Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Aguero Problem

Given the number of transfers already made (290k at the time of writing), this post is potentially too late, but for those Aguero owners who haven't yet pulled the trigger on a replacement, here are a few factors to consider before you do.

The Argentinian's absence seems to be being pegged anywhere between four and six weeks, which means he will almost certainly miss gameweeks 17-21 and his absence could potentially extend through GW22 or even 23 (with good squad depth City should be mindful not to push their talisman and risk further injury as seems to have been the case with Kompany in the past). With his return therefore scheduled to coincide with the middle of the second wildcard window, the cost to buy Aguero back should essentially be ignored and value for money for right now is a factor. This contradicts the situation if he was missing for just a week or two, in which case it might be worth eating his cost to sit on the bench rather than lose 0.5m when you are forced to buy him back in two weeks.

So if we accept that value is a consideration, the assumption that Rooney is the best (or only if you read some sources) option looks arguable (that's assuming, of course, you already own Suarez. If you don't, you should probably just stop reading and go grab the Liverpool front man).

Team Forecast
If we look at the team forecast for the next six weeks, Aguero's absence become an even bigger blow as the model loves City compared with everyone else in the league.

One can argue, perhaps, that their fortunes will take a hit without Aguero, though in Negredo (and possibly Dzeko) they have a ready made replacement so it's reasonable to conclude that they'd still place atop these rankings even if we could eliminate Aguero's impact. Though Rooney may personally have being playing better of late, the model is terrified of United's prospects and is pretty suspicious of a turnaround, aside from the promising returns for the next three easier games. Based on their team's prospects (which are probably more reliable than individual forecasts as they're predicated on larger shot samples), Negredo looks like the best play here, followed by Suarez, Giroud and then Rooney or Lukaku.

Individual Forecast
Ok, so if you don't have Luis Suarez, seriously, stop reading and go and buy him . . . now. It's okay, we'll wait for you. Ready? Right, assuming you already have Suarez locked down, and most likely paired with someone else on this list, what now? Though not a necessity, it's always nice when the model backs up your own instinct based on watching games, and that's the case here as the next four options are those who likely sprung to everyone's mind when Aguero went down. The model doesn't see a great deal between this foursome (Giroud, Lukaku, Negredo and Rooney) and the only comment I'll add here is that if Giroud is the man you target, you may as well go with someone else for this week given his tricky fixture (CHE) and then bring him in for GW18. Also, one small factor is the captain's armband, and we can see that based purely on the data above, Lukaku is the only man who would be captained twice (GW18 SUN and GW21 NOR) over Suarez. Not a major point, but a point to consider in a close contest like this.

As we said above, given Aguero's expected length of absence, cost should be a factor. Of the four names noted above, Rooney costs between a 1.9-2.7m premium; money that could be used elsewhere to take advantage of other promising players. Those mouth watering numbers for City shown above coincide nicely with Silva's return to the side, for example, and he should be at the forefront of your plans as a high upside differentiator. Pairing the Spaniard with his teammate Negredo would given you an average expected points haul of 13.5 points per week between them, a total that simply cannot be matched by pairing Rooney with anyone available for 1.9m less than Silva (Ramsey would be the best bet at 1.6m less with an 11 point per week average). Granted, that Silva forecast is based on a small sample so I wouldn't necessarily want to hang my hat on it, but the point is, 1.9m-2.7m is a serious premium that can be used elsewhere in your team.

Suarez 46%
Lukaku 32%
Giroud 28%
Rooney 19%
Remy 15%
Benteke 10%
Lambert 10%
Negredo 9%

The latter three names enjoy an advantage here, though only Negredo has the data and upside to really come close to filling Aguero's shoes. The gap to Rooney isn't huge, and some of the Englishman's owners will be dead teams who picked him months ago, though it still represents an advantage that is becoming increasingly hard to find (that of being a "differentiator" if you can call a 9% owned player that).

This isn't an easy question though in some ways it's a welcome one, as while Aguero was playing out of his mind, virtually every contending team owned him so all he really did was make everyone compete with ~92m or so and inflate our collective weekly scores. With Rooney and Negredo looking like the favoured replacements at least we're seeing some element of distinguishing between our teams. As for what the ultimate answer is, I'd suggest that the one based in 2013-14 data is Lukaku, or Negredo if you want an element of differentiation (which I would personally endorse). Could Rooney outperform them both? Sure. But that proposition is based on elements that this blog doesn't really deal with, like achievements from prior years or the ever mythical "form". The way I see it, you have a player who's fantasy points have increased thanks to five goals in the last six weeks, but also one who's production looks unsustainable based on his shot totals over that period (based on his 23 shots, we'd expect 9 to hit the target and 3 to hit the net).

Negredo's data isn't spectacular either, and he too has benefited from a favourable G/SoT rate (6 goals / 11 SoT), but he also finds himself in a team whose attacking fortunes look much brighter, comes at a 1.9m discount and offers an increasingly valuable differentiation factor. Given that it looks like everyone will be captaining Suarez with a regularity harping back to the days of Ronaldo, I'd suggest you can take a risk with someone like Negredo over Rooney, especially if that could open the door for you to also bring in someone like Silva. In fact, that final factor may be the deciding piece of the puzzle and could finally offer an alternative to those wanting to go another way than Ramsey whose own 62% ownership has become an issue.

If in a position of strength, one can also make a good case for Lukaku who falls in the middle of most of the above considerations, though his high ownership rate suggests that many of you (including your humble blogger) already have the Everton man locked down. If that doesn't apply to you then the Belgian can offer increased stability and Premier League pedigree over Negredo, but comes with a lower ceiling and doesn't do much to really set you team apart.


x00x said...

Chris, I've missed you, nice to have you back :) Such a pity aguero going down and not capitalizing during that game and over the next few weeks...

I pulled the trigger on aguero --> rooney to catch the rise (s). In the end I decided that negredo wasn't nailed on enough and rooney would play (now potentially hurt though...). The other consideration was i am not ready to pick a new midfielder (silva? walcott?) this week.

festive football fun!

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