If I asked 100 people to tell me who they thought would be a top five keeper in Premier League Fantasy Football then many people would have said a number of different names, but I guarantee you that Burnley’s Tom Heaton wouldn’t have featured in one person’s lists. But,after seven weeks, that is where he currently sits. Of course seven weeks in essentially nothing in a 30-plus week season, but while many goalkeepers have struggled in the early season, including Wojceich Szczesny and Tim Howard, Heaton has quietly accrued fantasy points having kept three clean sheets and made 19 saves. Of course, I bet that not one of you have started Tom Heaton once and frankly, I don’t blame you. But the point I am making here is that even with his team struggling to score, (having scored as many goals as he has kept clean sheets) Heaton has outscored some real top-end fantasy goalkeepers so far.
In this article I will review how some of the Premier League goalkeepers have performed – both the good and the disappointing – and try to outline some good choices for the next month or so whilst also updating you on the current injury/selection issues. This article will also see the debut of my new Fake Premier League performance rating (FPR for short) ( also yeah I know the name is horrifically poor and when I come up with something better I will change it), which gives us an idea of how often that player has been better than the average fantasy player in the current season. A prime example of where this comes in use is with Julian Speroni, who is currently the second overall ranked keeper on points but sits joint 15th in the performance ranking, with both Tim Krul of Newcastle and Robert Green of QPR, as well as being below Szczesny who have 12, 10 and 11 points less than him respectively.
Those of you in salary cap leagues may look at this and say: “who cares, he has more total points and it’s total points that matter”, and partly, you’re right (I am still trying to tweak the ranking to make it perfect but for now it does a solid job highlighting my point and hey this is my article and my stat J). But consistent ability to perform better than the average will generally give you more points over the course of the season and lead to less boom or bust potential for your players.
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Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 31 points (Three Clean Sheets): Lloris currently leads fantasy Keepers by three points and playing for a Tottenham team that has surprised many with its defensive stability. In addition, he currently sits joint first in the FPR meaning that those of you who have started Lloris have had one of the most consistent performers on your fantasy team.
Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace) 28 Points (Two Clean Sheets and One Penalty Save): A massive 75% of Speroni’s points have come in just two of the seven weeks so far this season. 15 of those came in week four when he preserved his clean sheet with a penalty save against Burnley. And six came in week six when his team shut out Leicester. The other five weeks he has scored two, two, one, one, and one leading to a FPR score of just 0.71 and highlighting just how inconsistent he has been this season.
Vito Mannone (Sunderland) 28 Points (Two Clean Sheets): Mannone is actually tied with Lloris and Fabianski atop the FPR rankings; he has made three or more saves in a game in five of the seven weeks, earning him at least one bonus point in each of those weeks whilst only letting more than one goal in twice – limiting his negative points. This is the ideal combination for a consistently better than average keeper, someone who keeps the odd clean sheet whilst consistently making three-plus saves and barely letting in more than one goal.
Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 27 Points (Three Clean Sheets): As I said above, Fabianski is also atop the FPR leaderboard. Swansea got off to a great start this season and Fabianki scored an average of 5 points a game in the first three weeks, but since then he has conceded seven of his eight total goals whilst only keeping one clean sheet. However, four of those seven goals came against Chelsea and ignoring that game he is averaging 0.66 goals conceded a game whilst also averaging 2.5 saves a game. Meaning that when he doesn’t have extremely poor match ups (Chelsea and Man City) he’s a solid keeper for you to own on your fantasy roster.
David De Gea (Man United) 27 Points (Two Clean Sheets and One Penalty Save): Phew! Finally a keeper that was considered top five preseason keeper. But that’s where the good news ends, because De Gea has been the epitome of average this year with a FPR of exactly 1. A bonus five points from saving a weak Baines penalty this last week means that De Gea is five places higher than he would be had the penalty never happened. The reason I discount penalty saves you ask? They’re so rare, De Gea had one in his last three years in the league. So, in such a small sample size of this season they really inflate a player’s value. United have not looked confident at the back this year and losing Luke Shaw again to injury will be a worry. If you can sell high on De Gea – I would.
Tom Heaton (Burnley) 27 Points (Three Clean Sheets): I touched on how Heaton has been surprisingly useful (His FPR is 1.14) in the introduction so I won’t say much here other than while his team are struggling to score, it will actually hurt his value. There is no way Burnley can stay up if they don’t win at least five to ten games, but without committing men forward they are struggling to score. And when they do commit men forward, they are vulnerable at the back.
Fraser Forster (Southampton) 27 Points (Three Clean Sheets): Forster slipped under the radar for many fantasy owners as he arrived late in the offseason after people had set their teams or done their drafts. Meaning many owners missed on getting him in their line-up. Since arriving, he has been a top choice keeper sitting joint fifth in points scored and fifth in the FPR rankings. To see that he had only conceded five goals all season whilst having three clean sheets makes you wonder how he is only fifth, but Southampton have been so good that he’s only made three -plus saves once this season. If you can get a hold of Forster cheaply – do it!
N.B. I am not going to talk about Schmeichel here, because he had little expectations this year and he missed a game in which his back up scored 8 points. So combined they’ve scored 19 points which is solid for a keeper of a promoted team.
Tim Howard (Everton) 12 Points (One Clean Sheet): Howard got off to a horrific start, totalling a measly one point after three weeks whilst conceding 10 goals and making only a combined five saves. Since then he has scored 11 points but 10 of them came in two games! He currently has an FPR 0.57 and is the 19th ranked out of 20 who have qualified for the FPR. He has two nice match ups coming against Villa and Burnley, but this Everton defence is really worrying me, so if he has two good games I will be looking to offload Howard in as many places as I can.
Tim Krul (Newcastle) 16 Points (One Clean Sheet): Krul actually got off to a reasonable start scoring 10 points in three weeks but since then he scored 1.5 fantasy points a week whilst letting in nine goals and making three-plus saves twice. Newcastle have looked terrible at the back and that has highlighted some weaknesses in Krul this season, meaning that this hot sleeper for many has turned into a massive nightmare for fantasy owners who waited on goalkeeper and took him as their starter.
Wojeciech Szczesny (Arsenal) 17 Points (One Clean Sheet): Sitting 14th on the FPR leader board and 17th on the fantasy points leader board, Sczcesny has been a massive disappointment to many people who took him as the number one keeper overall this year. Having conceded nine goals so far this season, he isn’t the worst in the league but Arsenal have struggled to settle at the back this season and that has exposed him. However, they do have a nice run of games coming up so a turnaround could be on the cards if you hold your nerve just a bit longer.
Good Month Coming?
Italic = Good Match up, Underlined = Bad Match Up
Szczesny: Hull (H), Sunderland (A), Burnley (H), Swansea (A)
Howard: Aston Villa (H), Burnley (A), Swansea (H), Sunderland (A) Mignolet: QPR (A), Hull (H), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H)
Forster: Sunderland (H), Stoke (H), Hull (A), Leicester (H)
Lloris: Man City (A), Newcastle (H), Aston Villa (A), Stoke (H) Bad Month Coming? Speroni: Chelsea (H), West Brom (A), Sunderland (H), Man United (A)
Harper: Arsenal (A), Liverpool (A), Southampton (H), Burnley (A) De Gea: West Brom (A), Chelsea (H), Man City (A), Crystal Palace (H)
Green: Liverpool (H), Aston Villa (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H) Fabianski: Stoke (A), Leicester (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H)
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea) Head (75%): A nasty looking injury saw Petr Cech step in on Sunday but after a check-up Courtois headed off to join Belgium, so expect him to be back for Week 8. If Cech is available you might want to consider a risk on picking him up and stashing him just in case Courtois has a setback, but I am not expecting it.
Allan McGregor (Hull) Shoulder (22nd November): He got off to a flying start in week 1 but fell of dramatically since then, and compounded a bad five weeks with a shoulder injury which will see him miss at least six weeks. Harper is the man who is stepping in, but chances are McGregor was your back up so you won’t be rushing to pick up Harper especially with his schedule over the next three weeks.