Welcome back to our ‘Community Questions’ series where we discuss the community 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, we will set up a thread and ask the community what questions they have. We will then pick the most interesting ones, or the questions that apply to a wider majority, to feature on this article where contributors to team FPL Connect will provide you with our own answers.
This week, FPL Raptor (Ross Dowsett) will be answering your questions. I (Ross) am a PhD student and a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology, with a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology. My main focus is discussing the various methods of optimising our decision-making in FPL, as well as finding innovative ways to cope with the highs and lows of FPL.
You can find me on Twitter here >> https://twitter.com/FPL__Raptor
1. Bruno vs. KDB vs. Salah Captaincy.
Firstly, we will be having a captain metric article released at 7pm tonight, so if you are most interested in captaincy, after reading this article make sure to read our captaincy article which will cover this topic in a lot more depth.
Personally, due to both form and fixtures, if you have Bruno or KDB you should captain one of those two. If you only own one, your decision for this week will be a lot easier. However, for 9.18% of FPL managers, we have the headache of choosing one. If you don’t own Bruno or KDB, my outside bet for a good gameweek would be Grealish.
Firstly, according to my own eye test I would say that Bruno vs. KDB is a very close call. Both Bruno and KDB look incredible right now, and are both heavily involved in almost every attack for their respective sides. Whilst Manchester United are most certainly not passing the eye test as of late, their performance against City was very solid, and as a United fan myself I know the importance of confidence in this current United side. I fancy United to go on a good run over the next few weeks, and Sheffield United away may be the catalyst to that. I own both Bruno and KDB, and currently my gut feeling says Bruno, but of course it is important to look into some stats (stats taken from fantasy football hub from GW7 to GW12).
As you can see from the visual representation above, Bruno and KDB are both excelling in different areas, but both are experiencing impressive attacking returns. Their xPts from the previous 6 GWs are very similar (7.58 for Bruno, 7.40 for KDB). KDB is currently underperforming his xPts, and therefore it could suggest his best is yet to come. Therefore, after just exploring the stats of the two main options here, it is difficult to separate the two. Thus, the key distinction will be in the opponents they are facing. Here are the defensive statistics from GW7-GW12 for Sheffield United and West Brom (stats taken from fantasy football hub, for GW7-GW12).
I genuinely could not believe how close the stats were for these two teams. Both have an xGC (expected goals conceded) between 11.5-12, and both have conceded 16 big chances. The only noticeable difference is in shots conceded in the box where WBA have conceded 71 and SHU 62. However, this is likely inflated by the 10-man performance against Crystal Palace. In other words, there is nothing to separate SHU and WBA.
Personally, I think this is genuinely a 50/50 call. Bruno’s away form, coupled with KDB’s small chance of rotation will probably result in me favouring the United man for my armband, although I am not locked in quite yet.
2. Attempting to guess the Pep Roulette. KDB, Mahrez, Foden – who starts?
I want to start by saying that the honest answer is that we really do not know. I will not delve into too much detail here as Pep is the only one that truly knows. However, we can look at trends from last season and attempt to predict to the best of our ability. In the 2019/20 season, Manchester City played 8 Premier League fixtures from 30/11 to 01/01. In these 8 games, here are how often each of the players featured:
- KDB = 8/8
- Sterling = 7/8
- Jesus = 6/8
- Mahrez = 5/8
- Foden = 2/8
Based on this, it appears to confirm that the only nailed player for Pep Guardiola is De Bruyne, and that he will also be relying heavily on Sterling and Jesus. Mahrez, Foden, Torres, Bilva and co will all likely rotate regularly and therefore trying to predict the games they will miss will be very difficult. If you are taking a one week punt, I have a feeling Foden may start but I genuinely have no reasoning behind that. Mahrez has started a lot of games recently so you would imagine he may be rested soon. I personally believe that KDB will start against West Brom, but once again, that is only my opinion.
3. Is the premium Hokey Cokey a viable strategy?
Firstly, this will be very dependent on the individual player’s style, which premiums you are switching, and whether or not you have your wildcard in tact. However, as a general strategy I do think this is a very viable option. Here are a few things to consider before you embark on the hokey cokey.
Firstly, you need to be happy to take hits. Assuming you are regularly doing the hokey cokey and switching between premium players, you will be using your free transfer every week to switch between the premiums. Therefore, any other injuries/illness/poor form that occur you will need to take hits to deal with. If you are a conservative manager, I would advise sticking with your premiums and using FTs for issues that arise.
Secondly, as you look at your squad now, do you see any big issues arising over the next few weeks? If you see potential rotation issues, or you own some injury prone players, it would be wise to deal with these issues before focusing on switching your premium players.
Lastly, I would personally say that it is only worth switching your premiums if you are doing so in order to captain them. For example, if you own one of Bruno or KDB this week, I would personally not be removing Salah/Son/Kane to get the other one in, as you already have a solid captaincy option and your other premiums still have the possibility of performing well.
4. Is the form of Son and Kane sustainable?
All of the non-owners will be hoping the answer to this question is no, and previous trends would suggest that their form is not sustainable. We can look at their underlying stats in comparison to the other premium options and assess whether they are the only assets over-performing. Here are the xPts per 90 and actual Pts per 90 over the previous 6 GWs (GW7-GW12) for each of the in-form premium players (courtesy of fantasy football hub).
Based on the above, you would predict that Kane and Son’s form will inevitably drop off, although we have been saying that for weeks. However, it is not only the Spurs duo that are over-performing their underlying stats, with Salah also massively over-performing his xPts. I personally think that keeping one of the Spurs duo would be smart until we see an actual drop off in form, and definitely have a plan to own at least one from GW16 when their fixtures become very appealing. If you own both, I would personally say that Son looks the most likely to regress.
5. Fulham punt – Cavaleiro vs. Lookman.
The reason for this question is that Fulham have been performing very well in recent weeks, and also face BRI (H), NEW (A), and SOU (H) in their next three. Cavaleiro is priced at £5.3m and owned by 0.1% of managers. Lookman is priced at £5.0m and owned by 1.0% of managers.
Firstly, it looks like Cavaleiro is on penalties and is also on a lot of set pieces. Both players look fairly nailed, but that would immediately lead me to favour Cavaleiro. However, let’s take a look at the stats over the past 6 GWs to help drive that decision (stats taken from fantasy football hub player comparison tool – Blue = Lookman, red = Cavaleiro).
Over the past 6 GWs, here are the xA90 and xG90 for Lookman and Cavaleiro.
All-in-all, Cavaleiro is coming out on top on most of the important stats. It appears that Lookman is creating more chances, and that Cavaleiro is more of a goal threat. I would say that due to the set pieces, possible penalties, and higher goal threat, Cavaleiro is the better pick – however, I expect them to score pretty similarly over the festive period.