Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Long List: Under Owned Players

Following on from the earlier list of over owned players, here are a few players who still seem to be underrated, whether based on their production to date, underlying stats, or simply that they deliver better value than a comparable peer.

Gabbidon (4%) - This is partly a symptom of Gabiddon's injury, but he is back entrenched in the first team now and should really be the highest owned QPR defender. Granted, the team shipped 6 goals in the past 2 weeks but they were at Spurs and against City so I wouldn't read too much into that. Gabiddon presents a great opportunity for Ferdinand (7%) and Young (2%) owners to save a bit of cash without losing much, if any, production.

McAuley (1%) - I wasn't 100% sure McAuley would lock down a place in this lineup on a weekly basis but he's done just that and has played every minute since GW6. West Brom have been a better defensive unit this year than last and while McAuley probably wouldn't warrant consideration every week, he is one of a handful of 4.0m players to be getting guaranteed minutes, and that kind of production cannot be ignored. I'd still rank him below Simpson and N Taylor but if the fixtures are right or if you already own, say, S Taylor and Vorm and need to spread your defense a bit, McAuley is a nice differentiating option along the back line.

Jose Enrique (33%) - He's the second most owned defender yet he still makes this list of under owned players. That might sound perverse but the point is to emphasize how potentially valuable Jose Enrique is. Liverpool have recorded 4 clean sheets this year, and have only conceded more than a single goal on once occasion (GW5 @ Tot). If they can start to be a bit more ruthless, this unit could quickly turn into one of the top couple of defensive sides around. Consider that you can still not only get access to that unit for 5.6m, but also that you are getting the better offensive force on that back line, and Enrique's value becomes evident. His 18 key passes far eclipse any defender other than Baines and only Richards has more assists to his name this term. 'Must own' is an overused term in fantasy circles but Jose Enrique's value and ceiling push him very close to that heralded category.

N Taylor (7%) - We discussed a couple of weeks back the merits of the promoted sides, all of whom have provided fantasy value in various forms this year. The Swansea defense may be the pick of the bunch here. This week's clean sheet an Anfield gave us three indicators that this side is legit and should be able to continue having defensive success as the season goes on. One, they were playing a good side. Two, they were away from home (their first 4 clean sheets all came and home). And three, they were able to hold possession for long periods of the game (55% overall) and didn't resort to simply throwing men behind the ball and trying to hold on for dear life. The team seems to understand how games (and points) are won and lost in the Premier league already. The science behind liking Taylor here is simple: he is the cheapest player on the back line (at least until we are certain whether Caulker or Monk will play every week). Rangel has impressed going forward but an 8 to 5 key pass advantage does not really warrant the extra 0.4m you need to get him. That said, Rangel (1%) should probably be on this list too, though I wouldn't go so far as to own both (especially given that Vorm is looking like a stud choice between the sticks).

Dempsey (6%) - Every year he's underrated and yet he always seems to deliver. I was spooked at the start of the season by how deep he was playing with Zamora, Johnson, Dembele and now Ruiz giving Fulham a decent stable of forwards from which to select their front pair. Fear not though, Dempsey hasn't missed a beat and finds himself 5th among midfielders in points having added 3 goals, 3 assists and 3 bonus points. His lack of ownership may be because of the 'stars and scrubs' mentality most people seem to be adapting this year but as the Christmas period arrives (and players start to get rotated) there is some logic (which needs exploring further) to hold players like Bale and Dempsey rather than Nani and Silva as they are less likely to be dropped given the comparative depth of their teams. I'm not ready to put Dempsey in the top class just yet, but at 2.0m less than that group, how you could spend that money at least deserves some consideration.

Arteta (5%) - Arteta's ownership went up almost 100,000 when he was sold to Arsenal and continued to rise through GW6 but has been falling ever since. Back to back productive games, and a glowing review from Wenger suggest that the Spaniard is starting to find his feet at the Emirates, which coincides with Arsenal's return to form (4 wins in a row and 13 goals scored). At 8.1m he is in the same category as Dempsey and could well be suffering from the same problems that managers don't put him in the elite group but can't afford to hold him as their 3rd, 4th or 5th midfielder. Arsenal's good run of fixtures continues for the foreseeable future and there's a good argument to be made that Arteta should benefit from many of the opportunities afforded to Fabregas, which helped him become a fantasy force. Of course, he isn't quite on the same level as Fabregas, but for fantasy purposes a player can be helped by his surroundings and few players find themselves in a better situation than Arteta.

Lampard (4%) - Honestly, I wouldn't buy Lampard as the upside of the front men this year is too high. I feel you need to own two from Aguero, Van Persie and Rooney, though there is an argument at least that the cheaper Dzeko should be in that group. However, it seems crazy to see the second highest scoring midfielder is owned by just 4% of players, especially given Lampard's history of delivering year after year. Yes, his price tag is high, but with it he brings a goal scoring record matched by few forwards, never mind midfielders, and set piece duties for a good side which can rescue poor games with a goal or assist from nowhere. If you're out in front in your leagues then I see little reason to ditch the elite front man strategy (all of whom have outscored Lampard), anytime soon, but, if you find yourself in a hole, you're not going to get out of it by playing Silva (44%), Aguero (34%) and Rooney (37%) so you need to take a risk somewhere. 6 of Chelsea's next 10 games come at home, with the road trips including Wigan and Wolves. Anyone planning on using their wildcard soon might consider taking a run with Lampard, before swapping back to a more conventional Silva/Rooney type combo with their second wildcard, in time for the rotation-risk-reduced period in February and beyond.

O'Hara (2%) - On paper, and looking at the underlying stats, O'Hara is a total stud who should be owned by a large portion of managers. He ranks 4th in key passes and 2nd in goal attempts, helping him to a 3rd place ranking in Fantasy Football Scout's ICT index (which essentially measures a player's threat to score fantasy points). Until the last couple of weeks however, O'Hara has not been able to convert these shots/passes into points and his production has been largely disappointing. I would normally caution against chasing points from players coming off a big week, but with O'Hara, he has the stats to back it up and big games could be more the rule rather than exception if he continues to play like he is. The return to fitness of Doyle and Fletcher will also help his cause, making him one of the most intriguing options around. As a final bonus, his price is yet to rise after his big GW11 meaning that anyone who gets in at the ground level should see their investment steadily rise over the coming weeks, from a reasonable starting spot of 5.7m.

Van Persie (22%) - it's hard to find any forwards on this list, as it's hard to argue against everyone owning Aguero and Rooney, both of whom have been money in the bank this year. However, while I don't doubt the strategy, at the moment Van Persie is clearly a better option than Rooney. Past production alone would not lead to such a claim but with Rooney pushed into a deep position, it is worth using a transfer to get away from that situation immediately, even if it is only for a short period. In truth, the time to move was a few weeks ago when Rooney missed the Stoke game, but even now, with Arsenal's fixtures, Van Persie looks like the safer option yet enjoys as high of a ceiling as anyone in the league. I wouldn't move mountains or pay points to make the move as I would imagine Rooney will be back up front soon, but if you have the spare cash and a free transfer, Van Persie looks like the man to own for the next few weeks.


chemikills said...

Addition suggestions:

Assou-Ekotto not underowned? considering his price and team I'd say he deserves to be a bit higher up there ;)

Hibbert, 4.3 @ 0.3% is very under owned considering future fixtures imo. Everton have conceded the 2nd least shots overall and at home and a relatively high percentage conceded are outside the box. Good defensive unit imo and Hibbert supplies crosses like Baines (earlier he was out-crossing Baines, no longer the case I believe)

Jenkinson 5.5 @ 0.1%, he's on the last page with only 20 other defenders less owned than him. That's massively under owned considering his foreseeable future in RB for Arsenal and there easy fixtures providing great chances for CS

Milner not underowned? 4 points short of 5th place in midfield and looks like he's preferred to Nasri as a first team choice atm

Walcott @ 2.8% seems pretty underowned considering mid-long term fixtures and his shot stats are very reasonable

Bendtner 6.2 @ 1.4% seems like an underowned forward to me, great performances so far and great fixtures leading up to the next WC

Hoilett 6.0 @ 0.7% seems pretty underowned and once again good upcoming fixtures

Morison 4.9 @ 0.8% seems very underowned for a performing forward in an attacking team

Helguson 5.2 @ 0.2% also very underowned considering his recent addition to the team leading to 3 goals in 4 games


Arteta - He is not in Fabregas' role, he is in Wilshire's role. Ramsey is playing in Fabregas' role and I think he has a much bigger upside than Arteta

"The return to fitness of Doyle and Fletcher will also help his cause" <-- Perhaps not, he scored his goals whilst playing as a support striker for Doyle as Fletcher was out. He was still shooting well when playing with Fletcher but I think that SS is better than CMF :)

Please feel free to add any of my suggestions if you agree would be good to see some of them up there ;)

Chris Glover said...

Thanks for the comments chemikills. I've posted some thoughts on Arteta vs Ramsey, but all your suggestions are sound. Assou Ekotto could have made the list, indeed I just signed him myself but I had to make the cut somewhere and he lost out from making the top handful.

Hibbert certainly good be good value but I just don't trust Everton at the moment and I need to see them tighten up before I invest. Crosses etc are good but they don't make up for only 1 clean sheet all year.

Jenkinson would be on but at 5.5m I just don't see him as particularly good value. Granted he's better value than his teammates but you can almost get Enrique, Kompany and Richards for that price, all of whom I have in another class to any Arsenal player. That said, they have looked better with Vermaelen in the side so perhaps that will change in the future.

I didn't rate Milner for the same reason I'm down on Yaya - I just don't see him as one of the top 3 City players to own. I think you have to own at least one defender and one from Dzeko/Aguero and that leaves one midfield spot. I'm taking Silva anyday there.

Walcott drives me crazy but you're right, his shot stats are excellent - much better than I thought. I might move him onto the watchlist this week.

Bendtner could have been on here but everyone seems to be talking him up (at least over at FFS anyway) so I decided to go in another direction. As I said, with the 3 elite forwards, you're really picking just one cheap player to accompany them this year and I think I'd still prefer to go cheaper with a Graham type than a mid level option like Bendtner.

Same goes for Hoilett.

I didn't consider Morison or Helguson, but you're right that both have merits. I will try and spin that into another post on budget forwards to accompany everyone's RVP/Rooney/Aguero combo.

Thanks for the ideas!

Gummi at said...

Some players I felt you missed that @chemikills didn't add:

Klasnic (5.8) at 4.5%: Controversial, but he has amazing statistics. He has failed to deliver in only one game he has started. The teams he has scored against include (Man City, Liverpool (away), and Stoke). He is 10th in PPG for forwards. If you exclude the two games he came on as a substitute after his red card his PPG goes to 7 and he jumps to fifth, following only Dzeko, RvP, Aguero, and Rooney. He could be a secret weapon this term.

Sessegnon: I would put him in the under-owned bracket based on the upcoming fixtures for Sunderland.

Drenthe: Same as Sessegnon.

Graham: Likely a consequence of the effectiveness of the elite strikers, but after scoring in four games in a row, priced at 4.9, it's weird that he is only in 3.2% of all teams. He fits well into the strategy of getting Lampard in.