Neal Thurman

FPL Draft

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FPL Scoring By Team, Part 2

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yesterday I took a look at overall Premier League fantasy scoring by team last season and how that might influence your draft strategy.  Today, I'm going to take the analysis one step further and break down each team by position group and see if we can uncover any insight that could help you either make a smart pick or avoid one you are likely to regret.  First, here's the data in handy-dandy table format:


ARS 1745 143 649 655 298
BHA 1398 146 412 648 192
BOU 1355 112 395 516 332
BUR 1514 160 495 590 269
CHE 1906 147 843 692 224
CRY 1448 135 496 724 93
EVE 1432 145 485 453 349
HUD 1292 135 444 483 230
LEI 1450 136 384 596 334
LIV 2072 155 763 916 238
MUN 2012 179 614 948 271
MCI 2244 168 579 1200 297
NEW 1472 143 465 542 322
SOU 1350 125 441 577 207
STK 1270 130 355 588 197
SWA 1416 157 477 539 243
TOT 1930 156 658 876 240
WAT 1367 111 454 622 180
WBA 1351 124 443 508 276
WHU 1414 131 514 613 156

So, there you have the scoring breakdown by position in all of it's glory.  Some of what we see in the table is confirmatory of what we generally advise about draft leagues.  Some provides some interesting insight.  Some points out quirks in the game. Some gives you some fodder for thinking about what you think will be different between this season and last. Here are some thoughts from all of those categories:

  • Goalkeeper Value. Starting at the back, the correlations between Goalkeeper points scored and final place in the table is pretty close to zero.  That is to say that, unlike totoal points by forwards which tracks well with final place in the table, final points by goalkeepers on a team vary for sure but all you have to do is look at Swansea's GK points (157) to see that it outstrips all but three clubs (all of whom finished in European places).  Likewise, Watford and Bournemouth, both middle of the road teams, produced the fewest points.  This is just further evidence that spending a valuable draft pick on a goalkeeper is a waste of resources.  You could probably get a Fabianski or whomever starts for Burnley in the last round or two while your fellow managers are picking off David De Gea, Thibaut Courtois, and Hugo Lloris in the 10th or 11th round.
  • Liverpool's GK. One other thing that stands out for me about goalkeepers is that, for all the crap that Liverpool goalkeepers got last season, as a group they finished within a point of the Tottenham goalkeeping group.  I suspect that you could have piced up the tandem of Mignolet and Karius over the final two rounds of your draft last season and gotten excellent production from that position far later than your fellow managers drafted Hugo Lloris and almost the exact same production.
  • Outrageous Midfield at the Etihad. Perhaps the most striking thing about this entire table is the fact that Manchester City's midfielders came close to outscoring Stoke's entire squad.  Overall, my advice is generally to avoid spending high draft picks on players who seem destined to play rotational roles.  Guys like Willian or Juan Mata have big names and tend to get drafted as big names but tend to frustrate as they get a small share of their side's typical production at their production.  The thing that stands out is that Manchester City's production in midfield is almost a full 33% higher than the second highest producing team (Manchester United).  This means that there is room for at least one more, if not two more, highly productive midfielders in City's scoring total than there would be at United or Liverpool or Spurs.  Can they sustain yet another premium midfielder, Riyad Mahrez, coming in without a big name dropping in value? It seems unlikely but those extra 250 to 300 mean that Raheem Sterling can play part time minutes next season and still be a top 5 midfielder in production.  You will still have to suffer through a bunch of weeks where he might not produce anything at all but those weeks where he plays he's shown he's going to be dynamite. 
  • Stamford Bridge Defense. Like Manchester City's midfielders, Chelsea's defenders are by far the most productive defensive group in the game.  Whether this continues with the presumed change in management remains to be seen but I was shocked at how much more productive Chelsea's defense was than even Spurs' defense which has historically featured high scoring wing backs and at least a representative number of clean sheets. 
  • And Anfield Too.  Similarly, Liverpool's defense was surprisingly productive.  Perhaps it was just masked by the turnover in starters as Jurgen Klopp played musical chairs with his CBs until Virgil Van Dijk arrived and he figured out that Andrew Robertson was his first choice left back.  If things are more settled at Anfield this coming season then there is great value that wouldn't be very apparent from last season's statistics.
  • Quirks at Palace. Some of the idiosyncrasies of this table have to do with how the Premier League assigns players to positions and how those actual positions evolve over the course of the season.  It looks like Crystal Palace have, by far, the worst forward position in the Premier League.  Part of that was that Christian Benteke stunk.  Part of it was that once he was healthy, Wilfried Zaha (listed as a midfielder) was playing forward.  Zaha will be listed as a forward in the upsoming season so you can choose to adjust Palace's numbers from last season if that makes things look more reasonable. 
  • Cherry Forwards.  One area of potential opportunity comes from the forward position at Bournemouth.  Last season, Eddie Howe's forwards racked up a spectacular 332 fantasy points.  The problem is that they were spread pretty evenly over five players.  With Jermain Defoe and Benik Afobe and their 84 combined fantasy points gone we could see a bump up from Joshua King and Callum Wilson if they can pick up that production.  If they split approximately the same production evenly between the two in the upcoming season then you would see a 151 point season from King and a 143 point season from Wilson.  Those prospective totals would have put both Cherries hitmen in the second tier of forwards just below the Kane, Vardy, Firmino, Lukaku group and in the general neighborhood of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
  • Struggles in Midfield. Arsenal and Chelsea may have the brand names of big clubs but their respective midfields produced more like mid-table clubs than Champions League contenders.  Perhaps new seasons under new management will change their outcomes significantly but despite names like Ozil, Ramsey, and Mkhitaryan/Sanchez at Arsenal and Hazard, Willian, and Fabregas at Chelsea these two clubs produced approximately half of the fantasy points in midfield that Manchester City did.  If the hypothesis is that you can afford to take a part-time City player because their overall production as a team is so high then the corresponding point about Arsenal and Chelsea is that you'd better be sure you're getting close to a full time starter because neither of those sides produced enough to support a useful part-timer last season. 
I could go on making points about the data for days but I'm sure everyone has to get back to work and actually accomplish something with their day.  Hopefully, having this table will trigger some ideas in your head that will cause you to look at the players that come together to make up those numbers and come to your own conclusions about where value may or may not lie. 
Before signing off, I will reiterate the point that this is retrospective analysis and has to be filtered through the lens of what has happened since these events occurred.  There are new players and new managers at significant clubs.  Will Arsenal's defense look significantly better under Unai Emery and with an almost entirely new defensive spine in Torreira, Sokratis, and Leno? Will Chelsea's new manager, assuming one arrives, change up the formation and significantly dent the value of the Blues' defense - especially high scorers like Alonso and Moses?  Will Marco Silva finallly have the chance to work his magic on the Everton side after last season's flirtation undermined significant parts of the season for both Everton and Watford? 
Things will almost certainly not look exactly like this next season.  Hopefully, what this brings is a platform to start your analysis that you can use to fit changes into.  Once you see how Chelsea are lining up in pre-season you can come to a conclusion on how to adjust the value of various position groups up and down at Chelsea.  As you see new players arrive and old ones leave you can use the above as a platform to decide if they are going to move the needle and change the overall fortunes of their new club or decide on how much of a similar pie they are likely to get for themselves in their new situation.  It isn't perfrect but it is a good start for evaluating players heading into your draft. 

Neal Thurman manages the Rotoworld's Premier League coverage and contributes to Never Manage Alone which he co-founded. He is also a diehard Arsenal supporter. You can find him on Twitter @NealJThurman.
Email :Neal Thurman

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