Friday, September 21, 2012

Gameweek 5 Readers Questions

@Billy_Mac - Would you consider ditching RVP or Tevez with budget options looking promising and Aguero/Rooney returning
Not for now, though this is definitely an emerging strategy. That group of Berbatov, Podolski, Ba, Fletcher, Crouch and even someone like Lambert, Vaz Te or Lukaku (long term) could certainly provide enough value for a team but that leaves you with a huge pile of cash to invest in midfield and I'm not sure the options there are much more secure. All four of these forwards will have some success this year and will play more often than not so transfers at this point are probably premature, we just need to be sure we are flexible if, and when, we decipher what Ferguson and Mancini have planned.

@nads_ak - Changes after disaster last week of 30 points. Pienaar and Berba in for Petric and Arteta. Thoughts?
I like the moves a lot. Arteta is playing way too deep to be successful and is a definite sell at this point. To throw a couple more combos out, Podolski/Maloney and Ba/Nolan might also do the job. That said, I like your pair more, especially given Everton's good looking fixtures, after which you should have plenty of options to ditch Pienaar if required.

dnivy - Regarding Nelsen: When Mbia is fit (hopefully soon), he'll surely take Nelsens spot? Can't see him ousting Ferdinand
Probably yes but I'm not making any predictions with this QPR side. Ferdinand is also injured and so between him and M'Bia being sidelined I'm happy owning Nelsen for now. I wouldn't be paying to bring him in, but if you own him, are wildcarding or a have a transfer to burn and need a budget defender he still fits the bill for me.

John Doe - "I still like Silva, Bale, and Nani's chances of outscoring most midfielders"
Agreed. However, at their price, you need them to significantly outscore most midfielders. Otherwise, you're better off with the Nolans and Morrisons of the EPL.
John was responding to the highlighted quote from another reader: Gummi. This is an interesting debate and one I've struggled to quantify in previous seasons. The best 'value' players will always be the mid-range or budget options as a handful of them always score more than 50% of the elite group but come at half the price. That said, as Gummi pointed out, at a certain point you need to simply maximise points, but judging where that line is can be tricky. The easiest way is to arbitrarily limit yourself to a number of 'stars' and then fill the rest of your team based on value. Your decision is then to determine which of those stars will maximise your star budget.

The difficulty comes when you want to decide if you're better off with a front line of 8m-8m-7m or 10m-10m-5m. There's no quick formula for this decision and I don't think applying averages and general assumptions really helps. Players over the years like Charlie Adam or Stephen Ireland were among the very best at their position all season but cost just 5m or 6m. The availability - and predictability - of such players messes up any standard model you can make.

Based on the games to date, I would say that a team of good players rather than stars and scrubs might be the most viable it has ever been. There isn't a single elite player in the league who I believe has no question marks hanging over their head, ranging from mild concern to outright fear. Until we come up with a better measure than P$ (points over cost) though we'll be left to argue this one all year.

King Kong - Chris, do you have a source for shots attempted inside of box and shots conceded inside box? Google is a dud
I use a mixture of sources. I do have access to Opta stats through the Fantasy Football Scout membership but I try not to mention too many of them to be fair to those who pay for those stats (the membership is great value and you get access to my articles too!). You can also try WhoScored which has free access to a number of Opta categories while ESPN soccernet also have shot data (though their shots differ significantly to Opta).

Tones - Out of curiousity, what would everyone's first choice 3 forward line be? Seems like a lot of viable options currently. I have Tevez/Torres/Adebayor for now but think I'll be looking to shop Ade soon
Regardless of price van Persie is my only lock though with Aguero out, Tevez is also a safe pick for me, even when regarding budget. After that it's much easier to argue based on value as no one really emerges as a step above the others (Rooney and Aguero, when fit, do but you probably wouldn't double up with City or United players by choice). Ignoring price I might give Podolski the nod but accounting for cost the likes of Ba, Fletcher and Berbatov become very tempting. Players like Adebayor, Torres and Suarez all look liable to finish near the top of the points chart but not by enough with more certainty that the aforementioned trio. My current lineup of Tevez, Podolski and Ba is one which I am pretty happy with and I only plan to change in the short term if Ba continues to ride the bench (with Berbatov likely getting the nod).

Andrew - Is McCartney still in the Starting XI at West Ham, or is he fit but not playing now? I can't seem to find any info about him on Google News.
Physio Report don't show him as an injury while the Guardian (who are reasonable at getting the team news right) have him in the starting eleven. It's tough to argue that Joey O'Brien is a long term solution for a Premier League side, but they haven't conceded in the last two games he played so I'd be slightly surprised to see McCartney walk back into the team. If you have free transfer and 0.1m Demel will solve all these headaches for you.

Ton the Don - Szczesny is injured yet again - what are some 5.5M or lower goalies that I can pickup and will be solid for at least the next few weeks?
As a straight swap you have to look at Howard or Vorm as being the pick. I think that the City game in GW9 for Swansea along with the absentees they have along the backline means I'd give the edge to Howard (whose Everton side place very well in the GPG chart). I'm putting together a piece on rotation pairs after this one which I hope to post tonight so if you're reading this before the deadline, be sure to check that out too.

Ramzy - Friedel/Federici
Clyne Zab Hangeland A.Cole Cuellar
Michu Nasri Valencia Guthrie Hazard
Ba Podolski Tevez

I want to prioritize which transfer to make as Nasri and Valencia have been 'wasting' money with their negligible returns. Am thinking of this 2 transfers for a 4 point hit or at least 1 transfer;

1. Nasri to Ben Arfa
2. Valencia to Bale
There are also other deadwood that needs to be gotten rid of like Zab,Clyne,Federici and Cuellar(injured) and am not willing to wildcard this early.

The question is, where should my priorities be in terms of transfers barring those aforementioned transfers?

The priority is always to get rid of any big money players who aren't (a) scoring points or (b) showing signs of doing so. While it's frustrating when players like Federici or Clyne score poorly, the gain you are likely to find by moving them another budget option is likely to be less than the impact you can have at the top end of the market. On that basis, the priority is Valencia or Nasria. Valencia has mustered just one shot all year while creating six chances, all while carrying significant risk of rotation or right back deployment. He's a great player and in the right situation could contribute again but right now he isn't a fantasy option. Nasri meanwhile has played more than I expected but is carrying a knock and has been good rather than great so far this year. I have to believe Silva is going to play more than he has and so Nasri's minutes might start to decline soon.

Though I believe Valencia is the weaker option, I'd actually sell Nasri first as it looks like he'll miss out this week. I'd then move Valencia next week, saving the 4 points as you're team is good enough to avoid any panic moves. I would target Cazorla, so if you don't have much cash lying around I'd aim to save enough from the Nasri move so you can grab Cazorla next week, avoiding this week's trip to City in the process. Valencia to Cazorla next week requires at least 0.3m so you should have 8.2m or so to replace Nasri. If you have spare cash you could consider Yaya or if you're really flush, Bale (who I like a lot for the coming weeks). At the mid-range level I would look to Pienaar or Ben Arfa based on their stats and upcoming fixtures, probably giving the edge to the Everton man based on price.

James - Excellent post - thank you. I know he didn't get anything this week, but I'm looking for alternatives to Petric, and was wondering what you made of Ricky Lambert at Southampton? I can't quite afford Fletcher or Berbatov without a hit, so is Lambert a good bet, do you feel?
I thought Lambert would score goals and he was a player I wanted to target early on. That first week benching scared me off but he's gotten his goals anyway and remains a good option in that price range. The really exciting part though is his chances created which place him second among all forwards. If you believe Ramirez, Rodriguez or any of the promising domestic players can help this team score more goals, I see Lambert as a player who can be involved in a large portion of them and his fantasy ceiling and floor remain high.

My first instinct would be to say I still slightly prefer Fletcher and Berbatov due to what I see as a higher ceiling (particular for Berbatov) but if they are out of your range Lambert is about as good as it gets for 6.0m. I like Vaz Te too, in large because of his assist potential but I'd say Lambert is a better bet to rack up double digit goals.

Bryan McKenna - Surprised to see no mention of Baines. While I know you favor the cheaper route to defenses, with the fixtures falling kindly and him in form, he looks a solid buy option.
Yeh, this one was my mistake. I wrote the majority of the 'dousing the fire, fanning the flames' piece before the Monday night game and while I updated it for the midfielders and forwards I forgot to add Baines. I've been critical of the Everton man in the past as a fantasy option, as I felt that at up to 2.0m more than his teammates, he would struggle to justify his price tag based on 'value' and would struggle to justify it based on pure points without Everton being an elite defense. This year though, his price is now manageable while Everton have been impressive at the back. With City and United struggling I am considering Baines as a legitimately valuable option for the first time in a long time.

I am hesitant to pick defenders based on offensive points as they have proven to be almost random over the past few years. Baines (and maybe Vermaelen) are the exceptions here though, as while his 4 goals and 2 assists last season couldn't match his 2010/11 numbers, his underlying stats remained excellent and have gotten off to a similarly impressive start this time out. His 19 chances created are more than the sum of any other three defenders, while his set piece duties remain a plus. Everton's upcoming fixtures look great and thus if you are going with stars along the back line, Baines might be the best option out there. Then the argument becomes whether we should grab a load of 5.0m options and rotate them, but that's a post for another day.

m4v15 - I know you weren't going to discuss defenders keeping clean sheets, but on a related note, what do you think of Guzan? At 4.5m he seems like a good way to jump out of the de Gea boat, but will Given get another chance in the Villa team?
I thought Given would get his place back after a game or two but Guzan has done well and I'm now wondering if this move isn't more permanent. Villa are a mid-level defense so represent good value at 4.5m. In theory Guzan makes a nice addition to a 'keeper rotation strategy with my only hesitation being that if he loses his spot in the lineup you could be forced to play your other average 'keeper in games you really don't want to touch. I'll include him in the upcoming rotation piece but if it's between him and a safer option and the stats are tight, I'll probably give the edge to someone like Ruddy or Jaaskelainen who are guaranteed their place pretty much all year.

Tik - I still have Adebayor in my team (since GW2!!) I rate him one of the best (and stroppy) players in the P-league, but with only a few or no minutes playtime I rather have a secure player (Fletcher, Podolski). I can't affort another swap this week but I'm considering him out if he doesn't play this week. What do you think?
I love Adebayor and thought he could be an underpriced asset presuming he secured a move to Spurs. I know Defoe has scored a few goals but long term I'd still suggest that Villas-Boas will conclude that he isn't really suited to be the apex of a 4-2-3-1 and thus Adebayor will take over. Would I be willing to be wait and own him though? No. So long as Defoe is scoring I doubt he'll be benched so I'd try and make a move as soon as you can. I like Podolski out of that price range to score the most points but if you could use the cash elsewhere, one of the Berbatov/Fletcher pair makes a lot of sense. Of that pair I'd back Berbatov unless you believe Sunderland can start creating chances at a much faster rate than they have to date.

Pulma - Got a serious problem on my hands. Really want Hazard for the next 3 gameweeks at a minimum. But getting him would mean I will have to get rid of either Kagawa or Lampard. I really feel that Lamps could be the right choice here despite the good fixtures as he is very likely to sit out the next one after starting 4 games in last 2 weeks. I also really liked what Kags did agaisnt Galatasaray and think he will be a decent asset in the coming weeks.
Lampard has a couple of goals but they've both come from the spot and his underlying stats just aren't that impressive. Throw in the added complication of Oscar and Marin demanding minutes soon and I believe your decision is made easy. I don't see Kagawa as a lock to have success but he should get minutes while Rooney is out, after which we'll have to reevaluate. If you want Hazard, Lampard is the player I'd sell here.

gauravandmessi - I was wondering if there was any way you could use some stats to find out who the so-called "main man" is at a club. Like, who is the one person who has the maximum share of goals, chances created or blocks/interceptions.
I have a stat called Cr% which is simply the percentage of goals scored or assisted while each player is on the field. This will be included in the forthcoming data tables for captain picks in a couple of weeks. I could look to dig deeper into this and look at the percentage of shots/chances created, though as noted above, I'm hesitant to share too much Opta data as I don't pay for the license myself. I'll see what we can put together with the freely available stuff.

James - I'm guessing that these are still based a lot on last season's stats and patterns. Is that correct? [in reference to the weekly goals forecast]. City's and Utd's defences haven't looked as tight as these graphs would suggest, nor has Arsenal's defence been as open. I also thought West Ham were ranked very low. I ask because I'm tossing up keepers - De Gea away or Jaskelinan at home. Thought the latter was a no brainer (putting aside whether De Gea actually plays). Also works into the City, Chelsea or Spurs player for captain. I've got Tevez, Bale and Torres and was not considering Tevez at all, tossing it up between the other two (leaning towards Bale atm).
The stats are based on both current and prior year data, with games in the current year getting an emphasis, but not enough to overly skew the data for such a small sample size. West Ham are a tricky proposition because their 'prior year' data is actually based on a stressed Championship data so it's already coming from a weak foundation. The results have been good but they've conceded the 5th most shots inside the box (a key indicator of goals in past years) so I still expect some regression there. That said, I would be happy to own the likes of Jaaskelainen or Demel.

As for the 'elite' teams, City's stats remain very promising and I see a turnaround there sooner rather than later. As for United, the stats don't look as good but you have to consider that they've had a number of players missing along the backline and should get better when the regulars return.

For this week specifically, you also have to consider that Liverpool, even at Anfield, aren't a particularly dynamic team and last season this fixture wouldn't have been much harder than getting Sunderland at home (24 goals scored vs 19). The data is probably overestimating United a touch and undervaluing West Ham the other way, but I'd still personally follow the data and play my United defenders ahead of Hammers (ignoring for a second that De Gea likely won't play).

Thanks for all the comments, kind words and questions and good luck for gameweek 5. For those on Twitter, Saturday morning/afternoon is a lot of fun for the 10am/3pm games so I encourage you to stop by.


Gummi said...

Thanks for your input into the value vs. points maximization discussion.

I'm afraid this will be the gray area for the whole season, as it is notoriously difficult to put your finger on.

Some are obvious in hindsight, as you mention. Van Persie last year, Adam, the year before that.

I'm tempted to emphasize the good over the great this season, for example with a forward line of Tevez, Berbatov and Fletcher/Ba/Podolski.

Jason said...

Hi Chris, great to see you're back on form this year.

I'm very much thinking along the same lines as Gummi, with an identical front line. (Podolski)

3 forwards who I don't feel have their upside fully included into their price.

On value vs points maxing, I tend to look at the next 6 weeks of fixtures for a player and allow that to be the decider between 2 players of equal projected value (using FFScout data analysis)

Jason said...

On the point of FF Scout data analysis, this is my 2nd year as a member and I find it worthwhile - even more so this year with the comparison tool.

This may not be the most appropriate place to ask, but have you any tips on getting the most from the data provided?

Is it possible to download in excel format or similar? They've teased that some new tools to slice the data are forthcoming, so it may be a moot point by then. It sounds like your Cr% field is a custom field based on your own calculation/query though.

I enjoy playing with the data as is, so I'd be interested in comparing notes! Best of luck this GW!

John Doe, 2008 said...

@Gummi -

Since it was our discussion that got included in this week's questions, maybe we should continue here? :)

As I mentioned, I just moved to Tevez/Berb/Fletcher (kicked out RVP for Berbs) and can't decide if I am happy or not. I love the confidence in playing time for the cheaper two forwards, but am struggling a bit with captaincy selections and am now already reconsidering my points expectations in midfield (specifically, I am not sure how Hazard/Mata/Oscar are going to manage to play together should Oscar force his way into the lineup).

Like you say, I expect this will be a constant revaluation activity for fantasy players, especially over the next few weeks as Aguero and Rooney are worked back into the lineup.

John Doe, 2008 said...

@Jason -

Chris' Cr% stat is available for members at Fantasy Scout. It is called "Involvement."

Jason said...

@John Doe: Thanks!

Gummi said...

@John Doe, 2008:

The game is starting to return to normalcy, I feel, by throwing these conundrums our way.

I'm still stuck with Torres, because I made so many bad choices at the start of the season (Nani, De Gea, Ramires, and Mata).

I'm probably going to stick with him for one more round to get in Baines and Fellaini.

Although Tevez is probably back to the starting lineup next Gameweek, Aguero already has disrupted the front line template.

The same will likely happen with Rooney, as you say.

Interesting times.

mikey said...

Chris another question regarding the front 3 but a focus on Everton

I currently have RVP/Tevez/Lamberet

With rotational risk (Tevez playing for 30min of the arsenal game) what are you thoughts on bringing in Anichebe/Berbatov/Lambert short term i.e. next 3-5 games.

In addition your thoughts on Fellaini please