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. Captain Vantastic™
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Dias coming on.

  2. Sun Jihai
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Are people really expecting City to smash West Brom (who will park the bus)?

    1. Bury94
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Yes

    2. Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 17 days ago

      No. 2-0 is my prediction. They're also crap at parking the bus, that doesn't mean much.

      1. Sun Jihai
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Worked out ok in their last game vs. City?

        1. Flair
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Two miracles saves to get a result under a different manager while conceding 13 goals in the last four is hardly "ok" but I suppose we all have different standards, mistaken as they can be.

          1. Sun Jihai
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Good point

    3. jammie26
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Yep.. Baggies are awful.

    4. diesel001
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Dias coming on. Dias owners hoping he doesn't get injured.

      1. THFC4LIFE
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        True

      2. Captain Vantastic™
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        If he gets injured the whole defense if done m8

        1. Captain Vantastic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          is done*

    5. Flair
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 17 days ago

      This could have massive implications for the BGW/DGW race, here we go

      1. Black Knights
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        I don’t think it would. Wolves beating Saints would still have meant wolves v city and spurs v Saints were blank in 29.

    6. jason_ni
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Danny Murphy saying var would have disallowed that goal for laporte "push"

      Really?! I despair if that it what football has come to, and they class that as a foul.

      1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        He's a fool.

        1. The Suspended One
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          He’s no Danny Higginbotham but certainly more credible than Danny Drinkwater

    7. ivantys
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Will pep reward whoever that scores now a start?

      • Patio Kev
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Imagine Man City going to extra time.

        Definitely see a different line up against West Brom then.

      • diesel001
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Gundogan also coming on

      • Nightcrawler
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 17 days ago

        City losing is irrelevant unless wolvws gwt knocked out this round or next too

        1. Black Knights
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          This.

      • jdp219
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        As a defender for most of my playing career, I thoroughly hate long throws. I Have no idea why they are so different from a set piece, but they are.

        1. jason_ni
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          At the level I played (crap) you could be the worst player in the squad, and you'd still get selected if you had a bullet throwin, classed as a set piece specialist.

          Absolute weapon.

        2. Ze_Austin
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          The only part of the game where the hands can almost directly lead to a goal (goalkeepers are too far away)

          Many dynamics are different when hands come into play. Imagine, for instance, there was a part of basketball where feet were allowed

          1. The Train Driver
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Can't see any situation in basketball where using your feet would be an advantage.

      • DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        No De Bruyne , no good.

        1. Captain Vantastic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          But one of their players is on pens!

        2. Sun Jihai
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Wouldn't have played in this game anyway tbf

          1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            That's not my point.

      • djman102
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        If this result holds, the "max carnage" crowd will want Wolves to beat Southampton next round and Spurs to get to the QF (MCI-WOL and TOT-SOU current 29 fixtures)

      • Brosstan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        City without Kdb are league 3 quality

        1. Little Red Lacazette
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Always with your controversial comments.

        2. Homer21
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Maybe league 1

      • diesel001
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Dias and Gundogan on
        Harwood-Bellis and Doyle off

        1. Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Stay safe lads.

      • Hazz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        City always get the easy draw.

      • Sim Simma 🤷 🔑 🚘
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        ⚽ Team News 📰
        ASTON VILLA : Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, Nakamba, Grealish, Barkley, Traore, Watkins.
        Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Trezeguet, El Ghazi, Engels, Guilbert, El Mohamady, Davis, Ramsey.

        NEWCASTLE : Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis, Hayden, Shelvey, Hendrick, Almiron, Wilson, Carroll.
        Subs: Dubravka, Longstaff, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Ritchie, Gayle, Krafth, Fraser, Murphy.

        1. Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          El Ghazi no longer an option 😀

        2. Flair
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          3 months, 17 days ago

          LW Grealish ready to wreak havoc

        3. djman102
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Yes! Targett starts. Come on the ton.

        4. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Marty Jacky and ollie . Check.

        5. diesel001
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Take out Nakamba and put in McGinn and that is Villa's best team.

        6. Bobby Digital
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Where's Clark?

          1. djman102
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Radio just said injured

        7. Sun Jihai
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Carroll to bust Martinez CS in which minute?

        8. ivantys
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Nice ASM on bench

          • The Suspended One
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            TC Andy Carroll next week?

            1. djman102
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Shane Duffy

          • Terry Tibbs: Top Pundit
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Is El Ghazi not assured now Barkley back?

            1. popey
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Was never first choice, will still share minutes with Traore but Trez also back in contention now and if all fit its 3 for 1 spot on the wing

          • Neves say Neves
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Marvellous!

          • Patio Kev
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Man for man that Newcastle team looks dreadful in comparison to Villa.

            Fully expect Villa to smash this.

        9. JONALDINHO
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Grealish LW. Haul confirmed!

        10. diesel001
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Mahrez and Jesus have shown today why they aren't in the first XI for Man City.

          1. ivantys
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Laporte too

          2. Sim Simma 🤷 🔑 🚘
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Long throw in

          3. Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Foden best player on the pitch

            1. The 12th Man
              • 7 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Tozer

              1. Wild Rover
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 17 days ago

                Bit harsh, he’s entitled to his opinion

                1. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  3 months, 17 days ago

                  Lol

                2. _Ninja_
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  3 months, 17 days ago

                  😀

            2. g40steve
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              By far surrounded by muppets

          4. Qaiss
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Grealish finally back on the left and El Ghazi out the team. A haul for Jack coming up.

          5. Brosstan
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            There's literally 0 % chance newcastle score... Congrats Martinez owners...

            1. Sun Jihai
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Nice jinx attempt Brosstan 😉

            2. _Ninja_
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              0% chance of a Martinez cleanie. In fact, even less than that.

            3. Little Red Lacazette
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Thank you.

          6. djman102
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Cancelo on

          7. mynameisq
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Anwar FAIL Ghazi, many wasted points on him for the double

          8. La Roja
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Bald fraud leaves Sterlo on bench

            1. _Ninja_
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Saving him for the easy game

          9. Patio Kev
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Cancelo on now too, the big guns are coming out in the last 15 minutes to salvage this.

            Can’t believe Silva and Sterling haven’t been called on though.

          10. Steve The Spud
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 17 days ago

            anyone else completely lost track of who's play what in 23,26,29 etc ?

            any good article that can explain all this? I'm not on twitter

            1. TorresMagic™
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • Has Moderation Rights
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              No DGW23, depending on FA Cu for the rest

            2. djman102
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              If Spurs lose to Wycombe...

          11. Londongeezaa
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Cancelo still pretending he’s going to get attacking returns

            1. Londongeezaa
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Ok I take that back 🙂

            2. _Ninja_
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Cancelo assist

            3. Hazz
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              LOL

            4. djman102
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              The floodgates have opened for him (next game, please)

          12. _Ninja_
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Foden goal

          13. Hazz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Well Pep just told me which 3 City players I want.