Monday, December 17, 2012

Dousing the fire, fanning the flames: Gameweek 17

We've added new wrinkle this week, first with the data table below, and second with the players we're going to highlight. First, let's look at the new table. It shows the key data points for every player who scored six or more points for the week, along with their actual (P) and expected points (xP) and then the difference between the two. xP is calculated based on the actual underlying stats for the week and does not relate to any forecasts associated with the model. What we're trying to do is identify legitimate big performances rather than those where a player, for example, notches one shot, one on target and one goal yet makes out with a nine point haul. Those points still count of course but we'd be more suspicious about their sustainability and thus they'd need more discussion (and in most causes some dousing of the fire). Where a player's points are backed up by his xP I will be more inclined to gloss over them, particularly where said player is an established star enjoying another week of sustained success.

The second revision for the week is found in the lower part of the table which shows players whose xP greatly exceeded their actual points. These are the players who deserve a bit more attention that they might otherwise receive and should be monitored closely as they are likely not being purchased by the masses.

As in prior weeks, each player is assigned a 'buy', 'hold/monitor' or 'sell' status. These do not necessarily reflect what I would personally do, rather what I suggest to be a decision based in logic. For example, I might feel that Rooney represents better value than van Persie, but I would still 'buy' the Dutchman's success and consider him very ownable. The different assigned statuses are summarised as:
  • 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 sell 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. 
The below analysis is best reviewed alongside the player dashboards, which show all the stats highlighted within the narrative.

Santi Cazorla 23
Obviously the underlying stats don't support a hattrick, but then they likely never will (you'd need nine shots on target to justify it). Watching the game Cazorla was good value for a big points haul and the fact he was getting on the end of chances (particularly the header) shows that the concern that he would assist too many assists, can be put aside for one week. He's one of the few players without any real concerns and, while some will chatter about Arsenal's decline, they're still a good attacking unit and Cazorla looks well placed to take advantage of that fact.
Status: Buy

Christian Benteke 15
Benteke obviously out gained his xP for the week, though that's always going to the case with big scores as the xP calculation is 'digital', allowing players to score, say 0.5 goals, where as in reality the situation is much more 'analog', as you obviously need to score in whole numbers. While his three shot performance isn't indicative of a player likely to rack up big points every week, Benteke's stats are pretty encouraging, and with four very good xG performances over the last six weeks, his owners will feel he was due an over achievement one of these weeks.

Benteke's underlying trends look a touch odd, with him taking more shots outside the box (evidenced by a declining SiB%) yet hitting the target with more consistency (increasing SoT%). So long as that SoT% doesn't suffer too much, there aren't too many issues here, though we also need to keep an eye on his share of Villa's shots, as unlike someone like Aguero who could survive with a small piece of a large pie, Benteke needs to be dominating Villa's chances if he's going to continue his excellent season. Villa don't do well in the model's forecast for the next eight gameweeks, though, again, that isn't a huge issue so long as Benteke is accounting for a large portion of Villa's production. While they don't enjoy any games which look overly promising, they don't have any in which you would definitely want to bench Benteke either.
Status: Buy, as a differential third forward

Lukas Podolski 14
Podolski looked great in this one, and in some ways was equally as impressive as Cazorla as an attacking threat. He balanced when to come inside and when to stay out wide well and looked a genuine threat to score and assist goals throughout the game. At 8.2m he's a touch pricier than you'd like for a player who can sometimes be somewhat isolated out wide, but he's a genuine goal threat who can convert goals at a rate on a par with many of the league's best players and given the next four games, I'd be more than happy to load up on Gunners.
Status: Buy, though I have some concern about his value for money

Adel Taarabt 14
Taarabt's underlying stats suggested he was always capable of putting together some big gameweek scores, though as shown above, the fact that his two goals this week came on seven SoB, we wouldn't really suggest this kind of outcome is sustainable (SoB are converted to goals at just a 4% across the league). Given his penchant for the long range effort, not to mention the very nature of his game, Taarabt is always likely to be a somewhat unpredictable asset, but since Redknapp's arrival we have at least seen the apparent elimination of his rotation and positional risk, thus making him a much safer option with substantial upside. Indeed, with Fellaini and Michu's price rises, there maybe no mid range midfielder with greater price/upside combination (perhaps Puncheon too).
Status: Buy, though consider if you want to wait until after he gets his 5th yellow card

Wes Hoolahan 13
This is one of those classic games where the underlying stats don't support the big points haul, and thus, for this week anyway, we need to douse that fire. Now, in fairness to Hoolahan he has put up some reasonable stats in the past and thus he isn't without any hope, though for 5.5m you'd probably want either a high floor of his production or a much higher ceiling.
Status: Sell

Robin Van Persie 12
Nothing really to add here as Van Persie enjoyed another very good game and end results. Given that I am now contractual obliged to compare him to Rooney every week, it's notable that they essentially had the same same in terms of key stats and thus the pair remain fairly close in the model's forecasts.
Status: Buy, though as always consider the opportunity cost of the massive investment required to bring him in

Anthony Pilkington 11
I'd be much happier backing Pilkington than teammate Hoolahan as he's put up decent xG scored in six of the last eight games (though doesn't offer much by way of assist potential). His home/away splits are about as wide as you're going to see and a quick glance at the average position charts does show a consistent tendency to play slightly further upfield at Carrow Road. I'm not sure that supports such vast splits as we've observed to date, but either way, at 5.7m you can probably afford to only really deploy Pilkington at home and thus his prospects look very promising. The issue I have are the opponents in those home games, as Norwich welcome CHE, MCI, NEW, TOT, FUL and EVE in the next six, none of which look like easy pickings. Though he, and Norwich, are good enough to do okay in some of those games, if you're playing the odds you'd probably venture that his successful home run to date is likely to slow down somewhat.
Status: Hold, but those fixtures make it hard to recommend buying him

Yaya Toure 10
One might like to suggest that Yaya is 'back' and that his goals are what City needs to drive them on to another title bid. Well, you're free to make those suggestions, indeed in theory it's a nice narrative but in terms of forecastable production it's way off the mark. Yaya has just played two of his worst statistical performances of the season, racking up just two shots and zero chances created, while taking up a fairly deep role, particularly this week. It's tempting to try and get access to this City side but I don't believe Yaya is the man to fill that role and you'd be better off taking the odd rotation with Tevez, Aguero or Silva than backing an overly defensive Yaya.
Status: Sell

Brett Holman 9
Holman offers some goal and assist value to the point where we might be interested at, say, 4.5m but for 5.5m he offers neither the consistency nor the upside we desire.
Status: Sell

Javi Garcia 9
The only plus for Garcia is his player dashboard which is amusingly bad.
Status: Sell

Tom Cleverley 9
I want to like Cleverley, in a desperate attempt to back someone from this United side that doesn't cost 11.0m but the stats just aren't there, even if we were sure he'd play every week (which we're not).
Status: Sell

Steven Gerrard 9
As with several players highlighted this week, it's not that Gerrard is without charm, it's just that for his price tag we need to see more, a lot more in his case. xG scores of 0.2, while consistently delivered are not going to get it done for a 9.0m+ player (an xG of 0.2 suggests he'll score every five games or so, giving him between three and four goals the rest of the way. We can get double that forecast rate of return from Jason Puncheon who costs over 4.0m less). Gerrard has sufficient talent and pedigree to spark our collective interest when things go well but it appears that those games will be too few and far between to ever justify his price tag, and barring some kind of miracle turnaround during the transfer window, his days as a fantasy asset might be over until his price is cut to match the reality of the situation.
Status: Sell

Theo Walcott 8
My interest is piqued but I don't believe we're there yet with Walcott. His xG and xA numbers are still uninspiring, while his G/SoT% is still astronomically high. Perhaps he'll get more games up front as requested, but I don't believe Wenger will compromise his entire plan to appease Walcott's complaints and thus he's going to have to share time with Giroud and the myriad of wide options which makes that price tag look too rich for my taste.
Status: Monitor

Kenwyne Jones 7
Jones is a good enough player to offer some usability in the league, and at 5.0m he would be an interesting player if we felt he'd play every week. Alas, I very much do not and expect Crouch to be reinstated sooner rather than later.
Status: Sell, or possibly monitor if you're desperate for a new budget forward to emerge.

Andreas Weimann 7
I actually quite like Weimann and he's another budget forward I would consider if everything fell into place. However, with Bent and Agbonlahor set to return from injury at some point (perhaps as early as this week for Agbonlahor) and Benteke looking undroppable, it's tough to categorise Weimann's minutes as anything but risky.
Status: Sell

Wayne Rooney 7
His underlying stats actually exceeded his points return and my personal fears of his ability to play alongside Cleverley (who has stepped into his advanced position at times) were eased. I see no reason why he can't hang with van Persie and the other elite forwards and, as several readers have speculated, there's a reasonable case to be made for doubling up on the United pair as their success hardly seems to be mutually exclusive.
Status: Buy

Alejandro Faurlin 7
Faurlin is a useful player, and perhaps his role will solidify and improve under Redknapp but we've really seen nothing to date other than this week's five created chances to suggest he will offer anything in fantasy value and thus it's impossible to put him alongside the likes of Puncheon, who comes with the same price tag.
Status: Sell

Mladen Petric
Petric has some great underlying stats considering his playing time, with his home form being particularly encouraging. That said, I wouldn't expect Berbatov to be dropped with any regularity and then Fulham have Rodallega who is likely a better partner for the Bulgarian, not to mention Ruiz, who should return early in the new year. If his situation changes Petric might offer some value, but right now he's a good prospect in a bad position.
Status: Sell

Demba Ba 6
With Ba's last seven goals coming against, at best, mid level teams, it was good to see him net in one of his tougher fixtures. With @MUN, @ARS, EVE and @NOR to come in the next five weeks, I'm still a little hesitant to fully endorse Ba to continue at his current rate of return, but if this week's goal taught us anything, he doesn't need to be sold and his owners should feel comfortable addressing other areas of their team if needed.
Status: Hold given the fixtures with some thought paid to other options if you've transfers to spare

Shaun Maloney 6
Maloney is an really good player but without regular playing time you simply can't exist as a fantasy asset. Perhaps this goal will help him recapture his spot, but until we know for sure, I'm out.
Status: Monitor

Ashley Young 6
I was a little surprised to see that Young has started every game but one since returning to the lineup in GW9 and his assist potential has been pretty good in most games during that spell. For his price you'd ideally like to see more of a goal threat though and his profile looks a bit too similar for Pienaar (who costs 1.7m less) to get overly excited about. If you're fairly flush with cash, Young is a useful addition who should add his fair share of 5-6 point games with the odd double digit effort, but if you're looking for value, you'll probably want to go elsewhere.
Status: Buy if you have deep pockets but I'd like to see more of a goal threat before getting involved

David Silva 6 Silva is another player I'd like to get behind but his zero xG this week marked the second time in three weeks he's failed to register a singe shot on goal. His assist potential remains as good as anyone but without at least a handful of goals to supplement that production, he again starts to look like a slightly better version of Pienaar (or A.Young) rather than a truly elite option. He has shown an ability to generate goals though and after big games against Fulham (five shots), Villa (three) and Man Utd (three), we know he has the potential there to succeed. I thought perhaps that Silva's lack of playing time in the middle behind a lone front man might be the issue, but Mancini went with two forwards in all three of those games so there's more to it than that. Silva is too good a player to simply write off and City have still plenty of room to improve, but at the moment he's accounting for a smallish piece of a medium sized pie and to justify his price tag he really needs to either up his share or City need to increase their total output.
Status: Monitor

Jack Wilshere 1
With zero assists or clean sheets to date, Wilshere's hardly a player that fantasy managers will be clamoring to buy this week, but there is something here to at least look at. Wilshere often gets involved in Arsenal's attacks and brings a very good assist potential for a player of his price. I'm not sure the goals will come with any regularity, but good assist numbers with the odd goal makes him a potential alternative to other one category players like Pienaar or Nolan.
Status: Too soon to invest yet, but his talent makes him worth monitoring

Carlos Tevez 2 
I had some questions about his playing time (which aren't fully subsided yet) but Tevez continues to do well and put up another good xG score this week. To date he's put up better xG than Aguero and given his price tag, he obviously remains a worthy asset. Of the two, I favor Aguero given what I perceive to be a greater upside along with his considerably lower ownership, though if you're out in front in your own leagues, those factors may be less attractive to you and thus the cost saving might be worth it.
Status: Buy

Emmanuel Adebayor 2
Villas Boas is apparently quite pleased with the progress of the 4-4-2, which would certainly make Adebayor a more attractive option for the second half of the season. We don't have too much to go on yet so he remains a speculative play at best, but with the some of the shine coming off players like Berbatov and Jelavic, Adebayor should at least be sliding onto our watchlist.
Status: Monitor

Jonjo Shelvey 1
Shelvey delivered some promising stats this week in just 45 minutes and has done okay when played this year, sometimes in a quite advanced role. However, you have to feel that Liverpool are going to strengthen in the transfer window and with other options already available I don't see Shelvey's minutes being consistent enough to justify his purchase.
Status: Sell

Djibril Cisse 2
A big game here for Cisse was unfortunately not rewarded with any points but if he continues to deliver shots on this level, the goals are sure to follow soon. With Mackie pushed out wide and a number of other forwards injured, Cisse might have a free ride to a consistent role up front and thus deserves fantasy consideration. While it's tough to put him ahead of others in his price range like Benteke, Lambert or Kone, his goal potential is unquestionable, especially if his G/SoT regresses in the coming weeks. QPR's fixtures are solid rather than spectacular but given Cisse's 1.1% ownership, he's certainly worth a look.
Status: Monitor, or a very speculative buy

Luis Suarez 1
We know that Suarez sometimes has difficulty converting his shots at a league average rate, so we'd expect him to underperform his xG, but if he keeps churning out seven shot games I have no doubt the fantasy points will continue to flow.
Status: Buy


CDI said...
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CDI said...
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Luxian Gan said...

What happened to Jan Vertonghen?

David Huang said...

In Benteke's piece I think you meant "analog" and "digital" the other way around.

CDI said...

@Luxian he doesn't talk about defenders in this piece.

Chris what do you plan to do with Fellaini? I was considering holding for a week to give me time to decide on Bale or Mata but he is dropping like a stone and could drop 0.5 by next week. Yaya doesn't seem like an option to me and he's at a weird price point where I don't see anyone I want.

Tony S said...

Hi Chris,
I love the new addition to the column 'Fanning The Flames' it helps players like me (with itchy fingers) to keep faith in players like Suarez after a 1 point week.

The Cazorla situation this week reminds me of Bale earlier in the season when he had a few low scoring weeks but yet his stats were great and sure enough things evened themselves out and the big scores came. I guess all we can do is target the potential big scoring players and to hold tight and wait for the scores to come. The top 5 scoring midfielders or strikers at the end of the season won't be a big surprise ..... which leads me onto my point....

I know we always say that things even out over the season bur do you think it takes that long? I wonder if you measured a players expected points over a 1 or 2 month period would it match up to his actual points? We could therefore start to predict when a player is 'due a big win'..... now that would be good to know :)

Again, great piece and thanks for helping us mere mortals keep faith with our predictions and convictions.


Chris Glover said...

Luxian - The reason I don't include defenders is because I believe the vast majority of their value is tied to their respective teams. There are, of course, a couple of notable exceptions but I think we all know who they are (Baines, maybe Vermaelen etc). And even then, I have my own reservations about whether they can support the extra investment required to get them over their teammates (Baines 2.2m more than Distin, Vertonghen 1.8m more than Dawson, Vermaelen 1.7m more than Sagna).

David - ha, yes. I guess that's why my TV never works ;)

CDI - I think you have to sell him. I was holding him at 7.5m, so faced a 0.5m loss in profit, but I believe that by the time his suspension is done I will probably be able to buy him back for maybe 7.6m with my wildcard. 8.0m isn't devastating to have on the bench but given the availability of the wildcard and the inevitable price crash, I think selling is the way to go.

As for replacements, you're right that he's in a tricky bracket, though I believe we sometimes get misled into thinking we have to spend our money every week. If, for example, you like Puncheon (as well you might given the fixture this week) then go with him and stash your money for next week. Michu of course makes sense if you're one of the few managers who doesn't own him, but otherwise I'd be happy going with someone less obvious like a Puncheon or even Taarabt, safe in the knowledge that if the next few promising games don't pan out, you have that wildcard nicely stashed away to use in a couple of weeks.

Tony - I wrote a lengthy response but I think it's worth adding a post on, so check out the main page for my answer.

Phase1 said...

Thanks Chris. I think I'll try and hold off till saturday then use 2 FT to upgrade him to Bale/Mata for free next week. Hoping he can't fall more than 0.3 per game week which means I'll only lose 0.1 of my selling value.

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