Thursday, August 11, 2011

Notebook Preview: Wigan Athletic

Looking back at last season

  • One of the worst defensive teams in the league, conceding 1.79 GPG at home and 1.42 on the road. 
  • They managed just 7 clean sheets all season, though strangely their 4 zeros on the road actually ranked ahead of teams like Everton and Spurs.
  • Also struggled somewhat at the other end of the field, failing to score 13 times and managing just 40 goals all season (only Birmingham fared worse).
  • Their keepers and defenders didn't deliver good value last year with only Al-Habsi being ownable all year. 
  • The midfield didn't generate a load of points (12th in P90) but their low value helped them to be rather valuable (3rd in P$). With N'Zogbia gone and not replaced though, expect some regression among this unit.
  • The front line was a similar story, providing poor returns in pure points (20th) but good value for money (8th in P$).
  • The team did show a marked improvement in the second half, going from just 15 to 25 goals after a dismal first 19 games.

Predicted lineup (4-5-1)
Al-Habsi (4.5m), Figueroa (4.5m), Caldwell (4.5m), Alcaraz (4.5m), Boyce (4.5m), Moses (5.0m), Diame (5.0m), Watson (5.5m), Thomas (4.5m), McCarthy (5.5m), Rodallega (6.5m)

Unless Martinez decides to move to a 4-4-2 he really doesn't have too many options as Wigan appear to have one of the weakest squads in the division. Their is some depth along the back line, though I have zero interest in owning any of that group right now. The midfield looks somewhat devoid of fantasy options outside of Moses as the rest look either too expensive or too defensive. Rodallega will play every week if fit, but the concern is that without N'Zogbia and Cleverly he will lack sufficient service to contribute regularly.

Safest Picks
Hugo Rodallega . . . by far the most talented player on this team . . . 9 goals last season gave him back-to-back productive seasons for the Latics . . . consistent production at home (3.8 PPG, 5 goals) and away (3.6 PPG, 4 goals) . . . lack of assists (xA 2) is a concern and his scoring looks one dimensional . . . losses of N'Zogbia and Cleverly are huge and Rodallega might find himself out numbered as teams lock in on Wigan's only real threat . . . talented enough to have some success but you would imagine at least one other player in the 6.5m range shows more promise playing on a better team.

Upside Plays
Victor Moses . . . impressed in the pre-season and with N'Zogbia gone should get regular minutes for the first time . . . useful in limited action last season with good xG (4), xA (13) and xP (176) numbers . . . as with Rodallega it is hard to foresee big things for this offense but if Moses can take just a portion of N'Zogbia's production he could be a good option at just 5.0m

Ali Al-Habsi . . . managed to rack up 125 points last year despite playing on a terrible defensive team . . . high save totals make him a decent option every week but the lack of clean sheets will always suppress his ceiling . . . if Wigan just become average defensively then at 4.5m he makes a good rotation option given the relative lack of other options in this price bracket . . . need to see more from Martinez's side before I seriously consider him though.

No Thanks
Antolin Alcaraz . . . currently owned by close to 150,000 managers . . . main attribute seems to be consistent minutes in a bad side . . . xG (1), xA (1) and xP (98) don't really get you excited for 4.5m . . . of any of the Wigan defenders I would lean towards Figueroa given his ability to generate assists . . . I don't understand this one at all

Fixtures
Nor, @Swa, QPR, @MnC, @Eve, Tot, @Ast, Bol

Defensively the fixtures look pretty good but this unit's historical performance is so bad that their GPG still project out poorly. There's just no way to really justify owning anyone from this group.

From an attacking standpoint the fixtures look much tougher, conspiring to give Wigan the worst GPG projections in the league. Considering the talent they have lost, these projections might actually be overly optimistic.

Final Thoughts
As much as I like rate Rodallega as a player, I'm not sure anyone from this team is ownable from GW1. Moses is worth a look given his price tag but Rodallega comes in a talented price bracket alongside the likes of Davies, Ba and Jones and it's hard to rank him ahead of that group without seeing what kind of product Wigan can put on the field.

Check out all the other team previews here along with the initial strength of schedule data here. Please post any questions/suggestions below or at @plfantasy.

4 comments:

angryratman said...

Moses captain GW1 :D

kazek said...

Lol don't you remember how wigan started their season last time :D

I hammering by blackpool

angryratman said...

I choose not to remember.

Chris Glover said...

Haha. Do you read Fantasy Football Scout alot? The readers over there LOVE Moses.