Sunday, October 10, 2010

Play your card right

I'm not sure there are many things in the fantasy world I enjoy more than tinkering with my team and seeing what I can get by using my wildcard. In previous years I have been forced to use my wildcard early but this year my team is still fairly strong so I could delay if I want to. However, there are pros and cons to holding onto your wildcard:

  • You can use the wildcard at a later date to take advantage of double gameweeks or if your team falls prey to numerous injuries.
  • You can play your wildcard towards the end of the season when fantasy teams tend to get stale but real teams can hit runs of good form.
  • We are still not totally sure which teams and players are for real and so using your wildcard now might result in you bringing in a load of in-form but ultimately overpriced lemons.
  • With the other wildcard in your back pocket, you can select a team now based purely on the next 15 gameweeks and then redo your team again during the transfer window.
  • If you fall too far behind in your mini league it may be too late to make up ground later in the year.
  • You have an extra wildcard this year that can only be used between GW23 and GW27 (early January) so unless you want to use two wildcards in a close period of time it might make sense to use it now.
  • If you made a few bad choices in your original squad or have suffered a few injuries (or both!) you will chip away at your score with too many 4 point hits. You might be better just biting the bullet and using the wildcard now. In 2009/09 I managed to finish the season in 7,734th place in the competition despite using my wildcard in GW2 after picking a terrible team to start the season.
Who to target?
If you decide to roll the dice with your wildcard I have a few words of advice:
  1. Don't get too cute: Didier Drogba leads all players in fantasy points for a reason - he is awesome. Yes, every man and his dog owns him, but again, it's for good reason. It might not thrill you to pickup players owned by alot of other players but you won't find 11 differentiators out there. Play it safe to an extent.
  2. Don't chase points: This seems to contradict point one and I agree the distinction is subtle but it is one you must master if using your wildcard this early. This means caution should be exercised before loading up on the likes of Alcaraz, El Mohamady, Kalou or Elmander. I am currently doing some research to try and put a value on 'form' (ie the likelihood of a player with a good score last week having another good game) but form will only help you for 4-8 weeks or so. Class, as they say, is permanent and it is that reliability that you need if you are locking yourself into a lineup for at least 15 weeks or so.
  3. Play the fixtures: This is always key for your team but its worth repeating here. If a player has played easy games and your about to pick him up while he plays the other teams then you might get significantly worse value than you think. This is reflected in my aPPMS rating which I discuss in my weekly preview columns.
On the above point, the rankings for the schedules played to date are below (hardest to easiest):

Defensive fixture rating to date
  1. West Brom
  2. Blackpool
  3. Arsenal
  4. Sunderland
  5. Bolton
  6. West Ham
  7. Liverpool
  8. Stoke
  9. Newcastle
  10. Wigan
  11. Blackburn
  12. Fulham
  13. Man City
  14. Everton
  15. Tottenham
  16. Man Utd
  17. Chelsea
  18. Wolves
  19. Birmingham
  20. Aston Villa
 Attacking fixture rating to date
  1. Everton
  2. West Ham
  3. Wigan
  4. Bolton
  5. Wolves
  6. Man City
  7. Blackburn
  8. Sunderland
  9. Man Utd
  10. Newcastle
  11. Blackpool
  12. West Brom
  13. Aston Villa
  14. Stoke
  15. Fulham
  16. Arsenal
  17. Liverpool
  18. Birmingham
  19. Tottenham
  20. Chelsea
Note that these rankings are still somewhat distorted by wild results as if Chelsea smash a team 7-0 then suddenly their fixtures seem easier so the big score becomes a self-profiling prophecy. That said, I am still using data from both current and prior season so I am relatively comfortable relying on the numbers for guidance.

These rankings can play a role when picking transfer targets as someone like Mikel Arteta, who has perhaps underwhelmed this season, looks slightly more attractive when you consider the teams he has faced. Indeed the difference between his PPMS and his aPPMS is 0.148 which is 4th among all the players in the league that I track. In fact my new aPoints preditive tool (post to follow soon) suggests that his real total to date should be 39 points which ranks joint 5th among midfielders (Nani, Cahill, Malouda, Van der Vaat and Milner) and 12th overall.

Likewise, while Birmingham have been a bit disappointing to date, it might get a whole lot worse given the ease of their defensive fixtures to date.

I think I am going to hold off on my wildcard this week but feel free to post your proposed teams below and we can discuss the merits of using the WC this week.


Clarky said...

Hi Chris. Been reading your posts for a few weeks now and think they are really helpful.

I'm using my WC this GW and have the current following team:

Foster / Krul
Mummy Dann Alcaraz Coleman Jara
Fabregas Malouda Nani VDV Barton
Drogba Berbatov Carroll

Your thoughts?

A lot of these players have nice fixtures coming up and they are pretty much some of the current best valued players available.

One perhaps drawback is doubling up on Barton & Carroll and normally I wouldn't, but they do have some favourable fixtures coming up.

Chris Glover said...

Clarky - I think you have taken your team the way many of us are thinking, namely a top line midfield and front line supplemented by a budget defense. Your midfield really could not be much better right now, while your front line also looks extremely strong. I like Odenwingie a touch more than Caroll as both have great fixtures but I wouldn't argue with Caroll's inclusion.

Krul and Foster fit well together and you only have issues in GW19 and 20 by which point you can change this pair round if required.

I am a bit scared of El Mohamady given Sunderland's upcoming games (@New, @Tot, @Che in next 6 weeks) and I think you are relying on his attacking points for him to generate value. I normally suggest that with such players you really to need to play him every week to esnure you capitalise on these points which are harder to predict than clean sheets.

I think Jara, Dann, Alcaraz and Coleman have value but I am unsure if you can win with a budget defense. I did a post earlier in the year suggesting that points are not really linked to cost so there's no reason this can't be the case, it's just a matter of picking the right guys and ditching lemons early on.

auburn.tigers2011 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven said...

Team 1

auburn.tigers2011 said...

Thanks Steven. I deleted my previous post just to add a 4th choice

auburn.tigers2011 said...

Well Ive changed my team since my last post and I will probably continue until Friday night.

Which of the 4 following choices do people like the most:

Foster Krul
Jara OSHea Crainey Boateng Alex
Fabregas Nani VdV Arteta Barton
Odemwingie Berbatov Drogba

Foster Krul
Coleman OShea Alex Boateng Salcido
Malouda Nani Arteta VdV Barton
Odemwingie Berbatov Drogba

Foster Krul
Jara OShea Boateng Salcido Alex
Malouda Nani Fabregas Barton Adam
Odemwingie Berbatov Drogba

Foster Krul
Jara OShea Boateng Salcido Alex
Febregas Nani Dempsey VdV Arteta
Odemwingie Carroll Drogba

Steven said...

Still like #1. Can't see the combo of Dempsey/Carroll outscoring Berbatov/Barton.