Galin Dragiev

Yahoo! Premier League

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Fantasy Soccer by the Numbers

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unlike other fantasy sports formats, the Premier League game is all about the total number of points you have at the end of season.   I am going to introduce to you a powerful statistic for this format that I believe to be very valuable in making some key decisions.  The decisions easily answered are which formation to play(the 3-4-3), which positions to spend the most money on(forwards) and whether or not you should buy in on Robin Van Persie and Gareth Bale despite their high price(yes).  All this comes from a single statistic.  The numbers can also be very helpful in choosing what players to add to your team but there are many details it cannot account for, so don't trust it blindly.


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The statistic

The statistic is total points per pound.  That’s total fantasy points from last year per the player’s current price (the numbers below are as of July 18th).  This value tells you who the most valuable players are considering their current price.  To blindly trust this number in choosing what players to play, you’d have to assume all the players keep their form and play the same number of games.  Players who were injured for a significant amount of time last year miss the cut here, but that also speaks about their reliability.  We can also look at (average points per week)/(pound) but the top of that charts is full of players who got 10 points last season and are now worth 3 million pounds.

I think the biggest impact of this is when we look at the trends at the end of the article.  The trends are a lot more powerful than any single player’s number because they include the numbers for each player for an entire season and really answer some of the important questions raised above.


Measured in total points(from last year) per pound(current price).

Top 10 players for each position are listed.

J. Jääskeläinen             25.74

P. Cech                                    21.63

B. Guzan                       21.10

A. Begovic                    19.88

S. ignolet                      19.63

. Schwarzer                   18.93

J. Hart                          18.79

T. Howard                     18.64

J. Reina                        17.73


Some big names here that missed the cut were Tottenham’s H. Lloris, Arsenal’s W. Szczesny, and Manchester United’s D. De Gea.  They all missed a number of games last season which dropped their season point total and thus their pts/pound.  Tottenham’s H. Lloris comes at a very decent price and considering Tottenham’s good defense, he can be a great buy right now while the price is right.




L. Baines                      19.96

S. Bassong                   19.57

P. Mertesacker              18.27

S. Riether                      18.15

G. Johnson                   17.70

R. Shawcross                17.66

N. Clyne                        17.39

B. Davies                      17.15

J. Vertonghen               16.93




S. Cazorla                     22.42

K. Nolan                       21.79

W. Routledge                21.52

Michu                           21.21

S. Gerrard                     20.69

G. Bale                         20.44

J. De Guzmán               20.00

Adam Johnson              19.62

A. Lennon                     19.51


Forwards (I am including 15 forwards because of the depth of the position)


R. Lukaku                     27.04

R. Lambert                    25.04

C. Benteke                    23.13

O. Giroud                      21.82

A. Koné                         21.31

F. Torres                       21.29

L. Suárez                      21.28

R. Snodgrass                21.08

L. Podolski                   20.45

R. van Persie                20.11

J. Rodriguez                 20.08

E. Hazard                     19.77

D. Berbatov                  19.73

N. Jelavic                      19.70


What this tells you


In these lists, we see that some very popular choices are not at the top.  Robin Van Persie is 11th for his position while Gareth Bale is 6th, but I wouldn’t exactly say they are overpriced or not as valuable as players ranked above.  What you are paying for when you choose Gareth Bale is security.  Considering he is healthy, you know he will play almost every game, and even if he doesn’t score as much as he did last year, he will get fantasy points.  He will get interceptions, he will have many shots on goal, he will take set pieces, he will get assists.  Same story with Van Persie, simply because of the amount of action they see in each game.  With someone like Romelu Lukaku, you’re uncertain if he’ll see the pitch each game.


With that being said, these numbers still tell you a lot about how productive some players are that might not be too expensive and you still get a good value for your money.  Many of the players listed are probably going to keep their form and would be great additions to any team.


Click Here for the latest Premier League news and follow @RotoWorld_PL and @GalinDragiev on Twitter.


Play the 3-4-3

This also tells you that you need to play a 3-4-3 formation.  If you look above, forwards in general have the biggest value per pound by a long shot, so you want to have as many forwards as possible.  The next highest valued position is midfield, so you want to maximize the number of forwards you have followed by the number of midfielders.  This also means you should spend more money on forwards and midfielders than defenders, because your money up front gets you more points.


I think this is a very powerful conclusion that puts an end to the debate about formation.  This is not just a data point, this is an entire season’s numbers that show us forwards are the most valuable players in the game that get you the most value for your money.


Van Persie and Bale Too Expensive?

Many people are pondering whether to buy in on Van Persie and Gareth Bale because for the money each one costs, you can get two players that are very good.  I am going to make an argument that you must own at least one.


As you can see above, Bale and Van Persie are towards the top of the charts when looking at points per pound, but not the best.  Let’s say you want to replace Gareth Bale (£27.47, 561.5 total pts last year) with Steven Gerard (£16.53, 342 pts) and Kevin Nolan (£10.51, 229 pts).  Nolan and Gerard give you 10 more points and you even have about a half pound to spare.  Seems about equal, slight advantage Nolan and Gerard, so some may want to choose that option.  But we can’t forget about the Captain rule.  Your captain earns double points each game.  So if in the Gareth Bale scenario, he was to be your captain, you’d get 1123 points on the season.  If in the second scenario you choose Gerard to be your captain, you’d have 913 points, even less if Nolan was your captain.  That’s a 210 point difference at the end of the season.


Taking this into consideration, you absolutely must have either Gareth Bale or Van Persie. One of them is probably replaceable, but you must own the other and they must be your captain.  This is simply the act of maximizing the "free" points you get by having a captain.


Will you be playing a 3-4-3 formation?  Will you have Bale or RVP on your team? 

Galin Dragiev is a Rotoworld contributor that focuses on Daily Fantasy Soccer and contributes for a number of outlets in the industry. You can find him on Twitter at @GalinDragiev.
Email :Galin Dragiev

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