#GW3: GFCT FPL Q&A SESSION

This week we have our own Shom Biwas, Chase Blocker, Gabriel Penaloza & Ajit Dhillon of the GFCT Core Research Team discuss the FPL Questions given by our own Global & India Chats on Telegram.

We have tried our best to answer your queries and also discuss from our past experiences and updated statistics what the best possible moves could be.

Is it a good time to wildcard and how should one decide? What are the best mid priced assets or is better to invest our money in defence? Will Leeds continue to outperform their statistics and score on average 3 goals a game?and a whole lot of other interesting topics have been covered!

Please do enjoy the video and share it with your fellow FPL managers.

This is one of many biweekly Q&A videos that the GFCT Core Research Team will be making to answer the questions we get every alternate Monday from the Global and the Indian Chat from FPL managers.

This will alternate with the research note sent out to the chat by the Core Research Team every alternate Wednesday as well.

Please follow our blog by subscribing via the email option and never miss any of our research updates. Alsom follow Chase on his youtube channel which is where all our GFCT Videos will be uploaded.

Regards.

Members involved in the video:

Shom Biswas

Chase Blocker

Gabriel Penaloza

Ajit Dhillon

FPL Poker Tables GW3

Honestly, as the goals flew in at the weekend at an unprecedented rate, I felt like declaring the weekly exercise of formulating predictions suspended until further notice. Until GW17 perhaps when I’d have sufficient new season data to trust in them more. The astonishingly high conversion rates achieved by goalscorers this season so far is making a mockery of xG based models, and I was all for binning mine off in a fit of pique!

Then yesterday, I reminded myself of 2 things: a) regression to the mean is unlikely to be a redundant concept; and, b) my spreadsheet’s score predictions weren’t as bad as those given the highest probability of occurring by the bookmakers, who remain the undisputed benchmark for such things. My sheet may have underestimated the volume of goals that would be scored, but by nowhere near as much as the bookies did (see below).

Those who read my blog last week will recall my making a strong case for why my spreadsheet’s predicted CHE vs LIV scoreline should be changed from 2 – 0 to 1 -1, and the match was still poised at 0-0 at the halfway point before Christensen‘s sending off changed the course of that game.

The most pleasing results for me were in the ARS vs WHU and LEI vs BUR games, both predicted by my spreadsheet to finish 2 – 2.  I am sure most people expected an easy win for The Gunners, which is why Aubameyang was the most captained player, and a tight low scoring affair in the other game.  Anyone who watched the former will agree that WHU can consider themselves hard done by to have lost that game, and to have not scored at least 2 goals themselves.

Looking at the tables above now, the only result the bookies were nearer to was the WOL vs MCI one, but even there I did flag up last week that my spreadsheets actually gave a higher probability to a one nil win for City.

So, chin up, let us trust in the process (even though we can’t fully until around GW17), and move onto GW3.

The first thing to notice with these scores is the absence of any clean sheets, which if GW1 was anything to go by, will no doubt mean a glut of them. As with last week, we have an unusually high number of scorelines here (7), that are deemed paradoxically to have a higher probability than the ones shown above. Namely, BHA 0 MUN 1; CRY 1 EVE 0; WBA 1 CHE 1; BUR 2 SOU 1; TOT 1 NEW 1; MCI 2 LEI 0; and, LIV 1 ARS 0.

There’s a very surprising name at the top of this week’s predicted expected goals table. One of the things my Season Review blog highlighted was the strong attacking numbers BUR posted towards the end of last season, and with their defence in bad shape through key injuries to Mee (and Tarkowski?) at the moment, there’s cause for optimism that they’ll need goals in their upcoming fixture vs SOU. I am personally toying with the idea of bringing in Wood for a one week punt, prior to switching him to Calvert-Lewin.

Having said, there are no clear cut clean sheets chances this week, there are four teams (MUN, LIV, MCI and CRY) for whom conceding 0 goals has a higher probability than conceding 1. These are highlighted in green in the table below.

Now, I appreciate most of you are stanning for EVE assets right now, so please don’t @ me. There’s no denying Palace have been impressive so far, and they did totally nullify the MUN attack you have also been drooling over the prospect of doubling up on beforehand. That said, half of the data used to calculate EVE’s expected goals comes from their very poor post-lockdown form, and before the arrival of Rodriguez, Doucoure and Allan, who have had an immediate positive impact, so I wouldn’t judge you for not heeding my spreadsheet’s warning here.

And finally, the only players deemed likely to average at least 5 FPL points in GW3, not including bonus points, based on their share of their team’s respective xG+xA in the last 8 home or away games, whichever is relevant, are shown in the table below.

Please feel free to ask any questions about the data presented in any of the tables above.

May your arrows be green!

Coley (a.k.a. FPL P0ker PlAyer @barCOLEYna)

#IFCT Road To Indian Glory Mini League Update GW2

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#IFCT MINI LEAGUE

A massive GW which saw a total of 44 goals. AVL, MCI, MNU & BUR who hadn’t played in GW1 got to play this GW and now we have had a chance to see all 20 teams in action. A lot of Red Cards and Penalties awarded as FIFA takes over the VAR but everyone seems a lot more satisfied with the referee taking to the monitor to make his final decision.

The League has seen a lot of movement as different players performed this GW. Please find the updates of the League below.

No. of participating Managers: 300

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 177.00

Our League leader is Harsh Pandya.

TOP THIRTY LEAGUE TABLE:

EFFECTIVE OWNERSHIP:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining us till the GW9 deadline. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#IFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

#GFCT Road To Global Glory Mini League Update GW2

A massive GW which saw a total of 44 goals. AVL, MCI, MNU & BUR who hadn’t played in GW1 got to play this GW and now we have had a chance to see all 20 teams in action. A lot of Red Cards and Penalties awarded as FIFA takes over the VAR but everyone seems a lot more satisfied with the referee taking to the monitor to make his final decision.

The League has seen a lot of movement as different players performed this GW. Please find the updates of the League below.

No. of participating Managers: 611

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 170.00

Our League leader is: Ronnie Joseph.

TOP THIRTY LEAGUE TABLE:

EFFECTIVE OWNERSHIP:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining us till the GW9 deadline. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#GFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

#FPLMatchups GW2

So much information to process from GW1, yet it is still very little information to try to glean any sort of matchup pattern. This week, and for the next month or so, I will continue to use last season’s data in combination with what we have learned so far this season. Let’s begin. 

WOL v MCI- 

Wolves continued to display their impressive defense against SHU. Following up a season where they conceded the fewest BC (47), they again conceded joint fewest of the first GW (1). That stat is backed up by an impressive 8 chances conceded all game, including 0 from the center of the field. It would stand to reason that those bringing in City players maybe ought to temper expectations.  

Where I see some light from a pure matchup perspective is in the aerial game.  Wolves were in the bottom half for headed goal attempts conceded last season (79) and were joint worst this past GW (4). MCI had the 4th most headed goal attempts (95), and the 3rd most headed goals (11) last season. To add, Wolves concede double the crosses from their left side last game (Marcal) than their right (Adama). Pep could exploit this chink in Wolves’ armor, their thermal exhaust port (if you know, you know) by instructing KDB to find space on the right side to send crosses to Aguero and Sterling. 

Another potential way through is by exploiting the Sterling vs Adama matchup. Adama played at RWB for Wolves, and did a fine job, but was not tested too much. The physical specimen is a fascinating matchup for the compact Sterling. This will be a classic muscle vs mind battle. Not to say Adama is not an intelligent player- indeed he is, but more so in attack, and not to say Sterling isn’t strong –his incredible balance and strength make him extremely difficult to stop. Adama could bottle and frustrate Sterling and Pep, or Sterling could set Adama up to concede a penalty kick. Get your popcorn ready for this one. 

LIV- 

I was going to break down the matchup between Chelsea and Liverpool, but I do not believe we have seen the real Chelsea yet. Half the team missing and new players playing out of position, there is not much we can really say about them as a matchup. I will mention Timo Werner as I conclude the Liverpool analysis. 

There is an ongoing debate as to whether Liverpool’s defensive woes are a result of bad defending or just mental lapses. While mental lapses invariably lead to bad defending, bad defending is not always due to mental lapses. My theory is that Liverpool’s defensive woes are more concerning than more people suspect because it is on account of BOTH above reasons. Let’s look at Leeds’ goals to illustrate the point. 

1.  This play begins with a positional catastrophe, not the only one in this game. Notice how both TAA and Robertson are behind the central defenders. The ball is already in the air and rather than playing a U, the Liverpool defense is playing an N. WTAF? This is a tactical error, and a basic one at that. These mistakes are fundamental and systemic. 

As the play progresses, Harrison smokes Trent TWICE, Gomez runs right past them towards the 6 yard box, VVD meanders vaguely in the way enough to cast a shadow in the lane to the far post, and Alisson decides to cover that same far post. This is a defensive mindset in shambles. These are individual blunders happening simultaneously as a result of an error in shape. 

2. We all remember Leeds’ second goal because of the confusing blunder by VVD, and rest assured we will get to that. That blunder also comes as a result of bad positioning, this time by Gomez. Note in the image below where Gomez is located, and where Liverpool would love to have a teammate. 

The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Who knows why VVD did what he did rather than send the ball from whence it came? The defensive shape compared to the attackers is shocking. Leeds in a spear shape and Liverpool in a sieve shape. This was easy for Bamford and the reason his price went up in FPL. Are we worried yet?  

3. The third goal begins with an out of position VVD. Noticing a pattern? He should be where the check is so that he can recognize runs into the box and met them. Also of note are Fabinho and Klich. This is the moment where Klich begins to make his run past Jones… 

Now we see how much ground Klich has covered compared to Fabinho. Fabinho has hut down mentally. Also look at the impact VVD being out of position. Liverpool are making mistakes at every level: technical, tactical, psychological. With tricky upcoming fixtures, a double up may not be advisable until GW 7 or 8. 

I almost forgot about Chelsea. You know who is good at drifting into space to lull defenses wide? Timo Werner.  

SOU – TOT 

This story is best told with raw data and a graph. Basic plot: Southampton and Spurs are basically the same.  Impossible for me to call any matchup here, which is what makes this interesting to me. It’s remarkable, how these teams had almost identical statistical performances, and are both seemingly shellshocked by it. 

Lastly, as a little bonus, Ings is still better than Che. You decide if he’s 2.5M better, or if either are worth their price. I, for one, don’t rate the touches in the box stat.

Thanks again for making the time to read my point of view. I hope this Information helps you climb the ranks in #FPL. See you all next week for the GW3 instalment of #FPLMatchups. 

Regards,

Gabriel Penaloza aka FPLLens

#IFCT Road To Indian Glory Mini League Update GW1

#IFCT MINI LEAGUE

It was a fantastic opening week where the difference was between Salah or no Salah, Saiss or VInagre and few other combinations.

No. of participating Managers: 293

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 92.00

Our League leader is Abhijeet Jha.

TOP THIRTY TABLE:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining us till the GW9 deadline. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#IFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

#GFCT Road To Global Glory Mini League Update GW1

#GFCT MINI LEAGUE

It was a fantastic opening week where the difference was between Salah or no Salah, Saiss or VInagre and few other combinations.

No. of participating Managers: 596

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 99.00

Our League leader is Craig Thomson.

TOP THIRTY TABLE:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining us till the GW9 deadline. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#GFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

FPL Poker Tables GW2

Nothing makes bigger fools out of us than football results can! So much for the shortage of goals and scarcity of clean sheets forecast last week by my GW1 tables. In fact, there were more clean sheets than there normally are when we have a full complement of fixtures! And having predicted a near clean sweep of one-one draws, there were zero! This might sound like a remarkable feat of incompetence, but the probability of such an outcome implied by best bookies odds was 39%. And not because of how outlandish my spreadsheet’s predictions were, by the way. In fact, they corresponded remarkably closely with the probabilities assigned by the bookmakers.

Only 1 scoreline was deemed less likely by the bookmakers (LIV vs LEE)

In mitigation, the biggest divergences away from my spreadsheet predictions involved the 3 games featuring promoted clubs and, as I explained last week, trying to peg the respective attack and defence strength ratios of promoted teams before the season starts is a guessing game. I also highlighted the ‘known unknown‘ effect of new transfers and, prior to the disappointing performance of Havertz, it seemed as though every single one hit the ground running, and had maximum impact! Think Gabriel, Willian, Wilson, Hendrick, Lewis, Castagne, Allan, Doucoure, Rodriguez, etc.

Understandably, because of the kind of ‘informational disadvantage‘ touched on above, my spreadsheets are likely to be less accurate at the start of a new season. The trouble is that because 8 gameweeks of data for both home and away results represents the optimal data range, we would ideally wait until GW17 before using my spreadsheet’s predictions, but that’s halfway through the season! Instead, we must cling to the hope that the last 8 home and away results from the previous season have some meaningful bearing on the start of the next one. It’s fair to say though that any confidence in this proving so was dented by the opening round of results.

Anyhow, we move; onwards and upwards (not difficult!) to GW2. First off, here are the score predictions, with an added caveat that 7 of these 10 are not actually the scorelines with the highest probability!

Remember the paradox I highlighted last week with regards to WHU vs NEW? And how I explained why 2 – 1 was given as the likeliest score when in fact 1 – 1 had a higher probability? Well, there are not one, but SEVEN such instances this week: EVE 1 – 1 WBA; LEE 1 – 0 FUL; MUN 2 – 0 CRY; ARS 1 – 2 WHU; LEI 1 – 1 BUR; AVL 1 – 0 SHU; and, WOL 0 – 1 MCI. My expectation is that you will find all of these alternative scorelines more plausible, with the exception of the ARS result!

As alluded to last week, there are far stronger candidates for clean sheet this week than last, which pretty much guarantees a complete absence of them if last week is anything to go by! The one that will undoubtedly have people scoffing here is the 61% probability assigned to CHE vs a LIV team that just put 4 past the best defence in the Championship last season.

there are strong grounds for downgrading the P% of a CHE clean sheet to 40%

Please remember though that this is based on The Blues’ last 8 home games and The Reds’ last 8 away and, as discussed in my 2019-20 Season Review, the champions’ form did peter out in the run-in, whereas the fourth place finishers defensive record at home was actually very decent from an xGC point of view. Indeed, their best sequence of 8 home games was better than that of any other team. Shame about the Kepa.

In recognition of the fact that LIV had nothing to play for towards the end of last season, I checked how switching the data from last 8 games only to those for the season as a whole might effect the prediction, and it changed things considerably, reducing the clean sheet probability for the home team to 40%, and making 1 – 1 the likeliest scoreline.

The plea bargaining above should be taken into consideration, therefore, when seeing CHE topping the projected expected goals table below.

CHE would drop to below EVE on 1.6 if using season data rather than last 8

MUN would become the table toppers this week if LIV are given the dispensation discussed above, which is good news for all those planning to captain one of Fernandes, Martial or Rashford, with the last named preferred by my spreadsheet’s expected player points table (see below).

WHU were the big underachievers in last week’s predictions, so scepticism about their prominence here, and that of Antonio below, would be understandable. The other team to leap off the page here is BUR, who as discussed in my Season Review blog finished the season with their underlying attacking stats on a noticeable upwards trajectory. Whether or not they return to type at the start of a new season, with the emphasis back on defensive solidity, remains to be seen.

excludes players from promoted teams

I am in no hurry to repeat the mistake of captaining Antonio again, so I will be entrusting my armband this week to the child poverty champion in the hope that he can feed my team’s hunger for catch up points!

May the flop be with you!

Coley a.k.a. FPL P0ker PlAyer (@barCOLEYna)

FPL Mariner musing’s: Forwards

I will be pleased when this preseason is done if I’m honest. Every day there are more announcements of new players resulting in us having to go back to the drawing board. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a super exciting time but it’s also complicated all the same. I hope this shorter article helps with any remaining your dilemma’s.

STRUCTURE

Using my data which all of you would have seen by now and with my aim not to create a flexible forward line allowing relatively easy coverage of price points and the opportunity to move to the form players as they appear. With this in mind I am looking to select no more than one premium’s (> 9.5 M), one or two mid-priced asset (9.0 to 6.0 mln) and possibly one bench fodder (5.5-4.5 mln)

As usual I created a short list based on extrapolating from last seasons points from minutes played and then factoring in rotation in project restart. I then factored in the fixtures and form after project restart.

9.5 Million & Above, (Choose 1)

9.0 – 6.5 Million (Choose 1 or 2)

6.0 – 4.5 Million (choose 1 or 2)

So again, given the aim to maintain flexibility and with my beady eye on value who am I going with and why?

The Premium’s

Looking at this slightly differently for the final article I will look at safe and explosive picks. You could obviously argue that talisman Vardy and for that matter, Kane, are both pretty safe options to start the season with, however; you have to stretch your budget by an extra 0.5 or 1.0 million above what in my opinion is the explosive Timo Werner.

Vardy (LEI) 10.0 M 25.4 PPMR and Kane (TOT) 10.5 M 22.0 PPMR both have favourable fixtures at the start of the season and with both on penalty duty neither are bad picks and I would not be surprised to see them on the score sheet in GW1.

Werner (CHE) with a predicted PPMR of 28.8 based on Bundesliga stats has an added string to his bow in that he offers a bigger assist threat than the competition above him and checking his metrics he looks to outperform them too faily comprehensively at 1:1 Bundesliga to EPL or with a 10% reduction factored in (which has been muted on twitter).

Source : Understat.com

Werner is therefore locked in to my team. Hallo Herr Verner an die Brüder Grimsby (thanks google translate!)

As per my previous arcticle I will be siding with either KDB or Sterling so for now Aguero is not in my thinking. Jesus for me is simply too wasteful so he is a NO at this point in time.

Firmino had a season to forget FPL wise and I genuinely see him improving but not to the level that Werner offers in this price bracket. I also do not want to rule out double Liverpool defence at the same time as a Salah/Mane pick.

9.0 to 6.5 Million

This is a tricky area to nail so again taking the safe or explosive options i will disect.

Firstly Safe, Well his to me puts four players in this Category;

Ings (SOU) 8.5M 29.1 PPMR. My son has named his FPL team ‘Lord of the Ings’ which was very apt for last season. However, is he going to maintain those incredible levels? My view is probably not and I expect him to regress slightly (even if he stays fit). However; Southampton fixtures are favourable and it is entirely possible I start with him at the time of writing but may ultimately sacrifice him going forwards or climb on to the Che Train!

Martial (MNU) 9.0M 26.2 PPMR. I was one of the few who didn’t own Bruno last season and covered him off with Tony. He seems to have the most amazing understanding with Rashford so I would not discount the double up at some stage this season and would likely find myself captaining him in a home banker. Blanking in GW1 he is firmly on my radar.

Jimenez (WOL) 8.5M 25.7 PPMR Another one of my mainstay’s last season who ticks along like a well tuned car season after season. Mr “one return” is super consistent but never tears trees up and for that reason not necessarily one of my favoured captain options. Wolves early fixtures are not great so I am not likely to start with him.

Wood (BUR) 6.5 M 21.2 PPMR, Another blanker in GW1, Wood is Mr dependable for Burnley providing he stays fit. He offers good value at 6.5 M to rival those around him. Watchlist.

And for the explosivity:

Antonio (WHU) 6.5M 27.2PPMR , He’s a monster isn’t he? but is he going to be pushed back out onto the wing and if he is, and looking at the data below you can see his numbers diminish significantly as a result.

There is also some disquiet in the hammer’s ranks and with tough fixtures coming up and Haller waiting in the wings at this time its a NO which is surprising given he was the first player I picked before the fixtures were released.

Credit Understat.com (Left as a Left Midfield, Right as a Forward)

And the rest, who may emerge?

Calvert Lewin (EVE) 7.0M 21.4 PPMR. Someone pass me the tablets quick! Am I including DCL in one of my articles? Well to put it simply I wouldn’t be if Everton hadn’t spent so well in the transfer window. I love the James, Allen and Doucoure signing’s which will add depth and creativity to their team. I genuinely think DCL will benefit and he’s a million cheaper than my nemesis Richarlison (that’s the only mention he gets). Everton‘s first fixture is against Spurs so I am tempted to watch and wait, but that means sacrificing a transfer. DCL is certainly on my shortlist.

Maupay (BRI) 6.5M 18.6 PPMR He is tipped to have a break out season by some in a side that will benefit from the signing of Lallana. Brighton however dont have an easy start by any means but he does look to be as nailed as you can be in Potter world.

Callum Wilson (NEW) 6.5M 15.5PPMR Callum” AKA the truth” Wilson by @hailcheaters. There is just something about him! I started with him last year and got off him too early and he’s already made it in one of my tinker’s. This is probably against my better judgement (and definitely against my metrics) but my thinking is that provided he starts against West Ham (who seem to be in dissaray) he could be a great option. He also can be moved from easily to other options like Mitrovic, Adams or DCL. Shortlist

6.0 and Below

Adams SOU 6.0 27.8 PPMR. Tops my metric at this price point and is pushing Ings for value and 2.5 Million cheaper. Correspondents suggest that he is fairly nailed and he looked excellent against Swansea in preseason. Post lock-down he outperformed Ings on XG but wasn’t as clinical.

Source Understat

I am not saying for a moment we can cover Ings with Adams but can we use that 2.5 million to great effect elsewhere, for example moving to a third playing forward. All aboard the Che Train.

Jordan Ayew CPA 6.0 21.0 PPMR Certainly falls into the safe camp, virtually ever present Ayew goes quietly going about his business and now possibly has the perfect foil in Eze. Palace’s fixtures are tough to start but from GW5 onwards he is a good option.

Iheanacho LEI 6.0 19.8 PPMR. Rotation kills his metric but if Vardy parties too hard and Leicester have Madison on the pitch, which makes a huge difference in my opinion then he is a fantastic option – not for now however.

Mitrovic FUL 6.0, *no data – Scored in midweek v Russia despite his heat-map suggesting he hardly left the center circle. My concern with him is that he wont get the chances but if Fulham do create one then its likely it will be Mitro on the end of it. Whether he kills a steward with the ball in row Z or hits the net is another question however. I can see the appeal but at time of writing I am really not that keen and may be made to pay as a result given his ownership.

Nketiah ARS 6.0, I mention him as an option as if his rotation risk diminishes then this propels him up the value from 13.1 PPMR (48% rotation) to 19.9 PPMR (20% Rotation), so put it simply if he starts he is a nice option especially given Arsenal’s first two fixtures.

Brewster, wherever he goes, he is a 4.5 million consideration and probably your first bench option, watch this space.

To conclude, and as it stands The Brothers Grimsby forward line only has one lock in, Werner really is a bit of a no brainer to me. As for the others I expect the 2nd slot to be filled by either Ings who is the safe option and does allow a quick jump to Martial, DCL or ‘the truth’ depending on news of starting lineup’s and the third spot will be Adams or 4.5 Bench fodder (if I select Ings)

Dare i go with this? Fetch me the wine.

Here’s to green arrows!

Chris Turner aka FPL MARINER

FINAL UPDATE – FPL Season 20/21 Team Selection – Dhillon’s 11

On the 2nd of September I published my first team selection article which was met with a lot of enthusiasm and I got a lot of feedback. Most of you liked the process of selection, some of you hated it but most of you encouraged me to continue to streamline the process so that we could all benefit in the long run.

I had written that in FPL and other spheres of life – “participants/risk takers have been humbled several times and despite that have been able to be consistent winners by embracing a process which they stick to no matter what because they know that outcomes cannot be accurately predicted but we can make the odds favourable by doing the right things over and over again“.

I think the above clearly shows that these processes are important to succeed and also that they keep getting refined as situations change. The quote below is also something important I had shared which clearly states that evolution is a part of the process and we need to not only imbibe it but challenge our assumptions, keep an open mind to others thoughts and most importantly we must revise out assumptions as real life feedback is given.

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth – Mike Tyson

Basically stating that no matter the context, what they’re all saying is that your first plan is probably wrong. While it is the best starting point you have right now, you must revise it often based on real life feedback.

Its clear that a lot of transfer activity has taken place since I had locked in my first serious draft. Vinagre, the cheapest way into one of the best defensive lineups is no longer a viable option. Chelsea, a team that was already solid from an attacking perspective has been able to improve not only its attacking threat but also get in some experienced players on the defensive front. Everton was being overlooked by most despite having fantastic talent up front in Richarlison & DCL (albiet frustratingly wasteful) because their midfield was unable to help the attack and was not good enough to help the defense either. Since then we have James, Allan and crowd favourite Doucoure have all signed for Everton and the FPL community has had no choice but turn and take hard look at the many more opportunities staring at us right in our face.

Hence, as stated in the above quote it is time for me to change with the real time feedback that I have received. Below I will state what assumptions I was working on and how those have changed and how that has changed my thought process from my first draft and finally how I have ended with what I think is my new final draft.

Firstly, I had stated that I was going to be very risk averse and not take hits, and have a set and forget team etc.

Why? This was because I had made myself believe that if I study the stats well, I will be able to make the correct decisions which will reduce my hits and improve my outcomes.

I had completely overlooked the fact that as a Financial Investor I have learnt several times that despite having the best team, the best analysis, the best risk management that – within a split second all our assumptions can change and we can find ourselves flat on our face! If you have read the book – Long Term Capital Management – then you are aware that a group of Noble Prize wining economists not only went broke investing on their theories but almost took several financial exchanges with them.

Hence, its not the most intelligent person in the room that has the best ability to do well but the person who is willing to accept that they are wrong with their assumptions and have the ability to shift course, almost instantly, without any ego or remorse.

Secondly, I had built my team around last season’s statistics and what I ended up with was a very solid team for LAST SEASON! I had tripled up on 4 or 5 top teams and completely disregarded the fact that new transfers were a clear and present danger for some players in my team. So as an investor I am sure you would have read on a mutual fund pamphlet – historical returns are not an indication for future returns and so please manage your risk carefully. Hence, one should definitely keep an eye out for consistent players but also be mindful that new player might have the season of their lives and that we should remain nimble to accept and transfer them in if that is the case.

Thirdly, with regards to risk management we are taught that if we are somehow able to reduce our downside during poor market conditions then our ability to outperform is much greater when financial markets rise next. For example if we lose from 100 to 90 then we have lost 10% but if we go from 90 to 100 then we have to go up by 11.1%. Hence with COVID it does not make sense to triple up at the start of the season as if we keep losing out on points because our players game is postponed we will keep losing out against our competition and the gap will keep getting tougher to reduce as time progresses.

Forthly, with regards to risk management while you can stay within sectors that continuously perform well in the long run – for example our top 6 to 8 teams – then within those sectors we must take a few bets apart from our consistent wealth builders so that we can add some Alpha to our portfolio. This is similar to having our consistently good premiums but at the same time adding a few risk bets (players) based on the evidence that they can perform better adding to the upside of our possible points threshold. We can do this as long as we have the ability to hedge our bets. In my case this is similar to me taking a few good evidence placed bets on either new players or old players who’s prospect as an addition seems really exciting while we still have our WILDCARD! – This is our so called get out jail free card. This was built so that when our team has an unexpected number of injuries, unexpected events or our calls have just gone horribly wrong we can still change the course without being penalised.

We must use this aggressively to our advantage because FPL managers have come to play – to WIN!

FIRST FINAL DRAFT – DHILLON’S 11

This was the team I had chosen initially and while I would have been over the moon to have this team last season for the reasons stated above and a few more below I have decided to change.

I will be sharing a lot of the stuff I shared in the previous write up so that others who did not read that understand the process and those who might have forgotten can run through it. Thank you for your patience!

So let’s get straight into it! I recently read the book “The Expected Goals Philosophy” by James Tippet. I can’t recommend the book highly enough and I feel it has helped build my confidence significantly while looking at the stats. It has also helped me understand that how one looks at the Team statistics is different from how one should look at the Player statistics. While Players can continue to outperform their stats from the short to medium term it is extremely rare for a Team as a whole to do so. The Team will eventually revert to the underlying statistics while a player who outperforms his data is considered to be an elite finisher.

So what did I learn from the Team statistics of last season?

TEAM ATTACKING DATA FOR SEASON 19/20

The table shows that City is miles ahead of any other team when it comes to their attack. Liverpool outperformed their attacking stats and while we could see a reversion they are still expected to score a lot of goals as they continued to create a lot of Big Chances.

If you look at the difference between the expected data and the actual conversion then its clear to see that Everton, Brighton, Burnley & Sheffield are very wasteful and could easily have had a lot more goals considering the Big Chances Created.

On the other hand Spurs & Arsenal significantly outscored their BCC and their expected goals and assist data showing that they could see a sharp reversion if they do not improve their attacking game play.

We can also see that most teams scored between 40 to 60 goals in this season. Its the teams that crossed the 60 barrier which are the teams that we would like to be involved with while choosing our attacking assets.

TEAM DEFENSIVE DATA 19/20

The defensive data (sorted by big chances conceded) shows that Wolves are a very difficult team to score easily against. In fact Liverpool, Burnley, Sheffield all who’s assets seemed like excellent FPL assets actually gave a lot more Big Chances to their opponents.

Chelsea massively underperformed their defensive data and conceded a lot more goals than they should have. On the other hand Arsenal & Sheffield massively outperformed their defensive data and could have conceded a lot more goals than they actually did. Spurs gave very few Big Chances but also managed to keep just 7 clean sheets.

We can also see that even the worse defensive teams get around 7 to 9 Clean sheets a season. So the real advantage only comes in when our defensive assets start to accumulate more than 10 CS’s plus attacking returns.

Strategy:

Now that we have an idea about how teams performed with regards to their underlying statistics we can have a look at the upcoming fixtures:

PERSONALLY CREATED FDR FOR SEASON 20/21

The first Wildcard is expected to be used by GW16 latest hence after looking at the FDR’s I’ve only looked up till GW16. Further when we break the FDR in batches of 8 GW’s then we can see a very large swing in FDR rating changes for teams as well from GW9. For example City, Leeds, SHU all have much better fixtures from GW9 to 16 as against Spurs, Fulham and SOU who’s fixtures deteriorate significantly as compared to the starting 8 GW’s.

I have used a couple of FDR’s and added my own tweaks to come up with these ratings. (Please use your own for your analysis)

I have further shortlisted the teams from which I would want to build my opening GW team from using the article – “Season Review by FPL Poker Player” that was released yesterday on our blog. If you haven’t already read it please do so after finishing this article. It’s a must read!

I have kept FPL Poker’s conclusions in mind regarding the last 8 GW’s and the positive xG difference for teams both home & away. To that I have added my own observations from the above table for teams throughout the seasons. This has helped me shortlist the following teams to choose players from minus the GK & place holders for now. These are MCI, LIV, WOL, MUN, EVE & CHE.

I have also made changes to my plans having seen FPL Poker PLayer’s updated spreadsheet for the first few GW’s which was published today. If you have not gone through that then you cannot say that you are completely prepared.

Initially I had decided to stay away from EVE & CHE till I saw how they played and whether they were actually be worth bringing in. However, with my WILDCARD intact, I want to take a few risks and not unnecessarily over think it and unnecessarily reduce the amount of teams I can pick players from. From the above list we have 6 solid teams to choose from and I will do exactly that.

This will help me diversify the COVID risk and it will also force me to narrow down and choose which player I want from each team because it is impossible to have them all! While I might choose the incorrect option I am equally excited to see if I don’t. Over the course of the next few seasons I have no doubt that this will not only help me develop the knack to choose the best player from each team but to also be able to segregate the fact that I would like to concentrate on a teams defense but not on their offense.

I will tie this in with the fact that I will give no weightage to ownership at the start of the season, I will not be bogged down by historical facts such as midfielders should be given preference to strikers because they haven’t performed well in the last 2 seasons and most importantly I will be concentrating on whom I feel based on the current evidence is most likely to get the most minutes so I can avoid unnecessary transfers down the line.

I am currently looking to build a squad that will play till GW 8 atleast. I am not looking to use my WC early currently.

Formation & Price points:

I will be making sure that I have price points covered so that I can easily switch players in case of injury or covid postponements. However, I will not be too hard on myself. I will look at combinations as well, so two 9.0 mln strikers can become a 10.5 mln and a 7.5 mln pair going forward.

Initially, I was on a 4-4-2 formation but I have chosen to go with a 4-3-3 formation which I can change if and when a few value picks evolve. At the moment keeping in mind the team and player stats I am happy with this 4-3-3 structure that will evolve and finally be where I want it to be by GW3/4 latest.

Its very interesting to see that historically it is a 4-3-3 formation team that has provided the best points for me historically. Something I was amazed to see when I checked my history.

I am also not against taking a few hits to get to where I want to be with my team knowing that I will want to have those players in my team for the next 4 to 6 GW’s.

GOALKEEPER:

With the premium picks all very expensive this year I have decided to go with a 4.5 mln Keeper & 4.0 mln backup. There is not much between them as far as the data goes as one can see:

GOALKEEPERS PER 90 TABLE

McCarthy has less saves than Ryan per 90 but faces less shots even in the box. Ramsdale is now at 5 mln but its tough to decide looking at his CS’s per 90 whether SHU will be able to be the defensive mammoth it was with Henderson.

Keeping this decision simple I’ve decided to go with Ryan & Walton because if there is an injury Walton can come on without me having to waste a transfer. With Ryan having consistently averaged around 3.55 points over the years I would expect a target of around 135/140 points for the season. I will have a relook on my WC.

DEFENSE:

DHILLON’S 11 DEFENSIVE LINEUP GW1
DEFENDERS DATA AND PER 90 MIN POINTS RETURN FOR 19/20

Reasoning for the above:

While Doherty and Robertson are right up there with Trent and Van Dijk, I’ve decided to see how Doherty settles in with Spurs first. If he continues to be as offensive as he was with Wolves, there is no doubt that come GW9 he will be in my team. The fact that Spurs has not been good defensively is also putting me off for the moment. Robertson is as good as TAA as far as I am concerned but I’ve gone with TAA because he is the more expensive option. In case he gets injured it will be easy for me to move to Robbo rather than the other way around.

Saiss & Vinagre are my way into the Wolves defense and it helps me maintain my price points. They have fantastic fixtures till GW8 which will give me time to scout the other teams. I do not expect the departure of Doherty to affect their defense and till Boly remains healthy I continue to believe that they will remain rock solid in defense.

Mitchell is a place holder for Ferguson of CRY. I expect Ferguson to play regularly once fit.

As you can see the defense I had chosen in my first shared draft – Doubling up along with me being a little undecided with what Nuno and Wolves are trying to achieve has put me off this combination.

NEW DEFENSE:

DHILLON’S 11 DEFENSIVE LINEUP GW1
DEFENDERS DATA AND PER 90 MIN POINTS RETURN FOR 19/20

The loss of VVD effects the overall return, there is no doubting that. However, all the above teams minus SHU are expected to have excellent defenses and the players are expected to be first choices. Egan is a placeholder currently unless SHU is able to impress us again with Ramsdale. The price points are generous and a combination of transfers can help me get VVD back if I’d like once I can make an informed decision. Overall the CS expectation along with basic attacking returns is still very much intact.

MIDFIELD:

DHILLON’S 11 MIDFIELD LINEUP GW1
MIDFIELDER DATA PER 90 MINS FOR SEASON 19/20

Reasoning for the above:

The above table is sorted by Goals per 90 but by expected attacking returns Salah is clearly far ahead of the others. While my eye test states that Mane is the type of player I will enjoy watching due to his finishing but Salah is the consistent point scorer for three years in a row and with him being the leader in the Big Chances per 90 he should do well. Aubameyang as a midfielder now should do really well and with his great first two fixtures he is the place holder for KDB to join the team in GW3. KDB’s Assist per 90 and chances created is so far ahead of anyone else in the league its impossible to ignore him. He is also one of the only players that does consistently well no matter who the opponent is. Unlike other premium assets who rack up the big scores mostly against the weaker teams.

Greenwood can make a stats person scratch their head due to his lack of big chances and xG levels but his xGI Delta (G+A – Goal Involvement) is the highest amongst the midfielders. He passes the eye test with ease but unlike other players that I like he has not returned both on the goal and the assist front. This is something I will have to remain watchful off. However, at his price and his points per match return of 8+ it’s impossible for me to ignore him. JWP is a place holder with 5 goals and 3 assists last season. He is on set pieces and penalties & I am comfortable holding him till GW4 when Foden will be taking his place. Foden is my punt at the start of the season. He really impressed me during the restart and with 5 subs allowed again I expect him to get game time. I might have to suffer a few sub points but at his price point if he does settle in well he should be great value in a team that scores for fun.

I am going with the assumption Jadon Sancho is a done transfer for MNU and with that Greenwood is not as much of an appealing asset because his minutes can be reduced drastically.

NEW MIDFIELD:

NEW DHILLON’S 11 MIDFIELD LINEUP GW1

I have simply removed Greenwood and added McCarthy from CRY. I expect him to be bench fodder and as stated above I will be sticking to an eventual midfield of Salah – KDB – Foden.

I currently prefer the strikers as the main point achievers in the 6 listed teams above while selecting and as per my plan to choose whom I think will be the best value within their attacks I am favouring the forwards in CHE, MNU & EVE.

FORWARDS:

DHILLON’S 11 FORWARDS LINEUP GW1
FORWARDS PER 90 MINS STATISTICS FOR SEASON 19/20

Reasoning for the previous choices:

In the above table you can see the 4 strikers I have zeroed down to for consideration. The list is sorted by Assists. Its a surprising factor which most managers might not look at but knowing myself I would like to have a striker that can get some kind of attacking return even if he doesn’t score a goal himself. It keep the returns ticking and its easier for me to remain patient.

Jimenez takes an aweful lots of shots but has a poorer strike rate than the others but with his expected attacking returns topping the table he is the first one that will be in my team. Martial and Ings both pass the the eye test very well but Ings will only be the place holder till my first transfer for Martial in GW2. Martial gets nod for the second spot as he is a part of a team that scores a lot of goals and I do not see that changing any time soon. He also contributes via assists which Ings does not do much of.

NEW FORWARDS:

NEW DHILLON’S FORWARDS LINEUP GW1

With no new signing on the wing from Wolves and a depleted attacking threat from the end of last season I have decided to move on from Jimenez. He has been a fantastic but for the moment I much rather go with the Wolves defense with Coady-Boly-Saiss holding fort over their offence.

As per Infogol Everton we exceptional in attack after Ancelotti’s appointment, averaging 2.17xGF per game until the postponement. I feel the midfield will bring back some of this offensive drive and as per Infogol again DCL recorded a 0.51 non-penalty xG per 90 minutes which is right up there with elite strikers as per this metric. He had an xG of 16.07 and scored 13 times. He had 27 big chances which in his price bracket was awesome and second only to Vardy and Jesus in the premium bracket. He had only 1 assist, something I do not like but at his price he fits in the frontline well and we give him a chance!

Chelsea had a hugely impressive 2.06 xGF and 1.21xGA per game as per Infogol and should have secured top 4 with much more ease. Even Chelsea, like Everton, were huge underachievers at both ends of the pitch. As per Infogol Timo Werner had an xG/avg. match of 0.72. This is insane along with an xG for the season of 20.8, netting 28 times, signaling that he is actually extremely clinical.

THE FINAL LINEUPS:

For GW1 this will be the squad:

DHILLON’S GW1 LINEUP

For GW2 this will be the squad:

DHILLON’S 11 GW2 LINEUP

For GW3 and forward, hopefully till GW8 this will be the team:

In case KDB & Foden are rising in price and I am getting priced out then I will take a -4 and make the GW3 changes in GW2.

I recently read an article by lukejerdy on FFHUB titled – “Picking my FPL team the Maths approach.” Its a fascinating read & I highly recommend it!

Anyway long story short he stated that the winner last year won with a whopping average point score of 67.76 points!

Yes, you read that correctly and just for the fun of it I have taken the average scores for various players from the same article to see where I stand if I were to use those averages and set and forget my team which I intend on having in GW4 onwards. Here’s the result:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is finaltally.png

Thats a whopping 71.18 points on average per week!

Not bad haha…

Now how does that stack up with the new team?

It is not surprising to see that to have a much more nailed on team and manage our risk we have in the process lowered our expected points in the table above.

However, this seems like a much more realistic impression of what I could expect if I plan well and have tonnes of luck!

Thank you for reading till here and as a manager dedicated to improving and learning I look forward to your constructive feedback on my team.

I appreciate you giving my updated team research a go again and I am very grateful!

I intend on keeping this team minus any injury or covid postponement.

I wish all of you all the best this season and I will look to publish my next season review in the break between GW8 & GW9 where we can together study the updated stats for teams and players alike.

Regards,

Ajit Dhillon.

Credit: Data has been used from FFScout, FFHub & Infogol.

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