Fantasy Premier League values can be made or lost with a single transfer. FPL Draft managers using the Draft Guide can supplement that knowledge with this series by author Luke Dykes. Luke is breaking down all you need to know from the seemingly endless transfer window this summer. If you’ve missed anything take a look back at some of the other recaps: Star Attackers | Star Defenders | Everton | Chelsea | Chicharito & City Defense – find more of Luke’s insights at FPLDraft.com
Kelechi Iheanacho – Forward – Leicester City – £23.55 Million – Transfer From: Manchester City (ENG) – Age: 20
Iheanacho’s prolonged transfer to Leicester finally concluded this week with a nearly 25 million pound move from Manchester City. Iheanacho exploded onto the PL scene two years ago as a substitute fond of pouring in goals in limited opportunities. In his age-18 season, Iheanacho scored 8 goals in 7 starts and 19 substitute appearances. He continued this role last season, albeit with less appearances, scoring 4 goals and providing 3 assists in just 5 starts and 15 subs. Iheanacho led the league in goals per 90 minutes two years ago, and finished sixth in the category last season.
He’s a striker that scores – and that bodes well for him. In order to flesh out his fantasy value, we need to determine whether he’ll have the opportunities that he had playing for one of the best clubs in England. In short, he won’t. Leicester had difficulty creating chances to score a year ago (7.9 key passes per game) while Manchester City was 3rd in the league (12.8 kppg).
An interesting case study here is Ahmed Musa, one of the strikers that Leicester bought last summer. Musa fared well in the Russian league with CSKA Moscow, scoring 13 goals and providing 5 more assists. However, relegated to sub duty in the Premier League, Musa’s goal and shot rate dropped dramatically at Leicester, nearly in half. He played little and scored even less. Musa wasn’t ownable in fantasy last season.
Admittedly, Musa is a skinny twig of a man. He might not be cut out for the physicality of the English game. Iheanacho, in contrast, sports about four extra inches of height and 25 pounds on Musa, and he has succeeded in the premier league before. But the underlying assertions are valid. Changing teams changes playing circumstances.
There are more strikers competing for the same one or two spots than Iheanacho had to battle with at Manchester City. Jamie Vardy is cemented as a hero in Leicester and will lead the charge until he proves incapable. From there, Iheanacho still has some work to do. Leicester spent just as much money on strikers last season as they have this year, and they have a surplus. It’s likely one or two will move on before the end of the month, but until then, there’s a lot of competition up front.
I doubt that a 20-year-old with a spotty scoring record will oust four or five older, more experienced players for a starting spot. Likely, Iheanacho will be given a similar role at Leicester to the one he had in Manchester, until he proves himself worthy of higher honors. Remember, he’s 20. It’s not like his potential is drying up any time soon. He’ll likely come along gradually, but I’ll bet his fantasy value will be higher in Gameweek 35 than it is now.
’16-’17 Fantasy Stats: 15 App – 98 Total Points – 6.53 ppg | Comp: Stefano Okaka
Tentative Position Rank: 22 | Projected Round: 7th/8th
Nemanja Matic – Midfielder – Manchester United – £38.00 Million – Transfer From: Chelsea (ENG) – Age: 29
Matic gives you a little bit of everything, and that’s why he’s worth nearly 40 million pounds. He’s a physical specimen that both protects the defense and provides link up play going forward. He rarely finds himself in scoring positions, but when he is, he can finish too. He provided plenty of assists last season for Chelsea as well.
But as useful as Matic is on the pitch, his jack-of-all-trades game doesn’t quite translate to the fantasy world. While he does accumulate nearly everything you would want out of a central midfielder, the volume of those contributions is lacking. His 1.5 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game were fine, but they only provide one point each. Other midfield terrors like Gueye, Kante, and Romeu amassed more than twice as many of those defensive statistics.
I shouldn’t diminish Matic’s offensive contribution though. He did provide 7 assists last season, tied for 12th in the league. But there were nine players that finished tied for 12th. Matic lies far down that list in true offensive potential. Every other name scored at least 4 goals last season; Matic scored one. And only Dele Alli played more games than Matic did. In assists per 90 minutes (with more than 20 appearances), Matic ranked 29th. That’s still good, but not as good.
His offensive ability and his consistency made Matic a stronger fantasy asset last season than he should be this year. Mourinho will likely rotate him in and out of the United lineup as he is known to do. Pogba will play most games, and I think Ander Herrera is a more integral part of that team than Matic at this point. There are also Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, and Andreas Pereira on the outskirts of the picture as well.
Matic likely made a great fifth or sixth midfielder on fantasy teams last season. He had relatively low variance in his fantasy output and he played in nearly every game. Players like that prove very valuable as subs or consistent performers that round out a lineup. Unfortunately, I don’t see that kind of production out of Matic this year in a much more crowded Manchester midfield. You don’t need to make him a hard pass, but I would make him my last midfielder drafted.
’16-’17 Fantasy Stats: 35 App – 251.5 Total Points – 7.19 ppg | Comp: Mousa Dembele
Tentative Position Rank: 60 | Projected Round: 14th