Friday 11 January 2013

Wildcard Wrap-Up & Questions Answered

First thing I would like to say is, as this is not the only time to can play the wildcard I will continue to do WC teams for the next 3 weeks, although not in quite so much detail, and more along the style of this post in which I present an overview of some different team options.  

Second thing is, I am not playing my WC this week.  I hope to play it in GW24.  I am behind in my ML and want to take a risk on any late moves or shake-upsin the transfer market in the hope catching some "new" points.

In this post, as well as summarising the six different WC teams I have put out this week, I want to do something I wish I did more of, and that is waxing lyrical a little, sharing my own opinion alongside, or as well as, the more objective statistical data.  Chris Glover, who continues to drive me on, explained in a post recently the difference between player projections and predictions.  The first being an unapologetic forecast of a player's expected performance based on their stats.  The latter involves a more unquantifiable human element, supporting the projection data with factors not necessarily measurable but incredibly important nonetheless, from whether a player will actual play atall in a given game, or if he will get to play in a more advanced role, to whether a team or player may get increased joy up against certain other teams or players. 

What I'd like to do in this post is try to apply a bit more human intuition to the team selections, which I am sure you must do yourself when considering a projection on any player presented here, or elsewhere.

Enough waffle though, let's go.  First here are links to each team.  Do I think you can win the FPL league with any of these teams?  No, not really, unless you are already top and can afford the Dream Team and just hold on in there. The Famous Five Midfield of Bale, Mata, Walcott, Michu and Fellaini plus Captain Incredible Robin Van Persie are going to be everywhere and your ranking this season is going to depend on taking a risk outside this group or picking other players in your team that make the difference.  This bunch though have not rode their luck this season - they are the real deal.  Only Walcott has significantly outperformed his stats. So, yeah, it's going to be tough.

Dream Team 343 & 352
Low Team Value (+RVP) (+Suarez)
Medium Team Value
High Team Value

Here's a matrix summarising each team and every player selected in the six teams.   The matrix is sorted by how many times each player has been picked.  This is one of the factors I am using to construct my WC team.


Before getting into the team selection I want to answer as best I can a few questions that I've had during the week.
  1. Gibbs... but why not Sagna? foppalod asked why Gibbs got lots of selection but Sagna, essentially his equivalent, did not despite a £0.5m discount.  My intial answer was goal threat.  Gibbs has had 9 shots, 5 SiB and 3 SOT this season so far, although no goals.  Sagna has had no shots.  So, simply, the model does not expect Sagna to score any whilst Gibbs is good for a goal, on average.  Really Sagna should have a chance of goal but if I were to have to pick between them I'd expect Gibbs to score a goal this season whilst only hoping that Sagna does.   foppaldo made a good case for Sagna though so I suggest your read his comments on this post.
  2. Where's Michu? Anon asked a two part question.  The first part was where is Michu?  Fellaini continuously trumped Michu snd really this is due to Swansea's fixtures over the next 6 at least being not as good as Evertons.  I'd actually rate Michu as the better player to home if all things were equal, but they're not.  Fellaini (currently) is a fair bit cheaper and SWA sot WBA AVL mun nor is better than eve STO sun whm QPR liv.  
  3. What if you have value locked in?  This was the 2nd part of Anon's question.  If you own Michu, or any other player, for a nice healthy profit, who is the better option?  The projected teams were done at current market value and, to be frank, I cannot run the projections for every player at various prices that they could be owned at.  All I can say is, take a look at the different teams and matrix above, and the projections page, and make your own mind up.  In Michu's case - absolutely he's worth holding on to if, as most people probably do, you have £1m or so value locked in to him.
  4. Demba Ba  Ba featured in my first Dream Team but after that I excluded him from the optimisation as I really don't think 1) he'll play enough minutes to warrant inclusion and 2) even if he does I don't think he will score the same number of goals/game that he did at Newcastle.  I wrote a post on our forum (here) with a quick look at Ba's potential numbers at Chelsea.  In a nutshell, he was Newcastle's premier striker. I believe this team, with limited quality in an attacking sense, focused as much of the attacking ball as they could through him, resulting in him having the highest percentage share of his team's shots in the league.  At Chelsea, a club blessed with more attacking talent, he is not going to monopolise their attacking chances quite so much. 
  5. Excluded Players - Eraser asked about Lukaku and how come he had not shown up.  A number of players were excluded from the model.  Most prominent probably are Aguero, Rooney, Lukaku, Dzeko and Javier Hernandez.   I jcannot forecast points over a 10 gameweek range when a plyer's playing time is up in their air.  For what it's worth they'd all, with the notable exception of Rooney, walk into most of these teams.
  6. Pappis Cisse - Eraser also asked about Pappis Cisse, and what I thought about him now he'll be moved to occupy Newcastle's central striker role.   I like it.  I think he's going to do well there, for the same reason mentioned above that Ba did so well before his move away.  Some clubs, the less rich ones, cannot field a midfield full of individual brilliance and have to play as a team, and as such play players in their role, with the striker being the one that scores goals.  Did you ever play Subbueteo?  If so, you'll know what I mean :) 
  7. RVP - xOOx asked about the value of Van Persie's consistency as a captain pick. I'll expand on this below.

Right, I said I'd pick a team, didn't I, so here goes.   What I hope to achieve with this team is a healthy balance of top-owned, top projected players plus a few flair picks to make a difference.  I have to say it's really hard to differentiate with any confidence.  RVP, Bale and Mata are the clear leaders in their positions. The double for Walcott makes him a shoe-in, and Michu and Fellaini's relatively low price makes them very hard to ignore.  This doesn't leave much room to manoeuvre.  

First Name on the Team Sheet - Robin Van Persie.  
As the model does not take into account captain points his true value is unquantifiable .  I have a few ideas how to capture this very important element of FPL which assumes that the higher a player's point projection the more likely they are to get a decent score consistently.  Of course, Van Persie has been doing this all season already.  The most telling thing for me is that he is selected in the Medium Value Team by the optimisation program despite the program not taking account for his huge potential as a captain choice, and therefore rating him on his points/million relative to the other players you can choose from.  If Aguero were fit I'd really wanna take him over Van Persie, but he isn't fit, not quite.

 Defence - Zabaleta & Gibbs
Looking at the matrix above you'll see these two pop up over and over and come in at a bargain price of £5.9m and £5.6m.  Some people have queried the value of defenders and likelihood of clean sheets in general.  This prompted me to look at the trends in the Premier League of clean sheets in the first half of the season compared to the second.... the answer is that they go up.  Typically there are 20% more clean sheets in the 2nd half of the season than the first. 

Defence - Baines
Leighton Baines features in Wildcard teams at the opposite end of the matrix above.  He's in the Dream Team, and then the Underachievers team.  Everton's defensive performance this season has been good in terms of goals and shots allowed, but they've not kept clean sheets.  A closer look at their fixtures though wll reveal that they have faced harder teams at home and easier teams away, conditions under which it's hard to keep clean sheets.  Reverse the fixtures, play easier teams at home and hard teams away Eveton should earn a few more clean sheets.  If you think this is plausible then consider this - Baines is the 3rd highest scoring defender at present on 87 points with just 2 clean sheets, 8 pts, to his name

Defence -  Stoke & A N OTHER
Someone from Stoke is a gimme as a 4th defender.  I will pick Wilkinson as he is the cheapest although if Marc Wilson returns he should get his place back pretty quick from Cameron.  the 5th defender I really don't care that much about right now if I'm frank.  The optimisation program threw up a number of players and I like the look of Naughton but this player, the 5th defender is arguably the least important player in your squad.

GK - David De Gea & Bunn
Just like the 5th defender I have not given this position much though at all but it is an important one so I'll put some names down.  I fancy DDG/Utd to tighten up from now and without Rafael DDG will give coverage of any Utd clean sheets.  Bunn is cheap and plays for a fairly solid team.

MIDFIELD - Prime Picks
This is the real dilemma.  Who to pick from the afore mentioned Famous Five of Michu, Bale, Mata, Walcott and Fellaini.  With Swansea's fixtures, his massive ownership and the projections preference for Fellaini anyway I am going to rul Michu out, at my own risk.  Walcott and Mata's double see them pretty much auto-pcik themselves.  I'd actually favour Bale longer-term  However, with RVP I just cannot afford the choice pick so it's Mata, Walcott and Fellaini to begin with.   Bale left out in the cold scoring hat-tricks for my rivals.   
Picks:  Mata, Walcott, Fellaini

MIDFIELD - 4th and 5th
Puncheon for the double makes sense but he's a long term acquisition too.  Marveaux is my other pick.  He's done great for Newcastle in Ben Arfa and Cabaye's absence, and with Ba now one there's another place up for grabs despite the possibly imminent return of the Frenchmen.  

Second Striker - Suarez
Luis Suarez is, like RVP, almost unavoidable.  Lest it be forgotten - strikers score goals.   For all the ability and true fantasy potential of players like Mata and Bale it's still the strikers who score the most goals, and get the most bonus points.  After RVP, Suarez is the man.. 

3rd Striker - Berbatov
If you've followed this blog for even just a little while it will not shock you to learn that my 3rd striker pick is Dimitar Berbatov.   He's been through a rough spell and now he's back.

ALSO CONSIDERED  the players I am most tempted other than the above are Aguero and Pappis Cisse, and Snodgrass to a lesser extent.  I am not convinced Puncheon and Marveaux can combine for much, each on their own are a sound option, but relying on them both could be a risk, whereas Snodgrass's is proving to be pretty consistent with his ability from set-pieces.  Aguero and Cisse could be real game-changers if you ask me and thankfully  I am not playing my WC for a few more weeks so can take some more time to see how things pan out.

1 comment:

  1. Really useful post! Looking forward to your analysis for coming gameweeks. Avoided using wildcard this week and still had a top 50,000 score for the week.