Stats Summary – Week 12: When to Take a Hit


There are eight teams with a bye this week. It’s here. The dreaded mass-bye week where we’ll be chopping off our limbs with a minus 4 hit to stop the greyscale. I’ve already had a couple people asking if it makes sense to take a hit this week. So, I’m just going to look at all kinds of situations and whether taking a hit makes sense.

PositionAverage Starter Score
Games Below 4Games Above 4

When the alternative is a zero

This is the one relevant this week. Across all four positions, the average starter scores more points in a game than the cost of a hit. So right off the bat, our expected returns by taking the hit are positive.

The percentages in the above table tell a bit of a different story. The likelihood of a midfielder and a keeper getting above 4 and below 4 are about the same. So again, taking a hit makes total sense. Forwards and Defenders, however, are much more likely to get less than 4 than they are to get more than 4. So, more often than not, you WILL NOT make up your -4 on a defender or a forward.

When the alternative is your worst bench player

So we’ve seen above that the margins are already pretty thin when the alternative is a zero. However, if you have a legit option on your bench, it gets even worse because you have to make up the hit plus the score of your alternative. So, if we just add the average score to the four point hit, a player has to score 9 points to beat the expected returns. Scoring 9+ points has happened less than 10 percent of the time by starters.

During a DGW when the alternative is your worst bench player

We’ve established a couple weeks ago that a DGW player scores roughly 1.5 times more than a SGW player. We’ve established the mark to beat is 9+ points. So, we can just multiply the average scores in the above table by the 1.5 DGW multiplier. Looks like taking a hit for a DGW player still results in negative expected returns.

Week 13’s Special Case

This section will assume you’re taking a hit to avoid a zero.

Taking a hit for a midfielder or keeper this week is an automatic yes. But what about forwards and defenders? I think the answer is “it depends”.

Of the four teams with a DGW in week 15, three of them play this week. So, if the hit you’re taking this week is for a player from LA, RSL, or PHI, I think it makes sense. The margin is already close just this week alone, but if you also consider the 1.5 multiplier for the upcoming DGW, the expected returns flip to the positive. A similar case can be made for NYCFC players, but their DGW is just that much further away and adds more uncertainty to the situation.

About Andrew Crollard

Andrew has worked as both an economist/data analyst and as a university and youth soccer coach. Naturally, marrying soccer and data together is a perfect fit.

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  1. Third transfer, Higuaìn or Dìaz. Higuaìn is a much more consistent player but Dìaz is explosive (when he plays) and with Dalls playing Houston. I’m really conflicted. Any advice?

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