He’s a Premier League winner, Golden Boot winner, scored in 11 consecutive games(Premier League record), PL 100 club member as well as Leicester City talisman.Embed from Getty Images
The list of accolades held by Jamie Vardy is quite remarkable for any striker, even more so when all this was achieved in a 5 season top flight spell with Leicester City.
With such a strong CV you’d think Vardy would be a prime candidate for any fantasy team, but as things stand he’s heading into the 20/21 season as a differential player.
To get a better understanding of why this is the case there a few factors to consider but first let’s take a look at the ownership stats for premium strikers as things stand:
Timo Werner 9.5m 38.7% ownership
Ings 8.5m 24.3% ownership
Jimenez 8.5m 22.3% ownership
Martial* 9m 21.1% ownership
Kane 10.5m 15.6% ownership
Vardy 14.1% ownership
(All ownerships correct at time of writing)Embed from Getty Images
As we can see above Vardy has the lowest ownership for premium strikers apart from Aguero who I have left out due to his injury. This means Vardy owners could have some serious differential potential on their hands.
Of course the other strikers in the bracket are all viable options but the simple fact is Vardy out scored them all in the Premier league last year, obviously Werner is a newbie in a heavily upgraded Chelsea side but 14.1% seems low for a proven goalscorer like Vardy.
So what exactly is putting managers off Vardy? A lot of people will maybe look at his age and be concerned about a drop off but until this happens this is purely speculation.
Last preseason Rodgers announced that Vardy had posted his best ever results in the summer fitness testing, Vardy himself said this was due to his retirement from international football and his late entry to the professional game. With this in mind it seems very unlikely he will be slowing down for at least a few more seasons.Embed from Getty Images
Vardy has adapted his game since Rodgers arrived as well, you won’t see him chasing down lost causes for 90 minutes like the Vardy of old and he has developed into a well rounded centre forward adding 5 assists to his 23 goals in the 19/20, his best tally since the Foxes won the league in 15/16.
Leicester’s poor form in the second half of last season has also been raised as a concern but even after the restart when Leicester were arguably at their worst Vardy hit 4 goals and an assist across 9 games.
This is underpinned by his incredible conversion rate, during the first half of the season when Leicester were at their peak Vardy was ranked the deadliest striker in Europe scoring 39% of his attempts at goal. Vardy finished the season with a 29.1% conversion rate, the best in the league and his 3rd top 5 ranking in 5 seasons.
When it comes to setpieces we all like our premium players to get the nod for penalties which is the case for Vardy who has scored 18 of his 22 penalties in the Premier league (81.8%). But interestingly despite his solid record from the spot Vardy ranked amongst the best forwards in Europe for his non-penalty xG (0.193) and non-penalty goals further emphasising his eye for goal.
The main thing going for Vardy this season has to be his opening fixtures, Leicester have an opening 7 games that consist of WBA, Burnley, Man City, West ham, Villa, Arsenal and Leeds. Assuming Leicester start the season well, as Rodgers teams tend to do, Vardy has one of the best opening runs in the league.Embed from Getty Images
When we break this down further there are some great insights into just how good these fixtures could be:
Vardy has scored 4 in 4 at the Hawthorns in Premier league meetings between the 2 sides.
Despite being Leicester’s toughest fixture on paper Vardy has 8 returns in 11 games against City, a haul that has helped him gain his “fixture proof” status and contributed to his 32 goals in 50 games against the “big 6”, a stat only bettered by big game specialist Sergio Aguero.
Simply put, Vardy loves scoring against Arsenal and has hit 10 goals in 11 appearances against the North London club, the most he has scored against any side in the league.
As a fantasy asset there is a clear pattern of Vardy scoring in streaks, notably scoring for 11 games in a row in 15/16. And an 8 game run that consisted of 11 goals this year.
Some managers may choose to jump on when he starts scoring and this will be easy to do with Werner and kane starting the season 0.5m either side of the Leicester man.
When we take this all into account it is clear that Vardy is one of the most clinical strikers in the league and his favourable opening run could see fpl managers scrambling to get him into their sides if Leicester return to form.