smarterthinking

The smarterscout Fantasy Premier League All-Stars

With the Premier League season delayed, there's plenty of time to fiddle with our fantasy squads – and to run some numbers. Earlier we wrote about a simple way to forecast points, and we're going to use the same method to make some recommendations for the rest of this season. So if you've got a wildcard coming up or just a couple of free transfers to spare, who belongs in your team?

To predict how many points each player will rack up in the remainder of the season, we use a simple formula. First we divide a player's points to date by his minutes played. Then we multiply by the maximum minutes he has left this season, for example 900 minutes for a player at a club with 10 matches left. And finally we scale this number by the share of minutes he's played in his club's last six matches. This gives us a sense of how many minutes he's likely to play in the remainder of the season, multiplied by his average points per minute.

As an example, Sergio Aguero has garnered 124 points in 1394 minutes this season, or 0.089 points per minute. Manchester City have ten matches left, so Aguero could play a maximum of 900' (we'd usually say closer to 950', but we'll stick with FPL conventions). If he did play all those minutes, we'd expect him to generate 80 points, or 0.089 times 900'. But in his club's last six league matches, he played only 403' of the 540' available. So we'll scale those 80 points down by a factor of 403/540, for a new forecast of 60 points – still not too shabby, Kun!

Indeed, if we look at the players expected to win the most points, Aguero is near the top of the list. Here are all the guys expected to score at least 40 points:

F: Aguero (60), Raul Jimenez (47), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (45), Roberto Firmino (43), Teemu Pukki (41), Danny Ings (40), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (40)

M: Mohamed Salah (67), Kevin de Bruyne (61), Bruno Fernandes (57), Anthony Martial (50), Harvey Barnes (48), Jack Grealish (46), Riyad Mahrez (44), Dele Alli (42), James Maddison (40)

D: Trent Alexander-Arnold (51), Matt Doherty (44), Virgil van Dijk (44), George Baldock (41), Joe Gomez (40)

G: Dean Henderson (45), Nick Pope (40)

It's a remarkable game when players from the two bottom clubs are included among a list that's heavily weighted towards the top of the table! And of course, we're not taking account of injuries that might heal during the league's layoff, nor are we adjusting for suspensions that might not repeat. FPL darlings like Tammy Abraham and Son Heung-Min may return to the starting XI when play resumes – we're just sticking to our simple metric for now.

Now, not everyone may be able to afford all of these players. In fact, we haven't said anything about pricing yet. But if we divide the predicted scores above by the players' prices, we can get an idea of the ones who offer the best value for money. These are the guys who can fill all except the biggest hole in your squad most efficiently. Here are the leaders for predicted points per million pounds – all with at least seven:

F: Jordan Ayew (7.2), Calvert-Levin (7.0)

M: Barnes (7.9), John Fleck (7.7), Grealish (7.0)

D: Federico Fernandez (8.2), Baldock (8.1), John Egan (7.6), Gomez (7.6), Charlie Taylor (7.5), Jamaal Lascelles (7.4), Jack O'Connell (7.3), Matt Targett (7.3), Chris Basham (7.2), Doherty (7.0)

G: Henderson (8.7), Pope (8.1), Bernd Leno (7.7), Vicente Guaita (7.6), Lukasz Fabianski (7.5), Martin Dubravka (7.3), Alex McCarthy (7.2), Rui Patricio (7.1), Ben Foster (7.0), Kasper Schmeichel (7.0)

You won't see many GKs from top clubs on this list, because the FPL system rewards keepers for stopping shots and penalties – you face more shots, you score more points. But there is one top club that's heavily represented. Yes, this list just screams "Sheffield United" – still the best-value club in the division. At the beginning of the season, the FPL supremos apparently didn't give the Blades much chance of staying up, let alone finishing in the European places. Yet Chris Wilder's lads have done just that, and their prices have been slow to catch up. It's time to start believing, FPL people!

We think it's important to keep in mind that some of these players' point totals from earlier in the season may have arrived as a result of luck. To get an idea of whether their scoring rates might be sustainable, we'd encourage you to check them out on our site.

For instance, can Calvert-Lewin keep up his scoring pace, given his history as a poor finisher of non-headers in open play?

All of the numbers above come with risks attached, and looking at the players' underlying numbers and skill levels can help to reduce those risks. That's it for now – let's hope everyone gets healthy, back on the pitch, and up in the stands very soon!

 

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