Thursday, November 25, 2010

Surviving the Winter

If my fantasy team was a TV show then Bear Grylls would be waist deep in freezing cold water while being chased by a hungry, pissed off bear. The season was going relatively well but starting to sputter so I did what any fantasy obsessive would do - blow up the team and replace them with too many spot starters (O'Shea), players on the decline (Berbatov) and injured stars (Fabregas). Four of my five best weeks came in GW1 -5 and I haven't topped 50 points since GW10.


My points per week are on the decline and my overall position in the game is taking a beating. However, all is not lost. My team is fit (outside of Fabregas who has been sold) and I'm hopeful for the weeks ahead. My plan is to survive until I can play my second wildcard, and then reload for a push for the final third of the season. We have 9 gameweeks until the wildcard window opens so let's take a quick look at who looks to be valuable between now and then (for those not looking to use their wildcard them, 9 weeks is a useful timeline to make transfers for so the below rankings still hold some use).

Defensive Rankings

Jose Mourinho division (bona fide class team, a great play nearly every week)
1. Chelsea (6 green light, 1 red light, 0.75 GPG avg)
2. Man City (6 green light, 1 red light, 0.83 GPG avg)
3. Everton (5 green light, 1 red light, 1.06 GPG avg)

Arsene Wenger division (can be great but have too many off weeks to be considered elite)
4. Arsenal (6 green light, 3 red light, 1.01 GPG avg)
5. Sunderland (5 green light, 2 red light, 1.11 GPG avg)
6. Man Utd (4 green light, 3 red light, 1.25 GPG avg)
7. Birmingham (5 green light, 4 red light, 1.19 GPG avg)
8. Liverpool (4 green light, 3 red light, 1.22 GPG avg)

Sam Allardyce division (not flashy but they do have some value every other week or so)
9. Blackburn (4 green light, 4 red light, 1.56 GPG avg)
10. Aston Villa (4 green light, 4 red light, 1.55 GPG avg)
11. Fulham (2 green light, 1 red light, 1.15 GPG avg)
12. Tottenham (3 green light, 3 red light, 1.25 GPG avg)
13. Newcastle (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.30 GPG avg)
14. Stoke (3 green light, 2 red light, 1.40 GPG avg)

Tony Pulis division (you aren't happy with them but they sometimes get the job done)
15. Bolton (1 green light, 4 red light, 1.52 GPG avg)
16. Wigan (0 green light, 2 red light, 1.42 GPG avg)

Gary Megson division (please God no, I thought we were rid of you)
17. Wolves (1 green light, 6 red light, 1.60 GPG avg)
18. West Brom (2 green light, 5 red light, 1.80 GPG avg)
19. West Ham (2 green light, 6 red light, 1.72 GPG avg)
20. Blackpool (1 green light, 8 red light, 1.92 GPG avg)

Attacking Rankings

Leo Messi division (might have the odd bad week but class is permanent)
1. Chelsea (8 green light, 0 red light, 2.27 GPG avg)
2. Man Utd (6 green light, 2 red light, 1.79 GPG avg)
3. Arsenal (6 green light, 3 red light, 1.58 GPG avg)

Kevin Davies division (whatever you say, these guys are solid almost every week)
4. Bolton (4 green light, 3 red light, 1.82 GPG avg)
5. Man City (6 green light, 1 red light, 1.49 GPG avg)
6. Blackpool (4 green light, 2 red light, 1.52 GPG avg)

Nicolas Anelka division (should be better but tough fixtures make these teams inconsistent)
7. Sunderland (5 green light, 2 red light, 1.39 GPG avg)
8. Tottenham (4 green light, 2 red light, 1.39 GPG avg)
9. Newcastle (2 green light, 4 red light, 1.41 GPG avg)

Emmanuel Adebayor division (have some talent but find a way to not score)
10. Liverpool (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.34 GPG avg)
11. West Brom (2 green light, 2 red light, 1.28 GPG avg)
12. Stoke (2 green light, 3 red light, 1.24 GPG avg)
13. Birmingham (2 green light, 2 red light, 1.23 GPG avg)
14. Fulham (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.17 GPG avg)
15. Everton (3 green light, 4 red light, 1.15 GPG avg)
16. Blackburn (2 green light, 3 red light, 1.15 GPG avg)

Carlton Cole (you can try and talk yourself into them but eventually you'll be disappointed)
17. Aston Villa (3 green light, 5 red light, 1. 03GPG avg)
18. Wolves (1 green light, 6 red light, 0.89 GPG avg)
19. Wigan (0 green light, 8 red light, 0.76 GPG avg)
20. West Ham (1 green light, 7 red light, 0.71 GPG avg)

Don't forget to check out this week's rankings and as always posts are welcomed below or @plfantasy.

18 comments:

Shedboy said...

Hi, Chris!
Fabregas is out for 3 weeks, Elmo and Boateng are rotation risk. Is it time to use wildcard? If yes, then who is the best replacement of the 3?
I like City defense and i think Kolarov is the best option.
Also which goalkeeper pairing is the best for the future(until next wildcard)?
Thank you!

Steven said...

I hate Cesc. That is all.

Shedboy said...

This latest post is very useful for me and i'm thinking of setling with this team.
Gordon, Fabianski
Bosingwa, Carr, Kolarov, Konchesky, Coleman
Nasri, Cahill, Adam, Nani, Van der Vaart
Rooney, Tevez, Elmander.
What's your thought and is there anyone who should not be selected?
Thank you!

kazek said...

Cesc has ruined my season. I kept the faith and have had him for 90% of the season so far but he just hasn't lived up to his price.
I'm having easily the worst season since I started playing FPL. Took out Drogba last week for Berbatov who was dropped for some reason and then I made an early transfer to get in Elmander for Odemwinge and now Fabregas is down.
Foster (Jussi)
Cole, Toure, Jagielka (Jones, Faye)
VDV, Nani, N'Zogbia, Fab* (Ferguson)
Elmander, Berbatov, Carroll

Really don't know what to do anymore. Malouda for Fab seems the way to go but Berbatov feels like a waste of space. Point hits are not helping.

The last post seems like it could be really helpful

Ben said...

Hi Chris, thanks again for an excellent site.

Inspired by you I've been tinkering with my own geek-tastic spreadsheets. I had also been looking at the fixtures left until the second wildcard, so I noticed how different my forecasts were to yours, so I'd really appreciate any thoughts on how my forecasting could be improved.

For each opponent a team plays, I am dividing their total goals found or conceded by the total home or away games that they've played. So for example, for GW15, my top clean sheet ranking is for Tottenham. Their opponent Liverpool have played 7 away games, scoring 4 goals, giving them an average of 0.57 goals found when playing away. This is less than any other opponent in GW15 and so Tottenham come top of my list.

Your number 1 for clean sheets in GW15 is also Tottenham, but then I'm getting 2: West Ham, 3: Wigan, 4: Everton, 5: Fulham, which looks like we've got a similar starting calculation but you're adding an extra factor in that I'm not.

I'd be really interested in any insights into how you are doing your calculations differently. Thanks for your time.

Ryan said...

Yet another great article Chris - although I do find the attacking rankings of Everton and Bolton a little puzzling. One(maybe just me?) might think that the quasi-reliability and SoS of Tim Cahill and Gamst might put their teams in the Nicolas Anelka division at the very least? Your Gary Megatron reference is particularly amusing too!

Thanks for all your time and dedication to this blog. You've helped many of us overcome our "Transfer Tourette's".

Ryan said...

Sorry I meant to say Arteta instead of Tim Cahill because he'll be gone for like 6 weeks during the Asian Cup. Yes, apparently Australia belongs to the Asian continent.

Chris Glover said...

Shed – the new team looks great and is basically what I wanted but then abandoned so I could get Cesc. My only word of caution is to not get too many defenders who seem like the best option on their teams but face rotation risk (I made this mistake with O’Shea and Alex (who I then had to switch to Zhirkov). Kolarov, Carr and Konchesky seem to be safe (at least until January when Konchesky could conceivably be threatened) while Coleman and particularly Bosingwa are risky. Coleman has been great for Everton but now their senior players are starting to get fit I think he will be rotated at least once every 3 games. Equally, right back is Ancelotti’s most vulnerable position and he often doesn’t name that position until the morning of the game. Obviously when he plays he is great value and if you’re happy to basically play 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 every week then you should get 3 starters from your back line without issue but I just thought I’d throw that cautionary tale out there. (The final risk I would point of out for Bosingwa is that he is often brought on if Chelsea are drawing or losing so you can’t simply plug him in and know he will be rotated out if he doesn’t start).
Re GK pairings – I will do that post tonight (Eastern Time) so if you get a chance to look tonight you could make any changes before your wildcard week closes.


Kazek – Cesc has done ok when he’s played but his inconsistency and repeated injuries have hurt many teams, including mine. I think you’re team is still in good shape and you’re right where you want to be with a very solid back line. VdV, Nani and N’Zogbia are GREAT options too. I think Elmander and Caroll are hard to argue against even if history suggests one or both will slow down soon. I think Berbatov looks more like he did last season than he did to start this season and hence needs to be sold. Equally with Fabregas’s injury and continued uncertain status – he needs to be ditched too.
I think I will do a post this week to rank the best premium players for the next 12 weeks or so. Off the top of my head I think you’re probably looking at Tevez, Torres and Drogba up front and I would prefer to go with a Arteta/nasri combo than any of the high priced players and a cheap option I think. Malouda is probably the pick of the premiums as you say but his road form terrifies me and the fact that he has been pushed into the first bank of the 3 midfielders rather than the front 3 reduces his goalscoring potential further.

Chris Glover said...

Kazek – Cesc has done ok when he’s played but his inconsistency and repeated injuries have hurt many teams, including mine. I think you’re team is still in good shape and you’re right where you want to be with a very solid back line. VdV, Nani and N’Zogbia are GREAT options too. I think Elmander and Caroll are hard to argue against even if history suggests one or both will slow down soon. I think Berbatov looks more like he did last season than he did to start this season and hence needs to be sold. Equally with Fabregas’s injury and continued uncertain status – he needs to be ditched too.
I think I will do a post this week to rank the best premium players for the next 12 weeks or so. Off the top of my head I think you’re probably looking at Tevez, Torres and Drogba up front and I would prefer to go with a Arteta/nasri combo than any of the high priced players and a cheap option I think. Malouda is probably the pick of the premiums as you say but his road form terrifies me and the fact that he has been pushed into the first bank of the 3 midfielders rather than the front 3 reduces his goalscoring potential further.


Ben – my forecasts have proven to be good at best so I wouldn’t be too quick to ditch your own work if it is giving you reliable data to use. To show how my expected GPG conceded is calculated I will use this week’s Aston Villa v Arsenal game as an example:
The core number is very simple: Arsenal concede 0.86 GPG on the road while Villa are scoring 1.43 GPG at home. I simply take the 0.86 conceded and flex it to account for the fact that Arsenal have played against weaker/stronger opponents than the league average. So far this year teams are scoring 1.33 goals per game so Villa are above average. If you flex the 0.86 by 1.43/1.33 you get 0.92 which is the base GPG expected for this week. To complicate things a bit, I also track the data from current/prior year data combined (“hybrid”) and incorporate these numbers on a decreasing factor each week (the presumption being that prior year data becomes less and less useful as the season goes on).
I don’t do this for all games (and this wasn’t built into the 9 week averages just posted) but if a team has a key injury I will account for this with largely ad hoc adjustments. For example, in games Fabregas has played in Arsenal have scored 22 goals in 10 games; In the other games, they have scored just 5 in 4. Consider that the strength of schedule for the games he has played in was 1.38 and the ones he missed was 1.37 and you see that on a relatively level playing field his impact on the Arsenal side is huge. Therefore, though I haven’t really worked out a way to do this in a spreadsheet I would factor that into my rankings in a pretty crude way (if Arsenal were predicted to score 2.5 goals I might just knock them down to, say , 1.75 or even 1.5). I think it is too crude to simply say that with him they score 2.2/1.25 as many goals so just divide the total by 1.76.

Chris Glover said...

Ryan - Specifically regarding the Bolton rankings they are boosted greatly by four games which suggest huge returns for Wanderers forwards and midfielders. They have scored 15 in 7 at home (only Chelsea and Arsenal have more (17)) and are set to welcome Blackpool, Blackburn, West Brom and Wigan to the Reebok who conceded a combined 93 goals in 56 games on the road (1.66 GPG). Bolton’s road games are a great example of a schedule looking different to reality as it looks brutal (@MNC, @Sun, @Che, @Liv, @Sto) but in fact only one of those games predicts Bolton to score less than 0.8 goals. What I need to do next is differentiate between the two below schedules to make sure the right one is favoured:
Team A (predicted goals scored): 2.5, 3.5, 0.2, 0.4, 3.2, 0.2
Team B (predicted goals scored): 1.6, 1.5, 1.5, 1.8, 1.8, 1.8
Both teams will score 10 goals on average over 6 games but their value depends on whether you need to start them every week. If a player for Team B was cheaper than anyone on Team A, you would pick them as an every game starter. However, if you could rotate the player and only use them in Gw1, GW2 and GW5 you would obviously want a player from team A who should score 9.2 goals vs 4.9 goals. This is a challenge I will try and address over the next few weeks.
Apologies for the rambling responses – I got a bit carried away during my lunch hour! Thanks for reading and posting your thoughts/comments.

Chris Glover said...

Shedboy - full post to follow but Fabianski and Gordon ranks 4th among all GK pairs based on predicted goals conceded. I have not factored price in yet but only included GKs under 5m. For ref the top 3 were Schwarzer/Gordon, Robinson/Gordon and Robinson/Fabianski.

Ryan said...

Chris - Terribly sorry I meant to type 'Blackburn' but somehow Bolton came out lol. Anyway, I'll have a look at your lunchtime ramblings after my own lunch! I have no doubts about your beloved team's strikeforce. They are certainly the flavour of the week(s). ALL ABOARD!

Shedboy said...

Thank you very much, Chris.
I would not be doing that well without your blog.

Colin said...

I am absolutely gutted about Berbatov. He has got to be one of the most frustrating players in the game! I saw his promise from the beginning, had him in my team, even got some good games from him. The fact I started well in my league switched some more people on to him so he is in many of my competitors teams. Then he goes for over a month and half of contributing nothing whatsoever,so I take the decision to give him the bullet and he scores five goals in one game. That one decision is costing me about 40 points vs my main competitor. I just don't know how you deal with a player like this. He's not good enough to hold permanently but when you ditch him he kills you!

Leo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leo said...

I'm really struggling to see why you think Chelsea are the best defensive option when they have arguably the toughest fixtures coming up of any team in the league.

United, spurs away, arsenal away, playing bolton twice, especially for a team that has conceded 4 goals in two league games to your lower ranking attacking teams... it doesn't make sense.

In fact they are playing the four other highest scoring teams in the league (as of this morning) practically in succession with John Terry injured, in my opinion this would be the worst part of the season to go near a Chelsea defender particularly without their captain. Still, we will see!

Chris Glover said...

Colin - I think Berbatov's performance today might have been a low point in my fantasy career. Like you I was on Berbatov pretty early and got some joy from his early form but then held on way too long. I still maintain that selling him was the right call but it hurts that I made that call this week!
I think his value is definitely upgraded with Rooney playing as the two linked up very well this week. However, the presence of Hernandez, Macheda and Obertan means he has some rotation risk which is unacceptable for a player who costs so much.

Leo - how you rate a team really depends on what you place more value on: a team's own defensive ability or their opponents ability to score. My calculations take the goals conceded by a team and then adjust based on the opponent rather than the other way round. This has proven to be more reliable over time.

Looking at Chelsea's next 6 games, their schedule is actually only the 8th hardest based on current year numbers. I personally factor a team's home/away goals into the equation rather than just 'goals scored' given some teams play very different styles at home or away. eg Villa at home have scored 12 in 7 while away they have scored just 5 in 7. Chelsea face Villa at home and so in my calcs this would be an easier game than if you're using just total goals.

Now, as for the actual predicted goals, it's pretty hard to be gloomy about a team who have conceded at home in just one game this year. With 4 of their next 6 at home, 2 of which are against teams who dont score more than a goal a game on the road (Eve and Ast) I am pretty happy with my bullish position on Chelsea.

The loss of Terry clearly hurts and it is something I would try and factor into the predictions. However, Terry has missed just 3 games in this season and the last so it's impossible to get a sensible sample size to make any inferences on his value on the team (I don't factor in things like 'heart', 'passion' and 'leadership'). In the 3 games he has missed this year they have one clean sheet, one game in which they were unlucky to concede (they out-shot Birmingham 32 v 3) and one game in which they played poorly. It is therefore premature to downgrade Chelsea in my eyes.

They have conceded 9 goals in 14 games and aside from City, no one else is even close (United have shipped 16).

The main knock on Chelsea's defense is that they are generally pricey and no defenses are performing that well right now. However, that is a different issue altogether.

Hope that clears up where I am coming from. Based on my miserable performance in the past few weeks my calcs are definitely up for debate but until I find a better way Im gonna keep cranking those spreadsheets.

mark said...

seem like everybody is in the same boat with berbatov it sucks, five goals what the hell. got him in after his hatrick and got rid after last weekend so i didnt even get a goal from him haha.

chris what do you think of arshavin for fabergas? he was a class act this weekend?

btw my midfield is cahill bale nani brunt fabergas.. my teams a joke. haha