Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Fantasy Fallacy

The Gambler's fallacy is a well documented theory which, loosely put, sets out that just because something has happened 20 times in row, the chance of it happening again is not diminished. In gambling we limit this to non-dependent events like coin tosses or roulette spins, but there is an application to fantasy scoring too.

Fantasy scoring is not totally non-dependant as players get in form and teams gel as a unit, but there is certainly a case for not waiting through 8 barren gameweeks on the basis that a player is 'due' for a big game to turn it all around.

With this in mind, I am introducing a new list of players who I have no problem cutting loose at this point in the season. I am not suggesting that they have no value for the year, but based on the immediate future, better options can be found and holding them may cost you weeks of wasted cash. Following this strategy may cause you to miss a big week from a player as any downturn from a top player is temporary, but on average, I would prefer to bail out and reinvest a week too late, rather than sit through week and after week of poor production.

You will see three lists below:
  • Cut 'em loose - too many factors weigh against these players and they should be sold immediately unless another player on your team is in an even worse predicament.
  • On the edge - probably should be sold but it isn't a huge priority due to one of a number of factors (their price tag isn't too high, their slump has only just started, concrete evidence of a turnaround can be seen)
  • Keeping tabs - the evidence is stacking up but I'm not ready to bail as we can at predict, with some evidence, an improvement in the future.
Cut 'em loose
Didier Drogba - it's unconscionable to hold a 10.0m+ player who is not even in a team's starting lineup. 124k managers still do though and with players like Bent, Suarez and the returning Hernandez available for less money, there is no excuse. Torres doesn't look great either and Drogba might return sooner rather than later, but at such a steep price, you simply cannot afford to wait, even though the fixture looks great this week. Just be thankful you didn't draft him in the 3rd round.

Dirk Kuyt - he got the start at the weekend but you'd think that's more a case of Suarez having the occasional rest rather than a blueprint for the season. Moving away from the 4-3-3 has eliminated Kuyt's starting spot, and when he does play it will likely be in a deeper role or at the end of a game. Like Drogba, the price means you simply cannot wait to see if Kuyt can win his place back.

Jon Arne Riise - if Lampard's owners are stuck in 2008, Riise's may be stuck in 2002. We all uttered some form of 'what if' when the signing was announced but it's clear after just a couple of games (and Euro appearances) that Riise is not the same attacking player playing in the same system. This is by no means an attack on his play, but he simply isn't going to score 6 goals a season as he did in his Liverpool days. He may well get a couple of goals and the odd assist but for 1.5m for than Senderos, there is no way you can justify the extra cost. Turn off your Maroon 5 CD and cut the chord with 2002 (in fact, even if you want to keep Riise, just turn of your Maroon 5 CD).

Demba Ba - registered as a safe pick in the pre-season but looked awful in GW1 and was benched in GW2. Over the course of the season he certainly has the ability to bounce back, but you cannot afford to have players on the bench at this point and other options are available in his price bracket who have found some early season form. Let's not write him off for the season but you need to elsewhere for now.

On the edge
Robin Van Persie - this one is as much about Van Persie's teammates as his own play. He's done okay in fantasy points without Fabregas and Nasri in the past, but that has tended to be over shortened periods where other players can temporarily take up the slack. As I write this, Van Persie is cooling off after scoring against Udinese and by all accounts was busy throughout. His cost means that he will hold onto his status on the edge, but there are at least signs that Van Persie might be ready to get his (and Arsenal's) Premier League campaign. Whether or not you hold onto him depends on your appetite for risk (Arsenal's fixtures look marginally better than Man Utd's but Rooney remains the safer bet for 12.0m).

Frank Lampard - he's playing a deeper role, his team don't look very convincing and he isn't getting a sniff at bonus points so far under the new system to bail him out as in the past. 70k managers are somehow affording to carry his corpse, presumably in a 'no man left behind' effort for his previous campaigns from '08-'10. Admirable as their loyalty may be, if Lampard doesn't produce a big game against Norwich this week, it's time to move on.

Fernando Torres - last week's transfer activity was somewhat strange as there was a lot of buzz generated around Torres, after the GW1 0-0 with Stoke. Yes, he was in the team at Drogba'sLampard above, someone in this Chelsea team is going to be valuable at some point and if you own them, you keep them for this week but the leash needs to be getting shorter by the day.

Louis Saha - the knock on Saha has always been his fitness. He appeared to be fit and ready to go in GW1, only for the game to postponed, but then had to sit out the majority of GW2. Again he could only feature on the bench for tonight's Carling Cup game, and the old story is starting to become repetitive. Everton face a tricky trip to Blackburn this week so cutting the cord now might be the best idea but if you still have faith in the Frenchman, you can't give him more than a couple of games to prove himself.

Keeping tabs
Nani - I was higher than most on Nani in the preseason and while I maintain that his playing time will continue to be fairly consistent throughout the season (not starting every game but getting decent minutes) his fantasy ceiling appears to be declining. Against Spurs, the play seemed to flow down Ashley Young's left side for long periods of the game with Nani forced to slide inside to even get a touch of the ball. With Young monopolizing set pieces too, Nani is losing value by the day and if I was choosing one to own I would side with Young right now. Is it worth a transfer though? I am giving it another couple of weeks given Nani's proven goalscoring record and I want to see what, if anything, changes when Hernandez gets into the side.

Adel Taarabt - Last week's 2 bonus points failed to appease my concern for Taarabt, who did little based on the eyeball test or chalkboard review. He looks well place to be the main beneficiary in this department whenever QPR win, but given that this could happen 10 times or less, the ceiling seems to be moderate and without significant goal totals I don't like him at 6.5m. At this status shows I am not ready to give up just yet but don't hold on too long as players like Jarvis, Brunt or Cleverly go unnoticed.

The full week preview will be posted shortly, so post your questions below or @plfantasy and they will be added to the new reader question section.


amtosh said...

So chris. The big question. Would you turf Torres for aguero, considering Torres has Norwich at home and aguero has spurs away?

I'm thinking of keeping Torres for another week but slowly coming around to aguero.

They both face rotation risks but I just think aguero is a better bet to score at the moment, regardless of the opposition (and I'm not convinced with spurs defence after the utd demolition).


Ryry said...

Hey Chris, I've just been looking at my attacking options for my team and realised i have no attacking contributions from liverpool, arsenal, chelsea or tottenham. Do you think this is a wise choice?
my current midfield and strikers consist of silva, jarvis, brunt, yaya toure, gutierrez, bent, rooney and A'Johnson.
Although my attacking options have done wonders for me already this season, would you suggest that i change it up a little bit?

D said...

Chris - I have Zamora, Alex, Moses, and Ohara and I want to trade them all. What do you prefer between Boswinga/Cole and Odem/Long? Also, eventually I will go for Jarvis or Fletcher on Wolves - who would you recommend amongs those three pairs of players?

PS: I follow most of your recommended strategies and wailed on my leagues last year, and this year (knock on wood) I'm already ahead 30 points. Almost all my competitors own Huth and Baines - The fools!

~adi~ said...

Hi - long-time reader, first-time commenter here.

Just to add to your list, I think we should at least keep tabs on Malouda. He was on the bench, and now Mata has arrived.

In another news: I'm afraid that Nasri will cut into Silva's minutes and fantasy value. What's your take on that?

TravelingNorth said...

So I've really taken to heart the idea of getting the cheapest defender in a unit. Some of these are fairly obvious - Enrique and Bosingwa are two obvious examples, and I'm very, very loathe to buy expensive defenders because I don't think the likes of Baines and Cole have the upside to warrant the prices they command. This leaves me with the predicament of having 3 mid-priced, mid-table defenders where it's hard to work out a rotation strategy.

Anyway, I'm committed this week to 3 at the back because the money saved at the back allows me to funnel the riches up front where my three strikers are undroppable, so for argument's sake, who would you play out of Brown, Warnock and Distin this week?

I imagine filling the third or fourth defensive slot is going to be a dilemma I face on a regular basis until Bosingwa gets dropped or I get Richards, but any help for the short term is much appreciated. Thanks.