Fantasy managers are always looking out for any indicators of a player’s future success. Some, like increased game time or a team’s new attacking philosophy make total sense. Others such as a player’s performance in a single Gameweek or past success against any given opponent are a bit of a stretch. The final category is filled with hunches, feelings and long shots, often fuelled by adult beverages, and usually leading to ill-advised Friday night transfer binges.
One way of predicting goals is to look at the amount of opportunities a player is receiving, and what he’s doing with them. For anyone who has even casually glanced at a game of football (never mind hardened Fantasy managers like yourself), that sounds obvious but it’s a factor which is consistently ignored in favour of ‘form’ and the fact a player had a ‘big’ game the previous week, even if his lone goal came about somewhat fortuitously.
Taking last year‘s data (for forwards only), we see a correlation of around 88% when comparing total shots to goals scored (excluding penalties) and 90% when comparing only shots on target. This can be used as a predictive tool as players who are getting chances, but not putting them away will, on average, start to improve over time assuming they continue to receive the same opportunities in the future.
There are two careful, and important, distinctions to be made though.