Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dousing the fire, fanning the flames: Gameweek 10

You know the story by now; each player has been assigned a 'Buy', "Hold' or 'Sell' status. These don't necessarily reflect what I would do, more what I believe to be a reasonable action at this time:
  • Buy - the player can be purchased immediately taking consideration of his playing time, fixtures, injury status etc. This status does not necessarily mean you should buy him now as it depends who else you own, only that it is reasonable to do so.
  • Hold, and/or monitor - if you own the player you're not in a rush to ditch him but there's sufficient risk here to justify potential buyers holding off.
  • Sell - the player has too many risks and should either be sold or not purchased. This does not mean he might not have value in the future, just not right now.
Marouane Fellaini 15 points
The model didn't love Fellaini this week, largely due to the fact that Fellaini's shot totals away from Goodison haven't been quite as dominating as at home, while Fulham have shown an ability to slow teams down at Craven Cottage, surrendering 6% less SiB and SoB than their opponents' average. Everton simply exploded though, racking up 19 SiB, the third best total of the year (behind themselves in GW5 vs SWA and SWA vs RDG in GW7). There's not much not to like about Fellaini given his playing time, scoring threat, teammates and comparably low price tag with the only draw back being his high ownership compared with teammates Pienaar and Osman. Still, the next three games look great  and while we might expect a slight slow down in goals if the SoT don't increase, I don't see Fellaini as being overhyped and would happily keep him around or bring him in right now.
Status: Buy

Ben Watson 11
The most interesting thing about Waton this year is that his ownership number actually comes in at 0.0% suggesting that not even his own mother owns him. He scored on his only shot on target this year and while I've actually been a fan of his work in the past, he's an afterthought in this promising Wigan side.
Status: Sell

Victor Moses 11
Much like his former teammate Watson, I've been a fan of Moses' work over the years but he just doesn't have any kind of playing time assurances to be worthy of consideration. If Chelsea suffer a couple of long term injuries to other wide options, we'll give you a call Victor.
Status: Sell

Bradley Johnson 11
Norwich's team is starting to come together a bit and if Johnson, Snodgrass and Pilkington can keep their places behind Holt, I'm hopeful we might start to see a few more goals from the Canaries. Of that trio, Johnson probably doesn't rank highly on anyone's radar (0.7% ownership) but his underlying stats are actually pretty solid and took me by surprise when I looked them up. Consider:

Johnson: 894 minutes, 18 total shots, 7 SiB, 5 SoT, 7 chances created
Jon Walters: 876 minutes, 18 total shots, 15 SiB, 5 SoT, 13 chances created

I'm not ready to put Johnson in Walters' range over the course of the season (and even if I was it's not as if Walters is exactly setting the world on fire) but it's enough to say that he's becoming an ownable option which is noteworthy given his price tag (4.7m). Long term I'd try and free up cash and grab Snodgrass if I wanted to back this Norwich side but Johnson's performance here at least gives us another shortlisted player.
Status: Monitor

Yohann Cabaye 9
One of the notable battles shown by the model is that Cabaye ranked ahead of Ben Arfa, contrary to public opinion (14% versus 5% in Ben Arfa's favor) and their respective price tags. It's been disguised somewhat by Ba's excellent strike rate but Newcastle have regressed quite sharply this year and are now generating 15% less SiB and 20% less created chances than the opponent adjusted average, giving them just 8 SiB at home (18th) and 6 SiB on the road (15th). I like Cabaye as a player quite a lot but he's taking way too many of his shots from outside the box (71%) and the sustainability of returns from such shots is much harder to forecast. At 6.8m he carries a decent upside when Newcastle are playing well and despite those negatives the next five fixtures offer an opportunity for them to do just that. He's a risk and will often perform more like some of his 6.0m peers, but if you're looking in that 7.0m and want to move away from the widely held Everton options or Michu, Cabaye is a different look who offers reasonable ceiling/floor combination.
Status: Speculative buy based on fixtures

Pablo Hernandez 9
I for one was excited for Hernandez to break into the  first team having seen a number of his appearances at Valencia and, of course, having a soft spot for Swansea. His last three starts have seen him score twice though surprisingly he hasn't caught the public's eye, still ranking 10th (!) among Swansea midfielders in ownership (behind a chap called Lee Lucas, who I'm reliably informed by Wikipedia made a lone appearance for Burton Albion last season). Perhaps the general public are wisely forecasting some regression (ha!) based on his four total shots and two SoT which gave rise to that pair of goals. Indeed Ki, Michu and De Guzman have all provided much more of a goal threat since Hernandez has been in the side, and while I'm certainly not bailing on the Spaniard yet, I'll want to see more in the way of sustainable returns before I consider making a push to get his ownership numbers over the powerhouse that is Lee Lucas (can any SEO wizards confirm if this page will now appear as the number one hit when searching for Lee Lucas? Think of the ad revenue I'm going to make!).
Status: Monitor

Gabriel Agbonlahor 8
If this were 2009 I'd be very excited. If Benteke and Bent didn't play for Villa I'd be marginally interested. As it is, since breaking into the side, Agbonlahor has racked up just eight shots in five games, hitting the target just once which of course resulted in a goal this week. Apparently seen as a better compliment to Bent and Benteke than each other, he might get minutes but he's just not a threat at the moment and isn't worth anything close to that ~7.0m price tag.
Status: Sell

Luis Suarez 9
Whenever the forecasts in these pages don't work I take objection to criticism that "I thought this" or "was wrong" about that as very little I write is opinion. Now, one can argue that said model is flawed or based on erroneous assumptions, but cherry picking one off 'misses' is not the way to prove that. Anyway, as I refuse to take the blame for those misses I won't take credit for 'hits' either and so I must tip my e-cap to the model which forecast Suarez - a notably tough man to predict - for seven shots and four inside the box, exactly his totals for the week. The model won't always hit like that, but I'm pleased that it's working at the elite end, and we can look back on forecast vs results soon to see where improvements are needed. Anyway, Suarez continues to impress the model for the coming weeks, coming out as the 7th best player overall with only Mata and Lambert ranking ahead of him for a lower price. The fixtures aren't great on paper so I wouldn't necessarily be falling over myself to bring him in, especially not this week given the trip to Chelsea, but Liverpool are creating a lot of chances (exceeding opponent adjusted average for SiB by 22% at home and 31% away) and Suarez is often the main beneficiary of those attempts.
Status: Buy if you need to sell one of your front men, though I wouldn't pay a premium to get him this week

Steve Sidwell 8
I feel like we've been here before after Sidwell's couple of goals in the first four gameweeks after which he's been hindered by erratic playing time despite some decent underlying stats when playing. If I thought he might play every week I'd be intrigued given his 13 shots/7 SoT in just 618 mins for a 5.0m price tag, but he's far too risky right now.
Status: Monitor

Rob Snodgrass 8
Among players with 600 minutes of action this year, Snograss is among some pretty elite company when it comes to minutes per shot: Fellaini 22, Cazorla 25, Bale 26, Snodgrass 30. That's ahead of the likes of Mata (32), Hazard (36) and Michu (37) along with Torres (45), Podolski (46) and Fletcher (49).  What's particularly encouraging is that 13 of those attempts have come inside the box, which obviously correlates better to long term predictable success than taking wild pot shots from 35 yards. Snodgrass comes with some rotation risk which means I'm not yet willing to get back on board the bandwagon but with any luck he'll regain his place during the next four games which look tricky anyway, in time for a nice stretch from GW15-18 and even beyond if you have some rotation flexibility. I'd love to say he's a buy and given his upside I might have been willing to take a risk but the fixtures are tough enough to make such a gamble appear bullish and thus I'm sticking with a monitor tag for now.
Status: Monitor

Santi Cazorla 8
Some of the gloss seems to have come off Cazorla of late, likely due to a couple of poor returns (both personally and for Arsenal) against weak sides in Norwich and QPR. However, the underlying stats remain good and we're not really seeing too much to suggest it's time to panic. He forecasts 8th among all players in the new model, helped by Arsenal enjoying four home games in the next six weeks against mid-level opposition (FUL, TOT, SWA, WBA) and they don't face a red light attacking game in the next eleven, with perhaps the exception of Everton away in GW14. Arsenal can be frustrating at times but they're still creating chances and I don't see all that much difference between the last few games and the side that put three past West Ham and six past Southampton just a few gameweeks ago.
Status: Buy

Robin van Persie 8
The model likes him more than Rooney due to the the latter's comparative struggles away from Old Trafford, but I still see this as a close race and would still be inclined to grab the Englishmen given van Persie's price tag. Still, van Persie is of course an elite option and a relatively strong favourite to lead the league in goals and points and given United's fixtures he's a great pickup if you (a) have managed to build your team's coffers or (b) believe you can generate ~2.0m of value from other cheaper players and thus feel you can afford the Dutch hitman. At a certain point total points need to be sought rather than value but I'm still not convinced van Persie is that far ahead of the pack yet (and neither is the model). Still, he's a great option and can be captained every week so there are strong reasons to buy him.
Status: Buy, though my preference for cheaper players has been well documented

Samir Nasri 6
Nasri picked up the man of the match in a 0-0 contest which City dominated in terms of chances but actually could have easily lost through Nolan's disallowed goal. Someone like Aguero might be worth the risk in City's side given his sky high upside, but Nasri doesn't have the credentials to take such a gamble.
Status: Sell

Shaun Maloney 6
Given the amount of time I've spent at the DW Stadium watching rugby, Wigan should really be my secret team in the Premier League over Swansea and if Maloney, Kone and Di Santo continue their form they could very well be by the end of the year. Consistent minutes, involvement and a genuine goalscoring (13 shots, 8 SiB) and assist threat (15 cc) would make Maloney an attractive package at ~6.0m+ so for 5.0m he's a genuine steal whose 1.6% ownership number is bafflingly low. Three of the next four home games see Wigan face WBA, RDG and QPR meaning that even if you're yet to be convinced about starting Maloney every week, he'll at least make an excellent rotatable squad member.
Status: Buy

Djibril Cisse 6
I'd like to buy Cisse as the forward set to capitalise on some talent in this QPR side but I'm not even sure he'll continue to play and I'm certainly not convinced Hughes is the man to make this team work.
Status: Sell


CDI said...

Great stuff as always Chris. Does Fellaini being 1 yellow away from a ban hurt his 'Buy' status at all? He could very well miss one of their prime fixtures which would hurt quite alot if I was to take a chance on him now.

Your model predicted amazing things for Man U in the coming weeks. Do you think the numbers warrant having both Rooney and RVP in your frontline if you can afford too?

GOR J said...

Chris, another good read.

What's your plan for your front three? Like you, I prefer to have 3 mid range strikers however with Fletcher misfiring, Arsenal stuttering and Man City completely unpredictable I'm at a loss.

With Man U fixtures it's risky to disregard their big hitters; how do you intend to make up the difference? I like the front three of Ba, Saurez, Podolski for the next 6 weeks.


Steven said...

GOR J: I don't see how you can put any stock in Podolski at this point in time. Ba and Suarez underlying numbers are much more encouraging. Perhaps a look at Berbatov (although the fixtures are not in his favor) would be a better bet.

Luke van Lelyveld said...

You never gave your view on Evra?

Scored 10 points and got some decent fixtures coming up.