Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gameweek 36 double gameweek advanced preview

It's been increasingly hard to differentiate our teams of late, and those who tried to do just that without van Persie these past couple of weeks were burned with a couple of 16+ point performances. All is not lost though, and the fixture Gods have dished out one last chance to gain some ground on your opponents, or, one last offensive to repel, depending on your position within your respective mini-leagues.

That position is going to dictate your strategy and so we need to dig a bit deeper than simply trying to maximize the points in the '36' column on the forecast charts (if indeed you believe any of the forecast on this lowly blog). First then, let's look at the main options, their forecast points and ownership numbers:

The first obvious point is that not all double gameweeks are created equal and some caution should be exercised about piling on players from Chelsea, and to an extent Swansea, given the relative strength of their opponents in gameweek 36. Mata and Hazard owners will obviously be pleased with the extra fixture and thus you would certainly lean towards keeping that pair over someone like Cazorla or Gerrard, but with one fixture coming at Old Trafford and the other seeing Tottenham come to Stamford Bridge, the ceiling (if not the floor) of the Chelsea players is somewhat limited.

The second general point to note is that a large number of the best options for the double gameweek are already owned by 15%+ managers. Again then, choosing your options is going to depend on whether you need to gain/defend ground, so for each team we're going to highlight picks for each instance.

Finally, I am putting defensive options to one side here, as the strategy there is much simpler (chase the lower expected goals conceded numbers and do with the cheapest defensive option available in each respective team).

The Elite
Chelsea - @MUN, TOT
With three genuinely elite and widely held options in Ba, Mata and Hazard, Chelsea will play a big role in GW36's double gameweeks, though the strength of those fixtures really leads me to push them down the list of desired targets. If you already own them, it's almost certainly worth holding on, but otherwise it looks like a move which carries a higher floor than normal, but a ceiling which doesn't particularly inspire.

If you're leading your league: If your key opponent holds one or more of this trio you might want to consider bringing them in, just to hedge against the possibility that both these fixtures turn into high scoring affairs (that could certainly happen at Old Trafford if United decide to play a very expansive game now the title is wrapped up). If that's the case, I would target Mata if you just want Chelsea cover, or whichever player your opponent holds if you're really trying to just hold on.

If you're chasing the pack: It's likely that your opponents own at least one of these players and this isn't where I would be targeting my transfers. Of course, if your opponents are stocked with City and Spurs players with no Chelsea coverage then the likes of Mata or Hazard make sense, but all else being equal I'd look to players with more upside than this group

Man City - @SWA, WBA
We have five potentially viable options here who are held by 5% of less of all managers, yet with City's form and Mancini's penchant for wholesale changes, I'm not sure I even feel confident picking who might play 120+ minutes, never mind who will enjoy predictable success.

If you're leading your league: There is less incentive to push the issue here so while you'll definitely want to look at Tevez - who probably grades out as the best safety/upside forward for the remainder of the season - there's probably little reason to get involved with the Aguero/Dzeko/Silva group, who all have the potential to succeed but are far from guaranteed playing time (in Silva's case more related to injury than rotation).

If you're chasing the pack: If you need to gain ground then one can make a pretty strong argument that you need to heavily invest in this City team. Unless your opponent is asleep at the wheel, they'll almost certainly have a couple of players from the Mata/Hazard/Bale/Tevez/Michu group so if you want to gain serious ground you'll need to either hit the jackpot with non-double gameweek picks, or roll the dice with a couple of the riskier double gameweekers. Tevez is the obvious pick, though too comes with significant ownership numbers, so that really just leaves Aguero and Silva (if you're going to take a flyer on City players, looking at mid level options like Milner or Yaya doesn't seem like the best way to use your transfers). There hasn't been much indication to date that they'll be ready for the West Ham game, so despite that appetizing fixture, you might be best served holding off this week then bringing that pair in for one last roll of the dice if they're cleared to play in GW36.

Tottenham - SOU, @CHE
Given the strength of that second fixture, I wouldn't try and press the issue here and would offer the same advice for everyone, whether leading or chasing the pack: buy Bale. He was a good buy option this week despite the slight injury risk, but having come through the City game unscathed, he now reclaims his spot as the best projected midfield option for the remainder of the year, and arguably the best combo of floor/ceiling among all players. Such is the strength of his forecast points, he looks like a good option to take a four point hit four, other than for Mata and Hazard whose own double gameweeks should keep things close.

With the uncertainty of everyone else's playing time, I believe there are better ways to use your remaining transfers than to chase anyone else from this team.

The Others
Swansea - MCI, @WIG
If Tottenham's team can be boiled down to one player than I don't know to communicate the gulf in class between Michu and the next player in this Swansea side. They could end the season with five midfielders with over 100 points, yet none of them outside Michu have really offered anything approaching consistent returns despite flashing promise at various times this year.

If you're leading your league:Bringing in Michu is probably a good defensive move given his huge ownership numbers, though I suspect that a portion of those owners will be teams who aren't currently active, as many of the 'busier' managers have moved the Spaniard on after a much quieter second half at the Liberty Stadium. While many are down on City, their defense is still pretty useful and they've only conceded more than once just eight times this year, with two of those coming back in August. The Wigan fixture looks more promising but then Swansea have been fairly miserable away from home of late and thus I wouldn't be expecting fireworks there either.

If you're chasing the pack: There's a chance that your opponents won't hold Michu of course, but it's likely that at least some of them do and that makes him a lot less attractive if you need to make a move. All things considered, you would obviously pick him over most (or all) players without a double gameweek, but I'd suggest the data shows he is one player you don't need to target and thus your precious transfers might be better used elsewhere if looking to differentiate.

As a defensive blocking option Michu makes a lot of sense, but be sure to understand the kind of (limited) ceiling you're buying into before paying a premium.

West Brom - WIG, @MCI
Along with Silva (if fit), Lukaku offers the best combination of points upside, job security and low ownership percentage, and thus should certainly be considered as a transfer target for GW36. For those needing replacements for Suarez or Giroud, or looking for greater upside than the likes of Benteke or Berbatov, you could do a lot worse than targeting Lukaku, starting this week with his trip to Southampton.

If you're leading your league: Lukaku does carry some risk as he does occasionally start on the bench, and with West Brom safe, there is at least some incentive to play Long as Lukaku looks set to return to Chelsea in the summer. With the low ownership numbers seen across this team, this might be one side to ignore if the onus is on your opponent to make ground on you.

If you're chasing the pack: Lukaku looks like a good player to back to differentiate your team, even if we're not crazy about the underlying data observed in his dashboard. It's a bit disconcerting that he hasn't yet netted against of the league's best teams so that trip to City starts to look like a two-pointer but you'd really fancy him at home to Wigan and the potential penalty duties do give him the chance to contribute against anyone. Despite that home game with Wigan, there really isn't too much to get excited about elsewhere in this team, so while you'd obviously play Morrison if you own him, I wouldn't be rushing out to bring him in given the other available options.

Wigan - @WBA, SWA
Wigan are possibly the hardest team to deal with for the double gameweek as they get some fairly favourable fixtures and have players able to take advantage, yet haven't really been able to play with any consistency so far this year. One plus is that the fixtures surrounding the double are also fairly useful with two home games (TOT and AVL) and then a tough trip to Arsenal.

If you're leading your league: As with the other non-elite teams, it's likely that the best pure-points-maximization strategies lie away from Wigan and you're almost certainly better served simply plugging Tevez in for Suarez or Bale for Cazorla, or whichever transfer blocks your opponents teams the best. While I'm a big fan of Maloney and Kone, there's a reason they're are owned by 5% or less managers and that lack of consistency makes them a risk you don't need to take if you're in a position of power.

If you're chasing the pack:If you need to take a risk then Kone, and to a lesser extent Maloney look like great options to try. Kone grades out slightly below Lukaku in terms of the model, but if you were going to give a range of outcomes, the mode might be higher for the Wigan man given the easier fixtures and the higher chance that Lukaku is benched or simply shut out against City. As for Maloney, he is sensational value at 5.1m, but the sticking point is that transfers are limited and his lower ceiling makes it harder to justify using a four-pointer on. If however things are desperate and you absolutely need to roll the dice, he looks like by far the best budget midfield play for the doubles.


2ndMan said...

Fantastic article this, a lot of options for GW36 but this sums them up well.

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