 days ago

    Likelihood in % of the following players starting their premier league games this weekend?

    Vardy
    Mahrez
    Reece James

    1. Pegboy
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Have I missed the concern about James? I bloody hope he's starting or Mitchell will be getting a run out.

    2. Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      2 months, 2 days ago

      100, 90, 90

    3. NateDogsCats
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Unsure on James, going forward he's played very well but Azpi is captain after all and started against Spurs in the cup and showed he can do plenty going forward too but is more reliable defensively. He was supposedly first injured then lacking match fitness the first 2 weeks as well, wasn't just Lampard choosing James over him.

    4. 03farmboy
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 2 days ago

      I have Werner, martial and Wilson

      But I want to get in Calvert-Lewin who do I swap him for? Werner or Martial would be a straight swap

      Wilson would have to try find some funds for

      1. PartyPooper
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Martial. He looked like he wasnt even on the pitch in the last two gameweeks

    5. lilmessipran
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Thoughts on this Wc team (4-3-3 or 3-4-3)

      Martinez
      Robbo Saiss Lamptey KWP
      KDB Raz Mahrez
      Jimi Ings DCL

      Steer Soucek Burke Mitchell

      0.6 ITB for Mahrez to Sonaldo next week

      1. the dom 1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        too much City mids, change Raz to Salah or Mane imo

    6. the dom 1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      bottomed sorry.

      Thoughts on rotating Keepers?

      Martinez and Meslier

      Could work right?

      1. Hotdogs for Tea
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Ryan & McCarthy 😉

        1. the dom 1
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          i know that combo looks and works well too 😉

        2. Hotdogs for Tea
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          2, 6, 6 so far 🙂

      2. Malinwa
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        I like this!
        What about Martinez and McCarthy?

    7. Oggle22
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Save ft

      Mccarthy
      TAA KWP Taylor Mitchell
      Salah KDB Bruno Rodriguez
      Martial Mitrovic

      Nyland Ceballos Saliba Davies

      Thinking Martial to Ings or save and mini wildcard next week
      Cheers

      1. pwill40
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        I fancy Martial to get pts against Spurs so would hold

        1. Oggle22
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          That's my thoughts that's what's making me nervous to swap him out was debating j. Rod Martial and Mitrovic out for DCL Ings and Zaha?

    8. pwill40
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      Need help please - on WC and changed it about 100 times!

      decision seems to be coming down to

      Mitro / Salah / Mahrez + 2 x 4.5 GK
      Ings / KDB / Barnes + 4.0/4.5 GK
      Ings / KDB / JROD + 4.0/4.5 GK (and down grade 4th defender - Lamptey to a 4.0)

      Thanks!

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

        B

        but how do you not have kdb and salah together - are you going for sterling?

        1. pwill40
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          Fernandes

    9. SMOOTH
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 2 days ago

      how can anyone justify sterling when sterling + KWP costs the same as ings + TAA

      really want sterling (C) on WC but just doesnt make sense

      1. BIG TONES
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Depends on the rest of your team. Are you going Sterling and KDB, or Sterling instead of KDB

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

          sterling with kdb and salah but it means 4-4-2 with no liverpool with soucek and a 4th mid and starting 3 4.5 defs every week.

          it would be extremely tough to go sterling instead of kdb or salah

          1. BIG TONES
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 2 days ago

            Just my opinion (and this is what I'm doing), you have to brave and choose either KDB or Sterling. This will allow you more funds and you could get someone like Bruno for example?

            This is my latest WC draft if it helps you...

            Martinez
            Robbo - Lamptey - Justin
            Sterling - Bruno - Salah - Trossard
            DCL - Maupay - Jimi/Ings

            Subs: 4.0 - KWP - Stephens - Dunne

      2. Granville
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        I would probably plump for Mahrez but at some point Sterling is going to explode with points and those with him will be on the front foot.

        1. Flair
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          2 months, 2 days ago

          That point is this weekend

          1. FPL_Cot
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 2 days ago

            Hope so. I brought him in on basis he will score at least 7 goals against Leeds... Raz loves an away day!

        2. SMOOTH
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          that is expected - history shows that. but the point is that sterling + kwp is 16M and gives you lets say 200+120ish points over the season.

          ings + TAA is also 16M but has the potential of 200+200.

          so in what world would it make sense to go sterling + KWP

          1. Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            2 months, 2 days ago

            Because we aren't managing set and forget teams

      3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        I have a midfield comprising of Salah, Sterling and KDB. Have VVD at the back who is definitely better than KWP. All depends on the rest of your team and who you want to fit in,

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

          yeah but you can take out sterling for ings and upgrade one of your 4.5 defs to TAA.

          so irrespective of the rest, do you think sterling + 4.5 outscores ings + TAA?

          1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 2 days ago

            I have Ings too. Have just one playing 4.5 def. Like I said depends on your team.

            But to answer your specific question - I would definitely prefer Ings + TAA over Sterling + 4.5 def.

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

              well if not ings then jiminez, if not jiminez then mahrez

              my sterling team is

              robbo 4.5 4.5
              kdb salah sterling barnes soucek
              jiminez dcl

              this is where the ings + TAA comes in to play

              1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 2 days ago

                So you want to play 3-4-3 with TAA and Robbo at the back and a midfield of KDB, Salah, Barnes and Soucek. I love that back 3. I love the front 3. Not too excited about the midfield. But then with so many options in all the positions at this moment, all of us will have to make some sacrifices. It's all about timing and bit of luck right now. Like I said, in isolation Ings + TAA makes much more sense than Sterling + 4.5

    10. Jdpz
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Podence is fit?

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          Best news since GW1

          1. xHaTr
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 2 days ago

            Has there been an update?

            1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 2 days ago

              Spotted in training someone said!

              1. xHaTr
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 2 days ago

                Yessss

      • gooberman
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Not that it matters FPL wise but why was Pogba credited with the 3rd Utd goal last night? It's quite clear that it was an OG. Clearly off target.

        1. mynameisq
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          Ridiculous decision, souceks shot was way closer and they called that an og

          1. gooberman
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 2 days ago

            I wonder how long it will be before hawk eye technology is used to determine whether or not a shot was on target like they have in cricket. It's actually quite important that the right decision is made as there are financial implications. People who have bets on etc.

            1. gooberman
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 2 days ago

              You wouldn't even need to stop play as it could be looked at as the game continues.

      • Fit_to_drop
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 2 days ago

        On WC, which combo...

        Klich / Wilson
        Perreira / Bamford

        Or some other combo, 12 to spend. Have Podence.

      • yiidddoo
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        How does this team look on a WC

        Mccarthy
        Regulion Castagne Digne
        Son* Salah Foden Zaha
        Jiminez Vardy DCL

        *Son Jose says could feature sunday if not for sure after international break so is it worth chucking him in? and rodgers says vardy is fine...
        Thoughts ??

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          Why do you want to keep players who are doubtful right now in your WC team? Its not that Son is playing Fulham this GW. Pick another player with enough in the bank to get Son next GW on FT.

          1. yiidddoo
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 2 days ago

            Cheers, just thought it would be worth saving the FT but ill consider this !

      • Jon Walter's Hatty
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        So Siggy replacing Allen means bye bye Rich on pens even if fit....

        1. Jon Walter's Hatty
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          ...or does Delph come in?

          1. The Rumour Mill
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 2 days ago

            Tactically Delph would make more sense, if he's fit and available.

      • Weasel Boy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Talk of full Liverpool lockdown

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

          Would Everton - Brighton be off in that case ?

          1. The Rumour Mill
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 2 days ago

            No.

        2. Silent Friend
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          it should be. Thiago tested positive, whole squad must be quarantined to be safe.

          All negative test results mean nothing within 14 days, they could be infected already.

          We dont know when Thiago got it.

      • mynameisq
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Any more clues on which 10 players tested positive for Corona? Thiago is one of them but I haven't heard anything else

      • sjhuk
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Missing anything obvious?

        Ryan,
        TAA, Walker-Peters, Justin
        KdB (c?), Salah (vc?), Fernandes, Podence
        Ings, Mitrovic, DCL

        Nyland, Saiss, Stephens, Mitchell

        Questioning Saiss on the bench, and maybe the KdB (c) choice.

        1. Sterling Malory
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 2 days ago

          I'd start Saiss over KWP

      • Rondon9
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 2 days ago

        Salah starts

      • wulfranian
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 18 hours ago

        As a James and Werner owner i fell so frustrated but also so stupid.