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If you could pick one player from each Top 6 side, who would it be?

The leading question of this post is: If you could pick one player from each Top 6 side, who would it be? Over my next few articles, I’ll be analysing each team in the league to give you my favourite pick from each. I hope that from these articles, you’ll be able to see what I’m thinking for each side going into the 2020/21 season.

The articles will be broken down into 3 parts, based on finishes from last season:

Funnily enough, purely by luck, I have managed to pick: 3 Goalkeepers, 6 Defenders, 6 Midfielders and 5 Forwards – so there should be something here for everyone!

If you could only pick one player from each side, who would it be?

Let’s get stuck straight into the top 6, starting with the champions last season:

Liverpool (32 wins, 3 losses: +29 Impact points)

With a wealth of options at my fingertips, Liverpool proved itself to be one of the hardest teams for me to pick a singular player that I like more than any other. Liverpool assets are, unsurprisingly and correctly, priced very expensively.

What does this mean for me? It means I need to look for value, for a player that I believe is under-priced in this high flying, league winning side.

Enter: Virgil van Dijk (6.0m)

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What a brilliant player, what a brilliant price. Now, I know they’re different games but think of it this way: In FPL, VVD is 6.5m and scored 178 points. In FanTeam he scored 15 extra points, yet he is 0.5m cheaper at 6m! Let’s break down his performance last season and check out the value he provides:

  • 15 cleans, don’t expect this to decrease with LIV averaging 17.5 over the past 2 seasons. I think he’ll hit this at the minimum next season.
  • Only lost points for conceding two goals 7 times across the entire season. Again, the season before this number was only 4! Sustainable.
  • Played every single minute of the season, getting in on all 29 impact points that LIV gained.
  • I fully believe his 5 goals and 2 assists is repeatable next season. At worst I can see his goals dropping to around 3.
  • With an estimated worth of 9.3m next season, he’s incredible worth at 6m. A difference of 3.3m is one of the highest in the game, in fact it is the highest of all consistent and guaranteed starters.

Manchester City (26 wins, 9 losses: +17 Impact points)

Manchester City are, in my opinion, the best team in the league. I fully expect them to increase their win/loss ratio for next season and, as a result, increase the points of all City assets by at least 10. 

Although Kevin De Bruyne had an amazing season, scoring 261 points in FanTeam and achieving the highest points total of any player, I can’t help but feel he is slightly too expensive for me to consider him as my favourite option out of all the Citizens.

After much analysis and contemplation, with Laporte being a close second, I decided to pick:

Raheem Sterling (11.0m)

If you could pick one player form each Top 6 side, who would it be? Raheem Sterling

One of the first things I noticed is that although City achieved 17 impact points, due to substitutions and missed starts Sterling only gained 10 impact points. Something to bear in mind there.

  • Sterling received 19 bonus points for finishing 66% of matches that he started in. Not fantastic, but not awful, this is comparable to KDB’s 20 bonus for finishing 63% of his 32 starts.
  • 20 goals, 6 assists; really good numbers! I actually expect these to increase next season due to his assists being way under his usual numbers. In the 3 seasons prior, Raheem generated 15, 17 and 14 assists a season – indicating he could easily achieve an extra 10 assists next year.
  • Based on his performance in the 2019/20 season, I estimate Sterling to be worth an extra 1.5 million over his priced value in FanTeam – excellent value for a premium player.

Since this is an opinion article to some degree I thought I would add that I personally believe Raheem Sterling will be the top point scorer in FanTeam next season with over 20 goals and 15 assists to his name! Come find me at the end of the season…

Manchester United (18 wins, 8 losses: +10 Impact points)

Man United, where to begin. A team whose form took an absolute U-turn with the signing of Bruno Fernandes – yet their underlying stats remained the same. Will they continue this streak of form and over-performance next season? That remains to be seen.

The obvious choice was Fernandes, a massive influence on the pitch. Involved in a vast majority of goals and penalty taker for a team that is smashing penalty winning statistics. Obvious? Not so much for me, I’m happy to wait a little longer and see if Bruno can continue at the levels he began last season. 

For now, I’m looking elsewhere, for value – for a gem among expensive United assets. If I had to pick one player from ManU, it would be

Brandon Williams (4.5m)

If you could pick one player form each Top 6 side, who would it be? Brandon Williams

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he’ll set the world alight next season, but if Williams can solidify a spot next season he’ll be of tremendous value.

With 11 starts to his name, I’m quite impressed with Williams’ statistics during these games. 5 clean sheets, 2 goals conceded only thrice and one a piece from the attacking contributions.

Using his FanTeam statistics from last year, I’ve estimated Williams to have a worth of 6.7 – 2.2 more than his lowly price of 4.5m. This is definitely pushing towards the best value picks of the game and should he continue to get these starts I truly believe him to be a steal.

Unfortunately, that’s where the issue lies. Whilst Williams has continued to start in recent games, and also games where Shaw has started too, many are questioning whether he is up to the challenge of playing on the left for United. Quick point to note however, is that many fans believe him to be better suited to the right, so an injury to Wan-Bissaka could bring him back into the fold should he be dropped going into the season. Something to keep in mind there!

Chelsea (20 wins, 12 losses: +8 Impact points)

What a season Chelsea could be in for, they’ve practically signed a new team! I fully expect Chelsea to lose less matches next season, and in turn, get at least 5 more impact points across the season. 

A fun fact for you, Chelsea had exceedingly similar defensive AND offensive stats to Liverpool last year, yet Liverpool finished 33 points ahead of them in the table. Things really could even up as we move into the 2020/21 season.

As a general rule I think the Chelsea assets have been priced very well, maybe even slightly cheap! The only player pushing the higher end of the boundary for me is Pulisic (9.5m), but even he has the ability to out-perform this price tag. Werner at 10.0m could be goals galore, and Ziyech is a reasonable 8.5m priced midfield option. 

So with this wealth of options at our fingertips, who’s my bargain of them all? If I had to pick one player from Chelsea, it would be

Reece James (5.0m)

If you could pick one player form each Top 6 side, who would it be? Reece James

James started 16 matches in the 2019/20 season. Across these matches he accumulated 5 clean sheets, conceded 2 goals on 9 occasions and generated 2 assists for his team mates. He scored 57 points in FanTeam last season.

So why do I want him? What makes him a great pick to me in FanTeam? Let’s take a look at how I have calculated his worth next season, and why I believe him to be 2.2m under-priced.

  • Chelsea massively underperformed their defensive statistics last season. Whilst this can be partially attributed to Kepa having a nightmare in goal, I believe they will regress somewhat to the mean and bring their defensive contributions more in line with those of Liverpool and Man City.
  • He looks likely to at least start the first few matches, while Chilwell recovers from his heel injury and gets integrated with the team and system.
  • Chelsea have some really nice opening fixtures, the toughest one is Liverpool at home in gameweek 2 but we can bench him here.
  • He has the 4th highest xA90 of all defenders in the game (0.19), only 2 ahead of him are guaranteed starters: Trent Alexander-Arnold (7.5m, 0.32 xA90) and Andrew Robertson (7.0m, 0.23 xA90). As you can see James is considerably cheaper than these options.

I might go with James from the start of the season, but it is worth noting that himself and Azpilicueta are potentially fighting for the same slot in the team – so keep an eye on that.

Let’s continue with our question if you could pick one player from each Top 6 side, who would it be and have a look at Leicester.

Leicester (18 wins, 12 losses: +6 Impact points)

As you can see, the impact points really start to drop off at this point. The top 3, and bottom 3, seem to be effected by them the most – so have that in mind when choosing your players for next season.

Leicester are a bit of a conundrum for me. My refusal to bring in Vardy during his hot streak last season, due to the over performance of his stats, and as a whole Leicester’s over performance of their expected goals for and against caused me to doubt their assets. 

I have many questions about them as a team: Will they continue where they left off, struggling through matches or will they start as they did the previous year, with a fire in their belly?

All this uncertainty has left me with one option when picking my Leicester asset –  Mr. Consistency himself.

Jamie Vardy (10.5m)

If you could pick one player form each Top 6 side, who would it be? Jamie Vardy

The golden boot winner is hard to look past, what a season he had. 30 combined attacking returns, 23 goals and 7 assists, boosted him to a very respectable 217 points over the season – the 4th highest of any player last season in FanTeam.

I think they’ve priced him very accurately, with my analysis giving him a worth of 10.5m, the same as the FanTeam price. 

When you take all of this into consideration, and the fact that Leicester have a really kind set of fixtures to start the season, Jamie Vardy should be an excellent addition to your side. Keep an eye on his form though, he’s a streaky player and you’d want to bring him in and out depending on the hot streaks!

Tottenham Hotspur (16 wins, 11 losses: +5 Impact points)

With Mourinho at the helm since their 3-2 win away at West ham all the way back in November, I believe that the Spurs will have a season to remember. (I promise I’m not in any way influenced by the All or Nothing documentary…)

Numbers under Poch:

  • 12 games: 3 wins, 5 draws and 4 losses
  • Total xG: 13.91 (1.16 xG90)
  • Total xGA: 17.02 (1.42 xGA90)

Numbers under Mourinho:

  • 26 games: 13 wins, 6 draws and 7 losses
  • Total xG: 35.11 (1.35 xG90)
  • Total xGA90: 37.11 (1.43 xA90)

We can see an improvement in the goals, by quite a visible amount (+0.19 extra per match), but what caught my attention from this is that the defensive numbers are almost identical. The so called “Mourinho Bus” is not in effect, they have not improved defensively and in my opinion, the defensive assets are no more appealing than they were under Poch. That’s including Doherty for me by the way…

So who does this leave? Whilst I do believe the attacking assets to be great value this season: Alli (8.0m), Son (10.0m) and Kane (11.0m); my value pick lies elsewhere.

Presenting one of the more recent signings of Tottenham Hotspur, again, not Doherty…

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (5.0m)

If you could pick one player form each Top 6 side, who would it be? Hojbjerg

Controversial? I like to think so. The thing that draws me in for Højbjerg, are the differences in rules when playing the FanTeam game: “Midfielders and Forwards are awarded an additional point if they complete the game”. Højbjerg completed the game in 29 of his 30 starts for the Saints last season, 97% of games he started he received a bonus point for free in FanTeam.

I expect his starts to increase next season, and his match completion bonus points with it. This will give him an extra 30-35 free points next season, the equivalent of 6 or 7 goals!

But that’s not all for Højbjerg, he has some goal threat too – something not picked up on from last season’s statistics. Højbjerg had 3.18 expected goals last season, but was unable to convert any, so I could easily see him picking up an extra 15 points next season from goals alone.

With an expected worth of 6.8m, I believe Højbjerg will make a mockery of his 5.0m price tag in the 2020/21 season.

Pick one player from each Top 6 side – Concluding Ramblings

It was very tricky to pick one player from each Top 6 side to highlight potential in, so I thought I would quickly leave you with my other considerations for these spots:

  • LIV: Salah, TAA
  • MCI: Laporte, Cancelo
  • United: Fernandes, AWB
  • Chelsea: Werner, Ziyech
  • Leicester: Periera, Justin
  • Spurs: Kane, Lloris

Thanks again for taking the time to read If you could pick one player from each Top 6 side, who would it be? If you’d like to message me or get more insight please feel free to follow me https://twitter.com/Ramorey_FPL

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About the author

Ross

Ross is a diehard fantasy football fan who plays both FPL and Fanteam. He enjoys applying underlying stats and delving deep in to the numbers to work out the best statistical picks. (https://twitter.com/Ramorey_FPL)

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