Leicester City FPL options mid-season review: Assets, Injuries and Rotation
After 19 games the Foxes sit third in the Premier League on 38 points, a run of strong performances and an enticing set of fixtures on the horizon have made some of Brendan’s top performers targets for many FPL Managers. Over the last few weeks, I have noticed an increased interest in Leicester City FPL assets and have been receiving a lot of questions myself, the midway point of the campaign seems like a perfect time to explore this further.
James Justin £5M
Let’s start with one of the most frequent questions asked all season “Is Justin nailed?”, Myself and every other Leicester City fan warned of Ricardo’s allegedly imminent return but a few setbacks along the way lead to Justin getting an extended run in the tea. JJ has been a revelation both in real life and as a Fantasy asset. Starting the season at £4.5m Justin is Leicester’s highest scoring defender racking up an impressive 75 points (7th highest scoring defender in the league). In recent weeks Justin has been playing left back which is fantastic news for his owners as this would suggest his performances have cemented his spot in the starting 11 and on current form Justin simply can’t be dropped.
Timothy Castagne £5.7M
Castagne started the season in blistering form with a goal, 3 assists and 2 clean sheets in his first 6 games before being side-lined through injury. The Belgian is now back up and running and currently occupying the right back slot for Rodgers. Although he has not added to his attacking returns Timothy is still flying down the right side on the overlap and will remain involved in the Leicester attack.
Castagne has shown his defensive qualities that were scrutinised by some when joining from Atalanta where he was mainly deployed further forward by keeping a clean sheet in his last 2 against Southampton and Chelsea. He he was proved beyond doubt he has no problem running himself into the ground for the team and doing the dirty work when necessary. Castagne may not be worth investing and extra £0.7m in over Justin but with recent developments suggesting his spot may not be in as much danger as first thought (more about that shortly) Leicester’s summer addition could be quite the differential.
Ricardo Periera £5.9M
Ricardo’s much overdue return to Premier football was the icing on the cake for Leicester City supporters during Tuesday’s win over Chelsea but what really got FPL Manager’s talking was the fact his 15-minute cameo seen Ricky P deployed as a right midfielder. This of course is a very exciting proposition as an out of position defender is always considered fantasy gold but factoring in the ability of Ricardo makes the potential position change even more enticing.
It is worth noting this is not new to the Portuguese international either, Periera made his professional breakthrough playing in an advanced position for Vitoria Guimaraes and also filled in as a winger for Nice and Claude Puel’s Leicester City. Rodger’s also confirmed this was more than a case of getting minutes for Ricardo who is regaining his match fitness and had the following to say when questioned in a recent press conference:
“Yes, absolutely no question. He has that talent. It’s his best work when he’s up there. He’s a different type. You play him there, he’s a dribbler, he can play inside or outside. That’s the strength of Ricky, he can play in a number of different positions.”
At £5.9m an OOP Ricardo is one to keep a close eye on.Embed from Getty Images
With so many options in the full back position it is not worth dwelling on the centre backs for too long. Especially with Soyuncu back in the squad it is hard to predict who the starting partnership will be. Rodgers has said Caglar will need to be patient to get back into the side but last season’s PFA team of the year winner will not want to be sitting on the bench for too long.
Evans is the experienced head in the backline and 20-year-old Wesley Fofana has been nothing short of spectacular since filling in for the inured Turkish international. Soyuncu and Fofana are clearly the long-term plan for Rodgers but right now Evans is needed to keep the youngsters in line and is one of the leaders in a team stacked with young talent.
James Maddison £7.1M
In recent weeks “Madders” has found his form scoring in Leicester’s last 3 games. Maddison appears to be enjoying his football again and has been open about the hard work he has put in on the training pitch and in the video room with “Jack the analyst” to regain his confidence and hit the levels many know he can.
Maddison is a textbook number 10 playing between the lines and picking the ball up from midfield maestro Youri Tielemens, owners can expect to see a lot of Leicester’s play in the final third going through Maddison and his hunger for another England call and success with Leicester City should see him continue to be involved in both scoring and creating goals for his side, especially with him taking the majority of the corners and freekicks (which Leicester have to score fromeventually).Embed from Getty Images
Harvey Barnes £6.8M
All round nice guy and internet sensation Harvey Barnes has become the subject of various memes due to some questionable commentary and a habit of scoring equalisers but amongst this he has quietly been going about his business scoring 10 goals in all competitions. Barnes has the raw ability to be a top-quality winger, he is quick, hard to knock of the ball and loves to run at defenders, bouncing through challenges and putting teams on the back foot.
The question with Barnes coming into this season was around his finishing which many deem to be the missing piece of the puzzle for Harvey who is currently matching his teammate Maddison with 6 goals and 2 assists in the Prem this season. The decision between Maddison and Barnes is a tough one for Managers, there’s only 2 points between them so far (Barnes 80 Maddison 82), they both should play the majority of games and both come in at a similar price but Barnes does have the best Non-penalty xG in the team, an xA only bettered by Youri Tielemans and almost 4 more touches in the box per game than Maddison. If Barnes can continue improving on his composure, he may begin to pull away from Maddison in the goal scoring department.
Elsewhere Albrighton, Tielemans and Ndidi have been vital to Leicester’s success even if they are not prime candidates for a fantasy team. Ndidi is the destroyer, continually breaking down attacks and quickly shifting the ball the Tielemans who commands the midfield with superb vision and a range of passing that can open up the opposition at any moment. Rodger’s describes Albrighton as his “foot soldier” gritty, determined and willing to put his body on the line for the cause, he definitely won’t give his place up without a fight even with Ricardo and Under waiting for their opportunity.
Jamie Vardy £10.1M
As I write this the news that Vardy will be out of action for “a few weeks” while he undergoes a hernia operation has come as a real curveball but as we all have had to do all season I will adapt.
Vardy has not been 100% fit that is obvious, he is dealing with a persistent Hip impingement and this operation will not solve the issue but will at least mask some of the pain. Vardy will of course be a loss for Leicester, his work of the ball this season has been extremely important and although his goals from open play have dropped off Vardy has been delivering from the spot and turning providing for his teammates at crucial moments.
It remains to be seen who will fill in for vardy during his brief absence but after his start up front against Stoke Ayoze Perez may be the preferred option for Rodgers over Iheanacho who the club are allegedly looking to move on in the summer. Leicester’s game against Brentford in the FA cup this weekend may provide clues to who will lead the line for the Foxes in the league.Embed from Getty Images
Leicester have dealt with injuries all season and I believe they will continue to do so, the nice run of fixtures that includes Leeds, Fulham, and Wolves in the next 5 should see the goals continue to flow even without Vardy. For Managers considering brining in a Leicester player or two here are my recommendations.
1st = Harvey Barnes – Vardy’s absence should see a lot more expectation on Barnes to continue scoring.
2nd = James Justin – at £5M and with favourable fixtures Leicester’s marauding fullback should be set to continue his run of clean sheets and provides plenty of value in attack
3rd= James Maddison – Maddison will be vital to Leicester and I have no doubt he will still be amongst the goals going forwards, but he is too close to Barnes in the scoring to justify the extra 0.3m. I still would not discourage any Managers looking to take a punt on the attacking midfielder.