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FPL First Look: Wolverhampton

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


After powering through the Championship season with a total of 99 points, Wolverhampton Wanderers are back in the Premier League for the first time since 2012. Nuno Espírito Santo spearheaded the Portuguese experiment and did something that hasn’t been done since Swansea’s promotion to the top flight bringing a style of play and players from a different country to run through the Championship.

 

Swansea did it with heavy Spanish influence and Wolverhampton did it by going the Portuguese route. The jury is still out on whether this is sustainable but with Ruben Neves committing his future to the team and the pending signing of on-loan center back Willy Bolly, the spine is there for Premier League success.

 

While Wolverhampton is newly promoted, their goals are much higher than simply surviving this coming season in the Premier League. They want to aim for mid-table finish and with the talent at their disposal, that is a feasible goal. Because of that, Wolverhampton has quite a few fantasy assets that managers should look at heading into next season. While Neves may be stealing the headlines, he’s far from the only member of the team that could feature in your Togga team or your OFPL picks.

 

I’ll be breaking this down into two sections, one where I cover the Togga outlooks for a few members of the Wolverhampton team and another where I look at their prospects for the Official Fantasy Premier League game.

 

Togga Outlook:

 

Defender: Willy Bolly

 

In Togga, center backs who are ball magnets are king and until the points won for aerial duels are nerfed, center backs like Christopher Schindler, Shane Duffy, James Tarkowski and other hulking defenders key to success in your season. Bolly won 4.1 aerials per game and while Wolverhampton may struggle to keep clean sheets, Bolly averaging around eight points per game due to his peripheral stats makes him a good late round target if your team needs defensive cover.

 

Midfielder: Ruben Neves

 

Don’t pin Neves as a goal threat because of his six goals in the Championship but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be useful to your side for other reasons. Warning, do not draft Neves because of goal scoring potential as all of his goals were scored from outside of the box in the Championship. Neves averaged 2.2 shots from outside the box per game as opposed to .1 shots inside the penalty area. In short, that isn’t sustainable when he’ll be marked by better defenses and better keepers will be tracking him. But Neves stuffs the stat sheet in a way that can make him useful at times but for now, I’m putting him in the Mo Diame bracket and not the Aaron Mooy one.

 

Forward: Ivan Cavaleiro

 

Assuming that Cavaleiro is listed as a forward, which he should be if Kenedy was, then he would be my top pick of all the promoted teams in the forward position. The reason that I’m placing him over Jota, who is still a great option, is because Cavaleiro is more careful with the ball at his feet with only 1.8 dispossessions per game as opposed to 2.5 for Jota. While these numbers will likely rise in the Premier League, Cavaleiro should still be a decent shout to be involved in 15 goals for Wolves. His 21 combined goals and assists aren’t that far behind Jota’s 23 but the more clinical nature of Cavaleiro’s finishing combined with his penchant to keep the ball puts him ahead to me but this is truly a 1a 1b situation, I’d be happy to have both on my team.

 

Other Players Considered:

 

  • Matt Doherty, Right Back: Wolverhampton defenders will be useful in Togga leagues when they are playing any team at or below their skill level due to there always being a shot at a clean sheet. Add in that Doherty had four goals and assists on the year, picking those clean sheets properly could lead to 20+ point days to help you win Togga matchups.

  • Conor Coady, Center Back: Coady and Bolly could easily be this year’s Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk where one center back wins all the headers and the other makes all of the clearances but on days that Wolves keep a clean sheet, everybody eats. I wouldn’t draft Coady but he’s one to watch.

  • Helder Costa, Winger: If anyone misses time on the wing, Costa is the next man up and he has also shown that he can make an impact from the substitutes bench. While Costa is another person that I may not draft to start the season, he’s too talented to not be on your radar.

 

Fantasy Premier League Outlook:

 

Defender: Barry Douglas

 

Barry Douglas is a high risk, high reward option as he registered five goals and 14 assists on the year. But these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt because key passes and assists aren’t things that normally translate to the Premier League.

 

For example, Tommy Smith had 10 assists in the Championship for Huddersfield prior to promotion, but ended up losing his job by the end of the year. This isn’t to say that I won’t open the season with Douglas in my side depending on price but he is far from nailed on. Whoever plays in the wing back positions could be valuable due to Wolves’ play style but that could end up being a transfer for someone like João Cancelo rather than a current option.

 

Midfielder: Unless Neves or the aforementioned Cavaleiro are listed as midfielders. There isn’t a Wolverhampton midfielder that I would draft into my FPL side because they will likely be overpriced and will not be major goal or assist threats. You’d be better off at looking at the other promoted sides for budget mid options.

 

Forward: Diogo Jota

 

While he isn’t nailed down yet, it would be a surprise for Wolverhampton to not sign on-loan winger ahead of the Premier League season. Jota is their most dangerous attacker as shown by his 17 goals and five assists on the year. Even if he is expensive, as a third forward, Jota will offer excellent value as a third forward especially if Wolverhampton is able to sign a new point forward for him to assist during the year.

 

Keepers Corner:

John Ruddy is effective but unspectacular in net for Wolverhampton. He oversaw a league leading 22 clean sheets but only made 99 saves on the season which wish good for 15th overall. In Togga, rolling with a clean sheet dependent keeper is a dangerous proposition as you could easily get burned leaving your team with negative points but this isn’t as much of an issue in OFPL. If Wolverhampton is able to bolster the defensive ranks, Ruddy can be a more than serviceable rotation option if you prefer to carry two playing keepers during the season.

Needs/ Season Outlook:

 

Wolverhampton is almost a complete team with their only needs lying at forward and in depth positions along the backline and in the midfield but with the amount of money at their disposal filling these positions shouldn’t be an issue. On the flip side, this completeness is why I believe that Wolves players will cost a pretty penny in FPL. This isn’t your average promoted side and pricing wise they shouldn’t be treated as such.

 

This is a team that will come into the Premier League and finish around 10th in their first season back so expect them to be priced closer to Newcastle United instead of their automatic promotion partners Cardiff City.




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