Fantasy Notebook – Ayoze Pérez

Newcastle’s Spanish striker kicks off our new ad hoc series that assesses potential fantasy football ‘sleepers’

If you’re familiar with Fantasy Football Portal’s Fundamentals to Success you will know that the ability to identify under-valued or low-owned players is a vital ingredient in an optimum line-up building process, especially for Guarantee Prize Pools, so the intention with this series is to unearth a few hidden gems. These are often referred to as ‘sleepers’ and one player who has been catching the eye and did so again last Saturday was Newcastle United’s Ayoze Pérez who took 10 of the 11 corner kicks the Geordies were awarded.

Now in case you missed it DraftKings, one of the two major US facing daily fantasy sports operators alongside rivals Fanduel, made some significant changes to their soccer product ahead of their UK launch which is expected to happen in December. After consulting existing fantasy football players in the UK and listening to other feedback DraftKings, not only switched statistics provider from STATS Inc to OPTA but also changed from an 8-man roster to an 11 a-side version and added some additional metrics to their scoring system, one of which is the inclusion of corners in their crossing calculations.

 However, where Pérez is concerned it’s not just about crosses and we feel the young Spaniard’s all round game deserves closer scrutiny to determine whether he could be a useful asset in other fantasy football formats in which points for crosses are not included. So let’s get the crossing stats out of the way first. Pérez put in 17 deliveries against Stoke and created 6 clear-cut chances, more than any other Premier League player in action last Saturday. Jack Colback, Florian Thauvin and Pérez have taken 50 of Newcastle’s corners so far this season but the Englishman is ruled out for around 6 weeks while the enigmatic Frenchman is struggling to cement a starting berth, so Pérez is likely to continue with corner kick taking responsibility at least for the foreseeable future. This could be a good source of assists if he can get the delivery right.

Game time looks really promising as well with the youngster completing 90 minutes on his last 6 English Premier League starts. He has scored twice and chipped in with a couple of assists in the four games in which he has played as a centre-forward as can be seen by this WhoScored infographic, averaging a rating of 7.87/10 in the process. Discipline is one of his strong points and he is yet to pick up a caution despite a real work ethic which sees him getting in plenty of tackles as well as completing successful interceptions. He doesn’t commit too many fouls himself and picks up his fair share of free kicks with his strong dribbling ability.

Georginio Wijnaldum has been grabbling most of the headlines on Tyneside but the impressive form of Pérez has not gone unnoticed. Still seemingly under the radar in most fantasy football games, Pérez just needs to add a bit of finesse to his finishing and get himself in more shooting positions and he could start to put together some big fantasy scores!