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.


Chris Oien said...

Interesting new captains rankings and I'm definitely on board with Nani this week. But I do wonder once you get down to individual players how much noise you get in the stats? For example, does Elmander scoring only in away games REALLY mean he can't score at home? If not, what does that mean for VDV's seeming ability to only score when he IS at home so far?

Chris Glover said...

Chris - I agree that this doesn't mean you CAN'T score away from home, but does suggest you're less likely to. It's normally not the players' fault but more the different tactics used by managers at home/away. Malouda for example gets less support from Cole when away and perhaps has to be more defensively responsible away from Stamford Bridge.

Though not a home / road split this was illustrated well by Fabregas's game at the weekend. With Wilshere in the holding role Fab looked restricted and appeared unwilling to expose the young Wilshere (who was also not enjoying a good game). When Denilson came on, he didn't play great but gave Fabregas more confidence that his back line was protected and he pressed forward leading to his goal almost immediately. The same difference can be seen when players play at home and away and thus can factor into our decision making.

mark said...

so chris do you intend to keep drogba and berbatov for the time being?
great blog by the way.

Chris Glover said...

Berbatov has great fixtures and remains a decent price so I'm leaning Towards holding him. I am tempted by Tevez who has decent fixtures but it's hard to pass on DD. Drogba's fixtures a very tough though so now might be the time to ditch him. Maybe Torres is the answer. I will be struggling with this one until deadline day.

Clarky said...

Hi Chris, not posted for a few weeks.

With regards to clean sheets, I usually go with the bookies - after all, they know what they're talking about over the course of the season and overall come out on top.

Have you thought about going down this route?

The bookies are giving Newcastle slightly favourable odds over Birmingham, so as things stand, have gone with Krul over Foster. I do of course, have my doubts though as I can see both teams conceding, but Foster perhaps getting more save points.

Great read as always and nice to have more information to take on board. I'm giving Malouda and Drogba another game, so hope for big performances from them.

Chris Glover said...

Clarky. It's an interesting idea to look at the bookies. I have used this before with goal scorers but not so much clean sheets. The problem is that bookies are not trying to predict the score, they are trying to balance their book. Hence teams like United and Chelsea will always have shorter odds under the same circumstances as less glamorous teams. This is easier to see in US sports which tend to handicap teams such as Dallas -7. Glamorous teams will always give more points as people love to back the big power house teams so Vegas skews the line accordingly.

This holds true in soccer too. Newcastle will always generate more attention than Birmingham so their odds have to be cut. No one is betting on BIR against Che no matter how high the odds are.

Another factor of course is that we are not taking a team to win. In terms of winning a game birmingham are probably the second worst pick this week. However they can shut a team down (as they did with city last week) and play out a 0-0 which for fantasy defense purposes is better than winning 5-1.

Specifically, Bolton at home are almost the same as Chelsea away in terms of goals 10 v 11. Birmingham at home are better than Newcastle away 5 v 7 conceded. Add in birmingham's 3 home clean sheets vs newcastle's 2 road clean sheets and I'm still happy with Birmingham.

Now of course the Foster pick has more chance to make you look stupid as Drogba could go crazy and Chelsea put 5 past you but playing the odds I'll take foster.

mark said...

yea suppose berbatov deserves one more week with the great fixture at home. think hes been really poor since his hatrick in week 5 tho.

who do you prefer between A young,vdv, arteta,cahill? want to bring in a mid have 9m to spend.

oh by the way i have bale that probably affects picking vdv.

Andrew said...

I like your new way of calculating captains. It's an upgrade over what I ran last year. Unfortunately I don't have the time this year to do that kind of stuff, which makes me appreciate your site all the more.

Chris Glover said...

Mark - I am not opposed to having both Bale and VdV given the fact they have shown they can both play well and score in the same game (see last week). Spurs 6 week fixtures are very tough (4 red light games) and they rank 14th in predicted goals scored. However, from GW20 onwards they face just 2 more red light games until GW33. If you are looking to bring someone in for the long haul then VdV is in play, if not then I would be scared of having both Bale and VdV during the upcoming tough patch.

In terms of predicted goals, Man Utd (Nani) rank 1st, Man City (Silva) 6th, Villa (Young) 7th, Everton (Cahill, Arteta) 9th and Liverpool (Kuyt) 11th.

In terms of aPPMS, the target players rank as below:
Nani 0.840
VdV 0.801
Cahill 0.740
Nasri 0.679
Arteta 0.574
Young 0.533
Kuyt 0.383
Silva 0.375

I think Nani is the clear choice if you don't own him but assuming you do I would go with Cahill. He leads all the aforementioned players in quality games (6+ pts) and the only reason he isn't more widely held is because he hasn't topped 10 points this year in a breakout game. I like how he can score against the good and bad teams alike (already scored against MNU, Liv and Ars this year) and scores both at home (4 goals) and away (2 goals). He probably won't generate too much attention as a captain option as Everton don't tend to score too many goals but he seems to be involved in everything they do well. I would like to see his BPs go up before I put him up with the likes of Nani but he is certainly a very solid option to have.

The one downside to Cahill is that he doesn't have a great fixture this week so if your squad is fairly settled you might want to look at someone like Kuyt this week before bringing Cahill in long term before next week's game at home to West Brom

Chris Glover said...

Andrew - thanks for the feedback. any suggestions on how to improve the rankings further are always welcome

Steven said...


Where do you live anyway? Trying to get a feel as to the basis of your writing and interest in the sport. I see you make references to American sports all the time too. I know being an American, 'football' isn't exactly a headliner sport. I love having the games on at 10am though, it's great to have something to watch live or DVR for later in the day.

As for this week, I brought in Joe Hart and Charlie Adams (too soon) as he was injured Wednesday. I like him as a long term investment anyway.


Chris Glover said...

Steven - I now live in Toronto but I grew up in England (near Bolton) so football/soccer is my first love. My dad was a big NFL fan for some reason so I started watching that at a young age too. I really like the American sports culture so I started following baseball and hockey too during all those late nights at university (your average game will start at midnight in the UK.

I LOVE the fact that games start at 10am and even earlier when there's a midday GMT game. From a fantasy perspective it means I set my lineup Friday night which can be very dangerous depending on if any beer was flowing that night but overall I like my new weekly schedule. Not staying up until 4am for the world series is also a plus!

Your team is looking strong and I am regretting not going fab/Nani/Cahill myself. If Berbatov chokes again I will ditch him for a cheaper option then bring Cahill on to play WBA at home. City defense looks like a solid investment - I gave up a week to soon.

Clarky said...

Hi again Chris.

I live in Burnley, so not that far from where you lived in Bolton.... I'll never forgive Coyle lol.

I'll let you know my side for this week and ask for your thoughts (and of course anybody else reading this).

Foster (Krul)
Vidic Simpson Coleman
Nani(c) VDV Fabregas Malouda Adam
Carroll Drogba

Subs: Piq Mummy Alcaraz

If Adam doesn't make it then I still give Piq a chance to grab a goal - who knows where forwards are concerned.

This week I did Dann > Vidic and looking at it, don't feel a 4 point hit would be right for any transfer so I'm holding back.

I have a pretty in depth Excel spreadsheet like yourself (I remember you saying you had a long flight so got the laptop out), so I'm sure we can bounce ideas backwards and forth and help each other out.

Steven said...

Very cool Chris. I'm from RI myself and still live there. I got into the EPL thanks to some Irish fellas sucking me in while they were here for 2 months for training. Fantasy sports will suck me into anything :)

Looks like Ancelotti confirmed 10 of 11 starters, minus the RB. Bosingwa is certainly a risk with Ferreria in the picture.

I'm still way off the pace. Having a hard time finding those difference makers; something you've alluded to in past seasons. I hope Cesc can help with that as he's only 11% owned as opposed to VdV and Bale who are both well over 24 and 47 percent respectively.

Here's to a solid weekend of football. Cheers

mark said...

appreciate the solid advice chris, went with cahill brought him in this week fingers crossed he delivers early :D.