Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dousing the fire, fanning the flames: Gameweek 12

Each player who racked up 6 or more points this week 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.
Note that I don't generally include defenders as so much of their value is tied to their team's success rather than their individual skill set.

Carlos Tevez 19
It's going to be a touch controversial to douse the flames on a player coming off a two goal, two assist performance, but there is at least an element to Tevez's success which is somewhat of a mirage. The obvious point is of course the rather generous goal from the spot, which is highly unlikely to occur again as Aguero seems well entrenched as the first choice taker there. Tevez is generating good shot totals and his conversion rates don't look alarmingly high, but there are other options who account for a much higher percentage of their team's efforts (starting with Aguero) and thus I have so concerns that Tevez might not rack up big totals every week, especially when City struggle (which looks more likely this year than last). Tevez remains an excellent option to own but given his ownership numbers, I'd suggest he's the kind of player you need to critically think about and not just leave him in your team without a second thought.
Status: Hold, but consider selling to differentiate your team, especially during the upcoming run of tricky games

Jose Enrique 18
I don't tend to highlight defenders here but Jose Enrique was deployed on the left wing and managed to contribute four created chances and a couple of shots. Liverpool don't have a plethora of options down the left so there's a chance that this move sticks, which could potentially make Enrqiue very useful. At 5.7m he isn't outstanding value as Liverpool's defense has been serviceable rather than good, but they continue to offer underlying stats better than their defensive results and after a couple of potentially tough away games, they get a number of fixtures which could offer defensive results.
Status: Monitor for a couple of weeks to see if this situation is sustainable, making a potential investment in GW15 before a useful run of fixtures

David Silva 16
Silva had one of the highest shot totals without a goal in the league so it was clear that if he continued to generate shots at that rate a goal should eventually come, though there's still some concern about whether those totals are high enough to sustain continued success to justify his price tag. His 27 chances created in just 644 minutes are off the charts and if City can put chances away like they did this week, he could easily lead the league in assists by a distance. However, the likes of Cazorla, Mata and Bale are at least close to Silva in that metric but provide a much higher goal threat than the Spaniard has to date. On the bright side, if we look at his last four appearances, we see a player with 11 shots (8 SiB, 4 SoT), which is at least in range of those aforementioned elite options. There's certainly risk here but given his low ownership numbers (5.5%) and the fact it can be tough to get access to this City side, Silva is once again in play.
Status: With better fixtures I'd make him a buy but two away trips followed by games against Everton and Man Utd make that appear risky. He remains a monitor or a very speculative buy.

Santi Cazorla 13
Despite the goal and assist, Cazorla didn't really enjoy a big game (two shots, one chance created) and his stats over the last four appearances are underwhelming. Arsenal are tough to predict at the moment but there remains potential and the upcoming fixtures (especially the home games) might be enough to make Cazorla worth sticking with. If you have a set replacement in mind (like the aforementioned Silva), there are reasons to sell Cazorla, especially given his high ownership numbers, though I wouldn't say moving him is a pressing priority.
Status: Hold, but feel free to let your eye wander elsewhere

Adam Le Fondre 13
Le Fondre had a huge week including seven shots but with one start since September he's simply not ownable until we see much more certainty in this Reading side's front line.
Status: Sell

Theo Walcott 12
Five shots and six chances created in his last four games don't really get us excited but from watching the games, Walcott has at least shown signs of hitting the heights of past seasons (which of course were riddled with inconsistency too). The goal and assist came on just two shots and one chance created this week so at those rates this kind of fantasy haul isn't sustainable and it's really too early to be jumping back on board just yet.
Status: Monitor, but the temptation to bring him in for Cazorla to save cash looks fraught with risk and significant downside (he isn't of course totally locked into the first team yet).

Steven Fletcher 12
Fletcher's goals per shots on target now sits at 60% and as we've said before, without Sunderland showing substantial improvement in the chance creation department, Fletcher will need some historic skill/luck (I'd say more luck but it's still partly debatable) to continue to generate points at a decent rate.
Status: Sell

Shane Long 12
Long has quietly put up some decent numbers this year but has been ignored in part (at least in these pages) because of the higher upside of Lukaku. WBA's next seven games look very promising and so if you're currently stuck with a third forward who needs to be moved quickly for some short term gains, Long's package of reliability and moderate upside should at least get a look.
Status: Buy

Jason Puncheon 12
We highlighted Puncheon some time ago in the Moneyball series but then he suffered a couple of benchings and lost much of his luster. His 24 total shots rank alongside the likes of Mata (25), Pienaar (22) and Lallana (21) with a good proportion (50%) coming from inside the box. Needless to say Puncheon comes at a substantially lower price than that group though the trade off of course is his near total lack of assist potential (seven chances created). For 4.5m though, he brings excellent potential in one category and with an apparent increase in job security, he looks as good as anyone in his price tag.
Status: Buy

Luis Suarez 11
Not much to add here. Another seven shots (4 SiB, 2 SoT) this week as Suarez continues to roll. His goals per SoT rate is unsustainable in the long run (50%) but he's generating enough chances so that he should continue to score goals at a decent rate over the coming weeks, all else being equal. One could argue that his assist totals are lower than expected so that could possibly help to stabilise any scoring regression anyway. I wouldn't necessarily back him to outscore van Persie, Aguero or Rooney but given the discount he offers over that group, he remains very ownable.
Status: Buy 

Sergio Aguero 11
Again, not much to say. I love Aguero, the model loves Aguero, and perhaps as importantly, the general public don't (still just 6.6% ownership) meaning he provides somewhat of a differential option over the widely held likes of Tevez, van Persie and Suarez. The model likes him more than anyone over the next eight gameweeks and the only thing that might stand in his way is his boss, though that risk would be greatly reduced if (or when) City are mathematically eliminated from the Champions League.
Status: Buy, despite the fixtures

Anthony Pilkington 11
Pilkington has enjoyed a few more chances of late, with eight shots in the last three starts, after amassing just 10 in the previous six games. However, the majority are still coming from outside the box and his meagre touches inside the box (averaging just over two a game) don't suggest his goal this week is the start of a trend. Throw in the fact that he's only created more than a single chance once in the last seven gameweeks and you're left with an uninspiring use of 5.8m.
Status: Sell

Raheem Sterling 11
Sterling is another player who has been highlighted in the Moneyball series and while his underlying value remains around the same, his price has sky rocketed to 5.4m and thus he's much tougher to recommend buying these days. I see higher upside in players like James Morrison or Pablo Hernandez while someone like Jason Puncheon comes at a decent discount. Sterling is still very ownable but his price tag and ownership numbers make it tough to keep the 'buy' tag on him.
Status: Hold

Lukas Podolski 10
Podolski's goal conversion rate has hit Fletcher-esque levels, hence my own decision to sell him this week. His 18 shots, 10 SiB and 7 SoT point to a player who should have scored maybe twice and if his next 12 games play out like these, it would surprising to say the least to see him notch another four goals. Even then, only Rooney and Adebayor cost more than him with fewer goals to their name, and they have obviously played significantly less minutes. I like Podolski as a player quite a lot and his assist potential does offset some of this scoring concern, but his prospects project more like a 7.0m player than one who'll set you back 8.2m and thus he's all but impossible to own any more.
Status: Sell

Adam Johnson 9
Averaging less than a shot a game and playing on a team who just aren't creating anything or finishing his chances created - outside of Fletcher - doesn't bode well for Johnson. At 5.5m I could see him being worth a look but at 6.8m I don't see Johnson as even worth monitoring right now.
Status: Sell

Ricky Lambert 9
Lambert is performing about as we expected, though we might have expected perhaps an extra assist and one less goal. None of his conversion rates scream regression and he looks well placed to tick along at his current 5.4 P90: outstanding value for a player of his price tag. The model loves his prospects over the coming weeks, perhaps even enough to give Berbatov a run for his money as the best mid range option.
Status: Buy

Michu 9
Michu is an interesting player to analyse as while on one hand his 54% SoT to goals rate paints the picture of a regression candidate, his high shot totals and low price suggest that even with lower production he would still offer decent value. His total shots still put him 8th among all midfielders and with 13 SoT, would we be fairly comfortable giving him four goals, which would still trail only Fellaini and Nolan. Like that pair, he doesn't offer the dual threat of goals and assists that his pricier colleagues do, but his goals alone can justify a 7.0m outlay. When his price had sky rocketed ahead of the likes of Fellaini and Nolan I felt he was overpriced, but now they all come in at a similar price, Michu is once again worth looking at (assuming your buying, he was never really a sell candidate).
Status: Tentative buy if you're looking for reliability as higher risk/reward can surely be found

Jonathan De Guzman 9
De Guzman has some intriguing numbers but the issue is his price tag. Like Sterling above, I'd be all over his prospects at 4.5m or even 5.0, but at 5.7m he's into the range of players like Morrison, Lallana and Walters who have both equally impressive underlying stats to date and (in my humble opinion) a stronger chance of continuing to produce them. Unlike that trio, De Guzman is not one of the main men in the team, indeed his job could even be threatened when Ki returns from injury. If he maintains or increases his solid underlying stats for a few more weeks he might sneak onto our watchlist, but for now he's somewhat of an afterthought in this Swansea side.
Status: Sell, or possibly monitor if you're more convinced of his long term prospects than I am

Steven Naismith 8
His playing time is too patchy and with Mirallas back as soon as this week, he could find himself benched once one every in this side is fit/not suspended.
Status: Sell

Junior Hoilett 8
Hoilett's put up some good shot numbers and in a vacuum is perfectly ownable, but he has two major blots against his name. Firstly, despite all the potential, QPR just aren't getting any better and don't seem to be able to put their chances away. Second, without much of an assist threat Hoilett immediately puts himself against the likes of Nolan and Fellaini, who while more expensive, come with much higher upside and consistency. There's something here to monitor but as with the aforementioned Sunderland options, this team is so bad, it's tough to back anyone without outstanding numbers (and even then Taarabt and Granero are tough to buy despite their excellent underlying data).
Status: Monitor

Pablo Hernandez 8
Aside from a disappointing outing at Southampton in GW11, Hernandez's statistical fortunes have tracked along a fairly consistent upwards trend since breaking into the first team. Of course, three of those games have seen him come away with points (two goals, one assist and seven bonus points) and his underlying stats - while not mind blowing - support much of that production so far. In truth there isn't much to pick between his stats and De Guzman so it would be hypocritical to label him a 'buy' just yet, though his play is clearly trending upwards and he's one to monitor, especially if Swansea start to score at the higher rate that their stats suggest.
Status: Monitor

Peter Odemwingie 8
Odemwingie is a solid player but he hasn't really shown the stats to support his four goals and given his unpredictable playing time he's impossible to back given the price tag. If you like West Brom (and there's a lot to like) stick with Morrison or possibly Long.
Status: Sell

Eden Hazard 7
Not much interesting to note here. Hazard's last few weeks haven't been outstanding but there's not much to suggest he's suddenly in a sharp decline. If you were being super critical you might note that his chances created numbers are down a touch and considering he hasn't yet missed a game in the league, he could be due for a rest, but these are really just nit-picking points. He remains an excellent option with the only question being whether you like him or Mata more (I still favour a fully fit Mata, but it's close).
Status: Buy, though I'd personally give the edge to Mata

Gareth Bale 7
Bale's chances created numbers are way down over his last four starts which is something to monitor, but not a point that would push me towards necessarily selling the Spurs man. Bale is one of a handful of options you can legitimately start every week without concern and the fact Spurs get four fairly juicy home games in the next six (WHU, LIV, SWA and STK) only sweetens the deal. There are other great midfield options available but all things considered I find it tough to put many ahead of Bale.
Status: Buy

Stephane Sessegnon 7
Sessegnon is still only averaging just over a shot a game and his two SoT notched in the past two gameweeks were his first of the season. There's talent in this Sunderland side and if O'Neil can turn their fortunes around Sessegnon is good enough to capitalise, but we're a long way from that stage as things stand.
Status: Sell

Olivier Giroud 6
Despite trailing many of his colleagues in the minutes column, Giroud now ranks 3rd among all forwards in SiB and his 17 SoT suggest he's one of the few elite options under performing the expected league average so could possibly positively regress in the coming weeks, and that's before we account for him continuing to settle into a new team. The model loves Giroud's prospects, in part because he's shown an ability to put up good numbers both at home and away from the Emirates, so while he doesn't have too many 'captain' games, there isn't a fixture in the next eight where you'd be desperate to drop him (this week at Everton is the hardest). For those priced out of the Suarez/Tevez group, Giroud offers excellent upside and would make an very good second forward to either complement an elite option like Aguero or sit as part of a three-mid-range lineup with the likes of Berbatov and Lambert.
Status: Buy

Nicky Shorey 6
I don't normally highlight defenders but Shorey's assist potential is sufficiently high that he deserves a note here. After Baines' astronomical 50 created chances, Shorey slides in with 24, an excellent number for a defender, and a healthy number for a midfielder (though some account does need to be taken for the kind of chance created here as, without having data to back this up, one would expect a Silva through ball to be converted at a higher rate than a set piece flung into the box). Reading are converting 17% of all chances created as a team, which would give Shorey an expected four assists to date - a very useful number. However, if we accept that notion that his conversion rate is likely to be lower, we're left with a player with solid, but not spectacular assist potential and little else (Reading have just one clean sheet on the year and their underlying shot data does little to suggest that trend is about to change). The question is whether a 4.1m player is worth owning based essentially just on his assist potential? Possibly, though my issue is that his assists are likely to be fairly unpredictable, meaning you'll need to play him regularly to take advantage of them, which means a lot of one and two point outings. I like the idea in theory but I'd personally prefer to chase clean sheets with the 4.5m crowd (or even less in Norwich's case).
Status: Monitor for signs of progress by Reading, but until then I find it hard to buy

Demba Ba 6
Ba leads the league in SoT, is second only to Suarez in terms of SiB and yet costs anywhere between one and five million less than his elite peers. His goal per SoT of 38% looks about right and the fact that he's been equally good on the road as at home makes him an easy player to own. The only knock against Ba (and it's fairly significant) is the fixture list which sees him face tough trips to SOU, STK, FUL, MNU and ARS in the next eight games, as well as having to play MCI at home. Ba has done okay against the best teams so this is not to say he can't succeed, but on the balance of probabilities you'd back someone like Giroud or Berbatov in easier games to outscore Ba in tough ones, and thus it might be time to cast an eye over your options if you're a Ba owner.
Status: Hold, but consider your options given the fixtures

Samir Nasri 6
Nasri has excellent assist potential with 24 created chances in just 738 minutes but that still trails teammates Silva (28 in 644) who also brings a better goalscoring threat and more job security. If that latter point were to be addressed and we felt Nasri would start most games, his price tag makes him intriguing but until then, he's just etoo xpensive for a risky, one category player.
Status: Monitor to see if he can solidify an every week starting job


threesticks said...

I've resisted all year to have high price defenders with my focus on the front 7-8.
See teams making changes like "insert higher costing DEF" to Cuellar/other 4.5 def
Maybe my approach wasn't that bad after all.

here is my w team at the moment:
Begovic - Jaaskelainen
Davies - McCartney - Cuellar - Hughes - Cameron
Bale - Hazard - Mata - Sterling - Fellaini
van Persie - Suarez - Berbatov

1. In lieu of Silva for Citeh coverage, was thinking Berbatov->Tevez and Hazard to Nolan or Michu
2. Or keep Berbatov but swap Hazard/Bale for Silva/Cazorla.

Not going to get into how liberating it can feel when you don't have RVP and the team options
it opens up. For another time perhaps.

Any thoughts are appreciated

Anonymous said...

Great reading once again Chris; have found these FTF articles really interesting.

Question for you - given their comparative prices, would you lean towards Rooney (stronger fixtures but uncertainty around his role) or Aguero (model-favoured and apparently the main man at City but harder fixtures), assuming RVP is too expensive?

Thanks, and keep up the great work.

Crhis said...

Re: Soulonice

If it's a question between Rooney and Aguero then I think Rooney could be the one to take from the two given United's high forecast and lack of options to cover elsewhere. Without Aguero you could at least find room for Silva but United offer no such second option (other than RVP, but price is going in the wrong direction there).

My own key question this week; is Fellaini worth holding? I bought for £7.0m so I don't have an awful lot of money tied up in him and he has a missed GW then ARS, mci, TOT, sto to follow. There's a line of thought that Fellaini can perform regardless of fixture, but I'd wonder if the elite teams might have grown wise to this and may attempt to mark him out of the game.

AND there's the question of the RDM sacking where there's potential value/differentiation for those that can act early. Will the new manager roll out the same 4231 as RDM has been playing? Maybe, but probably not. We could see the emergence of someone like Marin depending on who the new manager favours. Further to this; how confident can we be holding on to our current Chelsea assets? You'd have to think that the likes of Mata and Hazard will be impervious to any changes, but if I was holding anyone else I'd be monitoring the situation very closely.

Lots to think about this GW!