Championship Amateur Conjecture – What’s Up Doc, You’re Now Essential

Essential is a word that is often overused in any Fantasy Football game. Luis Suarez in 2013/14? He might have been. I still finished in the top 100k of Fantasy Premier League in 2015/16 despite not owning Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez all season.

If the essential label was sewn into the shirt of any Championship Manager asset then Ruud Van NIstelrooy is the most likely candidate. Scores for fun. Bonus in every home game. Captain him at Old Trafford and you’ve got 16 points as a minimum most weeks.

Most people are aware that I prefer not to have Ruud. I think Juan Sebastian Veron can match him at home and when he is away, there is another premium asset with a better home fixture who has more upside. He’s clearly a good pick and will likely end the season as the top points scorer, but that doesn’t make him essential.

But a combination of circumstances I think have now made someone else essential. Gary Doherty is now essential. I’ve said it.

The last live stream had Doherty’s ownership at 19%, with five defenders more popular. Emerson Thome has double the ownership at 38% for the same £4.5m cost. Meanwhile, teammate Titus Bramble has the same ownership for a £0.5m higher outlay. 

However, the reasoning for my opinion on Doherty goes a bit deeper than the bog standard “he’s a £4.5m defender who sometimes plays up front”.

Based on other things that have happened within the Ipswich ranks, he is now a £4.5m defender who I believe will mostly play up front. 

Ipswich have been more proactive than most in the transfer market this season, with Doherty joined by a trio of midfielders in Eyal Berkovic, Jamie Redknapp and David Prutton. As we know, any player bought gets some kind of adjustment to their reputation when signed.

With Berkovic having switched clubs twice in our sim already and most recently from Leeds, his reputation is likely to be the highest of the Ipswich midfielders and now should pretty much permanently start.

Redknapp is much the same having signed from Liverpool and Matt Holland begins with a high rep, so it’s very likely that this trio will always start in the typical Ipswich wing back formation.

As in the image above, this pushes Prutton into a different position because of his versatility, which could be CB or right wing back.

Central defence does seem most likely, which also deceases the likelihood of Doherty playing in defence, as Hermann Hreidarsson and Titus Bramble also have high reps.

So, the back three and midfield three are quite set, meaning Doherty will get thrust into attack. His reputation is high after signing from Tottenham and this is much superior to the likes of Pablo and Alun Armstrong. Doherty and Marcus Stewart should be the first choice attack now.

The only real situations that threaten this are if Prutton plays wing back, which could result in Doherty replacing him at CB, or if Ipswich roll out another formation.

If Ipswich plays five defenders, there’s a good chance Prutton shifts to right full back and again Doherty is a bigger contender to play as the third CB, although in this example he didn’t.

The good news with Doherty is that the reputation he gained from transferring from Spurs means he is likely to play somewhere, so there is no real risk of him being dropped. All the Ipswich formations give him the opportunity to start somewhere.

And then the combination of signing Prutton, alongside some solid CMs, mean that rotation jigsaw should see Doherty utilised as a striker predominantly. Should Ipswich sign another striker or should one of the main CBs or CMs get injured, then a reshuffle may occur which changes this outcome.

But from what we see right now, I think Doherty starting in attack is about an 80% certainty and that makes him essential.

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