The Irish Times Fantasy Premier League: Picking your Goalkeeper, more important than you might think

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 at 10:42 am by Paul Caffrey

We have decided to start our strategy with your last line of defense and this is probably one of the only players in your side that you may only change once or twice throughout the season. Of course that’s not to say that it is not an important decision and one that should be taken lightly.

Consider your Budget

You only have £55 million to spend on your team of eleven fantasy football players, so the first thing you need to decide upon is how much value do you put on a clean sheet?

Our thinking behind this is that because you will incur a point deduction for every goal conceded you need to be sure that your keeper is not going to put you in the hole before your midfielders and forwards begin to rack up points.

So we recommend that you take some time out look at the pricing of each of the keepers ranging from Joe Hart (Man City) £4.6 million to Radek Cerny (QPR) £2.9 million and try and balance this against the amount of clean sheets they can get throughout the season and also the amount of goals you feel they are likely to concede.

During an average season the amount of Clean Sheets expected from teams are:

Newly Promoted Team: 5-8 Clean Sheets

Mid table Team: 7-10 Clean Sheets

European Challenger: 8-12 Clean Sheets

Title Contender: 13-18 Clean Sheets

You must make a decision when selecting a goalkeeper as to which bracket his team will finish and remember that teams across the board keep the majority of their clean sheets at home.

Of course there are a number of options available to managers when doing this and one such way is to look at the stats from last season. By looking at the home and away stats you will be able to understand whether or not a team is stronger at home or on the road and then you can cross reference this with the fixture list.

Plan Your Defence in 5-10 week Periods

Now we did say at the top that the goalkeeper is a player that will remain the same week in week out on the whole, but if you break the fixtures down into chunks of 5 to 10 weeks then you can really begin to see where the goalkeeping points and clean sheets are going to come from over that period.

So if we break the season down into chunks of 6 week periods this would mean that your keeper in theory would have to change no more than 6-7 times in a season (assuming he does not get injured or suspended) and you can begin not only to plan for your goalkeeping position but these calculations can work very well for your defenders too.

Fixtures Difficulty

With our 6 week periods in mind we can now go through each fixture week and see which team has the easier fixtures and which one is most likely to keep their opponent out. This is where you should be able to narrow your choices down to about 3 or 4 keepers.

Do the Stats Support your Selection?

Now you can go back over the records you looked at earlier for the clean sheet stats from last season (baring in mind that newly promoted sides may not be able to sustain the same levels this season) and see who had the most resolute defense.

You can only have 2 players from each Premier League Team

What we mean here is that you must be careful not to over expose your self at the back with the limit being that you may only have two players from each team you may end up with the keeper and a defender from a team with fixtures that don’t exactly instill confidence. So be sure that the balance is right and the fixtures are favorable.

Remember you get Two “Unlimited” Transfer Windows

There is of course the unlimited transfer weeks that will run at the end of both the August and January to coincide with the Premier League transfer windows, so this could be the perfect opportunity for you rejig your team come the end of August. Don’t worry too much about getting it wrong at the start of the season as you will have the chance to make wholesale changes after three weeks.

Let’s be honest by then you will have a good idea where the value lies between the sticks.

It’s not an exact answer to your managerial problems but hopefully this will have you thinking the right way when it comes to picking your keeper.

Don’t forget if you register your team for The Irish Times Fantasy Premier League  before Saturday you could be in with a chance of winning €200 for the best team name!

Who will your Goalkeeper be? Comment Below

Categories: Rules & Strategy

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