Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts on substitutions

I have been running an experimental team for about 10 weeks now, playing with my line-up and how substitutes come off the bench.  I realized that if you have two players in one position on the bench and one of them is to come in to give you points, it will be the one who scores the most points. On the surface, this seems like no big deal. But I’ve been doing the research with my experimental team.

I have been playing three defenders, with one of them virtually guaranteed not to play at all. This means that I will surely have a defender come off my bench who scored the most between the two defensemen found not in my starting 11. With the unpredictability of cleansheets, this can be a huge advantage if there are two teams that are predicted to give up about the same number of goals. Plus, you can save some salary cap by choosing a cheap defender who won’t play anyway.

On top of the defensive substitution, you get to play an additional forward or midfielder. This can be a huge boon to your team in a week like last week when there were simply too many good offensive options who are all going to get solid minutes and ample opportunity to score a goal or notch an assist.

Over the last 10 weeks, implementing this strategy would have net me 11 points more than my regular team. This last week, if I had played Montero instead of Shea (like I originally had my line-up set as), it would have been 19 points. These additional points could mean the difference between first and second or 15th and 9th over the course of the season. 

The numbers have been so good in my experimental team, that I implemented this in my regular team this last week too. Turns out it net me zero (would have been eight if I played Montero over Shea) points this week, but it is a strategy I will surely implement in the final segment of this season.

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