We head into the second international break and it seems the only consistent thing I’ve had to rally behind this season has been the non-stop captaincy of Mo Salah, recording 134 points (16.8 avg.) over eight game weeks. Even with that limited success, I feel my season slipping away, as I continue to struggle to put green arrows on the board. This week was just the second on the season and only the third time I’ve scored over 60 points. We’ve got some more data to review and put into key metrics. For me, I continue to push VAPM or value added per million. There have been some questionable players near the top of this metric for much of the season. I can’t be the only FPL manager surprised at how Aston Villa’s defense has turned things around with the addition of Emiliano Martinez in goal. What about Southampton? I will continue to call them frauds and don’t think they are for real, but you can’t take from their early season success that seems them two points off the top of the table. Then again, I remember a Watford team that had similar success before succumbing and dropping…like a rock. In all fairness, I do think the Saints are more of a complete team than the Hornets were a few years ago.
Hakim Ziyech (CHE) seems to the be hot prospect headed into the break. Many feel he will price rise numerous time over the break but I’ve still not backed Chelsea since their early season failures, mainly do to Kepa in goal. My preseason selection of Ben Chilwell, who I moved out of Caesar Azpilicueta, continues to be the best defender in the league at both ends of the pitch and the only player with a VAPM over one (1.03). His playing partner, Kurt Zouma continues to play well, coming in at 0.92 and the Blues defense have been improved by the arrival of Edouard Mendy (0.64) in goal. Based on VAPM, he’s the second best keeper behind Martinez, as the pair are separated by 0.3M.
ALL VAPM TEAM
Now, if I had held my wild card until this point in the season, I would give serious consideration to players who have featured in the top part of the VAPM chart, all season long. In fact I built that team for this article with the only deviation being, the absence of Jorginho, since it appears he has lost his starting job, replaced by the aforementioned Ziyech. For the sake of argument, I am also including Callum Wilson, thinking he returns from the IB fit and ready to play. Howver, the most astounding fact is the £9.0 ITB.
Now would there be FPL managers who really pair Patrick Bamford and Ollie Watkins? Well, oddly there are 5% across FPL, but I’m sure many will agree this isn’t a pairing we’ve really considered. It’s much more accepted across the game to have Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harry Kane, owned by 27.9% across FPL.
More interesting when you start comparing the selected VAPM players to those owned by the top 1k (or across FPL). Common players include Martinez, Saiss, Chilwell, Kilman, Grealish, Zaha, Son and Jorginho based on GW8 ownership numbers. These are all players who make my all VAPM team through the same time frame.
It’s been a rather unconventional season, as clean sheets haven’t been all that common, while teams like City and Liverpool continue to struggle at the back. I’ll be honest, I tabbed both teams to pick up 16-17 CS this season, based on the data from the last three years. Could it still happen? Sure, it could as there is a lot of football remaining, but early on it’s been Aston Villa, Southampton and Wolves, all with four clean sheets. City and Pool have combined for just four cleans. Ouch! That’s a lot of budget that’s gone wasted for FPL managers still on these premium players.
While I mentioned Ziyech earlier, there are quite a few midfielders putting in some good showing. Just because I continue to captain him every week, Salah has been rock solid, failing just twice to date. His VAPM is unchanged (0.51) the last two weeks as Liverpool have a strong run out of the break through early February. While I never did get in on Heung-min Son (0.76), Spurs fixtures swing out of the break (MCI/che/ARS), not three games I want attacking assets from, given FDR of a few other teams. One of those teams is Crystal Palace, as Wilf Zaha picked up an assist in GW8, giving him two on the season to go with five goals and VAPM of 0.64., third best among his position. I feel those not on Jack Grealish (or John McGinn) should look at Villa out of the break. Grealish continues to be the top performing VAPM ( 0.89) asset at his position and their run is a “sea of green” through the end of December. McGinn is 1.9M less with a goal and four assists (0.52 VAPM).
Maybe for managers on a wild card this information could tip you over on a player selection. There does seem to be some value in this number when it comes to players who are currently performing. The red and green arrows might be a bit misleading, as long as you keep in mind a top midfielder, over 38 weeks will end up with a VAPM at 0.49, which could potentially top the league. So MANY of these players are still playing well above where they have been in previous seasons. Even picking up an assist, as in the case of Zaha saw him with a small decrease, even though he is still one of the top VAPM midfielders listed. The week to week isn’t as important as remaining consistent when considering VAPM.