VAPM Starting XI

Yesterday I compiled the statistics from the first four weeks of the Premier League season to calculate the current VAPM for FPL purposes. In order to shorten the list I’ve used the minimum of 180 minutes played and four points scored. Early in the season, VAPM is inflated. It’s not common to have a players over 1.00, let alone over 0.50 on the season. Early season success for teams have seen players from Aston Villa and West Ham United topping the list. While players like Mo Salah, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, while popular among FPL managers haven’t faired as well because of their premium prices. This article will highlight a fictitious starting XI using the average FPL team value of £100.2 (courtesy of Fantasy Football Fix).

There is no one set starting XI when you look to build your fantasy, as four of the top five players are from Aston Villa. Their price, coupled with their total points have made many of their players early targets for their wild card during the international break. Here are a few options if you want to use VAPM for player selection.

GOALKEEPERS

Starting at the back, let’s anchor this team with Emiliano Martinez (£4.6/17.5% TSB), the Villa keeper who has scored 22 points on the season, currently leading all players at this position with a 1.16 VAPM, on the back of a PK save in GW2 and two clean sheets, Martinez has strengthened this Villa defense. His prices makes him an excellent selection for the season, as many FPL manager look for that budget “set and forget” goalkeeper.

Before missing GW4 with a shoulder injury, Alisson Becker (£6.0/11.5% TSB) was the second highest keeper with a 0.61 VAPM, but also missed their 7-2 loss against Villa or his numbers would not be where they are, playing in just three games. His premium price and subsequent injury doesn’t make him good value based on how poorly the Liverpool defense as fared, conceding 11 goals.

Newcastle’s Karl Darlow (£5.0/1,5% TSB) is our fianl keeper to make this early season list with a VAPM at 0.55. While the Magpies have just a single clean sheet on the season, Darlow made an impressive 11 saves against Spurs in GW, picking up 7 save points on the season. Out of the break, Newcastle has an excellent run of fixtures after MUN/wol/EVE).

DEFENDERS

Across the back will be double Aston Villa with Konsa Ngoyo (£4.6/5.0% TSB) and Tyronne Mings (£5.1/5.1% TSB), This pair have scored 22 points and 23 points respectively, back by the two clean sheets, but each defender has scored early in the season, while Mings also has an assist. At this point, I feel FPL managers need to pay a bit more attention to Villa’s defense.  They weren’t tested against Sheffield United or Fulham, but suddenly have gain creditability because of their performance against Liverpool, maybe more offensively than defensively, but the addition of Martinez has improved the shape of this defense. This is essentially the same defense that was second worst in the league last year conceding 67 goals.

While Chelsea has underwhelmed to start the season, it’s been Kurt Zouma (£5.0/3.2% TSB) who has been the standout defender for the Blues. While there still appears to be some rotation concerns as Fat Frank looks to put the most effective defense on the pitch. Zouma has paired with Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen. Zouma also didn’t play when Chelsea conceded three goals to West Brom, but has scored twice in three games. Inflated statistics due to offensive production. I do feel the addition of Edouard Mendy improves this defense.

Round out the five defenders are a West Ham pair, Fabian Balbuena (£4.4/0.3% TSB) and Arthur Masuaku (£4.5/0.9% TSB). To be fair, Balbuena has played the last two games, both of which the Hammers picked up clean sheets, so he just meets the 180 minutes requirement (0.91 VAPM).  Masuaku missed the opened, but picked up a goal in GW3 against Wolves to help him to a 0.96 VAPM. If West Ham continues to be stout on defense after defeating Wolves and Leicester City by a combined 7-0, these budget defenders could be ones to eye, as their ownership is a huge differential.

MIDFIELDERS

No doubt we would usually be talking Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne as the “best midfielders” but not based on VAPM after four weeks. However they my be the “best” at the end of the season, but early on their prices are very restrictive when it comes to calculating VAPM. That said, I still wouldn’t hesitate to have either play anchor my midfield.

Based on VAPM, Jorginho (£5.1/9.2% TSB) heads all of FPL with 27 points, three goals and a VAPM of 1.76. His prices makes him worthy of a fourth or fifth starter. Based on how poorly VAR is implemented, rest assured he could have a Luka Milivojevic type season (10-12 goals, figure him for 15 goals myself) from the penalty spot, especially with dynamic players around him including Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.

Jack Grealish (£7.1/14.3% TSB) had a worldly game against Liverpool recording 24 points including two goals, three assists and  three bonus points, increaseing his VAPM to 1.36! I was fortunate to bring him in for GW3, but moved him because I didn’t like the next two fixtures (LIV/lei) only to plan on bringing him back for the Leeds game in GW7. At £7.1 he is on pace for another strong season (150-175 points) and feel he is the midfielder to own from Villa.

Not surprisingly Son Heung-min(£9.0/26.8% TSB) makes the VAPM team with a 1.03 ont he back of six goals and and assist.  His ownership and history prove Son is a unique class of his own, pairing well with Harry Kane. I have no doubts that Son will finish near the top of the VAPM list. Last year finished on 0.37 VAPM and I expect him at 0.40 at the end of the 2020/21 season.

Grealish’s midfielder partner John McGinn (£5.5/1.0%) has provided three assists on the season, while picking up points for clean sheets and bonus. While not one of your go to budget players when you look to round out your squad, Villa is playing very well going forward and McGinn could continue to see success and assists come his way. However, I will dial back my expectations, as he finished with three goals and assists last season but has posted a 6 goal, 10 assist season in the Championship (2018/19).

New boy, James Rodriguez (£7.8/37.9% TSB) has seemingly been reborn under Carlo Ancelotti at Everton in a restructured Toffees midfield. As mentioned by Gabe (@FPLLENS), he’s a similar player to Eden Hazard, who’s got the ability to score and assist, before you know it he will have posted a 225 point season. Currently with three goals and two assists (0.87 VAPM), he is vital to Everton, who lead the league (with Leicester City and Spurs) with 12 goals.

FORWARDS

Has Callum Wilson (£6.4/12.6%) found the consistency we saw at Bournemouth in 2018/19? He’s off the mark with four goals and an assist, picking up a brace in a 3-1 win against Burnley before the break. He leads off forwards with a 1.02 VAPM but has talented and dynamic midfielders feeding him balls up top. It’s a purple patch out of the break for the Magpies and Wilson offers great value!

For the time being, I will mention Ollie Watkins (£5.9/31.% TSB), but already have three players from Villa, he won’t be considered as one of my forwards. He picked up 19 points against Liverpool, his only offensive points for the season (0.96 VAPM), but  led the EFL Championship (26) in goals last season.

Our second forward has been the hottest player in FPL, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6/47.4% TSB) and the highest owned forward in the game. DCL has scored in every game (37 points, 0.95 VAPM) including a hat trick in GW2 against West Brom, but Ancelotti has him playing very confident and finding the target with nearly every kick of the ball. At this rate, he’s going to post 25-30 goals on the season if Everton continue with attacking prowess.

Patrick Bamford (£5.8/25.2% TSB) at Leeds has suddenly increased in popularity, gaining nearly 1.1 million owners since the start of the season. Upstart Leeds have picked up points in all but one game and seemingly can score at will. Bamford has been on target for the Whites. Their schedule is good through the new year, but I am still hesitant on this newly promoted club because of their defense.

OTHER OPTIONS

From the included VAPM list, there are other options available. I mentioned Watkins already, but one game doesn’t make a season and I think we need to see how Villa gets on out of the break. Neal Maupay has four goals and an assist with a 0.91 VAPM for Brighton and has looked excellent to date. While his price is a bit restrictive, Kane has notched six assists and three goals for 44 points (one point of Son’s 45 points). Honorable mentions to Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette.

CONCLUSION

While unrealistic, this team sets you back £88! That’s enough to use other metrics and statistics to build around players who have been very successful through four game weeks. Some of these players will continue perform at a similar level. For example, DCL and Everton have been the best team (minus Pickford) to start the season. No doubt that defenders like Zouma and Castagne will continue to play well at their price points.

Nearly any FPL manager could have Son, Grealish and Rodriguez in their midfield, yet just 0.2% across FPL do! However, I would give all three serious consideration if the wild card is active. All are integral to their teams and both Son and Grealish finished above 0,35 VAPM last season. If Rodriguez continues in his outstanding play, he too will finish near the top of VAPM for midfielders.

When I look at the forwards, I see that 19& of the top 1k owners has Bamford and DCL in their starting XI, compared to 12.8% across FPL. Confidence is high in DCL and Wilson, more so than Bamford. Understand his track record last season had him missing many shots on target but maybe Leeds will play like Wolves of Sheffield United did their first season back in the Premier League. Can’t knock the kid, he starts, has returned and is a budget selection up front.

While I do support this key metric, it’s not the be all, end all when it comes to player selection. This article provides information to help assist managers with their free transfers or wild card, as we are in the middle of the international break. While we must watch the games closely and monitor any injuries, this list of player could  potentially help you. Have a great break away from the beautiful game.

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