ONE BIG STAT – Gameweek 11

We here at One Big Stat would like to wish you and yours a very Happy Lundstram Solstice! May the light of this holiday season shine bright, may your blades be ever sharp, and may your arrows shoot green and straight and directly into the eyeballs of your opponents.

Need to do some last-minute FPL shopping for gameweek 12? Here are some ideas to help you panic-buy:

Bournemouth vs Manchester United

Marcus Rashford (£8.5) & Anthony Martial (£7.7) – 2 combined shots

Given the weirdness of this season so far, nothing could be more on-brand than Marcus Rashford & Anthony Martial serving up such a turdburger vs Bournemouth. After they flushed the Canaries with their 10-shot, 2-goal, FPL-price-rising performances, of course they take 2 total shots and get nothing vs the Cherries. What a difference not playing Norwich makes, I guess. With Brighton and Aston Villa visiting Old Trafford in two of the next three matches, buying Marcus and/or Tony isn’t the worst idea. You won’t want them for United’s inevitable 1-0 loss at Bramhall Lane in two weeks, however, so buy cautiously.

Arsenal vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Diogo Jota (£6.1) – all-around goodness

While it’s Raul Jiménez (£7.3) who has all the form in the past four weeks, it would be very lazy and boring to talk about him again. So let’s unboringly focus on Diogo Jota, who was very not lazy against Arsenal: 16 total touches in the penalty area, including all 5 of his shots, and 4 key passes (tied with the super-creative João Moutinho). Now that’s the dynamic Diogo Jota we saw in the 2nd half of last season. Too bad his last (and only) goal was six weeks ago, and the masses certainly won’t think of buying him until he gets at least one more attacking return. However, as we discussed on our podcast a few weeks ago, Diogo J. is one of the players who we think can bounce back, especially with a fairly favorable* upcoming schedule: Aston Villa, at Bournemouth, Sheffield, and West Ham.

*Ignore the fact that Wolves are the worst home side in both shots (44) and shots on target (11) this season. Bask in the warmth of knowing that whilst on the road the Villans, Cherries, and Hammers are all in the bottom ten of both shots allowed and shots on target allowed.

Aston Villa vs Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk (£6.4) – the most owned defender, but why?

I’ll ask again: why is Virgil van Dijk still, this very day, November the eighth in the year two thousand and nineteen, the most owned defender in FPL? 41.3% of FPL accounts are inactive? Virgil is personally threatening bodily harm against his current owners if they sell? “GOAL THREAT!” a VVD owner screams, then slips on a banana peel and lands head-first in a toilet bowl. He is currently ranked 18th overall in FPL’s threat rating. Gary Cahill is more of a goal threat this season. “LIVERPOOL DEFENSE!” another screams, tripping over his untied shoelace and landing face first in a full plate of spaghetti. West Ham, Bournemouth, and Newcastle have more clean sheets than Liverpool has this season. I’m sure the Virgil ownership strategy accounted for the lack of clean sheets. We all know that Virgil is one of the world’s best defenders. That doesn’t mean you should own him in FPL.

Brighton vs Norwich City

Leandro Trossard (£5.8) – 31 minutes

Following the win against the Canaries, Graham Potter said of Leandro Trossard, “That’s why it is nice to have Leo coming on, as someone who can make a difference in the final third when the game becomes a bit more stretched.” On one hand, he’s still getting back up to speed following a multi-week injury. On the other hand, shut up, Graham Potter! Play Leandro for more than 31 minutes, you big dope! In fairness, Brighton is entering an important bunch of matches, and they’ll need their game changer to be fully fit. However, if preservation was the point here, it might be an even smarter move to buy Trossard now, despite the “tough” schedule. He’s proven his ability in tough matches already, and other than away to Liverpool in three weeks, the other “red” matchups in the next four weeks are not all that terrible (Man. United, Leicester, and Arsenal).

Manchester City vs Southampton

City players supplied SIXTY-TWO CROSSES

From an FPL perspective, all that really happened between City and the Southampton is that you were disappointed in Raheem Sterling (£12.1), Kevin De Bruyne (£10.2), David Silva’s (£7.7) thigh, or Benjamin Mendy’s (£6.0) zero minutes. However, I just want to highlight that City players had 62 crosses in this match. KDB and Angeliño (£4.7) had 35 of them. Wow, huh? You can’t really do anything with this information. And that’s fine, because sometimes it’s just nice to do nothing.

Sheffield United vs Burnley

Bonus! Several observations!

John Lundstram (£4.8) kicked two goals in! Really though, if you didn’t own him before this week, what were you doing?

Boy, did Burnley miss Chris Wood (£6.2) – 0 shots on target, and they produced nothing particularly troubling for Dean Henderson. Boy, does West Ham hope that Chris Wood sits again this week – he has scored 5 goals in the last four matches vs the Hammers.

Erik Pieters (£4.7) was replaced by Charlie Taylor (£4.2) at the half, and based on the Clarets’ second half improvements vs Sheffield, that’s a change we should all want to see. Sean Dyche said of his squad, "I mentioned to the players before the game how tight it was for decisions as to who plays. Well that throws it all back into the mix.” Pieters has been shaky a few times this season, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see last season’s first choice (Taylor) back in the starting lineup this week vs Hammers.

West Ham vs Newcastle

Robert Snodgrass (£5.2) – 14 crosses & 5 key passes

Two straight starts and two straight goals for Robert Snodgrass, whom Manuel Pellegrini showered with the kind of praise that would make just about any guy blush: “very useful player” and “one of the players who arrive in the box.” Cripes, what’s next, Manuel? Asking him to go on family vacations together? What he did do, in addition to his goal, was be the most creative player on the pitch, supplying 14 crosses and creating 5 chances. That’s 31 total crosses in the last two weeks, which is, as they say in many other parts of the world, “a crapload of crosses.” With West Ham’s overall dip in performance in the last five matches, just about anything with them is tough to trust right now. But Snodgrass is cheap, and he could be just the guy you need as a fourth or fifth FPL midfielder, a useful fill-in or enabler to free up funds for improvements elsewhere in your squad.

Watford vs Chelsea

Mason Mount (£6.9) – 4 penalty area touches

I’m not going to harp on this every week, but I will at least pluck a string or two: Mason Mount just isn’t as active in the box as I’d like to see. He finished with 4 touches vs Watford. By comparison, Christian Pulisic (£7.3) had 6, and Willian (£7.1) had 7. Mount’s 5 shots were the most of any player in the match, and you like that 3 of them were on target, but it’s not ideal that he took 4 of them outside the box. While it appears that he’s mostly recovered from the ankle injury he sustained midweek, there’s clearly still a chance he could be rested vs Crystal Palace on Saturday. Given the other options available in his price range, I certain wouldn’t fault anyone for selling him, at least until after the international break.

Crystal Palace vs Leicester City

Youri Tielemans (£6.6) & Ayoze Pérez (£6.1) – 1 shot combined

I was afraid of this exact thing last week, and if my fears are coming true, I am now terrified that my worst fear will be realized: that Count Chocula will, yet again, see an overall reduction in the number of marshmallows per serving. Will I ever find rest in this cursed land? Tielemans took the lone shot of this pair, and it also happened to be the only touch he had in the penalty area. Ayoze attempted no shots, though he was a bit more active in the box (6 touches). This is much more consistent with their numbers in “regular” matches this season, that is, matches in which Leicester’s opponent has all 11 players on the field. Yes, their prices are great, and the Foxes’ schedule remains nice, but I’m still wary of these two and would prefer to put those funds toward players with a little more statistical volume.

Everton vs Tottenham

Nothing to see here

I suppose Sonny (£9.6) and Dele (£8.4) did fine enough, and Lucas Digne (£5.9) bailed his owners out with an assist. But other than that, what did you see in this match that makes you feel good about either of these sides? We all know how good Son is, and it’s nice that his red card was overturned. But at his price, it still seems wasteful to own him in FPL as long as Spurs remain in this kind of league funk. If you feel like rolling the biggest dice in the history of mankind, maybe you’ll take a chance on Dele in hopes that he’s regaining his long-lost form. These two clubs feel like they’re in very similar places right now, and I just don’t think I want the headache of owning players from either of them.

That’ll do it for this week. Be sure to set that lineup today (Friday), and good luck in gameweek 12!

ONE BIG STAT! – Gameweek 10

Just when you thought it was safe to hide in shame in your dimly-lit, FPL basement...

From out of the shadows, here comes One Big Stat! To scare you? Heck no! It’s here to let you know that everything is going to be ok this week, but making it very uncomfortable by gently brushing your sideburns with its hoof while it does so. Gameweek 10 was full of the usual garbage, but let’s sift through it anyway to see if there’s anything we can repurpose and sell on eBay, shall we?

Southampton vs Leicester City

Ayoze Perez (£6.1) – 7 shots

It’s hard to have any takeaways from such a historical beatdown, but it’s also pretty difficult ignore the Foxes right now. While over 130,000 managers collectively pounce on Ayoze Perez, just a word of caution if you haven’t bought him yet: While it’s easy to love his match-leading 7 shots (and his hat trick), this was the first time since week 2 that he had more than 2 shots in a match. Every other match in between, his shot total was either 1 or 0. Is his price good? Yes, especially if we’re about to see summer-form Ayoze. However, I am hesitant to buy him in FPL based on the abnormality of this match, and based on his shot totals and minutes this season. (I have similar hesitations about Youri Tielemans that I talked about on our podcast, so it’s nice to know that I could look like an idiot about two different players in two different formats pretty soon!)

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

John McGinn (£5.8) – 1 woodwork shot

I get it: Jack Grealish was raking in the FPL points, McGinn has blanked a few times, and the Villa schedule isn’t great anyway. Still, I think it’s presumptuous for everyone to be selling John McGinn so much (over 100k transfers out in the past two weeks). He’s still tied for 2nd overall (with Firmino and Sterling!) with 32 shots, and he’s 4th in shots on target. Plus, think about his last two weeks: he was a VAR-ruling away from an assist two weeks ago, and he hit the post this week vs City. His attacking numbers are good, even if his FPL numbers have dipped. Keep the faith.

Brighton vs Everton

Leandro Trossard (£5.8) – 6 penalty area touches

Part of me wants to use this segment to give Lucas Digne the traditional French FPL farewell: “Èff ôff de mon FPL groupe!” Instead, in the spirit of positivity and brotherhood, I’ll take this time to say in plain, beautiful English, “Welcome back, dude!” to Leandro Trossard. It took just 25 minutes for Brighton fans to be reminded what they missed for the last 5 weeks. He finished with 6 touches in the penalty area, including the FPL assist for the cross that Digne own-goaled. With a decent run of upcoming matches (Norwich, Man. United, and Leicester), Trossard could be a huge differential thanks to his 0.2% ownership.

Watford vs Bournemouth

Diego Rico (£4.2) & Ryan Fraser (£7.0) – lots of good things

If you thought the Cherries’ clean sheet vs Norwich was unlikely, then what do you call the result vs Watford? Four or more goals in five of the last six between these two? Sure, zero goals sounds exactly right! Even without goals, we saw more positives from Diego Rico and Ryan Fraser. TWENTY crosses supplied by the two of them (9 & 11, respectively), Rico’s half-volley was oh so close to perfect, and Fraser was unlucky not to finish with at least an assist (on Steve Cook’s header off the post). I’ve been skeptical that Rico could keep his spot especially with Lloyd Kelly lurking in the background, but he’s proven to be an excellent asset so far this season. Plus, at just £4.2, his 12.8% ownership seems ridiculously low. Fraser is a bit trickier because of the endless number of midfield options at or below his price. However, if he finds form anything like what we saw last season, his now-reduced price will put him back in plenty of FPL lineups. He’s not there yet, but he’s definitely worth watching closely this weekend.

West Ham vs Sheffield

Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.0) – 3 key passes

Yet another shout from this article for Andriy the Giant, who not only led all players in the match with 3 shots, but he also finished as the most creative player with 3 key passes. As we said on our podcast this week, Yarmolenko has quickly become the most important West Ham player for FPL purposes, and he’s making a case for himself in real-life football as well. His 6 big chances created is not only the most of any Hammer, it’s the 5th most of anyone in the Premier League. Their upcoming run of matches may look intimidating based on FPL’s idiotic color-coded matchup system, but look closer at their next four opponents: those defenses (Newcastle, Burnley, Spurs, and Chelsea) scare no one, least of all Andriy.

Burnley vs Chelsea

Willian (£7.0) – 12 fantasy points

Just a quick note that Willian is the second most in-form player in FPL, bested only by Jamie Vardy. Another quick note: he is only the 6th most selected Chelsea midfielder, with just 2.3% total ownership. Another note I just thought of: based on his usage and form in the past six weeks, he is in no apparent danger of rotation, unlike some of the other Chelsea midfielders. Last note: Chelsea face Watford this weekend, a fixture that has not seen fewer than 3 goals since Feb. 2016.

Newcastle vs Wolves

Jamaal Lascelles (£4.4) – he costs £4.4

Be honest: you’re not buying anyone from either of these clubs except Raul Jimenez. Or are you?? Go look at Newcastle’s upcoming schedule and be even more honest: it’s not too bad. If anyone from Newcastle has a shot at getting you FPL points, it’s Jamaal Lascelles. Besides, it’s Newcastle. What could possibly go wrong?

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3) – shots & penalty area touches

Just one match for Alexandre Lacazette, and I already want to own him more than Aubameyang. Of course, we could be seeing more of the home/away, Jekyll/Hyde Lacazette we saw last season, but his numbers were excellent against Palace: 8 touches in the penalty area, including 4 of his 5 shots, 2 shots on target, and 1 assist. His return is what Aubameyang owners feared: P-E finished with just 2 touches in the box and just 2 off-target shots from outside the box. With all the turmoil they have to sort out, the return of Lacazette is one of the few positives the Gunners have right now and gives them a much needed boost heading into a couple of tough matches in the next two weeks (vs Wolves & Leicester).

Liverpool vs Tottenham

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2) – 7 key passes

Other than Paulo Gazzaniga standing on his head, I don’t know that anything happened in this match to change many FPL manager’s minds. You got attacking returns from actual attackers, and you got nothing from any of the defensive players that matter. Hey, sometimes that happens. So, let’s just marvel for a moment atTrent Alexander-Arnold’s very good, unlucky day. He finished with 7 key passes in the match, giving him 38 for the season, which is now the most of any player in the league. Sorry, Kevin De Bruyne, not only has your team clearly already lost the Premier League title to Liverpool, but now you’ve also lost your fancy shmancy creativity title. I sure hope all the FPL managers who have sold TAA in the past two weeks won’t regret their very idiotic decision...

Norwich City vs Manchester United

Anthony Martial (£9.3) & Marcus Rashford (£9.3) – 8 combined shots on target

Who missed their attacking buddy more: Aubameyang missing Lacazette, or Marcus Rashford missing Anthony Martial? Let’s just say it was Rashford so I can wrap this up. They shot the ball a lot: 10 shots combined, and they put 8 of those shots on target. (For comparison, United had 9 shots on target total in the previous 3 matches.) Yes, it was against Norwich’s garbage defense, but this is what the United attack felt like in the first few matches of the season, which you may remember was the last time Martial was healthy. Please, Anthony’s hamstrings and other soft tissue areas, stay healthy.

Honorable mention: Onel Hernandez, who had missed tons of time with a weird knee injury suffered in week 1, came back for significant minutes for the first time this season. Boy, was he hungry. 5 shots in the 2nd half, a like-for-like replacement for the out-of-form Todd Cantwell, and now Cantwell owners are on notice.

That’ll do it for this week. Good luck making the last of your decisions by Saturday, and may you have even good-er luck in gameweek 12!

ONE BIG STAT! – Gameweek 6

This week, on an emotional ONE BIG STAT:

Quique Sánchez Flores reveals that he’s pregnant...with Harry the Hornet’s baby. Ed Woodward and Phil Jones take the next steps in their plan to restore Louis van Gaal to the Manchester United manager’s throne. And Fantasy Premier League managers remain caught in a love quadrangle with “gut feeling,” “the eye test,” and “underlying stats.” All of this and more in...

ONE BIG STAT: Gameweek 6 Edition:

Southampton vs Bournemouth

Callum Wilson (£7.8) – 1 shot

“He can’t keep doing this, right?” FPL managers keep telling themselves as Callum Wilson does, in fact, “keep doing this” while they continue not buying him. Why can’t he just fail already and make this easy? Attacking returns for 6 straight weeks? If he had a bigger name or club, he’d be £8.5. Instead, thanks to Tammy Abraham (£7.4), Teemu Pukki (£7.1), and general disbelief, he’s dropped £0.2. So now what?

As we discussed on our podcast this week, I think the stats suggest his high output seems unlikely to continue.

  • He managed just 1 shot in the match vs the Saints — his goal in the 94.9999th minute of stoppage time. Callum owes Jan Bednarek a nice dinner for such a ridiculous defensive error.

  • He managed more than 1 shot once so far: he took 2 shots vs Everton. He scored 2 goals. Come on.

  • He has 7 total shots for the season — the same number as Scott McTominay.

  • He has 3 FPL assists and 0 real-life assists.

To be fair, the Cherries’ fixtures remain favorable until around Thanksgiving. Plus, he’s driven: Callum is aiming for 20 goals this season and a spot in England’s Euro 2020 squad. But “good fixtures” and “goal hunger” does not equal sustainable performance, especially at the level of efficiency he’s at right now. Having said that, I fully expect a brace from him vs West Ham on Saturday, as he has scored three times against them in their last four meetings.

Leicester vs Tottenham

Serge Aurier (£5.0) – 1 disallowed goal

Remember when Serge Aurier was on pace for at least 8 fantasy points last Saturday? I do. I was in my car and watched on my phone as he scored his goal. I channeled my inner Aurier (a Serge surge, if you will) and celebrated by hitting the armrest in my car so hard, I could have injured my wrist. But this is VAR’s league now, and you know how this story ends. One disallowed goal later, I could only scream at fraudulent pixels on a tiny screen, and watch as FPL points went straight to the King Power toilet holes.

But hey, always look on the bright side of life, right? Serge’s price rose from £4.9 to £5.0 this week, and his performances seem to have locked him in to the starting lineup for now. Yeah, that makes me feel a lot better! The sun will come out tomorrow! I almost don’t hope that the VAR official who drew Son’s offside line gets his fingernails pulled out one at a time, as well as a nasty bout of food poisoning! Man, isn’t life great?

Burnley vs Norwich City

Dwight McNeil (£6.0) – 7 crosses

Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell (£5.0) disappointed you this week, but they had good chances for returns. And yes, preseason Chris Wood (£6.2) finally decided to show up. But I want to throw my support behind Dwight McNeil again. He registered his 3rd assist of the season, thanks in part to one of his 7 crosses in the match. He’s now up to 6th in crosses, supplying 41 so far this season. With their run of favorable fixtures continuing into November, Dwight should be able to continue his good form.

Everton vs Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood (£4.9) – Several things

Yes, the one Blade you want in your FPL side is John Lundstram (£4.4). But if you’re thinking about

two Blades, think about Oliver Norwood. His corner kick led to the Yerry Mina own goal, giving him his first FPL assist. He’s 9th overall in key passes (13 total), and he’s competed 154 accurate passes in the opposition half, a top 25 figure in the league. He’s on all Blade corners, free kicks, and is presumably the first choice penalty taker. 0.3% ownership seems low, especially at his price.

Manchester City vs Watford

Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.5) – 1 complete absence

Good thing Quique was there! Who knows how embarrassing it could have been if Javi Gracia had still been the manager! Look, there’s nothing FPL-related to say here except that only Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, and Oleksandr Zinchenko owners were disappointed with this result. However, only Zinchenko owners should be nervous: Benjamin Mendy (£5.9) was back and played for 45 minutes, and Zinch wasn’t in the side, despite no report of injury, illness, or personal-reason absence. We already knew his matches were numbered; we just didn’t know they numbered less than 6. If you own him, it’s obviously hard to trust him from this point on.

Newcastle vs Brighton

Neal Maupay (£6.0) – 7 shots

This is Neal Maupay’s team now. It’s a unique burden to bear, not unlike carrying a diarrhea-covered gorilla on your bare shoulders for 10 months. But hey, he’s a professional striker, and he does what professional strikers do: he kicks the ball toward the goal. And kick he did against Newcastle, taking 7 shots and putting 1 of them on target. Not the most accurate shooting, but you have to like that volume. Plus, with his low price and Brighton’s not-too-scary schedule for the next month or so, you might want to give Neal a look.

Crystal Palace vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nothing to see here

I can’t recommend a single player from either of these clubs at this time. If anyone else recommends a player from either of these clubs to you, you know they are trying to trick you, and so you know you can safely avoid them until they come to their senses. Maybe when Wolves crash out of the Europa League, we can talk about Diogo Jota (£6.2), since his FPL price will be even lower at that point. Otherwise, just stay away.

West Ham vs Manchester United

Andriy Yarmolenko (£5.9) – 3 shots, OR Mark Noble (£5.0) – wily veteran stuff

Hoo boy, Ol’ Yarmo & Ol’ Noble are sure giving FPL managers something to think about! Yarmolenko is an obvious choice: not only is his price outstanding, but he scored that excellent goal and led the Hammers in shots vs Man United (3 total). He has just 9 shots for the season so far, but 5 of them have been on target, and he’s not all that different in terms of pitch position than striker Sebastien Haller (£7.4).

Then there’s Mark Noble. Quick! Without looking it up first, who has more fantasy points so far this season: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.7) or Mark Noble? If you guessed Mark Noble (19 points), give yourself 2 points. If you guessed Gylfi (17 points), give yourself a stern talking-to and then go to your room and think about what you’ve done. Everyone is buying Todd Cantwell, that’s for sure. But for the same price, you get a wily veteran who’s going to get you the occasional assist, plus you get the Hammers 100% guaranteed penalty taker. Admit it: it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Chelsea vs Liverpool

Marcos Alonso (£6.2) – 11 crosses

I can only express shame as I type this; I felt the same kind of shame on our podcast this week almost talking myself into buying Marcos Alonso, a player I have repeatedly trashed for almost a year now. This is what I know: Frank Lampard is saying that Emerson (£5.5) will not return until after the next international break thanks to a recurrence of the thigh injury he suffered while on international duty last month. That means Marcos Alonso will likely start for at least two more matches. He was a like-for-like sub for Emerson vs Liverpool. However, against Wolves, he was functioning more as a wingback, but listed as a midfielder. Game flow was certainly a factor vs Liverpool, but he supplied 11 crosses in the match, a key part of the relentless Chelsea attack in the second half. Plan on removing him as soon as Emerson is healthy again, but since Chelsea’s next two opponents are Brighton and Southampton, it’s not the craziest idea to take a shot on Marcos for a couple weeks, especially considering his advanced role (I’m especially looking at you, Lucas Digne [£6.1] owners).

Arsenal vs Aston Villa

John McGinn (£5.6) – 6 shots

If you’re like me, you’re probably hesitant to trust the stats from a match that ended with one of the teams down to 10 men. However, in John McGinn’s case and in this match, that would be unwise. McGinn scored the first goal of the match, before Maitland-Niles’ red card, and had the same number of shots before and after AM-N was sent off. He’s currently tied for 13th in total shots (17), and he’s SECOND in the league with 10 shots on target. At this price, he may be the pick of the sub-£7.0 midfielders.

Gameweek 7 is fraught with peril, but your FPL decisions are now in your hands alone. Remember: normal, Saturday kickoff this week. Good luck to everyone in Gameweek 7!

09/11/2019 Podcast: Luck-Ala-Gluckerd Luck Luck (Side B)

This week, the boys discuss everything about everything. Okay, so not really, but as we head into the first int'l break of the season, it might feel that way! What do we know after four weeks? How big should you go on Liverpool and City? Is Daniel James a stud or a dud? Is VAR already broken? Find out all this and much, much more in this week's pod!

NOTE: This is the second half of our podcast recorded following Gameweek 4 in the Premier League.

ONE BIG STAT! – Gameweek 3

ONE BIG STAT is back, and this time it means business. FPL Gameweek 3 had some seriously weird crap, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something. Let’s learn this crap:

Aston Villa vs Everton

Everton’s shots were weird, and so is their offense

Everton took 12 shots. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Richarlison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin combined for just 3 of them. Alex Iwobi & Theo Walcott were second-half subs for two of those guys, and they also had 3 shots (and Everton’s best scoring chances). The other 6 shots came from defenders or defensive mids. This does not seem ideal. How much longer can FPL managers wait for Everton to sort this out? Where are Richarlison’s goals? Can Gylfi get back to his top-10-or-so creative form from last season? 1 goal in 3 matches isn’t going to cut it in real life or FPL life, and if Moise Kean isn’t the answer, then who or what is?

Norwich City vs Chelsea

Emerson (£5.5) – 31 Bonus Points System score

Yes, the Pukki Riot rolls on. Hopefully, either ONE BIG STAT or his 5 goals helped you add him to your FPL squad in the last two weeks. But today, we shift the focus to Emerson’s BPS score. (If you don’t know about FPL bonus points, read this.) In a nutshell, Emerson was extremely close to getting a bonus point in this match despite the fact that he had no attacking returns, and the Chelsea defense allowed 2 goals. His BPS score of 31 was the same as Mateo Kovačić (who had an assist), and it was 5 points higher than Todd Cantwell (who scored a goal). Emerson is doing it all so far this season except, you know, getting you FPL points. But those points are coming, surely...

Sheffield United vs Leicester City

MIXED BAG!

Have some Sheffield & Leicester observations:

Ayoze Pérez (£6.4) has the same number of shots as Jamie Vardy (£8.9) so far this season – just 3. John Lundstram (£4.2), FPL’s early-season defensive darling, leads all Blades in shots (5) and shots on target (2). And add another assist for James Maddison (£7.0). If you’re one of the 17% of FPL owners with Anthony Martial, why not swap to King (Power) James? He’s taken the most corners (21) and attempted the most dribbles (11) of anyone in the Premier League, and his 4 shots in this match give him 10 total for the season, good for 6th overall. Bournemouth is up next, and there have been 8 goals in last 2 matches between these two. Seems like easy money, folks.

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha (£6.9) – 10 Penalty Area Touches

While Marcus Rashford’s missed penalty and the injuries to Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw were the most FPL-significant issues, I’d like to say “So what?” and then highlight Wilfried Zaha’s performance. He looked better here, finishing with 10 touches inside of 18 yards, 2 of which were shots, and it was a very Classic Zaha bit of dribbling that preceded Patrick van Aanholt’s match winner. Palace’s upcoming fixtures are friendly enough that Zaha should be back on FPL radars.

Brighton vs Southampton

Leandro Trossard (£6.0) – SEVEN key passes

If you’ve listened to our podcast, you know my feelings about Brighton. They’re similar to the feelings you have about real seagulls when they’re actually swarming near you and your real snacks at the actual beach. However, even I can’t deny Leandro Trossard’s look in his two starts so far. I really can’t deny his 7 key passes here, which ties him for 10th in the Premier League. Plus, he took 4 of Brighton’s 8 corners. These are the stats that lead to FPL points, so after they play City, why not take a shot on a guy owned less than 1%?

Watford vs West Ham

Gerard Deulofeu (£6.3) – 7 shots

I listened to my own advice and added Manuel Lanzini last week, and I hope you did, too. While he was excellent, and very close to 2 real assists in addition to the FPL assist he got, I’d like to turn your attention to Gerard Deulofeu. His penalty area touch map looks like chicken pox — disgusting, red, and 13 touches to be exact, 5 of which were shots. He finished with 7 total shots, one of which hit the crossbar early in the first half of the match. He was getting over sickness in week 1, and he’s looked dangerous ever since. Why can’t he get his first returns against Newcastle this weekend?

Liverpool vs Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe (£9.4) – 7 dribbles

Bow! Bow before your new dribbling king! While some may mock Pepe’s one-footedness here, the fact is he stole the spotlight for the Gunners. His 7 dribbles in the match included THE dribble — the one past Virgil van Dijk — that made him the first player to do so in VVD’s last 50 matches. Too bad Pepe couldn’t have finished his one-on-one against Simon Mignolet Loris Karius a human pylon Adrian, or else FPL managers might be putting that .1 back into his price this week. A good performance in the North London Derby, and Pepe’s price could skyrocket, especially with Arsenal’s outstanding fixture list between September and mid-December.

Bournemouth vs Manchester City

Manchester City’s shots – 15 of 19 in the penalty area

“Wow,” you say sarcastically, as you gently daub the clown paint on your cheeks and then lower the clown wig onto your head, “this is the stat that finally changes my mind about Manchester City.” The fact is, over 22% of FPL managers are spending at least £6 to have Ederson, and I think this deserves a rethink, at least to open up the spot for a City defender, if not another attacker. With their 15 shots in the box against the Cherries, City have now taken 40 of their 63 total shots in the box, a higher percentage (63%) than they had through three matches last season (55%). Healthy Kevin De Bruyne might have something to do with this, but either way, what’s the downside to maximizing City attackers?

Wolves vs Burnley

Dwight McNeil (£6.0) – 7 crosses

While we’re likely to be treated to a sub-standard Wolves team that plays to 1-1 draws all season, it seems like we’re going to get above-average Burnley back! Ashley Barnes is the headliner and an obvious value pick right now, but don’t overlook Dwight McNeil. He had his moments last season, and it seems like he’ll have more of those moments this season. He supplied 9 crosses in the match, giving him 20 overall for the season (tied for 7th with Lucas Digne and Oliver Norwood). You know who he’s crossing to, and with 2 assists already, you know he can improve on his 3 goal, 4 assist total from last season. With improving fixtures on the way and just 0.4% ownership, he could be a big differential.

Tottenham vs Newcastle

Spurs offensive players – just 2 shots on target

Yes, just like we all expected, Spurs got shut out at home against Newcastle. We’re all just rolling around on the money we made from that bet, looking like Jamaal Lascelles rolling in front of Harry Kane. While we revel in that, let’s marvel at the Spurs’ high-powered offense managing just 2 shots on target. Both of those came from Son, the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal day. Tottenham is now 10th in the league in shots on target with 11 — just one shot more than the lowly, lowly offenses of tiny clubs like Brighton, Southampton, and Manchester United. The Eriksen saga isn’t helping, but with Son, Dele, and Ndombele all likely back in for the North London Derby, hopefully they can turn things around.

Those are some big stats! Let’s hope they point you in the right direction. Good luck to everyone in Gameweek 4!

ONE BIG STAT! – Gameweek 2

It’s time for One Big Stat, the good looking Fantasy Premier League article that plays by its own rules! What went down in Gameweek 2? Several interesting things, up to and including:

Arsenal vs Burnley

Dani Ceballos (£5.6) – 7 recoveries

Gooners & FPL fans found something to love about Arsenal’s midfield for pretty much the first time since Alexis Sanchez was there. Dani Ceballos might as well have ascended straight off the pitch and into Arsene Wenger’s bosom after his performance against Burnley on Saturday. Of all his great match stats, however, his 7 recoveries must be making Arsenal fan shirts just a little tighter this week. (Oh, Mesut, why couldn’t you just track back a little more??) True, recoveries aren’t directly worth fantasy points, but it’s easily one of the highlights of his man-of-the-match performance and surely cements his spot in the Arsenal starting lineup. Ceballos’ low-end price tag, assured starts in a potent offense, and game-changing creativity should be enough to tempt nearly every FPL manager this week.

Aston Villa vs Bournemouth

Jack Grealish (£6.0) – 6 key passes

He may not be able to win a top-tier match, but no one can say that Jack Grealish isn’t trying. His assist was mostly the work of Douglas Luiz’s (£4.5) right boot, but that perfectly placed setup was just one of the 6 key passes Jack made in the match. He now has 8 key passes this season, 2nd only to Kevin De Bruyne. John McGinn’s lower price (£5.6) may be more appealing, but Villa’s schedule between now and mid-October makes either player worth a look in your FPL midfield.

Bonus Stat Because Wolves vs Manchester United Was Pretty Straightforward!

Ahmed El Mohamady (£4.5) – 3 Bonus Points

Who received maximum FPL bonus points in a match that ended 2-1, with all goals and assists coming from only midfielders and strikers? OF COURSE it was defender El Mohamady, who is currently 7th on FPL’s ICT Index. It was a stat sheet-busting, man-of-the-match-quality performance for Ahmed. He gets the same schedule as the rest of the Villans...

Brighton vs West Ham

Manuel Lanzini (£6.5) – 5 successful dribbles

The Little Jewel looks like he’s 100% healthy, which is great for him and his injury-magnet club. Lanzini’s assist and 3 FPL bonus points vs Brighton were largely the result of his 5 dribbles. He now has 8 total for the season, tied for 2nd overall with Anthony Martial. Ponder this: In 2016-17, he completed 88 dribbles, 5th best in the league. It was also his best FPL season — 8 goals, 2 assists, and 133 fantasy points. In 2017-18, he was 15th in dribbles despite missing almost a third of the season — and still finished with 5 goals, 7 assists, and 106 fantasy points. This West Ham squad is arguably the most talented they’ve had in years, and Lanzini is fit and motivated to play a lot of matches this season. If he does, he could embarrass his previous FPL bests and his £6.5 price tag.

Everton vs Watford

Lucas Digne (£6.0) – 1 early substitution due to injury

What? Would you rather talk about how Everton has only allowed 4 total shots on target so far, or that Deulofeu looked a little better this week? Not a lot else happened here. Digne’s substitution seems to have been precautionary, and 24% of FPL managers are less sweaty because he was back in training on Wednesday.

Norwich City vs Newcastle

Teemu Pukki (£6.8) – 6 shots on target

Newcastle seem to be in a bit of trouble, and Teemu Pukki single-footedly kicked them there. And while Todd Cantwell (£4.5) is definitely worth an FPL look (listen to our podcast this week), and Emil Buendia (£6.0) was statistically excellent again, Pukki is the only story here. He put 6 of his 7 shots on target in this match, and 7 of his 10 total shots so far this season have been on target. He probably won’t shoot 70% all year, but those numbers are no fluke — he hit the target with 57 of his 101 shots in the Championship in 2017-18. You can’t spell “Kick FPL Butt” without “Pukki,” so you might as well ride the train while it’s running.

Southampton vs Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0) – 14 crosses

Let’s try to forget about Adrian’s blunder that cost about 75% of the FPL world a clean sheet and focus on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 14 crosses in the match. It brings his season total to 22, tied with Leicester’s James Maddison (£7.0) for the most in the Premier League.

Think On This:

TAA has attempted 88 passes so far this season — which means 25% of them have been aimed at someone in goal scoring range. Yes, Liverpool’s shaky defense and their lack of clean sheets is dumb. But I don’t think TAA should be the third most transferred out defender in FPL this week given his attacking stats so far, especially as they prepare to face an Arsenal defense that 1.) still isn’t good and 2.) has already faced 27 shots this season, 5th most in the Premier League. Clean sheet? Doubtful. Attacking returns? Not a bad bet.

Manchester City vs Tottenham

Kyle Walker (£6.0) – 2 key passes

“Wow. Great stat to choose from such an exciting match,” you say sarcastically, as you wear your favorite clown nose, with a rather large piece of spinach stuck to your front tooth, and as a pigeon relieves itself on your head. First, it’s the same number that Raheem Sterling had in the match, so bite me. Second, and most importantly, perhaps you’ve noticed that Kyle Walker is looking positively spry this season. Maybe it’s Pep pushing him, maybe it’s Cancelo’s arrival, or maybe it’s a little of both. The fact is, Kyle now has a total of 4 key passes. Last season? He had 24 total in 33 appearances, and didn’t register his first key pass until week six in City’s 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff. It’s progress, and it could be a sign of FPL goodness in City’s upcoming run of favorable fixtures.

Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace

Buy John Lundstrom (£4.1) if you don’t have him already

It’s nice when things are this obvious. Crystal Palace is a mess right now, and Sheffield’s schedule is mostly terrible until the end of November. There’s just too much risk with Enda Stevens, Dean Henderson, or any of the other Sheffield assets.

Chelsea vs Leicester

Corner Kicks – James Maddison (£7.0) and Mason Mount (£6.1)

Two players took the majority of the corner kicks in this match. I’ll bet you can guess which ones. Maddison took all 5 Leicester corners, and Mount took 3 of Chelsea’s 4 corners. Mads leads the league with 17, but perhaps surprisingly, Mount’s 8 corners ties him with Trent Alexander-Arnold for 8th best in the league. It’s just a nice little reinforcement of the FPL appeal for both players.

DON’T FORGET:

Aston Villa vs Everton kicks off on Friday, so don’t forget to set your lineups. Good luck in Gameweek 2, everyone!