Types of players not to choose in Fantasy Football

Types of players not to choose in Fantasy Football

Some players play well season after season, and some are one season wonders. In this first article I am going to set the stage by looking at players who earned lots of points for us managers in the 2011/12 premier league season, but did not deliver in 2012/13 and try to find if there is something in common with these players. My second article will look into sports research and highlight the main theory explaining why this happens. My third article will try to spot players who are likely to be the dodgy players next season.

How do we spot the one-season wonders for 12/13?

From a Fantasy Football point of view, what does it mean to have a good 11/12 and a poor 12/13?

EvertonWe could say a player did not do well if the number of points-earned dropped significantly. However, the top players who’s points dropped significantly were Van der Vaart, Modric, Friedel, Song, Nani, Adebayor, Taylor R, Bendtner, Kaboul and Hibbert. It is obvious these players were injured, dropped or sold to clubs outside of the premiership, and a Fantasy Football Manager who is on the ball will know to sell these players fairly quickly. So I don’t think points difference is the right way to spot a one season wonder.

One could argue that a player who gets a lot less game time this season compared to last season is a good way to find a one season wonder. But this list of players is fairly similar; Modric, Warnock, Song, Barton, Kaboul, Taylor, Given, Hutton and Dunne.

The game week 1 player price for the 2012/13 season reflects the performance from 2011/12 and the expectation for 2012/12. A change in price is due to a player not meeting expectation, injury or alternative player doing better. As a player’s price can only drop once per day, a consistent and sustained drop in price reflects injury or a failure to deliver the points from the previous season. So is a drop in price a good way to find the players who were one season wonders?

Who suffered from large price drops this season?

The below table shows the players who suffered the largest drop in price over the season.

  • Prices, points and minutes played are taken from Game Week 38. The difference in points and mins played is this season compared to last season. Price is the difference between the price at the start of the season and the end of the season.
  • For example, Hernandez at the start of the season cost £8M and now cost £6.5M, he earned 92 points which is 14 points less than last year, and featured in 953 minutes of football this season which was 524 minutes less than last season.
Name Team Price Change Points Change Mins Played Change
Hernandez MUN 6.5 -1.5 92 -14 953 -524
Gervinho ARS 6.1 -1.4 74 -12 1013 -665
Sessegnon SUN 6.7 -1.3 141 -20 2887 -238
Henderson LIV 4.8 -1.2 95 0 1535 -1123
Sigurdsson TOT 7.8 -1.2 77 -25 1235 -260
Anichebe EVE 4.3 -1.2 95 51 1716 1268
Smalling MUN 4.5 -1 47 -13 1020 -277
Ruiz FUL 5 -1 108 38 2383 869
McClean SUN 5.6 -0.9 97 -4 2343 498
Nani MUN 8.2 -0.8 34 -123 630 -1474
Silva MCI 9.2 -0.8 147 -37 2511 -290
Valencia MUN 8.2 -0.8 86 -54 2207 83
Cisse NEW 8.7 -0.8 113 8 2999 1893
Rosicky ARS 5.7 -0.8 34 -32 610 -1152
Downing LIV 5.7 -0.8 100 21 2191 -282
Ramires CHE 6.2 -0.8 101 -5 2523 51

Players who’s price dropped but did better than last year.

There seems to be a group of players on the list who’s price dropped but they did better than last year. Henderson in less game time earned the same number of points as last year. Anichebe earned 51 more points than last year and his price still fell £1.2M. Ruiz earned 31 more points then the previous season on only 869 more minutes, a return of 0.816 points per million per game compared to 0.694 minutes the year before.

Nani-of-Manchester-United-008This gives us our first clue. Perhaps players who do not play regularly are more exposed to price fluctuations than regularly playing players and should be avoided when choosing your team in August.

Indeed, Smalling earned 13 less points than the season before but his points per game per million rose from 0.757 to 0.922, all the while his price fell by £1M. This is a reflection of his low number of starts and backs up the “regular playing” category.

Players who’s price dropped because not a “first teamer”

Some of the players with price drops and a drop in game time compared to last season are very regular players. An alert Premier Fantasy League Manager will be aware when a first teamer is not being played and will sell the players rather quickly, and at least before £0.4M has been lost. These players are Nani, Rosicky and Downing [although Downing later did become a regular].

This backs up our intuition above that players who do not play regularly are more exposed to price fluctuations than regularly playing players. Yet Nani in particular played 2104 minutes in 2011/12.

Gervinho-celeb-Lille-v-Arles-2011_2591524Gervinho also falls into this category. He played 665 minutes less than the season before, but earned only 12 points less than in 11/12. His points per million per game in 11/12 was 0.615 but in 12/13 it averaged 1.078 suggesting he was significantly under priced at the close of the season.

What is interesting is Suarez last season did not have a good season earning only 136 points, and this season his starting price was £9.5M, yet by the end of the season his price was £10.5M because he earned 212 points.

So this gives us our second Fantasy Football clue. These ‘first team’ players could be cheap picks next season if they are in teams where you feel they will play regularly.

Who are we left with?

Name Team Price Change Points Diff Mins Diff PPMPG 11/12 PPMPG 12/13
Sessegnon SUN -1.3 -20 -238 0.58 0.656
Sigurdsson TOT -1.2 -25 -260 0.682 0.719
McClean SUN -0.9 -4 498 0.758 0.665
Silva MCI -0.8 -37 -290 0.591 0.573
Valencia MUN -0.8 -54 83 0.659 0.428
Cisse NEW -0.8 8 1893 0.899 0.39
Ramires CHE -0.8 -5 51 0.551 0.581

With the exception of Cisse and Valencia, what is common is that all of these players maintain a reasonable consistant PPMPG. What does this teach us? Read part 2 of this article, the “Sports Illustrated Effect“, to find out more.


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Site founder, first used stats to try to win his work mini-league. Now helps other managers win theirs.

27 thoughts on “Types of players not to choose in Fantasy Football

  1. CR, top stuff mate :). Really enjoyed seeing the price drop relative to minutes played this year compared to last and whether the output achieved was a fair reflection of the drop in price.

    I think something also has to be said for players who follow a good year with a bad one, are then under priced and then come back with a great season (which is what I believe part of your article was getting at). A.Cole, Rooney etc. (Defoe to a lesser extent) are ones that immediately come to mind, while I’m sure players like Aguero and Cisse will bounce back next season, especially if the former can stay healthy.

    In the case of Gervinho, his price drop correlated with his lack of playing time after AFCON. His ending price accurately reflected his point output, simply because he wasn’t playing or scoring; his early season price suggests that he was underpriced though, as the bulk of his scoring/assisting was accomplished then. Just something else to consider I guess!

  2. Great article CR, really interesting subject.

    Can I throw my 2 pennies in? Some players often lose a lot of value due to the bandwagon effect, when the have inconsistent form/DGW etc

    Great GW/DGW > big n# transfers in & value increase maxes out at £0.3 Mil for the week

    Poor GW/DGW passed > transfered out by same people over 2-3 weeks = £0.6-£0.9 mil price drop…

  3. Guys, you are both right to some extent. But the post is a tease to what’s next so forgive me if I don’t reveal all now. Please speculate. Makes this site fun :)

    • Awesome CR, exactly what I expected from you. The article seemed a little light compared to your typical thorough, analytical stuff (not to say this wasn’t, but just a bit “shorter” and less in depth).

      Looking forward to the real thing :)

  4. I look forward to it! Looks like a interesting set of articles! You’d have aced the dissertation part of a Sport & Exercise Science degree!

    There articles obviously look more at none performers, the reasons why & trying to predict.

    However, after checking the biggest price drops, there are some pretty regular patterns with scores/price change.

    I may be mistaken, but didn’t Giroud drop by £1.7 million this season?

    • I can see Bowie finds personal pleasure in winding me up by mentioning he who’s name I shall not mention!

    • Bowie,

      the stats are a comparison of 11/12 vs 12/13. So while some players dropped more in price, if they did not feature in more than 2 seasons they are not in the analysis. Bring strict Cisse should not have been in the results.

      • Doh, sorry CR! Forgot he’d only had one season here!

        Ha ha, HH, rough with the smooth, you’ve gotta search through done coal to find a diamond!

        • Yeah I must have been a naughty Gooner…OG was that lump of coal I never wanted in my stocking hahaha!

          To be fair, I’m perfectly happy with him as a sub/squad player – just not as a starter.

  5. Is anyone entering the fantasy u21 European Championships? If so let me know as I might make a league if enough join up.

  6. A slow start to the transfer window in the premiership, only Sunderland have taken Lazio’s Senegalese centre-back Modibo Diakité on a free. All the news is in Monaco.

  7. Interesting I’ve heard that Theo will start up front for England tomorrow – can anyone confirm?


    • This was inevitable, I don’t see where Higuain fits at Real considering they already prefer Benzema to him as it is for the big games and they’re looking to bring in one of Suarez or Cavani (maybe Gomez if he becomes available if BM buy Lewandowski).

      The Higuain to Juventus rumours seem to be fuelled by his agent (father), but who knows where he’ll end up as he’ll go to the club with the best first-team opportunities (Arsenal), whomever can match or better his wages (both Arsenal and Juventus could), a CL team (again both Arsenal and Juve) and the team with the best chance at achieving silverware domestically and Internationally (Juve).

  8. So jose’s signing tomorrow then: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/world-of-sport/blundering-premier-league-announces-mourinho-chelsea-return-070758897.html

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