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.


Mell 10-11 said...

Based on last games, do you think Fab is starting to find his form? He got one assist for Chamakh though...What about Nasri? He seems to be slowing a little bit with Fab in the lineup...No doubt a fit V Persie is very effective when playing with Fab...That's a fact

Shedboy said...

Hi, Chris!
I'm looking to ditch Malouda after this week but there's no one doing enough relating their price(>9.5). And Fabregas is the only option and doing so i have to get <5.7m midfielder(Brunt, N'Zogbia, Parker).
Which one is the best option?
PS: I have Adam.

Mmmarek83 said...

ManCity has great SOS till January GW22. Thinking to buy Kolarov. Already have Boateng. Do You think its good idea?

Chris Glover said...

Mell - I am still on Fab's bandwagon. I am willing to stick by him until RvP returns which undoubtedly makes Fab better value. I think Nasri is risky given the likelihood of rotation.

Shedboy - The best midfielder for under 5.7m? I think Adam is the best value and has the best fixtures. As you have him then I might be tempted to go with N'Zogbia. I actually had a piece about how I thought he was ready for a boom and then he had the big game against Newcastle before I could post it. Anyway, Wigan have great fixtures but dont score enough goals. That said, N'Zogbia gets a large share of those goals and is therefore a great option. Id go with Insomnia or Nolan.

City have GREAT defensive fixtures and might be worthy of doubling up. Mancini is so damn cynical that even against the best sides they have a good chance at a clean sheet. I made a big mistake moving Boateng on too soon. I would prefer to double up with Alex/Ivanovic but City are also a good option.