Leicester Players – Time to Invest?
Leicester players have been quietly providing FPL returns this season. The Foxes long term fixtures also look good providing justification to take a look at which Leicester players may be worth having in your Fantasy Premier League team.
Next 5 fixtures: Newcastle (a), Everton (H), Arsenal (a), West Ham (H), Cardiff (a)
Goalkeeper and Defence
Leicester’s defensive quality hasn’t shone bright this season yet, registering just one clean sheet in six. That clean sheet came against newly promoted Wolves. Elsewhere, Leicester have conceded against Southampton and Huddersfield, two games where you’d reasonably expect shut-outs.
As a result I’m a little surprised Kasper Schmeichel’s price hasn’t dropped from its original £5.0m. This could be because he wasn’t highly backed at the start of the season though. Still, he has a good chance of both clean sheets and save points in Leicester’s upcoming games. Cardiff, Newcastle and West Ham have hardly been prolific this season, with the joint-worst, joint-second worst and third worst scoring records respectively.
Ricardo Pereira (£5.1m) would have made this list a week ago, thanks to his attacking threat (3 assists in 5 league games). It’s that propensity to bomb forwards which led to Bournemouth exploiting space he ought to have been in. This caused Leicester to concede four goals in Gameweek 5. In turn this caused him to be dropped the following week. He played 90 minutes against Wolves in the League Cup midweek, leading me to predict another bench-warming Saturday afternoon for the Portuguese man.
However, Ben Chilwell (£5.0m) has started, and completed, all 6 league games so far. Moreover he passes the eye test as he gets into shooting positions on a regular basis. It should be a matter of time that some of his multitude of crosses are converted into actual assists!
The only other name to consider right now in the Leicester defence is Harry Maguire. One of England’s stars from the World Cup comes with a big price tag of £5.5m. He’s off the mark for the season with a goal against Southampton (somewhat surprisingly, a sweetly struck screamer off his boot!). Nevertheless for my money there’s better value out there at his price point.
There’s only one place to start, and that’s with James Maddison. He is £6.8m at the time of writing, and on the up. Three goals, one assist, as well as three bonus points to boot means he’s the joint 5th highest scoring midfielder in FPL. Consequently he is beating the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sané, Paul Pogba, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen! The former Norwich man has taken over direct free-kicks from Riyad Mahrez – scoring a Beckham-esque set piece vs Huddersfield. In the previous week, it could be argued that for his penalty against Bournemouth that he was lucky Jamie Vardy had left the pitch four minutes earlier. His Gameweek 2 goal was well-taken against Wolves in the league to be fair. Though he got a lucky with his assist against Liverpool after a goal-mouth scramble. You might sense hesitation in my words, and I do believe he’s been fortunate to score 34 FPL points to date, but some players have the rub of the green about them. Even so, with Leicester embarking on a strong run of fixtures, he’s a strong candidate for your squads.
I confess I had high hopes for Demarai Gray (£5.5m) this season. He looked set to be the rightful heir to Mahrez’s place in the side. This had proven to be true. However, Maddison’s emergence and acquisition of set pieces dampened my enthusiasm somewhat, and sadly Gray didn’t grab his chance as an OOP prospect when filling in upfront during Vardy’s suspension. He’s now suffered an injury that will keep him out for a number of weeks, so he falls by the wayside as a fantasy option for Leicester players over the next month or so.
Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) is closer to 32 than 31 now. This doesn’t mean he has lost his appetite for scoring, nor his lightening pace just yet. Down to 4.1% ownership at the time of writing following his 3-match ban, he found the form of seasons gone by against Huddersfield with a goal, an assist, and two bonus points thrown in for good measure. Having also scored in a 27-minute cameo vs Man Utd on the opening day of the season, there’s life in the old dog yet. Kelechi Iheanacho, discussed below, might take away some of Vardy’s minutes. Regardless, Vardy’s statistics and the fact he is a differential option do give justification to include him in your FPL team.
A final word for forgotten man Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.9), who has quietly been racking up the points with three assists and a goal in fewer than 300 minutes played in the league so far this season. Remember when everything he touched turned to ‘goal’ when he was at Man City? The Nigerian matched Vardy’s output in Gameweek 6, benefiting from a change of formation to allow two up top at the expense of Gray. The latter’s injury coupled with a dominant team performance against Huddersfield would suggest Claude Puel stick with the same team for the trip to Newcastle. For differential-seekers, he’s a hidden weapon with just 1.3% ownership in the game!