With the international break on us and things looking interesting to say the least I thought it was time to review the fantasy premier league season so far. The series starts with the disappearing midfielder.
Last seasons fantasy premier league best so far this year
Ok here are the top fantasy premier league points per minute midfielders last year and what’s happening to them now. You’ll find it shocking reading
1. Bale – At Real Madrid
2. Walcott (14 goals and 13 assists last season) – injured and started with 2 assists in his first 4 games when other arsenal players were making hay against ordinary opposition. still has a bright fantasy premier league future this season in my mind with strong underlying stats but no actual returns to write home about
3. Mata (11 goals and 18 assists last season) – on the fringe of Mourinhos plans and trying to work his way back
4. Coutinho (3 goals and 7 assists in half a season) – now injured but no returns in his first games before getting injured despite quite juicy opposition
5. Hazard – (9 goals and 16 assists last season) 1 goal and an assist in his first 7 games despite some fairly defensively questionable opposition at a 29% consistency rate
6. Michu (18 goals and 3 assists last season) – The only player out of the 8 I’m going to present that are even at anything like an acceptable level with 2 goals and an assistin his first 7 games
7. Cazorla (12 goals and 13 assists last season) – 1 assist in his first 3 games and now injured
8. Fellaini ( 11 goals and 7 assists last season) – no returns in his first 6 games and now injured and playing as a CDM.
The days of 3-5-2 in the midfield seem long gone and the void that the above have left makes it no surprise that some of us (including me) are currently having, shall we say, sluggish starts.
The failure and/or disappearance of all but 1 of the above 8 leaves a huge void on our midfields and uncertainty as to where to go.
All of these best performing fantasy premier league midfielders are players who play in a very advanced position and strong shots in the box stats.
This seasons top fantasy premier league points scorers
Lets compare that to the top 8 scoring midfielders so far this year and compare them to last year
1. YYT (6 goals and 6 assists last season) – 4 goals and 1 assist in his first 7 games. Despite only being through 1/5 of his minutes he’s over 40 % of his returns last year. Can he keep it up? Although Pellegrini plays a more attacking brand of football YYT if anything is more defensively positioned and so far his returns have been bolstered by some unbelievable free kick goals. Personally I just cant see hime keeping it up but he’s still continuing to return long after I thought he would stop
2. Ramsey ( 1 goal and 5 assists last season) The goal and 5 assists last season in 2096 minutes at a fantasy premier league point every 25 minutes. This is compared to 4 goals and 2 assists in 7 games so far this season with a fantasy premier league point every 12.7 minutes. This is a guy who in the last 4 seasons has never scored more than 3 goals. He also notionally plays next to Flamini in the double pivot. However, Ramsey is a little more understandable than YYT as his energy gets him into the box regularly and he does have relatively good shooting stats. But 4 goals and 2 assists in 7 games?? Can he keep it up? Of course he can’t otherwise he would score 21 goals and 11 assists which is never going to happen. But he can still return well. However ironically he may need to return to the more withdrawn central position and resume his box to box role, rather than the wide role against WBA, That may give him the freedom to get in to the box late and on the counter attack.
3. Brady. Not in the premier league last season. 3 goals (2 pens) and an assist in his first 6 games. Unless Hull get a pen every 3rd game then there’s no way he can keep this up. He is a good cheapie option though
4. Oscar. (4 goals and 7 assists last season) One of the more understandable ones with him playing number 10 instead of on the right last season. However with Mata working his way back that advantage will diminish.
5. Barkley (barely played in the last 2 seasons and no returns). Now this looks understandable as he is playing centrally behind the striker in a very advanced position
6. Siggy (3 goals and 5 assists at a fantasy premier league point every 16 minutes) Actually had a good return rate last year just wasn’t selected regularly and with all the new Spurs additions it seemed even more unlikely he would play. Could be successful given his track record but gametime is a risk. Everyone at Spurs has to be doubtful for gametime given the shock West Ham result and the difficult time Spurs are having in scoring.
7. Lallana (3 goals and 5 assists last season at a fantasy premier league point every 24 minutes). promised so much last season but delivered so little. Does play the mold of being high up the pitch but after the frustrations of last year would have been very hard to have faith in. Now 1 goal and 2 assists in 7 games and a 43% consistency return and a fantasy premier league point every 15.3 minutes he looks a good option when fixtures are good. A buy after the United match in GW8 looks a possibility when Saints are home to Fulham
8. Michu. At last someone from last season. Swanseas tricky start and Michus price would have put many off but with the fixtures turning and his impressive start and underlying stats he looks an option again
So what does this mean?
So its no wonder if you haven’t done well from your midfield this year. everyone with any track record has either failed so far this year or got injured or both.
To have done well with your midfield so far this year would have taken a huge leap of faith in players with limited track records in fantasy premier league or you would have been to just react and transfer those players who had a big points haul irrespective of their past records as so far they have continued to produce however history has said they shouldn’t.
Please don’t think this is an excuse article. Any analysis should always start with understanding the current position and that’s how I read it so far.
So what next?
The most successful midfielders have traditionally been in both the top 15 underling shooting stats and creating chances stats and have a consistency return rate of over 40% or they will be heavily subsisdised by pens and set pieces. For last season read Bale, Mata Hazard and Cazorla or they will have very good shooting stats and a consistency rate of over 40%. Those subsidised include Gerrard and Lampard.
This year so far only Michu falls into the first category and in the 2nd Ramsey and Oscar have the consistency and are in the leading shooting stats but at a lower shots per minute that would suggest that can continue.
So has everything changed or will things return to how they have historically been? This is the difficult question. I’m still sticking to the basic principles of successful midfielders above and I think the top 8 midfelders will look very different in 10 game weeks. In the mean time, at the moment, its not the problem it could have been as there are some great costly forward options to spend our cash on. Helpfully there are also some great budget midfield options in Barkley, Brady, R Morrison and Januzaj to provide the cash to allow this to happen. So therefore we can easily end up in a situation where we only need to spend heavily on 2 midfelders eg Michu and Ozil, then a mid price midfielder eg Ramsey and then a couple of cheapies eg Barkley and Januzaj and we have an acceptable midfield which also allows us to spend heavily on the forwards and have a reasonable defence to take care of the bonus advantage clean sheets are offering.
However we are only 7 games in and things could change rapidly so we need to constantly analyse whats happening which is what i will be doing, hopefully successfully now we are getting more data
I hope that gives you some food for thought in going forward with your fantasy premier league team
Follow us on twitter @fantasyfoot20 or facebook at www.facebook.com/fantasyfootballgeek.co.uk
Fox Sports EPL fantasy: League name: fantasyfootballgeek League access code: (10513-1773)