Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Strength of Schedule

Each individual team's strength of schedule has been referenced in the team previews posted so far, but with the season drawing ever closer, I thought it might be useful to gather all that information into one spot, for quick reference. A couple of points about that data below:
  • Goals per game scored and conceded are largely based on prior year, though I have allowed a small adjustment where significant transfer activity has occurred or a key player has returned to fitness. Generally though, if you think a team will be substantially better/worse than last year, you will need to make the adjustment when you look at the data
  • For the promoted sides I have taken their record from last season and applied a historic ratio based on how promoted teams goals scored decline and goals conceded increase after getting promoted. Again, if you have strong views that one of these teams will perform particularly better or worse than the historical average, make the adjustments when looking at the stats.
  • Finally, be careful to note the difference between pure strength of schedule and predicted goals per game. Strength of schedule only looks at a team's opponent, and ignores their own defensive/offensive capability. This data is best used for timing the transfer of a player you like rather than deciding who to play each week. Predicted goals per game looks at a team's offensive/defensive capability and that of their opponents and takes a weighted average to try and predict the number of goals scored/conceded. In reality, this tool is better for ranking teams rather than making absolute predictions as it will rarely, if ever, predict a clean sheet as no team averages substantially less than a goal a game scored/conceded.
  • The definition of red and green light games can be found in the glossary.
Strength of Schedule
First then, let's look at strength of schedule for the first 10 weeks of the season:

Goals per Game
Not too many surprises here though Man Utd's brutal start result in them projecting down in 7th to start the season. City and Chelsea look like must own units for now and beyond while Fulham are by the cheapest option to crack the top of the list. Schwarzer and Hughes therefore become very useful squad fillers who can probably start most weeks for you.

No such struggles for the Champions here as they project to score the most goals over the first 10 weeks. Given the question marks surrounding the majority of other premium players, this may point towards Rooney being a very valuable asset from GW1. Norwich coming in 6th place is partly a product of their favourable schedule but also the 83 goals they scored last season. Projecting these totals to the Premier League is very subjective so be careful before overreacting to this ranking.

I will delve into these numbers in more detail before the big kick off, but I wanted to get them up here for everyone to see as soon as possible so as to hopefully assist with any tough transfer choices you are making.


HunterP said...

Chris - Great stuff. Wondering how you projected goals scored/against for the new boys in the PL so I can adjust your table if necessary.
Using 10 years of promoted teams' data, I came up with:
QPR 38-44 overall (24-21 home, 14-23 away)
Norwich 44-79 overall (26-42, 18-37)
Swansea 37-56 overall (23-15, 14-41)
Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Finding this and the team previews extremely useful in deciding which cheap defenders to pick. Keep it coming!

Chris Glover said...

Thanks Hunter - I used data from the past three years for how promoted teams have faired in the PL. If on average they scored 20% less goals at home then a 50 goal haul in the Championship would now become 40.

I chose 3 years as I don't want too much noise from data taken from a different era. The haves and have nots have grown wider in recent years and there are few, if any, teams coming up and spending big money. I therefore wanted to use teams like Blackpool and West Brom from the past couple of years as benchmarks rather than West Ham or Sunderland coming back in '05

Thanks theothertank - much appreciated

Hussain said...

Hi chris, brilliant blog, would like to ask; Of all the chelsea defenders, do you think boswinga might be a good choice, he has played most pre season friendlies and ivanovic who would usually play there has played every game at centre u think boswingwa may be the first choice this year as villas may prefer the attacking fullback?

angryratman said...

Am I right in understanding this that Wigan have the worst attacking prospects over the first 10 GWs?

EddieO said...

Chris, really nice analysis and congratulations on a well designed and thoughtful site!

Darragh said...

Sorry Chris - to clarify 'goals per game - defenders' I presume this means goals conceded by defenders per game rather than goals scored by defenders per game?

Chris Glover said...

Hussain - the Chelsea defense is a bit of nightmare no Luiz is injured. You would imagine they go Cole-Terry-Ivan-Bos for now but I think Luiz plays pretty much every game when fit. Alex seems to be on the way out which Bosingwa more valuable for now.

Angryratman - exactly right, the goals per game table is the key and Wigan are predicted to score the fewest goals of all.

Thanks Eddie!

Darragh - you're exactly right, the defenders section refers to goals conceded. I need to do a better job of presenting that page but I wanted to get the data up asap. I will re-write it over the weekend.

Thanks for the posts guys

Helen Evans said...

Most fantasy football players will be concentrating on the big-name rookies selected in the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft and strength of schedule at fantasy football strenght of schedule