Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gameweek 4 Defensive Rankings

One area I have neglected a bit this season is to help to answer one of the key questions we face each week: who looks like a better play this week between player A and player B. With forwards and midfielders this is hard to do as intangibles such as form and fitness play a huge role and I therefore find it better to pick offensive players based on a 3-8 week period rather than for a one off game. Defenders however rise and fall with their unit and matchup plays a huge factor in determining who is best to play. It is also important to consider where the game is being played as I'm sure we'd all consider Stoke at the Brittania a tough matchup but are we all aware that they conceded the most goals of any non-relegated side on the road last year. Equally, Spurs ranked 1st in home defense last year but 18th when away from the Lane.

I have therefore compiled a list which I will update each week of the best plays for this week only. I do not advise buying players on this basis unless you are totally happy with the rest of your squad as the following rankings places no emphasis on the upcoming fixtures a team faces after this week (eg. a team still would get a good rank if they play Birmingham at home this week followed by trips to United, Chelsea and Arsenal).

Without further ado then, here are the defensive rankings for week 4, with a few words of explanation where a team is lower than expected (such as the loss of a major player to injury).

1. Chelsea (Burnley H)
2. Tottenham (Birmingham H)
3. Stoke (Sunderland H)
4. Aston Villa (Fulham H)
5. Liverpool (@Bolton)
6. Man City (@Portsmouth)*
7. Fulham (@Aston Villa)
8. West Ham (@Blackburn)
9. Blackburn (West Ham H)
10. Man United (Arsenal H)
11. Everton (Wigan H)*
12. Hull (@Wolves)
13. Portsmouth (Man City)
14. Wolves (Hull)
15. Sunderland (@Stoke)
16. Birmingham (@Tottenham)
17. Bolton (Liverpool H)
18. Wigan (@Everton)
19. Arsenal (@Man United)
20. Burnley (@Chelsea)

*The ratings are based on a rolling defensive record including this season and last and so adjustments have been made to City and Everton's position. City have upgraded their defense significantly and have already equalled the number of away clean sheets they notched last season (1). This combined with Portsmouth poor form means they are upgraded for the week. Everton have suffered the opposite fate (with Lescott being the linking factor) and are downgraded accordingly.

As the ratings illustrate, home field advantage is a major contributor to clean sheets as illustrated by last year's results where 144 home teams kept clean sheets compared to 100 teams on the road. While this illustrates that good teams can get clean sheets on the road (the big four contributed 37 of the 100) it is sometimes better to back a decent team at home than a good team on the road and not just blindly stick by your high priced investments. no matter how hard it is to bench a 6.5m defender (see Clichy, Gallas and co this week).

I hope these rankings will prove useful and I will continue to monitor their effectiveness to see if they are leading us to make smart decisions. As always thanks for reading (and posting) and you can follow updates to the blog and other fantasy news on Twitter.


Charlie said...

Very interesting and useful Chris, thanks.

Chris Glover said...

Thanks for posting Charlie. Hows your season going so far?

Soo Kyo said...

Your anaysis is very comprehensive and well-reasoned. It has become a tremendous help. Thank you and keep up the good work!!

NotoriousDre said...

nice read Chris!

i see hull have made a new signing. so who is the odd man out now in Hull's back four?