Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 6. It’s the first Friday deadline of the season – you have until 18:30 BST to ready the troops!
Who to captain?
This week Jan Sienkiewicz, our sage of the armband, recommends Sadio Mané (£11.9m), Mohamed Salah (£12.3m) and Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) in his Captain Sensible article. Risk-taking often factors into our decision-making process, and in terms of popularity Salah is the safest pick:
“Backed by over 66% of our voters combined, Salah and Kane seem to be the safe choices for Gameweek 6, the heavily-backed Egyptian the safest of the two.”– Jan
In the latest edition of The Review, BigManBakar also tips Salah ahead of an enticing encounter against Sheffield United:
He’s on penalties playing for a team that has the best xG this season. According to the bookies, Salah has the best odds of scoring a goal and Liverpool are the most likely team this Gameweek to score 2.5+ goals. No player in the league has recorded more shots in the box this season.– BigManBakar
Meanwhile David, who returned to the Captain Video after successfully transferring out a wisdom tooth last week, brought more good news for those considering a Liverpool player. Pointing out the impact the now-departed Dean Henderson (£5.4m) had on the Blades’ defence, he noted:
Sheffield United last season, for all the clean sheets they kept, I think a lot of people … would have assumed their xGC (expected goals conceded) was often quite good, but actually it really wasn’t. They would give up lots of Big Chances, but Dean Henderson had the second-best xG Prevented in the whole division last year, i.e. he was making incredible saves to keep Sheffield United in games.– David
79.4 minutes per expected goal involvement (xGI) recorded by Sadio Mane, the best figure in the division from any player who has started at least one Premier League match this season.– Neale
At under 10 per cent ownership, the Senegalese could be the better option for those willing to move away from Salah.
High opportunity cost
With so many players performing well this year it’s impossible to have them all. One strategy is to switch between the premium assets for their best fixtures, to give yourself the best captain candidates.
But, as Greyhead has found out this season, you will have to accept the high opportunity cost.
The Community scribe sold Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) before his unexpected Gameweek 3 hat-trick away to Manchester City, he then ditched a potentially-injured Son Heung-min (£9.4m) ahead of his brace in Gameweek 4, and even his Gameweek 5 transfer-out Che Adams (£5.8m) returned 11 points after leaving his team.
The topic was raised on this week’s Scoutcast, with all three of Joe, Az, and Lee holding differing opinions on how to deal with the season. Az in particular was against switching out expensive players:
I think you can build a team with these premiums and you don’t need to worry about switching them out every week to try and catch different ones, because we’ve seen how much that can hurt people.– Az
Instead, Az prefers to identify blocks of fixtures rather than transferring out a player because he blanked.
Pro Pundit Simon March offered a different perspective on opportunity cost when discussing loss aversion, a cognitive bias that describes our tendency to fear losses more than we value gains.
Arguably the number one source of anxiety among Fantasy managers comes from transferring a player out who you suspect might suddenly start scoring, something that always seems to happen.– Simon
Citing Timo Werner’s (£9.3m) haul against Southampton’s high-line defence, Simon explained that “one of the key skill elements of FPL is identifying the contextual factors that influence whether a player will score or not.”
Essentially, judge the decision not the outcome. Simon concluded:
Most importantly, although it might feel like it, a player did not start scoring because you transferred them out. That kind of ‘magical thinking’ can quickly sabotage a Fantasy manager’s season as it removes logic and objectivity and puts events firmly into the hands of chance.– Simon
And fellow Pro Pundit Lateriser doesn’t expect the rollercoaster of a season to stop any time soon.
This season, variance is a lot higher than usual and I expect that trend to continue. Be prepared for it and remember that this is only a game, one which involves a fair amount of luck and unpredictability as well.– Lateriser
Several contributors have noted the value on offer in Aston Villa’s ranks, who have surprised us all with their excellent start.
Now is a good time to invest in [Villa] from an attacking standpoint. When it comes to their attackers, I get the feeling that you will get what you pay for. Jack Grealish (£7.2m), Ross Barkley (£6.0m) and Ollie Watkins (£6.0m) are all correctly priced in my opinion and could be good stick-and-forget options for a while.– Lateriser
In his Scout Notes from Gameweek 5, David Wardale, the author of Wasting Your Wildcard, revealed that Grealish was the most advanced Aston Villa player against Leicester City. While Az also recommends the Villa talisman:
Looking at the numbers, Grealish seems the stand-out option. Turning attention to Mark’s “Top Penalty Box Dweller” table in the Premium Members Area also shows that no player in the league can better the number of touches that Grealish has had in the opposition box (38) over the last four Gameweeks.– Az
Referring once more to Neale’s stat-dive article, we find that Dean Smith’s men could be set for more immediate returns:
2.8 direct attacks per game recorded by Aston Villa this season, the highest number in the Premier League. Leeds United, Villa’s opponents on Friday, have had the most direct attacks against per game so far this term (4.0). A direct attack is one that starts just inside a team’s own half, has at least 50% of movement towards the opposition goal and ends with a shot or touch in the opponent’s box. Aston Villa ranked 16th for this statistic last season (1.4).– Neale
A change in attacking style this season that looks set to reap rewards again in Gameweek 5.
Are Premium Defenders Worth the Money?
Lateriser is considering selling Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m), Magnus Carlsen has sold Trent Alexander-Arnold, and BigManBakar’s research finds that “Andrew Robertson (£7.1m) is beating Trent in almost every single underlying stat that matters – not only this season but post restart”.
The graphic above is taken from FPL Ted’s video analysing premium defenders. Alexander-Arnold stands out with nine shots and nine chances created, which would suggest attacking returns are imminent. But perhaps the numbers aren’t as impressive as they first appear:
Alexander-Arnold seems to have monopolised direct free-kicks, which may explain why all nine of goal attempts have been small chances.– FPL Ted
Neale, too, paints a less-than-ideal picture of the Liverpool full-back:
50 minutes per chance created by Trent Alexander-Arnold this season, still a very reasonable figure but down on last season’s average of 37. His average number of crosses per match has dropped from 10.1 to 7.4, in no small part thanks to his rate of corner-kicks dipping (4.3 to 2.6); Robertson, indeed, has delivered more of those than the Liverpool right-back in 2020/21.– Neale
Will he be making way in your team this week?
Finally, before confirming your starting line-up, don’t forget to check the latest Team News and Predicted Line-ups. In case you missed it, James Rodriguez (£8.0m) may make a miraculous recovery for Sunday’s game!
Earlier today, the Best of the Community feature included a tactical analysis from Kroos Kontrol, a ‘keeper evaluation from El Estadístico, and Jaydutt’s list of potential transfer traps ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.
And finally, for those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 6 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
May your arrows be green!
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