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FPL Draft

FPL Draft Preview Week 17

by Neal Thurman

The newfound availability of Fantasy Points For and Fantasy Points Against data is one of those things that makes me wish that this were my full-time job.  I have a limited number of hours every week to watch matches, keep up with the news, play around with numbers, write, and respond to questions via email and/or Twitter.  Having this much data, it feels like I could spend all of the time I have in any given week just on playing with the numbers and looking for small advantages.  Sadly, that’s not the case (unless someone out there wants to keep me and my family in the manner we’ve become accustomed to in return for more fantasy content, never hurts to ask).


Instead, I’ll keep doing my best to dive into the numbers each week and come up with some new insights that will, hopefully, help you better optimize your Fantasy Premier League draft waiver wire claims and salary cap transfers. Here are some of those thoughts ahead of Match Week 17.

Before we get started on the specifics, here is some data that might be interesting to you at an aggregate level. This table shows how each home team scores and gives up fantasy points at home and likewise for each away team for Week 17.












































































































Of particular note looking at the above:

  • Southampton don’t score many points at home and Arsenal don’t concede many on the road
  • The common wisdom is that being on the road should cause managers to discount the likelihood of players scoring but among big clubs, Chelsea rack up more on their travels than Spurs do at home
  • Also surprising that Brighton have given up fewer fantasy points to their home opponents than Spurs have.  Granted, Brighton have Chelsea this weekend but Albion are quite solid propositions at home.
  • West Ham road matches haven’t involved many fantasy points for either side, Fulham home matches have involved few points for the home team and a lot for the away team.  Advantage West Ham attack.
  • Crystal Palace concede fantasy points by the boatload at Selhurst Park (even more than Fulham do at the Cottage), make sure to get your Leicester City players into the starting line-up and pull some off of waivers if you have to (more on that later).
  • Manchester United are quite mediocre scoring on their travels and Liverpool are death to opposing fantasy production at Anfield, time to make like Mourinho and rest your key United players. They are particularly effective (best in the Prem) at neutralizing opposing forwards at Anfield.


Unfortunately, I don’t have the space (or patience) to recreate all of the corresponding tables that break down the aggregate Fantasy Points For and Fantasy Points Against down by position groups, but I will throw some bullets your way discussing the interesting tidbits along tied to some waiver wire recommendations.


Manchester City vs Everton

Oddly, City defenders and Ederson don’t score exceptionally well at the Etihad.  I don’t suspect that you want to sit them but the notion that they are at home to non-elite competition isn’t as attractive as you might think.  That said, there’s nothing outstanding about Everton’s road fantasy point-scoring trends. 

Analysis: City players are likely already owned and Everton’s aren’t worth picking up for this one.


Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City

Crystal Palace give up the most overall fantasy points among home teams and their generosity is particularly focused on visiting defenders whom they also give up the most points to among all Premier League home teams. 

Analysis: Make sure you’re starting Pereira and Chilwell if you have them and consider bringing Jonny Evans in on waivers.


Huddersfield Town vs Newcastle

Like Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town are particularly generous to visiting defenders while this week’s visitors, Newcastle, give up the 3rd most points to opposing goalkeepers.  The numbers say this feels like a nil-nil draw that leaves you wondering why you tuned in to watch.

Analysis: I’d be looking to bring in Jonas Lossl or Jamaal Lascelles from waivers if I needed a GK or D for the week.


Tottenham Hotspur vs Burnley

There really isn’t a clever hidden narrative on this one.  Spurs are good, particularly so in midfield where their midfielders score the 4th most fantasy points in the league while their visitors are particularly generous – 2nd overall – in giving up points to opposing defenders on their travels.

Analysis: Well, obviously, you want to load up on Spurs but the trick is figuring out which Spurs defenders might start. Definitely worth taking a flier on any that might be available on the waiver wire.


Watford vs Cardiff City

The Hornets are particularly poor, 2nd worst in the Premier League, at conceding points to opposing forwards when playing at home.  Cardiff City, on the other hand, are the worst in the Premier League at giving away points to opposing goalkeepers when on their travels. The moveable object meets the resistible force and something has to give.

Analysis: My intuition tells me to go with Cardiff’s scoring ineptitude on the road and look at Ben Foster as waiver wire claim or a substitute that should be moved up from the bench.


Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Bournemouth

Despite Wolves being reluctant goal-scorers overall this season, the numbers tell a tale of a high-scoring match-up.  Wolves, as a home team, give up the 2nd most points in the division to opposing midfielders.  The Cherries, for their part, are the third most generous visitors to homestanding forwards.

Analysis: Obviously Ryan Fraser is starting and Raul Jiminez should be a nailed on starter at this point as well.  Time to dust off David Brooks and continue to believe in guys like Diogo Jota’s recent goal-scoring form. 


Fulham vs West Ham United

This one is also not too difficult to figure out.  Fulham are really bad defensively, even at home.  They concede the most points to forwards among all Premier League home teams.

Analysis: Chicharito and Lucas Pérez were both on the scoresheet last weekend and are good bets to repeat this weekend.  Lucas Pérez, unlikely to be owned in draft leagues, is the priority addition for managers who need to bring in a forward for Week 17.


Brighton and Hove Albion vs Chelsea

Brighton look wildly different at home and on the road when it comes to giving up fantasy points.  I know that the match-up looks like it will be one-sided but Albion concede points at home at a rate that falls between Arsenal, who are slightly stingier, and Spurs, who are slightly more generous to their visitors.  The point is that while Chelsea are very good, 2nd best in the Prem, at scoring fantasy points on the road their opponents are very good at preventing that from happening. 

Analysis: I’d not dive into Chelsea with the same abandon that I’d advocate diving in on Spurs.


Southampton vs Arsenal

The Saints are particularly bad, worst in the Premier League, at conceding fantasy points to opposing forwards on their home ground.  Arsenal are far and away the most prolific at scoring from the forward spot and, oddly, their forwards are more prolific on the road than at home.

Analysis: Not much to be said here for draft since Aubameyang and Lacazette are owned but maybe bring in Iwobi and, for Salary Cap purposes, captain Auba.


Liverpool vs Manchester United

As noted earlier, Liverpool just don’t give up many fantasy points at Anfield.  Manchester United aren’t exceptional at scoring fantasy points, on their travels, especially at the back where David De Gea scores the 3rd fewest points among Premier League goalkeepers away from home.

Analysis: You thought David De Gea was someone you could pick and forget but bringing in someone like Lossl who has a much more favorable match-up make sense and you probably want to stay away from United’s defense as well.   


If I didn’t cover a player or trend you’re interested in knowing about, you can always find me on Twitter @nealjthurman and ask or put the question to the entire Rotoworld Premier League team @Rotoworld_PL.

Neal Thurman
Neal Thurman manages the Rotoworld's Premier League coverage and contributes to Never Manage Alone which he co-founded. He is also a diehard Arsenal supporter. You can find him on Twitter @NealJThurman.