IN what is shaping up to be the most cut-throat and competitive Premier League season since the Sir Alex Ferguson era, the fantasy football landscape has proved equally enthralling.

As pundits speculate the possibility of goal difference yet again deciding the title, the margins in your fantasy football league are likely to be just as razor thin. Fortunately, our mid-season guide has you covered with a comprehensive analysis of the fantasy football season in the wake of the manic Christmas schedule, as we savour the prospect of a tumultuous and thrilling home stretch.

Disclaimer: All statistics refer to official Premier League fantasy football’s unique scoring system. If you’re playing on DraftKings, ESPN or any other format, the scoring parameters will likely vary. Please note however that all formats reward goals and assists as the key point metrics.

The Top Scorers

  1. Mo Salah (LIV) 151 points, 7.19 ppg
  2. Eden Hazard (CHE) 139 points, 6.95 ppg
  3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS) 132 points, 6.29ppg
  4. Harry Kane (TOT) 130 points, 6.19ppg
  5. Raheem Sterling (MCI) 127 points, 7.06ppg
  6. Marcos Alonso (CHE) 117 points, 5.57ppg
  7. Andy Robertson (LIV) 115 points, 6.05ppg
  8. Ryan Fraser (BOU) 109 points, 5.19ppg
  9. Leroy Sane (MCI) 107 points, 5.63ppg
  10. Virgil Van Dyk (LIV) 106 points, 5.04ppg

What does it tell us?

As we anticipated, the top ten list has become increasingly dominated by players from the “Big Six” clubs. Ryan Fraser is the only player from outside of the league’s well-established aristocracy to maintain his spot. The two best performers on a per game basis have been Salah and Sterling, which is not particularly surprising. However, expect their club-mates to have something to say about it in coming weeks. In reality, separating the great from the very good has been predicated on good fitness and the ability to avoid injury. Unfortunately, this factor can be tough to quantify – But avoiding players with a track record of hurting themselves is always a sound approach. Nothing costs you more points than absent players.

Notably, the list is comprised of five midfielders, three defenders, and only two strikers.

Can we expect the trend to continue?

Yes. Just as the league undergoes a sort of gradual homeostasis with the best clubs rising the top spots, and the smaller clubs sinking, the same is true for the best players. But that is not to suggest there is no value in scouring the smaller clubs for their key men – Just less reliability.

The Sleepers

  1. Kevin De Bruyne (MCI) 13 points, 2.17ppg
  2. Marcus Rashford (MUN) 79 points, 4.39ppg
  3. David De Gea (MUN) 62 points, 2.95ppg
  4. Romelu Lukaku (MUN) 71 points, 3.94ppg
  5. Dominic Solanke (BOU) 0 points

Kevin De Bruyne is an obvious choice. The Belgian’s season has been disrupted by injuries but he is certain to feature and rack up big points when he’s back to full fitness. Because of his inactivity, last season’s league leader in assists is great value in weekly fantasy format like DraftKings. Sign him while the value’s hot.

How things change – At the season’s quartermark, Manchester United players dominated the “biggest disappointments” category, and with good reason. With Mourinho fired, Solskjaer appointed, and the shackles off, they have put together a good run and scored five goals in a game for the first time in five years. Even with the honeymoon period likely to end soon, there will be a lot of value in acquiring Manchester United players who are beginning to play much closer to their potential.

As for Dominic Solanke? Bournemouth’s 21-year-old $33 million signing has already represented England and is thought of highly by Gareth Southgate. In fairness, he has little experience at the top level and it could go either way. But with the dearth of quality strikers in fantasy, it’s worth a mention.

Unsung Heroes (Top scorers from outside the Big Six)

  1. Ryan Fraser (BOU) 109 points
  2. Callum Wilson (BOU) 105 points
  3. Felipe Anderson (WHU) 105 points
  4. Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE) 99 points
  5. Roberto Pereyra (WAT) 99 points

What does it tell us?

There are certainly some solid budget options outside of the big six bubble – And there is a lot of competition for these places. Both Fraser and Wilson have been exceptional and consistent for a Cherries outfit that made a fantastic start to the season, so it’s no surprise to see them at the top. But we think Felipe Anderson is the standout player here. West Ham’s Brazilian ace may be the signing of the season, and is integral to everything the Hammers do going forward.

Can we expect the trend to continue?

No. As we’ve said, this is the area with the most ebbs and flows in form and consistency. Notably, Bournemouth are in the relegation spots on the form table, following a string of abysmal performances. If the team flounders, their key players might too. In ten games time, it would be no surprise to see five new names on this list, such is the volatile nature of the premier league mid-table.

Where to obtain the most points?

Forwards Vs Midfielders Vs Defenders

Top 10 forwards total score – 998, average of 47.52 per round

Top 10 midfielders total score – 1146, average of 54.57 per round

Top 10 defenders total score – 964, average of 45.9 per round

Top 10 goalkeepers total score – 820, average of 39 per round

What does it tell us?

Inches matter. Midfielders have benefited from the extra points garnered from clean sheets, and for scoring goals as opposed to strikers. Aubameyang and Kane would be ahead of Hazard if he had not received that one measly, and questionable, extra point every time he scored – Not to mention his dubious clean sheet bonus, which has netted him an additional 8 points over the season’s course. Whether you play salary cap or draft, you will know all too well that an extra point here or there could mean the difference between heart-break and jubilation, and often does.

Defenders have regressed somewhat since the the quarter-season review, and this is because the percentage of clean sheets has normalised. But in spite of that, they still represent the best general value, particularly in salary cap, given how much cheaper they are compared to their attacking counterparts.

Also note that the most stable markets seem to be midfielders and defenders, with 70% of the top ten coming from the Big Six clubs. There is a shortage of world class strikers in the league at the moment, and if your marquee front-men have a quiet day you can be punished for prioritising Aguero or Kane, given their exorbitant fees. Always play fixture by fixture, but if you’re formulating a long-term plan, we recommend building around midfielders and defenders.

Can we expect the trend to continue?

Yes, most likely. When you look at the form and ability of guys like Salah, Sterling, Sane, Mane and Hazard, it’s really tough to see their influence relenting. We are talking about the most impactful attacking players in the league, with their respective clubs cultivating playing styles that exploits their potential.

The keeper’s

  1. Alisson (LIV) 101 points
  2. Neil Etheridge (CAR) 89 points
  3. Kepa (CHE) 89 points
  4. Ederson (MCI) 84 points
  5. Lukas Fabianski (WHU) 81 points

What does it tell us?

To be frank, this list tells us that if you’re lucky enough to have a goalkeeper save a penalty, you’re in store for monster points. Obviously, there’s no reliable method for predicting the likelihood of conceding penalties, let alone saving them. Sticking with clean sheet likelihood, and favouring keeper’s playing at home is still the best criteria. Generally speaking, clubs concede many more goals away from home. So far this season, 279 goals have been conceded at home and 319 away. That’s almost a 15% increase away from home – Remember, inches matter!

Can we expect the trend to continue?

It’s strange to see Cardiff and West Ham’s keepers in the top five given their frailties at the back, but as we said saved penalties offer the most significant point swings in fantasy football. We will say no, expect this list to be made up of keepers from big six clubs in ten games time, or at least by the end of the season.

Biggest Disappointments

  1. Gabriel Jesus (MCI) 43 points
  2. Alvaro Morata (CHE) 46 points
  3. Alexis Sanchez (MUN) 33 points
  4. Laurent Depoitre (HUD) 29 points
  5. Matej Vydra (BUR) 13 points

What does it tell us?

It tells us great players can have horrid seasons. It wasn’t so long ago Sanchez was in the discussion for best player in the league, but playing under Mourinho appears to have drained all the quality and belief out of the Chilean in what should have been the peak of his illustrious career. 21-year-old Brazilian striker Jesus looked on to the cusp of greatness last season, but has looked bereft of confidence this time around and has been overlooked in Manchester City’s starting lineup even with Aguero injured. Tremendous things might not have been expected from Huddersfield’s Belgian international striker Depoitre, but no goals and just one assist in nineteen appearances is embarrassing – He’s made no more of an attacking contribution than Manchester City’s goalkeeper. Chelsea’s club record signing, Alvaro Morata, had been granted another chance by new manager Sarri, but has struggled and not looked a good fit for the Premier league in general. Burnley shelled out big money for Czech international Vydra, but have not given him much playing time.