This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game next season– our directory for these (over 20!) is here. This series analyses a selection of significant newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using last season’s stats (wherever they played) in FPL, then provide our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the new season.
On 25th July, Brighton announced the signing of young starlet Izzy Brown from Chelsea.
— BHAFC ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) July 25, 2017
The attacking midfielder joins on a season long loan.
As well as being mistaken for both a question from a drunken racist and/or a woman whenever the commentator said his name last season, Brown could now slot in to the Brighton midfield as they, to use Football Manager parlance, battle bravely against relegation in the upcoming season.
So, Izzy any good?
Let’s use WhoScored data to find out.
(n.b. Brown was at both Rotherham and Huddersfield last season, having joined the Terriers in January. For this article, we’ll combine his data across his time at both clubs, but where it is necessary make clear who he was playing for.)
Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)
Appearances: 38 appearances (32x played over 60 mins, 6x subbed on/off) = 70 points ((32×2)+6)
Goals: 7 goals (3 for Rotherham, 4 for Hudd) (5×7) = 35 points
Assists: 5 assists (all for Rotherham) (3×5) =15 points
Bonus: To give an estimation of the bonus points he would have got, we need to review the games that he was instrumental in, ie when his goals and assists arrived to come to a rough calculation of how well he did.
(Occasional random bonus points (bps) are sometimes awarded in FPL where a player has bossed it but not actually got on the score card. We’re not estimating these as we’re using pure data rather than contextual data (e.g. watching the games he played in) to make perform this analysis. Plus it’ll only be an extra one or two points either way, which won’t change the story.)
For goals: this is best looked at by breaking down his contribution to games – where he was undisputed difference in the game, we will assign 3bps; where he was involved in changing the result but didn’t win the match, we’ll look at each game on merit; where he was on the scoresheet but it wasn’t a telling contribution, we will give the record of what happened and make an educated guesstimate on what may have been awarded.
- Match winning: Let’s get one thing said – Brown scores the opener. All 7 of his goals this season were the opening goal in the games he was involved in! For Rotherham, Brown scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory over QPR on 10th December. In his first home league game for Huddersfield, he introduced himself to his new home faithful by scored the opener in the 2-0 victory over Ipswich on 21st January, assisted by previous prospecting the prospect star Chris Lowe, though the fact central defender Christopher Schindler scored the second and kept a clean sheet would probably have secured top bonus. Finally, he scored the only goal in the 1-0 defeat of Wolves on 25th April. I think for the games where he was the difference, it’s 3bps per game, but for the Ipswich game it’s maybe 2bps. 8bps here.
- Result change: He scored the opener for Rotherham in the 2-2 draw with Bristol City on 10th September. He did the same a few weeks later on 24th September in the eventual 2-1 defeat to Cardiff. For Huddersfield on 5th February, on as a first half sub for Kasey Palmer, he scored the opener v Leeds in the 2-1 victory. He did the same the next week on 11th February in the 2-1 victory over QPR, but also got a yellow card in this game which jeopardises his bonus. Let’s say for the Leeds game 2bps as he was on the winning side, and 1bp for QPR given the yellow card. For drawing with City, it might be another 2bps as the goals and assists were evenly distributed; against Cardiff, a brace for Rickie Lambert would give him all bonus, but he might have been in the mix for 2 bonus there. 7bps here, too.
- Contributions: None of his goals were a contribution (i.e. scoring the third in a 3-0)
Total guessimated bonus for goals: 15 points
For assists: All of his assists came when he was at Rotherham. He assisted the opener in the 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest on 14th September, but got a yellow card in the process. He did the same – assisting the opener, he loves the opener! – in the eventual 4-2 defeat to Blackburn on 17th September, but again got carded. He assisted the consolation goal in the 2-1 defeat to Leeds on 26th November and also for the defeat to Burton on 3rd December by the same score line. He finally assisted the opener in the 2-1 defeat by Fulham on 13th December. I’m not sure he would have qualified for bonus on any of these occasions.
Total guesstimated bonus: 15 points
Not conceding: 3 clean sheets (4×1) = 3points
Disciplinary: 6 yellow cards = –6 points / 0 red cards
Scores on the doors
134 points. This puts him in the top 40 overall, equal with my man Charlie Daniels. That’s also the top 20 midfielders, 1 ahead of the likes of Robert Snodgrass and my other man Michail Antonio.
He did do the full 38 games, so the 134 gives us 3.53 points per game (ppg).
But if we were to mess around a little more, his time on the pitch was equivalent to 31 games, which gives him a nice 4.13ppg – or 157 for the season. Unlikely, but that would have put him in the top 20 for midfielders, 4 behind Pedro, and in the top 30 overall.
Evaluation and conclusion
We reached out to our long-time Terrier info consultant Denny Ledger (@denny_ledger, who may grace these pages sometime soon…) for some information on the Chelsea loanee. As well as pointing out that he won their young player of the year award at Huddersfield in just half a season, he told us a bit about the little man’s moves:
Loved him! Goals & assists, great long range shot, very tricky, confident. £.5.5 FPL I'd predict as Kasey Palmer is.
— Denny Ledger (@denny_ledger) July 25, 2017
As Denny predicted, he is indeed priced 5.5. He’s a youngster with an eye for a shot but, with Squawka reporting a mere 65% accuracy rate, we may have to hope that he can be more clinical this season. Brown joins Brighton rather than Huddersfield, perhaps, because the man he replaced (temporarily) Kasey Palmer (also 5.5) performs a similar role at his previous side and looks back to fitness after having last season cruelly curtailed by injury.
At Brighton, Brown will be in competition with the likes of Anthony Knockaert and new man Pascal Gross (we’ve profiled both – look them up in our directory here if interested!). However, new manager Chris Hughton has specifically praised Brown’s versatility, and the youngster has filled in across the frontline, playing on the left, as the no.10 and also up front in recent seasons. His flair and fleet of foot look to be his key attributes, then, which helps us to think of comparators.
One man who looks to be in the same mould to Brown is Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser. Owned by just 1.5% (time of writing) and priced at the identical 5.5 point this season – and my pick of the cheap midfield options – Fraser returned 100 points in 1764 mins last season. This translates in 19.7 games worth of football (1769/90). That gives us a points per game of 5.07 which is super healthy for the season – but the 194 point gross up there is hugely unrealistic. Still, Fraser’s output is very nice – his flair is a cause of constant trouble for opponents, as the unusual fact that he “won” the most penalties last season reflects. I’m expecting a good second season for Fraser, who looks to have Howe’s trust if he is fit, starting 19 of the 28 matches he was available for, and the player himself will doubtless be looking to kick-on after his own injury troubles last term. Maybe something close to Manuel Lanzini, whose 8g 3a got him 133 points last season, might be perhaps something (in some configuration of output!) to aim at for Fraser. At 5.5, we’d perceivably be expecting Brown to score the same – but I’m less confident in that.
A more established performer – looking a nice bargain actually at 5.0 – is good old Jason Puncheon, whose recent elevation (supplanting the presumably not too pleased Scott Dann) to Palace captain has significantly derailed the Loftus-Cheeky case for a bit of Ruben in our sides. Not so long ago, he was good for about 130 points a season, as his final season at Saints in 13/14 (131) and his first season 14/15 with Palace (128 points) showed. However, as Palace’s fortunes have become distinctly mixed, Punch’s output have mirrored his side’s fortunes, with a decent 6 assists last season but no goals (and only 92 pts) for the first time in 5 seasons. He does, though, remain his side’s key creative force, as a decent Creativity score (in the ICT) alongside a 1.7 key passes per game (team mate Yohan Cabaye was at 1.1) attests. However, his elevation to captain and the appointment of a new manager seemingly for the long term in Frank de Boer, it may be that Palace’s fortunes rise which, as we have seen in the past, could see him reverting to prior type and score back to the 130s as he used to. It does seem a bit odd – but I guess tracks Palace’s recent history and his decline in points output – that he is 0.5 less expensive than Brown.
As I’ve hinted, looking up both of those guys really made me aware that Brown, who is precocious and full of potential rather than a proven asset, has been overpriced at 5.5. I think it’s a shame, as he could’ve been a nice little punt at some point at 5.0 (which he may yet fall to!)
Brighton’s start to the season reads MCI lei wat WBA bou – their fixtures basically become OK after GW3 and beyond basically. However, I think that the start might deter investment beyond a bench choice amongst their assets (Dunk, for example) from the opening weekend. I can’t imagine Brown, at his price, figuring in the consideration set amongst even those looking to take a risk. He might be one to watch for later in the season if he does drop sufficiently. If a bandwagon kicks off and he kicks on, he might figure as a nice enabler at the 5.5 mark, but I feel the two men mentioned above, if you need to get a 5.5 or below in your side (along with Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy, maybe), are better bets here from the beginning.
So, Izzy any good for FPL? I don’t think so; he’ll only be in my side unless a serious bandwagon forms, and may well be one of those who is an irrelevance to us all season long.
Overall rating: 1.5 / 5 – A fairly bad prospect for FPL
*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent
Caveat: we thoroughly accept this system of evaluating players isn’t flawless. However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do.