FPL Community Questions: Gameweek 5

I’m joined by Lee and Sam from FPL Family to answer the community’s hottest FPL questions with regard to the upcoming Gameweek 5

Welcome back to our ‘Community Questions’ series where I (Simon), usually have my say on the communities conundrums in an attempt to provide a different perspective, or perhaps some statistical information or insight some of you may not have thought about.

Each week, I’m going to set up a thread and ask the community what questions they have and I’ll pick the interesting ones, or the questions that apply to a wider majority, to feature on this article where myself and a guest/guests from the FPL Twitter community will join me in providing you with our own answers.

This week, I’m joined by Lee and Sam from FPL Family!

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Lee and Sam are a married couple who enjoy discussing all things FPL and joined the FPL community about a year back with their YouTube channel. Since then, they have gained a huge following very quickly down to their excellent brand, which stems from active and positive engagement with community members, great advice based on extensive experience and all done in a pleasant and likeable manner which altogether, has earned them a spot as one of the ‘experts’ on the panel at Official FPL.

If you want to sample their content, then hit this link and subscribe to their Youtube channel >> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDG_EqOaaO1SSxEMZwfrSkg

If you want to get involved in the chat with them, you can follow them on Twitter at >> https://twitter.com/FPLFamily

Mané v Hazard v David Silva?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Being on my Wildcard, I’ve been heavily contemplating all 3. Here’s a little 3-way breakdown of the stats between them all:

D.Silva
– 3 appearances
– 1 goal
– 0 assists
– 25 penalty area touches
– 8 goal attempts (6 in the box)
– 1 big chance
– 13 chances created
– 3 big chances created
– xGI (expected goal involvement) 1.81

Hazard
– 4 appearances
– 2 goals
– 2 assists
– 25 penalty area touches
– 10 goal attempts (4 in the box)
– 1 big chance
– 10 chances created
– 2 big chances created
– xGI (expected goal involvement) 2.26

Mané
– 4 appearances
– 4 goals
– 0 assists
– 20 penalty area touches
– 10 goal attempts (10 in the box)
– 2 big chances
– 6 chances created
– 1 big chances created
– xGI (expected goal involvement) 2.44

I expect Mané to regress. He’s currently way over-performing his xGI and I don’t think his current form will be sustained – tougher fixtures and UCL will make this more difficult.

Hazard is in great form but I always have a problem with how unselfish he is. At his price, I want him to be more focused on scoring, and watching him play, he gets just as much, if not more joy out of linking play up or assisting someone, as scoring a goal himself.

This leaves us with David Silva. With 1 appearance less, he’s almost matching the other two on the underlying stats for a much cheaper price. Granted, he’s only managed 1 goal so far, but with such good fixtures, those stats will undoubtedly turn to FPL points. Yes, Pep said he was going to protect him more this season, but with KDB out, I think Pep knows David is integral to how they operate. So it’s El Mago for me.

Lee (FPL Family): 

Three excellent picks in my opinion. Hazard appears to be flavour of the month – and I for one think he would flourish in a false 9 position in Sarri’s system, similar to how he used Mertens at Napoli. I personally think that Pedro is equally important in the Chelsea system though, drifting naturally wide, moving defenders around and has an eye for goal. He’ll be better points-per-pound value.

Mané’s has a great start to the season, converting 40% of his chances. By way of comparison, Mané average 14% conversion last year and Jamie Vardy was last season’s best converter with 24%. I’m expecting regression to the mean for the Senegalese and Liverpool’s fixtures tightening up won’t help either.

David Silva is City’s creative heartbeat. Pep knows he needs him more than ever now with De Bruyne our long-term. If you asked me to pick one, it’d be the Spaniard. I’d personally have him alongside Salah and Pedro.

Can we make the most of the information available when on an early Wildcard?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

Yes. Right now, we have certain information available to us and with a Wildcard, of course you can exploit it, but the information available to us will always change. It changes week on week. What seems logical now might not make any sense after the next Gameweek – that’s the nature of FPL. The key is being able to adapt to those changing circumstances by setting up a team that allows you to be flexible to changes long-term whilst making the most of current information in the short-medium term.

Lee (FPL Family):

Not in my opinion, no. I’m happy to hold onto mine for now, with a view to using it in the next International Break when we have a few more weeks of data. Having said that, everyone will use it when they see fit. If your team’s full of injuries, rotation risks and price drops, then you can of course make a case for pressing the magic FPL button!

Sam (FPL Family):

My wildcard is active, but I do agree that there’s only limited data to go on right now. I just felt it was the right time to play it. I wanted Hazard in my team for Chelsea’s great-looking fixtures and not owing Mendy was killing me in FPL. So those two are in and I’ve done some more tidying up – so I’m very happy with my team now!

Focus on cheaper midfield options as opposed to premium assets?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

It’s all about balance. There are some great cheaper options you have listed there, some worth more of a look than others, but ultimately, you have to find a blend of both premium and cheaper assets to succeed.

Of those choices, Fraser looks the best option, he tops the charts for big chances created with a whopping 5 so far. However, keep an eye on his injury, as it was announced a few days ago that he picked up a knock on international duty.

Sam (FPL Family):

A couple of the gems you mentioned are definitely worth a look Michelle. Fraser looks particularly creative in a Bournemouth side that have started really well and have the fixtures to continue that form. Leicester also look good for the next four.

In terms of creativity, Fraser, Schurrle and Cairney have all created a chance every 40 mins – with Schurrle in particular deploying a ‘shoot-on-site’ mentality in GW3, when he had 11 shots on goal. If you need to fund your Hazard’s, Salah’s and Mané’s, then you’ll need to compliment them with some gems – and my pick right now, would be Fraser. Schurrle’s a close second, but loses out thanks to Fulham’s tricky looking fixture schedule.

Why are people so divided when it comes to ‘expected stats’?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

I’m going to be honest here, I believe that there are a fair % of people who dislike expected stats, simply because they don’t really understand it. It’s a new addition to the stat book in terms of what we use to help make our decisions and it is fairly vague. When I say this, I mean it’s not as clearly defined as, for example, ‘penalty area touch’ – we know exactly what this means as soon as we see it, but when we see ‘expected goal’, without further research, we can’t immediately understand what it’s telling us.

I also believe that some people feel strongly about the way they like to play the game. For example, some prefer a gut-feel approach and base their decisions on that and the ‘eye-test’ – watching games, rather than looking at stats. Beliefs are things that are very important to us, and when they are challenged, we tend to react defensively. This is something that often causes friction.

At the end of the day, I will always advocate a balanced approach to the game, by using a mix of both stats and gut-feel/eye test to make the most informed decisions. Not everyone is able to watch all the games and therefore stats can be a great indicator. Whatever your approach, go with your approach, it’s okay, but accept that people play it a different way.

Lee (FPL Family):

A sensitive subject at the moment this one. Even in the FPLFamily we disagree! Whether you think xG and xA are any good, they’re now part of the game and therefore the same as any other stat. I personally quite like them, but then I’m a stats kind of guy. Sam prefers the eye test and gut feel. Neither approach is right or wrong – play your game, your way. As a rule, I personally try to use a mix of both, usually with a slight bias to the stats.

Thoughts on ‘coverage’?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

I have talked about the notion of ‘coverage’ a couple of times in the past and I think it’s a fallacy.

Non-Agüero owners argued earlier this year for example that they could ‘cover’ City’s excellent fixtures and Agüero with Bernado Silva… look how that turned out. You can only cover a player with that same player.

Focusing too much on who the player plays for can blind you to all the other important information you should be looking at. You should always assess each player in isolation.

Sam (FPL Family):

I’m not a really a believer in coverage. If there are dominant attacking teams in the Premier League (Liverpool, City etc), you should load up on their attackers. If there are teams that look impenetrable at the back (Man United last season), then double up on defenders. The Premier League is more competitive than ever – just because a team has a cracking upcoming run of games, don’t feel like you have to cover them. Anyone can beat anyone.

After a template has formed, when to start looking for differentials?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

Ideally, you really should always be looking for differentials. When a template has formed, it can be tempting to really go against it in the hopes that you ride into a new template, but that’s extremely risky play.

Of course, it comes down to how you like to play, but for me, I would always advise being mainly template with a few differentials to help you climb those ranks.

Sam (FPL Family):

You should always be on the lookout for differentials. Even if you are leading your mini-leagues, never stop looking! Right there is the essence of FPL, getting on those players before your rivals and before they bring in those big points hauls.

A great question to ask right now is who’s going to break that defensive template? Alonso, Mendy and Robertson (complimented by Wan-Bissaka) all look like great picks right now and are in a lot of FPL teams. Can Trippier break it? Holebas maybe? Or will we see a revival of defensive assets at Old Trafford?

Smart differential captaincy choices a good ploy when a template has formed?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

I think it all depends on the particular Gameweek. Sometimes there are opportunities that arise, and yes, when they do, you should try to take them, but generally speaking, you should remain patient and stick to the bigger guns – they are popular captain choices for a reason!

For example, in a week where the captaincy is extremely divided between 3/4 invidivuals, this would be a good time to take a gamble on a differential captaincy.

Conversely, this Gameweek for example, where you have Agüero with a plum fixture at home and Liverpool and Spurs playing each other, this would be an example of when it’s perhaps not wise to go for a differential captain as, if Agüero hits big and you don’t go with him and your differential captain fails, you’re looking at a monster red arrow.

Sam (FPL Family):

I do think it’s a good time to pick differentials in FPL. The template defence, alongside Agüero and Salah as weekly captain choices means that you need one or two differential picks to make a difference to your rank and to climb those mini/leagues. With regards to your question though, it’d take a brave manager not to captain Aguero at home against Fulham in GW5 for example or Salah at home in GW6 when Southampton go to Anfield.

I personally will be sticking with the safer captain choices for now. Their ownership in FPL means that many, many managers will give them the armband. It’s early in the season, stay safe with your captains, but supplement with creative differential picks through the rest of your team.

Robertson to Trippier? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

Again, Trippier is someone I have heavily debated being on my Wildcard. I opted to go for VVD over Robertson from the off, so Trippier in would be an easier choice for me, but despite that, I still don’t think I’m going to go for him based on the heavy rotation I’m envisaging he’ll get with UCL coming up. More than that, Liverpool’s fixtures turn very good again from GW9 so I’d be wanting a Liverpool defender back for then.

I think if I had Robbo from the off, I’d hold. That’s just what I’d do, but it’s not to say that I don’t think that the move could work. Some nice value built up in him and his assist threat will be there in any game, but Trippier’s appeal with him wrestling Eriksen off set-pieces is tempting.

Lee (FPL Family): This is a close call. Robertson has started superbly and generally looks less of a rotation risk than Trippier, who could be swapped out by Pochettino for Aurier around the busy, upcoming Champions League schedule. Both are being pretty creative, with Trippier creating a chance every 37 mins and Robertson every 40 mins. The Spurs man is on corners when he plays, which is helping that stat. He also has 1 goal and 1 assist to his name in only 256 minutes of football, over 100 minutes LESS than Robertson, who by comparison has 2 assists.

Liverpool look much improved defensively so far this year, with only Allison’s howler against Leicester stopping them achieving four straight clean sheets. In FPLFamily we are split on this one, I’m saying stick with Robertson, Sam’s saying swap to Trippier!

Are we rightly ignoring big hitters up front like Kane and Lukaku?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

With Kane, I think so. £12.5m is entirely too much money spent on someone who’s not yet firing on all cylinders and someone we wouldn’t be looking to captain at this stage.

Lukaku on the other hand is going about his business nicely and has some good fixtures coming up. United seem to have got things back on track but I still maintain that I don’t feel their attack is worth investing in over the other big 6 teams’ attacks.

Besides, with him in, how would you fit Agüero, Alonso, Mendy, Robbo, Hazard, Salah, Mané in without unbalancing the rest of your team too much? I think keep your eye on him, but right now, I don’t think he’s viable over other options.

Lee (FPL Family): Wilson in particular looks to have the fixtures to really kick on over the next few weeks and Mitrovic is bang in form right now, with a couple of goals on International duty to add to his 4 in the Premier League. I for one, am absolutely guilty of ignoring the big hitters and spending a lot of time swooning over those two in particular.

Kane hasn’t quite looked himself so far this season and his underlying stats don’t look as good. 10 shots on goal, all in the box indeed, but nevertheless still behind the likes of Jimenez at Wolves (11), Benteke at Palace (13) and Lukaku himself no less (13). So I think we can legitimately say ignoring Kane up to now is justified.

Lukaku by contrast, has looked very good of late and only 7.7% owned in FPL. He’s had 13 shots, all in the box, 3 goals and he’s also pretty much nailed on to play 90 minutes. He’s one I am absolutely looking at. Either way, does the budget allow you to have these guys alongside Agüero who’s in such great form and with the fixtures heavily in his favour? Fulham at home, Cardiff away and Brighton at home up next for City – it doesn’t get any better than that for Agüero surely?

Food_for_thought_visual_identity-800x400

 

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