We are well into the season and there is a lot of data out there right now to help us out with our team selection. I’ve decided to take a look at a few players whose production is almost certain to continue. What I will stress over and over again in this column is the value of players earning their points from tackles won, passes intercepted, and shots on target among a few other stats. These are categories that earn production each and every week, and the production is much more likely to continue than that of someone who is getting a lot of their points from just goals scored. Daniel Sturridge has 8 goals in 11 games (40% of his fantasy points), do you really think he’ll continue scoring at that rate? Unlikely.
In his Fantasy PL Study Hall, Steve Rothgeb mentions the ability to afford the essentials each week in the current Yahoo! format. The players here I consider “essential” and worthy of consideration every week, regardless of matchup, because of their multi-category contributions. Some of the guys here have been pretty obvious choices so far, but I think these players are more likely to continue their production than those who are around them in the standings.
Tier 1: Mathieu Debuchy
Jeremy Spitzberg had a great article on Debuchy a few weeks ago so I’m going to keep this very short. I’m just going to point out that Debuchy leads defenders in shots on target(5) and passes intercepted(31). He only has two games with fewer than five points, so the production is here regardless of opposition. Debuchy is suspended week 12 because of an accumulation of yellow cards but will return in week 13 as a solid every week play. If you have any more doubts, read Jeremy’s article linked above.
Tier 2: Joel Ward
The more I look at Joel Ward’s stats, the more I’m impressed. I’m pretty sure he will be a constant in my team going forward. He can also serve as difference maker since he is only owned by 1% of managers. Lets look at what’s most impressive here:
He leads defenders in tackles won (39 to second place Zabaleta with 31) despite missing two games.
He has a very respectable 21 passes intercepted.
He has only committed three fouls this year and has no yellow cards.
His lowest output of the season was five points(twice).
I can go on all day, but this kid is impressively efficient. His 9.56 points per game rival Debuchy and Dejan Lovren’s 9.37. Ward comes at a reasonable £11.73m that is right in the region of Debuchy and Lovren.
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Tier 1: Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey is the number one must own player right now and it amazes me how many people leave him out of their lineups every week. He leads midfielders in total points by a margin (155 to second place Steven Gerrard at 119). To put it in perspective of how much better Ramsey than anyone else, consider this: If Aarom Ramsey produces fantasy points at 60% of his current rate, he is still going to be as valuable as Steven Gerrard considering their current prices.
Now let’s consider how Ramsey gets some of his points.
Shots on Target
With this sort of variety, it’s very unlikely the production will go away. Ramsey leads all players (not just midfielders) in tackles won. He’s 7th in shots on target. Even if he doesn’t score at his current rate, which is possible, he will still produce points in a variety of other ways. He’s on my squad every week for the foreseeable future unless something major changes and he should be on yours as well.
Tier 2: Mile Jedinak
We here at Rotoworld praised Jedinak last week and he returned a disappointed three points, but his yellow card was only the second of the season and his three fouls were uncharacteristically high, so I’ll consider last week an anomaly.
There are many positives here despite last week’s performance. He leads all players in passes intercepted (46) and is fourth in tackles won (36). He only has three games with fewer than five points, so his production has been relatively consistent, and he only costs £9.37M. He doesn’t have a single goal nor assist so far, mainly because Crystal Palace haven’t been scoring, but the passes intercepted and tackles won will stay and Jedinak (who is now 6th in points among midfielders) will likely continue his steady production. At the current price, he is a very good option.
Tier 1: Luis Suarez
This goes a little against what I said earlier about players who get a lot of points from goals scored, but Suarez is just that good. A lot of Suarez’s points have come from his incredible eight goals in six games, but despite that, I think the rest of his production is here to stay. He is first in shots on target per game at a stunning rate of 2.5. That alone produces 7.5 points each week. He also completes 1.7 crosses per game, which will result in assists going forward and the point per successful cross doesn’t hurt his case. That combined with his lethal scoring will undoubtedly provide fantasy points at a very constant rate. I don’t have to say much more, as Suarez is already on everyone’s radar, but I wanted to include him here because I’ve heard some people question whether he can sustain his production. The answer is simple – even if his scoring rate slows down, he’s still a top fantasy forward.
Tier 2: Eden Hazard
Hazard leads all players in fouls won, which is expected considering his shifty style of play. But what is more impressive with Hazard is his ability to contribute in almost all categories. Consider this:
10 shots on target
4 successful crosses
5 passes intercepted
29 fouls won
9 tackles won
His fantasy points haven’t been as consistent as I’d like, but he has still registered at least four points in every game except one. With Chelsea’s strikers finally finding their touch, I expect Hazard to get more assists, more successful crosses, and more fantasy points going forward.
I hope you found this analysis helpful. Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think about these players and their future production. If demand is there, I could provide a column on players whose production I think will decrease.