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Fantasy EPL Gameweek 16: Stats Corner

Welcome back to the Stats Corner – a new feature here at Fantrax EPL! If you’ve ever read one of my articles, you will know that I love statistics. Statistics do not lie. The people interpreting them may do so (intentionally or accidentally), but the numbers themselves do not. We’re at a point now where trying to prevent the infiltration of data in football is about as successful as Marco Silva trying to prevent the arrival of his P45. So let’s embrace it. Statistics have helped Liverpool return to relevance and Manchester City assert their dominance, but more importantly, they could also help you win your fantasy football league.

Every few weeks – between the Underlying Numbers and EPL Points Against articles – I will bring you Stats Corner. In Stats Corner I will provide the latest breakdown of Points per 90 (PP90), Lost Points, and Expected Goals: Bookends Removed; three statistics that can help you in your quest for fantasy glory…and which can (probably) only be found here. Oh, and I’ll also pop in a bonus statistic just because it seems silly to not have a fourth one in an article named Stats Corner.

Gameweek 16 Stats Corner


PP90 stands for ‘Points per 90’ and is simply the FP/G of a player if they were to play the full 90 minutes. By and large it is probably a better reflection of a player’s fantasy value than FP/G, which does not take into account how much of a game a player has played, only that they played. PP90 better appreciates the value of those players who do not always start. Knowing this can then give us an advantage on those occasions when they do make the starting eleven.

PP90 Pre GW16

Well, Tuesday certainly confirmed Mahrez’s status as the king of PP90. His 18-minute cameo in City’s emphatic victory at Turf Moor produced 14 points – a rate that if maintained all season would result in an absurd 70 PP90. Unfortunately, the Algerian will have to settle for a PP90 of “just” 23.88, well clear of the rest of the field. Incredibly, City players make up five of the top six, with only Liverpool superstar Sadio Mane breaking up the monopoly with his third place.

From a Fantrax fantasy perspective, Alonso remains an intriguing prospect. He looks to be the second choice behind Emerson at Chelsea, but will most likely start the occasional game. At 73% ownership, he may be available in your league, so Chelsea’s teamsheet is definitely one to keep a close eye on going forward. The names on the right – the FP/G-PP90 discrepancy list – may be most pertinent. Origi’s performance against Everton, combined with Salah’s fitness concerns, should make him a sought-after forward and his 40% ownership will no doubt have increased by the time this article is published.

Mousset, Trossard, Djenepo, Boufal, and Atsu are also low ownership players that may warrant further inspection. Mousset was rested/dropped against Newcastle but Sheffield United’s defeat may bring him back into the fold against Norwich; he had, after all, started the previous four – and scored very nicely. Trossard’s game time (or lack of) recently is a bit of a mystery, but when he does play he seems to pass the eye test, and receive the fantasy points to match. Southampton duo Djenepo and Boufal seem to be two of the club’s better attacking players, yet neither has featured enough for various reasons. If one or both can hold down a regular place – and complete the full 90 – then they too could be good pickups. Finally, Atsu is very much a backup under Steve Bruce, but keep track of any injuries in the Newcastle ranks, because if his 10-minute appearances ever turn into 80-minute appearances, he could also prove useful.


Lost Points

One of the many ways in which Fantrax EPL is the best form of fantasy football is in the types of scoring system that can be implemented, most notable of which is the Togga scoring system. Togga scoring allows for negative points – or Lost Points – and includes dispossessions, cards, and own goals (note, they do not include goals conceded). Cards and own goals are relatively rare occurrences, and therefore knowing which players have FP/Gs that are skewed by such things could give you a leg up on the competition.

Lost Points Pre GW16

As mentioned previously, certain names will always appear on this list because of how frequently they try to take people on. Zaha will always lose a few points each game through unsuccessful dribbles, so his “FP/G without Lost Points” has less fantasy implications than others, such as Doucoure, whose numbers are affected by an own goal (-9 points). Doucoure is a good example because he may be available in some leagues given his actual FP/G. Yet his ‘FP/G without Lost Points’ of 8.10 is not bad for a potential free agent acquisition. Seamus Coleman – though now backup at Everton it seems – is in the same category due to his one red card.

Other names that fit the bill include Trezeguet (7.19 FP/G becomes 8.85), Chris Wood (8.42 to 10.04), Davy Propper (6.81 to 8.35), Arthur Masuaku (7.96 to 10.96), Isaac Hayden (5.96 to 7.42), Adam Webster (6.75 to 8.25), and Christian Kabasele (7.07 to 9.14).


Expected Goals: Bookends Removed

Expected goals is “a statistical measure of the quality of chances created and conceded” ( Many football sources use expected goals tables as an indicator of which teams have the best/worst defences and attacks. The problem with this is that every team in the Premier League has the capability to play excellently or atrociously on the odd occasion (the old “every dog has his day”/”it never rains but it pours” idioms comes to mind). Grouping such occasions into our sample of data distorts the final picture being presented. One way around this is to simply remove the bookends: the best and worst performances of each team during the season. For instance, Manchester City have an average xg of 3.13, but if you remove their best (6.63 vs Watford) and worst (1.48 vs Liverpool), then it becomes “just” 2.95. This is, in my opinion, gives you a better estimate of what to expect from an attacking perspective next time City play. Now, with 15 games of the season gone, we will be removing the TWO best and TWO worst performances; leaving the XG and XGA tables to be based on the middle 11 games.

XG Bookends Removed Pre GW16

The “normal” xg’s cited by football sources are overplaying the attack of Manchester United by some distance – though Ole’s men still have the fourth-best forward play in the league. Leicester’s new numbers don’t look quite as impressive when their performances against Southampton and Brighton removed, though it should be noted that they have improved considerably over the last month or so. Prior to their record-equaling win at St Mary’s, the Foxes had an average xg of 0.99 per game, compared to an average xg of 2.35 over their last four matches.

From a fantasy perspective, seeing the names of Southampton, Burnley, and Everton that high up should sway any managers sitting on the fence about the likes of Wood, Ings, and Sigurdsson. By contrast, owners of Grealish, Haller, and Shelvey may want to cash in now – their teams’ attacks are not as good as they appear, and the fantasy points probably won’t continue at their current high rate.

XGA Bookends Removed Pre GW16

Watford’s defense may have dipped again recently (7 goals conceded in their last 3 matches), but it’s still better than “normal” xga’s suggest. The same can be said of Southampton, Brighton, and Leicester, though it is only the Foxes for which this may be relevant information. As we will see in the fourth stats corner piece, Leicester defenders are highly owned – so acquiring one will likely involve a trade – but it may be worth it.

Fantasy-wise, dare I say that Tottenham’s defense could hold value? It’s better than advertised according to xga bookends removed, and with Mourinho settling in, we’d be foolish to think that he won’t work his defensive magic on Alderweireld et al.


Bonus Corner: Ownership by Team

High-flying Sheffield United at home to a Newcastle United team who were massively overachieving according to pretty much every statistic. It had home win – and clean sheet – written all over it. But trying to take advantage of this by finding a free agent from the Blades would have proven extremely difficult. None of their starting defenders, midfielders, or goalkeeper had an ownership of less than 50% – a staggering statistic that I don’t think anyone would have predicted at the start of the season. Ultimately a Steve Bruce “masterclass” worked wonders again for the away side and inflicted a surprise defeat on Oliver Norwood and co, but it did get me thinking…what are the available fantasy options for every other team?

50 Ownership By Team

The above image shows the number of players for each team that have ownership values of 50% or higher, and the number of players that have ownership values below that. So, for league leaders Liverpool, 10 players have ownerships of 50% or higher, whilst 3 do not, and for the bottom of the table Watford, 2 have ownerships of 50% or higher, and 12 do not. A free lifetime subscription for these articles awaits anyone who guesses all the 3 Liverpool and 2 Watford players (answers at the bottom of this page). Note, only players who have played at least 500 minutes in the league are included.

As expected, the better teams have a greater proportion of highly owned players. There are exceptions, of course. Crystal Palace and Newcastle United players may be under-owned, given their league position, whilst some owners may be keeping too much faith in certain players from Arsenal, Burnley, Bournemouth, and Everton. Nathan Ake, for instance, has a 5.83 FP/G but is owned in 84% of leagues, whilst David Luiz has a 59% ownership, yet a 2.93 FP/G. Forget their reputations and ditch them.

The image also shows how consistent each team has been in fielding their core players. Leicester, for instance, have 11 players with over 880 minutes played, with the 12th player on just 355 minutes. No doubt this has contributed to their excellent season so far. Everton, by contrast, have NINE players that have played between 500 and 700 minutes. Clearly Marco Silva didn’t know who his starting 11 was.


“The idea that I [should] trust my eyes more than the stats, I don’t buy that because I’ve seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know that the rabbit’s not in there.” (Billy Beane; Moneyball)


Predominant sources used for this Stats Corner article include (source for Expected Goals: Bookends Removed),,, and Follow me at



Liverpool’s 3 players with less than 50% ownership (minimum 500 minutes played) – Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren, Adrian

Watford’s 2 players with ownership of 50% or higher (minimum 500 minutes played) – Abdoulaye Doucoure, Gerard Deulofeu

There are many ways to win or lose in Fantrax EPL. Some are more cliched than others. Which of the 12 Types of Gameweek have you experienced?


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