West Bromwich Albion players were not popular early season picks given two of their first three games were against Chelsea and Manchester City. Even now, four weeks in, none of the West Brom players is owned by more than 2.5 per cent of FPL managers except Saido Berahino – and he hasn’t featured in the last two games.
However, with a good run of fixtures through to Gameweek 11, investment in one of their assets could pay dividends. West Brom’s defence is the natural place to look given they have already recorded two clean sheets, strengthened defensively and boast Tony Pulis as manager.
This post was going to be about the West Brom defence, but when I went to the Fantasy Premier League transfer page my eye was draw to James Morrison and the 20 points that make him that team’s top FPL points scorer. Though I knew he had scored, it hadn’t really registered with me quite how many points he had accumulated – an average of five per game is good going.
Looking into Morrison’s underlying data I could see a lot to like. He has taken eight shots in total, hitting the target with six of them, which is joint second among midfielders this season. Furthermore, three-quarters of his shots were hit in the box. Although he hasn’t grabbed an assist, he has teed up his colleagues a respectable number of times*. Overall, his statistics back up the two goals he has scored and at just 4.9m there is a lot to like about Morrison.
Morrison dropped 0.1 in price the night before his two-goal haul against Chelsea, but since then he has only picked up about 40,000 net transfers in. I suspect he has flown under the FPL radar for two reasons. Firstly, a posse of cheap midfielders started this season well, chief among them Riyad Mahrez, and most fantasy managers only want one or two cheap midfielders in their teams. Secondly, average position data places Morrison firmly in the middle of the park.
Another problem sticks out when you look at the data by gameweek (click the infographic to view the breakdown by week). Two of Morrison’s best performances came against Chelsea and Manchester City, while his worst attacking statistics were against Watford. It may just be coincidence, but Morrison could be frustrating to own if he keeps turning in his best performances against teams where he is likely to be on the bench. Also, all but two of Morrison’s chances created came in one game so he might not be as effective most weeks at setting up team mates as the total suggests.
Overall, if you can afford a 4.9m fifth midfielder to primarily sit in first place on the subs bench then James Morrison looks a good option worth considering. If you want a budget fourth midfielder, he could be an interesting differential, though potentially frustrating to own at times.
- *I saw two different numbers for Morrison’s chances created, but used the figures from FourFourTwo Stats Zone for consistency. The difference was only one.
- I mention this on the About page, but please remember I rely heavily on statistics because I can’t watch many games.
- The usual caution this week that the statistics sample for this season is small applies here.