There was a time, not so very long ago, when there was a man in everybody’s Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team and his name was Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m).
Technically speaking, he was in all the good ones – 99% owned amongst the top 1,000 teams by the end of February. FPL at large has never quite forgiven him for the mortal sin of not having a fixture in Gameweek 1 and his overall ownership only nudged a mite over 60% at the height of his popularity.
These days, he’s in 84% of top teams and 57% overall, but as everyone prepares for the final frantic weeks of FPL many owners have become jittery. For a long time, his mere appearance on a football field seemed a virtual guarantee of at least six points and often many more, but his modest returns in the last four Gameweeks have had managers wondering whether that £11.6m could be invested more usefully.
So what has happened to his form, why might it have happened, and is he still worth holding on to despite his recent run?
Fernandes exploded onto the Premier League scene in the second half of last season. Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) finished that campaign as the leading provider of FPL double-digit hauls with ten, but that took him 34 appearances at a rate of 29%. Fernandes managed six such scores in only fourteen matches at a rate of 43%, leading many to wonder if he could possibly repeat that this time around.
With six Gameweeks still to go, the Portuguese midfielder has already eclipsed De Bruyne’s marks from last year, amassing a league-leading 11 double-digit hauls at a rate of 37%. Only three other players have more than six such returns: Son Heung-min (£9.5m) with nine, Harry Kane (£11.8m) with eight and seven for Ilkay Gundogan (£5.8m). De Bruyne currently has six, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) has five and Raheem Sterling (£11.2m) four.
Yet take a look at Bruno’s History on his FPL Transfer page and you quickly notice that in his last seven league appearances he has only one goal, a very early penalty at Manchester City, and one assist when he picked up a loose clearance against Brighton, drove to the edge of the box and fed Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) who swept it home. He was once superlative, but has he simply gone off the boil?
If you lay out Fernandes’s FPL double-digit hauls for this season and then note how many games there were in between them when he didn’t haul, it looks like this:
Seven of Bruno’s 11 hauls came in the early part of the season. The last time he hauled in back-to-back games was in Gameweeks 14 and 15. Since then, each haul is isolated and they have generally become less frequent. If there is a point where a decline happened, Gameweek 16 would seem to be where it began.
Using the player statistics in the Fantasy Football Scout Premium Members Area, it’s easy to contrast Fernandes’s performance up to Gameweek 15 with his performance afterwards. That second period contained a few more matches, so it makes sense to use averages for the comparison rather than bare totals.
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