Fantasy Football managers love statistics, but how useful are they really?
How many times have you used positive statistics to vindicate a transfer move or a captaincy decision in Fantasy Premier League?
There’s no denying the accuracy of these stats. But Fantasy Football is complex: real word scenarios have so many factors. Statistics can show a pattern but can never accurately predict what happens on the football pitch.
I’ve felt compelled to write this article as I love data and statistics. I’ve got a strong statistics background, with a degree in Mathematics. I try to bring this knowledge to FPL, but sometimes these statistics defy logic.
I’ll use this as the starting point. Mohammed Salah in the luminous third kit worn occasionally in away games.
✴️Salah in his lucky orange kit
🆚West Ham ⚽️⚽️ 15pts
🆚Stoke ⚽️⚽️ 13pts
🆚Arsenal ⚽️🅰️ 10pts
🆚Southampton ⚽️🅰️ 13pts pic.twitter.com/qroS7SHlgx
— FPL Holly (@FFCommunity_) February 11, 2018
There’s certainly a strong correlation between Salah’s kit attire and his Fantasy Premier League points. So much so, that I’m tempted to put the armband on him for every appearance in the famous orange from now until the end of the season.
Despite this, I’m fully aware of the causation, or lack of, in this stat. The performances aren’t this strong because of the colour of his kit. Could it be that it’s so easy to spot the passes that scoring opportunities are more prominent? Probably not!
The fixture scheduled has been uniquely modelled this season so that each of the later gameweeks have the alternate home/away fixture of a previous one this season.
📌Gameweek 27 sees the reverse of the Gameweek 12 fixtures.
Eden Hazard lead the Dream Team. pic.twitter.com/NtjSBNBh0G
— FPL Holly (@FFCommunity_) February 4, 2018
⚠️Gameweek 26 sees the reverse of the Gameweek 9 fixtures.
Kane captain anyone? pic.twitter.com/b5bzPbXWvb
— FPL Holly (@FFCommunity_) February 1, 2018
I’ve been using this information in my captains article with reasonable success. Hazard, Salah and Niasse all performed strongly in Gameweek 27 but the overall results of the games were different.
In Gameweek 26, Kane came good with his returns against Liverpool once more. Ramsey and Murray were other players to perform strongly. But does prior performance correlate with future returns?
FPL_Vs posts prior performance statistics each week on Twitter. They tend to be a reliable source of information.
— FPL🆚 (@FPL_vs) February 8, 2018
— FPL🆚 (@FPL_vs) February 9, 2018
Kane loves scoring against Arsenal. Now this one could be causation: Kane has gone on record to say that being rejected by Arsenal as youngster means that he is always determined to score against them. He didn’t disappoint in Gameweek 27.
Aguero boosted his record against Leicester, Vardy continued his run against City and Lukaku disappointed the charts at Newcastle. Sterling and Firmino managed to prove their prior performance wrong, whereas Sanchez and Eriksen backed the trend.
Obviously there must be something in a players psyche when they face a club where they have a strong/weak record. It could be to do with the suited style of play or the strength of the opposition faced.
There’s several statistics that were handed around the community backed up by Gameweek 27.
FACT: Jamie @Vardy7 is the first player in history to score against:
⚽️ Man City
⚽️ Man United
— SPORF (@Sporf) February 10, 2018
There’s no place like the Emirates. 🏠 pic.twitter.com/gOEztB578O
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 10, 2018
Jose Mourinho has never won a Premier League match at St.James’ Park
— EPL Stat Man (@EPLStatman) February 8, 2018
Vardy the king of scoring against the top 6? He’s one of the most talented strikers outside of the top 6, and nobody playing for one of these clubs can achieve the same accolade.
Arsenal are much stronger at home than away? Obviously the home advantage plays out in a whole host of sports and this is just another example of that. Are they considerable worse than everyone else though?
The St. James Park curse for Mourinho is an interesting one. It’s a bit like the ‘Kane doesn’t score in August’ statistic, to name just one. Some of these statistics are obviously more useful than others.
Gameweek 28 and beyond
Obviously we need to be careful with the statistics, but plenty of them could be useful going forward. Here’s a selection of statistics that you may or may not find helpful.
⏪ REVERSE FPL ⏪
GW28 sees the reverse of the GW11 fixtures. Here’s the Dream Team and Results. The captain decision looks to be an easy one… 🥗 pic.twitter.com/B0wgU0SnDi
— FPL Holly (@FFCommunity_) February 14, 2018
👕Aguero has been unstoppable at the Etihad in 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣ pic.twitter.com/OJ88vc77sw
— FPL Holly (@FFCommunity_) February 13, 2018
🔴 Arsenal Defenders: Last 5 GW’s 🔴
Firmly on the watchlist for Gameweek 29 onwards.
Imagine the FPL points potential if they can start keeping some clean sheets! pic.twitter.com/9t3hjmTS3y
— FPL Holly (@FFCommunity_) February 4, 2018
We’ve also identified a pattern in the all important captaincy decision between the big 3. It came off spectacularly in Gameweek 27? Could it continue to Gameweek 28 and beyond….