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If you could only pick one player from each 13th–20th side, who would it be?

The leading question of this post is: If you could only pick one player from each 13th–20th side, who would it be? In this final article of the series, I’ll be looking at the bottom 5 teams from last season (NEW, CRY, BHA, WHU, AV) and the 3 newly promoted sides (LEE, WBA, FUL).

For those of you who missed part 1 and 2, feel free to check out my thoughts on the top 6 from last season here:

Pick one player from each 13th–20th side

I’ll first analyse the 5 teams using statistics from FanTeam last season, then I’ll give you my predictions for the newly promoted sides.. 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. I will aim to pick one player who stands out from the crowd within each team.

Newcastle (11 wins, 16 losses: -5 Impact points)

Look, I’ll be completely honest, I have absolutely no idea how Newcastle stayed up last season. Forget stay up, they finished 13th! Newcastle had the 2nd lowest expected goals and the 4th highest expected goals against. If you look at expected points, a rarely used statistic but one I find quite useful, Newcastle ranked dead last with 31.92.

Not sure if you could tell, but I’m struggling to pick an asset here… Luckily we’ve been presented with a saving grace.

Karl Darlow (4.0m)

pick one player from each 13th–20th side Newcastle Darlow

An injury to Martin Dubruvka has given Darlow a probable run out in goal for Newcastle until around Christmas. I believe Dubruvka to be a far superior keeper to Darlow, so keep that in mind, but for the sake of simplicity I have used Dubruvka’s numbers from last season to help predict Darlow’s points.

164.5 points is a very impressive score for a team that had the 4th highest expected goals against and only 4 projected clean sheets for the season. Most likely, it was Dubruvka’s exceptional saves – 139 across the season that kept the sheets clean. 139 saves in FanTeam amasses an exceptional 69.5 points for the Newcastle goalie. That’s almost the same as a forward scoring 18 goals!

Of course I do not expect Darlow to achieve anywhere near this many saves, but it’s good to know that the potential is there. At 4.0m he could be the perfect back up keeper for your team. Whether it’s rotation, injury cover, or a possible COVID postponement/quarantine, I believe he’s worth having on your bench. That’s probably as much as I can talk about Newcastle…

EDIT, no it’s not! With 2 new signings, I thought it appropriate to at least mention them here. Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson. This fantastic duo has come in at some very tempting prices of 6m and 6.5m respectively. Should they get back to their incredible 18/19 season form (Fraser: 7G, 14A – Wilson: 14G, 12A) they could be exceptional value. It won’t be easy though, they’re going to have to massively turn around the attacking statistics of this Newcastle side.

Crystal Palace (11 wins, 17 losses: -6 Impact points)

Sorry about that, there really was so little to be impressed by with Newcastle. Thankfully, we have Crystal Palace to brighten the mood! Right… Right…? Well, I’m terribly sorry to inform you that while Newcastle were second last for expected goals last season – Crystal Palace were dead last with 34.45 across the entire season. 0.91 xG90 might normally be seen as exceptional, for a player, but for an entire team – it’s nothing short of abysmal.

Thankfully, and I’m serious this time, their defensive stats are a little better. Ranked 13th in the Premier League last season with 57.39 xGA, for comparison Arsenal had an xGA of 57.25. I’d like to note that I do appreciate the Palace defence, I like the options: Van Aanholt, Mitchel, Ferguson (whoever can nail the spot at 4.0m). But with PVA out injured and the 4.0m options either injured or unlikely to continue to start, I will have to look elsewhere.

Call me a fool, but I fancy Palace to improve their offensive numbers next season to a level seen before in their 2018/19 season. 50.64 xG, ranked 12th in the league. They’ve looked offensively competent in their friendlies so far and I have a hunch that with the energy and creativity of new signing Eze (5.0m), we could see a certain talisman return to his best.

Wilfried Zaha (6.5m)

pick one player from each 13th–20th side zaha

The numbers above are based on an assumption that Zaha will move towards pairing a striker up top. Should this not be the case, I expect a drop in his performance next season, although I still believe he will provide value.

Let’s take a quick look at his last 4 seasons in the Prem:

  • 2019/20: 4 goals, 6 assists
  • 2018/19: 10 goals, 11 assists
  • 2017/18: 9 goals, 7 assists
  • 2016/17: 7 goals, 11 assists

It’s clear that his numbers took a significant dip last season and his underlying numbers supported this – normally a bad sign. Only time will tell if it was a one season blip, or a display or his new norm.

Attacking contributions put to the side, I’d like to highlight another aspect that makes Zaha appealing to me. My favourite FanTeam rule: Match completion bonus. Zaha started 37 matches last season, completing the full match in 36 of them. The one match he did not complete was due to an early injury. The one match he didn’t start was the first of the season, so we can probably assume this was a fitness issue. This ability to collect bonus for completing matches could prove vital to his points tally next season, it’s the equivalent of Zaha scoring an extra 7 or 8 goals!

Keep an eye on Zaha, he appears to be looking for a move elsewhere. However, with a move towards the forward position on the pitch he has already bagged 3 goals in 4 games across pre-season; so if he stays – happy days!

Brighton (9 wins, 15 losses: -6 Impact points)

I’ll get it out of the way nice and early, I’m a Brighton supporter. I try my best to avoid bias when it comes to fantasy football, but sometimes it still manages to creep in – sorry about that!

Alright let’s continue on our search to find the best value player from the best team in the league…

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. 14th in xG, 15th in xGA; final position in the table: 15th. They underperformed their expected goals by a considerable amount (4th lowest), they over performed their goals conceded by a considerable amount (7th highest). I’d say Brighton finished about where they deserved.

There were many promising signs throughout the season. The ability to create chances, but the poor finishing letting them down. The ability from the defence to slide in and block at every opportunity. With White coming back into the side, Lamptey looking very influential and Webster surging into form towards the end of the season, I believe there is a lot of room for improvement in the coming season. But who is my favourite gem for FanTeam?

Yves Bissouma (4.0m)

pick one player from each 13th–20th side Bissouma

A solid performance against Chelsea and Brighton’s man of the match against West Brom, Bissouma looks to be in for a fantastic break out season.

The main issue for him in recent season is the lack of starts, but he finally appears to have cemented a place in the team.

Unfortunately, his underlying statistics aren’t incredible, this is due to the deep position he plays on the pitch. But he’s a thrill to have in your side and always willing to drive the ball forward for the team; takes the occasional long shot too!

So why have I picked him as my favourite player to have on your team? It all comes down to his price: 4.0m.

There are very few options at this price range to include in your team, and Bissouma is my pick of the lot. I don’t think you’ll get a better 4.0m midfielder this season, so if you’re looking for a reliable player to sit on your bench without taking up any of your budget – he’s your man!

Let’ continue to pick one player from each 13th–20th side and move on to West Ham.

West Ham (10 wins, 19 losses: -9 Impact points)

We’ve arrived at the point in the table where negative impact points really start to take their toll. 19 losses hit West Ham very hard last season. Should they manage to turn that around their assets will become a lot more appealing to me. 

Defensively, West Ham had very little to offer last season. Their dismal performance was largely due to having the 3rd lowest expected goals against, 68.32, only 3 away from being the worst defence in the league.

However, West Ham’s attack is where they shine, ranked 11th last season with 49.07 expected goals across the season. I believe this is where we will find our value next season.

Declan Rice (4.5m)

declan rice

In FPL, Rice would be considered an awful pick. Low goal threat, low creativity and a poor defence behind him for clean sheet points. So what makes him good in FanTeam?

Firstly, he’s cheaper. Rice comes in at 4.5m in FanTeam compared to his price of 5.0m in FPL. 

Secondly, and more importantly, he benefits massively by the differences in scoring in FanTeam. Rice successfully completed every match he played in last season; and he played in all 38 games. That’s 3420 completed minutes across the season, awarding him 38 bonus points in the FanTeam game. To provide some context, that’s the equivalent of 7.5 extra goals for Rice, definitely not something to scoff at.

Couple this incredible boost to points with his lowered price, it makes for a very tempting offer. I have valued his worth at 6m, making for a very respectable 1.5 difference; a perfect addition for your bench.

Aston Villa (9 wins, 21 losses: -12 Impact points)

If you thought the losses of West Ham hit the players hard, Villa takes it one level further. Their chart topping 21 losses will have heavily impacted the final scores of these players.

Aston Villa barely deserved to stay up in the end. They ranked 16th for xG (45.09) and pretty much joint last for expected goals against (71.6 compared to 71.61 for Norwich). Their defensive frailties really let them down last season, something they will have to improve upon if they are to remain up once more.

They are, however, making many new signings, so we could see a very different side enter next season. Last season the men leading the line, Samatta, Wesley and Davis, barely scraped 10 expected goals between them. The arrival of Watkins (6.0m) from Brentford could prove to make the difference in the attack department for the Villains. 

Watkins arrives off the back of a fantastic season in the championship, scoring 25 goals in the regular season and creating 3 for others, his discipline is good too – only gathering 4 yellows in 46 games. If I would pick one player from each 13th–20th side, for Aston Villa this surely will be

Jack Grealish (6.5m)

favourite pick grealish

Grealish has had an exceptional year of football. Some may feel he has come in a little high in price, but I think there is tremendous value to be gained by adding Grealish into your squad. I’ll break down my thoughts for you:

  • Second highest chances created in the premier league last season. The only player to create more chances than Grealish was Kevin De Bruyne (136 to Jack’s 91). Could Watkins prove to be the man converting these chances?
  • Started 36 games, completed 35 of them. Jack generates a match completion bonus point in 97% of games he starts.
  • A goal threat to boot, he scored 8 goals last season. Only 8 FanTeam midfielders scored more.
  • He still managed to score 155 points in a season where Villa lost 21 matches. Should they turn the ship around, he’ll be in for a monster haul next season!

My favourite picks in the newly promoted sides

Picking players from newly promoted sides is always a gamble – especially so in FanTeam! Looking at the impact points from teams promoted last season we see:

  • Sheffield United: +2
  • Norwich: -22
  • Aston Villa: -12

Whether any of the newly promoted sides will end up doing as well as Sheffield United is unknown at this point, so bare the numbers above in mind! One thing I do like about these sides is that they commonly have a talisman player in their starting 11. Someone who will play 90 minutes no matter the game, similarly to Grealish last season. Let’s check out my picks from these teams then!

Leeds – Meslier (4.0m)

After their starting keeper, Kiko Casilla, received an 8 match ban for racism last season, 19-year-old Illan Meslier stepped up to the plate for the remaining 10 games of the season. The only game he had played for Leeds until this point was a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup 3rd round.

Although both teams failed to start their strongest squads, we might be able to glean something from this FA Cup defeat: https://twitter.com/LUFCDATA/status/1214467957633536002?s=20

It was a tight and admirable game from the young goalkeeper. He saved 80% of all shots faced, 3 in the box, only conceding 1. It’s a good indicator for the coming season.

Looking at the 10 games he played to finish the Championship for Leeds, the numbers are again good for Meslier.

  • 4 goals conceded
  • 7 clean sheets (70%)
  • 83% save percentage
  • He averaged around 2 saves a game, but it’s important to note that these were games that Leeds dominated. He may face more shots in the Premier League next season

West Brom – Pereira (6.0m)

The talisman of West Brom, a changed side to that which was relegated a few seasons back. This side is not one afraid of scoring. They were joint second (with Leeds) for goals scored last season, scoring 77 – only bettered by Brentford’s 80.

Defensively they are still strong. They conceded 45 goals across the season, only bettered by Brentford’s 38 and Leeds’ 35. These are good numbers, which we can compare to the sides promoted the season before:

  • Norwich conceded 57 in the Championship, then 75 in the Prem.
  • Villa conceded 61 in the Championship, 67 in the Prem.
  • Sheffield United conceded only 41 in the Championship, then 39 in the Prem.
  • We can go back one season further:
  • Wolves conceded 39 in the Championship, 46 in the Prem.
  • Fulham conceded 46 in the Championship, 81 in the Prem.
  • Cardiff conceded 39 in the Championship, 69 in the Prem.

It’s a bit hit or miss whether a team can continue their defensive prowess into the Premier League, and probably comes down to their style of football. I won’t dive into that now though, something to think about as you consider the assets from newly promoted sides.

Let’s talk about Pereira now.

Good:

  • Scored 8, assisted 16, 7 man of the match awards. Very, very impressive statistics last season.
  • 2.6 shots per game – again a good number.
  • Subbed 12 times across the season, however the Championship can have some intense fixture congestion and he may improve his match completion rate.

Bad:

  • 13 of his 24 returns came in 5 games that West Brom won by 3 or 4. This is probably something that would not continue next year.
  • Blanked in 26 out of his 42 games. This lack of consistent returns could hurt owners. It does show some streakiness to his performances, so could be worth jumping in if he gets hot.

Overall I think he can provide decent value for 6.0m, but for me he is one to watch.

Fulham – Mitrovic (6.5m)

It’s extremely hard to look past Mitrovic as the stand out option for Fulham. Taking aside the negative impact points he’ll receive, he has so much to offer:

  • Averaged 3.7 shots per game last season, truly elite numbers.
  • Scored 26 goals, taking home the Championship golden boot. Also got 3 assists in that time.
  • Played the full 90 minutes in every single match last season, excluding the play off final where he was injured.
  • 0 Red cards, not quite the red card magnet people believe him to be.
  • Even though he did not start the play off final, he came on in extra time and got another assist.
  • Mitrovic has 18 goals in his last 16 appearances for Serbia. Incredible rate of scoring for his national side.
  • An absolute talisman for the Fulham side, he was involved in 49.1% of Fulham’s goals last season. Not a one off either, he was involved in 46% of their goals the year before in the Prem.
  • When last in the Prem, he had the second most shots in the league – only Salah bettered this. He also had the most shots in the box of all players. 

My only downside to Mitrovic, is his tendency to pick up yellow cards. Last season in the championship he received 9, 7 the season before in the Premier League.

But it won’t put me off. I’m extremely tempted to put Mitrovic into my side. I believe he could be one of the best value assets in the game next season, so keep him in your watchlist – if not your starting 11!

Pick one player from each 13th–20th side – Closing Thoughts

That concludes my 3-part series, demonstrating my favourite FanTeam picks from each team for next season. As with the previous parts, a few players only just missed out! If I could pick one player from each 13th–20th side, that barely got second, I’ll list them here:

  • NEW: Fraser, Wilson, Saint-Maximin
  • CRY: van Aanholt, Ayew
  • BHA: Lamptey, Trossard
  • WHU: Soucek, Antonio
  • AV: None, sorry.
  • LEE: Rodrigo, Dallas
  • WBA: Batshuayi (should he sign), Diangana, Hegazy
  • FUL: None at this time.

I’d like to thank you once again for taking the time to read my articles, hopefully there is something to be gained from them for everyone! Check out my rule comparison series as well, e.g. with Rule Comparison FPL & Fanteam – Part 4: Forwards. As always, I’d love to hear from any of you, whether it’s questions or things to improve on, find me on twitter: https://twitter.com/Ramorey_FP L

And if you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time! There’s just too much money on the line for you to miss out, and with this analysis, you’re a step ahead of the rest!

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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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