Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dousing the fire, fanning the flames: Gameweek 16

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.

In the interest of time 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.

**The below is best reviewed alongside the new player dashboards, which will elaborate on some of the highlighted stats and trends**

Fernando Torres 16 points
It's troubling to me that Torres doesn't fall into that elite "of course he had a good gameweek" category these days, but while I'm hesitant to fully buy into the Benitez narrative, Torres' xG numbers have been much better since his compatriots arrival so there might be something there. Chelsea's fixtures look promising after this week's off week, and while I would still lean towards Mata or Hazard, Torres is at least on our collective watchlist. I would however be more interested if he was a differential option, which his 14% ownership doesn't suggest (though that could be different depending on your individual mini leagues).
Status: Monitor

Robert Snodgrass 16
Over the last couple of weeks Snodgrass has slowly been adding an increased assist threat which makes him more intriguing as something other than a poor man's Kevin Nolan or Michu. His xG numbers have remained solid, and this week aside, have actually suggested more production than he's actually returned. The fact that Snodgrass has put up extremely good away numbers is encouraging as I don't see much in his game which suggests he will only ever succeed away from home (i.e. on counter attacks) and if his home numbers come around, he should become a player who can almost be started every game.
Status: Buy, though with some caution based on that fixture list

Mikel Arteta 16
Arteta has put up some decent numbers at home, which seems logical given the increased freedom his has to push forward at the Emirates. That said, the consistency isn't there and for his price range we're going to need a lot more to invest.
Status: Sell

James McCarthy 15
McCarthy really hasn't done much by way of xG or xA this season and this week is the first time he's really presented a major threat on the opponent goal. I like the price tag but there's not enough here to invest in.
Status: Sell

Grant Holt 14
Holt's been on a pretty miserable run of fantasy returns of late, and while his 14 point this week is a plus, the underlying stats didn't really show us anything to suggest his prospects are particularly bright. Norwich's upcoming home games look pretty tough and there's not enough here to take a chance with other good forward options around.
Status: Sell

Wayne Rooney 12
Before gameweek 10, the model forecast Rooney and Aguero to both post an average points per game of 5.8 over the next eight gameweeks. We're now six weeks into that forecast and van Persie has posted a PPG of 5.4 while Rooney has either a 5.7 or 6.7 average, depending on whether you count GW12 where he didn't play (it's probably not fair to fully include as your sub would have come in, but equally we shouldn't just take it out as it meant having a huge asset sat on your bench). I'm not going to take two results and say the model is therefore infallible but I would suggest that it was always going to be very hard for van Persie to justify the extra 1.6m needed to invest at the time of writing. This week's big performance away from Old Trafford has now pushed the two back into a very close forecasted position and so once again I am minded to stick with Rooney. On a side note, the G/SoT graph for Rooney is a thing of beauty, falling as he struggled for fantasy points (with good shot data) and then regressing quickly back to the mean as he enjoyed back to back big games, without doing a great deal different.
Status: Buy

Michu 12
I don't know what to say really. His xG numbers are very good and the production has obviously been amazing but that 57% G/SoT% rates is simply astonishing. For some perspective, consider that in La Liga, Leo Messi's rate over the last five years is 45% (incredibly high) and his best season was last year's 50(!) goal effort, which came on 99 SoT (51% G/SoT). Ronaldo's rate at Real Madrid has been 36% while his best season at United was 32%. Simply put, I believe Michu is a very good player and a large part of his production is no fluke. That said, at this point, if you don't own him, you have to be mindful that the chance that you are buying another 12 goals is extremely unlikely. At 6.5m that wasn't an issue but now his price has risen to 8.0m this becomes a bigger issue. In a vacuum I like him a lot but as a value play, the expected regression on his G/SoT suggests other options might be preferable (especially for those chasing, rather than leading their respective leagues).
Status: Hold, and buy in a vacuum but I'd be very cautious about what you expect before pulling the trigger at 8.0m

Damien Duff 11
Duff offers limited assist potential but brings nothing by way of a goal threat. He has been more involved of late, as shown by his increasing pCC% though for 6.0m I'd personally prefer someone with higher upside (Taarabt or Snodgrass) or who offers points in multiple categories (Morrison, Lallana, Puncheon).
Status: Monitor

Jason Puncheon 11
There's a lot to like in Puncheon's underlying numbers. He's been getting a higher share of Southampton's shots, hitting the target more and taking more efforts inside the box, all of which have contributed to his improved production. His xG numbers have been pretty consistent with four of his last five games close to or over 0.5, and while his G/SoT has increased, it's still hovering below league average so we're not living in fear of regression. He doesn't offer much by way of assist potential but then, what more do you want for 4.7m?
Status: Strong buy, though f you don't already own him defer for a week given his off week

Steven Pienaar 10
Pienaar is solid enough and he brings excellent assist potential along with some goal threat (which has been improving of late). Everton's fixtures look pretty reasonable, especially when you consider that Pienaar has been as good away from home as at Goodison and thus the extra away game shouldn't be a huge concern. If your team value is good, and you can afford Pienaar as a very good 4th or 5th midfielder he is still worth a look but if you're looking for big points hauls from an every week starter, I'm not sure he's your man.
Status: Buy as a safe option but I wouldn't be excited doing it

Steve Sidwell 10
Sidwell has hit or topped six points three times in the last seven weeks but the underlying xG data suggests this is likely a mirage. He's shown some potential a couple of times, but then in the majority of games he is offering very little. The playing time seems to be safer these days and the price is right, but even then there are options available with more upside.
Status: Sell

Jonathan De Guzman 10
I haven't spoken much about De Guzman, focusing on some of the other promising options in Swansea's midfield but he's quietly put together a decent campaign so far. He offers decent goal and assist potential and has shown a fairly high floor when he's played. However, at 5.7m I'm not yet personally convinced, and the slight risk of rotation makes this an even tougher sell.
Status: Monitor

Joe Cole 9
Ha, really? No, stop it. If it was August I might suggest he has time to earn some minutes over the season but with the transfer window set to open soon I can't believe Cole has a significant part to play here, at least not in fantasy circles.
Status: Sell

Jean Beausejour 9
Anytime you can lock down a glorified full back on a somewhat mediocre team for 5.3m, you have to be excited, right?
Status: Sell

Clint Dempsey 9
Dempsey is a tough man to categorise. His production has been great of late and it comes with a pretty solid set of xG scores. His assist totals remain flat and uninspiring though and given his lofty price tag it's hard to see him representing great value while operating as a one category player. He cut a similar profile at Fulham too of course, but there he was very much the focal point of the team's attacking prowess and until last season came at a substantial discount to this year. His 2.0% ownership makes him intriguing though and the upcoming fixtures look great. If you're holding Bale and don't have a profit to lose I would definitely consider that move for now, though I'd suggest it would be risky to own both when the Welshman returns.
Status: Buy his production but with questions over his price tag

Juan Mata 8
I won't dwell here. Mata is an excellent prospect and should continue to be very ownable after this week's bye. There are some caution signs here with a high G/SoT and what was a deteriorating share of SiB, though the latter has bounced back of late and Chelsea's fixtures look good enough after this week to make Mata a very good option.
Status: Buy after this week

Mark Noble 8
No thanks, unless West Ham start getting penalties every week
Status: Sell

Adam Johnson 8
I've been as critical as anyone about this Sunderland side, but just as we need to temper enthusiasm when teams hit good form, it's equally (if not more) important to not dwell on the past and accept when weaker teams start playing better. Given the fixtures, it's a stretch to target Johnson right after the double gameweek, but he does offer the potential to contribute both goals and assists and thus deserves monitoring.
Status: Monitor

Hugo Rodallega 7
I like Rodallega quite a bit but the playing time just isn't guaranteed and even he does play he can sometimes be pushed out wide a touch.
Status: Pass

Hatem Ben Arfa 7
Ben Arfa's production declined as his G/SoT% rate regressed but he has put up decent xG and xA numbers when he's been healthy, and he obviously has the kind of talent you can dream on. Unfortunately, his timing is ill timed as the next five games see Newcastle face four of the better teams in the league. He's worth looking at but it would a surprise to see him justify that 7.5m against the league's better sides.
Status: Monitor

Yaya Toure 7
Toure has been very consistent this year, however unfortunately it's been at a fairly mediocre level, especially given his price tag. An injury to one or more of the front men might open up more playing time in a more advanced role for Toure, but until then it's highly unlikely he'll come close to justifying his lofty fee.
Status: Monitor out of respect for his talent, but it's unlikely he'll become good value anytime soon

Robin Van Persie 6
He's obviously great and has shown an ability to notch points even when not overly involved in the game, however as noted for Rooney above, I still like his team mate about as much but for less money. If your team value is relatively high he might make more sense, but be sure to consider the opportunity cost of that ~1.5m premium paid to bring him in.
Status: Buy, though be mindful of his cost

Nikica Jelavic 6
Despite his goal, Jelavic's scoring prospects don't look much better than in prior weeks. His share of Everton's SiB are declining and his G/SoT remains at a level which likely will regress, suggesting even his modest returns to date might dry up further. Everton have some decent games coming up and have enough talent to make Jelavic useful once more, but for now he just isn't showing enough to promise sold returns.
Status: Sell 

Carlos Tevez 6
When Tevez has played he's been pretty great and put up some quite astonishing numbers (his home P$ over over one is unprecedented for a player of his cost). The question of course is one of uncertainty rather than quantifiable risk and your guess is as good as mine as to what Mancini will do with him over the coming weeks and months. Given the ownership numbers and rotation uncertainty, I would still recommend doing your best to upgrade to Rooney or Aguero if your budget can stretch.
Status: Hold, though consider other options given his risk

Santi Cazorla 6
Cazorla's goal threat has been incredibly consistent and at least until the last couple of weeks he brought an impressive xA resume to match. He appears to have lost some of his lustre in some circles, though other than a decline in G/SoT% I see nothing that has really changed in his profile since he was one of the hottest players around. A permanent decline in assist potential would be a blow and deserves monitoring but otherwise I still see a lot to like here.
Status: Buy

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6
The Ox has put up some decent numbers when deployed but those opportunities have been few and far between and with Walcott on the mend those chances don't look much brighter for the coming weeks.
Status: Sell


Henry Darana said...

Hi Chris,

Any thoughts on Nolan, given a reasonable fixture list, atleast in the attacking perspective...

Do you think, a change from Sess to Nolan would be a good trade...

Tony S said...

Hi Chris, I'm one of them worried Cazorla owners who is starting to think that he is just over priced for what he returns. I just don't see him putting in a very big week and I'd be surprised if he went on to scored more than 1 goal in a match all season. But you slways seem to stand by him, even though his points this week were for falling in the box.
I am just wondering, what do you now believe is the pecking order for the big priced midfielers?
I personally think Mata and Bale are in an elite group at the top, with Michu and Fellani next best and after that I think there are 5 or 6 players that are going to come in and out of form such as Gerrad and Cazorla. Which therefore leads me to believe that maybe Cazorla just isn't worth the money ..... any thoughts?

highspire said...

Here's my punt on the Midfielder's I believe can average 4.5 PPG (min 25 matches)at season's end, in order of who I think'll have highest to lowest.

Ben Arfa

Gummi said...

Excellent piece, as usual.

Do you follow your advice religiously, or do you use your stats to back up your "gut feeling"?

I sometimes find it hard to stick to the players that have good underlying stats but aren't producing.

For example, by watching Arsenal games I get the feeling Cazorla isn't as valuable as the stats indicate, yet I still hesitate to sell him.

Gaurav said...

Fantastic work on the Player Dashboard Chris. Genius!