Is Radamel Falcao a game changer in Fantasy Premier League?

Career Stats

Last week we took a look at Di Maria’s career stats. It’s only we fair we start with Falcao’s. 

Season Club Played G A YC RC Est. Pts PPG
2013/14 Monaco 16 9 0 5 0 82 5.1
2012/13 At Madrid 34 28 1 7 0 218 6.4
2011/12 At Madrid 33 24 3 7 0 202 6.1
2010/11 Porto 26 25 3 5 0 191 7.3
  TOTAL 109 86 7 24 0 693 6.4

He’s obviously a massively prolific goalscorer with a phenomenal return of 89 goals in 109 appearances over the last 4 seasons (0.8 goals per game). In order to simulate his fantasy potential we’ve estimated his points and points per game (PPG) asedon previosu seasons, awarding a single bonus points per goal scored and 0 BP for an assist. This places Falcao with an expected points total of around 200-220 points if he could replicate his career form of 6.4PPG playing the remaining 33 games this season. He'd certaily need to score over 20 goals.

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE: A bit more digging around has revealed Falcao's role as chief penalty taker for Atletico Madrid and Monaco has buffered his goal tally a lot - by 25%. A lot. With penalties excluded he's goal tally is more approx. 0.55 per game. Still very good, but not as good as we first thoguh.

Maximum Potential

6.4 PPG is very good!  Make no bones about it, only a handful of players will average above 6 PPG across a FPL season, and he could score more depending how the bonus points fall. However, this is not as good as the very top strikers have been in Fantasy Premier League in recent seasons, and this is because of a lack of an extra 30-50 points from assists which the likes of Suarez and Van Persie regularly picked up in their table topping seasons (scoring > 7 PPG). We looked at the Hallmarks of Fantasy Legends in a post during pre-season and saw a typical 250 point forward would score around 25 goals as well as 15 or so assists.  

Looking at Falcao’s career stats you can see assists aren’t really his thing, it’s all about goals. Falcao is going to have to maintain his staggering 0.80 goals per game rate to keep up with the kind of pace that will see him become essential in FPL; and this is not something he’ll do unless he takes penalties AND Manchester United really find some form, and fast. This puts a a real downer on Falcao as a player who could achieve a truly magnificent points total and prove a direct rival for the likes of Sturridge, Costa and Aguero in your team and a potential de facto captain option.

How Will United Lineup with Falcao?

How Louis Van Gaal sets up his top-heavy squad remains to be seen but Falcao is an out and out striker and we don’t doubt his security of starts or positioning as a central striker. One possibility is that Rooney drops a bit deeper as the number 10 (possibly displacing Juan Mata) but there’s also rumour that Van Persie has been carrying an injury over summer and is struggling to regain full fitness and may need an operation. If so, it makes the signing of Falcao much more plausible when many pundits are pointing to the need for reinforcements in defence and midfield rather than up-front.

Gut Feeling

Falcao is going to be an extremely popular signing for GW4 and people will sell Rooney and Sturridge to get him in. At time of writing almost 5000 people have bought Falcao already. 5000 have sold Rooney. 1000 have sold Sturridge. Wayne Rooney could well see a price drop in the next day or two. 

Going with Falcao for the immediate fixtures (home against QPR, away at Leicester, and then another home game with West Ham) looks a sound option. Man United’s form has been dodgy so far of course, but with a home game against QPR up next it just feels like the script is written for a explosive start for Falcao and a massive FPL bandwagon.

At the moment we’ve pencilled in Falcao in our own FPL team for GW4. As a new player his price is protected and so won’t change from £11M until the next deadline has passed. We’ll be keeping an eye on any news about Van Persie’s fitness before we confirm the transfer and there’s obviously a lot of international action first to asses and potential injuries, etc.

Long-term, however, we’re going to keep our options open. We don’t think, at this point, that Falcao can truly match the potential of Costa and Aguero, mainly because we expect Chelsea and City to challenge for the title and score more goals than United, but we're tempted to give Falcao the chance to get off to a flier. It just feels right. 

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