We've finally come to the end of the season and what a crazy one it has been! A season sandwiched either side of a World Cup, with the Queen's death and subsequent gameweek cancellation causing absolute havoc with the fixture schedule all season! We had a total of 5 blank GWs, 9 double GWs and 1 GW that was both a blank & a double! Suffice to say us fantasy managers have really been given the run around and I for one am looking forward to the break! To round off the season I have put together a review which should hopefully be a fun way of looking back at the ebbs and flows of players performance over the course of the season.
There will be a lot of season reviews going around, and I know there will be plenty of you out there who are burnt out and don't even want to think about the season at all and just want to enjoy a well earned break. But there will be some of you who won't know what to do with themselves, now the reality of no football for a couple of months has hit home! Hopefully this review will appeal to both sides of the spectrum.
For those already in planning for next year mode, I will point you in the direction of the the Useful Draft Metrics page which will cover everything you need to base your decisions on how to start valuing players for the draft next season. However, what I wanted to do now was just have a bit of fun, and look back on the season in a way that gets away from those headline overall numbers and focus on the narrative of how the players scored over time across the season. These swings could simply be from coming into and out of the XI/form, or just the disparity of blanks and doubles. Through the article I will highlight a few players that caught my eye along the way, but mostly the animation is there for you to watch and hopefully enjoy reminiscing on the season.
Race to the most Fantasy Points
First up we'll look at fantasy points, however it's worth noting that I have only counted points that were scored when a player starts a game, so Heung-Min Son may feel hard done, his 30min cameo hat-trick for 35 points in GW7 against Leicester won't be included! There will be some very valuable players, who have a high PPS but don't start as much, so won't show up as well on a graph like this (for example Riyad Mahrez - check him out in the post WC race though!). But, lets face it, the top 25 for overall points will be the elite players and if you've had any of these players on your roster, their consistency will have massively helped you to wins over the whole season.
The bar chart is interactive, so you can filter for any position by clicking on the key at the top. Each time you click on a position in the key it will add/remove that position from the graph, so you can remove all but one position to look at Defenders for example, or any combination that you like, such as Midfielders and Forwards together. So this will bring a bigger range of players into view. You can also pause/start the race and drag it to whichever GW you fancy. If you want the graph on a bigger screen you can click on the link here: 22/23 Fantrax FPts Race. If you are interested in looking at the chart I created for last season, check that out here: 21/22 Fantrax FPts Race.
The first thing I noted was the distribution of positions in the top 25, with midfielders making up 14 of the 25 spots, with 7 forwards, 3 defenders and just 1 goalkeeper. The headlines may be taken by leaders Harry Kane and Erling Haaland, but the depth of quality in midfield is really quite striking! There were a lot of breakthrough seasons by midfielders, with Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard leading the way, but Solly March, Morgan Gibbs-White, Michael Olise, Eberchi Eze and Alex Iwobi are all worthy of high praise.
In this section I'll cover some of the players that caught the eye early on but fell by the wayside. We had the likes of Leeds duo Jack Harrison and Rodrigo who boasted a total of 67 and 66 respectively after the first 3 GWs! Harrison faded into insignificance in terms of form and his place in the team afterwards, but changes in managers later in the season saw him muster a useful 10.1 PPS from GW25 to the end. While Rodrigo at least (even through injury) kept a top 25 spot up to the World Cup, but barely got a kick afterwards.
Dean Henderson is another who caught the eye with some huge save laden performances to rack up 67 points by GW4, but it was soon all too clear how unsustainable all those worldie saves were and how shockingly bad Forest would be. In fact he only mustered 53 points in the next 15 GWs, before being promptly unseated by Kaylor Navas after injury.
Allan Saint-Maximin feels like the forgotten man at this point given how well Newcastle did in his absence, and it was a long absence! He started out like a house on fire with 68 points after 4 GWs, yet didn't play again until GW22 and even then managed just 8 sporadic starts for the rest of the season. Big question marks will be raised over his value next season.
He probably doesn't deserve to be in the fallers section, but I'd like to highlight Miguel Almiron who was maybe not a direct replacement for ASM, but he really made the right wing spot his own this season. He didn't crack the top 25 until GW12, but boy did he stick it out for a while, staying there until GW26 when injury halted his progress.
Aleksander Mitrovic started like a house on fire, 2nd only to Haaland during the early part of the season, and his form didn't drop off until he missed the last 2 games before the World Cup. Up to that point he seemed to be a legitimate contender for a top 10 spot, but boy did that change after the World Cup, short of a crazy 36 points in GW17, he scored just 3.5 PPS up to GW27, before receiving an 8 game ban! You would have been a very lucky manager if you had managed to trade him out around the World Cup.
There were also some unheralded players pre-season that did manage to keep it going. We had players such as Fabian Schar, likely undrafted in most leagues, who amazingly spent the whole season in the top 25 aside from a short spell between GW 4 and 5. What an absolute stellar fantasy season from him and that Newcastle defence! A ton of ghost points (8.7 gPPS) mixed with the odd attacking return and a super solid 37% clean sheets is a very nice recipe!
Pascal Gross, was a player we could never be too sure about in terms of his place in XI, which saw him drop down to an ADP of 106! Boy did you get a bargain if you drafted him in the middle rounds, he had a superb season and was so consistent that he stayed in the top 25 for the whole time. That takes some doing, especially as he was shifted around, here there and everywhere by both Potter and De Zerbi.
Another player that either went undrafted, or as a punt in the later rounds (due to the expectation that he would see a lot of bench time again) is Gross's team mate Solly March. All I can say is wow, what an amazing season, towards the end he even topped my ranks! I'm sure there are many mangers out there who have Solly to thank for winning their league (me included!). Yet his start was decidedly middling, it was nice that he nailed his spot in the team, but it was more the March we knew picking up 9.8 PPS mostly from ghosts. This meant he only made his first appearance in the top 25 by GW17, but he certainly went hell for leather from then. The form he put together under De Zerbi was quite simply stunning; the peripheral ghosts were still there, but his shooting and crossing volume just went through the roof, and with that the attacking returns just kept flowing. This translated into 17.5 PPS post WC, the highest of any player and a spot in the top 10 for total points!
It's easy to forget that my last riser really didn't have the best start to the season (for his standards anyway). Teething issues in Erik Ten Hag's early days saw Bruno Fernandes struggle for form and consistency and he didn't crack the top 25 until GW12. He really didn't look back once he was in there though! Bruno was only 2nd to March in post WC PPS at 16.9; he was racking up key passes for days! He has to be in with a shout to be first off the board in the draft next season, especially if United strengthen well.
Race to the most Post World Cup Fantasy Points
When I was putting the graphs together it struck me how many players had huge swings in performance after the World Cup. If you want to check it out in more detail, in the Useful Draft Metrics page we have included columns for pre and post WC PPS and you can sort by the difference between them. A player like Dwight McNeil is the perfect example of this, where he scored 7.3 PPS pre WC and 13.8 PPS post WC, and if you only count the Dyche era he was at 14.9 PPS! This means he won't make the top 25 overall scorers, but he will post WC. So I put together the graph below which charts the points accumulation from GW17 onwards, to capture some of the players which may have otherwise been lost within the total. A link for the race can be found here: 22/23 Fantrax Post WC FPts Race.
Others to watch out for include Riyadh Mahrez rising up the table from GW 20 to 23, it's quite something! Ollie Watkins appearing in GW23 and just not looking back; what an incredible run he and Villa had in the 2nd half of the season! Straight after the WC Kenny Tete was playing out of skin and stayed in the top 25 until GW27. What a baller!
This one pains me after dropping him just before the WC, but Ethan Pinnock appearing in GW26 and not letting up until GW38 was an incredible turnaround after coming back from injury; he just had so many solid ghost point displays! Karou Mitoma finally appears in GW21, the Japanese youngster really exploded after the WC, staying in and around the top 10 until the end. James Ward-Prowse had an extremely disappointing start to the season, but the shackles came off after the WC putting in some huge performances, just missing out on the top 10 here.
Race to the most Ghost Fantasy Points
Now my colleague and ghost point hunter extraordinaire Ryan Barnes, would not have been best pleased if I hadn't included a race for the most ghost points! You can find link for the race here: 22/23 Fantrax Ghost FPts Race.
The first thing I noted is just how many goalkeepers show up, compared to FPts. With all the -2 for goals against removed, they really come into their own with those saves, but also high claims succeeded racking up. David Raya and Bernd Leno are the standouts here but Jordan Pickford in the first half of the season was a beast! We also see just one forward in Harry Kane, while he had a stellar goal scoring season, a floor of 309 ghosts really helped to propel him ahead of Erling Haaland who managed just 207.
The headlines will go to Kieran Tripper; with crosses and key passes galore he was an absolute machine! 470 ghost points really is obscene, considering that's a rate of 12.4 gPPS. The floor he had was just incredible!
Early season it was fun to see the likes of Neco Williams top the list up to GW6; you would have done well to trade him out on a high then! Low key, Pascal Struijk was another who came out of nowhere as a serious fantasy asset, staying in the top 10 until GW22, when his role in the team and Leeds performances went downhill fast. Pre-WC Diogo Dalot was an absolute beast on the ghosts (9.7 gPPS), holding a top 5 position, but sadly for those of us who rostered him, injury and lack of form saw him drop out of the top 25 soon after that.
It was nice to see Morgan Gibbs-White make the list by GW29 and hold on until the end. I can recall some insane ghost performances, like the 23.5 he scored against Wolves with no attacking returns! It was also nice to see Alex Iwobi just make the list by the end, it was his consistency of starting every game and a solid 7.4 gPPS that saw him make the top 25!
Well that's a wrap from me for the season, I hope everyone had lot's of success in their fantasy leagues and enjoy a well earned break! I'm sure we'll be seeing you all soon enough as we gear up for the 23/24 draft!
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