Sunday, October 9, 2011

The draining pool of talent

Depth is universally seen as a virtue. We all like to be well informed to avoid being 'shallow'. Managers praise the depth of their teams, and, well, no one wants to take a dive into a paddling pool. The same is true in fantasy - the deeper the pool of talent, the more options we have, and the more opportunities there are to differentiate our teams.

With the international break giving us time to catch our collective breath, I thought it might be useful to look at the current pool of talent, and assess how it looks after 7 weeks. The below are the players who I feel should register on our radars. I'm not saying they all represent great investments right now, just that, as things stand, they could hold some value in the short-medium term.

A couple of points to clarify before we start. Anyone suffering from a long term injury (even if close to returning) is excluded. You can't be caught picking up injured players too early and so the likes of Glen Johnson or Steve Gerrard have not been considered. Also, a lack of an appearance here does not mean you can't play your way back into contention at a later point. You'll note that no Chelsea strikers appear on this list, while the once great Arsenal have a distinctly poor representation. These teams/players could rebound but right now they are carrying elite price tags without the necessary production/upside/guarantee of minutes needed to generate fantasy value.

With those points in mind, here are the players I currently feel justify monitoring on a weekly basis. Those players highlighted in blue are players who I feel justify weekly consideration for the captain's armband (ignoring double gameweeks for now).

Arsenal - Ramsey, Arteta, Van Persie
Aston Villa - Given, Warnock, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Bent
Blackburn - Hoilett
Bolton - Petrov
Chelsea - Bosingwa, Lampard, Mata, Sturridge
Everton - Jagielka, Osman, Cahill
Fulham - Schwarzer, Baird, Riise, Murphy, Dempsey, Zamora, Johnson
Liverpool - Enrique, Adam, Suarez
Man City - Kompany, Richards, Clichy, Silva, Nasri, Aguero, Dzeko
Man Utd - Jones, Evra, Evans, Nani, A Young, Anderson, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck
Newcastle - Krul, S Taylor, Simpson, Gutierrez, Cabaye, Best, Ba
Norwich - Ruddy, Barnett
QPR - Kenny, A Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Barton, Taarabt, Wright Phillips, Faurlin
Stoke - Begovic, Shawcross, Woodgate, Walters, Etherington
Sunderland - Mignolet, Brown, Larsson, Bendtner
Swansea - Vorm, Williams, Rangel, N Taylor, Sinclair, Dyer, Graham
Tottenham - Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Bale, Adebayor
West Brom - Shorey, McAuley, Brunt, Odemwingie, Long
Wigan - Al-Habsi, Figueroa, Watson, Moses, Di Santo
Wolves - Hennessey, Ward, Berra, Jarvis, Hunt, O'Hara, Fletcher, Doyle

99 players isn't too bad, and we're already in a better situation than Jay-Z (zing!). That said, there are plenty of the above group who you wouldn't be thrilled to own at the moment and are clinging on to fantasy relevance by the slimmest of margins (or in some cases, write bias, ahem, Victor Moses, ahem). I will track this list each week and you will be able to find the latest player pool by clicking on the new tab at the top of the page. If there's anyone you feel deserves recognition, post ideas below or @plfantasy.


RossWB said...


Who do you like more going forward, Adebayor or van der Vaart?

Gummi at said...

That's a great idea. Keeping a pool of players is something many of us do, if only in our mind.

It would be interesting exercise to quantify the pool, e.g. a minimum amount of points the last 3 - 5 Gameweeks, price per points, etc.

Why O'Hara and Hunt still? I would argue, based on current form and historical data, that they fall in the same category as Petrov (Villa), Elmohamady, and Song; almost worth considering.

I would add Ramiers to the list for a player to watch. If his forward runs keep producing he could be a steal at around 7.

guinness416 said...

And Baines. I know you think he's too expensive to give you a balanced team (and I don't have him either) but so is Lamps. Baines has the potential to have a couple of 13 point weeks in a row, and he'll outscore many of the people on that list.

Also: five Wigan players?!

Chris Glover said...

Ross - that's a tough one. Ade is obviously cheaper but I do like VdV's potential as a differentiator among high price mids. The problem is that I'm not sure I'm willing to elevate him above Silva, Nani or Young yet which makes it tough to select him. Ade on the other hand has some values that put him ahead of other forwards (guaranteed minutes) and so he looks more attractive at first glance. Most teams are going to go with a combo of Rooney, Aguero, Nani/Young and Silva/Nasri which leaves little cash for anyone. You'll need to decide which of those is the easiest to part with (I'm not sure where I lie in that argument yet).

Gummi - O'Hara and Hunt are still around based on underlying data (shots on goal, key passes etc) rather than fantasy production. This makes them borderline options but options nonetheless. You're right though, they are right on the edge of dropping out of the pool.
I thought about Ramires, but the data suggests a player who has enjoyed some good fortune in capitalising on his chances, with little evidence that he will continue to finish with such accuracy. I could well be underrating him, and he could be on the list soon, I just feel 7.0m is a bit steep for what is essentially Essien 2.0.

Guinness - the pool takes into account value rather than pure points. I have no doubt Baines will outscore a lot of players on the list but at double the price of some of the defenders on offer, I don't think his return will justify the price tag.

Wigan provide a decent number of options, though I agree that Moses needs to deliver soon or face being removed from the list. I like Al-Habsi as while Wigan aren't a great defense, they get a few clean sheets and his high save totals often turn a 2 point week into a 4 pointer. I wouldn't of course suggest owning 3 Wigan players, but I think they all justify at least consideration.

Thanks for the comments, keep 'em coming

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Thank you Chris for such an excellent Blog! I would like to know what you think about my teams depth. I like this team as my base up until week 20 free wildcard...

Vorm, Al-Habsi
Kompany, Shawcross, Enrique, Distin, Brown
Silva, Nani, Mata, Ramsey, Petrov
Suarez, Adebayor, Agbonlahor

My main concerns are:

- I can see some difficult fixtures on the same week for both SW & WI making it hard to efficiently rotate. Vorm seems to be a great bet for home games but I don't trust him for away games, I am also scared of any rough patches. The same goes for Al-Habsi but I am relying on his saves score potential more than anything. Who would you start on away matches when the fixture difficulty looks similar?
- What other options would you suggest?

- I have my doubts about Sunderland’s defense but Brown fits well in my rotation system, would you consider Newcastle’s Simpson instead?
- What do you think about Distin? Cash ran out and could not afford Jagielka, I really like Everton for future fixtures in a defensive way.

- Nani or Young, Silva or Nasri….both of these are tough ones but I have followed your advice.
- Of the following which 2 do you think gel better for rotation: Petrov/Ramsey/Murphy/Larsson. Petrov delivered against a brutal opening schedule and I want to bet on him for Bolton’s fairer remaining fixtures until week 20. Ramsey gives me enough Arsenal coverage for what they are doing right now. Fulham have a tough schedule but seem to play better against tougher opposition making Murphy interesting. Sunderland are not a team to have 2 players from, I would have to get rid of Brown to accommodate Larsson.
- I like Bale/Cahill/Arteta/Dempsey for any contingency plans, in what order do you rate them?

- Agbonlahor seems good until week 14 then Aston Villa’s fixtures get tougher. Do you foresee any better option at this price range or lower?
- I am considering Adebayor and Suarez my poor man’s version of Rooney and Aguero. Man City and Man U have plenty of excellent midfield players to cover the lost ground for not having Rooney & Aguero. Whereas Tottenham have VDV (rotation risk), Bale (not delivering), Modric (interesting) and Liverpool have Adam (rotation risk). Having quality and a little bit of everything from top teams is the big picture here. No Rooney or Aguero does stresses me though…. Do you think the depth I am trying to have in my team is worth sacrificing the two most owned players?

And finally....which teams do you consider are worth having 3 or 2 players from for the mid-long term let’s say up to week 20? If you could post a list with all 20 teams and how many players you think are worth having it would be great!

Your contribution is greatly appreciated, thanks again!

Tony S said...

Hi Chris, Its interesting that you talk about a balanced team bocs so many people are very top heavy. I'm behind in my leagues but basically everybody has some version of the same team i.e Rooney, Aguero and Silva so I've decided to dump the big 2 and load up elsewhere. I've gone with Agbon, Ade and Sturrige up front. Which gives me a mid of Young, Mata, VDV, Nasri and Ramsey. Def of Komp, Bosing, Enriq, Simp and Woodgate with Given/Vorm. The front 2 have some tough fixtures coming up in both the league and CL, Do you think people are underestimating the rotation risk of the big 2 front men? I think they may be rested for some easier league fixtures or is wishful thinking on my behalf to justify my decision? I think Rooney/Aguero could be used more for CL after GW8. How much game time do you see them getting over the next 6 weeks?

EB Christen said...

Luiz for Chelsea strikes me as deserving to make this list. Did you not include him because you think the approach will be Champions League for him, rather than Premier League consistency? Luiz had favourable numbers last season, both in terms of clean sheets and offensive contributions. Thoughts?

Steve said...

Chris, what about Kyle Walker?

He seems a decent buy especially anytime now, due to Spurs' very nice fixture run.

Fantasy Premier League Hints said...

Stoke City's Rob Huth should be added on that list. Whilst he may not have racked up many points this season, he is an agile defender that crucially can score goals from time-to-time. Feel free to consult for further information.

Gummi at said...

@Chris: Thanks for the comment on O'Hara and Hunt. Perhaps, when looking at the stats, they should warrant considering.

Good comment on Ramires. I hadn't looked at any data for him, so he could well be on a lucky streak.