ChampMan WK25 Article / Data Dive

Introduction

Hi.

My name is James and I once built 1,000 spreadsheets so we could all start playing #FantasyChampMan. It was an absolute blast running the game with Dave (@SimpeGull_FPL) and Andy (@FPL_Tactician) last season but this year I have the pleasure of simply playing along.

After a disgusting first couple of weeks I came across the absolutely essential weekly videos from @CM_Fantasy and started to have a bit more fun! Even managed gameweek ranks of 8th, 18th and 48th along the way! Target is to win my mini league & maybe a push to get into ‘the screenshot’ (gonna need a bigger screenshot). 

Wildcard Time

Sometimes you just know it’s time to wildcard. I’m a very stubborn fantasy player – when I want a certain player I just want him and I won’t enjoy the game week without him. This week I want Cherno Samba. And Henry. Veron. Unsworth, Zepeda, Allan ‘P’ Johnston, maybe Petkov, Alan Smith and some more Everton? But more of that later. 

In this article I will take you through some stats I dug into as I try to find an edge. Maybe most of it is what you’d expect anyway, but it was fun to dig and can be reassuring to see the data confirm things. 

Goals, Goals, Goals

First of all a massive shout out to @LordyLeroy – it’s only because of his data extraction techniques that make it possible for the team to continue to run FantasyChampMan. He’s also created an incredible trove of data which I’m only just scratching the surface of in this article. Check it out for yourself – https://dibbles21.shinyapps.io/cmfpl_data/ 

The lifeblood of any fantasy football is goals. Each one can represent a moment of pure joy or utter heartbreak. Or occasionally just a shrug. 

There have been 745 of these moments so far this season, scored in 240 games – for a tidy average of 31 per gameweek, or 3.1 per game. Here’s a few graphs to show you who’s scoring them all. 

Above: As we all know, pretty dependable home advantage, and more than half of them scored by the ones whose job it is to do so! (Strikers).

Above: Which teams are getting the goals and which teams love a goal fest.

Above: Last of all, a quick summary of the top goal scorers by position. These lads helped themselves to not far off half the total goals. 

So what?

Digging a little deeper – I was most interested in figuring out who to target for the big hauls. I also wanted to try and understand who exactly to pick against specific opposition. 

Above: These tables show that circa. 40% of goals have been scored by the highlighted teams on the left, while circa. 40% of goals are scored against the highlighted teams on the right. Juicy. 

Aside from the usual suspects, Sunderland have been strong – and weirdly better away from home and often against decent opposition. Arca (£7m) and Phillips (£12m) have been involved in a talismanic 78% of their goals and have been a joy to own, but annoying captaincy picks as they perform in the ‘wrong’ games. But their next 5 do include some mean defences  LIV, tot, che, MAN, mid. 

Charlton, Millwall, Derby do seem the obvious ones to target home and away but I did note that they’ve had slightly more of their toughest home fixtures so far this season compared to others. No such excuses for Newcastle, Spurs and Everton who have absolutely had a lot of their best fixtures on paper. Perhaps they might have the quality (or new managers) to step it up in the closing stages?

Once you get beyond those teams anyway it seems to emphasise backing home assets against mid-poor teams. But emphasis on the Home. It’s the likes of Man C, Ipswich, Leicester that I didn’t realise were quite so miserly at home. Note that Aston Villa have already had a lot of their easy home fixtures but hardly any ‘easy’ away fixtures which explains the wide gap in conceding 

So, what have we learned so far?

  1. Strikers score goals
  2. Home teams score goals, Away teams concede goals
  3. Good teams score goals against bad teams
  4. I’m struggling a bit at a game I co-created

Hope you’re keeping up.

Modelling the Fixtures

So what I did next was dig into where teams got their goals from, in terms of position, and tried to see which teams conceded a lot of goals (and assists) from certain positions. 

Above: Apologies at the lack of presentation on this – but if you squint for a while you can see which teams rely on strikers, which have the potent centre mids and wide men. 

Above: Same again for who the goals against to try and find which teams have specific weaknesses.

I played about and came up with the following team relative strengths and weaknesses. Stopping to note that I had started looking at Headers, Passes, Tackles per positions & home and away –  but realised that would need a lot more time than I have for this article. It’s all there on Clem’s site. 

Above: How many of these did you already know?

So I took all the cuts of numbers – goals per game scored / conceded mainly – graded teams hard, med, easy separately for home and away. Incorporated relative strengths and weaknesses of teams… and averaged the hell out of it. Pretty isn’t it?

Above: Hope you’ve got your glasses. Or a decent zoom.

Above: Surely can’t lose now! Feels like cheating…

Above: Jussi or Westerweld. Branagan. Harte. Hyypia. Gardner. Doherty. Unsworth for a bit. How much is Wetherall?

Initial Thoughts

  • Arsenal and Boro have good attacking runs now until wk30
  • Ipswich look decent from next week, as do Liverpool
  • Man U attackers look good next two then might be worth planning to rotate for 27/28
  • Wk 27 looks interesting for differential captaincy! Doherty Anyone?
  • Leeds & for a shorter sprint Blackburn have runs from Wk28
  • Stick with the tried and trusted defences
  • Sunderland, Chelsea & Villa assets have a tricky runs for a while now so time to ditch

Conclusion

Truth is… I had already picked my team – based as always on sims and leaks. A lot of what I’ve found hasn’t really pulled me away from it yet but there’s 24 hours to go and this team would give me benching nightmares anyway….

But never mind all that – the big question is, do I ignore it all to captain Samba this week?

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