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. Brosstan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    Foden owners on continuous observation..

    1. Patio Kev
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      I suspect he’s already at risk of a benching vs WBA anyway but the longer he stays on the pitch the more certain it becomes.

  2. Mr Tin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    Bottomed:

    Bottomed:

    Current Team:

    Martinez Nyland
    Mitchell Justin Stones Bednarek Cresswell
    Grealish Salah Bruno Son Bissouma
    Bamford Kane Antonio

    Options on transfers:
    1) Bednarek > Cancelo
    2) Bissouma > Gundogan

    2 creates a benching headache but with so many players dropping out it could be a benefit.
    What say you kind people?

    1. The Senate
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      gut says 1

  3. yalala
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    I feel like participating in FFS discussions has made me play worse

    1. Cojones of Destiny
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      this but make ur own calls

  4. Would Ed Woodward
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    I've heard Stones is at risk from Richard Dunne's potential return to the side?

  5. Gudjohnsen
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    GTG?

    DDG
    Stones, Cancelo, Coufal, Tierney
    Salah, Sterling (VC), Bruno (C), Saka
    Antonio, Bamford

    Subs: Martinez, Soucek, Mitchell, Vardy

    1. Mr Tin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      Yep.Nice except for lack of Spurs.

      1. Gudjohnsen
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 27 days ago

        Think I can get away with it against Liverpool but risky.

  6. The 12th Man
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    Bench KDB this week or move?
    If benching I’d be playing Watkins or Dallas.

    Then have 2 FTs in 21 to move the KDB funds .

    1. Sun Jihai
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      See how Villa look tonight

  7. jdp219
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    How I would line up for gw20. Stick with the 343 and save, or find a replacement for KDB now?

    Martinez
    Stones, Chilwell, Coufal
    Salah, Bruno, Grealish, Soucek
    Wilson, Antonio, Bamford
    (Forster; KWP, Kilman, *KDB*)

    1. Patio Kev
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      You’re gonna want to replace KDB soon anyway so might as well do it now and bench Soucek.

      1. jdp219
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 27 days ago

        Very true. Was just thinking of KDB and Wilson out next week, but doesn't really make much of a difference now vs. then. Cheers!

  8. Patio Kev
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 27 days ago

    So am thinking Gundogan and Silva might be the most secure attacking Man City picks for the WBA games now.

    Sterling of course as well but not sure I want to tie up that much budget.

    1. jdp219
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      I'm likely to go Gundo, but have also wanted Son back in my team for a while. If Foden wasn't playing today, I might consider him more.

      1. The Sociologist
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 27 days ago

        Get Gundo this week, then Son for Brighton next?

  9. Drumandbaines123
      2 months, 27 days ago

      Foden could get massive hauls. Equally could get back to back 1 pointers off the sub bench. Can't decide if worth the risk or not :/

      1. Black Knights
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 27 days ago

        Definitely not worth the risk - owner.

    • Shark Team
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 27 days ago

      Rashford Gundogan or Soucek(+4) scores more in this gw?

      1. marcos11
          2 months, 27 days ago

          Rashford maybe?

        • The Mighty Hippo
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 27 days ago

          Rashford

      2. Drogba Legend
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 27 days ago

        Fabs
        Chill - Robbo - Dias - Stones
        KDB* - Salah - Bruno - Soucek
        Bam - Vardy*

        Fodder - Brewster - Dale Stephens - Fodder

        1FT, .5 ITB

        Best replacements for Vardy + KDB for a hit? I'm .2 short of Kane and Sterling

      3. ivantys
          2 months, 27 days ago

          Jesus is horrible.

        • Nightcrawler
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 27 days ago

          Jesus post

          Very unlucky

        • Ze_Austin
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 27 days ago

          It's all a matter of perspective. Faith in Jesus can differ

        • Nightcrawler
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 27 days ago

          Football index ads on the electronic boards in the city game

          Jeez they're everywhere

        • Drumandbaines123
            2 months, 27 days ago

            Hoping Targett has recovered enough to start tonight. Hoping for another 6 pointer!

          • Brosstan
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 27 days ago

            Jesus is almost as bad as iheanashite..

          • diesel001
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 27 days ago

            Cheltenham G

            From the long throw

          • Ze_Austin
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 27 days ago

            City concede

          • ivantys
              2 months, 27 days ago

              City trailing to a league 2 side 😀

            • ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
              • 10 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              Wow

              1. Captain Vantastic™
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 27 days ago

                OMG?

            • Hazz
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              OMG CHELTENHAM

            • diesel001
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              Time to get the big guns on. Sterling, Bernardo, Cancelo need to come on.

            • TorresMagic™
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • Has Moderation Rights
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              No good for FH29ers.

              1. Nightcrawler
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 27 days ago

                Ncity game is always for FHers. So much variance in starting xi and so much potential for big hauls

              2. Sun Jihai
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 27 days ago

                How come?

              3. Black Knights
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 27 days ago

                Why? If wolves beat Saints, wolves v city in 29 will still be off.

            • Pep Roulette
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              Thoughts on this WC team?

              Martinez Areola
              Chilwell Cancelo Justin Coufal Mitchell
              Sterling(C) Bruno Son Gundogan ESR
              Kane Bamford Antonio

              1. diesel001
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 27 days ago

                Don't like Sterling, but otherwise very nice.

            • Nightcrawler
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 27 days ago

              Absolutely 0% chance of laporte displacing stones or Dias now

            • BeaversWithAttitude
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              Woo-wee! Get in, Cheltenham!

            • Ze_Austin
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              So... Laporte frozen out by France, and now by Man City

              I don't understand. I just don't

            • jdp219
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              Welp, saw that coming. The 0-0 scoreline at half meant that City conceding was inevitable.

            • Bury94
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 27 days ago

              Dias coming on to play CF