In life and Fantasy Premier League chasing lost causes seems to always come with the dichotomy of hope. The constant hope of undoing the past or an urge to narrate newer horizons of storylines in the future is a precarious situation to be in. It prompts one to act in haste or worse to sit with one’s mistake without changing it.
The past week in Fantasy Premier League can be seen as an example of the dichotomy mentioned. There are still plenty of managers without Bryan Mbeumo or Yoane Wissa. At the start of the season not going with either did make sense. Brentford were after all starting the season without their talisman and Ivan Toney. The imminent departure at the time of Raya was coupled with the dodgy performances of Flekken. As good a team as they are for the middle-tier side in the Premier League. Doubts about their performances going into the season were completely justifiable.
Two game weeks have come and gone since and if you are without either of Mbeumo or Wissa and maybe Mitoma in your squad. You should count your lucky stars if your ranking is not below or around the three million marks. Game week three presents itself with many difficult questions. One will perhaps find it hard to recall a game week so early in the season with the potential of the magnitude of the decisions in past campaigns.
Names of Jackson and Alvarez with Rashford edging towards the exit door for many teams are the popular themes of the week. Mo Salah owners will be in all likelihood, for the time being, sigh, feel unlucky, and sell the Egyptian till at least game week nine. The question remains still about the potential replacements. There is no matter how much denial is entertained, a looming threat of rotation for the popular replacement picks, including the likes of Foden.
The case of Mbeumo or Wissa for that matter seems to be reminiscent of Lundstram a couple of seasons back. For managers, who had started at the time with the Blades defender felt the equivalent of winning the grand lottery. Others, without him in their drafts felt the ticket of the lottery with the winning numbers had passed and there are now values to be had elsewhere. Lundstram’s performances grew more and more emphatic as the campaign progressed ending the season with a million more in price than his actual budget enabler value.
The case of Lundstram can be seen in isolation too as well of course. Data from two game weeks no matter how much the perspective is pushed towards an individual’s biases is a short sample data to make any sort of concrete judgments. Players not greatly expected to outscore or outperform the heavy guns of the Premier League can often start on a flier eventually coming down to the more expected standards a few game weeks in. A clear vision of the picture can only be witnessed without being skewed only when the dust settles.
A short case study of high-flying Mbeumo
Many managers will be familiar with Mbeumo as a player with a knack for hitting the post more than what is natural. Indeed, in his debut season in the league, Mbeumo did hit the post about five or six times. If that has left a psychological imprint on managers who had him in their drafts or squads that season is a matter for another day.
This campaign, in the absence, of Toney, Thomas Frank, the Bees boss has provided him the license to be the team’s talisman in front of the opposition’s goal. He is on penalty duties having already scored the season opener for Brentford from the spot against Spurs. While other players competing in the same spot perhaps and definitely around the same price bracket as Mbeumo might on paper be a more stylistic pick. Mbeumo for now is getting the job done for his side which would directly mean he would do the job for our Fantasy teams as well. He has already bagged three goals for the season with an xG of 0.53 and an xA of 0.14 averaging 11.50 points per match.
After two games, Mbeumo has the highest xGi amongst midfielders. He has six shots in the box, joint fifth best in the league having created four big chances, again the best amongst midfielders. His five shots on target have only been outdone by Solly March. Brentford’s next fixtures read Crystal Palace at home, Bournemouth at home, Newcastle away, Everton at home, and Nottingham Forest away in the next five. The fixture list combined with Mbeumo’s form is the perfect combination of form and fixtures. The goldmine for Fantasy points, often so desperately sought after.
While a double up on Brentford attack might be one too many than what should have been. This week many Fantasy managers will be in the market for a striker to either replace Joao Pedro or now off penalty duties, and soon to be engaged in European competition, Ollie Watkins. Jackson and Alvarez are the most obvious candidates to replace the fallen. There is another name that deserves more than a mention during consideration.
Is Yoane Wissa getting ignored as the most glaring option?
Yoane Wissa started the season with fears albeit all made-up narratives of being eventually replaced by potential incomings in the transfer window. He was considered if at all as an option very briefly largely in part due to the absence of obvious proven forward candidates besides Haaland. Similar to Mbeumo, Wissa has been flourishing in the absence of Toney. He has an xG of 0.85 over two games with an xA of 0.19, averaging 10 points per game. The most assuring stat is perhaps his conversion rate of 20%. This conversion rate usually justifies a normal sustainable graph. Conversion rates above 30%-35% can usually mean a falter in rate eventually for most players.
Statistically, Wissa has outperformed the very best in the league. His nine shots in the box with five on target and two big chances are all more than Haaland. The sample might be incredibly small, but it is some statistic that needs acknowledgment. It is safe to perhaps presume, that no one will be in a hurry to replace Haaland with Wissa any time soon. The latter’s direct competition is likely to be with Jackson of Chelsea given the Blues’ coming run of schedule. Jackson for his part has fallen short of the Brentford man for now at least in almost every aspect. Jackson has six shots in the box, compared to Wissa’s nine as mentioned with only two being on target. Jackson’s zero output so far has unfortunately rendered a not applicable conversion rate.
The question, therefore, comes back to the same. Is trying out alternative shores and pathways the way to go for managers with neither of the players in their squads? Or will that be a showcase of stubbornness with another week of low points waiting in that policy? The answer perhaps remains on individual decisions and the perspective of playing FPL.