Fantasy football returned with a bang this weekend, though the noise was due to FPL managers slamming/throwing whatever was in reach as the GW9 point scoring reached record-setting lows. An average weekly score of 37 points followed last gameweek's average of 36 points - the first time since the 2014-15 season there has been back-to-back gameweeks with an average less than 40.
This is the first time we have had back-to-back GW averages under 40 (excluding BGWs) since GW 5 & 6 of 14/15 (36 & 38 pts) - 193 GWs ago.— STAT (@StatOnScout) October 22, 2019
Including BGWs: GW 35 & 36 of 15/16 (39 & 38 pts).
The GW high score of 98 is the lowest since GW 23 of 16/17 (94 pts) - 101 GWs ago.
The low scoring was mainly due to the failure of highly-owned players. Blanks were the order of the day for Tammy Abraham (£7.8m), Kevin De Bruyne (£10.1m), Sadio Mane (£11.8) and Teemu Pukki (£7.0m) while neither Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) nor Mo Salah (£12.4m) saw any Premier League action in GW9. Of the top ten owned forwards, just Jamie Vardy (£9.1m) secured any attacking returns.
Another to not start last weekend was GW9 differential captain choice Matt Doherty (£6.0m), who at least rescued his gameweek with an assist and four points from the bench. Hoping for a better Gameweek 10, a number of potential captain options are discussed ahead of Friday’s 7.00pm deadline.
Man City vs AVL (H)
With a prime looking fixture at home to Aston Villa at the weekend, the difficulty with captaining Man City assets is choosing which one is likely to start. After being benched for the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in GW9, Sergio Aguero started the midweek Champions League win over Atalanta, scoring two goals in the process.
Sergio Aguero this season:— statmanfarouq (@statmanfarouq) October 22, 2019
8 PL games: 8 goals & 2 assists
2 UCL games: 2 goals
One of the best! pic.twitter.com/VMiBE4foX7
If Aguero is set to play he, is instant captain material and a trend does seem to be emerging with regards to when Guardiola selects Aguero over Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m). Having started every home this season, it would seem Aguero plays the home matches, while Jesus starts away.
I think Kun Aguero will start the next 2 homes.— Kün Karam (@KaramTayser) October 20, 2019
Last time Aguero didn't start at Etihad in Premier League was GW32 last season vs Cardiff due to groin injury.
Last time Aguero did not start at Etihad and wasn't injured was January 13th vs Wolves in GW22.#FPL #FPLCommunity pic.twitter.com/zEu70asb3L
Despite frustrating owners in Gameweek 9, Raheem Sterling (£12.1m) actually had one of the highest expected goals for any player last weekend, showing he is getting into the right position and a points explosion is potentially on the horizon. While FPL managers may fear that explosion came in the Champions League – three goals and two assists against Atalanta – the match just highlighted what Sterling is capable of on any given matchday.
Biggest #GW9 underperformers based on highest discrepancy in Expected (vs Actual) stats:— Matthew Halliday (@mh59bur) October 23, 2019
🔹xG - Man City 4.02(2)
🔹xGA - Burnley 0.83(2)
Players by position (all 0)
🔹xG - Sterling 1.23, Abraham 0.9, Montoya 0.4
🔹xA - 👀 Cancelo 0.88, Gündogan 0.63, Wilson 0.33
Despite completing 90 minutes in each of the last two games, Pep was effervescent in his praise for the midfielder after the 5-1 win over Atalanta. The manager also mentioned Sterling’s incredible fitness, stating; “the day after a game, he could play another game.” Given his form and these comments, it’s looking hard for Pep to leave him out at the weekend.
The absolute scenes when Sterling is benched on Saturday 😱#FPL— FPL Dave (@FPL_Dave) October 22, 2019
Kevin De Bruyne will also be a popular captain choice and is probably the most assured to get a start. The Belgian was withdrawn after 67 minutes midweek. Currently, De Bruyne averages 13.67 points per match when City play at home and has yet to score less than 11 points when at the Etihad Stadium.
KDB/Sterling (C) Rotation:— FPL Zh0u 🇲🇾 (@ZhouFPL) October 20, 2019
Look at the histories of KDB & Sterling, if we (C) KDB home & Sterling away, we would get a whooping 166 (C) points! Only blank would be Sterling away to Norwich.
With captaincy blanks happening quite a lot this season, something to consider? #FPL pic.twitter.com/3xHUBheLgd
One player afforded ra est midweek was David Silva (£7.6m), who seems certain to be brought back into the starting XI this weekend. With two goals and five assists already this season, the Man City playmaker is also the only player to boast four scores of 10 or more points this season. Given City’s plethora of assets, the little Spaniard is flying a little under the radar. He is also the only player with a greater than 10% ownership to record double-digit points in GW9 and offers a differential captaincy option.
GW8 was one of the worst in recent #FPL history and, incredibly, GW9 was worse.— Marc Jobling #FPL (@MarcJobling) October 21, 2019
Only 3 players with over 10% ownership exceeded 8 points last time: this time there was just David Silva (£7.6m).
Jamie Vardy (£9.1m) vs SOU (a)
One of the only players to produce the goods in GW9, FPL managers who captained Vardy last weekend were rewarded with 16 total points. With a goal against Burnley, Vardy took his tally to six for the season, while since Rodgers took over only Mane and Aguero have scored more goals than the Englishman in 2019.
Only two players have scored more Premier League home goals in 2019 than Jamie Vardy:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 19, 2019
🇸🇳 Sadio Mane (15)
🇦🇷 Sergio Aguero (12)
🏴 Jamie Vardy (11)
Up there with the best. 💪 pic.twitter.com/omxdesBdTe
A reason a number of FPL managers are seemingly being put off Vardy is his expected goal statistic. Currently standing at just 2.3 and below players like David McGoldrick (£5.4m) and Jordan Ayew (£5.1m), Vardy is massively exceeding this expectation and subsequently players are concerned that his goalscoring form will slow down. To those doubters, it is important to note that Vardy deals in the only statistic that is important – goals – and has done so now over a number of seasons.
Seen plenty of tweets berating Vardy's stats and how they aren't THAT good (which is true btw)— Rebant #FPL (@RebantMalhotra) October 8, 2019
But here's a different perspective:
xG - 9.95 ⚽ - 13
xG - 15.27 ⚽-20
xG - 19.12 ⚽-18
2019-29 (small sample)
xG - 2.18 ⚽-5#FPL #Vardy
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) vs CRY (H)
With a second blank in as many gameweeks, the return of Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) and an uninspired performance against Sheffield Utd on Monday night, there is much reason to be concerned about regarding the attacking potential of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m).
Next up for Aubameyang is a match against Crystal Palace, a team who the Gabonese international scored against both home and away last season. The return of Lacazette also shouldn’t put owners off as his record when playing with and without the Frenchman is largely similar. While there is a slight drop of in his goalscoring prowess, it is not so significant to believe the points should completely dry up.
Auba with Laca on the left, without Laca on the right (last season). Not a huge difference but slightly more goals without Laca and slightly more assists with Laca. pic.twitter.com/ZsWJCqjPI8— FPL Freddie (@FreddieFPL) October 22, 2019
Mo Salah (£12.4m) vs TOT (H)
The selection of Salah as a potential captain option may raise a few eyebrows after the Egyptian missed the match against Man Utd with injury. Since then though, Klopp as stated that Salah “looked good” in training and is set to be involved against Genk. Provided he comes through that match unscathed, Salah should be set to play at the weekend.
Klopp on the return of Mo Salah. “It’s absolutely good to have him back,” he said. “The squad is cool, it’s a good squad, everything is OK, but that’s all.”— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) October 22, 2019
🚑 https://t.co/3OsRCOYAmr#LFC @ChampionsLeague
Currently one the most transferred out players of the round, Salah is becoming a differential in his own right as owners jump ship to teammate Sadio Mane. While not in the best of form, his record against Spurs is extremely good having scored three goals in five Premier League appearances against the North London club. Recently, remaining patient with Salah has been difficult over the past few low-scoring Gameweeks, but it is only a matter of time before the Egyptian rewards those owners who keep the faith.
With the way this season is going for so many of us; are people really going Salah to Mane in droves, and not expecting it to bite them on the arse?— FPL Daily (@FPLDaily5) October 22, 2019
Sods law is in full swing this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (£6.0m) vs BUR (a)
Owned by just 2.7% of FPL managers at the time of writing, Callum Hudson-Odoi (£6.0m) became the second youngest player in Premier League history to record an assist in three straight Premier League matches. The three have come against Brighton, Southampton and Newcastle and in that time he has returned 18 total points. The winger will look to extend this streak to four when Chelsea travel to Burnley in GW10.
3 - Callum Hudson-Odoi (18y 346d) is the second youngest player in Premier League history to assist in three consecutive appearances, behind only Michael Owen (18y 27d) in January 1998. Prodigy. pic.twitter.com/0pUl5qUjiB— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 19, 2019
Hudson-Odoi’s low ownership is primarily due to the winger starting the season injured. Having solidified his position on the left side of Lampard’s attack, Hudson-Odoi is not only an excellent differential but also represents real value for money at a price bracket where there are not too many standout options.