Are FPL managers blinded by the jersey?

8:55pm Aug 5 2017

Are we, as Fantasy Premier League managers, guilty of being fooled by the popularity of the jersey a player wears?

As the all-important deadline approaches for FPL managers to submit their final drafts, we now begin to question our own judgement and team selections.

We’ve been chopping and changing our fantasy teams for almost a month now, yet there always feels like something is missing – or someone…

I, @FPLIntel, wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a common trend in FPL teams that I’ve noticed throughout the many years of playing this highly addictive game, and even more so in recent weeks, due to the surge in FPL related discussion on Twitter.

Whilst we focus pour attention on players that seem out-of-place in our teams (Loftus-Cheek/Rangel), should we instead concentrate on those missing from our teams, which we know we should be owning?

This has led to me asking myself and the Fantasy Football Pundits team – “are FPL managers blinded by the jersey?”

Fantasy Premier League managers too often select players because of the Premier League team they play for, and not for their point-scoring ability at a less popular club (outside of the top 6 or 8).

It’s clear in many cases this year alone, as FPL bosses on Twitter, post Rate My Team requests to myself and @FFPundits, which include players that simply do not need to be there.

The one that stands out to me the most right now is Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, who boasts a whopping 15.5% ownership so far in overall FPL teams.

Kante, a defensive-midfielder with little to no attacking threat, managed only 83 points last season, despite playing 34 of Chelsea’s 38 premier league games last season (3138 minutes).

Managers will argue that “he’s only £5.0m, so it doesn’t matter – he’s fine on my bench” but for the same price, or less, there were 8 players that bagged more points than Kante last season, with totals as high as 105 points – e.g Nemanja Matic.

It’s also worth considering downgrading Kante to a £4.5m midfielder to free up an extra £0.5m to spend elsewhere throughout your squad, rather than absorbing the £0.5m, just because he’s a Chelsea player and it looks good on paper.

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Swasea’s Tom Carroll comes to mind as a decent £4.5m midfielder, with a greater point potential than Kante, after averaging 2.9 points per match (PPM) last season, compared to Kante’s 2.4.

Similarly, Ndidi [£5.0m] of Leicester and Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic [£5.0m] had a greater PPM score than Kante last season – both averaging 3.5 and 3.0 points per game.

In similar, but not as extreme cases, Ander Herrera [£5.5m] and Aaron Ramsey [£7.0m] have found themselves in around 4-5% of FPL teams.

As Manchester United and Arsenal players, I believe they’ve been selected by so many of us, due to the jersey they wear on their back and once again, looking good paper.

Although Ramsey’s minutes were limited last season due to injury, we should not ignore his abysmal PPM when fit and actively playing.

Averaging 2.4 PPM, Ramsey sits below 60+ players in the average PPM list from last season.

Each of the above mentioned players (Ndidi, Carroll and Milivojevic) can be picked up for the same price, or less, than Ramsey’s £7.0m price tag – but are they being overlooked because they don’t play for one of the top 6 teams?

Do we, as Fantasy Premier League managers, worry too much about how our peers on social media will react when we post a team with Ndidi or Carroll, instead of Kante and Ramsey?

Do we visually feel satisfied knowing we own big name players, from top 4 teams, even though, deep down, we know these players are almost worthless on FPL?

Looking at the forward options again, I can see a similar trend in squad selections by FPL managers across the board.

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One that surprises me a little is Wayne Rooney [£7.5m], who’s the 4th most selected forward on the Fantasy Premier League game, with an overall TSB of 18%.

There’s no doubt Rooney could bag against Stoke in Everton’s Gameweek 1 fixture, but going forward, he faces 4 of the top 6 in succession, with 3 of those games away from home.

Sure, Rooney was, and still is, a huge household name, who has done marvellous things in a Manchester United jersey over the last decade, but again, is that the deciding factor for us FPL bosses when picking him for our sides this season?

He did very little at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho last season, bagging only 1540 minutes of game time.

Are we picking Rooney this time around because we genuinely think he has the potential to be an FPL beast this season, or, are we blinkered by his name, brand, and of course, his (previous) jersey?

At £7.5m, I personally, would rather invest my cash elsewhere – most probably a cheap sub striker and switch formation if I had to.

I cannot finish this article without commenting on a certain Daniel Sturridge. A Liverpool striker with an impressive 46 goals in 89 games for the club – what could go wrong I hear you ask?

Currently sitting in around 3% of teams, the injury-plagued striker is a major budget waster, costing a damming £8.0m in this year’s FPL, after managing only 3 goals last season, along with a dismal 775 minutes of game-time.

Sure, I’d like to think that many of you would argue that the 3% is largely from auto-pick teams when users re-register for the FPL game – however, many folk on Twitter, last season, occasionally gambled on the Liverpool striker, which didn’t end well on most occasions.

A big club. A big name. A big waste of money. Rant over.

Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips: Are FPL managers blinded by the jersey?’ which was written and produced by @FPLIntel

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