Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gameweek 14 Reader Questions

WARNING: The below was written at 2am in a post-football coma, fuelled by Pepsi Max and Gatorade. I therefore apologise for any typos or nonsense but I wanted to get this out before the folks in the UK set their lineups.

How do you rate Joe Allen of swansea? Looking for a replacement for Bannan.

Allen has proven to be a decent goal threat this year with a couple of goals already, though I would be somewhat concerned that they have come off just 5 shots on target (9 in total) - a rate which on average looks unsustainable. He also hasn't provided a great deal of creativity though does again have a couple of assists to his name. I like his ability to contribute across three categories, which has helped him avoid too many 2 pointers since earning a starting spot in the first team.

However, it's his teammate Mark Gower who excites me the most in that ~4.5m range. One a per game basis, Gower's 2.7 key passes leads all midfielders, not in his price bracket, but the entire league. He doesn't bring a great goal threat, though his 5 shots in 8 games aren't significantly worse than his peers, who can't bring anywhere near the level of creativity Gower does. On the downside, bonus points have been fairly strongly correlated to goals so he's unlikely to rack up big numbers in that category. I like Gower to earn more points over the course of the season, though it's probably fairly close. A bonus point to consider though is that Gower's production is likely to be more consistent (based on semi-consistent assists) so if you plan on playing him sporadically, that makes it more likely to get some returns when he's called into action.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention Moses. He finally got on the board this week with an assist but it's his goal potential that continues to attract me. His 24 attempts for the year are the most for any player without a goal and if he keeps buying tickets at this rate, it is surely only a matter of time before one goes in.

Is it time to drop Aguero?

I'm not there yet, but he has certainly lost some ground of late. Rather than me spouting nonsense, let's look at the stats for the year:

First thing to note is how awesome Fantasy Football Scout's ICT index is. It tracks the points scored for the season pretty well despite being based on football data like shots, key passes etc. I would very much recommend becoming a member to access to this data. The second point is how far Aguero has fallen of late. Aside from his nice GW12, the past 7 weeks have been highlighted by a benching, a couple of dud appearances, a goal and an assist. However, we can see that his returns over these past weeks are tracking below his ICT index, which is backed up by his consistent attempts on goal over the past few weeks. His opening season form was never going to be sustainable, but equally he now seems to be getting a little unlucky. If you look at City's projected goals (particularly when based purely on current year data) you see a goal machine in which Aguero is an important cog. The only players who can touch his ceiling are Van Persie and Rooney and with Rooney struggling much more than Aguero, I still recommend holding Aguero for at least another month.

Hi Chris. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the Spurs Holy Trinity of Bale, VDV, Ade. Who would you have, all 3?

I love Adebayor and the only reason I haven't found a place for him in my side is my belief that Van Persie and Aguero's ceilings are just too high to resist. I would probably concede that Adebayor will represent better value, but I'm not sure where in your team you're going to effectively use that extra cash. One emerging strategy would be to grab all three of those forwards and go extremely budget along your back line. Depending on your team value, you should be able to afford that trio along with one or two elite mids and then stuff your back line 4.5-5.0m defenders, allowing yourself the luxury of the excellently priced Jose Enrique (if you got in early). With City'd defense suddenly struggling there is certainly merit in this strategy, and indeed it's one I will explore in the next post on wildcard strategy. In a vacuum I still have behind Van Persie, Rooney and Aguero but there is a strong argument to made that he could be 4th on this list (Hernandez will run him close).

I love Van der Vaart and on a per game basis I would currently rank him second behind only the great David Silva among all mids. If you're sticking him in a team like the one mentioned above, his inability to stay fit becomes an issue as you're going to have to play a Moses, Gower or Dyer every time he tweaks a hamstring. If however, your first sub is someone like Walters or Murphy, you might have the squad flexibility to fit him in. I personally plan on giving him a few more weeks, chiefly due to my indifference towards the current form of the United pair or any other elite option, other than . . .

Gareth Bale could be a must own player. He can do everything: score goals, create, take set pieces and has the kind of game which is conducive to earning bonus points. He does however suffer from a bit on inconsistency. I don't see every Spurs game so it's tough to say whether this is an element of his game or just his fantasy production, but either way his feast or famine ways have continued this year. He does however compare well to Van der Vaart:

Van der Vaart
Pts >5
Pts <4

We can see that Bale fairs well in most categories but, as expected, it's his bad games which really hurt him. It might not be hyperbole to suggest that Silva won't accrue 7 bad games until well into the February. It's that inconsistency (and thus the need to play him every week to avoid missing out on a big week) which puts him below his teammates here, though I maintain that Bale is very much an ownable player for the year and a great option if you're dead set on loading up on forwards and can't quite fit Van der Vaart in.

Would I go with all three? I've nothing against that strategy other than the implication of the fact that that would mean probably owning only a single City outfielder or not holding Van Persie, which looks like a risky strategy at this point.

I am considering a bold Modric for Lennon swap although have the funds to bring in either Bale or vdV what sayeth you?

While he's certainly a good player, I've not seen enough from Lennon in terms of production or underlying stats to suggest he's ownable at the moment. I agree with the move to sell Modric, who is an excellent player but not one whose immense talents translate well to fantasy points. As noted above, in terms of pure points I still like Van der Vaart but 1.6m is a decent chunk of cash so if you could use that money well I would have no problem in taking Bale instead. If you need to make the move this week then Bale would make more sense as he should shred whoever lines up for Bolton at right back this week.

Big fan of your blog! I am looking to ship out Bendtner... whom should I pick between Yakubu, Hoilett, Long, Klasnic, Graham or Doyle?

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. I've been a fan all year and I've not really seen much to turn me away from Danny Graham. He does have a slight achilles injury so isn't a great pickup for this week but long term I like the value he delivers over the others in this group, who all look fairly comparable on paper. I might actually throw another name into the hat for my second pick with Steve Morison catching the eye at Norwich thanks to him tremendous underlying stats (his 25 attempts on goal rank 8th among all forwards, with everyone above him costing 8.5m+).

Chris - where would you rank Adebayor as a captain choice this week? Behind/on par/ahead of RVP?

He's right there but I like Van Persie just because of his consistency. I would have no problem with anyone going for the red hot Ade though who probably has a better fixture given he is at home.

Has Ramsey flopped the show 1 too many times to be considered an asset at this point? With RVP for Arsenal cover would someone like Walters or Larsson make more sense? Which of these 3 ( feel free to ade any others) do you see scooping the most points over the next 5-6 GWs?

I still believe in Ramsey and I thought he took up some nice positions against Fulham. Given that he comes at the same price as the likes of Walters, Larsson and Murphy I think he still deserves consideration though I would understand if anyone bailed on him. Stoke look like they're going to struggle with the upcoming fixtures while I'd be nervous about bringing in too many Sunderland players until we know who will takeover and how they will get the team to play. You should certainly consider options to bring in for Ramsey though I don't think many of the available options are definitely better so I might just either stay put or downgrade to a cheaper option and use the extra cash elsewhere.

Tungsten For The Chosen One
With Bruce Shown the door, what fate lies to The Black Cats lineup? Are their fantasy assets worth holding? ie Bendy, Larsson, Sess

I wasn't crazy about the Sunderland players before Bruce's departure and I'm even less enthusiastic now. I was interested in Sessegnon who stands to lose the most as the new manager might push him deeper into a midfield role. I would be targeting selling Bendtner anyway but I guess the other two remain ownable given the lack of ~6.0m midfielders noted above. I certainly wouldn't be buying anyone though.

Personally, I don't like having RvP as captain. Most in my league will have him as captain so I'd rather take a gamble on another striker to make up some points.

It's a fair point and one I will tackle in a future wildcard post regarding differentiation. My philosophy (at least until the final stretch of the season) is to pick the players you think will score the most points and not pay too much attention to who owns who. Sure, if you like two players around the same amount and one is significantly less held, it is advisable to try and be different but I wouldn't let that thinking preclude you from captaining the form player in the league right now.

Thank you chris for another great article!
I have a few questions.
1) Do you think that for the upcoming game week it would be a better move to replace VdV with someone like Bale (or someone like him if you have a better suggestion) or to replace Aguero with Adebayor?
2) Is Sinclair worth the extra money over the other midfielders at Swansea like Dyer or Allen? which of them would you reccomend?
3) Also is Pilkington worth the extra cash over other mids at Norwich?

Thanks Raddz, I appreciate the feedback.
1) I like all four players your targeting but if you want to make a move it makes sense to make sure you get players on the field so moving Van der Vaart makes sense. I have faith in Aguero, though he does represent a small rotation risk this week, and you could certainly see City putting a couple past Norwich this week.
2) As noted above, I actually like Gower most in Swansea's midfield but Allen and even Dyer are options too. Sinclair brings the bonus of penalty duties but I don't believe the premium is worth it, especially given that Swansea players seem to be lending themselves to rotation assets rather than every week players.
3) I'm struggling to get a handle on this Norwich midfield, to the point where I'm not sure any of them represent good value. Hoolahan and Fox impressed early on and now Johnson and Pilkington have emerged as the better prospects. Based on the team's play and their individual stats, I don't believe any of these players has 6-10 goal potential and you're really hoping to just play the odds and benefit from the odd goal or assist when you bring them off the bench. So, while Pilkington probably is the better option, I only really like this group as 3rd sub potential and thus I'd stick with the 4.5m group (personally favouring Johnson thanks to his superior shots on goal data).

Gummi at
Considering Everton's upcoming fixtures would you consider Baines for the short term?
I'm actually looking for someone to spend money on, and he popped in my mind.
Does your analysis on attacking defenders still hold and would you consider Baines not worth it?

If he's ever going to pay off, it's now, given Everton's favorable fixtures. However, while I love his offensive ability, Everton just aren't keeping clean sheets (just two all year) and thus even a couple of assists for Baines will likely only ever amount to just another mundane clean sheet for a Jose Enrique or Mich Richards (who themselves have some attacking ability). If you have cash lying around literally doing nothing, the next 4 games are good enough that I would consider Baines and I guess if you're using your wildcard you could grab him now with the intention of ditching him in 4 or 5 weeks, but unless you fall into those two niches, I still find him too pricey for anything more than a one or two week loan.

Chris, I'm replacing Van der Vaart this gameweek. I have a few options in mind but haven't got quite around who to pursue.
I'm thinking of Mata. Do you think that's a good idea given Newcastle's form of late and Chelsea's depressing form? Or would you prefer Walcott from Arsenal with a good gameweek or somebody else that you might think be a really good one this gameweek?
Currently, my middies are Van der Vaart, Silva, Bale, Dyer and Faurlin. I welcome any other suggestions. Thanks.

Firstly, I really like your midfield with Dyer and Faurlin being a couple of underrated squad men who should deliver some value over the course of the season. My first choices to replace Van der Vaart would possibly have been Silva and Bale so we're clearly on the same page there. After that group you're left with the United wingers, Mata, Walcott or Adam. Chelsea have a decent run of games coming up and Mata seems to have aligned himself as the only reliable option in that Chelsea side (who may be in poor form but remain talented nonetheless). He is taking a lot of set pieces and is heavily involved in their play, which probably gives him an upside unmatched by the other options in this bracket.

United also have some decent fixtures but they're in worse goal scoring form than Chelsea. I am reluctant to buy either at the moment as while you want to buy low on assets, it isn't clear if their form has bottomed out yet.

I love Adam's consistency and ability to deliver points across all categories but he lacks the upside of the elite players in this group and doesn't carry the kind of goalscoring threat Mata or Young bring to the table. Liverpool's tricky games also lead me in another direction. Walcott is starting to show some of the consistency he has always lacked and I might be interested in a couple of weeks but for now, I am too reluctant to be sucked in again only for him to rattle off four 2-pointers in a row.

So it looks like Mata is the pick here, though I can't say I'm wholly confident in that assertion. I was excited to see the Spaniard in the Premier League but he has been good, but not great, to date. However, he is delivering decent returns without hitting top form and that proven form along with a dynamite upside makes him a worthy investment.

Thanks for all the questions this week - always a good, thought-provoking read to see the kind of things people are thinking about. If you post follow up comments below, I will try and get to them at work tomorrow (or my boss is reading, when I get home).


Gummi at said...

Thanks for the Baines analysis. I literally have had > £2.5 lying around for three Gameweeks (since I took the crazy decision of not going for RvP) so I guess I fall into the niche you speak of.

So, here's me going against your advice (kind of) for the second time since starting to read your blog (the other one being RvP this season, which didn't pan out too well for me).

Great post as always. Your blog remains the most insightful one in the niche.

Grounderz said...

Chris, thanks for the response. Love it.

vanilla said...

Chris, I have been thinking along the same lines as you about available value. it seems like the admins for the fantasy site have been too hasty with many of the player prices. I'm thinking of Leighton Baines, Stewart Downing, and anyone who was a bargain last season, such as Seamus Coleman (who was classified as a defender) or Clint Dempsey... both of whom are too expensive to consider, IMO. I think they goofed on pricing this season, and as a result, many of us own 80% the same players... this is especially true given the GW1 foul-up with their new interface. What say you?

stooshermadness said...

Vanilla - terrific point. Another example - Charlie Adam. In midfield there is literally nobody aside from Bale (maybe Adam) between, say 9.0 and 6.5ish (Walters, Larsson)who is ownable.
Makes you wonder if those few high priced defenders who are attacking threats/clean sheet/bonus point guys (specifically Baines, Vidic, Vermaelen)aren't okay value if conceptually you think of them as midfielders and drop a mid and add a defender to accomodate them in your formation. If Baines and Vidic, for example, go on to score 150+ points this year, does it matter if they are classified as defenders if you can't find equivalent points from a midfielder at that price ?

vanilla said...

Stooshermadness, I really agree. I am constantly planning my weekly transfers about 3 weeks out, arranging by anticipated price changes and schedules (difficult since it's not a vacuum). My Vermaelen swoop was accelerated this week, and I think I'm with you on the logic. He's like a wing player at times; reminds me of Bosingwa 2 seasons ago or Glen Johnson in his Portsmouth days, the way he gets forward and causes trouble. I think maybe the secret this season could be in budgeting up front in order to spend at the back!
(I'm on RVP/Ba/Adebayor + Jones/Enrique/Vermaelen/Monk/SwanseaTaylor)
... nobody's keeping consistent clean sheets, so it's worth a shot.

vanilla said...

Another appeal of high-price and offense-minded defenders is that they tend to play the entire match.

corduroyboy said...

hey chris, i'm looking to replace lampard with another midfielder to join bale and nani.

silva is the man i first thought of but city have tricky fixtures ahead. mata is another obvious choice but not sure i fancy buying into a tricky chelsea-city fixture this week. thought of adam, who has some nicer upcoming fixtures, but liverpool played poorly on monday and aren't scoring too well. finally there's the arsenal mids - walcott and arteta, not sure who i'd go with here. who do you reckon i should go with?