By this point in the season, we can start to understand Premier League teams’ approach for the season. Injuries, transfers, bad streaks of form, locker room dust-ups and more will surely change that as the season develops. But for now, we can look into some of the developing trends in the Premier League season to get a leg up in fantasy. I pored over some spreadsheets and found some interesting stuff hidden away in all that math.
I took a look at which teams are giving up the most points to each position. Home and Road splits are an important category here too, but many teams have skewed stats based on whom they’ve played where. These are interesting nonetheless.
Overall, there aren’t too many surprises here. The teams giving up the most average points per game (across all positions) are teams off to unimpressive starts. Swansea lead the way (9.30 opponent points per game), followed closely by Everton (9.25 oppg), Bournemouth (9.24) and Crystal Palace (9.20). West Ham and Leicester are in there too, but a little further back (8.90, 8.17, respectively). Even these outliers are full of statistical noise due the reasons above, but that can be parsed out a little by position.
I’m not going to list the top leaders for each week (I may have a resource available in the coming weeks), but I will note some substantial points:
Everton are having a bad run of it so far. Not only are they among the leaders in average points allowed, they don’t look so hot when you parse out the positions either. They have given up the fourth highest points per game against every position but goalkeeper. Again, this is likely due to the quality of opponents they’ve played, but still, start players against Everton for now.
Play your midfielders against Leicester. The Foxes have looked particularly weak in the middle of the pitch after losing Danny Drinkwater and the stats show it. Leicester have given up more points on average to midfielders (9.24 oappg) than any other team by a sizable margin. Swansea is the only other team that comes close (8.69 oappg).
Manchester City have been incredibly stingy, especially in the midfield. They have given up only 2.06 points per game on average to opposing midfielders. That’s 2.5 points lower than the next closest team.
Manchester is not a place for opposing defenders. City and United have put a beating on anyone standing in their way so far. Opposing defenders are taking the full brunt of it, averaging just 0.35 and 0.42 points per game against the Manchester clubs. No one’s really stopped them yet…I wouldn’t bet on it until it happens.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand, has made it easy for opponents, home and away. Not scoring a goal will do that, obviously. Handing out clean sheets like candy makes for a great way to see an average 12.6 points per game to opposing defenders. Keepers are having a nice day of it too, averaging 10.4 points per game against Palace.
It won’t surprise you to see that Tottenham is the worst opponent for strikers. One of the league’s best defenses has given only 2.53 points per game to forwards this season. Manchester Clubs, Chelsea and West Brom round out the remaining top five, but none come close to Spurs.
Newcastle and Brighton have been surprisingly stingy against forwards themselves. They’ve been fairly mediocre in other aspects of allowing fantasy points, but in regards to forwards, they’re both holding their ground. The Magpies allow only , making them the 6th toughest opponent for forwards in the league. Brighton and Hove’s defense is only allowing 4.9 points per game to forwards. That’s 7th best in the league and within spitting distance of Chelsea.
Like I said, take all of this with a grain of salt. These values will change and we’ll see the standings change. I’m keeping tabs on all of this and maybe by the second half of the season we’ll have a great data set to pull from. In the meantime, keep checking in with me. I’ll be dropping more knowledgeable tidbits as I find them.