Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goalkeeper Pairs

Last season I did a piece that proved to be quite popular regarding the two keeper strategy of picking players whose fixtures complement each other so as to maximise the number of good games you get. Though I whiffed with one of my picks (Kirkland) the other three cheap keepers - Sorensen, Jaaskelainen and Robinson - all had good seasons (top 12 GK) and along with Joe Hart gave you plenty of budget options to deliver value at the GK position.

This season I am sticking with the same strategy, especially after my recent analysis that player cost is not a great indicator of future points for keepers. With that in mind, the below shows which 'keeper pairs sit well together in order to maximize the number of games played against weaker teams. Initially I only considered players valued at 4.5m or less from teams I considered to have a chance at doing okay this season (sorry Blackpool, this means you're out).

The pairs in order of average goals scored by opponents are as below, looking over the course of the season (playing a single keeper for an entire season would be equal to a GPG of 1.43):
  1. Ben Foster / Marcus Hahnemann - 1.02
  2. Paul Robinson / Steve Harper - 1.06
  3. Ben Foster / Steve Harper - 1.07
  4. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Ben Foster - 1.07
  5. Paul Robinson / Ben Foster - 1.07
  6. Paul Robinson / Jussi Jaaskelainen - 1.07
  7. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Steve Harper - 1.10
  8. Paul Robinson / Marcus Hahnemann - 1.13
  9. Marcus Hahnemann / Steve Harper - 1.15
  10. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Marcus Hahnemann - 1.15
The top pair are intriguing as Foster joins a decent Birmingham side who boast a top 10 defense and Hahnemann finished last season 9th among all keepers in point per game (ahead of fantasy favourites Joe Hart and Mark Schwarzer). The issue I have is that planning for a good combo in week 31 is pretty useless as teams will be better/worse than expected; so choosing between playing Newcastle or Bolton could in fact be a nightmare scenario (okay its unlikely but you get the point). Therefore, let's look at the best pairs for the opening 10 weeks, after which you can switch either of your underperforming net minders if they aren't doing the business:
  1. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Ben Foster - 0.94
  2. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Steve Harper - 0.94
  3. Paul Robinson / Steve Harper - 0.95
  4. Marcus Hahnemann / Steve Harper - 1.00
  5. Ben Foster / Steve Harper - 1.00
  6. Ben Foster / Marcus Hahnemann - 1.00
  7. Paul Robinson / Ben Foster - 1.04
  8. Paul Robinson / Jussi Jaaskelainen - 1.05
  9. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Marcus Hahnemann - 1.07
  10. Paul Robinson / Marcus Hahnemann - 1.16
Here we see that  the previous top pair of BF/MH drop to 6th place, though still offer a pretty attractive 1.00 GPG rate. In fact, this top 6 all look pretty attractive and you could feel relaxed taking any of these in order to fit into your other team selections. I like that top pair of JJ/BF quite alot given that both players and defense have histories of decent fantasy returns and both players should be able to feature in a large number of games this year. Steve Harper is a riskier pick but I think Newcastle's defense should be okay and might surprise a couple of people this year.

Expanding the field
Not wanting to restrict our picks too much, it might be useful to see what happens if we include the 5.0m players in the analysis. The top pairs for the first 10 games of the season then become:
  1. Rob Green / Steve Harper - 0.89
  2. Thomas Sorensen / Steve Harper - 0.89
  3. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Ben Foster 0.94
  4. Jussi Jaaskelainen / Steve Harper - 0.94
  5. Paul Robinson / Steve Harper - 0.95
  6. Thomas Sorensen / Jussi Jaaskelainen - 0.99
  7. Marcus Hahnemann / Steve Harper - 1.00
  8. Thomas Sorensen / Ben Foster - 1.00
  9. Ben Foster / Steve Harper - 1.00
  10. Ben Foster / Marcus Hahnemann - 1.00
I'm not sold on the Green pick as I don't rate West Ham any higher than Bolton, Blackburn or Birmingham so despite the great fixtures I am personally out on that one (given that he costs 0.5m more). I do like Sorensen alot and I think Stoke should continue to have success this year but they play ManU, Che and Tot in the opening 10 games meaning I will forced into using Harper early on which I am cautious to do given Newcastle's absence from the top flight last year meaning I have little concrete base to say that Newcastle might be okay this year.

Conclusion
I am setting up with the Jaaskelainen / Foster combination based on the fact that I think both teams are still underrated, both players have a a history of success in both reality and fantasy, and the fixtures sit well together. Bolton managed just 5 clean sheets last season but all of them came under Owen Coyle in the final 20 games of the season and Jaaskelainen still managed to finish 12th among all keepers (ahead of van der Sar and Almunia and just 15 points behind Given).

Note: Ben Foster is currently listed as questionable for the opening day fixture but given that Bolton have a home game anyway, I will be playing Jussi under my strategy so this hasn't play a massive part in my thought process.

As always thanks for reading and if anyone thinks I have missed a pair of keepers unfairly from the analysis, post in the comments below and I will add their shared GPG to the listings.

10 comments:

Steven said...

Chris and all,

What are your thoughts on Carson for WBA? I know they were in the Championship last year, but they were solid defensively much like Birmingham were before they were promoted. I also realize Myhill plays into the equation there as well.

dhs_media_ssharp said...

Alright chirs, with carvalho off to real madrid, i can see Ivanovic playing centre back, opening up the right back position to either Bosingwa, Ferreira or Zhirkov, all quite cheap options for chelsea's great opening fixtures/clean sheets. Who do you think start at right back?

Also after seeing John O'Shea playing in the community shield, I got him in 5.5m. Do you think he will beat Rafael/Smalling to the right back spot?

Steven said...

I'm going with Jag/Shawcross/Ferreira/Figuerora as starting back line

Bojan said...

A: Arshavin/Lampard/Adam/Nolan/Dorrans

B: Arshavin/Lampard/Bale/Valencia/Petrov

do I go A for newcomers and Drogba & Rooney in front or B and pick one of top forwards Drogba or Rooney?

TD Ocho said...

@dhs Ferreira should start, at least in the short term. Zhirkov plays on the left and Bosingwa is still not fit from what I've read. I would go with Evans at 5.5, his place is safer than O'Shea's for the time being.

@Bojan having Drogba and Rooney is tempting, but A is too risky for me. B looks much better. You could always take a punt on Nasri over Arshavin too to free up cash.

skipdeedy said...

Nice analysis Chris.

I'm defo plumbing for the 9mil keeper combo this year.

One midfield question for everyone -

A: M. Petrov (Bol) & Routledge (Newc)

OR

B: Lee (Bol) & Adam (blkpl)

Advice welcome.

Chris Glover said...

Steven - Based on history, promoted teams concede 1.56x as many goals as they did in the Championship which would put WB at 62 for the season. Last year this would have ranked 5th worst in the league. They might surprise a bit but I think the ceiling is quite low, especially given the presence of Myhill. On the flip side, he is the best pick of the 4m players so if your budget is super thin I guess he is okay.

DHS - agree about Ivanovic for now but I think Alex will figure in a CB against the best teams when back from injury to give a more solid back line. I think that makes Bosingwa and co rotation risks. I would think that Ferreira is the first choice in the mean time given his appearance in the Community Shield he is a nice week one option but not one I would rely on for the season.

O'Shea is probably a useful player once again as though he will lose games at RB to Rafael, he might pick up some elsewhere, especially given the other injuries in the side (Ferdinand etc). Over the season I like Rafael to maybe win the job if he can take the necessary steps but that is probably a while away yet.

Steven - I like all Shawcross and Ferreira but Jagielka and Figueroa have tough fixtures so be prepared for a slow start. Wigan's look particularly rough and they were poor last year so this is a risky pickup.

Chris Glover said...

Bojan - As a theory I like getting Rooney and Drogba more, as I have stated my love for the premium strikers, especially as Drogba looks to be fit. At least one of your budget newcomers should pan out (I like Adam) and there should be others available if you get on board early.

That said, I agree with TD that the players picked are a but risky. I would like the team more if you could fit in a proven EPL performer like N'Zogbia, Lee, Malbranque or Etherington. Arshavin would the natural place to save some cash with both Walcott and Nasri being potential replacements.

TD - great point about Evans. To open the season he is pretty much a lock to play, which at 5.5m is great value.

Skip - I love combo B and have both players in my team for the season. I like Petrov alot but I think Lee starts quicker as he is settled in already. Adam has a high ceilimg of the promoted boys thanks to his set piece taking and goalscoring touch.

Thanks for all the comments everyone

Ryan said...

Chris - if you have a tight budget, which one of these 2 combos would you pick:

A: C Adam + a $4.5 striker (suggestions?)
B: B Ferguson + A Carroll

Bojan said...

GK:sorensen/mignolet

DF:evans/fereira/jagielka/jara/al-
muhammadi

MF:lampard/bale/adam/petrov/n'zogbia

FW:rooney/drogba/carroll

i do not have any arsenal players now, i like arshavin and nasri