Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Defensive Strategy

After this week's disaster (34 points) I am planning a reshake and I was hoping to trigger some debate as to the best way forward. My basic strategies are to either:
- lose Laursen and eventually Alex and replace them with budget defenders
- replace the aforementioned pair with premium defenders based on availability.
The focal point of the argument is basically whether you are better off with premium defenders, midfielders, or strikers for that matter. Lets looks at the facts:

Pretty good scores from some of the defenders on offer. Alex is the pick of the bunch so far and should be held by everyone until Carvalho is out. A surprise for many (including me) is the inclusion of all four Bolton defenders who have been great value so far this season. I think Steinsson is the pick due to his desire to push forward but O'Brien is a lock in that team and is great value at 4.3m. The premium players are generally towards the bottom with the notable exception of Bosingwa who has been brilliant so far this season.
Lets compare these PPMS with the midfielders on offer:

Decent PPMS scores again but surprisingly less than the defenders available. However, the actual points scored are slightly higher for midfielders - 4.94 PPG vs 4.12 PPG.
PPMS is a decent measure but if you always get the best value players you will only spend around 80m. Therefore you need to balance out good value players (high PPMS) with good scorers (high PPG). This strategy suggests I am on the right lines with Ronaldo and Lampard, who have a combined 17.05 PPG, which becomes well over 20 when assuming that one of these two is captained.

Pure Juice
Excluding my two sub defenders Olsson and Dawson who I can replace whenever I have a free transfer, my midfield has the lowest PPMS, where as my midfield has the highest:

On this basis I should be looking to replace my midfield rather than the defense. However, as mentioned above, PPMS only takes you so far, and it is real points that win championships, of which my midfield is contributing by far the most. My weakest defender is Laursen, and my weakest midfielder is Young, and these are therefore the top candidates for replacement. Lets look at my options:

Defenders - 6.2m budget
Basically, I can get anyone who doesn't play every week for the big four (except Agger, who is a serious consideration). No defense has a schedule over the next 6 games that I love, though Liverpool's over the next four is pretty sound (@Bol, Ful, WH, @Bla) which I why I am interested in Agger. However, after playing with two Arsenal defenders earlier in the season and getting burned I am loathed to double up on Liverpool defenders (with Reina).
Sunderland and Blackburn also have favourable fixtures but Blackburn's defense is garbage and Sunderland's defenders are overpriced. I rate Fulham and Bolton's schedule as approximately equal to Villa's so I could pick up one their budget defenders and save around 1.6m on Laursen to upgrade the midfield or strikeforce (namely Carlton Cole).

Midfielders - 8.6m or 10.6m budget (if I replaced Laursen with Paintsil)
For 10.6 I can buy anyone except Gerrard, and for 8.6 I can get anyone bar Gerrard, Fabregas, Deco, Cole, Kuyt and Ballack. Looking through the midfielders above one notices that the premium guys are largely absent (except Ronaldo and Lampard) so maybe the money saved from Laursen wouldn't be well applied here. If I were to get, say, Nasri for Young, that would free a further 1m leaving 8.5m to use to replace Cole. This opens the door to the likes of Defoe, Agbonlahor and Santa Cruz to pair with Zaki and Berbatov giving me a must start front 3.

So what do people think? Where is it best to hold your assets at the moment? The strikers and scoring midfielders get the glory but its the defenders who have been the best value to date. As a side point, Zaki has the best PPMS of all strikers but is just 19th overall in that category.


TD Ocho said...

I would love to pick up a Bolton defender, but their fixtures are making me hesitant. I think I'll hold off at least another week. I like how Steinsson has been pushing up too, and as the guys over at NCNB have pointed out, Gardner does the same. Although I've already used my free transfer to swap out Ireland for Bentley, I'm thinking about also transferring out Traore in favor of Belhadj because I don't like any of my bench defenders' matchups this week.

I would recommend you definitely pick up Agger or Arbeloa, Liverpool's defense has been great and their fixtures look even better. As you said, there aren't really any stand-out midfielders besides CRon and Lamps, so I would save your money and use it on a forward. I would personally go for Bent, he's in ridiculous form in the league plus his UEFA Cup performance last week, and his price is bound to keep rising.

Silent Jay said...

Liverpool have an incredibly sweet fixture list until the end of JANUARY (!!), with only Arsenal (A) squeezed in. Normally I wouldn't advise 3 defenders/GKs from the same team, either. But in this case, you should seriously consider making an exception.

Alex - keep in mind that he's only played a handful of games, and scored 17 in one of them. His value is immensely inflated. Especially since he'll be back on the bench in a couple of weeks.

Laursen - look at his fixture list. Bye bye.

Bolton - they've conceded 2 or 3 against every decent team they've played (and they've got a lot of them coming up), shutting down only the scoring-impaired teams, with very few exceptions. Good for a cheap reserve defender, but I wouldn't want to rely on them.

Chris Glover said...

fair points jay. Alex is obviously only a stop gap but when you consider he's 1.8m less than Terry and 1.4m less than Bosingwa, he is tremendous value until Carvalho returns.
As for Bolton, I totally agree. Their fixtures are a nightmare over the next 6 weeks but I still think their home form makes them a viable option in a play 3 of 5 defense that I'm considering running.

Chris Glover said...

td - I love Gardner but unfortunately Mego does not and Samuel has played every of the season so far. This has left Ricardo to rotate with Matty Taylor, Riga, Nolan and Davies for two places. Remember, when he had his 13 point haul against city he only came on because of an injury to Riga.