Last season, Leeds’ return to the Premier League was nothing short of emphatic. Rock and roll football, a legendary coach and a team that fans and neutrals alike were in awe of. Their second season, however, has been one to forget. Injuries have plagued the squad and the same issues they had last season, haven’t been resolved. Whilst they look like they’ll be safe, it’s not the season fans had hoped for.
When looking at this from a fantasy standpoint, it’s a lot of the same. Leeds players were a mainstay in basically every team last season and with good reason. Their value was superb, goals came in abundance and even their defence was relatively solid, despite Bielsa’s gung-ho style of play.
So, let’s have a look at how their main assets have dipped in FPL quality this season and if there is a chance that they could once again become attractive assets before the end of the campaign comes to a close.
The impact of injuries
It’s plain to see that injuries to the bulk of the squad has been the biggest issue for Leeds’ this season and one of the most impactful knocks to the squad was Patrick Bamford. Bamford was an FPL icon last season, after he burst onto the scene early on in the year after his hattrick against Aston Villa. He scored a total of 194 points last season, registering 17 goals and 11 assists, according to the FPL rules (e.g- winning a converted penalty is classed as an assist). He also saw his price rise £1.1 million over the course of the campaign, seeing him go from £5.5m to £6.6m after 38 gameweeks.
Bamford has obviously failed to hit these heights this season and even after his brief four minute cameo against Brentford, which saw him score to salvage a point for Leeds, he suffered a further setback and has not featured since. Leeds fans and FPL fanatics alike, can only hope for his return sometime soon.
Raphinha- Surviving the fallout
Whilst a lot of Leeds players haven’t looked like good options this season, when compared to some of the other big hitters, one man has remained a solid choice all season long. Leeds’ tricky Brazilian, Raphinha, has been able to keep up with the other budget midfielders, despite the Yorkshire side’s poor league form, which is one of the great things about FPL. So far, we’ve seen Jarrod Bowen, Emile Smith-Rowe and Conor Gallagher all come up with big points this season, but the Leeds winger has remained a go-to pick in Leeds’ good fixture runs.
Raphinha was commonly said to be under-priced at the start of the season, which was a very fair argument when looking at his form last season. Being priced at £5.5m last time out and finishing at only £0.1m above that, his price of £6.5m this season seemed extremely reasonable. The winger scored 133pts in 2020/21 and even despite his points, his price made him an excellent enabler, allowing managers to spread their cash to afford the more expensive options, like Mo Salah and Harry Kane.
Despite failing to score more than 10+ points in a single gameweek, Raphinha is still a player that should be on your radar, especially with his double gameweek coming up in GW26 and its not just me that thinks that. High profile managers in the community, such as Abdul Rehman (@FPLSalah) and James (PlanetFPLPod) from the Planet FPL podcast have all tweeted about their interest in bringing in the Brazilian, whether that be though a free transfer or on their Wildcard, a popular strategy choice in the wake of DGW26.
Even though, this double has two tough fixtures, with Leeds facing Man United and Liverpool, you can count on Raphinha to pop up with some special individual moments to bring home the points, even in the harder games.
Dallas and the Defenders
Defending isn’t one of the Leeds’ fortes, but in FPL, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Stuart Dallas will be remembered for years to come in the FPL community, due to him being classified as a defender in the game, but being predominantly played in midfield, meaning he would receive more points for goals and clean sheets, as well as being played higher up the pitch, giving him more chances to get his managers those monster hauls.
Dallas was another player, like Bamford, who saw a huge rise in price over the season, going from £4.5m to £5.5m, making the popular triple up of him, Bamford and Raphinha, cost managers a measly maximum of only £17.7m, which truly showed the outrageous value of Leeds’ players. The Northern Irishman scored a whopping 171pts last season, a ginormous total for a defender, outscoring that of Andy Robertson (161pts), Trent Alexander-Arnold (160pts) and Aaron Cresswell (153pts).
Sadly, Dallas’ dreamland point hauls have yet to see the light of day, due to him being reclassified as a midfielder and him not hitting the numbers he was last season, in terms of goals and assists. He’s only scored 74pts this season, but if he was still a defender, he’d be on 95pts and probably more, due to bonus points in games where Leeds got a clean sheet, where defenders are normally favoured to gain bonuses.
Even the other defenders, especially goalkeeper, Ilan Meslier, have really not been able to fulfil the hopes that managers had for them going into the campaign. Meslier was one of the standout keepers last season and he had some stiff competition, with Aston Villa’s Emi Martinez (186pts) nearly breaking the FPL record for points scored by a keeper in a season, set by Brad Friedel (187pts) in the 2002/03 season.
Picking a solid keeper is a big part of fantasy and if you chose the Leeds youngster last season, you we’re definitely in a good spot defensively. He scooped up 154pts between the sticks and coming in at a measly 4.5m at the start of the season, his value was top quality and his points rivalled the likes of Alisson and Ederson. 2021/22 has only seen the Frenchman earn only 62pts and has also seen his price drop to what it was at the end of last season, being 4.8m.
Whilst their time in the Premier League doesn’t look to be over just yet, the memories of Dallas’ hauls and Meslier’s save points look like fleeting memories of the past. Hopefully, with the right investment in the summer and their main men back to 100%, the memories can be relieved and Leeds can become the FPL staples they once were.