Feeling Fuzzy: Gameweek 14 Review
“Clearly, Ahab would make a better Captain”
By @FuzzyWarbles (That’s important)
Apologies for going absent with my column last week. I was amazed to see all the emails sent to me asking where the weekly review column was, but then I realized my inbox was simply flooded by spam adverts for enlargement pills and diet supplements. Whether you want to be bigger or smaller, apparently there is a market for it.
Yes, I know one of my columns doesn’t carry a level of anticipation on par with a new episode of Game of Thrones, but I am a big fan of continuity, except in those instances where I am just not in the mood. I “should” have been in the mood last week – got a green arrow for the first time in what feels like months. (I have had two green arrows since Week 6) But, that is how Fuzzy operates. If I have a productive fantasy week, it seems the optimal time to forgo a column talking about something positive and wait for the next inevitable horrorshow week to return.
That’s right, it only took one week to return to that which I am accustomed to: watching my fantasy team find new ways to tank. This week’s focus on what stinks about FPL in the 2016/2017 era is an issue that has been torturing me now for about the past three seasons. I simply cannot get lucky with the armband choice. Notice how I am not saying “I cannot pick the right player to captain”….that would imply that I have some degree of skill in handing out the armband.
I don’t. I stink at picking a captain.
Occasionally, you have weeks where there really is only one choice. Most FPL managers have three or four players who are considered “armband-worthy”, but one might be an injury doubt, one might have a tough matchup, one might have been out of form the past couple of weeks, etc. etc. You give the armband to the one that lacks any of those stigmas and hope for the best. Even if it doesn’t work out, you can justify the selection to yourself and chalk it up as bad luck.
But, this moron here, yes, this is me speaking…If I have a week where there is more than one viable option for captaincy, I am an expert at picking the worst option. Not to get too geeky about it (too late), but I have done some analysis comparing the captaincy success rate of my own squad to the average captaincy success rate. To no surprise, I am well under the average success rate. So then, I start to calculate a fair number of weeks where I made a bad choice, looked at how many points I would have added to that gameweek with the next best option (the VC), then added those points up over about 9-10 weeks through the course of the season and tacked that number to my final point total. I then figured out what my rank would have been had I just had an AVERAGE amount of luck with the armband. Remember, this isn’t about skill.
I only want to be average.
I only want a fair amount of luck.
Well, twice in the previous three seasons, I had final rankings around 60-80k and in both of those seasons, with the experiment of adding a fair amount of successful captain choices, I found I would have finished inside the top 10k. Then I start to think of managers who finished top 10k in those seasons and how surely a handful finished with such a high ranking because they were exceedingly lucky in picking the right captain. Perhaps I would have jumped up another 1,000 spots.
I bring this subject up this week because Week 14 was particularly nauseating to cope with. For example, the previous week I captained Philippe Coutinho who got injured and returned me 1 point (x2). I wasn’t happy with that outcome but I could hardly clinch my teeth about it. Injuries happen and I still think an injury-free game from Coutinho would have delivered something. Ahh, but this week. This week, I had to be the guy who thought too much about everything.
When the week began, the armband choice was simple. I had brought in Harry Kane immediately after Week 14 started, replacing Lukaku, and immediately slapped the armband on the Tottenham talisman. There the armband stayed…for six days. But, around day five, I began to let an idle mind lead me down a rabbit hole. Should I think about Hazard or Aguero? Well, they are head to head in the early kickoff, Chelsea’s defense is so well-organized at the moment. Ok, what about Sanchez or even Walcott for Arsenal? Well, it’s easy to count out Wally when you have Alexis. But no, no, no. Kane, at home to Swansea…it’s a no-brainer.
But then my dumb mind. Here it is at work in the written form – “Hey, what about Charlie Austin? He has a stat working for him that no other option can compete with – he is playing Crystal Palace. Yeah, the Eagles have not kept a clean sheet ALL SEASON. And wait, what’s this, Palace have conceded an average of more than three goals a game over their last five, including having just shipped five to lowly Swansea. Simple math – Southampton should score three goals, Charlie Austin’s chances of being involved in even one of those three is about 92%. (I made up that stat) Heck, even if the Saints only score two, Austin is a better bet than anyone to have scored one of them. And the beauty of it all – a very small amount of managers would even think to captain him, let alone do it. What a differential it will be! I will be the envy of all my peers. My level of respect will immediately spike (though, to be fair, it has nowhere to go but up) and I will be the toast of the fantasy community. It almost seems unfair to back such a flair pick when everything points to it being a safe and intelligent decision.
1. AUSTIN BLANK
2. SOUTHAMPTON BLANK
3. PALACE CLEAN SHEET
Kane scored 13 points. Remember how that was going to be 26 points up until about 20 minutes before the gameweek deadline. Nevermind Alexis’ cricket score. Thank you Alan Pardew and everyone over there at Selhurst Park for waiting nearly five months to defend and to do it on a day that I specifically anointed a captain BECAUSE they were playing you.
Well, gee, look at the time, err….I mean, word count. Looks like I have run out of space to talk about the 349 other things that went on around the league this past weekend.
This week, I will conduct a new approach to picking the FPL captain. I will jot down the few names who are in the running on individual pieces of paper. I will then adhere each piece to the windshield on my car. The first piece of paper a bird decides to relieve itself on will contain the name of my next captain.
Steve Rothgeb is a contributor for Rotoworld.com and WorldSoccerTalk.com, and now FantasyYIRMA (on an incredibly wobbly trial period at least) a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic.
He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.