Welcome back and well done, if you survived Part 1 then you’re in for some stats, so get your maths head on. Here I’m going to take a closer look at the FFUK league itself before probing some player stats, focusing on our biggest area for points so far this season, the midfielders.
THE FFUK LEAGUE
There are surprisingly far more points around this season, if I remember rightly there were a few really poor scoring weeks all round early last season, which doesn’t seem to have repeated. At this point last season Vivaek Venkat (108th) was leading the league on 353 points. This season’s current leader Lester Deeble (1st) has already scored 410 points, that’s 57 points higher, which I would say is relatively substantial. It works out about 8 points per gameweek higher this season (and remember those missing clean sheets).
With the number of players in our cherished league having almost doubled this season (from 116 to 198), the points gaps are a bit different too. Last season’s GW7 10th place, Duncan Hannigan (93rd) was on 335 points, 18 points from the top spot. Our current 10th place, Steve Cronin (10th) is on 400, with just a 10 point deficit to Lester.
Ok, so I think there are a few interesting things we can draw from this table, notably, that the points gap between the two seasons is consistently around 60-65 points across the Top 50, which tells us that the average points scored has risen this season, rather than that Lester Deeble and the rest of our leaders are having particularly good seasons.
As you will see, the points gap between 1st and 50th places after GW7 last season was 57 points (from 50th to 1st), while there is a 49 point gap between the same positions this season. Looking more closely, only 10 points separates the Top Ten this season, emphasising that while we are all scoring higher than last season, it’s a bit tighter at the top too.
Hmm. Maybe it’s worth considering then that if this rate of goalscoring continues we actually needn’t worry so much about a lack of clean sheets, as our forwards and midfielders are more than covering for our lack of defensive points. You will remember that Lester has averaged 8 points a week more than Vivaek did at this point last season, and with a loss of around 44 points from defenders too. If anything, and especially if it continues, we’ll be wanting to play AOA every week.
Just a quick look at the Top 10 then. Back in GW7 last season, only two players were in the Top 10 who would go on to win prizes, Lester Deeble (1st) and Paul Baker (112th). Yes, Lester is the only player in this season and last season’s GW7 Top 10. Lester went on to finish 2nd and Baker 1st. Looking further at this season’s Top 10 I advise caution, as there are a few veteran FFUKers in the mix. Sam Blake (7th), a bit of a maverick in my eyes, finished in 3rd place last season, and Neil Stewart (4th) finished 11th. I won’t big-head Neil any more than necessary by pointing out that in the 2014/15 season he actually finished 120th in the world over all. Hopefully Neil will have a massive life event this season to interfere with his sublime fantasy footballing.
But to finish. I mentioned a few Premier League players earlier in the article but I want to look a little closer now. I’m only going to look at midfielders and one thing I’m constantly on the lookout for, is consistency. Antonio is one of this season’s early bandwagons, and had a similar time last season. Now people are looking to get rid of Antonio but is this the right thing to do?
To be fair it doesn’t quite fit in looking at Antonio in this article, as he didn’t start a match in the first 7 last season. But I have him, and I’d like to know more!
The thing is, with someone like Antonio, his price jumped up this season, to 7m. Last season he finished on 5.3m (so must have started on either 5m or 4.5m) and therefore represented great value. He has already scored 5 goals this season, in 4 games (GW2-GW5), and to be fair he has only blanked for two games. But I’m just concerned it was a bit of a run, just like last season (yes I know he was moved to right back). 6 of his 8 goals last season were headers. All of his goals so far have been headers this season. I just need some consistency, and I’m not sure he’s the man… That said, although his stats have dropped off over the past couple of weeks, they haven’t divebombed, and he’s very much still one to watch.
Ultimately though, what I’m looking for is a correlation between both season’s stats, giving me some consistent midfielders. Alexis Sanchez is straight up there, you don’t need telling, but I’m telling you. Alexis lead the goal threat charts for last season’s midfielders by GW7 (although strangely he hasn’t had as many goal attempts this season). Still, he has scored 1 more goal this season (4 to 3), and his shot accuracy is now much higher (42.9% to 26.3%), which is likely to do with his positioning. But I’m not bothered either way, if the above is correct, even if Alexis doesn’t play up front, he’ll just take more shots to compensate! Either way he’s in the points.
Interestingly Coutinho matches the stats across the two seasons, the most threatening midfielder this season based on goal attempts, and he was only surpassed by Mahrez last season. Firmino had only had a few starts by this time , but considering Benteke and Studge were around last season, Phil’s stats just can’t be ignored. He is consistent, but whether he’s the best Liverpool mid is a different matter.
Now here’s a strange one, Theo Walcott leads the Shots on Target tables for both seasons, here is a man who comes out guns blazing. What goes on at Arsenal, will Walcott continue? Anyone for a 3-5-2? Remembering that Walcott was rotated with Giroud etc. repeatedly last season, he is usually a steer clear fantasy player, but what if he wasn’t rotated?
When assessing the men creating chances, one name stands out. Dimitri Payet. He entered last season with a blast, he had a decent Euros, and he’s continued straight into this season. Last season he’d created 20 chances by this time, this season he has 25! Just bear in mind that those chances have only translated into 3 assists so far…
So I’m sorry, but maybe I don’t have any revelations for you. Or maybe I do? Son’s stats are fantastic. Decent stats are also present for Sterling and Chadli too, or maybe I should have a punt on someone I’ve not even mentioned here. Check my transfer next week if you want to find out!
We are already well into a season very different from the last, of course it won’t remain exactly the same but the big message I have gleaned, is this: get hold of those goalscoring midfielders sharpish.
*Please note – the stats used in this article are sourced from opta via FFS. Any inconsistencies relating to FPL stats are unintentional, especially relating to assist numbers, although stats between seasons will compare correctly.