Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome back

Here we go again. Enjoy your last few stress-free Friday evenings, fill your mind with philosophical musings about the meaning of life and soak up those precious sun rays while you still can (that one might not apply to readers in Manchester), for we all know those freedoms will end in just a mere matter of weeks.

The annual release of the player price list marks the start of the footballing season for me, and that landmark event is now in the rear view mirror for 2012 (By the way, how is this day still not a public holiday? Honestly, wouldn't you have preferred a day to tinker with your team than watch Tom Jones and Suggs sing to the Queen?). It's also the first time in a couple of months that I've faced the reality of a Bolton-less Premier League, though I'm sure most of you will get over that one quicker than me. Silver lining fans may well note that at least I will avoid the twinge of guilt when a small part of me is satisfied with a Van Persie goal, despite the dire consequences it may have in real life for the Wanderers.

As far as the game itself goes, there is little to note. Team structure, rules and scoring remain the same, though the ability to earn an assist for winning a free kick may be new (I honestly can't remember last year's rules). So it's as you were and time to delve into the player list, right? Well, no. The first games are still a month away and we would expect some transfer activity before then, not to mention the possibility of injuries at the upcoming Olympic games. There will be time for specifics in later posts, but in the next couple of weeks or so I'm going to focus on last year.

I considered writing a series of 'what we learned' pieces at the end of the season but, honestly, I figured by that point people are ready for a break and not really looking forward to 2013. There was also the slight prospect of rule changes etc rendering such efforts moot and thus I stayed away. Now the pitches have been laid and the goalposts set, it's time to start getting serious.

I'm on vacation for the next couple of weeks, with potentially spotty internet access (can one enter a fantasy team from the Galapagos Islands?) but I will be writing throughout, possibly adding a number of posts in a short time frame on my return. A few ideas to look forward to are:

  • Where best to spend your money - relative value of each position
  • How to structure an opening day squad - play the fixtures or aim for the best team?
  • Trends in how and when points are scored - distribution of clean sheets, goals etc by gameweek
  • Risk vs reward - an update to the FFS piece on points consistency and upside.
  • Cracking the forecast code - what contributes most to a good weekly fixture? A player's score to date, form, or opponent?
  • Potential regression targets for this season - players who converted chances at a particularly high or low rate could be expected to see some regression to the mean in the coming season.
  • Cheap defensive links - cheap players who have a shot at playing time on more expensive defensive units.
Those last couple are more player focused and so will likely come in August with the big picture stuff popping up as soon as possible.

Hopefully you're as excited for the new season as I am, and thanks for coming back to the blog. As always, I'm very open to new ideas, particularly at the start of the season, for analysis that would be helpful on a weekly basis so feel free to post in the comments or @plfantasy with any thoughts.


x00x said...

welcome back chris, glad to hear you're in fine form the for start of the year and surviving the heat wave.

i look forward to another excellent year of pain, suffering and analysis!

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back, Chris, with the most simple and sensible Fantasy Football blog out there. Nowadays I've come to be a very good independent thinker and can pick a very potent squad of players, but it's always nice to come on here and see how you think. I'm still inclined to use your attacking/defending rankings to decide when I'm split between two certain players, and it's always appreciated. Looking forward to this year.

Interesting to see we kick off with a double gameweek, and for that reason it would be rude not to take advantage of Chelsea's talent.

My current squad is (advice appreciated if possible):


Player values have pleasantly surprised me this season, I must say. I've found that I have been able to fit two elite strikers into my team with relative ease compared to previous seasons.

Welcome back.

Tik said...

I was checking daily for an update on your site since a week and I'm glad so hear back from you.

Galapagos Islands... maybe this is where the sun went

Tik said...

I was checking daily for an update on your site since a week and I'm glad so hear back from you.

Galapagos Islands... maybe this is where the sun went

Rey said...

Looking forward to another season, Chris. Your site was a great resource when I was starting out last season, and I look forward to visiting again.

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

Can't wait for a new season

Was wondering about a post-season wrap up, glad to hear we're still getting one! :)

pen_down said...

Welcome back Chris,

As a ardent follower of your blog, I can't wait to see what tips you have before my final selection.

Tentatively, cashing in on the fixture (double week), without losing sight of a need for a stable team is what I intent to go for.

My current selection is (subject to injuries and last minute changes is as follow)

Goal Keepers
De Gea, Krul

Ivanovic, Clichy, Koscielny, Culker, Bramble

Hazard, Yaya Toure, Valencia, Dyer, McClean

Ba, Torres, Pogrebnyak

Well, tentatively...

Tik said...

Hi pen_down

If you don't mind I have a few thoughts about your team selection:

I would go with cheaper keepers that rotate for the first weeks. E.g. Bergovic and Mignolet rotate well and would save you 2 million to invest in somewhere else. De Gea is competing with Lindegaard as first keeper choise as well and Krul has not the best fixtures in the first GWs.

Ivanovic, Clichy, Koscielny, Culker, Bramble

With the money saved you could upgrade Clichy to Lescott (more of a goadthread). I personally don't like Arsenal defenders, as the team is not the best in keeping clean sheets.

Hazard, Yaya Toure, Valencia, Dyer, McClean

Like your midfield. Have a look as
Hazard, Yaya Toure and Valencia are all rotation risks!

Ba, Torres, Pogrebnyak. I had Torres and Pog in my first team selection and they all 3 could explode this season... saying this Pog just joined Reading and didn't play yet. Torres under a new manager might score again, but does he play 90 minutes. And Ba didn't score as much since Cisse is the main tread in Newcastle. Anyway, I would think about Cisse after GW3.
You might want to get a big hitter in there like (Rooney, Aguero/Tevez) or a cheaper player that plays every week: Graham or Lambert

Best of luck

JamesT said...

Great to see a new post Chris!

I loved reading your posts last season after discovering your blog after a few game weeks. I am definitely looking forward to reading your latest musings!

As for suggestions, I guess I would like to see your take on defensive/clean sheet statistics and rotation combinations/strategies for the first 12 game weeks or so. I'm sure you have that planned anyway but it would be great to have it earlier to allow maximum tinkering time!



pen_down said...

Thanks Tik,

I like your analysis, and will consider them.

By the way I had Mignolet/Krul for most part of last season, and might stick to them. I'll drop Da Gea for Mignolet primary because of the current injuru crisis plaguing ManU, but will keep Krul simply because he is a good keeper, and the bulk of his defenders (the taylors, and simpson) are still intact.

I choose clichy simply cos he is cheaper, besides he is a full back if I'm correct. So I expect more from him going forward, in comparison to Lescott - centre defender. Clichy had 5 assists last season, lescot scored 2 goals and 1 assist, having played more minutes in comparison to Clichy. Will stick to Clichy for the first few games.

If I get a cheaper defender, will drop Koscielny. I didn't use Arsenal defenders last season, but wont be going for William (Swansea) due to change of coach which might affect their play/pattern.

Hazard I expect will play up to game 2; besides I have my eyes on the double week. Valencia and Yaya Toure look good to me and will not easily be rotated unless injured. Silva and Bale seem out of range budgetwise, will look to bring one of them in at later stage of the campaign. The middle of the pack is one place I hope to strengthen as the season progresses.

Cisse should have been my choice, but he is too pricey. In anycase, Ba had made a case to the coach to be played as a centre forward. I hope Alan Pardew keeps a promise. I will however be looking at the double gameweek as I make my final selection.

Thanks again Tik

Relentless said...

Excellent to have you back Chris, you're advice and expertise are invaluable.

Was wondering if maybe we could have an analysis of best fantasy scoring based off position and formation. As tough as that is to predict.

For example it seems that Michu will only be a good pick up this year if he's allowed to play "in the hole".

How many squads utilize this role and who's most prolific?

Predicting Mata to be the highest scoring mid this year.

El Noel said...

pen_down, I like yor Mignolet/Krul combo. Earnt me quite a few points last season and it also guarantees that one of your keepers will have a home fixture.

pen_down said...

Thanks Noel,

I doubt though if I will use same keepers this time around. But hey, you never kmow.

Greg said...

Eager to see updates!

Chris Currie said...

Nice glad you're back Chris, looking forward to some great insight. Ill post my team up soon to get some feedback from your followers. Here's to a great season everyone!

Esteban Colberto said...

I've tried a few times to join your league but using the code 54287-20977 it doesn't seem to work with error:

This is not a valid league code. Please enter another code or check the code with the league administrator.