Blog

9 Aug.

GW1 Top Five Key Players

By Fantasy Football Fix ()

Headliner - Mohamed Salah (WHU)

The hefty price tag has not proved a deterrent. Over 50% of Fantasy Premier Legue (FPL) managers currently own the Egyptian, making him the most owned player in the game after a record-breaking score of 303 FPL points last season. At an average of a whopping 8.4 points per game, is it any wonder? With his incredible tally of 32 goals and 12 assists, the 44 FPL involvements provided by Salah was at least nine more than any other player could manage – Sterling ranking second with his 35 FPL involvements. As our new Player Heatmaps feature shows, the Liverpool midfielder was involved in a league-high total of 40 ‘big chances’ beating Kane, with 37, and Agüero, Sterling and Jesus all tied on 27. His average of 4.0 shots per game was top amongst midfielders and second amongst all players, beaten only by Kane, with 4.9. Similarly, the Spurs forward was the only player to produce more shots on target last season (76 to 68), at an average of 2.1 per game, compared with Salah’s 1.9. Liverpool averaged 2.37 goals per game at Anfield and with West Ham conceding an average of 2.21 on their away trips, Salah must be licking his lips at the thought of getting his campaign off to a flyer. Our Fix algorithm projects the Egyptian to be the highest scorer this week with 9.8 points. 

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Roberto Firmino (WHU)

With our Fix algorithm predicting Liverpool to be the top scoring side with 3.01 goals this week, it comes as no surprise that our next pick also comes from the red side of Merseyside. He has now spent three years in the Premier League, providing a total of 36 goals and 27 assists and looks completely at home alongside Salah and Mané. Firmino’s average of 4.9 points per match last season was more than Lukaku (4.8) could manage and was bettered only by Kane (5.9), Aubameyang (6.7) and Agüero (6.8) amongst forwards – all of which have each been given much higher price tags than the Brazilian. The Liverpool forward’s 38 efforts on target last season was fourth best amongst forwards, with only Lukaku (43), Aguero (43) and Kane (76) producing more. However, no forward provided more than Firmino’s eight assists or his 57 attempted assists. Liverpool mustered 391 Shots in the Box (SIB), a number bettered only by the champions Man. City (411). Firmino accounted for 55 of these shots and had an attempt at goal every 33 minutes. After being included in Brazil’s World Cup squad over the summer Firmino has not featured much for Liverpool during pre-season, but, Klopp is optimistic he will be ready for gameweek one. Liverpool have been impressive in preseason too, hammering Serie A runners up Napoli 5-0, meaning they have now scored 16 goals over their last five games. Our Fix algorithm projects a score of 5.7 points for the Brazilian.

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Richarlison De Andrade (wol)

Many FPL managers were left frustrated with Richarlison’s performances towards the end of the 2017/18 season. After Watford departed company with manager, Silva, the Brazilian struggled to match his output from the first half of the season. Gracia, came in and prioritised defensive improvement over flair and his minutes were often curtailed. However, following his big money move to Everton, Richarlison, looks set to build on his debut season, where he registered five goals and eight assists. His end of season form was undeniably poor; between gameweeks 25 and 38, the 21-year-old took just 16 shots from inside the box, failing to return either a goal or assist during 14 appearances. Nevertheless, when compared with other midfielders using our Fix Custom Stats Builder, between Gameweeks 1 and 24, Richarlison was involved in 14 ‘big chances’, a total bettered by only Sterling (15) and Salah (25), and his 73 efforts from inside the box was second only to the Egyptian king. The Toffees have had a poor pre-season so far, conceding 10 goals in their last three games, but the encounter with Rennes did see Richarlison score on his full debut. Wolves have had a mixed pre-season, conceding three goals in their last two games and are likely to continue their expansive style in their opening home game of the new campaign, so, we expect Richarlison to take full advantage while they find their feet.

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Joshua King (CAR)

The Cherries kick off their fourth Premier League campaign at home to newly promoted Cardiff City, a fixture that should entice Bournemouth’s top attacking FPL asset, King. It was a season of two halves for the Norwegian last time around as he returned just two goals and one assist from 16 appearances between gameweek one and gameweek 19. He then provided a very respectable nine FPL involvements in 17 appearances from gameweek 20 to gameweek 38, scoring six goals and providing three assists. The Fix Comparison Matrix shows that amongst budget forwards, priced at 7.0 or less, King’s 12 FPL involvements last season was beaten by only Pérez (14), Zaha (16) and Arnautovic (18). The Bournemouth forward’s underlying numbers also show promise amongst this group of players, ranking him second for attempted assists (38), while his 21 efforts on target was just four fewer than Zaha produced (25). Bournemouth had 156 shots on target, a total bettered only by the “top six”, an indication of their attacking prowess. The Norwegian has been in fine form during pre-season, scoring two goals and setting up another in their clash with Marseille. He could make a mockery of his paltry 6.5 price-tag. Cardiff have conceded in each of their last four pre-season games and should offer up plenty of chances to the Cherries. Our Fix algorithm projects King to be the highest point scorer outside Liverpool’s front three, with a prediction of 5.5.

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Cesar Azpilicueta (hud)

Chelsea endured a torrid afternoon at the hands of Man. City in the Community Shield, but their opponents this week are expected to pose far less of a threat to their rear-guard. A mainstay in the Blues defence, Azpilicueta, ended last season as the top scoring FPL defender, amassing a total of 175 points from 37 appearances; an average of 4.7 points per game. His eight FPL involvements was beaten by only Davies, Young, Alonso and Moses, amongst defenders – who each managed nine, while no defender produced more ‘big chances’ than the Spaniard (9). Chelsea managed 16 clean sheets last season which was level with Spurs and only Liverpool (17), Man. City (18) and Man. United (19) kept more. New manager, Sarri, finished second in Serie A with Napoli last season, with the side registering an impressive 19 clean sheets; beaten only by Champions, Juventus (23). The Terriers were ranked second bottom for SIB last season (205) and only Swansea managed fewer (193). Our Fix algorithm projects Chelsea to be one of the sides most likely to keep a clean sheet this gameweek with a probability of 54%. It comes as no surprise that it also projects Azpilicueta to be the top defensive asset with a score of 5.1.

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