The Eriksen Dilemma: When to stick, and when to twist with an underperforming player
I am a regular listener to the FMLFPL podcast. And that is not ONLY because of the American accent (Though it helps. I have happy memories of the US, having stayed there for quite a while). It is a thoroughly enjoyable podcast – Walsh and Alon mix a lot of good-humored banter with FPL commentary, and raise some important FPL questions.
In the last pod, Episode 155, a very interesting question was raised : how long does one hold on to a REALLY non-performing player who we all know has the potential to strike form?
Eriksen is the case in point here – how long do you keep hold of someone like Eriksen – who is the textbook definition of a Steady-Eddie elite FPL point-scorer – One who is generally seen as a guaranteed 9.5M, 200 points per season player. And he is not performing to par – 12 points in 4 GWs is poor.
This is an important FPL question – and I will try to introduce some considerations in continuation to that discussion.
Firstly: How poor has Eriksen been?
For that, let’s figure out what could be the anticipated par score for a player. This is kinda easy if you have read some previous posts / been following my RMT on FISO. We have already discussed the one-game / 5-game target for a player at every price bracket. [Link for MIDs]
It tells us that the 9.5M MID slot is supposed to give me approx. 5.56-6.05 points per GW. Which equated to about 28-30 points per every 5 GWs. The math mavens among you will point out that it would lead to 211-230 points per season, which is a little bit more than what Eriksen tends to achieve over the season. That is fair, but the stats should hold, because a) Logically, this would also include the 2-3 GWs that Eriksen will miss over a season, and would be replaced by the first bench player – say approximate ppg of 3 points; and b) For specific GWs during the season – for tactical / fixture-related reasons, one would substitute Eriksen for another 8.5-9.5m player); and c) Eriksen slightly underperformed his target for last season.
So we know now that Eriksen was expected to get 23-24 points over the first 4 GWs. And he instead got 12 points. Losing you 11-12 points so far.
Similarly, you know now that Mane is outperforming his target by 15-16 points.
Second: So how to get the lost points back?
You cannot. One cannot be too worked up by the lost 11-12 points. You are not getting the 11 points back from the last 4 GWs, if you now change Eriksen to someone else. However, you know now the extent of the lost points through Eriksen. And how far you can bear the losses.
The only question to consider should be to hold Eriksen or not.
Third: So what should you do?:
Strategically: 9.5M is a slot that is not awash with great FPL point scorers yet. Mane is shooting way above par, and Hazard (who is pricier) is hitting par at 10.5M.
Operationally: If there is only one 9.5M MID slot in my team, I could certainly consider changing to Mane / Hazard; but if there are more than 1, then there aren’t too many other 9.5M MIDS pulling up trees. And the point loss is not severe.
Tactically: Eriksen’s underlying stats are really, really good (Go to understat to know more). Perhaps the only thing that inhibits him as of now (and something Alon and Walsh have mentioned in the pod too) is that Kane is not at peak form to convert all the chances that Eriksen is creating. But it is September, and does one really think that Kane would be underperforming for the whole season?
So those are some of the points to consider. Now make your decision, FPL manager.
Personally, if I would have had Eriksen in my team (I don’t) I might continue to hold for a couple of more GWs. I have more than one 9.5M MID slots in my team. How much longer? Maybe 1-2 GWs more.
PS: I have a similar dilemma in my team. Aguero / Aubameyang. Par is ~25-26 points. Auba is under par by 11-12 points too. And I am holding for one more GW (but again, Aguero is not really pulling out trees here. Only slightly above par)