Can Jamie Vardy Sustain His Pace?

Right now it’s a no brainer to start or trade for Jamie Vardy if you have the opportunity. Going by ESPNFC’s latest updated stats, the Leicester City striker’s lead atop the goal scoring charts is only getting stronger, as Vardy now has 12 goals through 12 matches. It’s been an astounding start, even more impressive than what we saw from Diego Costa at this time last year. Although, the fact that Vardy plays for Leicester City has led to much less publicity this time around. Incidentally, the club is still sitting at third in the EPL tables, just a point behind joint leaders Arsenal and Manchester City and a point ahead of red-hot Man United.

So really, there’s no current fantasy discussion to be had about Vardy. If you have him, you’re playing him, and you’re likely winning because of it. But the Englishman’s success has been such a surprise this season that it is still fair to wonder about any sort of long-term drop-off. Can Vardy really sustain this level of play? And if not, might now be an interesting time to sell high on him as a fantasy asset?

Really, the answers to these questions are impossible to know, but the outlook depends on whether you want to look backward or forward. Looking backward, it’s quite easy to view Vardy’s early season success as a stunning but unsustainable run that has virtually no hope of continuing. Betfair wrote up an analysis of the striker’s play and scoring prowess following Leicester’s win on Saturday, and revealed that Vardy started the season with 999/1 odds to win the EPL golden boot. But now? He’s at 10/3. That’s purely a reflection of Vardy’s production to date, but also serves as a nice reminder of just how unlikely this run was. While widely viewed as a talented striker, he wasn’t even on the radar as a potential top scorer, and simply isn’t seen on the same level as the likes of Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, or Harry Kane.

Looking ahead, it seems a little more reasonable at this point. It also indicates that even if he can’t keep up his current pace, Vardy will be a valuable fantasy asset and then some moving forward. Consider that The Guardian recently pointed out in an analysis of the Leicester star’s performance that even 10 goals over the remainder of the season would give him a shot at the golden boot. With over 20 matches remaining, that means Vardy can literally cut his scoring production in half and still likely end up as the most prolific scorer on the season. Does anyone who’s been watching the EPL really expect Vardy to drop off that much?

From a fantasy perspective, it comes down to how you want to look at it and what you may be able to get in a trade. If you want a reliable scorer for the remainder of the season, there’s simply no reason not to keep Vardy so long as you don’t expect a goal a match, as that’s simply not sustainable. But there’s also something to be said for capitalizing on Vardy’s sensational start if you can find a trade partner who believes he’ll keep up something close to his current scoring rate.