FPL Podcast Observation 8: Fantasy Football Scout Meet the Manager – Phil Ampleford (Philman) – How to Play FPL (Volume 2)?

How to Play FPL – Vol 2

Link to Fantasy Football Scout Meet the Manager – Phil Ampleford (Philman)

This is a brilliant series, guys. I would recommend not to miss a single Meet the Manager. As the most popular FPL advisory forum there is, there is an important purpose that FFS serves. And they do not take the mantle lightly, they do some interesting stuff with it. Like this feature.

So, Phil Ampleford (alias Philsays), the FPL manager in focus for the week, and I have records that are within the same ballpark. His is better and more consistent of course – he is one of the top 100 FPL managers around, and I am not quite there, but in the general vicinity I’d like to assume. I found this out once the ranks were read out.

It is especially interesting to follow a couple of FPL managers every season – especially ones who are making the move to break the glass ceiling and become truly elite. (And that’s not necessarily per FFS HOF ranks – I see the FFS HOF more as an FPL ELO ranking than a true HOF – focused as they are to the more recent performances).

Last season I tracked a few players, and perhaps the most interesting two among them were Anders Lium (#28 in HOF, rank 52 last season) and Simon Rutherford (#33 on HOF, rank 58 last season). Ideally, we can say that both of them were very successful, yes? And these are exactly the kind of players – who with last year’s performance have become truly elite.

Simon’s ( @Heroes_FPL ) was the most radically different in format last season (Vardy + Firmino as strikers. No Kane No Aguero) – it was the most exciting to follow. Not reckless, but unconventional in a very controlled way. Anders’ was the opposite. He caught onto template early, and never veered from template until alternate templates appeared. So much so that I saved him on my bookmarks as “Anders Template – risk-averse”.

I am tracking both of them this season as well – they are playing a similar strategy this season as last, and both are doing very well. Worth a follow. You can pick up the links from the FFS Hall of Fame.

So, back to this episode. Philsays plays a game which is dramatically different from mine. 3-4-3, cheap in defence, early hits and never hit-shy, very price-conscious. Almost the mirror opposite of my normally 4-in-defence, at least two high-priced defenders, very hit-averse, and not very price-conscious style. And perhaps the most illuminating was the discussion on last season, where he finished at the late 90Ks. The reason he gave was that he veered a lot from the style of play that he was comfortable with – and tried to play like a different player. And his rank suffered as a result. He is back to playing in his normal way again, and again doing very well.

So I do not believe that there is a single way (be that risky or safe) to be really, really successful at FPL. Simon, Anders and Phil are all excellent players, and their styles are each quite different from others.

But it is very important to identify the way of playing that one is comfortable with (and that comes with a bit of trial and error), and even more important to not dramatically differ from it ***, once identified. Maybe there will be minor ups and downs for different seasons (luck does play a factor) – but the general average result should be good.

 

 

 

 

*** Of course, this only matters if you consider a decent season-end rank as an important target. Sometimes, just trying out an alternate approach – season-end rank be damned – is a fine reason to play differently as well. That’s okay, you will be back next season. And sometimes even just letting go is fine. It’s okay – FPL has to be fun. Otherwise, what’s the point anyway?

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FPL Goalkeepers: Ederson (vs) Alisson

So here are two guys who will have a massive tug-of-war for the slot of the national team goalkeeper for Brazil, and also I suspect for the Premier League trophy – for the next decade, I think. Interesting. But who among them should we pick for our FPL team?

In all honesty, there’s little to choose from a goalkeeping standpoint. Both LIV and MCY will keep a lot of clean sheets this season. You can pick either one and forget about the slot.

However, here’s one other definite reason to choose one over the other…. assists. Now before you go all ‘C’mon Baganboy, it was just one freak assist last match‘ on me, here’s something I have pieced together from a couple of videos, and which just got confirmed through a graphic that I received in the morning from the http://fantasyfootballfix.com/ website’s twitter feed (@FantasyFootyfix ). This will tell you more about why I think one is substantially better than other from an FPL PoV.

See the passing range and distribution of the two. First Alisson.

What did you see?

Alisson passed out a lot to the deep-lying midfielders, and to the wingers and wing-backs (the green lines). There are fewer direct passes up top and through the middle (i.e. the red lines)- and if I am not wrong, the longer passes would be more for springing counter attacks.

This is also realistic because a) Firmino, the nominal center-forward for LIV plays in a withdrawn forward / false-9 role. His chief responsibility is to bring others into play. b) Salah and Mane are Inside Forwards who prefer cutting in from deep. So that means IMHO that the assist potential of Allison would get realized only in a situation similar to Mane’s goal from the GW2 match against CPL in the last minute – Alisson could pass long to release Mane / Salah to counterattack to score a goal.

Chances? Few. Similar to those of Ederson last season.

Now let’s go to that man, Ederson.

With Ederson however, we find MCY taking a slightly different approach this season. You see that there are a lot of direct long passes through the middle. Remember, MCY plays with pure forwards in the shape of Aguero or Jesus, whose primary job is indeed to score goals. The above images do indeed show that.

How are they achieving it, though? In normal play, the middle of the pitch is congested. Indeed, last season, Ederson excelled in the short pass to Fernandinho or KDB. What changed this season? The video below will give a hint.

It’s a crazy sight! The MCY players have moved en-masse to the wings, the HUD players have followed – and this has resulted in a clear path being opened up for Ederson to pass long to the forward, Aguero. Which is what he did with the goal for Aguero. This is a strategic ploy that is being used by MCY; and Ederson is truly being used as an attacking weapon. Something he is well capable of.

A goalkeeper with (one of) the the best defensive team(s), who is a monster at saving penalties, and who is also an attacking threat. That is quite crazy. Ederson might make 5.5M really look like a bargain…

FPL Tactics: Striker / Forward Targets for pricepoints (based on ’17-’18)

After price-point analyses for Goalkeepers , Defenders, and Midfielders, here’s the same for Forwards.

Tend to think that the Forward PPGs are quite low in the higher reaches. Weak season for the forwards, 17-18 was. Can this be a norm going forward? We shall see. Perhaps the preeminence of the inside forward has killed off the pre-eminence of the bog forward as the captaincy choice? Note that at the higher reaches, the midfielders seem to be comfortably outpacing the forwards at the same price in terms of ppm.

FPL Tactics: Midfielder Targets for pricepoints (based on ’17-’18)

After price-point analyses for Goalkeepers and Defenders, here’s the same for midfielders.

The graph has a slope almost as steep as that of defenders. Are higher priced midfielders THAT MUCH MORE efficient than cheaper midfielders. I doubt it. In my opinion, this season was a little skewed by Sterling and Salah both massively overshooting their (nonetheless very high) price-point. I would not expect the slope of the graph to be SO steep, going forward. I would guess it would be more steep than the forward, but less steep than defenders – now it is almost equal.

When I eventually plot the overall targets in connection with these numbers, I will consider choppipng one or both of Salah and Sterling. That will be realistic.

FPL Cognitive Biases: Framing Bias (or) Sakho AND PVA, are you kidding me?

So here is the thing. Most of you know that the 5.0M defender I am most comfortable having in my team, is Sakho (bonus magnet. Uncle Roy’s teams definitely will get ~11-12 CSes). And perhaps most of you have figured out that the 5.5M defender I am most comfortable having in my team is PVA (CSes, as discussed, plus almost guaranteed 5G+5A). Both are guaranteed starters.
So why don’t I have both of them in my team?
Because they are both from CPL, silly. What if both of them concede a freak goal? Both of them would get their CS busted. That is conventional wisdom.

That my friends, is framing bias.

What if both of them get a freak clean sheet? because I will be playing both of them in most games – no? Yes. 5 defenders is my almost-default formation, unless the one true bandwagon MID/FW arrives.
And in the (almost guaranteed) no CS games — MCY away, LIV away — I will still play PVA, because he can get a goal, and I will play the 12th player (Cairney) in place of Sakho, dammit.

I will get Sakho soon.

Is Salah essential? Yes at (say) 10.5M, no at 13M

There’s a question I am trying to get my head wrapped around. At what PPG is Salah worth getting in the team? I thought there is a mathematical solution to this.

Math:
Caveat: You know I do not have Salah in my team. But I have tried to keep the bias out of the equation.

So above are the numbers. How to interpret them?

Part A – If Salah has a similar season to 17-18

On the left
Assume Salah will get 8.4 ppm
The standard 9.5M midfielder (Mane) will get 6.28 ppm as per the gradient of last year.— (NOTE: this is not Mane’s number, but the gradient of all the popularly owned midfielders, and where it coincides with 9.5M).
Also, since Salah will not be a captaincy option, I would assume the captain would be the next highest ppm-getter for the season i.e. Aguero at 7.30.
Now, if you have the control group to compare Salah with as (Mane + Aguero as captain),
You will have 3.5million (no having Salah) giving you 3.22 ppm as your control case.

On the right
While drawing the gradients as we had done below, we have arrived at the ppm gain per 0.5m addition in price. We see that the highest gradient is for the defender, and lowest for the goalkeeper.

Now even for the best case -i.e. we utilize the 3.5m into the best defenders and take advantage of the incremental benefit of the extra money, we would still be about 33 points in arrears. more realistically, if you spread it around (0.5 GK; 1M DF; 1M MID, 1M FW), you are in arrears by ~40 points.

Inference: If Salah captures last season’s form, you have to have him. He is essential. Nothing else you do can top not having him, even at 13M (i.e. unless there is another player who is giving similar returns as Salah)

But if Salah would do a little worse than last season, then? How much worse can he do if you compare him against the most realistic control case (same as what we tried last time

Part B – If Salah does slightly worse than 17-18

On the left
Experiment has given me the number of 280 points. i.e. 7.8 ppm for a 36-game season. This is the tipping point below which having Salah does not remain a realistic option.

If Salah will get 7.8 ppm
The standard 9.5M midfielder (Mane) will again get 6.28 ppm as per the gradient of last year.
The next highest ppm-getter for the season i.e. Aguero will be the captain at 7.30.
Now, if you have the control group to compare Salah with as (Mane + Aguero as captain),
You will have 3.5million (no having Salah) giving you 1.98 ppm as your control case.

On the right
Now even for the worst case -i.e. we utilize the 3.5m into the two worst gradients – 1.5M for GK, and 2M for striker; and take the least advantage of the incremental benefit of the extra money, we just about make 1.98 ppm, par. More realistically, if you spread it around (0.5 GK; 1M DF; 1M MID, 1M FW), Salah will have to get 282 points to just make par.

Inference: Salah will have to get at least 280 (7.8ppm for a 36 gameweek season) points to be a realistic option at the 13M price. Salah’s score can fall only by about 7.5% from his lofty standards of last year for him to not be viable anymore.

PS: even with my horrible captaincy targets (7.0 ppm target), Salah will still need to get 272 (~7.6ppm) to make par.

 

FISO’s Matt Martyniak WINS Fantasy Premier League!

Reflected glory if there ever was!

One of our FISO boys won Fantasy Premier League ’12-’13. First among 2.6 MILLION players. Spidermatt, take a bow.

He also plays in Fantasy Football Scout. Here’s what they say about him.

[Edit: And here’s the FISO dedication]

[PS: Join FISO. It’s addictive, it’s intelligent and it’s friendly. And once you are in, message /comment me here. I’ll help you navigate.]