Since my podcast interview with @FiGuide_ (Episode 81) I have been asked a number of times on Twitter and IndexGain Slack by various traders about what I look for when researching a player and where do I go for this information?
This is a super question and if you’re like me, one who prefers the “get rich slowly” strategy, do your own research and play the long game then you may find my thought process suitable for your trading style and strategy.
So the questions below might not be relevant to if you are more of a sentiment trader – but to be honest, for me, part of the fun on Football Index is the research and mining the data.
So, below you’ll find the questions I go through before deciding to buy a player (mainly for PB) – only a handful of them need to apply but the more you can tick off, the stronger your decision making skills will become and the more confident you will be in your purchases.
First things first, is he playing?
Silly one eh? I need playing players in my portfolio.
Not only because there’s an automatically enhanced probability of match day or media dividends over those who don’t, it also enhances my overall Football Index experience – I’m suddenly interested in the Espanyol v Sevilla match on a Sunday evening which I would not have been if I’m weighted towards non-playing players on non-PB eligible players.
This is important to me. For me personally, I love football and if I could watch every match, I would.
As the slogan goes “It matters more when there’s money on it.”
For me, I’d rather pay a slight premium on a player once proven than to carry the risk of uncertainty and things crash when he doesn’t meet expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I do occasionally bypass this process if I see a smash and grab opportunity, but then it’s really only on players who probably fit a few less questions than normal from the list below or are already on my watch list.
Sometimes, expectations of a player are far too high for me to get involved (even before he’s playing first team football or in a new league) and may suit someone who is more of a short term trader but it really isn’t my style.
I need evidence first. Many players are good in real life, but rubbish on the Index.
Not to say I don’t hold hype buys either – but I just find that I am in more control over players who are playing regularly than not – I can assess situations better.
Is he playing for a top (winning) team?
Playing for top teams means you will get those 18 point bonus more often. They do help when it comes to winning dividends.
A player who plays for a frequently losing team might as well start the day on -15 points.
However, a good player in a losing team could have advantages from a transfer speculation perspective instead.
Is he playing for a possession based team?
Teams who dominate possession tend to see the most opportunities of dividends wins – not always, but have a greater probability than those who play more direct or counter attacking.
If a player who plays for the likes of Leverkusen or Chelsea or PSG, then it adds weight by just being in a team who play Fi friendly football.
You can use sites like Whoscored or Sofascore to view teams who have a lot of possession – after all, you only get points if you’re on the ball.
Points do not necessarily mean dividends, some teams fail to convert chances into goals which can increase likelihood of winning dividends.
Is he the main man?
This sometimes can contradict the above question. The main man could be playing for a non-possession based team but when they do have possession, it ALL goes through him.
He dictates the play from back to front and enables a lot of the attacks for the team. I like this type of player because they’re scarce – and more than likely, won’t be at that team for much longer so he’ll come with media attention or transfer prospects very soon.
Teji Savanier comes to mind here during season 18/19 – not in a big team but without him, the team just crumbled. He was the playmaker, corner taker, penalty taker, free kick taker and even the box to box midfielder.
He was one of last seasons top risers. Could you say the same thing about someone like Zaha? Probably.
Is he in the Team of the Week?
I like to use apps like Sofascore and Whoscored to view players who have made team of the weeks and/or in the list of top performers in the league.
If you look at it often enough, you’ll notice the changes in form of players – someone creeps up from the low teens and into the top 10.
Does he get involved in play?
It’s important a player has a decent base score – i.e. points scored without goals, assists or clean sheets points.
I like players who drop deep and accumulate points via passes or crosses. Sometimes even get’s involved in midfield duties where they pick up ball recovery points too.
If you’re playing for IPD’s then this won’t matter too much to you.
Is he captain?
Reason I like this is because you an expect a captain to play almost every game and the whole game. The minutes a player plays, the increased chances of accumulating points to challenge for dividends.
Often, the captain will also be on penalties or set pieces too.
Is he averaging more than 75 minutes p/g?
I need playing players who can earn the most points in the mins they play.
I don’t want bench warmers as their price often stays stagnant which means you have less opportunities to make profits/sell players on spikes.
Again, the Advanced Player Screener with Match Stats report on the IndexGain website answers this question for you.
There is a filter to weed out those bench warmers and players who make cameo appearances. Crank it up to 75 and now you can research from the list of players who play decent amount of mins per game.
Now, this is not always the case!
Some quality players have often fallen out with managers or the clubs and may have been benched a lot more than a previous season (e.g. Kroos, James Rod, Bale) and it’s important to question why he’s had less mins p/g and look into this also.
Google for news stories or ask questions in Slack – someone somewhere will know the answer.
How many times has he scored over 150/200 match day points?
I need players who can score big. Even if it’s just the once, it shows they have the capability.
I use the Advanced Overs Report to find players who have scored over X points and frequency to add these players to my watch list. I’ll then go and find out the date they got that score and find out what they did to achieve that score using the Match Stats Breakdown report.
Below is an example of mids who scored over 210 points and under £1.90.
Should he have won dividends by now?
I love the IndexGain xDivs dividends metric on player reports. It shows you if that player “should” have won dividends by now based on his scores on any given match day but was just unlucky not to have won it that day.
At the time of writing, Wasim Ben Yedder is the most unluckiest player on the index. He should have won 11p in dividends by now with the scores he’d achieved but he’s won 0p. Unlucky eh?
So should you keep an eye on him? Maybe he’s been missed of other traders radar?
There’s a report just for this metric here where you can see who the luckiest and unluckiest players are – those who have been unlucky, play well but just need those few extra points to get them over the finishing line more often.
What’s his recent form like?
I’ll take a look at the last 5 scores for the player to see if he’s scored big recently via the BuzzBot Player Info Report on the Slack app. It gives me an indication of sentiment towards the player going forward.
If he’s had a few low scores and the odd 200 then he maybe off peoples radar. But if he’s scored over 120 in each of the last 5 games then I may be a bit late to the party.
If you want to view and compare players side by side, then I’d recommend using the BuzzPro Player Form Report. You can see which players from any team have been scoring well lately.
You can see which Leverkusen players have been scoring consistently well since 1st March for example:
Does he have kind fixtures coming up?
This is more for finding an entry point if it’s someone new you’re looking at.
If the player has easy games coming up then you may want to get in now. Where as if he has tough games coming up, then you may want to hold off for a bit and wait for a drop if it comes – mainly due to other traders offloading as probability of winning dividends might be quite low.
Use the IndexGain BuzzPro Fixture Difficulty Report or view the player info report on Slack which also shows games coming up in the next 30 days.
Beauty of this is that I can view this info from anywhere – just need my mobile and the Slack app installed.
Does he shoot often?
Goals matter to me. Since the arrival of IPD (In Play Dividends) goals have become an extraordinary event on Football Index, and you may say “rightly so”. Goals create excitement and win games after all.
I need players who have an increased probability to score – if you don’t shoot often, then you’re not going to score that often. Obviously, conversion rates matter here but even then, it instills confidence that the player is getting the chances, he’s getting the opportunities – luck is just not on his side.
Using IndexGain’s Advanced Player Screener Report with Match Stats, you can sort the report by “Shots” and “Shots on Target” for any team and position.
You know Duffy has had the 4th most shots on target for a defender across all 5 PB leagues? He is also the 3rd top scorer in all PB leagues for defenders?
If you’re playing for IPD’s then this could earn you fair amount of money if you pick the right defenders for those 2p’s and capital appreciation which come with goals.
What does his price graph look like?
Always check a players price graph before purchasing. You could be the last one at the party whilst everyone else is queuing up for the exits.
When you use the Advanced Player Screener Report with Match Stats and you hover over a player, you’ll see the below 7 day and season price charts.
This allows you to quickly make a quick assessment of if he’s gone unnoticed or you could be buying in at the top.
If you see any sudden drops or spikes, go look into what that could be – it could be a rumour to China or a bid from Barcelona. Make sure you know why those spikes/drops occurred.
Is he on set pieces and/or penalties?
Set piece takers can rack up points very quickly if they dominate and gain lots of corners in the game.
Crosses are under appreciated on Football Index. Some teams tend to focus on wide play rather than centrally, this means those wide players often accumulate many crosses in a game – only takes one to become an assist and it’s automatically worth a lot more.
Lucas Digne is the only player on the entire index to average over 8 crosses per game and has a PB average of over 106.
Kimmich averages 7.6 crosses per game and has amassed 15 assists this season and has a PB average of over 153.
Penalties also adds opportunities to benefit from GWG points and make or break dividend wins. Banega is good example of this – he was on penalties and winning dividends regularly, then he lost the duty and now traders are fully aware of how reliant he was on those penalties to achieve winning scores.
You can use this handy BuzzPro Set Piece Takers reports to view a list for teams across Europe.
Is he playing in Europe?
More games he plays, the more opportunities to win dividends be it match day or IPD’s.
If it’s a Premier League player then don’t forget the additional opportunity to win media dividends on European competition nights.
Is he capable of doing something media worthy?
Probably only applies to EPL players in the main but events in FA Cup or Caraboa Cup carries some weight also. Then you’ve got opportunities from injury news and/or transfer speculation to consider in the future too.
That’s about as extensive as it gets.
If you’ve got this far then you could be a trader like me. If you’re not reading this then research is probably not your thing – that’s fine too. Both types can make good money.
I often re-evaluate the same questions a few weeks after the purchase to see if my thinking was right and/or the story is unchanged and therefore I may buy some more shares in specific players.
Anymore questions, let me know on Twitter or on IndexGain Slack.
Happy to help!