Saturday, November 27, 2010

Goalkeeper Pairs

After the earlier post on the best schedules to get you to the wildcard window, a couple of readers had wondered which goalkeeper pairs made sense for that same period. Any new readers might want to take a glance here for my original post on the goalkeeper pair strategy.

I am going to assume that most people make goalkeeper transfers either because of injury or when using their wildcard (rather than juggling them on a weekly basis). Therefore the below data is based on the next 12 weeks (sufficient to get you into the wildcard window):

Lowest average goals conceded
This is calculated by selecting each player's expected goals conceded within a pair and then picking whoever is the best play (the idea being to avoid having keepers from teams who face Chelsea and Arsenal in the same week). I then take the average result for the chosen keeper for the next 12 weeks. The below rankings do not factor in price but I have only taken keepers who cost less than 5m or else the point of the strategy is defeated:
  1. Gordon / Robinson
  2. Begovic / Robinson
  3. Schwarzer / Robinson
  4. Foster / Robinson
  5. Fabianski / Robinson
  6. Fabianski / Krul
  7. Gordon / Krul
  8. Foster / Krul
  9. Krul / Robinson
  10. Fabianski / Schwarzer
The first thing that jumps out is the presence of Robinson in the top 5 selections. He is the prototypical rotation strategy keeper for the next 12 weeks with 5 games where he is expected to concede less than half a goal but four games where he is expected to concede 2.5 goals or more. Gordon is another classic rotation keeper as Sunderland have tended to be either very good (six clean sheets this season) or very bad (five goals conceded to Newcastle, three conceded to Wolves). Frustratingly, the good games have often come at unexpected times (clean sheets against MnU, MnC and Che) but they are generally a safe home play and hence Gordon makes a nice complement to Robinson.
If we adjust the above rankings to consider the cost of each player, we get the below:
  1. Begovic / Robinson- 8.9m
  2. Gordon / Robinson - 9.1m
  3. Fabianski / Krul - 8.8m
  4. Gordon / Krul - 8.5m
  5. Fabianski / Robinson - 9.4m
  6. Schwarzer / Robinson - 9.5m
  7. Foster / Robinson - 9.6m
  8. Krul / Robinson - 8.6m
  9. Foster / Krul - 9.0m
  10. Fabianski / Schwarzer - 9.7m
 I am pretty comfortable with this data and my goalkeeper strategy has been one of the few things to consistently work, both this year and last. My only word of caution would be with Krul who will be dropped in future when Steve Harper returns from injury. That won't really impact the ratings much as Harper only costs 0.3m more and is probably a better player but it would be important to consider before using a transfer on Krul in the next few weeks.

As a point of reference, over the same period Petr Cech would lead all keepers with an average expected goals of 0.75 per game. Both the Begovic/Robinson and the Gordon/Robinson partnerships come out with the same number to within 0.01, while saving you at least 1.5m in the process (as you would need spend at least 3.9m on a player to sit on your bench no matter good Cech is). This suggests the GK strategy is still a useful one to follow and it is one I won't be abandoning anytime soon.

Thanks for reading and all comments/questions are welcomed below or @plfantasy. I also ask that if you like the blog you click the 'follow' button which can be found in the top left corner. I am trying to boost my online presence and it would be great to get an idea of how many people are reading the blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Surviving the Winter

If my fantasy team was a TV show then Bear Grylls would be waist deep in freezing cold water while being chased by a hungry, pissed off bear. The season was going relatively well but starting to sputter so I did what any fantasy obsessive would do - blow up the team and replace them with too many spot starters (O'Shea), players on the decline (Berbatov) and injured stars (Fabregas). Four of my five best weeks came in GW1 -5 and I haven't topped 50 points since GW10.

My points per week are on the decline and my overall position in the game is taking a beating. However, all is not lost. My team is fit (outside of Fabregas who has been sold) and I'm hopeful for the weeks ahead. My plan is to survive until I can play my second wildcard, and then reload for a push for the final third of the season. We have 9 gameweeks until the wildcard window opens so let's take a quick look at who looks to be valuable between now and then (for those not looking to use their wildcard them, 9 weeks is a useful timeline to make transfers for so the below rankings still hold some use).

Defensive Rankings

Jose Mourinho division (bona fide class team, a great play nearly every week)
1. Chelsea (6 green light, 1 red light, 0.75 GPG avg)
2. Man City (6 green light, 1 red light, 0.83 GPG avg)
3. Everton (5 green light, 1 red light, 1.06 GPG avg)

Arsene Wenger division (can be great but have too many off weeks to be considered elite)
4. Arsenal (6 green light, 3 red light, 1.01 GPG avg)
5. Sunderland (5 green light, 2 red light, 1.11 GPG avg)
6. Man Utd (4 green light, 3 red light, 1.25 GPG avg)
7. Birmingham (5 green light, 4 red light, 1.19 GPG avg)
8. Liverpool (4 green light, 3 red light, 1.22 GPG avg)

Sam Allardyce division (not flashy but they do have some value every other week or so)
9. Blackburn (4 green light, 4 red light, 1.56 GPG avg)
10. Aston Villa (4 green light, 4 red light, 1.55 GPG avg)
11. Fulham (2 green light, 1 red light, 1.15 GPG avg)
12. Tottenham (3 green light, 3 red light, 1.25 GPG avg)
13. Newcastle (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.30 GPG avg)
14. Stoke (3 green light, 2 red light, 1.40 GPG avg)

Tony Pulis division (you aren't happy with them but they sometimes get the job done)
15. Bolton (1 green light, 4 red light, 1.52 GPG avg)
16. Wigan (0 green light, 2 red light, 1.42 GPG avg)

Gary Megson division (please God no, I thought we were rid of you)
17. Wolves (1 green light, 6 red light, 1.60 GPG avg)
18. West Brom (2 green light, 5 red light, 1.80 GPG avg)
19. West Ham (2 green light, 6 red light, 1.72 GPG avg)
20. Blackpool (1 green light, 8 red light, 1.92 GPG avg)

Attacking Rankings

Leo Messi division (might have the odd bad week but class is permanent)
1. Chelsea (8 green light, 0 red light, 2.27 GPG avg)
2. Man Utd (6 green light, 2 red light, 1.79 GPG avg)
3. Arsenal (6 green light, 3 red light, 1.58 GPG avg)

Kevin Davies division (whatever you say, these guys are solid almost every week)
4. Bolton (4 green light, 3 red light, 1.82 GPG avg)
5. Man City (6 green light, 1 red light, 1.49 GPG avg)
6. Blackpool (4 green light, 2 red light, 1.52 GPG avg)

Nicolas Anelka division (should be better but tough fixtures make these teams inconsistent)
7. Sunderland (5 green light, 2 red light, 1.39 GPG avg)
8. Tottenham (4 green light, 2 red light, 1.39 GPG avg)
9. Newcastle (2 green light, 4 red light, 1.41 GPG avg)

Emmanuel Adebayor division (have some talent but find a way to not score)
10. Liverpool (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.34 GPG avg)
11. West Brom (2 green light, 2 red light, 1.28 GPG avg)
12. Stoke (2 green light, 3 red light, 1.24 GPG avg)
13. Birmingham (2 green light, 2 red light, 1.23 GPG avg)
14. Fulham (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.17 GPG avg)
15. Everton (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.15 GPG avg)
16. Blackburn (2 green light, 3 red light, 1.15 GPG avg)

Carlton Cole (you can try and talk yourself into them but eventually you'll be disappointed)
17. Aston Villa (3 green light, 5 red light, 1. 03GPG avg)
18. Wolves (1 green light, 6 red light, 0.89 GPG avg)
19. Wigan (0 green light, 8 red light, 0.76 GPG avg)
20. West Ham (1 green light, 7 red light, 0.71 GPG avg)

Don't forget to check out this week's rankings and as always posts are welcomed below or @plfantasy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gameweek 15 Rankings

I've decided to start posting these rankings as soon as possible each week to help everyone with transfer as well as lineup decisions. I can then follow up later in the week with injury news etc. Therefore I will include players on the assumption they will play unless they are definately out through long term injury or suspension.

Clean Sheet Rankings
  1. Tottenham
  2. Man Utd
  3. West Ham
  4. Aston Villa
  5. Arsenal
  6. Everton
  7. Wigan
  8. Man City
  9. Bolton
  10. Fulham
  11. Wolves
  12. Chelsea
  13. Sunderland
  14. Stoke
  15. Newcastle
  16. Birmingham
  17. Liverpool
  18. West Brom
  19. Blackburn
  20. Blackpool
Attacking rankings
  1. Bolton
  2. Man Utd
  3. Everton
  4. Tottenham
  5. Fulham
  6. Chelsea
  7. Man City
  8. Wolves
  9. Newcastle
  10. Sunderland
  11. Birmingham
  12. Blackpool
  13. Stoke
  14. West Ham
  15. West Brom
  16. Aston Villa
  17. Arsenal
  18. Wigan
  19. Blackburn
  20. Liverpool
Captain Stats
  1. Rafael van der Vaart - Averaging 9.4 PPG at home and 9.5 PPG against opponents who concede between 1 and 1.5 GPG. The form player in the league and close to must own right now.
  2. Nani - Averaging 8.67 PPG at home and 9.75 PPG against opponents averaging more than 1.5 GPG. His great form should continue.
  3. Carlos Tevez - Great at home (8.5 PPG) and against mid level opponents (7.17 PPG). The best premium striker by some distance at the moment.
  4. Didier Drogba - Only scoring 5 PPG away from Stamford Bridge and 5.67 PPG against mid level opponents. A solid but unspectacular play again this week.
  5. Fernando Torres - Putting 6.33 PPG on tough opponents but has been brutal away from home (3.14 PPG). A huge risk this week.
  6. Florent Malouda - Terrible away from home (3.29 PPG) and only okay against mid level opponents. Does not deserve serious fantasy consideration at the moment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kaiser UK Game

There's a new fantasy game in town which intrigues me and so I am going to risk spreading myself too thin and join. It is arranged in a way similar to the typical US fantasy format which sees each player only available once, rather than being potentially owned by 50% of all owners. I had been hoping to manually create this game myself for next season but perhaps this will save me the trouble.

The gist of the game is that we will have $60m to start to buy players and then transfer funds can be spent throughput the season to trade players with other teams. More cash is also earned by scoring points (which is done so in a largely similar way to the game).

Anyone who wants to join can do so at and sign up for my new blog league called 'Premier League Fantasy Blog' with password 'plfantasy'. The league will be first come first served.

The rules allow for 'keeper leagues' but I proposing running the second half of this year as a test and then expanding the blog to cover the league next year if it's a success.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gameweek 14 Rankings

I'm excited for this week. I've spent the past week in Wilmington, DE so to be honest I'd be stimulated by a brightly coloured set of crayons at this point, but nevertheless I think this week is going to great. Arsenal-Tottenham may have been the best derby of the past 5 years, Mark Hughes 'welcomes' his former side to Craven Cottage, Chelsea look to bounce back from the unbelievable defeat last week while two upstart teams face at the Reebok, each looking to show that their top 8 credentials are for real.

In fantasy terms I am more desperate than expectant. My team has suffered badly in the past 3 weeks and my wildcard has proven to be a disaster. My woeful defense failed to notch a single clean sheet last week despite there being nine on offer. Worse still, since selling him, Jerome Boateng has failed to concede a goal and Vidic added another goal. While he hasn't been spectacular, Fabregas is starting to show his worth and was miraculously awarded the 3 bonus points last week. The key point there being not that it showed how well he played (he was a 7/10 at best) but that the pundits still love him and if Arsenal win he will be in the points. The only player we can say that about with as much conviction is Carlos Tevez.

Without further delay, here are the usual clean sheet and captain rankings. I have also devised some new captain stats while away this week to avoid having to simply guess who I like each week (which is against the mantra of this site).

Clean Sheet Rankings (expected goals conceded in parenthesis)
  1. Man Utd (0.48)
  2. West Brom (0.50)
  3. Liverpool (0.51)
  4. Sunderland (0.54)
  5. Chelsea (0.65)
  6. Blackburn (0.71)
  7. Arsenal (0.86)
  8. Fulham (1.00)
  9. Man City (1.03)
  10. Blackpool (1.05)
  11. Birmingham (1.06)
  12. Bolton (1.09)
  13. Everton (1.11)
  14. Aston Villa (1.54)
  15. Newcastle (1.66)
  16. Stoke (1.67)
  17. Wolves (2.33)
  18. West Ham (2.49)
  19. Tottenham (3.02)
  20. Wigan (3.60)
Goal Rankings by team (expected goals in parenthesis)
  1. Man Utd (3.60)
  2. Arsenal (3.02)
  3. Liverpool (2.49)
  4. Blackpool (1.54)
  5. West Brom (1.67)
  6. Bolton (1.66)
  7. Blackburn (1.54)
  8. Sunderland (1.11)
  9. Newcastle (1.09)
  10. Chelsea (1.06)
  11. Wolves (1.05)
  12. Fulham (1.03)
  13. Man City (1.00)
  14. Tottenham (0.86)
  15. Aston Villa (0.71)
  16. Birmingham (0.65)
  17. Everton (0.54)
  18. West Ham (0.51)
  19. Stoke (0.50)
  20. Wigan (0.48)
 Captain Stats (predicted points in parenthesis)
  1. Nani (9.58)
  2. Berbatov (6.88)
  3. Torres (5.80)
  4. Tevez (4.68)
  5. Drogba (4.55)
  6. Fabregas (4.50)
  7. Van der Vaart (3.55)
  8. Malouda (2.75)
These are new rankings that need explanation and several caveats. First, they are new. I have not tested whether the past performance of these rankings translates into solid predictions, all I know is that the are based on fact and give some useful indications as to who to captain. Second, I have not yet found a way to easily build form in the stats so they are still based on the entire season (thus probably overvaluing Berbatov who has been poor over the past few weeks). 

So, how are the calculated. I have taken each players average performance based on the following factors:
  • Home/Away splits
  • Performance against teams who concede less than 1 GPG, between 1 and 1.5 GPG and more than 1.5 GPG.
  • The percentage of team goals, bonus points, and assists that the player accounts for and the expected number of goals this week for the player's team (eg. Tevez accounts for 47% of City's goals and they are predicted to score once so Tevez should score 0.5 goals).
I have then taken a weighted average of the above predictions.

I concede that these are not full proof and I would not predict that the above numbers will stack up against actuals on a weekly basis, I do however think that they will help us distinguish between two players when handing out the armband.
A few notable stats to come out of the research to date:
  • Nani is averaging 9.4 PPG at home and 9.75 PPG against teams who concede more than 1.5 GPG. This week he gets Wigan (conceding 2.54 GPG) at home so should be ready for a big game based on past performance.
  • Like Nani, Berbatov has been dynamite at home with 5 goals, an assist and 8 bonus points in 5 games. Struggling for form but solid nonetheless.
  • Torres is a different player at Anfield, scoring 4 goals in 6 games as opposed to just 1 in 7 away from Anfield. This has led to double the PPG production with 6.0 at home compared to just 3.14 on the road.
  • Tevez has been pretty solid both home and away and accounts for a ridiculous 47% of City's goals and 29% of their bonus points. He faces a tough game at Fulham but he's averaging 4.5 PPG against teams who concede less than a goal a game suggesting he can raise his game when required.
  • Drogba has cooled off after a great start but Chelsea will be looking for revenge after last's embarrassment. Drogba is almost as good away (5.6 PPG) as at home (6.86) though only averages 3.5 PPG against the better sides. A solid but unspectacular option this week.
  • Somewhat perversly Fabregas has been better away from home (5.6 PPG) than at the Emirates (4.0 PPG) this year though he is hitting teams who concede more than 1.5 GPG for 5.00 PPG so far this year. Like Drogba above he remains a solid option but history does not suggest a big game.
  • Van der Vaart is averaging 9.4 PPG at home but just 2.6 PPG away from home. He is on the road this week at the Emirates hence his low ranking here.
  • Malouda is averaging just 2.33 PPG against teams who concede less than 1 GPG and just 3.17 PPG on the road. He faces a tricky trip to Birmingham this week (0.72 GPG) and is therefore a weak captain pick.
I hope these new stats give a good insight into how to pick your captain this week, any comments/suggestions would be appreciated. Please post below or @plfantasy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The legend of Didier Drogba

There have been justified rumblings lately about whether Drogba is, gasp, on the chopping board. I do not hide my admiration for the Ivorian legend and the fact he has recently played games while suffering with malaria (presumably caught while doing his extensive charity work) only increases Drogba’s legend. However – perhaps unfortunately – there are no points awarded for bravery or good deeds and so we must brush aside our personal feelings and look at the cold hard stats (cue half the readers screaming that I am unable to do this Fabregas on a weekly basis . . . and me having no response).

First things first, Drogba has really had two separate seasons already this year, or for the cliché lovers he’s been a ‘game of two halves’. The first five games were all quality starts (6 points or more) and he amassed an insane 55 points, including 5 goals 5 assists and 11 bonus points: perhaps the best 5 game run of any fantasy player in history (cue Ronaldo looking up suddenly from his tanning bed in Madrid and pointing out his awesome form at United). Since then, he’s added just 19 points in 7 gameweeks with just one goal in that period. 

Is this trend worrying? Of course. However, in those 7 GWs he missed one game, was a half time sub in another and a third was away at a very defensive City side. In two of the games he added 6 points (once through a goal and once through an assist and bonus points) which means he has actually had just two games where he played 90 minutes and managed just 2 points without any extenuating circumstances. Oh wait, he had freaking malaria! Drogba confirmed to Reuters that he had been suffering from an unknown illness for over a month but now he knows the problem he should be clear in a matter of days.

Torres has had 5 games where he scored 3 points or less, Tevez 4 (plus one game missed) and Chamakh 7 (41 of his 57 points have come in 4 games). Granted Drogba is more expensive that this trio, but at a certain point you need to spend big on someone and with perennial favourites Lampard, Gerrard and even, dare I say, Fabregas struggling I still like Drogba to be right up there in total points when the season is done.
This is all not to say I am totally unconcerned by his struggles. At home to Sunderland is about as good of a game as it gets and if Drogba struggles (not just for goals but for form) then I will then entertain more strongly the thought of selling him with road trips to Birmingham, Newcastle, Tottenham and Arsenal all coming in the next 7 weeks. Until then though, I am willing to suffer through a small dip given the awesome highs Didier can provide (and yes he’s my captain this week).

[Despite all the above you can expect a speedy article on who to bring in for Drogba at about 1pm ET on Sunday if the game does not go well. As I said, there are no points awarded for a good heart]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fabregas and van Persie: 2 + 2 = 5

Fantasy soccer is different to other sports for many reasons but one of the key differences is that players on the same team don't really 'take away' from each other. By this I mean that in fantasy football the presence of another running back or indeed a 260 lb goal line back, can hurt if not kill a teammate's fantasy value due to him stealing carries or, more importantly, goal line carries. The same can be true in basketball (but probably to a lesser extent) in that there are really only a finite number of possessions in an average game and so the presence of LeBron James clearly hurts the fantasy value of Dwayne Wade (how much depends on how much extra offense they can generate to share between two players - okay 2.5 if you count Chris Bosh).

In soccer, nothing is really limited aside from the total time of the game. Shots can vary in a game from 1 to 40 and team possession can range from 35% to 65%. Therefore the presence of other good players can help fantasy production for both individuals. 2 + 2 really can equal 5.

Readers will know my love for Cesc Fabregas and based on stats my decision to bring him in was foolish. However, what isn't factored into the stats to date is the return of Robin van Persie who when fit is one of the ten best players in the league. I looked at the stats from last season to see how the two performed with and without the other player in the league. I then extrapolated the data to give a 38 game season's worth of data based on the trends observed

  • Without Van Persie: 18 goals, 8 assists
  • With Van Persie: 23 goals, 34 assists
Van Persie
  • Without Fabregas: 12 goals, 0 assists
  • With Fabregas: 27 goals, 27 assists
Admittedly the totals are high because this data is based on a purple patch of form during which the pair played last season, but still the point made is clear. In the 10 games the pair played together in last season they scored 13 goals, and added 16 assists between them.

I am not expecting this kind of production when the two are fit (which is probably a couple of weeks away anyway). However, this is the kind of event you need to factor into your decisions and purely historical analysis cannot account for this, without doing separate research as laid out above. I therefore feel that Fabregas is still worthy of consideration despite his disappointing form, even if I must concede that he is not a top level option right now. Indeed, my main rationale for holding him is a lack of interest in any of the other high priced midfielders.

I'm sure this might be a bit controversial given manager's dissapointment with Fabregas this year so please post some comments below or @plfantasy and let the fun begin.

Gameweek 13 Rankings

To give everyone a head start on transfers and team selections I have posted the weekly statistical rankings below and I will add some random comments and thoughts later tonight. The stats are now based purely on this year's results given that I think we now have a sufficiently large sample size for it to be reliable.

Clean Sheet Rankings
  1. Chelsea
  2. Aston Villa
  3. Stoke
  4. Tottenham
  5. Arsenal
  6. Man City
  7. Newcastle
  8. Everton
  9. Blackburn
  10. Wolves
  11. Bolton
  12. Man Utd
  13. West Brom
  14. Liverpool
  15. Birmingham
  16. West Ham
  17. Blackpool
  18. Wigan
  19. Fulham
  20. Sunderland
Captain rankings: Team goals
  1. Chelsea (3.62)
  2. Newcastle (2.24)
  3. West Brom (2.19)
  4. West Ham (2.04)
  5. Blackpool (2.01)
  6. Man City (1.79)
  7. Stoke (1.73)
  8. Wigan (1.37)
  9. Aston Villa (1.36)
  10. Wolves (1.34)
  11. Bolton (1.19)
  12. Tottenham (1.19)
  13. Arsenal (1.02)
  14. Fulham (0.96)
  15. Everton (0.85)
  16. Birmingham (0.85)
  17. Blackburn (0.75)
  18. Liverpool (0.68)
  19. Man Utd (0.58)
  20. Sunderland (0.00)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gameweek 12 Preview

When a team loses badly they always say that the best thing is to play again soon to banish the bad memories. I am therefore very thankful for the midweek action so I don't dwell on my disastrous wildcard forray last week resulting in a miserable 24 point week. The weekly wrap up will go up Wednesday night for GW11 and GW12 combined to allow for me to get the preview column out now.

Clean Sheet Rankings
  1. Chelsea (0.15)
  2. Birmingham (0.36)
  3. Aston Villa (0.35)
  4. Tottenham (0.44)
  5. Liverpool (0.79)
  6. Newcastle (0.81)
  7. Everton (0.91)
  8. Arsenal (0.92)
  9. Stoke (0.97)
  10. Wigan (1.01)
  11. Man City (1.35)
  12. Wolves (1.37)
  13. West Ham (1.43)
  14. Man Utd (1.57)
  15. Bolton (2.00)
  16. Blackpool (2.03)
  17. West Brom (2.11)
  18. Sunderland (2.14)
  19. Blackburn (2.72)
  20. Fulham (3.39)
Attacking rankings
  1. Chelsea (3.39)
  2. Newcastle (2.72)
  3. Tottenham (2.14)
  4. West Ham (2.11)
  5. Aston Villa (2.03)
  6. Everton (2.00)
  7. Stoke (1.62)
  8. Man City (1.57)
  9. West Brom (1.43)
  10. Arsenal (1.37)
  11. Man Utd (1.35)
  12. Birmingham (1.16)
  13. Liverpool (1.01)
  14. Wolves (0.92)
  15. Bolton (0.91)
  16. Blackburn (0.81)
  17. Wigan (0.79)
  18. Sunderland (0.44)
  19. Blackpool (0.35)
  20. Fulham (0.15)
Captain Picks
  1. Didier Drogba: Fulham have one of the league's better defenses and have played Chelsea well in the past couple of seasons but Drogba doesn't normally stay quiet for long and he hasn't scored in 3 appearances and 4 gameweeks. His longest stretch all last season was 3 games without a goal, and that only happened once.
  2. Tim Cahill: I love Cahill over the next few weeks as his aPoint differential is as good as anyone suggesting he should benefit from easier games in the future. He's had 6 quality games (6 points or more) already this year, more than anyone who doesn't play for Chelsea.
  3. Carlos Tevez: Scored 3 and assisted 2 in 4 games against his former employers last season. Tevez makes City tick and is supported by an in form Silva who is looking like he's ready to explode in the EPL.
  4. Ashley Cole: Has as many quality games (7) as anyone else in the league and Chelsea look like a lock for a clean sheet. With bonuses and assists flowing his way he is about as good value you're ever going to get for a 8m defender.
  5. Cesc Fabregas: He didn't shine on the weekend as I expected and looked slightly sluggish but as Torres showed, quality players eventually come good, it's just a matter of when.
  6. Nicolas Anelka: Anelka has sneakily become one of Chelsea's most reliable fantasy players due to rotation and injuries hitting Malouda, Drogba and Kalou.Would be higher but he hasn't scored at home in the league this year.
  7. Fernando Torres: The stats don't really back up Torres' inclusion here but such is his quality, once he hits form it doesn't really matter who the opposition is (just ask Nemanja Vidic).
I will put up the GW11 and GW12 wrap up as soon as possible after the games on Wednesday then come back with the GW13 preview on Thursday. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I have alluded to aPoints before and the individual rankings through GW10 can be found to the right but I haven't ever fully explained what this rating shows.

Simply, it is my way to giving an adjusted number of points a player 'should' have scored, if injuries/suspensions hadn't occurred and every player had faced the same schedule.While this is admittedly somewhat absract as injuries and suspensions do occur, it is nevertheless useful as form and schedule are a better indication of future success than the fact that a player has missed time to date through injury.

If you lead this category then you will be, in my calculations, the best fantasy player over the course of the season if the current trends continue. 'Best' being defined as achieving the most points as opposed to the best value (which is dealt with by aPPMS).

I will continue to track this stat through the season and I like it as a key indicator of fantasy value to date. It can also be used to indicate future success by looking at the difference between aPoints and actual points scored. A high number indicates that a player is underscoring due to either a lack of playing time (such as Lampard) or a tough schedule (Tim Cahill). I will include these numbers on my new stats page once I work out how to best present it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gameweek 11 Preview

No rambling this week as I've been moving home with boxes stacked high and much upheaval. This isn't unlike my fantasy team which is chaotic and unpredictable and might need a renovation of it's own very soon. I was saved last week by Vidic and Adam's performances but cruelly punished by last minute goals conceded by Williamson and Jaaskelainen.

As you have hopefully noticed I am starting to re-design the site a bit to give everyone constant access to the stats I try and incorporate into my work. I have started with the aPPMS and aPoints to the right of this post and I will be adding short and long term strength of schedules soon. Any requests for specific data to be posted would be welcomed.

Without further delay then, here are this week's rankings:

Clean Sheet Rankings
(expected goals conceded in parenthesis)
  1. Birmingham (0.28)
  2. Sunderland (0.38)
  3. Man Utd (0.40)
  4. Blackburn (0.60)
  5. Fulham (0.64)
  6. Arsenal (0.69)
  7. Chelsea (0.98)
  8. West Brom (1.02)
  9. Everton (1.05)
  10. Blackpool (1.13)
  11. Bolton (1.20)
  12. West Ham (1.21)
  13. Tottenham (1.25)
  14. Man City (1.33)
  15. Stoke (1.42)
  16. Wigan (1.53)
  17. Liverpool (1.62)
  18. Aston Villa (2.03)
  19. Newcastle (2.99)
  20. Wolves (3.78)
Captain Rankings: Team Goals
(expected goals scored in parenthesis)
  1. Man Utd (3.78)
  2. Arsenal (2.99)
  3. Fulham (2.03)
  4. Chelsea (1.62)
  5. Blackburn (1.53)
  6. Sunderland (1.42)
  7. West Brom (1.33)
  8. Bolton (1.25)
  9. Birmingham (1.21)
  10. Tottenham (1.20)
  11. Everton (1.13)
  12. Blackpool (1.05)
  13. Man City (1.02)
  14. Liverpool (0.98)
  15. Newcastle (0.69)
  16. Aston Villa (0.64)
  17. Wigan (0.60)
  18. Wolves (0.40)
  19. Stoke (0.38)
  20. West Ham (0.28)
Captain Rankings: Players
  1. Nani*: I can't keep him from top spot for any longer though it's looking likely the Portuguese winger will miss out through injury. If he plays though, he's number one.
  2. Dimitar Berbatov: With no Rooney and probably no Nani, Berbatov needs to step up in this one and take the strain. 
  3. Cesc Fabregas: My favorite player hasn't really shone since returning from injury but he played well against City and you feel it's a matter of time before goals and points come his way. Newcastle only have one road clean sheet this season so this could be the week Cesc marks his return to the fantasy elite.
  4. Didier Drogba: His early form has faltered a bit but he netted in midweek and faces a Liverpool side who he has scored 3 and assisted 3 goals against in the past 4 meetings. His must own status in wavering but he's still very very good.
  5. Samir Nasri: I was a bit worried about Fabregas' impact on Nasri but he was heavily involved against City and actually had more touches than Cesc (though he was pushed a bit wider). He isn't likely to reach double figures again but I like him as a player to give you plenty of 6-8 point games throughout the season.
* Injury risk

Plenty of good clean sheet options this week make the captain picks pretty thin but as with the past few weeks you are really looking at United, Arsenal and Chelsea to supply your skipper. With United down to one true star this list is getting shorter by the week. It might be a week to field 4 at the back and limit your strike-force if they play tough games.