Back from a nice vacation in Thailand, I’ve got a readymade excuse for being off my game a little for the last few days.
The last really good week I had was Gameweek 12 where I bet against Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) and Anthony Martial (£7.6m) was handed the armband against Brighton. This was one of five valiant attempts of betting against ‘Jammy’ Vardy.
It almost came through with Vardy managing his returns only after the 65th minute. I’ve soon realised this became a norm as the Leicester forward loves his second-half returns.
Martial didn’t do too badly either though and got two assists himself in a Gameweek he statistically outperformed Vardy.
I got a nice 83 points (Gameweek rank of 43k) with me being very early on the now prominent Vardy, Tammy Abraham (£7.9m) and Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) frontline which propelled me from 130k to 45k.
I’m sure you must be wondering why I call Vardy ‘jammy’. It’s not about the statistical over-performance for me. I know all about that. It’s more about the jam that AppleBonkers brought to my attention.
He got 50 minutes versus ten men against Newcastle United which led to a brace. Then he got 78 minutes against the ten men of Southampton and netted a hat-trick. Last time out Tyrone Mings (£4.5m) naively refusing to come off when he sustained a hamstring injury absolutely gifting him Leicester’s opening goal and then he got a nice 45 minute run out at a poor Aston Villa defence without their best centre-back.
After that amazing Gameweek 12, Mourinho was appointed by Tottenham Hotspur. I am a huge Jose fan and immediately realised that Harry Kane (£10.9m) was there for the taking as a differential. Kane facing Bournemouth and West Ham in Gameweek 13 and 14 was something I simply could not ignore.
I told myself this is a two-week flirtation against Mr. Jammy Vardy and if it doesn’t work, I would bring the Leicester man back. I am extremely comfortable switching big-hitters this season as mentioned in my strategy here.
My thinking is that I will always back myself to go against the grain with a short-term switch especially when it involves captaincy to make quick ground.
The basic idea is that if more than 70% of my switches (I say switches and not gambles because they are all thought through) come through, I should find myself having another good season. People play this game with way too much fear for my liking.
Vardy outscored Kane by 10 points in those two weeks. Not much damage done in my books (except for when I saw Kane’s haul last Gameweek).
You have to think of some of these results like bad beat in Poker. You cannot afford to go on tilt. Temperament is everything and if the results don’t go your way, do not lose your shit. Correct your mistakes quickly and always try thinking without baggage.
I gave the Anti-Vardy strategy another go last weekend by putting the armband on Mohamed Salah (12.2m) facing a depleted Bournemouth. Salah got a nice 13-pointer and I found myself jumping from 138k to 60k only for Vardy to match Salah later and push me back further. Hamstrung Mr. Mings needs to be thanked here.
I’ve been pretty much dilly-dallying between 50k and 170k for the last ten Gameweeks. While some might get frustrated with this, I don’t see a huge problem with that and I’m very comfortable to hold ground in this range as I feel that I am two good ‘switch-hits’ away from pushing myself into the top 40k permanently. Holding position is a very underrated concept and I don’t mind it at all when I’m constantly finding myself gambling against the grain.
Having recently returned from my holiday, I found myself under-confident and all over the place. Football hadn’t been seen. Articles hadn’t been read. Stats hadn’t been scanned. I wasn’t early on Alli & Son and was upset off about that.
My advice to Fantasy managers is that when life comes in the way, find two hours for Match of the Day (pick your matches if you have lesser time) and 20 minutes for a quick scan of the Fantasy Football Scout Members Area.
In the past three days, I’ve covered ground with my research. I feel like I am in a good place now and ready to take on December. I’ve caught up on the highlights, scanned the stats and read those beautiful reports by Neale and David.
This is my current set up and I’m likely going to save this week. But there is one thing bothering me big time. I really really want Marcus Rashford (£8.9m).
He is currently matching Sadio Mané (£12.3m) and Vardy for a lot less money. It genuinely feels like he’s at the cusp of superstardom. I am a Manchester United fan and this is by a distance the best I have seen him play. He genuinely looks unplayable.
For six years, I’ve not had a player that has me impatiently waiting for his next performance. I have that feeling right now and it’s absolutely beautiful. He just needs to be consistent.
The problem with wanting Rashford is that the current frontline is firing on all cylinders and is very difficult to sell. The move also needs to be probably funded by selling a Liverpool asset. Then there is the narrative that United are abysmal against a deep block and can only really play counter-attacking football against strong teams. Despite the results which support the narrative, I decided to look into the stats for the same.
Using the FFScout Member’s Area Flat-Track Bully Tool, I looked at Rashford’s stats against the top seven (The current top seven with Arsenal replacing Wolves) and then looked at his numbers in meetings with the other 13 teams.
The results were very interesting and in my opinion ‘myth-busting’.
Rashford has a higher xG, more goals, more goal attempts and a much higher goal conversion rate against the top seven. Against the weaker teams, he has a higher xA, more goal attempts in the box, more big chances and more big chances created.
The goal conversion rate falls down from 35% to a staggering 9.7% against weaker opposition. This could be more chance than anything else and Rashford has only recently finding top form and his last two games being against tougher opposition might have something to do with those stats. This gives me enough conviction to make the move for Rashford either this week or next.
Until then, I will be pondering the merits of another switch-hit armband against Jammy Vardy. He plays the easiest defence in the league. But a certain FPL giant is finding form and he can No-Mo be ignored. I’ll leave you with this nice little stat. Good luck for the Gameweek!
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