There is a vast array of tools available in Fantasy Football Scout’s Premium Members Area that can help Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers with their planning ahead of the new season.
In a series of articles to be published ahead of Gameweek 1, we’ll be guiding you through a selection of our most-used features and some of the less well-known.
Having looked at the ‘per 90’ search filter last week, today we provide tips on how managers can best make use of the ‘flat-track bully’ feature.
Why do FPL managers love a flat-track bully?
A flat-track bully is a term for a player who does particularly well against weaker opposition.
As FPL managers, identifying these players and combining this knowledge with the Season Ticker, helps us to plan our captaincy and transfers.
Stick to the premium players playing against bottom-half teams as much as possible.
– Lateriser, FPL Masterclass
Consider the three most popular captain choices in FPL last season: Mohamed Salah (£12.5m), Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m) and Harry Kane (£12.5m), who were the top armband picks in 31 of the 38 Gameweeks.
Between them the trio have produced 100 double-digit hauls since the start of the 2015/16 season, with 89 of those coming against teams outside the so-called ‘big six’ of Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.
If we exclude Arsenal, who finished eighth last term, that total rises to 94.
But it’s not only members of the ‘big six’ who perform well against the rest of the league.
Away from the headline acts, a selection of players have developed a talent for putting the lesser lights to the sword – and this is where the flat-track bully feature comes into its own.
How to identify the flat-track bullies?
Fantasy Football Scout subscribers can filter statistics by opposition.
Among the options at the top of Player Stats, a ‘Versus’ dropdown menu is located next to the ‘Filter’ button.
Click on the dropdown menu to bring up a list of the 20 Premier League teams for each season.
You can now customise your selection by checking or unchecking individual opponents. The ‘big six’, called the ‘top6’ in the dropdown menu, are grouped together and can be unselected with one click.
Looking at the ‘Fantasy Stats’ for ‘All Players’ last season reveals how well Kane, Salah, and Bruno Fernandes did when facing the Premier League also-rans, combining for a total of 52 goals.
However, beyond the premium-priced players, a more budget-friendly group emerge.
Patrick Bamford (£8.0m) netted 14 of his 17 strikes against non-big six sides, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) nearly kept pace with 13 of his 16 goals coming against teams in the lower echelons of the table.
Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.5m), Callum Wilson (£7.5m) and Chris Wood (£7.0m) showed an even greater propensity for scoring against weaker opposition: they breached a big six defence just once each, compared to 11 times against the rest. That’s 91 per cent of their goals.
Wilson, whose flat-track bully status is well-known, has also tended to start quickly.
At Newcastle last season and Bournemouth in 2019/20, he took advantage of a kind opening schedule to score six and five goals respectively in his first seven matches.
This year he again faces just one big six side before Gameweek 8.
A mixed start for Burnley and Olympic Games involvement has kept Wood’s ownership below three per cent for now, but the New Zealander could become a popular transfer when the fixtures turn in Gameweek 9.
Wood produced a similar flat-track-bully record in 2019/20, bagging 12 of his 14 goals against easier opposition.
Combining per 90 and the flat-track bully feature
In addition to using the flat-track bully feature with the Season Ticker, applying the per 90 filter alongside it can be revealing.
Last term, injuries to teammates helped Kelechi Iheanacho earn a spot in Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI from Gameweek 26.
And the Nigerian seized his opportunity with both hands, netting 11 times before the end of the season. Ten of those goals coming in the eight matches he played against teams outside the big six.
A relatively attractive run of fixtures from Gameweek 1, featuring just Manchester City from the ‘big six’, could see him carry that form into 2021/22.
Given that the Nigerian should keep his place in a front two for Leicester, using a per 90 filter allows us to compare him with regular starters.
Impressively, when excluding the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, Iheanacho’s goalscoring rate improves from 0.70 goals per 90 minutes played – already the best average among FPL forwards in 2020/21 – to 0.88 goals per 90.
Subscribers can then compare this average with his expected goals per 90, to give them an idea of how sustainable his points returns are.
The answer, with a +0.32 overperformance per 90, is they probably aren’t. At least not to the same extent: his xG per 90 of 0.56 is still joint-third best among strikers.
A reminder that expected goals does not factor in who takes the shot, and it clearly makes a difference if Harry Kane or Oliver Burke is on the end of a shooting chance.
Kane overperformed his per 90 xG by just +0.07 last season, which feels a far more sustainable rate for a player of this quality.
Fantasy managers might want to find an extra £0.5m to upgrade Iheanacho to Calvert-Lewin. The Everton centre-forward produced an impressive 0.61 xG per 90 against teams outside the big six. Last year he underperformed that average by -0.06 per 90.
The Toffees don’t face any of the big six in their first six games.
The choice is yours
Perhaps you are reading this thinking that Leicester City should be included among the elite clubs, or maybe you’d rather use squad value as a measure of team strength.
As a Premium Member, you can tinker to your heart’s content.
And, mentioned briefly above, you can also make use of the ‘Versus’ filter in our head-to-head comparison tool:
Once the season gets underway and we are limited to one transfer per Gameweek, the comparison tool can help us reach a decision between two players. The ‘Versus’ filter allows us to paint a more nuanced picture.
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Source : www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk%2F2021%2F07%2F22%2Ffpl-tools-tips-on-how-to-use-our-flat-track-bully-feature-for-transfers-and-captains%2F