The transfer window moves quickly. As we watch the rumors come and go and even see the occasional signing confirmed, it is hard to know what to make of each of them. One way we can get a sense of the potential of any new signing (or a player returning from injury) is to see where they might fit into that club’s fantasy production from last season.
Before you get too concerned that this isn’t a perfect method, I’m fully aware of that fact. Fantasy fortunes at the team level certainly change from year-to-year and we have to allow for an event or series of events (multiple departures, multiple arrivals, new manager, etc) that could make a massive impact in fantasy potential. That said, starting the discussion with last season’s performance is as good a basis we have for getting the conversation going. From there we can add on extenuating circumstances that might cause us to adjust our thinking.
To start this exercise, I have brought together total points scored for each returning Premier League team as well as breaking down points scored by each position group and ranked them on each of those dimensions as well. From there we can look at things like how many players came together to score those points or how position changes from the PL.com team might impact performance.
We’ll start with last season’s highest scorers, Liverpool, and go down the list until we arrive at the lowest-scoring returning team, Brighton. For each I’ll list their point totals and ranks and then discuss interesting notes about each. To account for how wide attackers are (seemingly randomly) assigned as Fs or Ms, I have also included a combined F+M total and rank which will likely end up being more useful than the individual F or M metrics.
Points For: 2234 (1st); Points For Forwards: 226 (12th); Points For Midfielders: 1021 (2nd); Points For F+M: 1247 (2nd); Point For D: 811 (1st); Points For GK: 176 (1st)
Obviously, things went pretty well for Liverpool last season both on the pitch and from a fantasy point-of-view. Perhaps the most interesting thing is the extent to which they dominated the defensive point totals. It isn’t just that they finished first in Points For from Defenders but that they finished 139 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester City without the benefit of a formational anomaly like playing a five-man defense.
Moving down a level to how you can apply this to both salary cap or draft situations the opportunity here is Virgil Van Dijk’s partner. Andrew Robertson, Van Dijk, and Trent Alexander-Arnold are premium priced in salary cap and will go early in draft formats. The fourth member of defensive quartet split points pretty evenly between Joel Matip (83), Dejan Lovern (63), and Joe Gomez (55). While acknowledging that Gomez picked up some points as a right back that’s 201 points, good for being the 3rd highest scoring defender in this format last season. There is certainly a potential Top 10 defender who could emerge if one of this trio claims the regular starter job. Joe Gomez (5.5 in salary cap and going late in draft formats) certainly seems to be the odds-on choice to get a majority of the starts next to Van Dijk. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get in on a dominant fantasy unit, Joe Gomez is a fantastic risk-managed way to do it.
This post actually got longer than I expected. I can’t post 17 of these in one article so I’m going to make this a Liverpool-only post and will come back with posts for the other teams.