Friday, June 28, 2013

Historical goal trends over the season: why the goals are about to temporarily dry up

A few weeks ago I espoused that the end of the goal drought was here and we would be seeing plenty more goals in the coming weeks. Well, I was right – in the short run. I want to give an updated and more informed idea of what the historical trend is.

I have gone back through this season and each of the six previous seasons and separated the games out into what would be considered a “normal” week for fantasy, meaning I generally grouped games Wednesday through Tuesday into one week (note: some instances required grouping multiple Wednesday through Tuesdays together to get a reasonable amount of games played). These breakdowns won’t be perfect, but they are decent enough for what I am looking to accomplish. I then looked at how far away that week was to the end of the season to adjust for the seasons that have had different numbers of actual games and gameweeks. From there, I created a 5-week moving average for the average number of goals scored for that week based on how many weeks it was until the end of the season. I chose a 5-week moving average for the sake of eliminating the variability from a single week’s potential for all favorable or unfavorable matchups, injuries, international duty, etc.

This graph shows the gist of what has happened, on average, over the last six seasons (excluding 2013). We are currently at 18 weeks remaining in this season, or exactly where the peak is in the middle of the graph. Historically, the goals tend to dry up over the next 5 weeks or so, to the lowest scoring rate we observe. I expect to see a similar decrease in goals for the next couple weeks as our current point for the last several weeks is way above the norm for having this much time left in the season. However, I don’t expect to reach the lows we see from a couple weeks ago, as that was also extremely irregular based on the other six seasons’ data.

I also did the same procedure looking at the 5-year moving average from the start of the season, instead of games until the end of the season. It produces the same general trends: mediocre start, a dip around the middle of the season, and then a rise as the playoff-battle heats up.

Looking at where we are in the cycle yields different results based on whether we want to look at things from the start of the season or work backwards from the end of the season. This is partially a result of the fact that none of the previous 6 seasons gave me more than 30 fantasy weeks, compared to this season’s 36. So, it makes sense to shift both of our current season lines two or three weeks in the proper direction, which would put us right on the first part of the downward slope for goal production.

Of course, this season could continue to be completely nuts and disregard the general trends that the last six seasons experienced. However, there is a significant enough system of peaks and troughs that I want to at least consider that in my transfers and setting my rosters. If my choices are playing my budget forward or my budget defender, I am going to choose the defender every time over the next couple weeks until we can expect production to increase during the final run-in.

Here's what the graphs look like for each individual year.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Goals for/against projections - weeks 18-21

Nothing too insightful this go around. Here's some tables that show each team's projected goals scored and projected goals conceded for the next couple of gameweeks. There's no doubles to worry about for the time being but plenty of blanks to work around.

 Projected goals conceded:

Projected goals scored:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Differential discussion: weeks 16-21

Alright, so we’re at a point in the season where almost all of us need to make up some ground on whoever we’re chasing. We won’t do that by making the safe play with all 11 of our starters. It’s time to take some risks, but who stands to benefit from their upcoming schedule? I’m going to explore potential differential picks for weeks 17-22. Keep in mind that these are potential differentials – they are designed to be high-risk / high-reward picks.

1. Camilo – At time of writing, Camilo was owned by just 3.8 percent of managers. Vancouver are projected to score the most goals in week 16, fifth most in week 18, third most in week 20, and second most in week 21. Going into the season, Camilo was rated as the 8th best value for all forwards, and I think he represents amazing value (priced at $7.8 at time of writing) over the next 6 weeks.

2. Graham Zusi – How the hell can he be a differential, everyone and their mother will pick him back up after the back-to-back blank? Exactly, EVERYONE will be grabbing him again, despite the fact that SKC is projected almost exactly average goals scored from weeks 17-21. What I’m proposing (and am going to do for my own team), is to ignore Zusi and spend the money elsewhere.

3. Patrice Bernier / Justin Mapp – Montreal are projected to score the highest average goals per game from weeks 18-22 (Note: blank in week 17). Neither are owned at more than 10 percent at time of writing. Both have had stretches of the season where they were fantastic, and they could both easily return to that form over this span.

4. David Ferreira / Blas Perez – Owned by 5 and 0.5 percent respectively of all managers. Dallas are projected to score the third most total goals from weeks 17-21. These are the engines of the Dallas attack, despite everyone clamoring about Michel (mostly because he’s playing out of position). Michel will be owned by tons of managers, but Ferreira and Perez won’t be.

5. Robbie Keane – As of week 15, only 15 managers in the top 1000 owned Keane. I imagine plenty will be bringing him back over the next several weeks, but plenty won’t be able/willing to do so. Lots of people have significant gains tied up in Jac Mac (who is still a good choice over weeks 17-21), and lots of people will be using their transfers to fix their teams after week 16 as every week from 17-21 has 3 teams missing a game each week. Keane won’t be as large a differential as those above, but enough to be mentioned because of how incredibly good LA’s attacking returns are projected to be through week 21 (most goals scored weeks 17-21, with most goals scored in week 17 and 20 and 5th most in week 19).