In this edition of Breaking the Fantasy Premier Leaue Template, @Hibbo_FPL examines Leeds United’s Raphinha compared to alternative FPL options in midfield. 

This article will provide FPL tips to help managers break the template and achieve that desired top 10k finish. All data used is courtesy of the Hub’s OPTA Stats tool.

The Data: Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 12

Despite early-season game-time limitations due to a hip problem and international travel, Raphinha (£6.6m) has displayed talisman-like consistency even though Leeds United have stuttered offensively.

The Brazilian maestro has notched five goals this term, almost equalling his six-goal Premier League debut season despite playing approximately a third of last season’s total minutes.

In terms of underlying numbers, Raphinha ranks amongst all players fourth for shots (35) with the majority coming from outside the area. The underlying numbers would suggest that Raphinha is over-performing his xG (2.71) with the eye-test giving some clues as to sustainability.

Notably, Raphinha ranks first amongst all players for shots outside the box (23) with shots from range generally carrying a low expected goal chance. However, such has been the Brazilian’s technique and shot frequency from distance that he has notched three times from outside the box.

In terms of creativity, Raphinha ranks amongst all players this term joint-seventh for key passes (22) and big chances created (4). While Raphinha has under-performed his creative numbers this can be attributed to the absence of a quality marksman in the Leeds attack with Patrick Bamford (£7.7m) injured.

The effectiveness of Raphinha without Bamford has been questioned however the numbers make for interesting reading. Comparing the Brazilian with Bamford (GW1-5) and without (GW6-11) there has been an uptick in shots (16 to 19), through-balls (1 to 5), and key passes (10 to 12).

In the absence of Bamford, there has been a significant increase in dribbles from Raphinha (22 to 45) and successful dribbles (5 to 23). The dribbles of the Leeds talisman have been largely focussed on the right-wing with particular willingness to penetrate the box.

The Fixtures: Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 12

Leeds rank third worst on Hub’s fixture ticker over the next six with the immediate trip to visit Conte’s Spurs’ appearing a tricky proposition. However, the absence of Christian Romero (£4.9m) with a hamstring injury weakens the Italian’s hand as he seeks to tighten a Spurs defence with four clean sheets this season.

Graham Potter’s high-flying Brighton will provide a stern away test for Leeds in Gameweek 13. The Seagulls rank joint-fourth best in the division for goals conceded (12). Leeds face a Crystal Palace side in Gameweek 14 who have improved defensively under Patrick Vieira, ranking fourth-best in the division this season for expected goals conceded (13.1).

Thomas Frank’s Brentford have impressed defensively this season. They rank second-best for shots conceded in the box (68) and fifth-best for expected goals conceded (13.2). From Gameweek 16 the schedule becomes extremely difficult for Leeds, facing Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool over the following four.

The Alternatives: Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 12

The expected minutes of Diogo Jota (£7.5m) will be boosted in the mid-term with Roberto Firmino (£8.8m) ruled out to mid-December with a hamstring injury. The Portuguese international demonstrates impressive underlying attacking numbers this term, ranking amongst all players joint-third for expected goal involvement (0.9).

Fixtures for Liverpool are particularly juicy over the next six. In fact, they’re first on Hub’s ticker when sorted by attack. An attacking double-up is advisable given Liverpool’s attacking production this term. They’re first for all key goal threat metrics this term, such as expected goals (28.0).

While not a direct swap, Heung-Min Son (£10.3m) provides a route into the Spurs attack ahead of a favourable run when they rank fourth for attack on Hub’s ticker. To enable the move, FPL managers will have to sacrifice the likes of Jamie Vardy (£10.7m) who has misfired, failing to score in his last three.

The South-Korean has been a rare shining light in a poor Spurs attack, providing three double-digit hauls courtesy of four goals and two assists despite their attacking slump.

Phil Foden (£8.3m) provides a cut price route into Manchester City’s attack and lately has been deployed as an out-of-position striker. Over the last four league matches Foden ranks joint-fourth in the division for expected goal involvement (3.2) and has been offered a rare security of minutes of late.

In terms of fixtures, Manchester City rank joint-second on Hub’s ticker over the next six when sorted by attack. Given the number of minutes Foden has played for club and country rotation could strike given the importance of their crunch European tie vs Paris Saint Germain.

Leandro Trossard (£6.5m) has recently been employed as an out-of-position striker for Brighton and assumed responsibility for a spot-kick.  In terms of underlying numbers, over the last four Trossard has demonstrated improved goal threat. He ranks amongst all players third for shots (13) and joint-second for shots on target (7).

As far as fixtures go, Brighton’s immediate fixtures are mixed. They’re joint-ninth on Hub’s ticker when sorted by attack. Their Gameweek 12 opponents Aston Villa will require a bounce following Steven Gerrard’s arrival as manager as they have ranked fifth-worst in the division this term for expected goals conceded (18.0).

Conclusion: Breaking The FPL Template Gameweek 12

Raphinha has assumed the role of talisman in the Leeds United attack and the burden with be shared with Patrick Bamford forecast to return possibly in Gameweek 13. This should improve the Brazilian’s assist potential and multiple routes to points could provide that elusive double-digit haul.

Fixtures for Leeds United turn extremely difficult from Gameweek 16, but in the interim they do not face defensively elite opposition with the exception of Brighton. All things considered, fixtures for Leeds tighten over the next period and a calculated punt on an alternative could provide a points profit.

Diogo Jota, Heung-Min Son, and Phil Foden are all highly desirable options and my preference this week would be for the South-Korean marksman. I feel the Foden could suffer rotation soon and Arsenal shall prove no push-over for Liverpool, therefore Son would be my selection ahead of a tasty run of fixtures.


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