Saïd Benrahma (£6.2m) has scored 24 points in just two gameweeks this season. But is the highest-scoring Fantasy Premier League midfielder a must-own for FPL managers? And can he really keep up this form?
Is Benrahma’s Form Surprising?
Not for some. In fact, plenty of FPL soothsayers had earmarked him as one-to-watch ahead of Gameweek 1.
Their reasoning, it seems, is based around his pre-season performances rather than any 20/21 form. Benrahma’s six assists and one goal in 1376 minutes last campaign is hardly worthy of massive excitement, but two assists and two goals in their final three pre-season games were enough to secure him a Gameweek 1 ownership of just under 10%.
Only so much faith can be placed in numbers alone. Benrahma has the manner of a player who studies the passing requirements for the eye-test like his life depends on it. He aces it every single time. He looks like the sort of FPL asset you want in your team.
The playmaker is the latest in a succession of ex-Brentford players who have excelled in the Premier League. His form might have blindsided over 90% of FPL managers, but a large chunk of the West Ham faithful saw his ascendency as a question of “when”, rather than “if”.
How Good are Benrahma’s 2021/22 Stats?
Let’s turn to Fantasy Football Hub’s OPTA stats tool for this one, shall we?
Benrahma is in the top 15 for both xA (expected assists) and xG (expected goals). His xG of 1.13 puts him fourth amongst midfielders, and head-and-shoulders above anyone around his price-point.
His xA of 0.67, meanwhile, puts him at sixth amongst midfielders. His West Ham colleague, Pablo Fornals (£6.0m), actually has a higher xA of 1.08.
The astute amongst you here will have noticed that Benrahma is over-performing on both fronts. One goal and one assist would’ve been a fairer reflection of his underlying output so far, though even that might’ve flattered his chance-creation. He’s created just one big chance so far.
Benrahma’s three shots on target also flatters his two goals, though his two big chances hints that he isn’t a player to attempt many speculative efforts.
Benrahma also has the biggest delta between his expected FPL points (13.7) and his actual FPL points (24). With that said, he’s still second amongst all midfielders for that metric.
To summarise, then, Benrahma is over-performing on basically every single metric. He has been unsustainably clinical in front of goal and unusually fortunate in creating two assists.
Does Benrahma Have Good Fixtures?
It’s not all bad, though. Benrahma’s fixtures are incredibly good.
If we turn to our trusty fixture ticker, we can see that West Ham are fifth for attacking fixtures. Crystal Palace, Southampton, Brentford, Leeds and Everton in five of their next six bodes well for the Algerian.
This, combined with the potency of West Ham’s attack thus far, spells more goal involvement for the £6.2m midfielder.
Last season’s xG of 60.34 for the East London side was only three short of Man United’s. This exciting, attacking football has become common place at the London Stadium.
With Benrahma’s obvious talent, and his lynch-pin status in the side, it’s highly likely he’ll be involved in more goals over the next six fixtures.
Is Benrahma a Must-own for FPL Managers?
Benrahma’s ownership has nearly doubled in the 24 hours since his second consecutive 12-point haul on Monday night. At 17.6% and rising, the damage he can cause non-owners is far more substantial than it was prior to Gameweek 2.
What makes Benrahma so intriguing is his price. Whilst his 24 FPL points might be flattering, he’s very easy to include in your FPL team. In that regard, the risk of bringing him in is relatively low, and off-sets an ever-increasing risk of being punished for not owning him.
If Benrahma was £10.0m – for example – and serious surgery was required to include him, I’d argue that his underlying stats aren’t strong enough to justify his inclusion.
But at £6.2m, he shows enough promise to be worthy of serious consideration. Some players – Son Heung-min (£10.0m) being a typical example – tend to regularly over-perform their stats, and he seems to have the talent to be one of them.
With strong fixtures, rising ownership and a gifted attacking side around him, FPL managers need to weigh up whether going without him is going to be worth their while.
In my view, it’s probably not.
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