FPL

2 weeks ago

FPL Value In Promoted Players - Midfielders

With us just being days away from the start of the Premier League season, time is of the essence. Time that is quickly running out for real-life managers to conclude their transfer business and the same concept for any FPL bosses looking to wrap things up before the opening weekend.

In terms of the former, they will be looking to utilise the budgets that have been passed down by the club chairman and for the latter, it once again means trying to squeeze every last drop out of the 100.0m that has been afforded to them.

Which means for anyone attempting to play the game this season, the hunt for value is upon them and although it does seem boundless at times, we may just be able to offer you some analytical assistance.

In our past two data-driven articles, we’ve been looking at the previous value that promoted goalkeepers or defenders can bring to a squad. Now with those two positions covered, it is time to look at the middle of the park.

Read more: FPL Value In Promoted Players - Defenders

Midfielders

The midfielder, be it a wide player, a creative genius, a box to box boss or even an incorrectly categorised star, can provide plenty of point scoring ability throughout the FPL season, and it is arguably the hardest position in the squad to balance properly.

Spend too much of your 100.0m here and you are left short in either defence or attack, spend not enough and you may just cede a massive advantage to the rivals that you are up against in a private cash mini-league.

However, we are now going to look at players that should not cost all that much and make a case for whether promoted midfield stars can provide the kind of points haul that will have you celebrating at the end of the season.

 

Historical Data

Looking at the first two articles, there has been a common theme and one that has been dominated by Sheffield United players scoring such an impressive end of season tally in both the goalkeeping and defensive departments.

However, when we look at the midfield for 2019/20, the picture is far from the same. Looking at the highest-scoring Sheffield United player last season, John Fleck only returned the 40rd highest points score in this position.

Although when you think about it, this arguably stands to reason because if there are so many points being handed out by defensively-minded efforts, there is going to be a scarcity of points in the more attacking elements of the pitch.

Which means if Chris Wilder’s men are not dominating once again, who won the accolade of best scoring promoted midfielder in the Premier League last season? The answer to this is Jack Grealish of Aston Villa.

The now England international picked up 149 points last season, as his efforts not only helped Villa stay in the Premier League but also would have helped many an FPL manager get the edge when it truly mattered.

But how does Grealish compare to other high scoring promoted midfielders across the past five seasons? This table will give us something of an idea:

Player

Club

Points

Season

Ranking

Ritchie

BOU

119

2016

27

Boyd

BUR

92

2017

53

Groß

BHA

164

2018

11

Jota

WOL

139

2019

16

Grealish

AVL

149

2020

10

Of the past five years, Grealish has had the highest overall rank of any of the promoted midfielders who have been a part of the FPL landscape, but at the same time has not picked up the highest overall points tally

Based on this data sample alone, you would have to say that promoted midfielders do not necessarily hold any real value and we can expand on that by saying:

The average ranking for the highest-scoring midfielder: 23.4
The average points for the highest-scoring midfielder 132.6

Although it must be said, these figures will have been massively skewed by the returns of both Matt Ritchie and George Boyd in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Therefore, if we look at the last three seasons instead:

The average ranking for the highest scoring midfielder (between 2018 and 2020): 12.3
The average points for the highest scoring midfielder (between 2018 and 2020): 150.6

Here we can see that there is a more upward trajectory in terms of promoted midfielders and although the sample size is much smaller, it does suggest that there is some new value in selecting a player of this kind.

Read more: FPL Midfielders Statistical Head-to-Head Battles

Conclusion

Which begs the question, what has changed in the past three years? There is a sense that the managers of promoted teams are now prepared to build their sides around a creative midfielder, and this has enabled the likes of Jack Grealish and Diogo Jota to rack up a decent amount of points.

Now that we know this, you will need to keep a keen eye on the shape of each of this season’s promoted trio. Will West Brom, Fulham or Leeds build a whole eleven around one pivotal midfielder?

If that proves to be the case and he is the engine room of all that is creative, a bundle of points could soon follow. However, if the burden of midfield activity is shared, you may want to approach with an increased level of caution.

Caution that comes with the further up the pitch you go, the less value that there seems to be in promoted players. Will this trend continue in our final part of the series or will it bounce back when we look at the attack?

Dan the Stat Man
Author

Dan the Stat Man

Armed with experience as a data analyst, Dan has become a successful writer during the past few years, combining his loves of football and statistics.