I still have a wild card and I am not sure when I am going to use it, so I have used the international break to investigate where the value is third of the way through the season. Following my preseason investigation (here is the link) into the best way of spending your money from a Points Per Million (PPM) and a true PPM perspective (TPPM) I have re-run some of the charts based on the revised season predicted returns.
For info, the prediction is based on points for the season so far topped up by FF Scouts predicted points up until the midway point of the season. This is then doubled.
True value is the price of the player with the base cost of players in that position being subtracted.
The pre-season summary was this that to optimise the return on investment (ROI) the fantasy team should include the following:
- Your actual budget is actually £31m not £100m. Spending 25% on Salah is a big decision.
- Pick one (or two high ceiling players) to provide captain options.
- Defenders offer much better value than midfield and forwards.
- Pick either Edison or a 4.5m as your keeper and play them in every game.
- Focus the bulk of the budget on your first XI.
- Focus transfers to get 11, fix a weak area, get a good captain.
- Keep faith if your value player is in the starting XI. They will come good over the season, that’s the point in the value game.
With reflection, I think all of this is still true as much now as it was in August. The difference being we have a lot more information available to make an informed decision on where the value is (and many players prices have moved, and most teams have a value above £100m).
So where is the value now?
When comparing the top 25 players in each position (well 15 for GKs) it highlights that as a general trend when using PPM you should spend low for GK’s (although Edison is 3rd for PPM) and big in defence. Across forwards and midfield, it seems there is a level of consistency from budget to big hitting players so where you spend is less important as there are viable options for value across all budget slots.
When applying the TPPM overview it interestingly suggests forwards, then midfield, then defence, then GK is the place to spend your money.
Spending big on forwards is a surprising result so looking at the charts in more detail highlights a number of outliers and this is where we need to focus (with a good idea that there is probably better value than Kane right now).
Who stands out across each position?
PPM highlights Pickford, Patricio, Ryan and Edison as the best 4 options. From a TPPM Pickford is still no 1, with Patricio, Ryan and then Dubruvka making up the last slot. Pickford looks like the place to go but with penalty saves in there I would personally look at one of the cheaper options or Edison.
PPM highlights several good options with Jonny, Doherty and Alonso the picks. There are viable alternatives including Robertson, Laporte, Luiz, TAA and Dunk across the price brackets. When we look at TPPM the value is all in the 4.4m to 5.1m budget. This poses the question as to why is the RAM template has been so popular and are people using it as they should (more on this in the captain options)
PPM highlights Fraser as the standout player in the game. There are then a number of options in the 5.5m to 8m bracket that offer slightly better value than the 4 standout heavy hitters of Hazard, Stirling, Mane and Salah (in that order). But all are viable if this is you measure of value.
TPPM puts a different slant on it with the ~5m players offering much better value than any other group, and almost double the return than the big 4……. We have to think captain options are important so don’t rule them out yet
Whichever way you look at it Jimenez, Ings and Wilson are the standout picks. Aquero is the pick of the heavy hitters and on both scales is slightly better value than a couple of the big 4 midfielders.
So who do we need to captain:
During preseason there was a very clear view on who you need to captain. Interestingly the view has changed a bit, particularly with the top 2 ranked captain options both being full backs, although their ceilings are not as high as others this was very surprising. In fact, so much so that it challenges the long-held view that captaining defenders is madness (I have done it multiple times myself). This is the first time the data has backed up my insanity.
Out of interest, this is preseason captain predictions with the three spurs players being the notable missing people from the current view (those fixtures are changing……)
From a ceiling perspective 5 captain options stand out Salah, Hazard, Aguero, Stirling, Alonso. So no real shock there but we have to consider that Chelsea and Man City have two stand out options each so do we really want to double up on either of those teams?
Conclusion (and how it impacts wildcard thinking)
There is clearly a lot of value out there this season but it’s important to establish if you are a PPM believer, seeing the team budget as ~£100m, or a TPPM where the true budget is closer to £31m. I personally think the value sits somewhere between the two.
If we lean towards PPM approach then the team looks rear guard of Pickford/Edison in goal with Alonso, Robertson, Laporte, Doherty and Jonny is the way to go. If its TPPM then the defence looks a lot more budget with Pickford, Doherty, Jonny, TAA, Kean and Boly/Duffy. This is a huge swing in spend (unless we consider Robertson and Alonso as genuine captain options) with the first group worth £33.4m the second worth £28.4m. What you do with that extra £5m could be crucial. This also assumes we are playing five at the back so realistically swap Jonny (out injured) to AWB or Bennett.
Personally, I do see Robertson and Alonso as viable captain options but of course that means no Salah or Hazard if you truly align to the value game.
Based on the output of above stats my proposed team would look like this.
Ok, this looks so much like the template it’s not true, but the value game backs it up completely so it’s very understandable why it’s this way. If you are ahead and have a wild card this is a safe way of going. If you are chasing, like me, you are going to have to do something a bit different if you want to climb the ranks. I might just go with the budget options or take a gamble on the spurs boys returning to the mean.
Good luck for the Christmas run in and those wild cards!
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