Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bonus Round

The old bonus points was a constant source of contention for fantasy owners and while we tolerated the system, I'm not sure anyone ever really understood it. Well, credit to the developers over at pl.com who have added a layer of accountability with the inclusion of EA Sports Index as the new method of awarding points.

The system aims to measure a player's all round contribution to the success of his team using six key indices:
  1. Winning performance - shares league points won by a team between the players according to the minutes they played. This will obviously favour winning teams, and to a lesser extent home teams who generally enjoy a higher winning percentage.
  2. Player's match performance - earn points for positive events (shots, tackles, saves etc) and lose them for negative events (missed shot, yellow card etc). Doesn't really favour anyone as any talented player can have a good game. Slight edge to keepers from weaker sides who may rack up more saves and clearances.
  3. Appearances - points awarded purely for playing time, regardless of result. This one seems obvious but it does reduce the chance of players coming off the bench to score the winning goal and then receiving the full 3 points.
  4. Goals scored - this was the major factor under the old system and remains important, but apparently to a lesser degree
  5. Assists - appear to be gaining as much weight as goals, which would seem to favour non-forwards
  6. Clean sheets - played very little role in the old system with defenders being massively under-represented (see below). This could be a game changer in how points are awarded.
History Lesson
Lucky for us, the EA Sports Index sports scores are available from last season so we can see which type of player excels under both systems:

Number of players ranked in top 100 by position

Position
EA Index
pl.com
GK
12
1
DF
30
19
MD
42
52
FW
16
28

It's immediately obvious that 'keepers and defenders are the big winners here with players like Joe Hart and Petr Cech ranking as high as 11th and 12th in total points for the season. Only Ben Foster ranked in the top 100 under the old system, coming in at 85th with 9 points. Even within these categories there is a slight shift with deeper lying midfielders (Essien, Wilshere) seeming to gain more favor than their traditionally rewarded attacking counterparts.

Number of players ranked in top 100 by team

Team
EA Index
pl.com
Arsenal
9
7
Aston Villa
6
4
Bimringham
6
4
Blackpool
5
4
Blackburn
3
4
Bolton
6
4
Chelsea
10
8
Everton
6
7
Fulham
4
6
Liverpool
7
5
Man City
7
5
Man Utd
8
8
Newcastle
5
5
Stoke
3
4
Sunderland
2
5
Tottenham
5
5
West Brom
3
3
West Ham
2
3
Wigan
2
4
Wolves
1
5

We can wee that the better teams had more players in the top 100 than under the old system, likely due to the 'winning performance' index noted above. This listing will slightly exaggerate that fact as it doesn't properly reflect that players from 'weaker teams' will still pick up plenty of points when they play each other, but still, I think the point stands that players from successful teams are set to benefit from the new system.

Distribution of points
Under the old system, a handful of players dominated the bonus allocation with Charlie Adam (45), Luka Modric (34), Charles N'Zogbia (33) and Carlos Tevez (32) all topping 30 points. 12 players down the list and you see that the bonus points awarded have already halved (Dempsey 23). Under the new EA system, the points distribution seems to be much shallower, with the 100th player still exceeding half the points awarded to the 1st.



Who will excel under the new system?
A couple of points stand out when reviewing the above and the list of leaders on the EA Sports index which will be important to consider when picking your team:
  • 14 of the top 19 players play for Man Utd, Man City or Chelsea and while some were already ranked highly in bonus points under the old system (Berbatov, Drogba) the likes of Kompany, Terry and Hart looking to be key beneficiaries
  • Midfielders who play a deeper role like Essien, Wilshere and Fletcher will carry a touch more value thanks to their ability to contribute in several player performance categories and win games.
  • The order of goalkeeper rankings under the EA system appears to be directly correlated to team wins. This would imply that teams from weaker sides are going to struggle to get bonus points even if they make plenty of key saves. While those saves will still generate points of their own, this would make the GK-combo strategy less reliable as the big name keepers rack up more points each week.
  • The biggest losers could be players on weaker teams who are seen as the focal point for the team. Adam, N'Zogbia, Parker and to Odenwingie all rank among the biggest losers under the new system. The presumption that a Charlie Adam will get three points every time Blackpool wins appears to be a thing of the past.
Biggest Winner
Pts
Biggest Loser
Pts
John Terry
16
Charlie Adam
-30
Patrice Evra
15
Luka Modric
-23
Petr Cech
14
Charles N'Zogbia
-19
Edwin van der Sar
13
Cesc Fabregas
-17
Gael Clichy
13
Carlos Tevez
-15
Jose Reina
12
Scott Parker
-13
Heurelho Gomes
12
Robin van Persie
-13
Joe Hart
12
Ashley Young
-13
Bacary Sagna
11
Peter Odenwingie
-13
Vincent Kompany
10
Clint Dempsey
-13


Bonus points have generally been somewhat of an afterthought for selecting an opening day team as the allocation seemed somewhat random and largely based around a player's reputation and performance for an individual gameweek (if you score the winning goal you are likely to get a couple of points). We can now hopefully build a better expectation of bonus allocation, and I will try and incorporate these expectations in the features to come as we countdown to the new season.

Team previews should be coming thick and fast now, with a full list available here. In the meantime, the latest transfer rumours and pre-season comments will be posted over at @plfantasy.

3 comments:

MerryMichaelW said...

This has been the most helpful thing I've seen this season. About to embark on an orgy of spreadsheeting - which you have saved me! Many thanks, Michael

MerryMichaelW said...

However, there might be one or two mistake in here - perhaps you would care to look at these?

https://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Atwq4Ph6mY6JdDVlLUNlQjZQWXdMSHBOODI2SWNmb0E&hl=en_GB#gid=6

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Atwq4Ph6mY6JdGxOSVhkckROcUJBSWROVlR6bUxkZUE&hl=en_GB#gid=0

All the best,
Michael

CC said...

ok, really informative, been desperate for a low-down on the bonus system, thanks

ive been doing some minor research and am intrigued by some of the outcomes, first up the top 10 strikers, specifically Johnson and Zamora at numbers 7 and 8. They didnt score, they didnt assist, they werent on a winning team, and they were playing at home to boot, yet they finished above Davies (1 assist, in a 4-0 winning team, away from home), he didnt get booked so thats not a concern. Davies is also below Doyle (winning team but 1 missed penalty). And the biggest 'upset' being Torres not in the top 10 strikers when to many observers he had a quality game. This is where the purely stats-based system trips up, and a good old dose of human intervention would go a long way.

Another anomily, this time with the top 10 defenders. A very simple head-to-head between Kompany and Richards. Both in the same game, both played 90 minutes, both didnt get booked, yer Richards is behind Kompany despite making 1 assist, what are the factors that put Kompany higher up? Shots on target (VK 0, MR 1), Passes success/non-success (VK 30/6, MR 20/9), Interceptions (VK 5, MR 0), Tackles (VK 2, MR 5), Clearances (VK 4, MR 2). Really nothing in it, is it anything to do with club captaincy then??

And then goalies, Begovic below De Gea? Dont get me started?