Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tips for Picking Your Front 3 in FPL (16/17)

Guest blogger Kyle Norbury looks at how to balance the books with your 3 strikers. The key? Be open-minded and do the research. And don’t let your favourite club get in the way.
After last season, the most important thing is not to be stubborn when assessing all the forward options. Jamie Vardy (start price 6.0- now 10.0) and Odion Ighalo (then 5.0- now 7.5) were the in-form strikers in the first half of the season. Vardy finished joint-top scorer and was a must-have, especially during his record-breaking run of goals, while Ighalo surprised many with his scoring form, even netting against big clubs Liverpool and Chelsea. It was a lesson to many not to underestimate budget options and not to write players off due to perceived poor fixtures. Shane Long was another who hit double figures despite having a moderate price tag.
Those who invested heavily early on last season on the most expensive strikers suffered as a result of the previous season’s highest scorers Aguero, Kane and Costa being out of form. As it is uncertain whether it will pan out like last season or the big-hitters will be the ones to have, it might be best to hedge your bets and go for a 2 premium, 1 cheap model in attack. The obvious cheaper players are Callum Wilson and Shane Long, both 6.5, who can be as good as some of the premiums in terms of cost per goal. Wilson’s knee injury in gameweek 7 ruled him out for the rest of the season, but he scored 5 up until then, with a hattrick against West Ham.

Long managed to displace departed Graziano Pelle out of the Southampton line-up and looks likely to continue as first choice under new boss Claude Puel. Saido Berahino will be on many people’s watchlists at 6.5, and he could yet leave for a more attack-minded team. 9.5% have also taken a punt on last season’s Championship top scorer Andre Gray. If he can be as clinical as Danny Ings was for Burnley 2 seasons ago he will be a decent acquisition, though his record last season indicates that he may be even better.

An honourable mention must also go to Alvaro Negredo.  He scored 9 goals in 32 games during his previous stint in the Premier League.  However, he struggled for form last season after his €27 Million move to Valencia - during which they had 3 managers and finished 6 points above relegation.  It will be interesting to see how he does in the North East.  A new Ravanelli? Or a new Alves? We will find out soon enough.
Of course, don’t rule out the premium options, because they are usually the highest priced strikers for a reason as they tend to score the most goals. The best way to make up your mind on which of the premiums to go for is to compare value and the stats.
The big decision this season is which of the two big-hitting strikers to include in your team. While Aguero’s goal record is unquestioned (13.0), he is too expensive to partner with Ibrahimovic (11.5) if you want to ensure points from all over the pitch. Picking those two biggest names would leave you just 5.8 per player on the rest of your squad, making it impossible to own a team of 15 starting players if you own even a 6.5 striker and 2 premium midfielders (Mahrez, Payet, Mkhitaryan, Hazard, De Bruyne or Sanchez).
Interestingly, if Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets as many goals and assists this season as he did in Ligue 1 last season, he will score 191 points and that’s before points for minutes played and bonus points are added. 38 goals and 13 assists are numbers Aguero has never reached and Zlatan had a far superior goals per game ratio at PSG than Aguero does for Man City, but the Argentinian has age on his side, 6 years younger than Man United’s new number 9. Aguero’s 0.68 goals per game in the Premier League is still better than any current Premier League player, so it is a difficult decision to make and one which supporters of Man City and Man United fans may use their club biases to decide. However, it may be better to consider how you would spend the remaining cash.
The second premium striker spot will depend on who you choose between Ibrahimovic and Aguero. The 1.5 left over from picking Ibrahimovic allows you to fit Kane (11.0) or Vardy (10.0) in much easier, whereas 13.0 Aguero may leave you with a choice between 9.0 Lukaku, 9.0 Giroud and 9.5 Costa.
2014/15
Kane (5.5*)
Vardy (4.5)
Lukaku (10.0)
Costa (10.5)
Giroud (8.5)
Goals
21
5
10
20
14
Assists
7
12
6
3
3
Points per 1.0
34.7
26.6
13.5
14.2
14.1
Points per game**
5.6
3.5
3.7
5.7
4.4
*Start price **game played in
2015/16
Kane (9.5*)
Vardy (6.0)
Lukaku (9.0)
Costa (11.0)
Giroud (8.5)
Goals
24
24
18
12
16
Assists
3
8
7
7
6
Points per 1.0
22.2
35.1
20.5
11.7
18.3
Points per game**
5.5
5.8
5.0
4.6
4.1
*Start price **game played in
Having been fantastic value options in previous seasons, Kane and Vardy have rightly taken a huge price hike this season. Their goal stats were better than any other striker last season, finishing level on points with 211 each. Vardy’s points per game was particularly impressive as he played 2 games less than the Tottenham striker. 13% of managers still think Vardy is worth 10.0, while 16.2% have kept the faith in Kane, even now he is the 3rd most expensive striker in the game.
Looking closely at last season’s statistics, Harry Kane took the most shots per game of the above 5 (4.2, more than Aguero), but Aguero and Vardy’s were in more dangerous areas. Vardy had 2.5 shots per game inside the penalty area, second only to Aguero.
If you would prefer to look elsewhere for value, then Romelu Lukaku could be your man. Diego Costa is 1.5 less than he was last season. His points per 1.0 would be 15.7 this season if he were to recapture his 2014/15 form; still less than Lukaku of last season. Lukaku vs Costa is a close call, as both look to benefit from a new regime. Both Everton and Chelsea will be expected to improve and could push Vardy and Kane for starts in your team.

Obsessive fantasy football manager and have been for many years. Bit of a nerd when it comes to stats. Potential over form over fixtures. #TeamIbra.
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