The rate of transfers out for Raheem Sterling over the last few gameweeks of Fantasy Premier League has been alarming and, after another goalless performance from Liverpool, are probably justified. Fantasy Football Scout had a nice member's article last week which showed Sterling’s recent involvement in terms of average position, shots, key passes, etc, had not really diminished from his fine form early season. Our own analysis agreed with this. The chart below shows Sterling’s combined Goal and Assist threat over the season so far; where we’ve combined his key shooting and assist stats with FPL point scoring rules to effectively rate his overall attacking threat.
High quality chances in GW1 and GW3 boosts his early form. Since then, he’s not really had any high quality goal scoring chances and there's a slight but clear downwards trend. Remove the lowpoint of GW10 though and it would appear okay. His overall threat is still good compared to other players too; he’s ranked behind only Sanchez and Di Maria amongst elite mids. The Newcastle game was a real bad one though, more for Liverpool than Sterling individually, but this has to have an impact on Sterling too of course. They really need Sturridge back for Sterling or any of their attacking players to be able to challenge at the top in FPL. Sturridge is scheduled to return after the international break where Liverpool will face Palace, Stoke and Leicester. Not a bad trio of games for Sterling to bounce back.
Talking of Goal and Assist Threat, here’s Alexis Sanchez. BOOM. Talk about explosive. Quite incredible, and it’s reminiscent of Gareth Bale at his best. You have to look back at these last three fixtures and highlight the ease of opposition in Hull, Sunderland and Burnley but, like we said last week, Sanchez has to be odds on to finish the season as the top scoring midfielder in Fantasy Premier League, and perhaps behind only Costa and Aguero for overall points potential.
Alarming Price Drops
Back to Sterling for a moment. His price has dropped by a whopping £0.5M in just two weeks and after the fallout of Liverpool’s loss to Newcastle and Chelsea up next he will probably drop below his initial start price this week. The same happened for Diego Costa who suffered a similar price drop after missing just two games, with only the first of those where he was actually ruled out. There’s a lesson to be learned here about high ownership ownership players – they are at a much bigger risk of a large price drop after a transfer exodus than has been the case in recent seasons. FPL like to tweak and update their price change algorithms each season and in previous years a player would have to lose approximately 10% of his ownership to see a drop. This provides a big cushion for highly owned players. No longer the case it seems. The next player to fall victim of this could be Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Downing to the Rescue
If strictly managing your team value and budget in FPL is your thing then a switch from Sigurdsson to Stewart Downing is to be recommended this week. If aligning your players with those with the best immediate fixtures is your thing, then a switch from Sigurdsson to Stewart Downing looks ideal. If, instead, picking up players in burgeoning form is what rocks your boat then a switch from Sigurdsson to Stewart Downing would be a move to consider. We still love Siggy, and won’t be selling him at this point (we have other priorities first, like Sanchez!), but would happily take Downing over the Icelander for the next 2 games. Longer term we have to say Downing looks perhaps the better value too. Their form is roughly equivalent, but Downing is a fair bit cheaper at £5.8M and with West Ham looking the more upwardly mobile team.
Aguero vs Costa
We’re firm believers that if there’s a Elite Forward available in Fantasy Premier League that can be relied upon for 250+ points then he’s good enough to be your captain 80-90% of the time and all the elite striker you need. A player like Luis Suarez or Robin Van Persie. The single elite striker template always seems to be is the most efficient/optimum one – if you pick the right one that is. At the moment though there’ isn’t clear daylight between leading contenders Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa - but the Argentine seems to be steadily pulling ahead. Aguero has now had almost twice the number of shots (41) in the penalty box compared to Costa (20), in a similar number of minutes, and leads the league in this respect. City’s fixtures haven’t really been easy either. Aguero is looking a strong shout to become this season’s single best player and de facto captain option.