“One person’s data is another person’s noise.”

So after the most unpredictable start to any season that I can remember and despite my love of data I find myself writing an article about being careful not to trust data implicitly or equally form a narrative from it that simply suits your own purpose and I’m then trying to sell it.

Let’s look at this analytically to pick our way around the problem

What have we learned so far?

Well for one the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR) that have been championed by many leading FPL experts have not stood up to the challenges so far. I say so far, as I expect that this will in time normalize, the cream will eventually come to the top and normal service, barring the luck (or unlucky) factor in my case will level out.

Armed with this quandary, I took a deep dive into FDR with me looking at 2019/20 data and also the first five games and calculated my own on the basis of xG 90 + Big chances created 90 (for attack) and xGC 90 and Big chances conceded 90 for defence and then compared the two sets for variance

It obviously does not cover promoted teams but it does show a number of teams with massive differences from 2019/20 to GW1-4 data when trying to fit into a similar model as Ben Crellin’s FDR rating from 1 to 7 with one best and 7 worst.

Attack wise Man City are currently rated a 4, when previously a 1, a delta of 3, Conversely at the opposite end of the scale Spurs are now off the scale at a zero!.

Defensively, Manchester United are performing 6 ranking points out of 7 worse than last year!. West ham however are only performing 2 ranking points better, which suggests this is more sustainable.

Source Understat & Opta (via FF Hub)

Finally if you look in the middle of the tables you will see defensive Delta’s of zero such as Chelsea, Brighton, Leicester and Palace, this suggests their performance is more on par but its simply too early to say and it is inconceivable that Managers with underperforming teams dont work on improvements too.

Turning our attention to Points Returns after GW4 and extrapolating out to 38 matches with rotation as per GW1 to GW4, 33 (Thirty Three!) players are due to break the magic 200 points. This is unattainable of course as all these players will undoubtedly regress somewhat and this can be shown nicely by the red bar in the table which tracks returns against expected involvement (xG + xA).

I am not for a minute saying don’t pick these players BUT I am saying that players such as Bamford will regress to a return every third game which takes him closer to 140 points approximately.

And just as a parting shot, lets take a look at the top 10 points scorers across FPL in the last 5 seasons to make sure you (& I ) take data with a pinch of salt at this time of the season

Enjoy the break FPL Managers!


Chris Turner

Published by fplmariner

Grimsby Town fan exiled in Singapore since 2017 Oil Trading by day, FPL and family (plus a good bottle of wine) by night.

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