Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gameweek 9: Ramble On

CSIs have their crime scene. Football coaches have game film. I have some limited stats provided by premierleague.com and chalkboards. When things go wrong I like to open up the stat book, make some spreadsheets and graphs and try and desperately spot some trends or linkages that might help us predict future fantasy production better than the last 4 miserable weeks (unlike CSIs and football coaches though, I don't see CBS picking up a show focusing on me sat in my living room on my laptop anytime soon. Wait, what the hell am I saying, they picked up Shit My Dad Says. Perhaps I can get Mark Zuckerberg to play me).

Clean Sheets
Something that has frustrated and intrigued me so far this season is the lack of clean sheets and the seeming randomness in which they occur. To the first point, there have been 7 more clean sheets through GW 9 than last season. In fact, the weekly distribution is uncannily similar so far:

As for consistency, 8 teams account for 30 of the 47 clean sheets to date, though only Chelsea (7) have been truly dominant in this category. Of the teams with at least 3 clean sheets only Sunderland and Wigan look surprising (the others are AST, BIR, CHE, EVE, MNC and MNU) so perhaps our complaints about clean sheets this season are unfounded. I think it's time to just accept that defenders (away from Stamford Bridge) will never compete on a points-by-points basis with other positions and so the focal point for them should be value for money, or aPPMS as I like to use.

I have alluded to this before but I am now convinced that the best strategy (until something changes the level of scoring in the league, such as poor weather in winter) going forward is to put four budget defenders alongside a Chelsea defender (preferably a budget option like Bosingwa if he keeps his place in the first team) and start 2 of your 4 options each week in a back three. This should allow for you to have sufficient cash to pickup 5 or even 6 'every week' starters in your front 8 meaning you'll only need to pick the odd spot starter each week.

I need to research which teams' schedules gel with each other but if I can find a suitable group of players that fit together, I might use my wildcard to make it happen this week.

Bonus Points
Bonus points are somewhat of a mystery and their award can baffle you even having watched the whole game. Some players have long been 'bonus magnets' but I wondered if I could shed some light on how points are awarded which might give us some useful information when picking our squad members (this is less useful for stars as it doesn't need printing that Drogba and Fabregas will attract bonus points galore).

First let's look at the bonus points scored by each team so far this season:
  1. Chelsea (45)
  2. Arsenal (35)
  3. Sunderland (34)
  4. Man City (34)
  5. Man Utd (34)
  6. Tottenham (32)
  7. Newcastle (32)
  8. Everton (31)
  9. Bolton (28)
  10. Blackpool (27)
  11. West Brom (27)
  12. Wigan (27)
  13. Birmingham (24)
  14. Fulham (22)
  15. Aston Villa (22)
  16. Liverpool (19)
  17. Blackburn (19)
  18. West Ham (17)
  19. Stoke (17)
  20. Wolves (14)
Most of this list is as you would expect (Chelsea pretty much dominate all categories so far) but a couple of team stand out. Firstly, Sunderland stand out as excellent value given that the majority of their players fall into the cheaper half of players available. With three straight clean sheets and four on the season El Mohamady and co have made me wake up and take notice and I am officially on the bandwagon from week 14 onwards (they face @New, Sto, @Tot and @Che before then). Secondly, this table shows just how far Liverpool have fallen as not even the loyal bonus judges are handing out freebies these days (they have only received more than 3 bonus points for a game twice this season).

It's also interesting to note that when some teams win they tend to receive the full 6 bonus points while others still can't get any love. Arsenal, for example, have received 6 points on all 5 occasions they have won while Stoke were handed just 1 point when they beat Newcastle in GW6. This clearly ties into the obvious perceptions of these two teams and it is worth considering when you go to pickup a player from a less 'sexy' team. The teams who have been given the maximum 6 points for each win they have secured are as below (minimum two wins):
  • Arsenal
  • Birmingham
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton
  • Everton
  • Newcastle
  • Wigan
Perhaps this group of teams were mis-labelled as 'sexy' in the previous paragraph as Birmingham, Everton and Wigan all rank in the lower half of the table in goals scored. Perhaps it is more useful to look at the teams who seem to be unrewarded even when they win:
  1. Fulham (3.0 bonus points per win)
  2. Stoke (3.3)
  3. Aston Villa (4.0)
  4. Liverpool (4.5)
  5. West Brom (4.8)
I'm not saying that players from these teams are worthless but be careful when looking at a player like Richard Dunne who was greatly helped by bonus points last year. Red flags could also therefore be raised for Shawcross, Gerrard or Torres.

aPPMS difference

A quick update on aPPMS difference which highlights the difference between a players PPMS and aPMMS. A high value will indicate that the player has faced an unfavorable schedule to date and should (if all other things remain equal) be due for an upturn in fantasy production:
  1. Tim Cahill
  2. Mikel Arteta
  3. Scott Carson
  4. Matthew Gilks
  5. Gael Clichy
  6. Luke Varney
  7. Charlie Adam
  8. Charles N'Zogbia
  9. Ahmed El Mohamady
  10. Peter Odenwingie
And here are the worst:
  1. Barry Fergsuon
  2. Florent Malouda
  3. Michael Essien
  4. Andy Carroll
  5. Peter Cech
  6. Didier Drogba
  7. Rafael van der Vaart
  8. Sebastien Larsson
  9. Kevin Nolan
  10. Ashley Cole
I am not necessarily saying you should sell these guys (in fact I am definitely NOT saying sell Drogba) but if you are looking to differentiate your team and you don't have much cash to lose selling someone like Malouda it isn't the worst idea in the world to trade him for, say, Nani and play the fixtures a bit (if you dare).

I'll hopefully get a chance midweek to throw a few more ramblings out there, along with many more tweets now I'm up and running with my new iPhone. Let the good fantasy times role.


Shedboy said...

Hi Chris, i've been reading your blog since last year and it's been very helpful.

I need your help:
I have Drogba, Berba, Malouda and 4.1m in my bank and which one of below is best to use my cash?

Simon said...

Hey Chris,

You're right, this season has been more unpredictable than most of loate, and that's saying something!

I'm fairly happy with my team at the moment, to bhe fair it's pretty close to your team now (though not identical!), but it just isn't bringing the points in, and I find myself making lost of changes and incurring 4 point costs.

Q. Do you know whether Odemwhingie is likely to play this weekend? I'm thinking of selling Carrol.

David said...

that clean sheet year-on-year graph comparison is quite bizarre in how they almost mirror each other. Makes one ponder, doesn't it.

Anyway, thoughts on Seamus Coleman? Already pulled the trigger, which I usually prefer not to, to beat the price rise but my concern is will he play? Obviously Everton investment is the smart move with their SoS but with Pienaar and (presumably) Arteta back this weekend Coleman probably won't play in the midfield like he was. But after his right-back display at Spurs, which even forced Harry Redknapp to switch Bale to the right, Coleman must surely be odds-on for the starting RB role right now.

Your opinions would all be appreciated.