Tuesday, 10 September 2013

FPL picks with a bit of "Dolphinomics"

Fantasy football is full of dilemmas and decisions; some difficult and some less so but ultimately it comes down to trying to find the edge, that something different and finding ways of maximising your points tally to ultimately get the edge over your rivals.

My approach is similar to the Moneyball system of analysing and accessing data or more specifically stats before choosing players. Stats can indicate how a player performs mainly in terms of an attacking sense such as the amount of goals or assists.

I put a lot of emphasis on looking at how many goals and/or assists a player has had throughout a season or even his career while also monitoring the movements of players via Four Four Two’s Stat App which includes seeing how many shots or crosses some players make and the specific positions they get into. I like to have as an attacking team as possible therefore my aim is to have a team full of mainly direct, creative and versatile players. Although I’m open to playing different formations I tend to mostly play 3-4-3 so that I can have as many attacking players as possible. Think about not only potential points defenders can gain for picking up clean sheets but for also scoring goals and getting assists. With this in mind I have invested more money on the league’s most attacking defenders Zabaleta, Vertonghen and Baines. 

Leighton Baines is the epitome of an attacking defender as the Everton left back takes penalties, corners and free kicks as well as getting 33 assists and scoring 23 goals since joining the club. He is no secret to the fantasy football world but is an absolute must on my team sheet. In addition to these impressive stats the former Wigan man created more chances in Europe last season than any other player. This is a mind blowing stat but goes to show the importance defenders can have in an attacking sense, especially in the case of full backs. Essentially after gradually evolving my team last season I have learnt the importance of maximisation. My intention is to get value out of each player and each position to ultimately have as strong, effective and efficient team as I possibly can. 

Normally I only pick full backs as they are almost like wingers in the modern day game and tend to get very high up the pitch to join attacks.  As an exception I have chosen one centre back, Jan Vertonghen. The Spurs man is extremely versatile as well as playing in his more preferred centre back position he can play at left back and even on occasion midfield.  The Belgium international scored a combined total of 19 goals in 2012/13 and 2011/12.

When it comes to midfield, ideally you want to go attacking. Although Theo Walcott is classed as a midfielder, his electric pace and good movement almost makes him a striker at times and therefore is an example, admittedly quite a rare one, of how a player’s position can be ambiguous. Also he was one of only four players to reach double figures in goals scored and assists made last season.

Another way of gaining an advantage is by checking out the stats of new arrivals to the Premier League. Norwich City record signing Ricky Van Wolfswinkel is a good example as he is differential and well priced. The Dutchman already had a prolific goal scoring record since signing for Sporting Lisbon from FC Utrecht in 2011. The twenty four year old scored 38 goals in just two seasons for the Portuguese club in all competitions. Although weary of the fact that he may need time to adjust to the Premier League, Van Wolfswinkel got off the mark against Everton on the opening day of the season and could be a deadly threat. He only had 12 touches against Everton but one that mattered was the solitary goal in the game.