My spreadsheet’s predictions continue to trend in the right direction, and recorded this season’s lowest mean absolute error (MAE) for correct score forecasts (0.80). After no correct score predictions in the first 3 gameweeks, and breaking our duck with one in GW4, my spreadsheet’s steady improvement was confirmed with two correct score forecasts last week. Once again, they were more accurate than those predicted by FiveThirtyEight (a highly rated forecasting model), implied by bookies best odds, and anticipated by “the world’s most powerful predictive algorithm”.
Moving on to scoreline predictions for GW6 then, I feel I ought to urge readers to make sure they are not eating or drinking whilst looking at the score forecast for the final fixture of the next round of matches.
Please sign the following disclaimer before proceeding: I _________________ understand the following table contains a choke hazard, and agree that FPL P0ker PlAyer cannot be held liable in the event of my demise.
I’m probably going to spend a disproportionately long time here on Burnley (and Chris Wood) now, but this blog was delayed by my feeling the need to check for gremlins in the works. Surely, there was some easy to spot mistake that would account for this outlier of a prediction? Well, here’s the thing: I did identify the single data point most responsible for producing the 2-1 score forecast, and coincidentally, it was the 1-1 draw BUR achieved 6 home games ago against…
…TOT! Now, before you Kane and Son captainers come at me, it has to be acknowledged that neither of those red hot properties featured in that game as they were both injured. So you will be more interested in the result from the previous season when both teams fielded line-ups similar to what we can expect this weekend, right?
Um, yeah, about that…
So, you see, not quite as outlandish a prediction after all, perhaps? It relates back to something I touched on in my 2019-20 Season Review blog which highlighted Burnley’s strong home attacking form in the second half of the year (see below).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying BUR will beat TOT on Monday night. The Clarets have looked anaemic in their last 3 games, and I’ve already had my fingers burned backing them to score goals vs SOU in their only previous home game this season. I’m just accounting for the prediction is all.
So, who else apart from BUR are going to be banging them in this weekend? There are 6 other teams in GW6 deemed more likely to score twice than once, and in descending order of expected goals, they occupy the top 7 places in the table below:
So, we now know which teams are expected to score well, but which players from those teams are expected to be amongst the points? The table below shows how many points players are expected to get on average, excluding bonus points, and not factoring in yellow/red cards. Players whose rating is based on a small sample size are indicated with ‘$$$’, and players returning from injury with ‘!’. The column to the right of the expected points only applies to players whose scores are inflated by penalty kicks, and shows what they would have been if those are removed from the equation.
Vardy and Salah owe their prominence here in large part to penalty kick duties, and Mane is the highest placed player without them.
Hang on, Chris Wood is a bit high there isn’t he? Well, the eagle-eyed of you will have noticed that the Kiwi scored in both of those last 2 matches vs TOT at Turf Moor, so cut my spreadsheet some slack here, okay?
I finally ended my captaincy losing streak with Kane, and following the method that served me so well last week I have returned to Fantasy Football Scout’s Membership Area, and to My Stats Tables to look for any pointers to hopefully make my Kane vs Salah decision easier.
First off, there’s very little to separate the teams they play for at the head of my Team Offence table:
So, I turned to my Team Defence table in the hope that either of BUR or SHU look ripe for a kicking:
No such luck. Both are in the top 7 this season so far, and not likely to be pushovers despite having mustered only one point apiece so far.
Given there’s not much to separate any of the teams then, I turned to my Players Expected Goals table, and was surprised to find Salah languishing so far down it despite being gifted 2 pens by Leeds in his first game.
Despite having taken one penalty fewer, Kane has averaged his expected goals this season nearly 40 minutes faster than Salah so far. Offsetting that surprising finding a little, only the Egyptian appears in my Expected Assists table:
So, there you go, I’m none the wiser as to who to choose, and my decision will probably go down to the wire. I actually wish I owned Mane as I’d have no such dilemma now. You will have spotted that he was behind only Vardy (4 pens) in my Players Expected Goals table. I would have no qualms about captaining him whatsoever.
For what it’s worth, Scout is the only fantasy football service I’ve ever paid for over the past seven seasons, and I’ve always believed their membership subscriptions offer great value for money. Anyone considering joining can find out more here.
As promised in the tweet I posted 4 days ago, my sortable players table has expanded from next 2 gameweeks to next 4, and hopefully next 6 before GW7.
The table below shows the expected top dozen points scorers over the next 4 gameweeks:
My spreadsheet’s clean sheet probabilities didn’t fare quite so well against those implied by bookies best odds last week, proving to be 0.05% less accurate on average in GW5, after being 4% more accurate on average in GW4. I lay the blame for this slip up squarely at the feet of one Kepa Arrizabalaga, as my model assigned CHE the highest probability of a clean sheet, 15% higher than implied by bookies best odds.
MCI and WBA were deservingly assigned the 2nd and 3rd highest probabilities last week, however, and 4th ranked MUN only missed out because of Shaw’s clinical strike into his own net from 12 yards out.
I was particularly pleased by the clean sheet kept by WBA though, as it was tipped up by my betting spin-off account @ColeysPotOdds, and I expect most people thought the Baggies defence useless. It will be interesting to see if the introduction of the Ivanovic and Hegazi centre-back pairing can change our minds about that, especially as my spreadsheet’s 6GW Clean Sheet Probability table below shows they have good prospects in GW10 & 11 (with a trip to shot-shy NEW following in GW12).
Alas, the double up on WOL defence touted last week as viable from GW6 onwards comes a week late as they successfully rode their luck vs LEE in GW5. WOL and LIV are the only teams deemed more likely to keep a clean sheet than not in GW6 (see table below), which is good news for owners of popular assets like Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, and Saiss. Owners of Dallas and Ayling, meanwhile, can take some comfort in the fact that LEE are deemed more likely to concede zero goals than one. As I’ve explained many times before, this is not the same as saying a clean sheet is more likely than not.
May the GW6 flop be with you!
Coley a.k.a. FPL P0ker PlAyerFollow @barCOLEYna