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Ben Chilwell vs Reece James – Who is the Better Pick

Introduction

During the congested festive schedule (Gameweeks 12 to 21), Chelsea move down to 12th in the Fantasy Football Scout ticker. With fixtures stiffening after a sublime trio of games against Norwich, Newcastle and Burnley in the last 3 Gameweeks and with rotation under Thomas Tuchel likely to step up a gear over Christmas, some FPL managers may want to come off the Chelsea wing-back double up or to just stick with one of Ben Chilwell or Reece James going forward. The big question is: who is the better FPL player?

Who has the biggest goal threat?

So far this season, Chilwell has started 5 games and scored 3 goals, while James has started 6 games and scored 4 goals. Looking at the expected data and both have overachieved: Chilwell has an xG Delta of +2.32 and for James it is +3.02. Both players have scored around 5 goals more than was expected and, with a goal conversion rate of 30% for Chilwell and 36.4% for James, we should expect the rate of scoring to slow for both players. For context, you would expect just over a 20% goal conversion rate to be maintained across a full season for the most elite finishers in the world.

So, we shouldn’t expect 3 goals in 5 or 4 goals in 6 going forward, but the underlying stats do suggest that the goals won’t dry up. For Chilwell, minutes per xG is 661.8 and minutes per attempt is 45. For James, minutes per xG is 470.4 and minutes per attempt is 41.9. So, while both players are taking roughly 2 shots a game, the xG data clearly shows that James is getting the better chances that are more likely to lead to a goal.

Winner: Reece James

Who has the most assist potential?

James has 3 total assists so far while Chilwell has none. The stats suggest that this is no fluke: Chilwell has a minutes per xA of 789.5; he creates a chance every 64 minutes and has created 0 big chances. Contrast this with James, and his assist potential stats are far superior – he has a minutes per xA of 301.3; he creates a chance every 31 minutes and has created 3 big chances.

One thing that should be noted, however, is that Chilwell has taken 21 corners to James’s 7. It seems that corners from the left are monopolised by whoever the left wing-back is during a game (Alonso has taken 18); whereas, on the right, James will share corners with other players, such as Mason Mount (12 corners), Ross Barkley (5 corners) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (4 corners).

Winner: Reece James

Who is best for bonus points?

Let’s keep this short and sweet. Chilwell’s minutes per baseline bonus (the bonus points you accumulate for doing things on the pitch other than scoring and assisting) is 8.7, while for James it is considerably better at just 5.5. James has the edge for BPS CBI (Clearances, Blocks and Interceptions) and he has 8 of these compared to Chilwell’s 2.

 Winner: Reece James

Conclusion

Whether it is goals, assists or bonus, the stats are pretty clear. Reece James has more routes to points and he is the better FPL option. Another string to James’s bow is that 34.4% of Chelsea’s attacks as a team occur in the right zone, while for the left zone it is down at 28.2%. This suggests their attack is skewed more to the right than the left. In Chilwell’s favour, however, he has never been subbed on this season, while James has been subbed on for a 1-pointer twice. However, when you average James’s points this season (1, 18, 1, 1, 1, 13, 21, 7) across his 8 appearances, you get 7.9 points per game. This is the equivalent of a clean sheet and 2 bonus points every time he plays. By looking at his points across a longer time period, it makes the odd benching and a substitute appearance in any given Gameweek much easier to stomach.

18 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Fabreghastly
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    13 days, 5 hours ago

    I'm glad I ignored the subbed on for a 1 pointer mantra. I've seen more warnings about that than Global Warming!

    1. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      13 days, 5 hours ago

      😆

  2. Ze_Austin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    13 days, 5 hours ago

    Nice article here. I agree that I'd choose Reece if forced to pick one

    The thing about Chelsea wingbacks is that they don't really have competition across the entire FPL roster. So even in the "tough" fixtures (I'll get back to that soon), they'll probably outscore more expensive attackers on average

    This is what's made my answer "both" until I drop Chilwell in GW21 and get Mendy in GW26, most likely

    Looking at the fixtures from GWs 12 to 20, I won't take any other asset over Chilwell, along with Salah TAA Cancelo CR7 Foden Jesus/DCL Gallagher. Chilwell's only tough game until GW21, with his licence to shoot and Mendy behind him, is West Ham in GW15, but TAA has already shown how that can go. The Man U and Leicester games are perfect for them, but reflect negatively on the ticker due to the goals scored by those opponents so far this season, which have dried up a bit against tough sides

    1. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      13 days, 5 hours ago

      Sounds like a solid plan. I do wonder if Reguilon/Emerson will complicate things soon, though.

      1. Ze_Austin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        13 days, 4 hours ago

        The two wingbacks aren't good enough, sadly. Everton vs Spurs was a comically bad game of two blunt sides being unable to create a clear opportunity against each other's bad defence, so I took no positives from that

        There's a lot of work ahead of Conte, and then the good fixture run is too short to go in with enough data. I'm staying away unless they show remarkable Viera-like improvement, which is hard without a preseason because all their training and adaptation to Conte basically going to have to be on the pitch due to fixture congestion, which is a new thing in Conte's career

        I see a slow burner of steady improvement coming as the weeks roll by, but not the immediate impact that's fuelling the transfer rush and, my goodness, captaincy calls

        With all that said, I'm ready to make the switch if they suddenly look great in that GW

        1. Ze_Austin
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          13 days, 4 hours ago

          *in that GW 16 to 20 run, which is a true test of any improvement that seems to appear in their GW 11 to 15 run

    2. Fabreghastly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      13 days, 5 hours ago

      I'm considering dropping Chilwell to fund Son or Kane in. Reece, TAA and Cancelo are non-negotiable.

      It's a tricky GW. I expect I'll still be working on it 5 mins to deadline

    3. Ze_Austin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      11 days, 2 hours ago

      As I said... Just keep/get both 🙂

  3. Rotation's Alter Ego
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 10 Years
    13 days, 2 hours ago

    Cheers for writing Virg.

    Abashed Chilwell owner here, but realistically I'm not too stressed - fancy xMins to keep it tight. Completely right about Chelsea favouring attacks down the right, though that can also play to Chilwell's advantage as our LWBs are often the ones to push into the box / towards back post to be on the receiving end of those deep crosses from the right. Fancy a Chilwell goal vs Lei if they play 352 😉

    1. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      12 days, 23 hours ago

      Thank you so much for publishing the article! I know you are a big Chelsea fan and know the team as well as Zoph, so that's really interesting insight from you.

  4. Pras (FPL)
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    12 days, 23 hours ago

    Nice one Vrig. Agree with all of this. Is there a 4th element here to consider - not just xMins but xCameo? In a busy period with mid-week PL fixtures one plays or misses out completely (generally) and the other almost always comes on for cameos.

    1. Pras (FPL)
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      12 days, 22 hours ago

      Virg*

    2. Pras (FPL)
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      12 days, 22 hours ago

      To elaborate - the cameos could be more than usual during Christmas so the 7.9 ppg could be lower

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        12 days, 20 hours ago

        Great point, Pras! Azpi is getting on a bit and struggles complete 90 in a demanding wing back role.

  5. Firminoooo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    12 days, 19 hours ago

    Sold Chilwell to Reguilon yesterday to found Kane and Jota. Kept James in my team.

    1. Milkman Bruno
        12 days, 19 hours ago

        -8 or -4? Chillwell out is strange! Good luck

    2. Major League Shocker
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      12 days, 15 hours ago

      Nice article Virg! Glad I picked the right one.

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        11 days, 18 hours ago

        Thank you kind sir!