FPL Player Value, Expected Returns and Targets

FPL players range in cost starting from 4 up to 13 so how do you compare them fairly across such a broad spectrum? What sort of returns should you expect from each price bracket? I’ve tried to apply some (very rough) maths to it to find out who’s justifying their price tag.

Season Target

Firstly, we need to set a points target for the season to get our weekly target. I’m going to base mine on equalling my best ever season, 2016/2017, where I scored 2281 points, with a rank of 16,876. So, for this, I’m using a season target of 2280 points, which as you’ll see further down makes the maths easier.

Scope and Disclaimers

The next thing is to set the scope of this exercise and get in my disclaimers. I’m assuming 38 “normal” game weeks with no hits and no chips. I’m also ignoring rises in team value. Finally, I’m giving all figures rounded to 2 decimal places.

Team Value

So, breaking things down, we all start with a team value of 100. This means each of our 15 squad players averages out at a cost of 6.67 (100/15).

Only 11 of our 15 score each week so we need to focus on the team rather than the squad. I’ve assumed that our first 11 have a cumulative cost of 82. That’s assuming a typical value of 18 on bench, something like 4.0, 4.5, 4.5, 5.0.

Using that total playing cost of 82, each player now has an average value of 7.45 (82/11).

Weekly Target

Going back to my season target of 2280 points. Over 38 game weeks this (conveniently) breaks down to 60 points per week. So, I have a weekly target of 60 points.

Player Target

The next thing to work out is the average return required from each player each week. Given that our captain scores double this is the game week requirement divided by 12, 60/12 = 5. So, I want each player to score 5.

Expected Returns

If I’m expecting an average of 5 points from an average player cost of 7.45 that means I’m expecting each player to return 0.67 of his cost in points. Roughly two thirds. So, a player worth 12 should return 8 points, a player worth 9 should return 6, you get it.

Value Index

We can then take this expected return number and divide by 0.67 to give a value index based on 1, where 1 is the expected value, above 1 is better, below 1 is poorer.

We can estimate the value over the season so far by looking at the Points per Match and comparing that with the cost. If PPM divided by cost is less than 0.67 the player’s returning lower than expected, if higher it’s better. This index makes it easy to see how much better or worse as a percentage. 1.14 = 14% better, 0.92 = 8% worse.

Real Examples

Here are some examples using stats from mid game week 28, 2017/2018 season.

Defenders

PlayerCostPPMValue Index
Alonso7.25.31.10
Davies5.75.21.36
Valencia6.95.11.10
Bellerin6.03.70.92
Bruno4.53.31.09

Midfielders

PlayerCostPPMValue Index
Salah10.58.41.19
De Bruyne10.46.40.92
Hazard10.76.00.84
Ramsey7.05.81.24
Doucoure5.54.21.14

Forwards

PlayerCostPPMValue Index
Kane12.96.40.74
Firmino9.35.50.88
Rooney7.24.40.91
Murray5.73.50.92
Wilson6.04.31.07

Observations

From these few selected players in the examples, we can see that the best performing for their cost is Ben Davies of Spurs with 1.36; the worst is surprisingly Harry Kane with 0.74.

Conclusion

There are obviously other factors like minutes played but maybe we can use this value index to see which players perform consistently when selected. Maybe using point per match based on recent form rather than the season average would yield more accurate results?

Fantasy Football – Best Season Yet :)

The 2016/2017 Premier League season has just finished and so has my season of Fantasy Premier League. After last year being my all time low, with a finishing position of 785,943, this year I’ve finished 16,876 out of over 4.5 million players. That’s in the top 0.4%, which really isn’t bad going. I’ve also won the various mini leagues in which I compete and even won a bit of money. Ker-ching!

So, what’s been different this year? What have a I learned to propel me up the rankings?

I think the main difference in the second half of my season was taking notice of the ownership of fantasy assets. In the past I’d always picked the players I’d wanted and not worried about what others were doing. I’ve come to realise that you can’t afford to ignore the market. Getting the right players at the right times affects their value in terms of price rises and drops and your overall team value. It also mitigates risk. If a player is scoring well and well owned then not having him can hurt you and lead to a serious drop in rank. Whereas owning him is less risky. If he does perform you creep up ahead of those who didn’t; if he flops it affects a lot of other players too so there’s less of a drop.

This idea of going with the popular pick is also true of the captaincy. It can hurt if a lot of your opponents pick a captain and he delivers a hi score. Go with flow and you’ll be ok. It makes sense to keep your big players in line with the game’s leaders and take the risks with the fringe players.

My other big learning point was using the chips effectively. This year I kept my second wildcard and bench boost back and used them in gameweeks 36 and 37 where there were an extra five fixtures. Lining up the squad for the double and then having 14 players with 2 fixtures gave me a massive boost. In gameweek 36 I climbed 50,000 places. In gameweek 37 a further 28,000.

My final takeaway is that I have tended to write off gameweeks 1 and 38 as a bit of a lottery. With risk of rotation and teams “on the beach” it can be hard to predict. However, there always seem to be a lot of goals in these games. It may be worth investing more in attacking players and even risking the All Out Attack chip or Triple Captain. A very late Triple Captain chip could bring about quite a swing in fortunes if the right payer gets a hat-trick.

Here’s the story of my season, and of seasons gone by, in stats:
https://fantasy.premierleague.com/a/entry/408653/history

Fantasy Football – All Wrong

I’m a big fan of playing fantasy football, in particular the official Fantasy Premier League, which is focused on the highest level of football or soccer in England. For many of us it’s the closest thing we get to being a football manager – analysing the game and picking our teams each week.

Generally speaking I feel I’m pretty good at it too. Not brilliant, certainly nowhere near winning anything but consistently respectable. I generally finish around the 100,000 mark which doesn’t sound like much of an achievement but out of 3.5 million that’s pretty good going.

This season. Disaster. With 10 games to go I’m still outside the top million. It’s been the worst season I’ve ever had, and by some way. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. I think I’m realising where I’ve gone wrong and am starting to put it right. I’ve now done well for 3 weeks in a row and have been on the rise.

Here’s where I’ve been going wrong…

Stats

This season I’ve spent more time than ever analysing the stats – looking at which players are having shots, shots in the box, shots on target, etc. I’ve used this as a basis for my team selection. This seems quite reasonable but stats can be deceptive. A player can have lots of shots appear to be a real threat whereas if you actually watch a game you can see that the player in question was never any real threat whatsoever – the centre half marked him out of the game and blocked every attempted shot with ease.

Listening to Others

I’ve been watching or listening to the weekly chat between the guys at the Fantasy Football Scout site. Their podcast or Scoutcast is very entertaining and enjoyable and I’ve often allowed myself to be led into making transfers on the back of one of them advocating it.

Fixtures

I think I’ve put too much faith in sides being at home. This season more sides seem to be playing a more counter-attacking game and actually seem to do better away from home. When a side is not doing so well and come under fire from their own fans its often easier for them to play away from home.

History

My final realisation is that I’ve put too much faith in what has happened in the past. I tend to pick players who have done well for me in previous seasons rather than look towards the new emerging talent. Previous seasons’ performances influence price and a high price is no guarantee of point scoring.

Back to Basics

My tactic in the past was never any of the above. I’d make my decisions based on watching games. You can easily see which players look a threat going forwards or solid at the back. You take less notice of the actual score and think more about what the score might have been. You see who is putting in the crosses, taking set pieces, who deserved their fantasy points and who just got lucky that week.

Next season…