I'm a big fan of looking for ways to use statistics to give us clues as to players' performances. While this is very hard for an actual football team, (as you cannot quantity desire, leadership and passion) for fantasy sports stats work brilliantly.
Below I have looked at the top scorers so far in relation to their value (as is done by the 'value' tap on the premierleague.com website). I've then adjusted this based on the fixtures they've played so far to account for players who have played easy/hard fixtures so far. The results are pretty interesting and may give a few clues as to bargains that are still to be found:
Given is atop the GK rankings despite only having kept one clean sheet due to his penalty save and multiple save bonuses. His relative low cost (5.1) have made him great value so far. David James has been the best of the big names after 4 games with an adjusted PPMS of 0.929. Almunia is a big loser in the system due to Arsenal's easy run of games. This would suggest his best is behind him and maybe to avoid drafting him in at this stage. Kirkland has been the hidden gem so far, though anyone who had him at the end of last season will be well aware of his point scoring ability.
Michael Ball is the shock leader in the defender category notching an excellent 1.169 APPMS. I didn't even expect him to play every game with the arrival of Ben Haim but Ball has done a great job playing in a decent City back four notching 2 clean sheets in 3 games despite a harder than average fixture list. At 5m Ball isn't a steal but if he continues to figure in Mark Hughes' first team plans he appears to be the pick of City's defenders.
The list contains three Arsenal defenders due to their three clean sheets in four games this season. Their APPMS is hurt by their easy strength of schedule and their high cost (6.5m each). Figueroa looks to be great value and may be worth getting if, like me, you have Melchiot already. At 0.5m less he has scored two extra points thanks to an assist last week.
The midfield leaderboard is dominated by mid-price acquisitions which will throw further doubt on Ronaldo's ability to give value for money. The likes of Ireland and Delap are currently twice the value of Gerrard and Fabregas though their ability to continue this for a season is of course questionable. Bentley is included here because he is in my team and not on merit. His paltry 0.277 APPMS shows how much of a disappointment he has been so far.
ForwardsUnsurprisingly Zaki, who leads the league in points, is atop the forwards list due his average strength of schedule and low cost (6.4m and rising). Defoe's attractiveness increases when you look at his strength at schedule, which at 2.25 is one of the highest in the league. To score 31 points in these games is impressive and at 8.1m he represents great value at the moment. Torres and Rooney have been included for reference and there are many more strikers above them in the value charts. Both have had a difficult start to the season, with Rooney yet to find the net in 3 games and who's position is actually inflated by the inexplicable 3 bonus points he received against Portsmouth (several players performed better on the night, most notably Evra). Adebayour is the only one of the big four (the final player being Drogba) to have made an impact this year and at an APPMS of 0.542 he represents a decent investment if you fancy a pricey front man.
I am loathed to recommend Drogba on a blog whose purpose is to focus on fact rather than gut feeling, but I do feel he's in for a big year when he's fully fit. The game against Liverpool last season sticks in the mind where he was simply unplayable and he's the kind of player to rack up the bonus points due to his marauding style.
I am starting to become intrigued by Carlton Cole who is ahead of my man Dean Ashton in the charts, scoring two more points despite costing 1.2m less. The pundits seem to love him too as he's taken home 6 bonus points, behind just Frank lampard and level with the celebrated Zaki, Defoe and Deco. In fact, I may have just persuaded myself to make the move.
Let me know what you think or if you have any other ways of measuring performance that you want to share.