A few weeks ago we looked at what was the optimum team of the season so far based on total points scored. As we noted at the time it was a little unfair on some players who had played fewer games than others and even though scoring well at the time had not accrued enough points to make the team (the most notable absentee was Di Maria). Also, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, so it’s time to update this ‘optimised team’.
For this team we are using ‘Points Per Game’ stat, or PPG for short. This only counts points scored where the player made an appearance. If he was out injured, or suspended, or in another country, then these ‘0’ point games are excluded. Substitute appearances are included and thus reflect possible rotation or gametime issues with a player.
Here’s the team:
We monikered the team we did earlier in the season as a ‘value for money’ team – this one is even more of a poundstretcher, and those extra pounds it seems have been put to the best possible use! The major change to this team compared to the earlier season one in terms of overall structure is the upgrade from Sterling to Angel Di Maria with Ivanovic making way for Janmaat to raise funds (Janmaat - featured in a post last week!). Otherwise the single elite striker structure remains in place, with money spent heavily in defence and broadly across the whole team. There are no uber-budget players here. Instead of 4-5 elite players compensated by 2 or 3 real budget picks the whole team is good. Elite players (>£10M) have to have scored very big points to make the cut.
Flavour of the Month?
Small changes to the team from earlier see Forster replace Lloris for obvious reasons, and Sakho overtake Berahino. Budget strikers like Sakho and Berahino are always, to us, a source of concern in a fantasy football team. We can expect premium players to do well all season, or at least not fall too far from a high standard they set. This is because they are from the best teams who will continue winning games all season. Cheaper players tend to ride small waves when their clubs hit a purple patch, but when they crash they can crash big and not score for several games. It’s a position in any fantasy football team which we feel is most vulnerable to the pitfall of point chasing.
But where's Aguero?
The exclusion of Aguero is simple. He’s so expensive, and unless he blows away all the competition in terms of maximum points potential and can put clear daylight between himself and other captain contenders then he’s simply an expensive luxury. He can certainly do this though, and we wouldn’t want to rely on a combination of Costa and Sanchez as our regular captain picks with Aguero on rivals teams (or perhaps we should?). As the games's most expensive player Aguero's inclusion in your team is a key one. He does have everything going for him to finish as the top player in FPL this season, but without him (and just Costa) you can easily afford players like Baines, Di Maria and Sanchez without too much comprimise elsewhere. Relying on mulitple players to do well is not always a good thing though, and it's not something our 'Team Solver' can understand. Sometimes it will prove better and easier to manage your team if you have all you money singularly invested in the very best player.
This team is unsurprisingly very similar in shape to previous 'End of Season' best teams we’ve done in the past and the team structure we advocated in our pre-season guide and follow with our own FPL team (which you can follow in our free weekly newsletter). The main points to tackle going forward would be whether Southampton can maintain their defensive form through an upcoming testing set of fixtures. This time last year the Saints' defence was also dominating FPL teams but really started to struggled through the busy winter months. The same question needs to be levelled at Pelle going forward. We’ll soon know, we'll think he'll be okay. Sakho’s current form has to be described as ‘unsustainable'.. The question is not whether he can score 5 gaols in his next 5 games, but whether he can score more than direct rivals like Austin and Berahino, and whether his inclusion coupled with, say, Di Maria will continue to be the best bang for you overall buck. We’ll answer some of these key questions and the potential moving forward of all these players in a follow-up post later in the week.