By: Andrew Crollard, @crollaa
EDIT (2/18): THIS ARTICLE IS NOW LARGELY IRRELEVANT DUE TO THE NEW SCORING SYSTEM.
The new year is here and the schedule is released. Since the end of the season, I learned SQL and R by working on MLS Fantasy data and am creating some useful tools for the community to use including projections for 2016 that are more accurate than just using the previous year’s data. I’ll start the analysis wave off by looking back at the last two years’ data by specific positions. This data includes only regular starters (definition below) for both 2014 and 2015 data. It is broken up by specific positional roles in an attempt to better classify groups of statistically similar player types. (Note: These player types are based on statistics, NOT on where they actually play in a line-up, though they are almost always the same.)
Basically, this chart tells us things we already knew: Attacking midfielders are better than defensive ones, centerbacks are better than outside backs, and you want forwards who score goals. It also tells us that the average attacking midfielder and forwards earn a better point total and PP90 than does the average defender.
For those of you really itching to get things going, here’s a link to all the data from 2014 and 2015 for field players. It does include each player’s role as either starter/sub/spot starter as well as their specific position as determined by my equations. The equations do get a bit fuzzy when a player bounced between positions (Brad Evans) or took set pieces (Brad Davis), but overall they’re surprisingly accurate.
Bring on the 2016 MLS Fantasy season!
PP90: Points earned per ninety minutes played. =(points/minutes)*90
PercentPlayed: Percent of minutes played in games where the player appeared.
Starter: Appeared in at least 18 games and played at least 70% of minutes in those games
Sub: Played fewer than 40% of minutes in games they appeared
Spot starter: All players that aren’t a starter or sub
CB: Defenders with higher than average CBI
WB: Defenders with lower than average CBI and higher than average crosses
FB: Defenders with lower than average CBI and lower than average crosses
DM: Midfielders with lower than average goals + key passes and higher than average recoveries + CBI
CAM: Midfielders with higher than average key passes and goals and also lower than average crosses
Winger: Midfielders with higher than average key passes and/or goals and also higher than average crosses
Shuttler: All other midfielders. (These are the box-to-box players)
Junk F: Forward with lower than average goals and lower than average key passes
Poacher: Forward with higher than average goals and lower than average key passes
Rounded F: All other forwards