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 – find more of Luke’s insights at FPLDraft.com
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez – Forward – West Ham – £15.1 Million – Transfer From: Leverkusen (GER) – Age: 29
There’s been tremendous clamor trying to position Chicharito in the FPL picture because of reasons to believe that he could push himself into the top-10 forward conversation. When given an opportunity, Chicharito produced while he played at Manchester United. Chicharito put in 10 goals in the Premier League for three consecutive seasons, all while playing mostly as a sub.
That kind of efficient scorign is rare these days; most star scorers play nearly the entire game. In fact, the only person to come close to Chicharito’s per minute scoring tally last season was Olivier Giroud. Giroud showcased a similar skill set coming off the bench for Arsenal last year. The next closest players with similar minutes were Willian, Andy Carroll and Divock Origi.
Obviously, all of those players have fantasy value. But, we have reason to believe that Chicharito should receive the bulk of the minutes at striker, at least initially. This presents an interesting twist to his value. Upon his transfer to Leverkusen two years ago, he supported his claim to a full-time job, putting in 17 goals in 28 appearances. However, he regressed last season, only scoring 11 in 26 games. That’s not shabby either, mind you, but there’s a major difference between the two in fantasy.
Chicharito’s 2015/16 season in Germany would have racked him 310.5 fantasy points under Togga scoring, compared to just 243.5 last season. His seasons were nearly identical in his underlying stats, but for forwards, production of goals is what matters most. The loss of those 6 goals moved his per game average from 11.08 to 9.36. That’s the difference between Josh King/Diego Costa territory and the Anthony Martial/Theo Walcott range.
Now, Chicharito wasn’t the sole striker at Leverkusen and I’d be careful to say that an increased role will automatically mean better performance. Rarely do we see a perfectly linear relationship between playing time and production. Yes, it will result in more goals if we see Chicharito start 30 games instead of 20. But we will likely see a lower per game average if that happens.
I’d also be cautious about comparing the relative strength of side. Chicharito had less depth of creative players at Leverkusen, but the ones he had were some of the best in Germany. Besides Dimitri Payet, West Ham were fairly woeful at creating opportunities consistently. Adding Arnautovic certainly gives the Hammers more attacking force, but at a cost of consistency. I can only characterize Michail Antonio as a consistent performer in the West Ham side (Lanzini got better towards the end of last season). Both Robert Snodgrass and Marko Arnautovic are notoriously mercurial.
Ultimately, I think we will see a resurgent Chicharito this season. I think he’ll fall somewhere in the 17 to 20 goal range, which makes him very valuable. But the doubts are there, and if Andy Carroll is healthy (LOL), Chicharito will see some competition for playing time. As we’ve seen, super subbing doesn’t sap all his value, but it does lower it. There is implosion potential here too, so I’ve downgraded Chicharito accordingly. Put him somewhere in the Jamie Vardy/Troy Deeney region: about the 15th ranked forward.
’16-17 Fantasy Stats (GER): 26 GP – 243.5 Total Points – 9.36 PPG | Comp: Theo Walcott
Tentative Position Rank: 15 | Projected Draft Round: 4th/5th
Benjamin Mendy – Defender – Manchester City – £48.9 Million – Transfer From: Monaco (FRA) – Age: 23
City’s fullback rejuvenation got a whole lot more expensive in July. Kyle Walker was the world’s most expensive defender for about a week before Benjamin Mendy cost City just a little more. For fantasy purposes, Mendy provides potentially more upside than Walker. He only featured in 25 games for the French champions last season, but in those games, he provided 13.33 points per game. That marks much higher than Walker and almost every other fullback in the league last year.
Comparing the two directly reveals oddly symmetrical stat lines. Mendy’s higher propensity for crossing is the only major difference between the two – Walker is below par in both volume and accuracy amongst Premier League fullbacks. Otherwise, they posted exact assist numbers last season, and only Kyle Walker’s increased number of appearances amounts for the discrepancy in their total fantasy production.
Given they are now on the same team, I figure their clean sheet totals will be similar, if not exactly the same. Therefore, given how similar they are, it makes sense to rank them similarly. This should be high, given they both provided high-volume offense for defenders. But there is another factor built into their ranking. His name is Danilo.
’16-’17 Fantasy Stats (FRA): 25 App – 276 Total Points – 11.05 ppg | Comp: Marcos Alonso
Tentative Position Rank: 7 | Projected Draft Round: 3rd/4th
Danilo – Defender – Manchester City – £25.5 Million – Transfer From: Real Madrid (SPA) – Age: 26
Danilo arrived shortly before Mendy to Manchester, but he shouldn’t be discounted because he cost half of what Mendy and Walker did. The very presence of Danilo really hurts the fantasy value of his other teammates in the same position. If there were clear divides in talent between the first-team and backups, then Walker and Mendy would be Top-5 defenders easily. But Danilo is potentially world-class himself, and with a 25 million pound price tag, he won’t be sitting back waiting for his opportunity.
Danilo is primarily a right-back, but has played the left side as well, which makes him a threat to both Mendy and Walker. If either one slips in form, we could see Danilo swoop for a starting position. It may happen organically as well, with European football beginning in September.
This is a major conundrum for fantasy owners. All three defenders offer upside, but choosing between the three presents an undesirable challenge. Danilo stays in defense much more than Walker or Mendy ever have, and produces less fantasy points as a result. But even despite factoring in only four clean sheets all year last season, Danilo still produced 11.9 points per game at defender. Only two Premier League defenders hit that mark last season. Kyle Walker was not one of them.
However, a scenario exists that benefits all parties. Pep Guardiola has a propensity to utilize a center-back as a holding midfielder that pushes further up the field. This did not work particularly well last season in a four-defender formation. It seemed to work a little better in a three-defender set towards the end of the season, although the personnel weren’t quite correct.
Danilo’s arrival provides the opportunity for a mobile defender to play on the outside of the three center-backs. This would look similar to Cesar Azpilicueta’s role at Chelsea last season. This would benefit all three new fullbacks. Walker and Mendy could play on the wings (although at the expense of Sane or Sterling likely) and have full license to attack. It seems like Kompany, Stones, and Otamendi have those spots for now, but with squad rotation we may see it eventually. Until then, we have to downgrade all three fullbacks until a hierarchy becomes clear. I would rank them Mendy, Walker, Danilo to start, but keep your eyes glued, that could change at any moment.
’16-’17 Fantasy Stats (SPA): 17 App – 201.75 Total Points – 11.88 ppg | Comp: Danny Rose
Tentative Fantasy Rank: 21 | Projected Draft Round: 9th/10th