Telegraph fantasy football analysis – our pundit Stephen Troop looks at where the value is in TFF

Here’s our telegraph fantasy football analysis article from our TFF pundit Stephen Troop.  He looks at where the value is in the different positions of TFF

Telegraph fantasy football analysis – our pundit Stephen Troop looks at where the value is in TFF

So another season of Fantasy Football awaits. The Telegraph released it’s game a little over a week ago so those who usually play have no doubt been tinkering with their squads. There are always many factors to be considered when picking your starting xi and even more so this year with the world cup meaning players arrive late to pre-season training.

This is the first pre-season article looking at players to include in those starting xi squads and I have tried to keep it simple. There is some basic analysis on the price list to see if there are any standout under or overpriced options and who is likely to offer value. It’s a slightly long article, but hopefully interesting too.

The Analysis

The analysis below is based on comparing the players price this season and what they achieved last season in terms of total points. This will exclude players who have transferred into the Premier League over the summer and those from promoted teams. It will still obviously also be skewed by players who were injured for parts of the season or who transferred in January. If I can get access to more detailed data from the Telegraph I will repeat the analysis looking at weighting it based on appearances.

In the graph below the x axis shows the players price this season and the y axis shows the total points achieved last season. Each dot represents a player (who got some form of points last season). There is colour coding to distinguish between the 4 different positions. G= Goalkeeper, D = defender, M = midfielder and S = striker.

There are also trend lines in place for each position.

telegraph fantasy football analysis


So what does this show?

1) Defenders on the whole look like they will provide better value for their price across a whole season.

2) Looking at the gradients for each line (G=67, D=52, M=48 and S=43) defenders also give you more extra points for the extra price. i.e 1m extra on average is an extra 52 points for a defender vs 43 for a striker. Goalkeeper trends will be skewed here due to the number of second goalkeepers who play the odd FA cup game etc who are priced based on potential if they get a chance.

3) Strikers on the whole look the worst value outside the +6m bracket. (The outlier in the 6m+ bracket is Aubameyang who played only half a season by the way).

4) Defenders are also a lot more reliable. The average deviation from the trend line is significantly less compared to midfielders and strikers. On the flip side their ceiling in terms of points is lower.

5) The highest midfielder dot belongs to Salah who is incredibly underpriced based on the trend lines. He could cut his points by a third this season and still be considered good value.

If we look at this in table form and look at average points per £million, the trends are even more stark. The table below shows the top 25 ranked players based on points achieved per million.

telegraph fantasy football analysis

Again, we can see the dominance of defenders and goalkeepers here. Only one striker appears in the top 25 (Kane) with the next most expensive striker (Aguero) in 87th place. Prices don’t appear to fluctuate much with defenders compared to previous seasons, particularly in the top teams, where as a striker/midfielder who scores well tend to be subjected to a larger increase. An example here is Firminho who has risen £0.8m to £6.5m – 0.5m more than Salah who substantially outscored him.

Other items of note are:

1) Mahrez looks to be the best value for City attackers however there is a risk here with the options in the city midfield, Sterling despite a £1.1m price rise is the second best city attacker for value. De Bruyne ranks considerably lower (31st overall) as a result of scoring fewer points than Sterling but being £0.1m more. This is presumably down to consistency and potential lack of belief Sterling can repeat this seasons performance.

2) Despite being rotated a bit last season, and getting a fair price hike from last season, both Trippier and Davies look good value Both are attacking full backs and can get assists/goals which potentially could be worth the occasional rotation. That said, Vertonghen who is more assured of starts scored more or less the same points despite much less attacking threat.

I also analysed average rank by team and position. Whilst this can be skewed by squad size/number of players who get very limited minutes I thought I’d share. The analysis is for 386 players. The left table shows the average rank and the right table shows the number of players making up the average.

telegraph fantasy football analysis

Southampton on average ranks lowest for defence. They did get further in the FA cup than most which will have helped however both Cedric (£3.2m) and Bertrand (£3.4m and ranked 20th of all players for value) could prove decent options if Mark Hughes keeps the wingback system used when he was appointed (and appears to be doing in pre-season). Cedric scored a couple at the back end of last season following his appointment and both offer assist potential. Surely Southampton will improve this season too.

Crystal palace midfielders look good value, despite the other positions not so much. I was hoping for a lower price for Zaha (£4.7m) but despite his long injury his price has risen substantially which has put me off. Milivojevic also has risen to £3.9m. This feels about right however he is reliant solely on penalties for his points. Townsend is now only £3.4m despite only scoring 7 fewer points than Milivojevic and is the best value in the table above. An improvement on his 2 goals and 7 assists and he could be good value this season.

Chelsea defenders scored best last season and their prices haven’t moved much so could be great options once again. Chelsea’s new manager doesn’t use wingbacks like Conte did though so Alonso’s attacking threat may be reduced this season. Azpilicueta I’m sure will be one of the highest scoring defenders again. He historically plays every game and chips in with key contributions.


Using purely last season’s points is obviously not the only thing we should be using to select our teams so as mentioned before this analysis should be treat as a general overview and to get you thinking.

It is quite clear that most value appears to be in defence at both the premium and lower end so opting for a 5-3-2 formation or 4-5-1 with premium defenders is potentially going to give best results over the season especially when strikers seem to offer much less value. Cedric/Bertrand could offer value in defence as well if you don’t want a full premium defence.

Townsend could be worth a gamble from Crystal Palace in midfield too but worth monitoring first.

Its also clear that Salah has been underpriced and almost resorts it into a 10 man game.

Hope you found this interesting.

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