Individual player value for money (VfM) is important to consider when trying to fit the best players into our teams. I wanted to look at VfM across multiple players at the same time. This was to get some idea of the following:
- Is it better to pick the most expensive players or to spread the cash evenly across the team? I remember last season there was a lot of debate about the value of Salah and whether it was better to own him or to go without him and spread the cash!
- Is one premium player enough or is it better to have at least two of them for rotating captain options?
- Is there a place in our teams for £5m CDMs, from top-six sides?
The analysis was restricted to looking only at midfielders and used last season’s points and this season’s prices.
A few words about a benchmark I set for assessing VfM. In season 16/17, Sanchez returned 264 points at a cost of £11m, which equated to a VfM of £24ppm. This is the benchmark I like to use when assessing VfM.
Salah Two-Man Team
This is a combined two-man team of Salah and Kante. I picked Kante for a few reasons:
- His low price offset Salah’s premium price which meant that the budget for the rest of the team would be maximised.
- He was the highest scoring £5m MID.
- His VfM was close to the Sanchez benchmark. If he had scored 4 more points, then he would have reached 24ppm.
- He fit the profile of a CDM from a top 6 side.
Between them, they scored 375 points at a combined cost of £17.5M. This equated to a VfM figure of £21.4ppm.
This Salah/Kante team was compared with a Two-Man Team of Mid-Priced players.
Mid-priced Two-Man Team
In constructing this team, I ignored the £9m/£9.5m players as their value for money was significantly less than £21.4ppm. I knew a team than included these players would not be able to compete with Salah/Kante.
The folk in FPL towers has priced these players, not on the points they scored last season, but on the potential points they could score this season.
In the next price bracket down, the highest scoring players were Sigurdsson and Pogba.
They had an improved VfM but a lower overall points. However, they cost £1m less, so to see how this £1m could affect overall team performance, the teams were expanded to 3 players.
Salah Three-Man Team
McArthur with 121 points was the highest scoring £5.0/£5.5M MID and so he was added to the Salah Two-Man Team. The overall points increased to 496 points and the budget to £23m.
Mid-priced Three-Man Team
Team Sigurdsson/Pogba then had £6.5M for a teammate. The best Three-Man Team within the budget of £23m included Sigurdsson, Fraser and Milivojevic, so Pogba was dropped.
The new mid-priced team outscored Salah Three-ManTeam by 31 points, with an improved VfM of £23.5ppm. This appeared to show that spreading the funds would have been better than building a team around Salah.
One of the reasons to pick a premium player is that they are better captain picks than mid-priced players. To assess this theory, in each team the points of the highest-scoring player were doubled.
Salah Three-Man Team came out on top and scored 44 points more than the Mid-Priced Three-Man Team. VfM was higher at £32.8ppm as opposed to £31.6ppm.
The Mid-Priced Three-Man Team had £0.5m in the bank, which could have been spent elsewhere on the squad. Using the Sanchez benchmark of £24ppm this would have added 12 points, giving a new total of 723. Which was still short of Salah Three-Man Teams’s 755 points.
As shown above, once captain points were taken into consideration, it was better to build a team around Salah. I then thought, would it also have been better to add a second premium player, as in Sterling, so that captain picks could be rotated?
Double Premium Five-Man Team
Sterling and Noble were added to Salah Three-Man Team. The midfield now consisted of two premium players and three £5.5/£5m enablers.
The budget increased to £40m and by doubling Salah’s points the total points would have been 1088.
Let’s consider a very unlikely scenario and say the captain’s armband was perfectly rotated between Salah and Sterling.
The captain points would increase to 370 and the total points would have been 829+370 = 1199. I realise this would probably not happen in reality however, it is done to show the maximum points a rotating captain strategy could achieve.
Single Premium Five-Man Team
The players from the Mid-Priced Three-Man Team were added to the Salah Two-Man Team.
Before captain points were considered the base points were 904 which were higher than the 829 points for the Double Premium 5-man Team. The base VfM was £22.6ppm which again was higher than £20.7ppm for Double Premium 5-man Team.
Once Salah’s points were doubled, the overall points increased to 1163. Only 36 points less than the unlikely captain points of the Double Premium 5-man Team.
- A midfield built around one premium player with a £5m CDM, from a top 6 side, was better than a midfield with two premium players.
- Owning both Salah and Sterling is probably one premium player too many. The cash saved on one of them i.e. Sterling would be better spent on other players.
- CDM’s from top six sides should not be dismissed as FPL assets. They may not return the high points of the premium players, but they do offer value for money and are enablers.
I realise this analysis is based on last season’s points and selecting the highest scoring players after the event. However, many of the players in the analysis have been consistent over more than one season.
In the upcoming season, I expect most players to score in line with their costs. Salah and Sterling to score over 230 points. Sigurdsson/Pogba/Fraser 160 to 180 points. Kante 110 to 120 points. Therefore, I believe the conclusions will be useful to consider when we select our teams.
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