Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 12
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 12.
FF247 offered the Fixtures piece to me this week and, after some heated toing and froing and a good deal of unsavoury legal wrangling*, I accepted.
I was told to “break it up” and that I had a “blank canvas” to work with. Great, I thought. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss my thoughts on series 2 of Stranger Things, or perhaps this could be the ideal platform for me to divulge my definitive ranking of Mario Kart games.
But then I figured that FF247 probably didn’t intend for me to go so wildly off script and that for all intents and purposes, this was a fantasy football site and my approach should still be rooted in that. Plus, I doubt anyone really cares about my musings on Mario Kart history (MK64 ftw).
In all honesty, this has a similar feel to the usual offering, but I’ve thrown a couple of fancy graphics in there for good measure.
The Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW12-19
#1) Manchester City – LEI (A), HUD (A), SOU (H)
I think part of the reason the torch was passed to me this week is because the regulars are sick of harping on about Man City, so here’s me…harping on about Man City.
No matter what spin I put on this article, there was no way I could avoid talking about the boys in blue. Their relentless march towards Premier League domination is getting kind of boring, but at least us lot can benefit from the plethora of FPL points on offer, right? Well, kind of. As Mito discusses in The Man City Dilemna, trying to correctly predict Pep’s starting line-up is akin to playing the EuroMillions – the chances of success are roughly the same.
Despite the constant selection migraine though, you simply cannot do without Man City coverage. The Kun/Jesus debate continues to rage on, whilst in the middle of the park the points are shared around like some FPL version of communism…even Fernandinho has been getting in on the act! As the graph below shows, City midfielders have combined to score 358 points this season, almost 100 more than their nearest rivals:
Up next for Pep’s boys are Leicester, Huddersfield and Southampton respectively. Other teams in the league may have conceded more goals than these three, but that’s partly explained by the fact that most of them have already played Man City. In all fairness, it doesn’t matter a great deal who they are facing at the moment. If only we knew the secrets to Pep’s starting line-ups, this FPL lark would be a whole lot easier.
#2) Manchester United – NEW (H), BRI (H), WAT (A)
We don’t have to travel far for our next recommendation. United have been forced to navigate some tricky fixtures lately and Mourinho’s approach was unsurprisingly to go full Mourinho, thus killing any hope of significant attacking returns. Their defence remains the best in the league however, having shipped just five times so far. On that note, Phil Jones has picked up yet another injury that probably won’t end up making a blind bit of difference to his Premier League minutes. Many of us have fallen foul of that already this season.
Newcastle, Brighton and Watford are all fixtures with clean sheet potential, but they are also games which should afford United the opportunity to flex their attacking muscles a little more than recent times, particularly with the first two being at Old Trafford. After a blistering start to life in a red shirt, Lukaku has been woefully ineffective lately. In fairness to him though, he has been feeding off scraps. This run of games could be just the thing to spark him into life. Says a hopeful owner.
This weekend’s opponents Newcastle won’t be too disappointed by their mid-table standing at this stage, but they’ve lost their last two and have only tasted victory once since GW5, and that was against Palace so it doesn’t count. Ultimately, United need 9 points from these next three fixtures if they are to harbour any hope of keeping pace with their cross-city rivals, and it would be wise to have some coverage if you don’t already.
#3) Bournemouth – HUD (H), SWA (A), BUR (H)
I know it’s Bournemouth, but sometimes you have to look beyond the ‘big 6’ if you want a couple of budget players with favourable fixtures, and Eddie Howe’s men certainly fall into that bracket at the moment. They found a bit of form before the international break, too, with away victories over Newcastle and Stoke sandwiching a narrow loss to Chelsea.
Two of their next three fixtures are at home, with the first of those being the visit of Huddersfield this Saturday; a team who, since their opening day win at Palace, have failed to score a goal away from home. That equates to 372 minutes without finding the net on their travels, so they aren’t exactly looking like stiff opposition. Swansea are no great shakes either, having lost their last three, but Burnley have been oddly impressive away from home that fixture does come with a warning.
It may be slim pickings in the Bournemouth team but there are a couple of viable FPL options. With a price tag of just £4.6m and with a couple of goals and an assist to his name, you could do a lot worse than Andrew Surman as a 4th/5th midfielder. In defence, the pick of the bunch, as always, is Charlie Daniels. He’s dropped to £4.8 in value and for a player with attacking threat and some decent upcoming fixtures, that isn’t bad value.
#1) Southampton – LIV (A), EVE (H), MCI (A)
Southampton, whose only win away from home this season was against Palace – and again, I can’t stress enough how little that means – must travel to both Anfield and the Etihad over the next three gameweeks. The omens are not good, then. Lurking between those daunting trips is a more promising looking home fixture against Everton, but you never know…maybe the Toffees’ comeback win over Watford in GW11 will kick-start their season. If only for Guy’s sake.
#2) Huddersfield – BOU (A), MCI (H), ARS (A)
If you do happen to own a Huddersfield player, then it’s likely it’s in defence (with the possible exception of Mooy). If that is the case, the outlook isn’t great. The Terriers start off with a trip to in-form Bournemouth, before hosting Man City – we know all about them – followed by a visit to the Emirates, where Arsenal just love bullying the little teams in the playground.
#3) Leicester – MCI (H), WHU (A), TOT (H)
For some reason I have Andy King in my FPL team. I don’t remember when this happened, but I’d like to have a stern word in the ear of my former self about his selection. Alas, it is done now, and I’m faced with the prospect of him trundling off the bench for 20-minute cameos against the likes of Man City and Spurs in the coming weeks. If you, like me, have Andy King in your team, help is at hand. Comment below and we can pull through this together.
That was a fairly elaborate way of saying that Leicester have some crap fixtures coming up.
Perhaps you want to look a little further ahead. If we extend the outlook to include the next five fixtures, here’s the average Fixture Difficulty Rating (FDR) for each team (the lower the number, the ‘easier’ the run of fixtures):
Chelsea and Liverpool start to come into the picture with a healthy run of games over the next couple of months. Palace have what is deemed as a very favourable run, but I wouldn’t suggest you rush out to snap up their players just yet. Then again, I own Andy King. Should you really be taking my advice?
How reliable is FDR as a tool for FPL players, anyway? Do outcomes meet expectations? Here’s a graph which shows the average points scored by all players (per appearance) in fixtures against teams with FDR ratings 2 – 5 (1 is seldom used as a rating and the sample was too small to include at this stage of the season):
On average, most FPL points are scored by players facing teams who are given an FDR rating of 2, followed by 3, 5 and 4. It’s more or less what you’d expect, and at least it doesn’t render my previous table a complete waste of time.
*Claims of legal wrangling may have been fabricated for dramatic effect.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 12. This article was written by Mastermind from the Stats Zone
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