Heading into gameweek 4 we’ve used Cooper’s personal side to show how to build a side around three high prices stars without sacrificing quality. We’ve also endeavoured to own a bench that can be expected to provide fantasy premier league points and earn Barclays Premier League minutes each week.
We’ve been answering question @FantasyGaffer over the international break, and one question drew more than cursory reviews of the top owned defenders, the top priced defenders and the upcoming Barclays fixture list. What we’ve uncovered is that there is a solid argument to made for buying Leighton Baines that does not exist for other highly priced fantasy premier league defenders.
Baines has created the most chances of any player in the Premier League this season. His 16 chances, by opta stats via EPL Index, lead all players by a wide margin with Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla second with 12 chances created. Baines price, while high at £7.1m, does not accurately reflect his ability to create chances and earn fantasy premier league points through his goals and assists.
Credit where it’s due – this Tweet sparked careful consideration over adding Baines:
@fantasygaffer would you loose extra transfer points to replace A Cole/Lescott with Vermaelen/Ivanovic/Baines this GW? LT decision
— Jonathan Gilmour (@happy07YNWA) September 13, 2012
Because of the volume of chances Baines creates, a season like his 2010-11 season are within his expected outcomes this year. In that season he scored five goals – he scored four more in 2011-12 – while assisting on 11 goals for 178 points in the Official FPL. The rest of the defense needs to accommodate Baines high salary. We’ve elected to keep Rangel, Williams and Cueller in this side for rotation when their sides play at home. News today is that Bacary Sagna will be out for at least three weeks we would be interested in jumping on Carl Jenkinson.
However, those three weeks Arsenal will face: Southampton, Chelsea and Manchester City. Instead we’ve added the £4.5m Fulham defender Aaron Hughes. Hughes has West Brom and Wigan over the next two weeks which allows for rotation while we examine the ability of Swansea to keep clean sheets without the injured Neil Taylor.
In midfield, the goal was the specific inclusion of Belgium international and Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard. Hazard has seen steady price increase since the opening gameweek and he will cost £10.1m. Chelsea have shown the ability for one of their players to create over 100 chance per season, as they have in each of the previous four season. We have Hazard for the opening bid, so we’ve kept him and docked ourselves the extra funds to more accurately represent buying the trio (Baines/Hazard/Van Persie). This prevented us from upgrading in one slot, where we’ve elected to sell Yaya Toure for Samir Nasri, though this particular side has ample funds to instead add David Silva. If you can afford Silva, we would recommend adding him.
The questions regarding fantasy EPL managers seeking to invest in both RVP and Hazard does create a massive imbalance in the funds allocated at those positions. Both options are highest priced at their relative positions and, consequently, the two highest priced players in the game. We’ve undertaken the challenge and elected to use Berbatov as our, relatively, inexpensive forward. The Bulgarian created five chances in his first 45′ with Martin Jol’s side and is poised for a spectacular fantasy premier league campaign in a side that should be arranged to provide chances for him.
We have cheated a touch, in that we already owned Carlos Tevez for a song. If you to not have the fund to purchase Tevez, RVP and Berbatov, there are other discount forward options to consider. A strike-force of RVP/Fletcher/Berba may not have the same level of success, but if you are insistent on owning multiple high-priced options in the midfield or possessing the top priced player at each position, you have to make a sacrifice somewhere. Here, we would elect for forwards with high chance conversion rates and midfielder who create chances frequently.
The final result? A midfield that contains at one player from each of Spurs, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea. We like this forward line, it is dynamic in terms of players who create their own chances and have high chance conversion rates. All three of them should be capable of delivering assists and Tevez and Van Perise are on a very short list of players capable of winning the Golden Boot. In fact, each of our three forwards has been the leading Premier League goal-scorer at some point in the past three seasons.
Thoughts? Omissions you would have added? Players you’ve given up for dead? Comments welcome below or on Twitter.