clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Spotlight: Felipe Anderson

New, comment

West Ham’s Brazilian winger has been on a tear lately. Can he maintain his searing form, and should you be thinking about transferring him in?

Felipe Anderson - West Ham United - Premier League
Felipe Anderson celebrates during his two-goal performance against Burnley.
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Expectations were high when West Ham signed Felipe Anderson from Lazio over the summer for a club-record fee of £36M. It took a few weeks for the Brazilian to settle in, but on September 29 he finally broke his Premier League duck with this cheeky finish against Manchester United:

That performance raised the eyebrows of many fantasy managers, but the winger’s fantasy production again went quiet. It would be four more game weeks before Anderson would light up the scoreboard again, this time for a brace against Burnley. Ironically, before that game, manager Manuel Pelligrini had expressed his dissatisfaction with Anderson’s form:

“(Am I) happy with his performance? In a global way, I think I am not happy, I think Felipe is not happy. I think that everyone is not happy because he has demonstrated that he can do more,” adding that “He is not the first player that needs some time to know what is the Premier League.”

Apparently Anderson didn’t need that much more time to adjust to the Premier League, because this is the show he put on the very next day:

And on the heels of that performance, Anderson scored again this past Saturday against Huddersfield (his goal is at about the 1:40 mark if you don’t want to watch the full match highlights):

That’s three goals in his last two games then, and his total of four so far this season puts him on par with stars such as David Silva, Ryan Fraser, Riyad Mahrez, and Romelu Lukaku.

As good as he is, no player can sustain the pace Anderson has been on for the last couple weeks. But what can we expect from him? Let’s take a deeper dive.

~

Background

Anderson came up through the youth ranks in Brazil, finally making his senior-team debut for Santos in October of 2010 at the age of 17. He played there (alongside Neymar) for three seasons before moving to Lazio on a five year deal. There in Italy he blossomed, notching 10 goals across all competitions in his second year and winning a contract extension through 2020. In his third season at Lazio, he registered 9 goals, finishing the year as his team’s second-leading scorer.

Not surprisingly, Anderson’s play landed him on the watch-lists of larger clubs. As he entered his fourth year, there were rumors linking him to Manchester United and Chelsea:

Perhaps the interest from England served as a distraction for the young Brazilian, because although he remained at Lazio, his goal production dropped to just 5 for the 2016-17 season.

Circumstances worsened the next year. He picked up a knee injury in August that sidelined him for the first half of the season. When he returned, he promptly suffered a falling out with his manager, Simone Inzaghi, after a February loss to Genoa. As a result of those various misfortunes, he was limited to just 9 Serie A starts for all of 2017-18. The writing was on the wall — Anderson needed a fresh start somewhere else. As we now know, that new beginning would come at West Ham United, where he has flourished.

~

Prospects

Anderson is blessed with natural pace — he is among the fastest players in world football, both with and without the ball. At 5 feet 9 inches tall and 150 lbs, he is neither tall nor particularly strong. Instead, his game is based on his quickness, dribbling skills and considerable technical prowess. These attributes are very entertaining! Watch:

Unfortunately, for all his technical brilliance, he has not seen his name on the scoresheet all that often (recent history notwithstanding). In 8 seasons of senior-team football, Anderson boasts a grand total of just 36 goals across all competitions, never scoring more than 10 goals in a single season. His goals-per-appearance rate over those 8 seasons is 0.17, which extrapolates to a measly 6.5 goals over a 38-game EPL campaign (if he plays every one of the 38 matches).

One could argue that his four goals in twelve with West Ham means he has taken his game up a level. On the other hand, one could argue that a painful regression to the mean must be coming, especially if one dwells on his introductory drought.

On the gripping hand, one may argue that Anderson will be an integral part of a Hammers offense that will get even better once key attackers like Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sánchez, Manuel Lanzini, and Andy Carroll return to fitness. But the return of these players could mean even less opportunity for the 25 year-old Brazilian.

~

Verdict

Right now, we cannot know for certain whether Anderson’s recent performance is an anomaly or a new normal, or whether his fantasy prospects will improve or decline when the Hammers offense returns to full fitness. But we can evaluate his current fantasy value based on his price in each of NMA’s platforms. And unfortunately for admirers of Felipe Anderson, technical brilliance is not always richly-rewarded by fantasy scoring systems.

Indeed, even in Fantrax, where the complex awards schedule gives points for many stats besides goals and assists, Anderson’s fantasy production seems to be relatively dependent on end-product. Except for Riyad Mahrez, all the other Fantrax midfielders in his price range have similar average ppg, but fewer goals.

Here’s another way to look at it: If you subtract out his points for goals, Anderson would only have reached double-digit Fantrax scores twice this season. And since he has not been known as a prolific goal-scorer, that’s a real problem for a guy who now costs $14.24.

The story is maybe a little different in FPL, where Anderson is on offer at £6.9. Of the 15 midfielders who have totaled more than 50 points this season, 13 have price tags higher than Anderson’s. And only 4 of those 15 have scored fewer goals. What does that mean? It means that Anderson is a much better value in FPL than he is in Fantrax. But even so, if you subtract out his points for goals (and the bonus points that came with them), he would have returned more than 3 points in FPL only once.

So for me, Anderson is currently a no-go in Fantrax: He’ll probably need to score to justify his $14 price tag, and we have eight years of history telling us he won’t ripple the back of the net often. And although he’s a better value in FPL, I’d still avoid him when the Hammers host the league’s joint-best defense in Game Week 13. However, after gw-13, the Hammers do have a nice run of fixtures coming up for those willing to take a punt.

Bottom line: If you’re flipping over Felipe, then game-week 14 is the time, and FPL is the place.

~

I’ll be content to derive value from Anderson by simply watching his exciting style of play. But how how about you? Are you bringing him into any of your teams? And if so, will you do it now or wait until after West Ham face City? Participate in the polls, and then share your thinking in the comments below!

Poll

Will you add Felipe Anderson to your Fantrax fantasy squad?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    No
    (4 votes)
  • 50%
    Yes, for Game Week 13
    (5 votes)
  • 10%
    Yes, but not until Game Week 14
    (1 vote)
10 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will you add Felipe Anderson to your FPL fantasy squad:

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    No
    (5 votes)
  • 30%
    Yes, for Game Week 13
    (3 votes)
  • 20%
    Yes, but not until Game Week 14
    (2 votes)
10 votes total Vote Now

~