Hub contributor Shaun Thorpe shares his brilliant Sky Fantasy Football tips and 2020/21 analysis. He delves into those players who are slipping under the radar and highlights the best teams to target pre overhaul.
Don’t forget our essential Sky Fantasy Ultimate Guide, written by the very best Sky Fantasy players. This gives you the best Sky Fantasy 2021/22 tips and content to help you become a better Fantasy Football manager and dominate your mini-leagues.
Last Season’s Stats – Sky Fantasy Football Tips
In this article, I’ll be analysing all the corresponding fixtures (where possible from last season) to identify which teams and players are likely to do well in the first three game weeks of the season pre overhaul. It’s about identifying those Sky Fantasy players and teams who will ensure we at a minimum stay with the pack and hopefully give us a slight head start when the real fun starts after the overhaul.
The table above is just a reference point for later in the article when seeing historically how teams fare, interestingly looking at the 2019/20 season, it was the same five teams scoring the most bonus points.
If we start by looking at how teams performed last season in the same fixtures as the first three game weeks at a top level. The table below shows how many players hit tackle and passes bonus over the two games against the opposition, obviously anyone playing a newly promoted team will not have the data, but we can then look at which players for those teams generally did well.
If we go through each team individually we can analyse their overall bonus points as well, which players individually have scored well. A couple of things to mention when I discuss bonus points, in this context I am only taking passes and tackles into account, as these are the more ‘predictable’ bonuses.
Also although it is interesting seeing how the fixtures compare to last year, managerial changes for some clubs could lead to different set ups and styles (Crystal Palace being one potential example) so all worth bearing in mind.
Team by Team Analysis – Sky Fantasy Football Tips
Arsenal – With two games against last season’s Champions League finalists after their opener against Brentford and only scoring 14 bonus points against them, Arsenal would traditionally be an easy avoid.
However the opening fixture on a single game day, the need for a captain has to bring them into the reckoning. From a bonus perspective it looks like Granit Xhaka (£7.5m) is the best and most relied upon option.
Aston Villa – They play two of the promoted teams in the first three with Newcastle finishing off the trio, however last year only two players managed to hit a bonus tier against the Magpies and overall Aston Villa only hit Tier 1 passing 12 times in the season, so unless there has been a major change in philosophy.
A good run of fixtures doesn’t guarantee bonus point returns.
Brighton – Surprisingly Brighton only had one player hit Tier 2 tackles v Burnley to show for the two games against them, but it was the two games against Everton which yielded 20 bonus with Yves Bissouma (£7.5m) mopping up tackles bonus finishing with 8 points, with the rest shared amongst the backline.
Burnley – Put simply only six bonus points in six games, finished bottom of the bonus points table last season with 153 points (for context West Brom in 19th had 182) and only hit Tier 1 passing bonus three times all year! Avoid for the purposes of the team pre overhaul.
Chelsea – Only behind Man City and Liverpool for average bonus points against corresponding opponents last season and only behind the Champions for overall bonus points. I initially wasn’t looking too much at them given games against Arsenal and Liverpool but they just consistently hit the bonus tiers.
Stand outs from last season were Cesar Azpilicueta (£9.3m) and Jorginho (£8.3m) both getting 11 bonus points, and with the Italian looking unlikely to start straight away, ‘Dave’ could be the option.
Crystal Palace – Again another probably to avoid given historical performances, the few bonus points they get are shared around, it could be that Patrick Vieira changes the style but for these three games probably an avoid. Although the West Ham v Crystal Palace games last year warranted 24 points from tackles alone!!
Everton – A team I had my eye on with reasonable fixtures but no real bonus points to talk about from last seasons corresponding fixtures, striking options either injured or shattered from a non stop summer is another avoid. The bonus points they do get tend to be shared amongst the defence.
Leeds – For their first season back in the Premier League ended 6th for most bonus points and they were relatively split amongst the different types. They, over the season, average 7.5 bonus points for tackles and passes yet for the 3 teams they face pre overhaul only managed 4.2, the best option seems to be Luke Ayling (£7.8m) who bagged 8 points.
Leicester – A team who I think go under the radar for bonus points but they finished 4th last year and with an opening run of Wolves, West Ham and Norwich should definitely come into consideration again. Averaged the most points per game other than Manchester City with the Youri Tielemans (£8.7m) coming out on top with 10 points closely followed by Caglar Soyuncu (£8.2m) with eight points.
Other centre backs also scored which is where I think as a short term punt Daniel Amartey (£5.7m) could be a great budget enabler with options at a minimum due to injuries.
Liverpool – Third on both last season’s bonus table and also average for their pre overhaul opponents. The bonus points traditionally come down the spine of the team, but with uncertainty defensively as who will play where it could prove savvy to stick with either Thiago (£8.3m) or Fabinho (£8.1m) they scored 11 and eight bonus points respectively in the four corresponding games.
Manchester City – What can you say, absolute bonus magnets defensively and if you can pick a player who will start all three, he is the way to go. It was Rodri (£8.7m) with 11 points, Ruben Dias (£10.6m) eight points and Joao Cancelo (£9.5m) with eight points who were the best picks.
Manchester United – They performed reasonably well in the bonus stakes, however one of the oddest quirks that in these six games it was Fred (£7.6m) who scored 13 points, the joint most of any player. Again with uncertainty regarding line up no real passes/tackles bonus players stand out but if you have Bruno Fernandes (£11.8m) do you need anyone else?
Newcastle – What can we say about Newcastle ……. they are slightly better than Burnley.
Southampton – This was probably the most surprising team sifting through all the data as they came fifth on average points against the opposition. They come up against two teams with the same manager and a 3rd who will probably set his team up more defensively minded so should play into their hands.
The central midfield duo of Oriol Romeu (£7.7m) and James Ward-Prowse (£8.6m) scored 13 and 10 points respectively and I think in particular Romeu was a massive miss once he was injured last season and could be a solid returner.
Tottenham Hotspur – They scored 21 points against their first two opponents and over half of them (11) were scored by Pierre-Emile Hojberg, the sort of player who does a bit of everything and one for serious consideration to keep things ticking over.
West Ham – A team who actually don’t do well for bonus points in general, Tomas Soucek (£8.2m) scored 36 bonus points last season (15 shots, 5 passes, 16 tackles) and the next best was Declan Rice on 18. I don’t think you are buying an asset for the bonus it is either goal scoring (Antonio) or defensively (Coufal).
Wolves – Another that didn’t score many bonus points in the corresponding fixtures but another team that had 1 player score nearly half of the 27 they did score and that is Ruben Neves (£8m) and not only does he do well on tackles and passes but also loves a shot and could be on penalties, one that I hadn’t considered but now can’t shake.
Obviously we have no information on the promoted teams, but with just three games needed to be covered I would say it is he perfect opportunity just to watch them to see how they go, the obvious caveat to that needing a captain for the Brentford v Arsenal game on the opening evening.
The table above shows which teams were the best for gaining bonus points against. So for example Newcastle gave up the most passes over 55 alongside Crystal Palace last season, meaning that those players with traditionally good records for passing bonus would likely to do well in the game against this opposition.
Interesting things to note from the above data is Leeds only allowed 6 players to hit passing bonus last season and another three who made at least 55.
Fixture Analysis – Sky Fantasy Football Tips
The tables below shows the opening three fixtures for each team ranked in difficulty according to the Fantasy Football Hub Fixture Ticker.
In general for most formats of Fantasy Football, the top four teams are being discussed as having good opening fixtures, but as discussed above none tend to do that well on passes and tackles bonus.
You would really be picking any player for their attacking potential or to cover captaincy. So I think in such a short format pre overhaul fixtures to an extent aren’t as important as they will be post overhaul, it is more about who will hit those bonus points and likely to have goal involvement.
Player Shortlist and Team Reveal – Sky Fantasy Football Tips
I have managed to whittle down the shortlist to 50 players with them being a mixture of bonus magnets, likely to do well attacking from the first three games or ideally both.
For my goalkeeper picks I think it is going to come down to either David Raya (£6.3m) for captaincy purposes, Robert Sanchez (£6.5m) who has a good chance of clean sheets and Emiliano Martinez (£7.2m) for clean sheet potential as well as save bonus points as well.
Defensively, Cesar Azpilicueta (£9.3m) and Ruben Dias (£10.6m) are locks in my teams and it will just be one or two from the rest of the list. Cancelo, Dunk, Soyuncu and Alexander Arnold are looking the likeliest but I wouldn’t rule out Daniel Amartey (£5.7m) and Konstantinos Tsimikas (£6.6m) as two budget enablers for the rest of the team.
Midfield and I think I am sure that I will be picking Bruno Fernandes (£11.8m) in one team and leaving him out of the other, I think it is a risk I am willing to take for three games. The rest of the midfield is likely to be a mixture of bonus point magnets in Hojberg, Romeu, Tielemans etc with potentially attacking punts on Riyad Mahrez (£9.8m) or Raphinha (£8.3m).
Upfront Mo Salah (£11.9m) is a lock in both teams for me, Ivan Toney (£7.9m) and Michail Antonio (£8.8m) both could make their way in due to captaincy requirements and then any off the other options listed above could also join them.
Should enable all captaincies to be covered, hopefully no transfers will be needed and we can reassess our teams at overhaul with 3 weeks of data to pour over.
Where can I get more Sky Fantasy Football Tips?
Our essential Sky Fantasy Ultimate Guide, written by the very best Sky Fantasy players, gives you the best Sky Fantasy 2021/22 tips and content to help you become a better Fantasy Football manager and dominate your mini-leagues.
Check out our Fantasy Premier League 2021/22 Ultimate Guide
Our Ultimate FPL 2021/22 Guide has everything you could ever need to be a successful FPL manager including guides, team previews, player picks, strategy articles, tools, stats, expert team reveals and much much more…
Become a Fantasy Football Hub member