Every now and then a player pops up with a big score seemingly out of nowhere. You haven’t seen his name listed in any weekly tips, you probably didn’t watch his game on the weekend, and all of a sudden you’re wondering whether or not you’re missing a trick by not bringing him in. Out Of The Blue will look at these players and show you how Asliga can help you determine if the previous week’s points were a complete fluke or a result of form, and most importantly… if it will happen again.
This week we’re going to look at Charlie Adam and Kevin Nolan.
(For those of you who don’t know how to read the below charts, basically the yellow line indicates the level of fantasy relevant attacking involvement. No goals or assists are awarded in this figure. The red line is the weekly points score of the player)
We’ll start with the West Ham captain. Nolan grabbed himself 2 goals at Upton Park last weekend for a cool 16 points, 3 of which were bonus points. It’s actually not the first time the former Newcastle midfielder has hit double figures this year, scoring 11 in round 1 and 13 in round 19. These three gameweek scores make a combined total of 40 points, which is a whisker off making up half of Nolan’s total points tally for the year – 81.
If we look at Nolan’s stats from last gameweek, we see that his 2 goals came from his only 2 shots. In 87 minutes, the Englishman only completed 3 passes in the final third, none of these being key passes, and although it’s not really his job, he didn’t put in a single cross.
Yep, his entire fantasy relevant involvement basically came down to two shots, which just so happened to go in. Now, this doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re banging in the goals consistently – One needn’t look any further than Yaya Toure to find a player who only needs one chance to score – However you need week in week out evidence to prove that a player is capable of finding the back of the net regularly which such little invitation.
So let’s have a look at the Englishman's recent form. Over the last 12 gameweeks Nolan has missed four games on account of red cards in weeks 15 and 20, which doesn’t exactly get us off on the right foot. However, in the 8 games he did play, he picked up 3 goals and 3 assists, which on the surface isn't a bad return. He averaged 1.5 shots at goal per game with 1 usually finding the target and has provided a solitary cross. He’ll get you 0.8 key passes per game, but will only make around 3.9 successful passes in the final third. Altogether, Nolan only scored an ALI of 2.5.
Furthermore, Nolan has only provided fantasy returns two weeks in a row only once, in weeks 18 and 19. This could have been the start of a little run of form, but his red card against Fulham in week 20 quickly put an end to that.
As there are no new notable yellow spikes in the above graph, or any nice high table tops to indicate solid form, we would assume that Nolan’s high score in gameweek 24 was not the result of a new found industry – he just had a good game.
Now let’s turn out attention to Charlie Adam. This writer is kicking himself, as he was going back and forth last week on whether he should write a Timing Your Run article on the Scotsman. In the end, he decided fixtures against Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal in the upcoming gameweeks were just too tough for a team who’d lost 5 of their last 6 matches and didn’t stick his neck out.
Well, fortune definitely would have favoured the bold in this instance. Whether there is any glory in having called Adam’s 2 goals and 15 points or not, this is still a good example of how Asliga can help you predict when points might be on the way and verify if a big score was the result of good form or an isolated good performance.
If you look at the above graph, you will notice Charlie Adam’s attacking involvement begin to increase around gameweek 18. He made a substitute appearance in gameweek 19, but following that, Adam has played just about every minute, which may be the key to his improved returns.
Up until week 17, Charlie Adam only averaged 49 minutes per appearance, seeing out 90 minutes only once. Since gameweek 18, he has averaged 81.7 minutes, playing the full 90 minutes 5 times.
Charlie Adam loves to shoot, and the last 8 gameweeks have seen him return 4 goals as a result of his 22 shots – equating to 2.8 per appearance. He’s put 48 balls into the box, around 6 per game, and provided 18 key passes, which works out to 2.3 an outing. For his efforts though, he has only picked up one assist, which isn’t surprising for a team struggling as Stoke have.
To put this in a little more context, lets split Adam’s season up in to two parts – Part A and Part B. Part A consists of gameweeks 1 – 17 and 15 appearances, and Part B consists of gameweeks 18 – 24 and 8 appearances.
In Part A, Adam had 22 shots at goal. In Part B, Adam had 22 shots at goal.
In Part A, Adam scored 3 goals. In Part B, Adam scored 4 goals.
In Part A, Adam provided 47 crosses. In Part 8, Adam provided 48 crosses.
In Part A, Adam provided 9 key passes. In Part B, Adam provided 18 key passes.
In Part A, Adam’s ALI was 3.8. In Part B, Adam’s ALI is 7.7.
In short, Adam is really providing double the value in this new phase of his season than his last, and it’s beginning to bear fruit.
So at the end of the day what we really have are two completely different cases - One player who has shown a marked sign of providing new fantasy value, and one player who hasn’t really shown anything new at all. By using Asliga to check a player’s fantasy involvement, you can really start to get a sense of what is going on behind the points, and then determine the probability of how that player will perform for you in the future.
I’m still a little weary of Adam’s fixtures with Southampton [A], Swansea [H], Manchester City [A] and Arsenal [H] on the horizon, but last week proved that he can still come up with the goods against top teams (if you still count Man United as a top team, but that’s another argument). West Ham on the other hand have kinder fixtures with Aston Villa [A], Norwich City [H], Southampton [H], Everton [A] and Hull [H] on the way, so if you have a funny feeling about Nolan, now would be a good time to give him a run. I personally though, will be staying away.
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