Who’s Hottest?

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467980-christian-benteke

There are three in form ‘budget’ strikers in the game fighting for a place in our sides. Each has built an impressive haul of points to firmly fit the category of value pick. As the season enters its final third these strikers will make or break their respective teams fortunes. Struggling to survive or pushing for Europe each one is going to need to finish with a flourish as the pressure builds.

Looking back over the last week or so has seen a price rise in two of these striking options as players gravitate towards the high value assets. The fact there is three such options leads to the inevitable question: ‘Who do I select?’

The answer is never straightforward in this game it can change from one week to the next or even over a small patch of games. It often depends on your strategy the proactive (heavy trader) vs. the reactive (light trader). A third option is open to the elite of the game ‘judgment’. If you want to get there you really have to be a combination of the two. Sometimes you trade on an early feel other times you make a mistake & must move late on an option paying the price at the bank.

Christian Benteke is currently one of the hottest players in the pl averaging a staggering 7.5 points per game over the last six matches. The big Belgian is quite simply going to decide Aston Villa’s pl future as the once strong club lays in ruins.

In his current form this man is presenting fixture proof qualities. The addition of penalties to his locker only adds to the appeal of the 6.9 priced striker. The fixtures on paper are initially quite scary Arsenal (A) followed by Man City (H) – this is where ‘judgment’ comes in –

Arsenal drew 0-0 with Villa away, which was a great defensive performance at the time. Arsenal is off the back of an FA Cup loss to Blackburn Rovers followed by a Champions League tie with Bayern Munich. They are not going to be 100% fresh nor are they as tight a team as the stats might indicate. The fitness doubts over Arsenal’s centre back pairing & the poor form of Sagna indicates a goal or two for the away side.

A home game against the faulting champions, a team that trashed them 5-0 is another interesting tie. Whatever happens at the Emirates is going to carry some momentum into this one. Lets not forget Villa need every point they can get, it is this time of season when the underdogs start stepping up.

To the other side of the fence is that both of those sides are top four contenders. Arsenal is going to be hungry after the terrible loss recently. Meanwhile Manchester City will be on the charge with Yaya Toure back in the fold after dropping terrible points needing to win most if not all games to have a pop at the title.

It is so open to speculation but surely Benteke can defy the doubters in the toughest of fixtures. If you own him I would continue to hold if you are thinking about buying him either do now before his price continues to rise or patiently wait until after GW28.

Rickie Lambert is presenting a strong alternative to Benteke. Although he is offering only 5.83 points per game after the last 6 he has managed it against 3 of last seasons top 4. An impressive total for a striker who started at a measly 6.0, today his value is only slightly hampered by a 6.7 price tag.  His 11 goals & 6 assists have provided much joy for those that have seen his 130 points over the season.

The fact he is well owned slightly drowns out the value. With 17.5% ownership his differential bracket is not bursting. (Benteke has a modest 7.7%).  That said he is still a superb option with games against QPR, Liverpool & Reading on the radar in the next 6.

The most interesting aspect about Lambert & indeed Southampton is the sacking of Nigel Adkins. Under Adkins Lambert’s reliability in terms of minutes came heavily into question. He played 90 minutes in 13 of 22 games under Adkins in the pl not great reading as a fantasy asset BUT it worked. Lambert has managed to play a part in every game as a vital asset coming off the bench to help the team over the line. Under the new management Lambert has played 90 minutes in each game, a game that demands a high tempo of closing the ball down. In the short term this is an excellent driver for fantasy value. In the long term it could present difficulties Lambert is at a high risk of injury (look to last seasons model Grant Holt a similar striker constantly injured due to being overplayed).

Back on task Lambert is presenting a strong alternative to Benteke he has proven himself a pl striker what he has left in him will determine whether Southampton will stay in the pl. It could be a last day job but over the next 12 games Lambert surely has another 5+ goals to come.  You simply must be on him at the right time as the season begins to wind down those looking for consistent returns & have the cash for an expensive striker look no further.

The third option in the pack is certainly the biggest differential of the three options. Lukaku is owned by 4.7% of players mainly due to a limited 5 90 minute matches. Lukaku’s output on the other hand cannot be denied. 10 goals & 3 assists from 1195 minutes has brought in 92 points. Sure the statistics are going to sway on the side of Lukaku a little due to his limited minutes but his output simply can’t be overlooked. West Brom are in a position to push the top 10 teams in the table for an unlikely place in Europe. If they are going to accomplish this they will need Lukaku firing.

He has averaged an impressive 5.17 in the last 6 games even though West Brom sit 19th in the form table. Honestly he plays too little if he was to get a consistent run of games together he would be worth every cent. Lukaku has a lot of ability for West Brom to be even loaning a player of such quality is surprising. Might be one to note next season when he should come in at around the same price (hopefully sold by Chelsea).

Whoever you choose both should return points in the run in at a higher then expected rate. It really does come down to a ‘judgment’ call. To those that have been holding either or both of these assets well done to those that have not I strongly consider buying one of Benteke or Lambert.

Below is a summary of some statistics I put together regarding the three players. Consider it somewhat of a gift for my absence lately to the regular readers who enjoy my posts (and stats approach).

Rickie Lambert Christian Benteke Romelu Lukaku
Fantasy relevant indicators
Goals

11

11

10

Assists

6

4

3

Crosses

15

3

21

Games of fantasy return (%)

46%

42%

46%

     
Shot indicators
Goals per game

0.42

0.48

0.42

Goals per shots

0.18

0.14

0.18

Reliablity
Minutes played

2080

1873

1195

90 minute appearances

17

21

5

Differential factor
Ownership

17.5%

7.7%

4.7%

Form
Last 6

35

45

31

Point per game last 6

5.83

7.5

5.17

Team form (last 6)

7th

15th

19th

Price
Starting

6

6.5

6.5

Current

6.7

6.9

6.5

Looking Forward
GW27 Newcastle (A) Arsenal (A) Sunderland(H)
GW28 QPR (H) Man City (H) Chelsea (A)
GW29 Norwich (A) Reading (A) Swansea (H)
GW30 Liverpool (H) QPR (H) Stoke City (A)
GW31 Chelsea (H) Liverpool (H) West Ham (A)
GW32 Reading (A) Stoke City (A) Arsenal (H)
Fixture Rating 1st 3rd 2nd
Top 4 games

1

2

2

Top 10 (other 6) games

1

2

2

Bottom 10

2

0

2

“6 pointers”

2

2

N/A
The Run In
GW33 West Ham (H) Fulham (H) Man City (A)
GW34 Swansea (A) Man United (A) Newcastle (H)
GW35 West Brom (H) Sunderland (H) Southampton(A)
GW36 Tottenham (A) Norwich (A) Wigan (H)
GW37 Sunderland (A) Chelsea (H) Norwich (A)
GW38 Stoke City (H) Wigan (A) Man United (H)
Fixture Rating* 3rd 1st 2nd
Top 4 games

1

2

2

Battle for Europe

2

0

0

Mid Table dead rubbers

2

3

2

Relegation battle

1

1

2

*Very difficult to predict that far ahead

11 comments on “Who’s Hottest?

    • Liam Post Author

      Good stuff! I made the wrong choice in my wildcard for the 3rd striker spot costing myself about 20 points. This week could be the rebounder before I move on a trade to one of these three.

  1. Bobby

    I need a new defender… I have 1.1 in the bank and Demel or Harte to get rid of. So I would have 4.9 – 5.1 to spend. Anyone have any suggestions??

    • grinpowderdiah Post Author

      Marc Wilson would be hot on my radar. Played another half game for the Stoke City U21’s last night (along with others including Shea, Jerome, Whitehead etc.) – where all the first teamers were subbed off at the half. I think that might have been the test to see if he’s fit to start against Fulham, which it seems he survived without any problems.

      They have reasonable fixtures coming up too (not too hard, although not super easy either), surely they can get back to their dour ways. At 4.2 regardless, he also poses a reasonable attacking threat (crosses to the beanstalks of Crouch/Jones) making him a great replacement IMO. Demel is a must to get rid of, along with any other West Ham players, their upcoming fixtures are nothing short of nasty.

        • Bobby

          Thanks a lot guys. Wilson it is. And hes only 3.9 right now so I ended up with more in the bank than I started with. Cheers!

  2. MattyZach

    Trading Lambert out with the new year’s wildcard is probably the worst decision I’ve made all season. Missed out on so many points/value.

    • Liam Post Author

      hmm there is probably worse, he doesn’t generally accumulate that quickly (35 points in the last 6). My worst was Suarez to Ba (couple of days before he transferred to Chelsea) cost me a bucketload of points

  3. grinpowderdiah Post Author

    Brilliant article, Liam. Love this stuff – really enjoy all your reads but particularly the statistical analysis. Appreciate the amount of effort you’ve gone to here, looking forward to the next one! 🙂

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