Pro Pundit Teams

What I’ve learned about key FPL assets at half-way stage of unpredictable season

As we are midway through the season, it is an important time for some reflection which, for me, involves pausing and looking at some numbers.

And, anyone who knows me well enough should not be surprised to see that includes assessing the performance of big hitters against opposition of varying degree. 

It has not been a good first half of the season but, with all my chips intact, I’m hoping I can turn things around in the second half of the campaign. I’ve been making some steady progress in the last few weeks but it isn’t the Nitro boost I’m hoping for. 

I’ve recorded six green arrows out of the last eight Gameweeks where I’ve steadily climbed from 3.1 million to 1.47 million and I am hoping that trajectory continues.

This article is based on what I did at two previous occasions last season as well where I look at the performance of big hitters against different quality defences and try to make sense of the numbers and how it can help us in the future. This is the link to my previous article.

Just like my last piece on this subject, I divided the league into three tiers of defence (based on my opinion, form and some statistics). They are fairly similar to the assumptions I had last time around but please treat them strictly as my opinion. 

Then using the very useful ‘Per 90’ and ‘Performance Versus’ filters from the Premium Members Area, I tabulated the performances of these big hitters against the three categories of defences to see how much of an effect the fixtures have on them. 

I’ve delved further with my analysis this time around to see if we could gauge anything substantial from this data.

First off, the categorisation of teams is as follows:

  • The Kolarov (Top Tier) – Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottehnham Hotspur, Leicester City, Manchester United
  • The Lescott (Middle Tier) – Arsenal, Burnley, Everton, Wolves, Aston Villa, Southampton, West Ham
  • The Bramble (Bottom Tier) – Brighton, Newcastle United, Leeds United, West Brom, Sheffield United, Fulham, Crystal Palace

This table comparison gives us the Goals + Assists per 90 for these assets against different defences in the previous season as well as this season. The first thing that jumps out to me is the averages. 

While there was a distinct difference in the performance of assets against varying opposition in the previous season, the same hasn’t been the case this season. This is one of the reasons my ‘upside chasing’ strategy where I try to bring in players to captain in a good fixture hasn’t worked as effectively as last season primarily because broadly speaking, the performance of these premium picks against Kolarov (0.5 to 0.6) and Lescott (0.6 to 0.8) teams have improved. 

Secondly, players are not as explosive against Bramble teams as they were last season (1.0 to 0.8). And thirdly, my subjective opinion is that the likes of Harry Kane (£11.1m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) and Son Heung-min (£9.7m) who are the highly owned assets in this game, haven’t really slowed down to an extreme degree which makes going for other big hitters, even for captaincy, more risky than it was last season because simply put, you’re betting against players who aren’t really slowing down.

Let’s now look at the performance of players on a team to team basis.

MANCHESTER CITY

Let’s talk about Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) first (in case you missed it, he looks out for a while). He’s playing in a slightly different position compared to last year and while he was hugely consistent against opposition of varying degree last season, he’s underperformed a bit against the Kolarov and Bramble teams this season. 

This makes sense to me because of two things. Firstly, Manchester City haven’t been the same free-scoring team this year that they were in the last season and arguably more value lies in their defence. Secondly, I also put down De Bruyne’s underperformance down to the fact that he and his compatriots have missed a lot of the chances created as well and he has been underperforming compared to his underlying numbers. It is worth noting that he has three goals and an xG of 7.48 this season. 

Raheem Sterling’s (£11.4m) numbers expectedly have gone down this season. What is worth noting is that he still has fairly strong numbers against ‘Bramble’ teams and is facing West Brom and Sheffield United in his next two fixtures. It is also worth noting that Phil Foden (£6.3m) has done fairly well against Kolarov and Lescott teams in the limited minutes he’s afforded against them.

Liverpool

Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) has fairly consistent numbers compared to last season with a slight improvement in performance against Lescott and Bramble teams. This despite the five blanks (hello Zambian FPL addict) that he has had off late. It is worth noting that Salah still has the second best performance against Bramble teams, behind Jamie Vardy (£10.1m). 

Sadio Mané’s (£11.8m) numbers are still fairly consistent against Kolarov and Lescott teams but he’s seen quite a fall against the Bramble teams this season. The emergence of penalty picks and Mané’s form quite hasn’t been there in the first half of the season and it is worth monitoring if things change in the second half of the season.

MANCHESTER UNITED

When it comes to the Manchester United assets, it’s all about Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m). He’s shown a drastic improvement in his performance against the Kolarov and Lescott teams. He’s behind only Kane for performance against the Lescott teams and is as effective as Salah against Bramble opposition, which makes him a safe go to captaincy option against obliging defences. Marcus Rashford’s (£9.6m) numbers have reduced against good teams but he has seen a substantial improvement against poor teams. Such is Anthony Martial’s form (£8.8m) that his numbers have deteriorated across the board. 

THE OTHERS

The big story here is the Spurs assets. While I don’t have Son’s numbers from last season, Both him and Kane do incredibly well against all three kinds of opposition. 

The numbers for Kane and son against opposition of different category make sense to me as you’d expect Son to be more effective against Kolarov teams where they are expected to counter and you expect Kane to do better against Bramble opposition where you’d expect the opposition to sit deeper. 

Kane’s numbers have improved across the board from last season. Son is second only to Foden against good teams which is a good sign for those looking at him for De Bruyne replacements with the game against Liverpool incoming. Both players are best in class against Lescott teams which is the prime reason for fixture chasing with other premium assets simply hasn’t been as effective. Kane is a more reliable captain against more obliging teams. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s (£11.3m) numbers have dropped across the board and he simply hasn’t been in form this season. He does have the highest Non-Pen xG numbers in the league in the last four Gameweeks so things do look like they are changing. 

Historically, Auba is a good bet against weaker opposition but Arsenal’s fixtures don’t look very appealing in the mid-term. Vardy (who is also going to be out for a while) has done really well this season. He has increased his output against good opposition (hat trick vs Manchester City, goal and assist vs Spurs, assist vs Man United) and has been the most explosive asset amongst all the premium big hitters against obliging teams. 

He has a staggering 1.7 Goal + Assist/90 against such teams which is a shame because Leicester City had a good fixture run and he would have been a great asset to own in these fixtures based on his previous appearances.

Here is just a last look at these numbers for this season and three things stand out to me.

  1. The Spurs assets have good numbers across the board 
  2. Bruno, Vardy and Salah’s reliability against obliging teams could be key in the second half of the campaign.
  3. How these averages compare to last season

 That said it doesn’t take much time for the Fantasy landscape to change and I will be looking forward to doing a similar analysis at the end of this season.

Good luck to everyone preparing for Gameweek 20.

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1,057 Comments Post a Comment
  1. 420king
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 25 days ago

    Been watching this game for 5 min and wondering how it's not 0-10.

    1. Nomar
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Cheltenham played really well first half.

    2. The Train Driver
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Lol same here

    3. Ron_Swanson
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      If you watched it all you’d know

    4. The Train Driver
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      The Gundo and Cancelo effect.

  2. Bielsa Murderball
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Grealish or DCL?

      1. Bielsa's Blue Bucket
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        G

      2. pingissimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        DCL

    • diesel001
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Pep getting angry about the long throws and drying the ball with the towel.

      1. Nomar
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Rory Delap says hello!

      2. Forza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        He hates small towels because they remind him of drying his hair 😥

    • Would Ed Woodward
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Damn.

      1. Amey
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Hey mate
        Do you think stones is nailed ?

    • The 12th Man
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Come on Cheltenham

    • The VAR Team
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 25 days ago

      What's Carroll doing in the line up? Wilson playing wing? What is this?

      1. Ron_Swanson
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        4-4-2 IMO

        1. The VAR Team
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 25 days ago

          Two strikers? You'd think Bruce wants them to score

          1. Patio Kev
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 25 days ago

            Didn’t work against Arsenal though with both Wilson and Carroll starting.

        2. AC/DC AFC
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          5-4-1

      2. WE GO FOR IT
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        2 up front

        1. AC/DC AFC
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          Nah.

          Wilson out wide.

          Left attacking midfield / winger?

      3. AC/DC AFC
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Survival tactics for Bruce

    • Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Foden over Gundo... Straight into the trap I fall

      1. _Ninja_
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Still a chance Foden starts v wba.

        1. StayoutheSpiceZone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          He will start!

        2. Flair
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          2 months, 25 days ago

          Foden LW Sterling RW Bernardo CAM is what I'm thinking

      2. g40steve
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Rubbish MOT tonight & rescued them

    • Londongeezaa
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Ok so which City midfielder do we get?

      A/ Gundo
      B/ Foden
      C/ Sterling

      1. WE GO FOR IT
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Made me think about other teams, this game!

        1. Patio Kev
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          Silva should be on that list too and might be playing no10.

    • Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      2 months, 25 days ago

      A few more Cancelo (C)'s just got locked in

      1. Bury94
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        It's tempting!

      2. Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Bruno 90mins tomorrow and it’s done

      3. Warby84
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        I’ve been on it

      4. WE GO FOR IT
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Too risky for me. Ajayi is a threat and Pereira seems to have found some form.

        1. StayoutheSpiceZone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          West Brom 0-5 City

    • StayoutheSpiceZone
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Right

      Got Cancelo and Stones:

      Do I
      A) remove Saka for foden/gundo/silva
      B) remove Brewster and get Jesus (therefore keeping Saka)

      1. StayoutheSpiceZone
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Be really interested in your views guys ...

      2. Honourvolley
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        A for gundo. Not b

      3. djman102
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Jesus did not do much to convince Pep to play him. I'd do A or maybe not do anything and go with Saka if you don't want to play Pep Roulette.

        1. StayoutheSpiceZone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          Cheers fellas

    • pundit of punts
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Bench one -

      A. Holding (sot)
      B. KWP (ARS)
      C. Mitchell (WHM)

      1. WE GO FOR IT
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Holding

      2. Black Knights
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        I’d go A cos I’m a homer.

      3. Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        A

      4. AC/DC AFC
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        A

      5. Forza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        A because Ings is back.

    • g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Foden spraying the balls about like KDB

      1. StayoutheSpiceZone
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        He’s superb

    • Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      How many bonus points is Cancelo on after that assist? Foden all 3?

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        ?

      2. Baps hunter
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        3 pts

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          TC

    • PP6
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Sterling nailed now for Tuesday probably ?

      1. THFC4LIFE
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Would assume so

        1. Baps hunter
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          They needed to score and Pep didn't transfer Sterling in.

      2. Forza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        3 points banked.

        1. PP6
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          13*

    • Riverside Red
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Can any Villa fan please tell me why El Ghaszi has been benched again?

      1. Wild Rover
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Barkley

        1. Riverside Red
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 25 days ago

          And...

      2. Amey
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Because Barkely is back so he's playing CAM & Jack is on LW.
        Traore is first choice RW with Gazi & Trezguet as competition

        1. Riverside Red
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 25 days ago

          Why is Traore first choice after Gazis recent performances....what does a player have to do to keep his place...Perhaps a name change to Barkley

      3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Because Dean Smith feels Traore is better than him.

      4. popey
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        He was never first choice, came in after Trez injury. Will still get minutes though expect mostly off bench.

        Barkley coming in means Jack plays LW. We have 3 wingers fighting for one spot and one of those wingers (Traore) was bought for £18m in the summer.

        El G has always been a streaky player, his championship record wasn't great so to expect those returns to continue is madness.

      5. rokonto
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Because i got him in last week....

    • AC/DC AFC
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Bruce knows his job is on the line in the next 2 or 3 games...

    • Tonyawesome69 FHXX
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Foden looking great in that KDB role

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Against?

        1. Tonyawesome69 FHXX
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          True but you can only play what's in front of you and it was a tough game for city until they made the subs

          1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 25 days ago

            True but cant rate performances based on this game.

      2. Nomar
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Yes, but starting and playing 90 mins in a cup game is concerning for him starting against West Brom.

    • Nomar
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Wilson’s going for Kane on Monday but it would be nice to get a goodbye gift of a goal from him tonight.

    • MissouriMarten
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Never seen Ilkay Gundogan and Roger Federer in the same room together...

    • Captain Vantastic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Gundawg assist.

    • g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Torres H

      1. g40steve
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Goal

    • diesel001
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Torres G

    • Wild Rover
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Torres g Gundo a

    • _Ninja_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Torres goal gundo a

    • Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Everyone getting goals except Gundo

      1. _Ninja_
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Saving them for wba game

      2. Amey
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        He's keeping them for PL

    • diesel001
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Cancelo AA
      Gundogan A
      Torres G

      Pep's subs pay off

      1. Nomar
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Cheltenham were knackered by that point too.

      2. WE GO FOR IT
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Cancelo only 1 A and Torres started

    • La Roja
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 25 days ago

      Cancelo sub made huge difference

    • ivantys
        2 months, 25 days ago

        Luckily city came back. Saves FH29 ppl.

        1. S.Kuqi
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 25 days ago

          How?

          1. ivantys
              2 months, 25 days ago

              So ppl with no FH won't have city players to save their GW.

              1. Nomar
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                2 months, 25 days ago

                I still have my FH but my season is beyond salvation now anyway.

              2. S.Kuqi
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 25 days ago

                Nice one. I'm one of those fh29 plp.

                1. ivantys
                    2 months, 25 days ago

                    Even if GW29 is left with just 3 fixtures, it's still fine as everyone else doesn't have players for them.

                2. Black Knights
                  • 9 Years
                  2 months, 25 days ago

                  They wouldn’t have had a game if Wolves beat Saints next round anyway.

                  1. ivantys
                      2 months, 25 days ago

                      I won't expect Wolves to beat anyone now so safest is for city to go through.

                  2. Lord.
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    2 months, 25 days ago

                    City wouldn’t have been a differential anyway.

                    1. ivantys
                        2 months, 25 days ago

                        You'll have more advantage over someone with triple city, as it will be just free 8 players (and imagine you picked the wrong city players) for you compared to free 10-11 for you with no city fixtures.

              3. Magic Zico
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 25 days ago

                Torres G Gundo A

              4. Manani
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 25 days ago

                Thoughts on Gundogan as KDB replacement?

                1. _Ninja_
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  2 months, 25 days ago

                  For 5.5m he's a great shout. and on pens.