Kieran Trippier (£4m) is a very popular man among Dream Team managers right now.
As one of the most-selected players ahead of Game Week 1, there was considerable pressure on the Newcastle right-back to deliver plentiful returns.
But surely not even the most partisan Toon supporter would have expected 71 points after just ten Game Weeks.
At the time of writing, only Joao Cancelo (£7.8m) has more points among defenders but the difference is that the Portuguese’s impressive total of 85 has come at considerable cost – he’s currently the third-most expensive asset in the game.
For Trippier to be only 14 points shy of the Man City full-back at almost half the price just shows what a magnificent asset he’s been so far this season.
The 32-year-old has ticked over nicely from the off but he positively exploded this Game Week, banking 26 points from fixtures against Man United and Everton.
Eddie Howe’s side kept clean sheets in both games and Trippier snatched the Star Man award on both occasions with match ratings of 7.4 and 7.9 respectively.
26 points is the biggest Game Week haul for a defender in 2022/23 – just edging out the 25 registered by Cancelo in Game Week 9.
The England international has contributed a goal and two assists this term but his success is rooted in Newcastle’s superb defensive record as a whole.
The Magpies have conceded just nine goals in 11 league outings so far and three of those came in the humdinger against Man City, in which Trippier had a red card overturned upon VAR review.
On top of five clean sheets, the former Atletico Madrid man has been a consistent performer, earning nine 7+ ratings in all.
Only runaway points leader Erling Haaland (£9.3m) has more 7+ ratings at this stage and it’s this ability to capture bonus points that has made Trippier a hero among Dream Team managers.
With an ownership of 40.3% he’s by far and away the most-popular defender in the game and fourth-most selected asset among all his peers.
Given that Newcastle don’t have European fixtures to bolster their schedule, it will be interesting to see whether Trippier is able to mix it at the top of the rankings in the long run.
If he keeps scooping Star Man awards on top of clean sheets then he will compensate for his lack of midweek action and then some.
In regards to further short-term gains, Howe’s men have five more fixtures to fulfil before the World Cup.
They travel to Spurs this Sunday but then host goal-shy Aston Villa in Game Week 12 – Steven Gerrard’s side are the second-lowest scorers in the league.
Trippier may also provide another clean sheet and 7+ rating first up in November away to Southampton.
Newcastle then host Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup before seeing in the mid-season break with a home game against Chelsea.
On current form, and with injury issues to his relevant compatriots, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Trippier start for England in Qatar next month.