Today @OptaJoe hosted an #AskOpta and we’ve taken some of the choice tweets and expanded upon them for EPL fantasy purposes. All tweets are based, naturally, on Opta stats and we’ve distinguished when the statistics we’re using are from Fantasy Premier League as simple stats such as assists and minutes played are frequently different between the two sources.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 12, 2012
Podolski has been one of the most frustrating figures in EPL fantasy this season. The new arrival at Arsenal has, as the above Tweet indicates, been substituted in each of his seven Barclays Premier League fixtures. The FPL has credited him with two goals and two assists in 509′. His longest League outing was the 84′ he received in the gameweek seven fixture at West Ham in which he recorded an assist. Podolski is priced £8.6m and selected in 17.4% of FPL sides. EPL fantasy managers who own the striker-come-left-winger will know that he has earned two FPL pts in four of the seven weeks. He has earned 25 points in the other three weeks with his five bonus points coming in the two weeks in which he scored a goal. By comparison, Santi Cazorla has only one GW with two FPL points and has recorded 41 points this term, earning the full 90′ in six of seven BPL fixtures. We have alternated between hot and cold with Podolski with our overwhelming desire to see his statistical successes reflected in the EPL fantasy production. He is second among Gunners with 14 chances created (Santi Cazorla, 26), but he is not heavily involved in the passing game. Podolski has completed 193/224 — 86% completed — passes, ninth most in Arsene Wenger’s squad. He has also completed two of six crosses, those six crosses are level seventh in the squad with Gervinho. But it is the presence of Gervinho that discounts Podolski’s value moving forward. The Ivorian has been playing as an out-and-out striker this season. Olivier Giroud and possibly Theo Walcott are ahead of Podolski to lineup as striker. We have touted the German international as the successor to Robin van Persie’s spot and free kicks, but his lack of involvement in the rest of the game will continue to leave EPL fantasy managers to feast or famine with the 27-year-old.
Frankly, we do not care about Cheik Tiote. He plays a deep-lying midfielder that infrequently scores — he has one goal scored in the last three EPL seasons — and has recorded 60 FPL points in 2038′ last season and FPL points in 2308′ in 2010-11. We’re using him as the target for those players who lose massive FPL points for cautions. The Magpies midfielder was injured earlier this season and has completed the full 90′ twice. In his 274′ he has one assist and two yellow cards, leaving him with eight (8!) FPL points. Only 14 BPL players have received more yellow cards this season than Tiote’s two and most have played significantly more minutes. For our purposes there are four players who’s bookings have significantly impacted their EPL fantasy potential: Luis Suarez (three), Marouane Fellaini (three), Michu (three) and James McArthur (four).
Suarez’s yellows are a endemic of a larger issue. We’ve touched on this previously when discussing the diving and statements from his manager and teammates, but Suarez ‘diving’ does not drastically impact him EPL fantasy potential. He remains the most prolific shooter in the League and is second on LFC in chances created. Where he does impact your bottom line is when he’s booked. No other forward has been booked more than twice, and Suarez leads LFC — although both Agger and Shelvey have received reds as well. His three yellows are far in excess of the five he earned in the 2011-12 campaign. If referees are looking at Suarez with particular attention he could continue to earn too many bookings, earn suspensions, and cost your FPL side.
Similar problems exist with Fellaini and Michu. Each of the midfielders have played above expectation this term but both have recorded one point outings — Fellaini has three this term while Michu has two — and are close to a mandatory suspension. Three cards may not seem like many, but they are on pace for 16 bookings each this season. Players one similar pace for goals scored are Gervinho, Carlos Tevez and Frank Lampard. If you are excited to see the early goals for those players early tallies you also need to consider the impact of the early cards.
Finally, James McArthur has played in six of the Latics seven BPL players. He has played the full 90′ in three of six outings and has totaled 509′. Last season the midfielder had scored three goals and two assists in 1771′. He looked a good value in FPL with a price of £5.4m — currently 0.0% selected — but has not managed a goal or assists this season. His six chances created are level fourth in the squad and we greatly prefer Shaun Maloney, Arouna Koné (10 each) and even Emerson Boyce (eight chances created, 8/25 crosses completed, £5.0-rated FPl defender) over McArthur at this point in the season.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 12, 2012
Goalkeepers often get short shrift in EPL fantasy and this site is no different. With such a massive percentage of value derived from cleansheets, and cleanies near impossible to predict on a week-to-week basis, we typically advocate owning either a) one high-priced option — Cech, Hart — and sticking with him from thick and thin or b) buying two mid-range options — Vorm, Schwarzer, Mannone — and rotating based on match-ups. We wanted to give a moment and note those ‘keepers who have posted impressive save totals.
Leading the way, via Opta, and pointing out the differences between the two systems of scoring is Jussi Jaaskelainen. Opta credits the Hammer’s GK with 32 saves while the FPL has him with 28, level with Mark Schwarzer. They are the only two Premier League ‘keepers to have recorded an average of four saves in each appearance this term, min. five appearances. Petr Cech leads the way on total points, however, with his 34 besting Jussi’s 31. Cech also leads the cleansheet table with four. Only three other ‘keepers have exceeded two cleansheets: Asmir Begovic, Ben Foster and Jaaskelainen with three apiece.
Jaaskelainen’s three cleanies have come against Aston Villa, Fulham and Norwich and he’s failed to keep a CS in four on the bounce in the League. The Hammer’s #1 is a solid value, but will face sterner opposition after the break with Southampton(h), Wigan(a), Man City(h) and Newcaslte(a) the next four slated. Perhaps a pair of better options for the coming four gameweeks are Everton’s Tim Howard and Man City’s Joe Hart.
Howard’s next four run: QPR(a), Liverpool(h), Fulham(a), Sunderland(h). QPR are an obvious mess and the £5.6m-rated Howard has allowed five goals in four away games. The is not as impressive as the three goals in three home fixtures, but he is more than capable of posting a blank against three of those four sides. Interestingly, we’re not counting Liverpool as the fourth, but rather Fulham at Craven Cottage. The Reds have scored six goals in three away fixtures but five of those game against Norwich. Sunderland once again provided a blueprint for limiting Brendan Rodgers’ side and we expect more of the same from David Moyes.
Hart is a more difficult purchase both because of his price (£6.9m) and the desire to stock an EPL fantasy side with attacking options from Roberto Mancini’s squad. Carlos Tevez (41.5% selected), Yaya Toure (36.8%) and Vicent Kompany (18.1%) command a large percentage of ownership and Sergio Aguero (11.1%), David Silva (6.8%) and Samir Nasri (5%) should all command a place in more sides than at present. If you’ve a spot and the funds, Hart will face WBA(a), Swansea(h), West Ham(a), Tottenham(h) and Aston Villa(h) over his next five BPL gameweeks. With only one cleansheet to his name this term, Hart has not been a good investment for his EPL fantasy owners, but remains at 10.8% selection despite net transfers out six GW on the bounce.
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