Graded: The Premier League 'Class of 2024'

Premier League line-up

Over the course of this year's BetMGM Premier League, players have had ups and downs, success and failure, but how would the players grade themselves in what has been an intriguing league campaign? 

Ahead of next week's Play-Offs, here is how I grade the cream of the crop...

Luke Littler

Luke Littler: A

Some people thought, myself included, that it might be a little early to include The Nuke in this, but boy were some of us very wrong!

We have learned more about Luke Littler in the last 15 weeks than we ever thought we could. It has not just been on this roadshow, but in ranking action too. 

He has handled the larger spectacles like a seasoned veteran and embraced the culture of this travelling darting show better than most debutants ever have. 

Having to wait until week 9 in Belfast for his first nightly win now seems like a shock, but he’s been on some streak since then, taking him to the top of the table and looking down on the best in the world. 

I am not really sure how he could have handled this better. Ask yourself, realistically, what more could he have done to impress the sporting world since the start of February? Nothing much more. 

For that reason he gets a straight A in his grade, and the only reason it isn’t an A+ is because he hasn’t won every night, and let’s face it, that will never happen. 

The only question remains now is, can he win the whole thing?

Luke Humphries

Luke Humphries: A-

Like Littler, this debut campaign has been sensational. Humphries has amassed four nightly wins, including Leeds most recently and a three-week spree that got him into the Play-Offs with nights to spare. 

He did have Premier League exposure from being a contender prior to this, but the way Cool Hand has taken to this has been like a round peg in a round hole. 

His standard has been befitting a world number one and his burgeoning rivalry with the other Luke is intriguing to say the least. 

Humphries has been equally as good as the leader of the Premier league in getting nightly wins, but hasn’t been as prolific in getting out of the first game, so that’s why I would grade him as such. 

Having the Play-Offs sewn up and his tendency to peak at the right times, it would take a very strong case to not tip Luke to win the title, to embellish his status as the world's best player. 

Michael van Gerwen

Michael Van Gerwen: B

We all know how good Michael is at this marathon format and has once again put himself in the frame to win. 

I look at how Michael himself would grade the campaign. He would be very honest in giving it a less than perfect B even if he too made the Play-Offs with time to spare.

He did most of his work in the table before the Lukes even won a night, and thankfully he did, because if other players had won nights in Berlin, Glasgow and Newcastle, he may not have been in contention.

This article is not about the chances of the players at The O2, it’s about how they have done so far. And, in that regard, Michael will not be happy with anything but topping the table which he has done numerous times. Peaking for the Play-Offs is a skill of schedule management, energy management and focus.

MvG has them all, but he hasn’t had them all entirely the whole campaign. That’s why he won’t top the table this time, but you do not have to in becoming champion. 

Nathan Aspinall

Nathan Aspinall: B-

To see The Asp in a dogfight to the end was no shock. You might as well call him “Mr Dogfight” instead of “Mr Brightside.” 

This guy has more guts and determination than a UFC fighter. It has been a good campaign for Nathan with two nightly wins, and he certainly does love Rotterdam. He would gladly play there every week.

However, he has succumbed to the elite guys in this table a few times and has cost himself valuable points by losing some key tight tussles. However, this game is always about fine margins and he lives on the darting edge with every game he plays. 

Five nightly finals is a great ratio in this format in this company, but what has brought him into this mire is losing his first game the last two weeks, and that’s why I gave him the B minus as he won’t be pleased to have not got the job done. 

Michael Smith

Michael Smith: B-

Go back to Night One in Cardiff. Bully Boy wins and takes care of The Iceman in the final. That took some doing in front of a rambunctious audience.

Then, fast-forward to now and that remains his only nightly win in the campaign. He will not be pleased with that, but we are talking about a player that has had this campaign before but in reverse. Winning your last night and not going to the playoffs is something he has experienced, so let us look at the glass half-full.

I think this has been a slow-burning season for Michael and only now is he starting to turn the corner a little.

Could winning a title recently be the catalyst to him sparking into life again, just at the right time? They say these roadshows are all about timing, so why not? 

He has done enough to get into the Play-Offs, but he would still not be have been happy with fifth going into Night 16. 

Rob Cross

Rob Cross: C-

It was a welcomed return to this PL for Voltage who has played some sterling stuff in 2024, but it hasn’t been enough to make another Play-Offs night.

No nightly wins and only three finals will never get it done, but maybe, just maybe, if he had bested Littler in the Liverpool and Aberdeen finals, he could’ve made a dip for the line with Aspinall and Smith.

I think Rob will be very philosophical about this year and he knows that he is going in the right direction, but in the last few months, it hasn’t quite worked out on Thursdays, and even though that won’t be good enough for him, he won’t let it deter him in a quest for another invite next year.

I have a sneaky suspicion he won’t need it. I see him in the top 4 of the rankings come January 2025. 

Gerwyn Price

Gerwyn Price: D

Maybe the biggest shock of this whole thing has been last year's runner-up not contending. We all thought after last year's final that Price had cracked this whole thing and would be stronger for it this time. 

Not to be apparently. It’s not that he has played bad darts this year, because his yearly average is better than any year he’s played.

However, he is winning less games and that is a sign of the competition getting stronger. 

No Premier League glory for the best player that Wales has produced in PDC darts doesn’t sound good to him and he will be back for more, but if he cannot put this troubled last few months from the PL away, it could infect his 2024.

After making the final in Cardiff on night one, he would’ve thought positively about this season, but after that its only one more final in Manchester nine weeks later, where he lost to a pesky Littler.

So, in all fairness, the results of games speak for themselves. If you don’t make finals, you can’t win and this time around, he didn’t give himself the chance to succeed. 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright: F

With only two wins from 17 games played, Peter knows full well that Premier League Darts is a cruel place to be when you aren’t quite on it.

He has been the player that people have shown very little sympathy for this year, and there are others who know what that is like. 

Its easy to sit here and scribble criticism at the two-time world champion, but we tend to forget just how high the standard has been in this 15-week spell, and when you are minutely off the top, people will squash you. Peter has done it to others over the last ten years. 

He won’t want to reminisce about this campaign too much, but what we learn from failure will provide inspiration and retrospect, and I have no doubt that this experience can fuel what Peter wants to do next. 

You try to crush a snake and they will bite back. If he wants to, you might want to be somewhere else when he’s motivated to get the venom out. 

It’s an F from me because that’s how Peter will see it too, but F can mean FUTURE too. If we say this could be Snakebites last PL campaign, would that give him license to bite? I think it could. 

Watch out, he isn’t done yet.