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Player Analysis

By The Numbers: Week 2

by Rob Allen
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

So Week One is over and my article last week on selecting a goalkeeper managed to highlight Allan McGregor, the highest scoring goalkeeper in the game.  I unfortunately went with De Gea but as he has a good run until Manchester United face Chelsea in week 9 we’ll have to wait and see if that was the right decision or not.  As every experienced fantasy football manager will tell you, it’s a marathon not a sprint, so I won’t start to despair until Christmas at the earliest!  


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For fans of last week’s goalkeeper article I have included this week’s graph which suggests that good places to start are; Courtois for Chelsea, Fabianski for Swansea, Forster for Southampton and Krul for Newcastle.  I like Fabianski as his low price gives plenty of room to move for other players.  I’m also not convinced that Courtois will be a regular starter over Cech but as Fabianski faces Chelsea in week 3 he will probably only be in your team for one week.  I’ll once again just touch on De Gea – he’s really close to being a top pick even after his poor start to the season and he does have a great run of games.



So what’s this week all about?

This week I wanted to continue looking at different ways to forecast performances without the benefit of up-to-date relevant information.  Last week we discussed the benefits of using betting markets as an indicator of success and a reader (ianstewartnyc) quite correctly pointed out that the odds offered by a bookmaker can be adversely affected by factors not directly linked with the potential outcomes, such as the weight of bets for a specific team.  A few years ago I wanted to see if it was possible to overcome this potential problem, so I decided to reverse engineer the performance of teams over 10 seasons and compare them to the original odds offered.  It was a boring and arduous task but what can I say?  I’m a sucker for any kind of advantage

What I found was exactly the correlation I expected and that I had hoped for.  The data gave me a statistically proven prediction of home, draw or away win based on the odds Bet365 offered on the home team.  The data also followed two nice and expected curves showing that as the odds went up the chance of home success decreased and the chance of an away success increased. As expected It even showed a general increase in the probability of a draw which then tapered off as the home odds really got higher.

The data was very interesting and when I feel like it (aka have time) I’ll put together a nice spreadsheet which will automatically import the odds from Bet365 and display the chances of success.  In the meantime I wanted to create an easy way for fantasy managers to work out the true chances of success so I put together this fantasy football cheatsheet.  Please feel free to download it and use if throughout the season to give yourself a quick idea of a team’s true chance of success.  You’ll note that sometimes the odds are shared between two columns, for example 1.25 appears in both ‘1.2-1.25’ and ‘1.25-1.3’.  In these cases I look to the average odds between the two columns.

So what does it say about this week?

Fixture Home Draw Away
Chelsea vs. Leicester 80% 17% 3%
Tottenham vs. QPR 71% 21% 8%
Swansea vs. Burnley 62% 25% 13%
Southampton vs. West Brom 55% 25% 20%
Manchester City vs. Liverpool 55% 25% 20%
Hull City vs. Stoke City 38% 24% 38%
Aston Villa vs. Newcastle 36% 26% 38%
Crystal Palace vs. West Ham 36% 26% 38%
Everton vs. Arsenal 29% 35% 36%
Sunderland vs. Manchester United 25% 25% 50%

The standout fixtures are obviously Chelsea, Tottenham and Swansea as the chance of success for the away team is so low.  The fixture that stands out to me most for fantasy purposes is Man City vs Liverpool where Liverpool have just a 20% chance of success.  It would take a braver man than me to choose Mignolet or any of the Liverpool defensive line.

So I hope that you’ve enjoyed this week’s article and I’ll be back next week with the ultimate fantasy football spreadsheet!


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Rob Allen
Rob Allen is a UK-based fantasy football and football betting writer. Devout Spurs fan, author of “Yahoo Fantasy Football – Dominating the Competition” and founder of the I’m a winner website, you can find him on Twitter @funtasyfootball.