How does one get football-stats-knowledgeable?
A friend at FISO had asked me on how to get into football stats for FPL purposes. This observation is an expansion to my response to him, and is about
1) how one can understand football stats better, and
2) how one can continue to upgrade one’s knowledge every week in the face of this barrage of information.
Basically on how to drink from the firehose of FPL information, and on how to continue to use the firehose well.
My FPL playing style has not been too stats-based historically. I think that I have a decent grip of the concepts of the predominant football stats and their application to FPL. However, I am a bit of a lazy FPL stats person. And while I do not trust either of my gut feel or my eye-test, I have always been a football strategy nerd. I’d go Zonal Marking (@Zonal_Marking) over Double Pivot (@DoublePivotPod), almost everytime.
However, there are two problems here:
- I personally do not enjoy poring over FPL stats and numbers over the weekend. That is a substantial part of what I do at work, and I think the moment FPL will become work rather than play, I would either quit FPL or quit my job. The former is much more likely, haha.
- There is a particularly demanding two-year old who needs my attention over the weekend. There is also a particularly fierce better half, who does not share my love for football – so time on the telly is rationed. Two matches, that’s all – the Arsenal match and any other. Eye test, therefore, is not always comprehensive.
So I do not have a choice but to delve into stats to keep close to the game.
I have created a shortcut for myself. I listen to about 4-5 hours of podcast every week, while either driving back home from office, or while on the late-evening run. Do you have time for listen to podcasts? Here would be my recommendation on how you can be on top of football stats for FPL.
First, understanding the stats.
I recommend the most recent FML FPL podcast / fireside chat with Michael Caley. It is amazing. Alon is a very smart and knowledgeable FPL manager and host, and Michael Caley is one of the most well-known football stats-man. Below is the link to the pod. It will be an hour well-spent.
I would also recommend a detailed post by our resident stats-expert at FISO, and perhaps one of the most consistent FPL managers in the world, Stemania on the xA stats. It gives a very good ‘current-state’ perspective for xA.
Second. Keeping abreast.
If you have the patience to go over tables and stats, become a Fantasy Football Scout member – very comprehensive, very good. I had been a member at FFS previously, but I feel that I have not able to use the stats as well as I would have liked to. This is what I do, and I would recommend. Listen to 2-3 of the following podcasts every week. These should give enough perspective on the stats behind the FPL players and teams. I do not make notes too often, I do not pore over tables. But just by osmosis, I capture enough important stats to make do.
Specific Stats-pods of football leagues and players across the world – with an in-depth look at stats. Nothing to do with FPL. Everything to do with stats.
- Double Pivot ( @DoublePivotPod )
- StatsBomb ( @StatsBomb )
FPL Oriented ones which primarily are about playing the game, but give regular (near-weekly) stats-based read-outs of Premier League teams and key players
- Who got the Assist ( @WGTA_FPL )
- FML FPL ( @FMLFPL )
- 2 Guys 1 Cup ( @FPL2Guys1Cup )
- It would be remiss of me not to mention Fantasy Football Scout – they have been pioneers and flag-bearers of FPL in many ways. Loads of respect. But I think they are missing a trick by not having a specific-to-stats readout every week. Joe’s (@FFScout_Joe) Goals-imminent table is really crying out for a podcast readout. What a brilliant innovation.
- To me, the one and only place of all stats-related discussions is the absolutely peerless yearly STC thread at FISO. Regularly visited by some of the smartest FPL minds I know – many of whom have brilliant FPL records as well. This year is a bit of a down-year: Mav3rick is on a sabbatical (you are missed, Mav), and Stemania has just recently embraced fatherhood (Congratulations!). But it is still excellent.
That has been good enough for me. I listen to podcasts, and I chat on FISO (not so much at twitter yet, but heck, I have just joined in). Perhaps they would be good enough for you too?