The Form Guide: Awesome Anderson leading the way

Gary Anderson (Simon O'Connor/PDC)

PDC Stats Analyst Christopher Kempf assesses the top ten performers - based on their last 200 legs played - ahead of the 2023 Machineseeker European Championship in Dortmund.

#1 Averages - Gary Anderson
#1 OChE - Gary Anderson
#1 Doubles - Michael Smith
#1 171-180 - Gian van Veen
#1 99, 101+ Checkout - Andrew Gilding

Form Guide - Oct 2023

Less than a year after a defeat at the hands of Chris Dobey at Alexandra Palace prompted widespread speculation about his imminent retirement, Gary Anderson is still proving himself to be a potent threat.

The Scottish legend currently tops the Players Championship Order of Merit, and at the age of 52, has reached the top of the pile for his 98.78 average over his last 200 legs played. 

Currently the only player performing consistently well enough to win 60% of his legs, Anderson has claimed three ProTour titles in 2023 and won 18 Players Championship matches in a row between September and October. 

However, with a shrinking portion of his Order of Merit income derived from lucrative TV events - in which Anderson has historically overperformed - a great performance on the floor has only improved his position from world number 20 to 19.

Unless he can throw 98+ averages in next month's Grand Slam of Darts and the World Darts Championship, his ranking will continue to decline no matter how many players he beats in Barnsley.

Ahead of his European Championship title defence, Ross Smith made the most of his preparation by celebrating victory at Players Championship 28, defeating Damon Heta in the decider - his potential quarter-final opponent in Dortmund. 

Smith's success now puts him second among Tour Card Holders in terms of OChE - the leg-winning-efficiency metric - after a boost of 5.46 resulting in a 98.15 average and the second most maxima thrown out of all players. 

In spite of his first-round opponent Ricardo Pietreczko's surprise European Tour victory two weeks ago, Smith is a substantial favourite, with better doubling accuracy, scoring and likelihood of winning legs. 

By a wide margin, with 85 maxima thrown in 200 legs, Gian van Veen is the heaviest scorer in professional darts at the moment, though it has not necessarily helped him win matches. 

His OChE rating declined after the most recent Players Championship weekend, with a disappointing semi-final loss to Connor Scutt in Players Championship 27 limiting his earnings and just keeping him within the top 32 seeds for the Players Championship Finals. 

The 21-year-old prodigy has nonetheless achieved the distinction of recording almost twice as many 180s as the other young superstar qualified for the European Championship, Josh Rock. 

In a head-to-head match-up between these two - which could occur in the second round this weekend - the Dutchman has the slight advantage in leg-winning probability, but with Rock a better bet on the doubles, all those Van Veen 180s could be immaterial.

With two ProTour events remaining on the calendar, Peter Wright could go winless on the Players Championship circuit this year for the first time since 2011. 

The defence of nearly half of his ranking money looms at the upcoming World Darts Championship, and Wright has not looked up to the task for most of the year as his average dipped below 90. 

Nevertheless, the most recent four ProTour events have rejuvenated his form - the 109.79 average he threw against Jermaine Wattimena was his highest in a ranking match in 2023. 

That contributed to Wright being the most improved player of October, registering a six-point increase in averages [to 95.70] and an 11-point increase in OChE. 

The two-time World Champion was recently in the bottom half of Tour Card Holders statistically, but suddenly appears to be a much tougher opponent for Gabriel Clemens than anyone had anticipated.

*OChE (Ordinal Checkout Efficiency) explained:
OChE is a metric designed to evaluate the efficiency at which players convert their averages into legs won.
The statistic is the % of legs a player would expect to win on the ProTour, calculated from a weighted average of 4,5, 6 & 7 visit checkout rates.

Follow Christopher on Twitter @ochepedia