A balanced team in FPL can't have 5 elite midfielders in it, so we’re all searching for value in the lower price brackets, looking for the one player who will provide for us an edge over our rivals. After Ramsey’s exploits last season as he established himself as an elite, goalscoring, box-to-box midfielder but with a starting price of just £5.5m, the search is on to find similar value this season. Here we take a look at the best options in the ‘mid-price’ midfielders and assess their fantasy football credentials.
We'll start with a look at the player's stats using the Goal and Assist Threat metrics that we've been looking at for the elite mids over the last few weeks.
|Player||Apps||Goals||Sh||SoT||Shot Dist.||Goal Threat||Assist||KP||Assist Threat||Overall|
Gylfi Sigurdsson - £6.5m
We won’t talk too much about Gylfi Sigurdsson since if you’re reading this article you probably already know all about him. However, no article on mid-priced midfielders would be complete without the breakthrough star of the early part of the season. The Iceland international moved from Spurs, where he struggled for games, to Swansea this summer in a transfer that saw him begin his second stint at the South Wales club. He has an eye for goal, having already scored at Old Trafford, and is on set pieces (a skill he has refined throughout the years). Also, in his role as the link-man between midfield and attack for the Swans he has shown a real eye for the cutting pass that has seen him pick up four assists in three games, equalled only by Fabregas in Europe’s top 5 leagues. With a goal in midweek against Turkey and a solid run of fixtures until November, can you really afford to not have the most ‘transferred in’ player in the game? We think not
Nathan Dyer - £5.6m
If you’re looking for an alternative to Sigurdsson then the Swansea winger would be a viable option. With three goals to his name already and five bonus points, Dyer has been one of the main beneficiaries of Swansea’s strong start to the season. At a very modest £5.6m, Dyer offers a very real goal threat for a 4th or 5th midfielder since all three of his shots so far this season have resulted in goals. However, with only three shots so far this season, plus no key passes, it could be argued he doesn’t get into these advanced positions often enough to maintain his form, especially if Bony rediscovers his goalscoring form and thus takes the burden of goals away from midfielders. The counter-attack style of football Swansea have played so far this season has worked in Dyer’s favour but be aware that Garry Monk may rotate Dyer with Routledge and new signing Montero for the course of the season, especially if the goals dry up for the in-form winger.
Jordan Henderson - £6m
Jordan Henderson has made a solid start to the campaign and is likely to provide a steady, consistent points flow throughout the season. Henderson is a nailed-on starter at a top 4 team that plays attacking football and would be the safe bet out of all of the mid-priced options. With two assists to his name already, the England international has shown he’s very capable of playing the killer ball going forward and is expected to chip in with the odd goal here and there simply due to the nature and quality of team he’s playing for. If he’s able to add goals to his game on a consistent basis – which is a distinct possibility with the absence of Sturridge and excellent upcoming fixtures – then he’ll be a real fantasy football star but until then, you get what you pay for with Henderson.
Jason Puncheon - £5.9m
Puncheon is Crystal Palace’s most expensive player in the Fantasy Premier League game, and with good reason. After 7 goals and 3 assists in what was ultimately a defensive set up last season under Tony Pulis, Puncheon has started this season strongly from an attacking perspective. His overall points tally is skewed by the red card he received at the end of Palace’s opening game against Arsenal but with a goal and an assist in 178 minutes of action, Puncheon offers a real attacking threat. Since joining the Eagle’s he’s been their most consistent goalscoring threat week-on-week and this looks set to continue under the more attack-minded leadership of Neil Warnock, as seen in the last gameweek as they scored three at St James’ Park. With reasonable fixtures until early November, Puncheon could produce the goods going forward as long as he keeps his place in the team after the return of local hero Wilfried Zaha on loan from Manchester United.
Best of the Rest
There are a number of other options in the mid-price range of midfielders that are worth consideration. Seb Larsson (£5.6m) has started the season very well since he’s already matched last season’s goal tally of 1 and managed to provide an assist that earned a draw against Man Utd. He looks nailed on as a starter for Gus Poyet and with 5 key passes already this term, will be integral to how Sunderland perform this season. Morgan Schneiderlin (£5.6m) has been transferred in this week by over 120,000 managers on the back of his goalscoring exploits away to West Ham in the last gameweek. Prior to his 15-point haul in the last game, he’d only scored 4 points though and this is more likely what to expect from the Southampton midfielder. Both of his goals and all of his shot agaisnt West Ham resulte from set pieces which are often a little random, and in his holding role it’s unlikely he’ll accumulate attacking points consistently this season.
A Bigger Budget?
If you have a little bit extra to spend on your midfield then you’ll be interested in players around the £7.5m mark. These players rarely offer value for money as there are often a few around £6m who are able to score just as many points throughout the season. Remy Cabella (£7.5m) is one who has good underlying statistics so far this season but is yet to translate them into fantasy points. With one assist and no goals, he’s got ten points from three games but has had plenty of shots for a midfielder (5) and has played more key passes than any other mid-priced midfielders (6). He hasn’t hit the target with any of his shots yet, which is something to work on, but with Siem de Jong’s injury he may play a more prominent role in the Newcastle team and is therefore one to watch. Dusan Tadic (£7.5m) is very similar to Cabella in that he has promising underlying statistics, with a better shot accuracy (50%) but only one assist. If Southampton are going to produce the goods going forward, Tadic will be at the centre of it. Finally, and of a slightly different ilk, is Kevin Mirallas (£7.4m). Mirallas poses more of a goal threat due to his high frequency of shots (9 in 3 games) but, at this stage of the season, looks unlikely to pick up many assists with only 1 key pass to date. Looking at the stats these more expensive midfielders have the potential to outscore their cheaper rivals but often fail to do so. However, if a good run of fixtures comes up for them they are certainly worth considering for short-term gains.
If you don’t already have Gylfi Sigurdsson in your team then you probably should have before his price rises any higher. If you’re forced into an alternative, or looking for a 5th midfielder, his team-mate Nathan Dyer should provide good returns but is unlikely to be as consistent in terms of attacking points and is at risk of rotation. Similarly, Jason Puncheon and Seb Larsson offer the chance for a number of points throughout the season but so much is dependent on fixtures for these two since they both play for ‘weaker’ teams in the division. If you’re keen on saving your transfers for the big hitters and don’t want to be messing around with the budget options all season then Jordan Henderson is your man. He’s the risk-free buy in the mid-price range due to his role in a strong Liverpool team, his consistency and the bonus of a secure place in the starting XI. The more expensive mid-price players (£7-8m) only warrant consideration when they are both on form and have favourable fixtures. Otherwise, better value is found elsewhere, allowing significant investment in the elite players of the game.