With 10 weeks of the 2017/2018 season wrapped up, let’s take a look at some of the statistics that have been compiled so far and how they may influence our picks.
Manchester City are currently at the top of the Premier League table by five points, so it may come as a bit of a surprise that they are not the team with the most representatives in the current top 10 in terms of total fantasy points. That honour falls to Manchester United with four players. While one is obviously Romelu Lukaku (third), the rest are David De Gea (fourth), Antonio Valencia (seventh) and Phil Jones (eighth). This supports the key fact that United have a strong defensive setup, and picking up a player from their defence could be a solid long-term investment.
As for City, their fantasy points are distributed across their attacking players. Three of their players are occupying the top 10: Leroy Sane (first), Sergio Aguero (sixth) and Raheem Sterling (10th). David Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne round up the team with the most attacking representatives in the top 30.
Contrast that with Manchester United, after Lukaku, the only other attacking player accompanying him is Henrik Mkhitaryan (23rd). The implication here is that the Belgian remains the best attacking pick for the Red Devils, while picking his team-mates should be heavily dependent on match-ups compared to picking from the variety of quality City players available at our disposal.
The remaining players in the top 10 are Harry Kane (second), Christian Eriksen (fifth), and Mohamed Salah (ninth). The fact that these are all attacking players proves the worth of investing in the consistent United defence. Also, take note that no Chelsea or Arsenal players are in the top 10, with Cesar Azpilicueta coming the closest at 13th and Nacho Monreal at 17th.
This is even more emphasised when you look at the value for money statistics. Jones tops the list, with his 58 points coming in at the cost of a very affordable 5.3m, while De Gea (5.7m) follows closely with 61 points. In fact, out of all the attacking players mentioned above, Sane is the only one who makes the top 30 in terms of value for money (71 points for a price of 8.7m), and even then he’s only at 26th.
Naturally, one needs to consider not just overall stats, but also current form. The Fantasy Premier League game defines form as the average score over the past 30 days. On this table, Sane again tops the list with 11.3 points. Interestingly, Riyad Mahrez (8.4m) comes in at second, with Leicester having once again responded to a manager sacking by rediscovering their abilities to put the Algerian wizard into serious consideration. He has also moved to a central role under new manager Claude Puel, making him even more pick-worthy.
Aaron Ramsey (7.0m) is another player that has recently played himself into form. Coming in at fifth in the form standings, like Mahrez, he has also been used in a more attacking position of late. When his fellow midfield players, Alexis Sanchez (11.8m) and Mesut Ozil (9.3m) are priced so highly, Ramsey really feels like a bargain.
Finally, we have those expensive players who have yet to really hit the heights of their previous season. Not many football managers have Sanchez and Eden Hazard in their teams at the moment, with an ownership of only 3.3% and 5.2% respectively. They have yet to show the same consistency that others like Kane and Lukaku have had to merit such an investment. Of course, the best fantasy managers are those who can pick up a player at precisely the right time before he goes on an explosive run.
To conclude, statistics are certainly an important reference, but are still only one factor when picking your players. Other factors such as change of formation, fixtures, rotations and injuries also play their parts. Those who are able to master the art of taking all these factors into their decision-making are the ones who will turn up on top in the end.