Friday, November 21, 2014

Adopt a Team: Chelsea and West Brom stats


So this Chelsea defense is pretty solid. They've topped -20% SiB +/- in all but three of their games and currently rank second in supressing opponent SiB with -25% overall, trailing only Arsenal. At home they've been frankly ridiculous with three games over -60% including the -100% effort against Leicester (one of only two such games in the league this year). So far this has only translated into three clean sheets but with an incredible four games allowing five SiB or less yet still conceding a single goal, we can expect some steep improvement in the future.

If we want to access this defensive unit then, who should we focus our attention on? Ivanovic comes with a much higher price tag while the cheapest option - Azpilicueta - is probably the one player who faces at least some rotation threat with Felipe Luis hanging around on the bench. Let's take a look at their respective attacking threat to date:

As expected, Ivanovic is the clear leader here, offering a very good assist threat that comes close to Oscar alongside a more modest goal threat which still eclipses his defensive colleagues by a distance. In the model, this plays out to be about 0.5 expected points per game more than his defensive teammates, which is a fairly sizeable difference. It's a similar sized gap as we see between Hazard/Fabregas and Oscar, who are separated by 1.3-1.6m or even Diego Costa and Welbeck, who are separated by a full 3.7m. These scenarios aren't necessarily directly comparable, but they do suggest that Ivanovic may well be worth the premium here, providing you have at least some disposal cash to spend without seriously hurting the rest of your squad. The model ranks him and Baines as very close but with more of Ivanovic's value set to come from clean sheets, I would probably lean towards the Chelsea man and pocket the 0.1m difference.

As far as the big three go - Diego Costa, Fabrgeas and Hazard - we see three distinct profiles with the front man being close a pure goal scorer, Fabregas deriving almost all his value from assists while Hazard occupies the middle ground (his goal threat is perhaps a bit lower than Costa's depending on how you account for penalties). I can't think of too many elite fantasy players over the years who have enjoyed sustained fantasy success having success in just a single category, particularly when it comes to midfielders who are reliant on others to convert their created chances. It does happen though and Fabregas has been so dominant that he of course remain very ownable and has the underlying stats to support his torrid form. However, with his ownership eclipsing 50% there are reasons to want to look elsewhere and so I would personally lean towards Hazard as the main man to target here, slotting in one of the other pair either as defensive move to block against your rivals, or simply because they are very good and you have the cash to burn.

There isn't a great deal I'm really looking out for in this week's game from Chelsea as I'm sure we've all seen them play several times already and the team kinda is what it is (excellent). I will probably try and focus on Fabregas for evidence that his goal scoring threat might increase in the future but only a dramatic departure from the stats to date would suggest that likely.

West Brom

This isn't a particularly promising chart for West Brom fans and represents the jnconsistency I associate with this team, that I was somewhat surprised didn't show up in the weekly lineups. So we know who'll play each week but we've no idea how they'll perform: great! 'No idea' is a stretch, as we have a pretty good handle on this side's attacking threat, and it isn't good. They haven't yet eclipsed the 0% threshold in aSiB +/- with four games way down in the -50% or worse range. There's no obvious link between these games with up and down performances both at home, on the road, at the start of the season and in recent weeks. The next question then, is do we even care if this team is inconsistent? Is there anyone worth paying attention to outside of Berahino whose price tag and goal threat make him ownable no matter the opponent or his teammates' form.

Brunt and Dorrans have risen to the top of the assist charts, though offer little going forward as goal threats. I hesitate to draw comparisons between this pair and Fabregas who is obviously operating on different a plane, but the issue is the same: do you want to back a player who derives virtually all his value from a single source. That issue is doubly important for Brunt and Dorrans, whose passes are aimed at the likes of Berahino and Sessgnon to finish rather than Diego Costa and Hazard. For ~5m though, it's useful to have a player who excels in one area, even if his production is going to be hard to forecast. Rather than trying to rotate him every week then, if interested, it might be advisable to identify a run of good games and try and milk the associated value (GW14-17 would be a good example).

At the back we see the two full backs leading the way in attacking potential. As noted yesterday, Wisdom comes with the cheapest price tag and no obvious threat to replace him and so this extra attacking bonus seals the deal for me as the best option in this backline, other than Foster who remains one of, if not the, best 4.5m 'keeper.

Berahino deserves a quick mention, if only to underline the fact that this kid is for real and not the product of a series of fluky early season goals. That said, when viewed in the context of the league rather than his own underwhelming team, the situation isn't so rosy:

He's in the mix with some other good players and we shouldn't of course be comparing with the scale-breaking Aguero, but still, this makes Berahino's numbers look a little underwhelming. Sakho, Jelavic and any of the Newcastle options (if one emerges as a consistent starter) all offer comparable or superior value but are owned by considerably less managers. I'm certainly not bailing on Berahino just yet, and neither should you if you're sat on a large profit but I don't believe he's a no-brainer option in that suddently deep ~6m range.

I'll be watching Berahino closely in this one to see how he can perform against a very good defense and thus if he's an option to deploy on a weekly basis despite his team's up and down fortunes. It will also be interesting to see if any of the midfield options can distinguish themselves in the contest and make a play for 4th or 5th midfield potential status.

The international break is over, roll on Saturday!

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