*please read part one if you haven’t done so first. https://jumpersforgoalposts.info/2020/09/24/haul-marks-adventures-in-big-fpl-scores/
In the first part of this article we defined a Return (5 or more FPL points in a gameweek) and a Haul (10 or more). In this second part we look at how those measures help to define the FPL’s best of the best and who might join that select band this season at the top of the fantasy scoring charts.
What profile of Returns and Hauls makes a top FPL asset?
Let’s look at last season’s top 8 FPL points scorers, or, if you will, “The 200+ Club”.
A trio of traits defines this top tier. The primary characteristic is:
A) Returns in at least 50% of appearances
Two other markers work in tandem with that
B) Hauls in at least 15% of appearances
C) Playing at least 2600 minutes (or 76% of the time available, maximum 3420)
We discussed HaulMeister Kevin De Bruyne in part I and half the gap between him and Mo Salah can be accounted for by bonus points. Salah and Mané were almost identical for Hauls and Returns (and goals, assists and bonus). Mané even made 2 more appearances, but the difference that split them was minutes (2879 v 2745). “There is no Mo or Sadio – there is only Liverpool Talisman With Fewer Cameos”. And if that isn’t Trent Alexander-Arnold right alongside them. 21 Returns and 8 Hauls, just like Mané. Only a lot cheaper.
Minutes also feature strongly for Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who enjoyed the third and fourth most amongst strikers. They play, they stay, they typically repay. What you’re paying a premium for there is SGC (Sheer. Grinding. Certainty.) Lastly, a pair of midfielders: Martial (who fits the template above) and Sterling who… doesn’t… quite. His Returns are a smidge light at 48%, but what balances it up is the majestic 9 Hauls at almost double the minimum required rate.Embed from Getty Images
The tier of assets below this top group shows the importance to elite FPL player value of ticking all the A, B and C boxes (or very nearly, Raheem):
Players at this second level normally fell a fair bit short in at least one of Returns (Willian, Pope, Doherty, Richarlison), Hauls (Ings, Jimenez, Robertson, Van Dijk) or just plain playing time (Mahrez, Son).
And then there’s surprise bonus characteristic D – being classified as a striker instead of a midfielder (Rashford). Take Rashford and Martial’s totals (177/200), switch their STR/MID classifications as FPL has just done (“The Marc/Anthony Effect”), and, hey presto!, they have changed places (199/175)! It’s like that Spiderman meme, only one of them is wearing a hat. Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane are out the back trying on the costumes as we speak.
Look, I came to this article because I’m in a Wildcard Spiral and I need some pointers as to who might be poised to take the FPL World by storm. Any chance?
Right you are. Which players are poised to move up into these higher echelons this season? Shall we start with the Obveeus Krew?
As mentioned in part I, if Bruno Fernandes keeps going at last season’s rate he will leave everybody in his dust and may even threaten to lap Jack Cork. Even if he comes off the boil a bit chances are he’ll compile the double century. Already tearing up the South Coast and threatening to run riot across the land, Kane and Son might well join him on 200+ if they can just stop getting injured / being sent off / receiving call ups to national service. And a mishap-free Hugo Lloris could be North London’s answer to Nick Pope.
More surprisingly, Tammy Abraham, generally considered to have had an indifferent season, finished with 14 returns (41%) and 5 hauls (bettered only by Vardy and Aubameyang up front). His own pitch time might diminish in the flood of new arrivals, but the numbers show what a Regular Chelsea Striker (hello, Timo) might be able to achieve. In the backline, team mate Marcos Alonso reminded us last season with 10 Returns and 4 Hauls in only 18 appearances, that he is capable of top level numbers if he gets a run of games and is allowed to roam forward. Reece James and his rocket firing boots might have an eye on that, too.
The Curious Case of the Arrested Cityzens
We’ve already seen why De Bruyne and Sterling command big-hitter prices, but last season no fewer than five other Manchester City players Returned in at least 42% of their appearances and Hauled in at least 10%. And one of them was a defender (Kyle Walker).
The real eye-opener was Riyad Mahrez. 15 Returns and 6 Hauls are pretty good on their own, but to get them in only 1934 minutes suggests there’s room for plenty more than the 175 points the Algerian racked up last term. And David Silva’s 1821 minutes have got to go somewhere.Embed from Getty Images
The question is, will the vast majority go to Phil Foden instead? He collected 3 Returns and 2 Hauls in 888 very scattered minutes, so it’s a bit difficult to judge his true potential, even though the signs are promising. And here’s a thing – last season Mahrez, the Silvas and Gundogan all received pretty much bang on 2000 minutes each. It’s like that’s the quota for a rotating City midfielder. So maybe Mahrez has already peaked. And maybe Foden is poised to become the heir to David Silva’s 11 Returns and 7 Hauls. Up front, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus played almost exactly a season between them with a near identical return rate (48%/45%) though Aguero had the edge in Haul rate (17%/12%). The question again will be working out where the minutes will go.
Any thoughts on the FPLs current big transfer targets?
Of the roughly 20 heavily owned players not mentioned so far, the most reliably likely to take a jump to the next level would seem to be Everton’s Digne, given the Toffees’ sprightly start to the season and his already useful stats from their lacklustre campaign last time out. Some others might join him if they adapt well to new circumstances or surroundings. Can a recovered Pulisic get more than 1 solitary Haul from 25 games amongst Chelsea’s expensive new recruits? Will Doherty be able to reproduce his excellent Wolves numbers at White Hart Lane? Can Lacazette get more minutes in the heart of Arsenal’s attack (2/2 Returns so far)? Will Michail Antonio stay up front for the Hammers and can Harvey Barnes become more pivotal to Leicester’s plans?Embed from Getty Images
Others here look like they’ve already told us who they are. Grealish, Traoré and Mount should return solid value and the occasional big week for their prices, but this is probably what you get, which on the page might be a bit less exciting than you imagined when watching them on the pitch. For those just breaking through, we don’t really have enough minutes yet to draw reliable conclusions, but the two who stand out in terms of points per minute are Greenwood, who could get Rashford and Martial numbers, and Podence who, even with increased game time is unlikely to significantly outshine what Traoré is already providing, though two returns out of two so far and friendly upcoming fixtures certainly gets your attention.
Early days, but what might we guess about some of the new boys?
Kai Havertz doesn’t seem to have settled yet, but Abraham’s 5 Hauls show what could be waiting for Timo Werner if he can play regularly in Chelsea’s centre instead of out wider. Elsewhere, we can see from the Haul and Return stats in general that over the whole season even Kevin de Bruyne is going to return a bunch of blanks. Any player who has a pair so far is not lost. Anybody who’s managed to string two returns together, though, is worth a closer look if you can catch their live games. Several candidates have fixtures this weekend that should tell us a lot more about whether or not they can be trusted with a transfer. So far that list includes names like Castagne, Keane, Mitchell, Costa, Klich, Townsend, Trossard, Praet and Bamford. One of them could even be the new HaulMeister. Watch out KDB.