Friday, April 27, 2012

Gameweek 36 Captain Data

P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories.

We discussed some transfer targets yesterday so take a quick look over there if you're still unsure on who you want to bring in this week. A couple of readers noted that I neglected to mention the upcoming FA Cup final, which is a fair point, though it's something which doesn't have a huge impact on the week. If you own Liverpool or Chelsea players you're going to play them regardless, on the assumption that they will get at least 90 minutes, and I'm not sure any of them are great transfer targets anyway, with perhaps the exception of Mata who I highlighted in yesterday's piece. The cup final probably puts a slight knock against him but I'd still take what is likely going to be full game against QPR at home and then a chance at decent minutes against Newcastle (a must win game, by the way) than stick with someone with just a single game.

I've talked about Cisse at length over the past couple of weeks so I won't dwell on it again here. The situation is fairly simple: he can't continue to score goals at his current rate, based on the number of chances he is getting, but when the regression comes is less clear. I understand the idea behind riding a hot streak, even if I'm not sure it's rooted in fact, and without too many other great options this, he makes a very solid play. Just be sure to understand the risks too.

Without the recent injury and possible dressing room unrest, I would have comfortably handed Adebayor the arm band this week but now the situation is a tricky one for fantasy managers. If he's healthy I think he plays as Redknapp can't afford to let egos get in the way of their chase for Champions League football. That, of course, is a big 'if' with Physio Room suggesting he will be fit, while the officials are less clear giving him only a 50% chance. I think you have to go with Cisse over him unless we get clearer evidence that he faces Blackburn on Sunday, though I still like Adebayor over some of the more established captain picks like Rooney, Van Persie or Aguero, providing that is, we don't get any more negative news. 

For the double gameweekers you should probably put more emphasis on the xPct column as this is only data which accounts for the extra expected goals scored by a player's team. That leads you to players like Gareth Bale, Frank Lampard and, I suppose, Jermaine Defoe though I wouldn't touch the latter given the uncertainty around who'll play up top for Spurs. I would look at Lampard if was playing my wildcard or had two free transfers to spare but otherwise he still doesn't represent great upside for his price tag. I like Bale more than the stats given his excellent underlying numbers (not reflected in the formula) and probably like him the most among midfielders this week. 

While Rooney has enjoyed success in the Manchester derby before, the odds aren't in his favor and I wouldn't consider him a captain pick this week. Of the non-double gameweekers I would likely look towards Van Persie, despite his blip in production of late, though again he doesn't look like an outstanding play. A few managers have floated the idea of ditching Rooney or van Persie in favour of one of the double gameweekers this week, but take quick look at the upcoming rankings before doing so:

Cisse comes out on top over the remaining three gameweeks but van Persie is tied for the final two gameweeks, which when you consider the regression we are suggesting Cisse is due, suggests that bailing on the Dutchman for the Newcastle hit-man is premature. If you believe van Persie has really taken a step back and Cisse can out shoot Leo Messi, make the move, but if you believe in the regression argument then van Persie remains the better option for GW37 and 38 and thus some caution should be exercised. 

As for Rooney, that is a close call as he faces a tough game in GW38 which dampens our expectations a bit. Statistically the pick is therefore Cisse, though some realism has to be baked into our expectations and the chance of a Sunderland side with nothing to play for keeping United out if they need a win to clinch the title looks slim. 

I know some readers think I am too conservative with this kind of move, and honestly, my approach will almost certainly prevent you from winning the whole game (to do you need to take gambles and be first to market numerous times). If however, you're happy to go with a somewhat conservative, but rational approach, I am much more comfortable using Cisse as a third forward alongside the elite pair and looking to gain ground on your competition elsewhere in your team (perhaps double down on Everton defenders or nab Juan Mata etc). 

Let's wrap this up then before I get further off track. I will make an extra effort to get on to answer reader questions this week as I'm sure the majority of us have bigger issues to deal with, rather than the normal Vorm v Mignolet toss up.  For Twitter fans, the @plfantasy handle is now free of other non-fantasy nonsense so if my baseball ramblings have turned anyone off, come on back!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gameweek 36 Preview

Needless to say, this week is dominated by the double gameweeks, though I don't think they will all produce the bounty of points some expect. I am going to avoid dwelling on the obvious matchups as, for example, if you own Tony Hibbert you are obviously playing him, you won't consider captaining him and few will be considering transferring him in, so there isn't really a decision to be made there. Instead, I will focus on the top end of the market, which is where you will want to direct your transfer attention (captain picks will follow later or tomorrow) and at the bottom end of the market, where I will try and highlight some DGWs which aren't perhaps as good as they seem and aren't worth the cost to get access to them.

Top Shelf matchups (transfer targets)
Chelsea and Tottenham midfielders - these are by far the best fixtures for the week, and probably the only group I would consider paying 4 points for. Chelsea get two home games, though one tough opponent, while Spurs face two easier opponents but have to go on the road for one of the games. Both teams need to win if they hope to nab 4th spot, though some concern must at least be voiced over Chelsea's mental state after their triumph at the Nou Camp and hence the Champions League final lurking in the distance.

The conversation with these two teams needs to start with their elite midfield options with both Gareth Bale and Juan Mata making a lot of sense this week. If you find the Opta data to be persuasive, you're going to want to go with the former, who has inexplicably failed to find the net for 10 gameweeks despite taking 31 shots with 11 of them hitting the target. Over that same period Sigurdsson and Cisse have each hit the target 16 times, scoring 7 and 11 goals in the process. Now, we can talk about the quality of shots being taken, composure in front of goal etc all you want, but those totals for Bale simply aren't sustainable and if he continues to get into good positions, he is more likely than not to find the back of the net.

Mata has had an odd fantasy campaign, quietly racking up an impressive 145 points in his debut season, though never really capturing the imagination of managers with his ownership numbers being depressed all year. The appearances off the bench concern me, as does do his shot totals over the past handful of appearances, though at this stage of the season you're looking for upside and his four double digit gameweeks illustrate his credentials. The only appeal I see with Frank Lampard are his penalty duties and that isn't enough for me to part with 11m.

Van der Vaart is obviously startable this week too, but I have some concerns over his ability to start (and complete) two games in a week, plus of course his production has taken a steep decline in the second half of the year. I'd be willing to own him, but this is one case where I feel the stats overvalue him a touch and you need to exercise some caution before jumping on board.

Newcastle forwards - I've been saying for a few weeks that Cisse will surely be tackled by the regression monster at some point, but he keeps defying the odds and now has 11 goals from just 16 shots on target. As shown above, Newcastle's fixtures are good rather than great this week as they face two sides who have improved over the past month or so and very much have something left to play for. Cisse will figure prominently in this week's captain discussion, but for now we're focused on whether or not to bring him in. If you believe he can continue to score at his current rate, the answer is of course 'yes' as neither opponent this week are stout enough to totally cut off his supply of chances. However, if you factor in some regression along with his exploding ownership numbers, I am less inclined to put a stamp of approval on him. In a vacuum he makes a good transfer target, and a lack of other options might lead you to that conclusion, but again, I'm not sure I'd be paying 4 points for the privilege.

Demba Ba has actually registered just one shot less than Cisse over the last 10 games, but has only a single goal to show for it. Given his lower price tag he remains a budget option, though despite my concerns over Cisse's ability to convert shots at his current clip, he does look like the better option for the next couple of gameweeks given the way Ba has been pushed onto the flanks on occasion of late.

Verdict: Bale and Cisse look like the only elite options to me, though even with them I'm not sure I would be paying 4 points to bring them in, unless of course you're current starter is set to rack up zero points.

Good options, but be careful

Emmanuel Adebayor was all teed up to be my number one pick this week, so much so that I jumped in early last week to also take advantage of the 'easy' trip to QPR. I didn't however account for the apparent dressing room unrest/ 'hamstring' injury which kept Adebayor out and resigned Spurs to another miserable performance. How to treat Adebayor this week now looks tricky and you have to conclude that you can't be in a position to transfer him in with such uncertainty in the air.

Nikica Jelavic has been receiving plenty of attention over the past few weeks, but I fear he may be being overrated a touch coming into the double gameweek. A trip to Stoke is a tricky game at the best of times, and with little to play for, I'm not sure Everton will be ready for a potential battle that awaits them. Jelavic has scored with 5 of his 8 shots on target over his last 6 appearances, form which - like Cisse above - looks a touch unsustainable. He's a good play for the week for sure, and if you're looking for a 3 gameweek option his remaining fixtures are also reasonable, but I don't see him a slam dunk pick and would hesitate before using my valuable transfer on him with the other options available above.

Liverpool and Fulham midfielders / forwards - two games are obviously nice but Fulham don't travel well at all while Liverpool can't be counted on for anything at the moment. Go ahead and start the likes of Dempsey and Suarez but they shouldn't be transfer targets.

All defensive matchups - I wouldn't bet money on any of the double gameweek defensive options to rack up one, never mind a couple of clean sheets, thus they are unlikely to represent good transfer targets. The two exceptions I might make would be if (a) your current starter is injured/suspended and you've no depth to back him up or (b) your only options are from City/United and you are confident that they will accrue, at most, a single point (ie concede 2 or more goals). In that scenario, you only need your replacement to play twice to almost break even with any clean sheets/assists/goals being pure profit.

In that scenario, the choice looks to be between Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea or Spurs, who have varying combinations of good/mediocre fixtures. I might actually lean towards the cheapest of the bunch, with Everton having two promising defensive fixtures including one (FUL H) which is about as good as it gets. I don't personally like any of this group enough to pay for them, but I would understand the move if you need a big finish in your league standings.

Don't force the issue
Bolton and Stoke players, along with Fulham and Newcastle defenders seem to disprove the theory that two heads are better than one. For a double gameweek in the middle of the season there could be some value here as you try and time the pickup with a run of good games, but with so few quality options on these teams it just doesn't make sense to waste a valuable transfer, or worse, 4 points, to bring someone like M Petrov or Etherington in. It's still likely that you play anyone in this group, but don't get carried away with the ceiling for a group of players who are essentially just replacement level. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gameweek 35 Captain Data

P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories.

It's an interesting choice this week, as for the first time in a while one of the previously 'elite' players (read: Van Persie and Rooney) are not the obvious pick per the stats. I still have some reservations of Cisse as a truly elite forward given the fact he is currently converting shots on target at an incredible rate. Some will argue 'form', others will suggest it's a small sample, and you'll find me largely in the latter camp. For comparison, Cisse is currently converting shots on target at a rate of one goal every 1.5 shots (10 goals on 15 shots). Leo Messi, perhaps the greatest player of all, enjoying one of the best seasons of all time, is converting them at a rate of 2.1 (65 goals on 139 shots). The natural response is that these are different players in different leagues but show me a player who can sustainably convert chances at this rate and I'll listen.

The above should not, however, be read as a pick against Cisse. He's been sensational for Newcastle in his brief time with the club and gets a great fixture this week as Newcastle welcome a Stoke side with little to play for and one that doesn't travel too well at the best of times. With next week's delicious double gameweek coming up, Cisse remains a solid pickup, though he is of course along way past being a differential option. That said, he currently ranks third in FFS captain poll, and that likely doesn't account for the thousands of average players who will likely roll with Van Persie or Rooney again this week. 

My plan all along was to bring in Bale and Adebayor for the double gameweek, but I must concede that I am revisiting those plans to consider fitting Cisse in. I'll likely stick with my original plan but the fact I am wavering towards a player who is a textbook regression candidate is a testament to his production.

If you share my reservations, or simply want to play it a bit safer you're probably looking at one of the elite forwards, now once again joined by Aguero after his brief flirtation with mediocrity. City have obviously looked great over the past couple of weeks and Aguero was at the centre of much of their success with 9 shots in those two fixtures. However, before last week, Aguero hadn't scored an away goal since GW9 and is averaging a worrying 4.7 P90 away from Eastlands. His obvious talent and production this year suggest he should always be in contention but I don't think I'm ready to go there based purely on two weeks' data and a good looking fixture. Chances are if you read this blog you probably don't own Aguero and thus the future fixture list also becomes an issue, with next week's Manchester derby looming large (not to mention a tricky trip to St James' Park). I see the logic here but I don't see enough to warrant the obvious downside.

So that leaves Rooney and Van Persie as the obvious picks and both look like solid plays for the week, even if the upside is possibly a bit limited compared to prior weeks. On first glance, Van Persie has taken a small step back these past few weeks but just a single goal (from the spot) in the past six gameweeks. However, over that period he still leads the league in total shots (19) and his 11 efforts on target can only be bested by Cisse (12). Without digging into a deeper analysis of the type of shots he's taking (perhaps he's forcing it a bit), it's fairly uncontroversial to suggest that his conversion rate picks up again at some point so if he can continue to get into good positions, the goals should return. Chelsea are a good defensive team which obviously hurts Van Persie this week, though you do wonder how much attention will still be on the upcoming trip to Camp Nou on Tuesday. 

Rooney didn't look great last week but still escaped with a couple of goals (one from the spot) and an inexplicable three bonus points (that so-called change in the system was a total waste of time). He still managed to get six shots off, and his data over the past 6 gameweeks suggests a player who continues to be dangerous every week. Everton have quietly enjoyed an excellent season and this fixture is actually pretty comparable with Arsenal welcoming Chelsea (Everton concede 1.2 versus Chelsea's 1.1 away from home). Rooney has been great at home and United obviously need a big performance here with City coming up next week (if that means anything). I don't put much stock in the 'former team' narrative (that's one to investigate over the off season) but considering everything else makes Rooney a very good pick again this week.

The other two names high on the list are a pair of midfielders who've been fantasy gold this year. Dempsey and Sigurdsson have both been generally great but both have fairly strong home/away splits with Dempsey dominating at home and Sigurdsson shining on the road. Both players have managed 10 shots on goal over the past 6 gameweeks, though Sigurdsson enjoys a substantial advantage in terms of assist potential with 12 key passes versus Dempsey's 5. Bolton aren't showing any dramatic improvements as the season winds down and are still susceptible to big home defeats against quality opposition. Sigurdsson is still only held by 7% of managers making him the best differential play of the week if you need to do something different.

Edit: A couple of readers pointed out that Carlos Tevez deserves some attention here, and they're absolutely right. His four goals and two assists in just a handful of minutes obviously represents an outstanding return, and his Premier League pedigree shows there is reason to believe he can simply slot back into the first team and pickup where he left of last year - as one of the best players in the league. As you may have gathered though, there is a 'but' coming.

In his two starts in GW33-34 he managed six total shots, four of which hit the target. All four of those shots were converted into goals. Yes, he's a potentially elite player, and yes, he has a good scoring track record in the Premier League, but as we noted above, that kind of conversion rate is just not sustainable. Neither West Brom away from home, nor Norwich at home have particularly good defenses so it isn't a given that Tevez will even get as many chances going forward to convert. Granted, he likely will this week, but then City face the Champions-elect and a tough trip to St James Park, essentially making Tevez a one week gamble (not to say he can't produce in the other games too, just that the odds won't be stacked in his favour). I issued a warning regarding small sample sizes for Cisse, who now has nine appearances under his belt, so you can imagine my hesitation to jump on a player who was an afterthought just a couple of weeks and has performed well in two games against mediocre opposition.

Tevez's strongest asset is his low ownership numbers (3%) and to get such upside from a player held by so few is indeed rare. I can certainly see a scenario where he is successful this week, but balancing that out against no double gameweek in GW36, tough games in GW36 and 37, a small chance that he doesn't even start this week and all the off-field drama that has affected him all season, I just don't see a 12m risk unless you absolutely need to gain 10s of points on your opponents immediately and they have the Rooney, van Persie and Cisse market cornered.

It's a tough choice to make this week and the logic behind Cisse looks solid. That said, I will likely stick with Van Persie who may be abandoned by a handful of managers following his "poor form" of late. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Double vision: A look ahead to Gameweek 36

CS Clean sheets kept at home/away based on this week's fixture Opp FTS Number of times this week's opponent has failed to score at home/away GPG Conceded Predicted goals conceded this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season Opp CS Clean sheets kept at home/away by a team's opponent GPG Scored Predicted goals scored this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season

So what does this mean for individual players? Let's look at how the data suggests the fantasy stars will do from here on in: Each bar represents the players' xPct over the final four gameweeks.

I won't get into particulars of captain picks etc now as that's something for next week, but the above will hopefully give some initial guidance when making any transfers this week. I'll add some of my thoughts tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gameweek 35 Preview

CS Clean sheets kept at home/away based on this week's fixture Opp FTS Number of times this week's opponent has failed to score at home/away GPG Conceded Predicted goals conceded this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season Opp CS Clean sheets kept at home/away by a team's opponent GPG Scored Predicted goals scored this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season

As important as getting your picks right this week will be how you setup your team for next week's double gameweeks. I'll post the data for next week later on, along with some thoughts on players to target, and then the regular captain picks will come through later in the week.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gameweek 34 Captain Data

P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories. 

These games are barely giving a humble blogger enough time to set his own team (I someone failed to 'confirm' my changes last week, resulting in Rooney getting the arm band over Van Persie), never mind look too far into the future. It's on that note I offer a lowly apology for the lack of attention for the upcoming double gameweeks. I hope to get something out early next week, but in the mean time our good friends at Fantasy Football Scout have you covered.

Onto this week then. What we lack in depth we gain in quality as both Van Persie and Rooney look like irresistible options this week. Indeed, there isn't too much analysis to add here. If you purely want to maximise your chance at points, it's tough to look beyond Van Persie. He leads or ties in every key metric other than P90, which Rooney edges by 0.4 points. Despite Wigan's result this week, I'd still suggest there is a gulf in quality between them and Villa, giving Van Persie the better fixture in terms of both likelihood of success and upside.  For all the hand wringing over McLeish's Villa side, they've only conceded more than two goals on three ocassions, and they were all against quality opponents (Arsenal, City and Chelsea). Wigan on the other hand have conceded three of more goals on no less than 10 occasions, though to be fair, not once since Jan 31.

Van Persie is picking up 58% of the votes in the FFS poll making Rooney a differentiator of sorts. I like that play much more than rolling the dice on a risky transfer so those looking to gain ground should really look at Rooney who is almost as good a play as Van Persie on paper but will surely attract far fewer captain votes.

If you're really desperate to gain ground then Valencia and Walcott look like a good pair of options, though I'm not sure this is the week to be getting cute with your captain pick. I'd prefer to stick with one of the elite options this week then take a chance on someone like Cisse next week, or even one of the double gameweekers (Miyaichi or an emerging Petrov look like the best picks there).

I start this post every week hoping to come up with a real hidden gem but of late it's been pretty boring stuff. Hopefully the data is at least giving you some clues as to how to pick between the elite pair, and it has generally been pretty reliable over the past weeks. Just how effective it is will be analysed after the season. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gameweek 34 Rankings

P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gameweek 33 Preview

P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories. 

Captain Rankings

P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gameweek 32 Captain Stats

P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this weekRating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories.

Well this is getting a bit boring. So much so that I doctored the minutes limit to 500 so Cisse would at least provide a talking point at the top of the rankings.

In truth, there is absolutely no way I would consider Cisse unless I was truly desperate to make up points and knew for a fact that my opponent was going with Van Persie or Rooney. Some of the gloss has come off of Swansea's excellent defensive reputation but they remain a good team at home and are rarely turned over for more than the odd goal. Is he a good play? Sure. But I can't recommend captaining him, no matter what his 'form' is.

The majority of factors favor Van Persie, who continues to account for an astounding percentage of his teams' goals and knock out quality game after quality game. The one (major) factor against him though is the fixture as City haven't conceded more than a single goal away from home for 6 gameweeks. There's a possibility that they will need to loosen the reins to try and get the win and thus could be exposed at the back, but however you cut it, this is a tricky game for the Gunners. Van Persie did of course score at home against both United and Spurs recently so we're not exactly down on him for the week, but the odds are certainly lower than they have been in other easier games of late.

Rooney's last 6 home fixtures have seen him notch scores of 6-13-13-6-1-12 with the 1 pointer coming in a rare appearance off the bench against Wigan. He faces a QPR side who are going in the wrong direction, shipping 10 goals in the last four road appearances. They're obviously fighting for their lives so won't roll over easily but I'm not sure they have the quality to match United, even if Ferguson rotates a couple of bodies with Wednesday's game in mind. 

It's that rotation which causes me to pause before underlining the Rooney pick, as he comes with a bigger risk of being rested given the apparent weakness of the opponent on Saturday. That said, there haven't been any indications from management that Rooney will sit and despite the busy Easter schedule, they don't have any other fronts to challenge on, and the potentially crucial Manchester derby is still weeks away so it would appear overly cautious to rest Rooney at this point.

Second favourite in the FFS captain poll is Antonio Valencia, which is an understandable position given his recent returns. However, picking him ahead of Rooney seems a touch reactive to me. It goes without saying that the winger is in form and his average over the past four gameweeks is outstanding (10.7, only trailing Cisse's 12.3). With that in mind, you can see the value behind picking Valencia but despite his tremendous form, his 8 week average still trails Van Persie and Rooney and is only a hair above Sigurdsson and Walcott. Key passes are fairly predictive of assists and Valencia is averaging three a game over the past 10 weeks, better than anyone but Luka Modric. The fact that 5 of his 21 key passes have been converted to goals tough, is a slight concern (the conversion rate noted earlier in the season was around 1 every 10) so we can probably expect some regression there, though you also need to factor in the quality of his crosses and the players he is passing to so I wouldn't suggest the slow down should necessarily be sharp.

I'm not sure how many readers play fantasy sports over at ESPN but those who do will be well aware of one of their main fantasy personalities, Matthew Berry. He likes to point out that when it comes to picking players at the top of a draft you really get into minor nit-picking as in reality they are all excellent players. I feel the same when it comes to captain picks and it's hard to go against someone like Valencia without sounding like I'm down on him. That is far from the case (indeed he's locked into my own team) but just that, all things considered, I'm not sure I see enough to escalate him ahead of teammate Rooney, unless you are desperately seeking differentiation, and even there there are probably better ways to go, such as . . .

Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has a couple of interesting stats to his name for this week. Swansea have generally been better at home this year but Sigurdsson has managed just two assists and no goals in five appearances at Liberty Stadium. There doesn't appear to be anything in his tactical deployment which would impact those splits, so it's probably more a product of small sample sizes than a sustainable difference. If you buy that, then Sigurdsson becomes an interesting play, having accounted for a league leading 59% of his team's goals when on the field. That gives him an xPct of 0.909, second only to the other-wordly Van Persie (0.945). As with Valencia, his production looks less sustainable than the elite players, at least when it comes to goal scoring (he's scored 6 goals on 11 shots on target). Again, I wouldn't over think the captain decision and pick Sigurdsson over either Rooney or Van Persie, but if you do want to go in a different direction I actually like Sigurdsson over Valencia as (a) he comes with a lower ownership percentage and thus is a stronger differentiator and (b) if Swansea have success and Sigurdsson contributes he's almost guaranteed the 3 bonus points where as Valencia will always struggle to compete with Rooney.

So I'm afraid it's a similar story this week with Van Persie and Rooney being a touch above the rest of the class. I'm pleased to say that of last week's top eight ranked captain picks, all but one notched at least an assist with half (Adebayor, Balotelli, Dempsey and Valencia) getting into double digits. The problem was that the one exception was Rooney who was second only to Van Persie and one of only two players I seriously considered. The point being, these rankings are proving to be somewhat reliable though they're never going to lead to perfect results. I just hope they might either help you break a tie or ease your tensions that in reality these matchups are often a toss-up and you're unlikely to go far wrong if you continue to make informed decisions. For the record, I'll be going with Rooney this week, so act accordingly.