FPL Podcast Observation 6: 2Guys1Cup GW8 Preview 18-19 – Stats for the common people


Link to 2Guys1Cup Podcast.

Confession, I am a lazy FPL player. I miss doing my every-week player stats most often – and that’s perhaps the reason the tactical aspect of the game is where I am at my worst. I have a general feeling about which players are doing well at the xA, xG, SoT, TPB stakes (thanks to all you lovely folks here at FISO), but if you ask me to rattle out the numbers, I will fail. I took the FFS membership last year, and did not utilize it very well. I felt that I was just going there to validate the general points the FFSers were making on their podcast anyway. I do most of my FISO commentary on my mobile (excuse the typos therefore, please), in fact all except the Monday morning weekly points grid update, and this podcast review thing, are done on mobile.

I am super predictable and boring on my player transfers anyway. So if someone can come along to help me on that, this help is always welcome. That’s exactly the reason why I would be pretty mediocre as an FPL player without FISO. That’s also the reason why my blog here is less of a journal and more of an RMT.

Therefore, podcasts like the 2Guys1Cup Podcast – which I listened to today morning, are helpful. Stats-y, player-comparison-y. And they went beyond the surface ‘but-he-tops-the-touches-in-penalty-box’ analysis, and actually tried to analyze the reasons. Perhaps it is because they are just starting off, but they packed a lot of data into the 80 minutes.

I liked what I heard. Recommended.


FPL Podcast Observation 5: Fantasy Football Scout # 267 – Balancing the Portfolio

Balancing the Player Portfolio

Listen to the chat starting from 51 minutes.

FFS Podcast #267 – Listen Here.

Joe (formerly Jonty) is perhaps my favorite of all current FPL podcasters – I like his consistent ability to make the quiet move, and his general level-headedness. Here, he explains nicely what is luck and what is not – and he talks about a season where he had invested heavily on Ibrahimovic, Sanchez and Aguero (?), and when all three of them flopped for three consecutive GWs, his rank plummeted with his sub-30-point scores.

This is not bad luck – this is poor play at FPL, Joe says. The most expensive players, just like the cheaper players, would not be successful in every match.

I completely concur with this.

  1. When we are buying stocks, we do not pile everything on a handful of specific stocks (or even industries) – we diversify into a manageably high number of stocks, and if it is a growth market, we get the returns. Some of the stocks do very well, some do moderately – around the median, and some do poorly. Diversification would ensure your exposure to the risk of a handful of stocks tanking, is small. After that, it is your skill in investing that will determine how much better than the market’s growth you can get.
  2. Similarly, you do not lump all your investment into one specific device (say that’s real estate, say that’s the stock market, say that’s fixed deposits). You diversify.

Since money is spread around players, even on a bad GW for you since there will perhaps be a few players that succeed (if there are more options, there are more chances of at least a few working out) – even in a bad GW, you will get a less-than-horrible score.



*** though FFS is not my favourite podcast – I find the younger brigade (excepting Andy who I like) overbearing, too keen to thrust their opinions as facts, and dismissive of alternate opinions.

FPL Podcast Observation 4: Let’s Talk FPL #121: The purpose of the 4.5M MID

The purpose of the 4.5M MID
Both my Dad and my Mum used to work for the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) – which is the country’s government-owned centralized insurance corporation, and one of the top 5 employers in India. My Baba was in IT, and my Ma in Claims Settlement.
My mum left us in the early part of this year. She didn’t suffer much at all – She was detected with bone-marrow cancer (Multiple Myeloma) in January, but it was detected just the onset, and we expected and were prepared for her to play a long battle, and fight till the end – she was tough, the old girl – we were thinking 10 years minimum. It was not to be. Needless to say, she died too young. 67 is no age to die. She could perhaps never make peace with retirement – she had had to work hard all her life to make something decent out of it – we come from solid small-town working-class stock – and ‘not working’ was something she was visibly uncomfortable with.

We are a close-knit family – I’d visit every year, they would too, even when I was in the US – but Mum and I weren’t necessarily friendly. I’d disregard most of the stuff she’d tell me, right from when I left home. That too has been ages.

But if you have lost a parent, you would know how it is. It’s not easy to come to terms with it, even if one is not really being immediately affected by it anymore. It’s a weird thing – it’s as if a part of one’s past has been erased from the memory. It’s as if one is a little emptier that earlier.

Perhaps it is most comfortable to voice it out here, in this no-name medium of impersonal connects and definite purpose (and my 2-visitors-a-day blog maybe)– than in the “RIP’ ‘Be Strong’ and other banalities-filled social media encroachments on personal space – facebook and the likes.

But there was this piece that led to a bit of reflection about Mum – Andy’s Let’s Talk FPL commentary of this week. Someone had raised a question. Q. Danny Ward, OOP MID playing as a FWD, 4.5M. Good choice?

There are a couple of Life Insurance avenues with LIC – you can choose a term insurance, or a life insurance investment plan. Mum was a Life Insurance professional, remember? She used to say – be clear about investing. Do you want a) Life coverage, b) some life coverage but also monetary growth, or c) only investment – with expectations of monetary growth only? As long as you know what you want and have decided on it, you will invest in the right place. I did figure it out early. Once I knew that my life is of value to folks around me (i.e. around the time the baganbaby was being considered), I got a pretty heavy term insurance i.e. a pure life insurance for myself – and convinced the missus to get one as well. And since I understand the market reasonably well, I invest in shares or in mutual funds to grow whatever peanuts I manage to save.

Purpose is key. Thanks, Ma.

The purpose of your 4.5m Mid is to cover for eventualities. Cover for the worst-case scenario of 2-3 injuries. Otherwise the points are in the bench.
As Warnock says here and here, he will rotate Zohore, Madine and Ward. Therefore, sure, there will be some weeks when Ward would get a glorious 6-pointer from your bench. But when the injury-forced requirement of the two-three point backup from the bench is required, would you want that specific week to be the bench / 5 mins from the bench (i.e. 0-1 point) week from Ward, or would you like the 2-3 point safety of Camarasa? You know the answer.
Don’t mix your Life Insurance goals with Investments goals.

FPL Podcast Observation #3: FMLFPL Ep 155: The Eriksen Dilemma

The Eriksen Dilemma: When to stick, and when to twist with an underperforming player

I am a regular listener to the FMLFPL podcast. And that is not ONLY because of the American accent (Though it helps. I have happy memories of the US, having stayed there for quite a while). It is a thoroughly enjoyable podcast – Walsh and Alon mix a lot of good-humored banter with FPL commentary, and raise some important FPL questions.

In the last pod, Episode 155, a very interesting question was raised : how long does one hold on to a REALLY non-performing player who we all know has the potential to strike form?

Eriksen is the case in point here – how long do you keep hold of someone like Eriksen – who is the textbook definition of a Steady-Eddie elite FPL point-scorer – One who is generally seen as a guaranteed 9.5M, 200 points per season player. And he is not performing to par – 12 points in 4 GWs is poor.

This is an important FPL question – and I will try to introduce some considerations in continuation to that discussion.

Firstly: How poor has Eriksen been?

For that, let’s figure out what could be the anticipated par score for a player. This is kinda easy if you have read some previous posts / been following my RMT on FISO. We have already discussed the one-game / 5-game target for a player at every price bracket. [Link for MIDs]

It tells us that the 9.5M MID slot is supposed to give me approx. 5.56-6.05 points per GW. Which equated to about 28-30 points per every 5 GWs.  The math mavens among you will point out that it would lead to 211-230 points per season, which is a little bit more than what Eriksen tends to achieve over the season. That is fair, but the stats should hold, because a) Logically, this would also include the 2-3 GWs that Eriksen will miss over a season, and would be replaced by the first bench player – say approximate ppg of 3 points; and b) For specific GWs during the season – for tactical / fixture-related reasons, one would substitute Eriksen for another 8.5-9.5m player); and c) Eriksen slightly underperformed his target for last season.

So we know now that Eriksen was expected to get 23-24 points over the first 4 GWs. And he instead got 12 points. Losing you 11-12 points so far.

Similarly, you know now that Mane is outperforming his target by 15-16 points.

Second: So how to get the lost points back?

You cannot. One cannot be too worked up by the lost 11-12 points.  You are not getting the 11 points back from the last 4 GWs, if you now change Eriksen to someone else. However, you know now the extent of the lost points through Eriksen. And how far you can bear the losses.

The only question to consider should be to hold Eriksen or not.

Third: So what should you do?:

Strategic / Operational / Tactical considerations would be

Strategically: 9.5M is a slot that is not awash with great FPL point scorers yet. Mane is shooting way above par, and Hazard (who is pricier) is hitting par at 10.5M.

Operationally: If there is only one 9.5M MID slot in my team, I could certainly consider changing to Mane / Hazard; but if there are more than 1, then there aren’t too many other 9.5M MIDS pulling up trees. And the point loss is not severe.

Tactically: Eriksen’s underlying stats are really, really good (Go to understat to know more). Perhaps the only thing that inhibits him as of now (and something Alon and Walsh have mentioned in the pod too) is that Kane is not at peak form to convert all the chances that Eriksen is creating. But it is September, and does one really think that Kane would be underperforming for the whole season?

So those are some of the points to consider. Now make your decision, FPL manager.

Personally, if I would have had Eriksen in my team (I don’t) I might continue to hold for a couple of more GWs.  I have more than one 9.5M MID slots in my team.  How much longer? Maybe 1-2 GWs more.




PS: I have a similar dilemma in my team. Aguero / Aubameyang. Par is ~25-26 points. Auba is under par by 11-12 points too. And I am holding for one more GW (but again, Aguero is not really pulling out trees here. Only slightly above par)

FPL Podcast Observation #2: Who Got The Assist Pod 45: Reactive Ownership

FOMO, Ownership percentages, and counting other people’s money.

(To start with let me mention that I am a fan and regular follower of the Who Got The Assist podcast – they come with nuggets of excellent insight very often. This post comes with a recommendation of the podcast)

 Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This social anxiety is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

In FPL parlance – the equivalence is the unhealthy (IMHO) obsession with ownership stats. One needs to have the highest owned players, often to the detriment of their own teams – what if the player I do not have gets a 20 point haul? What if, heavens forbid, this is the most-captained player? ***

Season over surely!

Season over? Are you kidding me?

A Twenty pointer is less than 1% of your season’s point haul, assuming that 2500 is the overall point target that you have. Or anyone would have. 2500 is approximately the points that would win you FPL.

So twenty points missed counts for not much, because a) it is a very small percentage of your overall score; b) it’s a long season, and you can get back those points. You have an alternate strategy, so keep faith. You have a reason why you chose Lukaku over Aguero – so let it play out. You have a reason why you had two heavy-point scorers over Salah and a mid-ranger, so let it play out. (or, as of the recent SalahOut-ers , you had a reason why you thought Salah + mid-ranger would be better than two ~10m players. Let it play out)

Of course, one cannot be too dogmatic about it. Assume it is GW 10, and it is comprehensively proven that Hazard (say) is having the season of his life, and Eriksen (say) is merely plodding along – (and the stats and the eye test agree with this), then not making the change is just dogma. The template is the template for a reason – and that reason is NOT that they are the most-owned players. The reason is that these are the players that can get your team the most points, in the combination they are in, in the future. And the two are not the same. And even if one is breaking from the template – don’t be differential for the sake of being a rebel – nobody cares and you are not that important. If you are breaking from the template because your alternative path / player / structure has a better chance of getting more points, per your opinion – then by all means, go for it. And stay the course until you are convinced that you are wrong and the alternative is right. Don’t look at ownership and do the whole FOMO thing.

This is not poker. You are not playing against someone else. It is immaterial how many points someone else is getting. Are you at par with getting your ~2500 points? If yes, you are fine. If no, you are not.

The best analogy is with the stock market. An intelligent investor does not care too much what the other investors are doing – that is of academic interest to him/her – just another data point. The intelligent investor is not counting other people’s money. He/she cares most about the fundamentals of the stock, and the target price that has been anticipated by him/her. IMHO the intelligent FPL player should be doing the same – only care about the player / fixture / form parameters (and stats / eye test etc.) — not about the ownership percentage. Not about FOMO, and not about counting other people’s points.



*** Please note: here, my consideration is not about mini-leagues – where you are indeed playing against your colleagues – in which case, ownership matters – but only within your mini-league.

# FPL Podcast Observation: Always Cheating Ep 139: Fighting Shadows

While driving to office, I listen to an FPL podcast every day. Every day, I think of starting a podcast episode review column, and right after reaching office, I forget about it and start work.
Today, I am starting for work 30 minutes earlier, and using those 30 mins to write a quick review (or rather appreciate / critique one salient point) of the podcast I just listened to.

Starting with:
Always Cheating – Got introduced to this last week by @nickwright_80 . This is only the second episode I was listening of them – and it was very good indeed. Thankfully, they don’t do ‘entertainment’ – and also, almost anything FPL-based with an American accent sounds the closest I can be to home. As in, there’s no podcast with an Indian accent :) – and no, don’t give me ideas. Not happening.

This is from Always Cheating Ep 139: Fighting Shadows

The point discussed was in terms of Pedro, his essential-ness, and where he stands in the Sarriball stakes.

From an article at theFalse9 – below are some observations – on which i have transposed names of suitable Chelsea Players

Napoli always start with Sarri’s preferred 4 3 3 formation. The system is so good because its very fluid and it allows Napoli players to interchange freely, especially the front 3. The two defenders are a perfect partnership with Albiol (Luiz/ Christensen) the technically gifted of the two and Koulibaly (Rudiger / Cahill) providing the pace and power although not without ball playing skills of his own. The two full backs are very complete in defence and in attack with Ghoulam (Alonso) always trying to overlap but Hysaj (Azpilicueta) is a bit more stationary. Jorginho (eh, well, Jorginho) is the pivot in midfield, he is the controller who sets the tempo with his passing similar in style to Sergio Busquets. Allan is very good as a box to box midfielder helping out in both defence and attack (Kante, in his current role) with Hamsik an aggressive midfielder playing almost as shadow striker when Napoli have the ball (Kovacic  / Barkley) and he often interchanges positions with Mertens when Napoli have the ball. The front 3 contain some dazzling players who rightly get most of the plaudits, Insigne (Hazard ) is a skillful inside forward and play-maker. Mertens has been converted very successfully to a striker offering a different aspect in attack with his fluidity and pass (NOTE: This was initially Milik, and Morata approximates him. Surely Sarri can play with him. And of course Higuain before him fits in seamlessly). While Callejon (Willian/ Pedro – though Willian is a better fit) is an out and out winger who is mostly stationary down the right side

I believe Sarri’s preference is of a Morata kind of a player.
Higuain is similar is general stature and style to Morata – once Higuain left, with the money, Milik was bought – and Milik too is similar to Morata.
It was only after Milik was injured and out for the season that Mertens was converted to the CF extraordinaire.

I think that Morata will be given a fair shot. The crystal ball says that — After 5-6 GWs, when Sarri realises that Morata is gash ( :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: ), he will put Pedro in that slot – and then he will be essential, because Pedro is a) very good and b) very similar to Mertens – a speedy winger with a dead-eye finish. Pedro is a great fit to becoming Mertens vol 2.


#FPL – But Hazard is so inconsistent!

Sorry for the digression — Are we considering Liverpool’s defence now? Why? Aren’t they notoriously porous at the back?

What? We are! Why? Because they have a better defence now and have become defensively stable, you say?

Hazard has perhaps only ever played under defence-first managers at Chelsea. And now they have probably the most gung-ho attacking manager in the whole of Europe, coaching them.

If we are considering Liverpool’s defenders inspite of Liverpool’s recent history defensively (psst, even that was a bit of a myth) — we are doing so because of reality rather than history. We should do the same with Hazard.