Friday, May 11, 2012

Gameweek 38 Captain Data



P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG% Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories.

Note: above data assumes 90 minutes of action, with rotation risk not being factored in.

The data hasn't liked anyone as much as Aguero this week for some time and when you look at the numbers on a granular basis it's hard to argue. Aguero has been simply dominant at home all year (10.0 P90) and welcomes a QPR side with plenty to play for, but insufficient talent to do so barring what could be one of the biggest upsets of all time. There's an argument to be made for nerves playing a factor with City and they may play defensively if they were 1-0 up at half time, though I'd counter that with an equally (or more) likely scenario where City get ahead early and prove to be simply too much for QPR (Arsenal vs Everton springs to mind when they won the title a number of years back).

Rooney of course will be doing all he can to secure a win this week too, though with the goal difference gap so wide, I don't see United playing a ridiculously cavalier game from the start (they have to be mindful remember that City could draw). He's a good bet as always but the fixture is just so much harder than Aguero's that to pick him you're really getting too deep into who's "motivated", "nervous" or "good in clutch situations" which doesn't sit well with the statistical leanings of this humble blogger.

Arsenal, of course, have something left to play for too, with 3rd spot taking on an even greater important this year with Chelsea's presence in the Champions League final (England only gets four spots so if they win, only the top three qualify). Regardless, I would never pick against Van Persie and Arsenal are a team whose peaks and troughs don't seem to overly correlate with any one factor so just ride the waves and play Van Persie every week. As for captaining him, again the fixture is much tougher than Aguero's though if you're getting into possible outcomes, you could see West Brom going for this one, resulting in a high scoring affair (one could also argue that Hodgson will rouse one last performance from his team though and win, so like I say, the narrative isn't too informative).

If I owned van Persie and Rooney (indeed, I do) I would certainly consider selling one of them for Aguero this week, dependent on other areas of need in your team. Needless to say, I wouldn't pay 4 points to do so. Of the two, I am leaning towards selling Rooney, mainly based on the percentage of goals Van Persie accounts for. For the final game it's tough to tell how many goals will be scored with so many factors in play, so give me the bigger slice of an unknown pie, rather than a smaller piece of a possibly larger pie.

I wouldn't personally touch the Chelsea game given the total lack of incentive for them to win the game (they can't even move up or down one place in the league). Indeed, if I had money tied up in Torres or Mata I would looking to divest those options this week, not double down by captaining them.

Of the sleeper picks (sleeper in terms of captain picks rather than ownership numbers) you have to like Tottenham against a Fulham side who have been poor away from home all year, making Bale, Adebayor and van der Vaart viable options. Adebayor's xPct gives him the advantage here as when's he's played he's had a hand in 45% of Spurs' goals, a much better rate than teammates Bale (32%) and van der Vaart (37%). Spurs obviously have to go out for a win and hope for some help from West Brom to secure 3rd, but also need to win to hold off a potential challenge for 4th (which could still lead to Champions League football) from Newcastle. He's inconsistent, to be sure, but Adebayor's ceiling is as high as anyone this week and he would make a superb risk/reward bet for those looking to think outside the box in the final week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gameweek 38 Preview



CS Clean sheets kept at home/away based on this week's fixture Opp FTS Number of times this week's opponent has failed to score at home/away GPG Conceded Predicted goals conceded this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season Opp CS Clean sheets kept at home/away by a team's opponent GPG Scored Predicted goals scored this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season.

Here we are again. The end of another long season. Well, of course, there is still the small matter of deciding whether the Premier League trophy will reside in Manchester or Salford for the next 4 months or so, but for fantasy players, this is the end. The last transfer will be made soon or already has been and that final lineup will be set in a matter of days. Then it's time to sit back, watch your team complete the final moments of the year and reflect on all those missed transfers and botched double gameweeks.

There's some interesting storylines for the final day which may impact fantasy players, though in truth too much is probably made of team's "having their head on the beach" already as that narrative only ever seems to be applied retrospectively to teams who had a bad final game. Take Blackburn for example. I can write the story for the Lancashire papers now. If they lose, you couldn't blame the relegated players for being unmotivated as they face a season of trips to Peterbrough or Bristol City rather than Man United and Arsenal. If however Blackburn should win, they'll have done so as "brave soldiers" keeping their heads high as they show that they'll be back soon. In short, you can apply a narrative either way. The team hasn't been very good all season and chances are they won't suddenly be any different this week.

It's an understatement to say that Man City still have something to play for, with just their first title for over 40 years on the line. Again, after the results come in there will be plenty of people who "knew" what was going to happen but in reality there's a non-zero chance they blow the game or destroy QPR with the most common outcome being a solid win given the gulf in talent. Both teams need to win (assuming United don't slip up) so I'm comfortable with the data here and suggest City look like the best play of the week.

Now, one team who should be considered outside of their yearly stats is Chelsea, who have the Champions League final on the horizon. With a top-four position now out of their hands, they have nothing to play for this week and widespread changes could be seen as Di Matteo can't afford any more absentees given the list of injured and suspended players he has for the final. I don't believe many of their assets are widely held anyway, but despite the great fixture, the uncertainty over who will play is enough to make me look elsewhere for the week.

Captain data to follow later.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gameweek 37 Captain Data



P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this week Rating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories. 

This week will be a big test for Cisse owners as he clearly has the much tougher fixture on paper, but all other factors suggest he is the best play for the week. I always say that the above data is a guide rather than a hard set of rules to be obeyed and this is one scenario where there is little chance I would go with Cisse over Van Persie or Rooney. Would I be surprised if Cisse scores? Not really, City have conceded recently at Swansea, Stoke and Norwich who are all far inferior teams to Cisse's Newcastle. Would I be shocked if Van Persie drew a blank? Again, probably not, his last four games have earned 1-2-2-2 points. Handing out the armband, however, should be a question of weighted expectations and with that in mind, you have to account for the substantial (though not necessarily probable) chance that Newcastle are simply shutout by a City side just metres away from title glory in the season's marathon.

I'm still tweaking the rankings system (and would welcome comments for consideration in the off season) but I still feel that xPct needs to carry the most weight (perhaps even more than the 50% is currently receives). This is still an imperfect measure, but it does account for the opposition which the other metrics noted above do not. Van Persie is the clear leader there and that ultimately is why I will personally lean that way this week.

If you don't own either of the above options, Rooney is of course another fine option, and probably better than the above ranking suggests given Swansea's apparent surrender after a fine first season in the Premier League. Like City, United need a win and anything but a convincing victory for Rooney and co would indeed be a shock, thus pushing Ronney into a good fantasy position. His home returns of late have been excellent and he trails only Van Persie in shots on goal over the past 6 gameweeks.

If you skewed the data to account for 'form' then Rooney would probably eclipse Van Persie for the week, though I am yet to be convinced that 'form' really exists in a fantasy sense. That said, the loss of Walcott and Arteta does bear mentioning as team form is very much something that exists. We know that United will show up and play this week, though probably not with reckless abandon while Arsenal could be apathetic, glorious or anywhere in between. If nothing else, Van Persie has the golden boot to go for, so expect the shots on goal to continue (if possibly from more acute angles and longer distances than we are used to).

It's closer than the above rankings suggests between this trio but all other things considered I would go with the old pair of Van Persie and Rooney as 1a and 1b with Cisse behind them in 3rd place. Fantasy Football Scout's captain poll suggests Van Persie will get a large proportion of selections this week, in which case Rooney may become a good value pick, gaining some differential potential without much loss in potential.

Gameweek 37 Preview



CS Clean sheets kept at home/away based on this week's fixture Opp FTS Number of times this week's opponent has failed to score at home/away GPG Conceded Predicted goals conceded this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season Opp CS Clean sheets kept at home/away by a team's opponent GPG Scored Predicted goals scored this week based on a team and their opponent's performance this season.