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EPL Bargain Bin: Week 11 Value Players

Chris Mosinski

Fantasy sports connoisseur and expert soccer prognosticator.

Defense wins championships. The old adage has been used in professional sports for years and now rings true for your fantasy team. In fact, it is the new Bargain Bin marketing push. Defense wins championships.

As of the matchups following Week 10, six of the top-10 ranked defenders could be owned for Bargain Bin prices; only three of the ten most expensive defenders ranked in the top-10 for points so far this season. In addition, defenders continue to produce more points than any other position. If you take the average of the top-10 scorers by position, defenders rank higher than the three other field groups. Basically, there are more fantasy points being produced by defenders than any other position at a much more economical cost.

Why is that? We’re going to explain it using something called the “Power of Seven”. ESPN Premier Fantasy and Fantasy Premier League are two of the most played fantasy leagues that offer the same standard scoring (with little differences in how they offer bonus points). In what is a strong coincidence, both top overall scorers in the two leagues have a total of 713 points. If you break that down to a weekly performance average through 10 weeks it comes out to 71.3 points per week (thank you third grade math teacher). If you relate that to your Starting XI, each player averages out to needing to contribute just under seven points. It is the “Power of Seven”.

So what has been the easiest and most consistent way to get seven points from your players this season? Would you believe me if I told you it was the defensive/goalkeeper clean sheet? You get three points for your defender starting and playing more than 60 minutes, plus the four points for the clean sheet to get you to that magical total of seven. Through 10 weeks of play, take a look at how defenders have outpaced the other positions and been more consistent at getting to seven points.

Position 4 Times w/ 7 Pts 5 Times w/ 7 Pts 6 Times w/ 7 Pts
Forwards 4 0 1
Midfielders 2 0 1
Defenders 13 6 2

Twenty-one different defenders have scored seven or more points in at least four separate weeks. Only three midfielders and five strikers have managed to match that feat. This is in part because it does not matter how a defender plays during a match, just that he is on the field while he and his team keep a clean sheet. Since defenders don’t collect offensive statistics as regularly, there’s no need to pay for a top defender when you can get the same production from his cheaper teammate.

You can see that throughout the league just by looking at the difference in point total between a team’s defenders. Compare Everton defenders Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman. Coleman has produced just four fewer fantasy points this season but at a significant discount; a discount that could be used elsewhere on your roster for more expensive players. In fact, fourteen of those twenty-one defenders mentioned above can be owned at Bargain Bin prices. None of the three midfielders or five forwards can be owned for similar prices. Basically, you can save your money by owning cheap defenders so that you can spend it on the regular goal scorers that will cost you much more money.

Week 10 was a mixed bag for the Bargain Bin. Curtis Davies picked up a clean sheet against rivals Swansea City and both midfielders, Adnan Januzaj and Stephane Sessegnon, picked up assists last week. Heartbreak was had over both Artur Boruc and Dejan Lovren, as a little wind and miscommunication very early in the match led to them giving up a very unfortunate goal to the opposing keeper. Had it not been for that, both would have earned clean sheets, as well. Fernando Torres was a bust and the Bargain Bin is allowing full exchanges for players below this week, while Sone Aluko injured his hamstring during warm-ups and was unable to play.

As for Week 11, here are this week’s Bargain Bin players:

Tim Howard
seems to have regained his form, keeping clean sheets in each of Everton’s last two matches. Along the way, he has also managed to pick up nine saves, one of which was on a penalty kick from Christian Benteke. This week Howard gets to face a Crystal Palace squad that ranks 19th in goals scored and 18th in shots taken this season. Not much more explanation is needed for this one, as Howard looks to help Everton keep pace near the top of the league standings by keeping a clean sheet.

Kolo Toure
has been one of the most reliable defenders for Liverpool this season, pacing his fellow backline mates in minutes this season. Lately, Liverpool have struggled to keep clean sheets with their last one coming back on the first day of September against Manchester United. But this week they play host to a Fulham squad that have been struggling to score. Their raw numbers say they are decent at scoring goals on the road, but that number is bolstered by the fact that they scored four times in an away match against Crystal Palace. Outside of that game, Fulham have managed to score just one away goal in four matches. Much of that stems from the fact that Fulham rank last in shots taken per game and spend more time in their own half of the field than any other team in the league, according to data from WhoScored. Expect Fulham’s chances to be limited this week and Toure should be able to pick up some value from a clean sheet.

Jose Fonte is this week’s Southampton representative in the Bargain Bin. If not for the crazy wind described earlier, Fonte and Southampton would have six clean sheets in their last seven Premier League matches. A remarkable stat that looks to keep getting better when they play host to Hull City on Saturday. You can bet the defense of the Saints will be chomping at the bit to pick up another clean sheet after the unfortunate circumstances of last week. This week will provide a great opportunity, as they face a Tigers squad that ranks 17th in shots per game on the road this season. If Southampton can limit their fouls and prevent Hull City from getting a lot of set piece opportunities, it should be an easy week for Fonte and Southampton to keep a clean sheet.

Andros Townsend
continues to lead the charge for Tottenham each week. Although he only has scored one goal so far this season, he continues to pace the team in shots. In the last four Premier League matches, Townsend is averaging 4.5 shots per game and Spurs host a Newcastle United squad that ranks 17th in goals allowed on the road. Newcastle have yet to keep a clean sheet on the road and have allowed more than one goal in three of their five road matches. Odds are Tottenham will find a way to score this Sunday and I like the chance for the teams leading shot taker to be one of the players to find the back of the net.

Peter Whittingham has been a major player in the Cardiff attack all season. The midfielder has a goal and two assists this season, which accounts for 33 percent of the Cardiff scoring. Saturday, Whittingham will lead the attack against an Aston Villa squad that have struggled to prevent goals at home. Villa are allowing almost two goals per game at Villa Park this season. In addition, Villa are near the top in fouls committed in the Premier League. In situations like this, it is always good to have the player that takes many of the free kicks and corners for his team, as Whittingham does. Look for him to contribute to the Cardiff scoring this weekend.

Jay Rodriguez
will have to continue the attack for Southampton if they want to keep pace for a chance at a European berth. He currently leads Southampton in open-play goals this season and has been the team leader in shots over the last three Premier League matches. This week, Rodriguez gets to face a Hull City squad that ranks in the bottom half in shots allowed and goals allowed in away matches. He has three goals and an assist over his last four Premier League appearances, and will look to expand on those stats this weekend.

Wilfried Bony has averaged three shots per game while playing in home matches this season. The striker is tied for the team lead in goals scored and is second in shot attempts. Sunday, he will get to face a Stoke City squad that ranks in the bottom half in goals allowed in road matches. In fact, in the last four road games Stoke City have played, they have allowed an average of two goals per game. Stoke spend much of their road matches in their own half and will have to stop a barrage of shots from Bony and Co. Look for the striker to pick up a goal against the traveling Potters.