FPL Observations: 2018/19 Season

This won’t be the last article I write as it relates to post season statistics and how they equate to a successful FPL season. I’ve used different statistics over the course of the six seasons I’ve participated, but only the last few years have I started to look closer for those components that drive the almighty green arrow.

By no means do I have this down to a science, as much of it rides on luck, as it does with all fantasy games or gambling. You can play the odds and use statistics, but at some point luck will outweigh them all. I’ve identified areas will factor into the success or failure you have over the FPL season. These are just a few that I watch, which help dictate how I plan ahead of the season and strategize during the season.

60 PPG

This has been the first season I’ve been able to average over 60 points/game. I recall watching a James Egersdorff video, which he says 50 PPG is the threshold for successful season. If there is truth in that figure, then I’ve had five previously successful season. However, none of them are very memorable. My best finish over that period was the 2016/16 season finishing 75k in the overall ranking.

2013/14 – 53 PPG
2014/15 – 50 PPG
2015/16 – 57 PPG
2016/17 – 53 PPG
2017/18 – 56 PPG
2018/19 – 62 PPG

For much of the season, I’ve been spot on my goal average of 60 PPG, with a point or two. It’s been challenging to have such a consistent season. Review the 36 weeks we’ve played, there are not any big scores, but more importantly, there haven’t been any horribly low scores. The key point in that statement, there was just two weeks in which I failed to score more then the weekly average (GW4 & GW34).

Oddly enough, those two game weeks coincide the week of (GW34) and following (GW4) using my wild card. Not sure what I can take away from that, knowing I was on four green arrows ahead of DGW34, there could have been more thought into not activating the second wild card. It’s all hindsight at this point, but it would have been a difference of 14 points, had I not used the wild card, the difference between a red and green arrow.

On the season I’ve recorded 60 or more points, 19 out of 36 weeks and currently at a 62.2 PPG average. In years past this average would have been good enough for the top 10k. Currently I sit at 20k. Notable individuals and their PPG for the 2018/19 FPL season.

Mark Sutherns (FFS Pundit) – 65.6 PPG (OR – 696)
Josh Landon (Always Cheating) – 65.5 PPG (OR – 780)
Marco Rhein (Art of The Dive) – 64.9 PPG (OR – 2.3k)
Ville Ronka (FPL HOFer) – 61.6 PPG (OR – 32k)
Jay Egersdorff (#1 HOFer) – 58.1 PPG (OR – 259k)

Pace the Top 1000

Now, I wish I would have paid closer attention to the top 10k, but as it happens, I decided to watch TSB% (ownership) of the top 1000 FPL managers to see what the correlation was when it comes to highly owned players, points and weekly rank change.

As we’ve all experienced, you can finish over the weekly average, but still end up with a red arrow. Case in point, FPL Tornado finished on 87 points in game week 36, which was 18 points over the weekly average. He picked up a 2k red arrow, dropping him to 11k. The top 1k scored 91 points, while the top 10k scored 90 points. It was a case of bad luck this for Casey.

I use the top 1000 managers, as Fantasy Football Fix provides an easy visual of of those players in the starting XI and on the bench. It’s been a metric I’ve used much of this season, comparing my starting XI to those highly owned players. It stands to reason if you have 8-10 of these players with differentials, you should maintain, if not climb in the OR.

Don’t Give Points Away

This year I tried to pride myself on the fact I had taken just two hits prior to GW35. I ruined that when I went ape shit, lost my mind and took a 16 point hit, a week after activating my second wild card, in hopes of some big returns that didn’t materialize.

This is a vast improve over last season, where I was chasing points much of the late part of the season and was trying to keep the game fun, so hits were part of my weekly scoring. This year, having a bit more patience and not being so reactionary on a player failing to return after an anticipated game week feel has helped decrease the number of points I am giving away.

This can be a valuable strategy, if used properly. Using Premier Fantasy Tools and their FPL transfer analzyer, I’ve made 37 transfers, a total cost of 24 points and came away with 88 net transfer points. So, while the 16 point hit didn’t help me this season, when looked at it in a broad overview, it’s been a success season. Patience went out door when I took that 16 point hit, a week after playing my wild card. No way can I justify or rationalize that sort of hit.

Premium Defenders

Maybe this year has been an anomaly when it comes to defensive points. If we look back over the last few year when it comes to clean sheets of the top two teams, numbers are pretty consistent:

2018/19 – 39
2017/18 – 37
2016/17 – 34
2015/16 – 36
2014/15 – 33

This year has seen the most CS recorded and Liverpool and Man City still have two games each remaining. You have to go back to the 2008/09 season when Man United (24) and Chelsea (20) combined for 46 cleans on the season, not to be understand, Liverpool had 20 CS that year.

This is also the first time we’ve seen defenders score in excess of 200 points, as Andrew Robertson eclipsed that mark last weekend, now on 206 points for the year. It will be no surprise that teammate, Virgil van Dijk will hit that mark as well, currently on 194 points.

Those point totals put them top of the list when it compared to forwards, Sergio Aguero, ahead of GW37 has scored 193 points. but also costs £11.9, the Liverpool duo, £13.5! Many FPL managers don’t go steaming into the year looking to put big budget into their defense. I did and I feel it’s worked to my advantage, as I have 83 CS on the season, however my goals scored is on 99.

Getting in early, just like getting on the correct defenders plays an important role. It can be said about all players, get it right earlier, makes it a bit easier later. You get the points and price rises without having to chance a £6.0 defender who rises £0.5 in the first few weeks, when you could put that budget to use elsewhere in your starting XI. I wrote about a 5-Man Defense Feasibility ahead of this season.

Next year, it won’t be a surprise to see these defenders starting at no less then £7.0. Even the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold (160) and Aymeric Laporte (157) have outscored all but the top six forwards. This is something to consider as we close out 2018/19 and look ahead to next season.

Captain Successful

Probably the most frustration decision FPL managers make every week, who to put the captain’s armband on. This year has been better then last year, when Harry Kane absolutely smashed me last season, failing in four of the first eight games I captained him in.

This season, there was early success, hitting on nine out of 10 captains to start the season. I’ve only been better then 20 or more points seven times this season, with Mo Salah recording 38 in GW36. For me, a captain failure is a single digit weekly return, which has happened nine times. Even worse was a triple captain failure (6 points) on Salah in GW31 away to Fulham.

After 36 weeks my total captain points are 524, an average of 14.5 PPG. Not impressive, as I had hoped to be over 600 by this point of the season. Comparing my score to the current #1 (FPL ID#107827), who’s scored 621 points (24.37% of their overall score). There is a difference of 97 points between my captain score (524) and that of the number one (627), when added to my score would give me 2339 points and put me 14 points outside the top 1k. Captains are a big deal!

We can spin stats to argue for or against when it comes to our success in FPL. This year has been an excellent year for me, compared to the previous five years. No matter what happens the final two weeks of the season, I will take all the progress made and my OR going into next season with more knowledge gained.

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