Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dousing the fire, fanning the flames: Gameweek 15

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.

A slight tweak for this week and beyond is that in the interest of time (to allow for a new bi-weekly post) I'm not going to dwell on the elite players. Van Persie is obviously an elite option and thus we're not going to fan his flames or douse his fire on a weekly basis.

Michu 16
Michu is one of the aforementioned elite options I'm not going to dwell on. His underlying stats do suggest some slow down in production is likely (10 goals from 19 SoT), he is still generating enough to justify his price tag, though at some point you'll want to think about whether his high ownership makes him someone you'll want to differentiate away from.
Status: Buy

Wayne Rooney 16
Rooney remains very ownable and the debate versus van Persie is still on.
Status: Buy

Demba Ba 13
There's no concerns with regards to Ba's own form, and the fact that he accounts for so much of what Newcastle do makes him playable in even the worst fixture. However, the upcoming games get tough quickly and in the next seven gameweeks they only really get one game you'd actively target (GW18 - QPR) so there's a strong argument to sell high on Ba (probably waiting until the last minute given the likely price rise following his brace).
Status: Hold, but consider selling if you have flexibility

Jermaine Defoe 13
Adebayor is supposed to be back so Defoe isn't the safest option around but he keeps doing his thing so there's still value here. Like Michu, some regression looks possible (9 goals from 22 shots) though even then, Defoe has shown himself to be a good finisher in the past and if there are players who can out shoot the average with consistency, he could well be one of them.
Status: Buy given the upcoming fixtures, though still a risky one

Carlton Cole 12
Cole had a nice game but so long as Andy Caroll is around, minutes are going to be tough to come by
Status: Sell

Bradley Johnson 10
Johnson's a decent option given the fact he's one of a handful of reasonably adventurous players available for under 5.0m. With just 11 chances created all year I wouldn't expect a repeat of this week's two assist effort any time soon, but his 23 shots place him close to the likes of Pienaar and Lallana so he should be good for a couple of goals. We'd like to see him hit the target with more regularity, but again, we're not to expect too much from a sub-5.0m player.
Status: Buy as a 5th midfielder but don't expect too much

Anthony Pilkington 10
He's marginally better than Johnson is both major categories though not to the point I'd pay an extra million for him. I see Pilkington more as a good 5th midfielder than a player you can start every week and thus his price tag makes him a touch expensive for his assigned role.
Status: Sell

Sandro 10
Sandro scored a great goal this week but with just four SoT in 1265 minutes I wouldn't expect another anytime soon.
Status: Sell

Marouane Fellaini 9
Like Michu (though to a lesser extent) his conversion rate is higher than one would expect (8 goals on 19 SoT) but he's getting so many chances that regression is far from guaranteed (he's hitting the target less than other comparable players which could compensate for any decline in goals per SoT). Pound for pound he might be the best player available and if anyone was going to receive a 'must own' tag from me, he might be the guy.
Status: Buy

Brett Holman 8
Villa aren't an elite attacking side and thus if you're going to target any of their players you'll want one who is both guaranteed minutes and is a focal point of his team's success. Holman is neither and while he has put up some reasonable numbers of late, he's not shown enough to warrant ownership at 5.5m.
Status: Unenthusiastically monitor him

Sylvain Marveaux 8
Marveaux has a decent pedigree but has suffered through a number of injuries since coming to England so hasn't made much of an impact on anyone radar. His return has coincided well with Newcastle's other injuries and thus he's been given a chance earlier than perhaps we would if everyone were fit. It's probably too early to back him yet but at 4.2m he is extremely intriguing (he scored double digit goals for Rennes in 2009-10) and needs to be carefully followed in the coming weeks. I believe he has primarily been used on the left wing in the past but he appears comfortable in the middle and thus could well take the reigns from Cabaye who is a longer term casualty than Ben Arfa.
Status: Too soon to buy but a player with his talent in this price range needs close attention

Anderson 8
No guaranteed playing time and a weak hamstring do not make for a good fantasy pick.
Status: Sell

Jamie Mackie 8
I guess the price is right to make Mackie ownable but if I was going cheap I'd prefer to do so in midfield and thus I find it hard to get too excited by Mackie's prospects. With Cisse, Hoilet and eventually Zamora all vying for minutes he doesn't even appear all that secure in his current role.
Status: Sell

Adam Le Fondre 7
If I was to go cheap up top, it would probably be with Le Fondre, who is quietly putting together a very solid resume of underlying stats. Consider:

Le Fondre: 712 mins, 29 shots, 25 SiB, 10 SoT
Aguero:     721 mins, 29 shots, 25 SiB, 12 SoT

Of course, that's an extreme comparison but it does show just how good Le Fondre has been in limited playing time, and unlike someone Taarabt who has outstanding underlying stats but no product to date, Le Fondre has been able to quietly add four goals already. Coming into this week he was already ranked 11th among all forwards by the model and another couple of SoT and a goal could help him rise again. The main attraction of Le Fondre could well be his potential pairing with van Persie, which gives you intriguing return on your 18.5m.
Status: Buy if you can use any money saved to significantly upgrade elsewhere in your team

Juan Mata 7
Mata remains a very good option despite the lack of goals under Benitez (it's just three tricky games after all) but with three away games and an off week in the next five gameweeks, if you're not sat on a profit you should at least consider moving him for a short term rental of Cazorla or Silva etc.
Status: Hold or possibly a short term sell option for those with flexibility in their squads but long term I like his prospects

Gael Bigirimana 7
Despite the goal, Pardew confirmed after the game that Bigirimana is one for the future, so his fantasy impact will be limited this year. On a personal note though I will be keenly following his future given his great story and tough upbringing. Hailing from Burundi, he has endured a depressingly familiar story of bare-footed games and constant unpheavel, miraculously getting a trial at Coventry after arriving in England (Paul Fletcher at the BBC tells how his request for a trial was initially turned down until they saw him run off, just 'jogging' as Bigirimana would later recall).
Status: Monitor (for about two years)

Matt Jarvis 7
Jarvis is a decent player but like Holman above, if you're on a team that doesn't score a ton of goals, you need to be more involved than Jarvis who just doesn't bring enough to the table to justify his spotty starting minutes.
Status: Sell

Craig Gardner 7
Three SoT and four chances created in almost 1,200 minutes. Pass
Status: Sell

Hal Robson-Kanu 7
Robson-Kanu is an interesting option as while he hasn't been guaranteed playing time all year, when he has played he's really excelled. The three goals catch the eye but it's the 16 shots in just 500 minutes which really get me excited: that's more shots per minute than the likes of Michu, Nolan and Mata. His six chances created suggest his success is likely limited to one category but that would still put him alongside Puncheon (who has the exact same minutes per shot rate) as one of a handful of startable ~4.5m options. With the double gameweek coming up Kanu makes an interesting player to take a flyer on at minimal cost.
Status: Buy

Mousa Dembele 7
Excellent player, sub-excellent stats. Unless he was to receive extensive playing time further upfield, his value will be limited all year
Status: Sell

Ashley Westwood 6
See Holman, Brett
Status: Sell

Clint Dempsey 6
I'm dying to announce Dempsey's return to the fantasy forefront, and there are some stats which suggest that could be the case (25 shots and eight SoT in 921 minutes are pretty useful numbers). However, given his price tag and the constant threat presented by Sigurdsson (which is possibly negated by Bale's injury for now) I don't see those numbers as being enough to justify the risk you'll need to take to get him. A player of Dempsey's talent owned by essentially nobody will always warrant monitoring but I can't condone any action beyond that at the moment.
Status: Monitor

Mohamed Diame 6
See Jarvis, Matt
Status: Sell

Dean Whitehead 6
Seriously? Nope
Status: Sell

Robin Van Persie 6
I said I wasn't going to dwell on the obvious stars but one point does bear mentioning for van Persie, if only because I would have made it if it went the other way. Despite the results, in terms of underlying goal threat, van Persie had a better game than Rooney, notching four shots (all in the box) to Rooney's two (again, both in the box). Critics might say that this illustrates that stats don't tell the whole story, and while that is of course true to a degree (those numbers wouldn't for example tell us that one of Rooney's shots was a penalty), if van Persie continues to double Rooney's efforts on goal he will almost certainly justify that extra 2.0m. This is why we need to judge stats over a longer time frame and shouldn't overreact either way to just end results, focusing instead on the process.
Status: Buy, but I still issue caution about whether your money can be put to better use

Carlos Tevez 6
I knew I had a fairly poor grasp on what Mancini was thinking, but I'm still amazed that Tevez has maintained a higher level of playing time than Aguero, especially since City were effectively (and then actually) eliminated from the Champions League. Gun to my head I still believe that Aguero ends the year with more minutes, at least from here on that is, but I'm not sure I'm now willing to bet a 1.6m premium on it. If you need to make up ground on your opponents, getting arguably the best forward in the league with just a 6% ownership before he faces NEW, RDG, SUN, NOR and STK seems like a pretty solid calculated risk, but it is very much a risk and one which is becoming harder and harder to pull the trigger on. As for Tevez, he remains well priced and probably comes at a slight discount compared to his production to date. Given those fixtures there's no real reason to sell now, other than that 40% ownership rate.
Status: Hold


Pulma said...

Please cast your vote on this issue:

Best midfielder with a DGW:

a) Sessegnon
b) Hal Robson Kanu
c) Adam Johnson

Best forward for the double GW

a) Fletcher (if fit)
b) Le Fondre

And is Shorey worth owning for a longer period?

DF said...

This column is becoming a must-read - so thank you.

Can I clarify your comment on the elite options which you;re no longer going to discuss?
1) Would you simply recommend owners own as many of these as possible (except if differentiation is the objective)?
2) Who would you say are the top ten elite options?


Steven said...

It's been a must read DF for at least 3 years :)