What are the Key Principles of FPL Ownership?

In this article, @Hibbo_FPL explains the principles of FPL ownership and the concept of effective ownership. He aims to debunk common myths and provide a fundamental understanding that will equip novice FPL managers with the tools required to improve their rank.



Have you ever wondered why you scored above the FPL average but dropped in rank?

The figure displayed on the Fantasy Premier League website is an average of every team in the world during a particular Gameweek. Therefore, the average is too broad to be considered a genuine marker of success.

As the season progresses, elite FPL managers with the highest scores enter the upper echelons of the game.

They often possess the best-structured combination of players within the limitations of their budget. This makes the top 10k average a true barometer of success.

The development and usage of FPL utilities have become widespread. This has propelled conversations, and often misconceptions, about ownership into the FPL mainstream.

However, having a strong grasp of player composition and the mathematics of ownership is an important tool. We can use this to make informed decisions regarding our transfers.


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FPL Ownership

As FPL managers, without considering captaincy or chips, we either have a 0% or 100% stake in a player.

We can buy the same players and those who are higher owned make a greater contribution to the average. Highly owned players that we do not own pose a significant threat to our rank.

For example, if Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) scored 10 points with 60% overall ownership then he would contribute six points to the average (ownership % x points scored).

For this example, I am ignoring captaincy and assuming that all De Bruyne owners started him in the example Gameweek.

Effective Ownership

Effective ownership is a calculation that adds a number of factors together. These include: the percentage of a player’s ownership, whether the player was started or benched by FPL managers, that player’s captaincy percentage, and that player’s triple captaincy percentage.

This concept means when captaincy is considered, a player’s ownership can exceed 100%.

To illustrate, in Gameweek 22 Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m) had 96.59% ownership. The captaincy (including triple captaincy) added a further 7.18% ownership meaning an effective ownership of 103.77%.

In this example, those that owned Bruno, but did not captain him, scored 17 points but lost 0.64 effective points against the average.

FPL Ownership

While some may question the wisdom of owning a player that costs them effective points, an opportunity for gains lies in the captaincy. Those that gave Fernandes the armband had a 200% stake against the average (103.77%).

Therefore, Bruno captainers would have gained 96.23% effective points compared to those that simply owned the Portuguese playmaker.

Calculating Top 10k Average

Player ownership composition varies between different tiers in the game. To demonstrate this point, the ownership of Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) and Bruno Fernandes in Gameweek 22 was denser at the elite level. This meant that these players contributed more points to the top 10k average than the overall average.

FPL Gameweek 22

Elite level FPL managers are able to determine which players are “essential” within a short space of time. They will normally have team structures that are geared towards maximising the inclusion of premium players. Fernandes and Salah are amongst the very best FPL options and represent viable captaincy options in most weeks.

In each Gameweek, the top 10k average is calculated by adding the individual contribution to the average of every player owned, and started, at that level.

This calculation also includes captaincy, auto-substitutions, and any chips in play (Triple Captain, Bench Boost, Free Hit).

Highly Owned Players

When player ownership reaches saturation, any gain from a haul is minimal. Ownership becomes a shield rather than sword play. In such circumstances, ownership can provide an insurance policy that prevents your rank from being destroyed by their contributions to the elite level average.

When captaincy is stacked towards one option, backing against that player offers high risk or reward.

In Gameweek 22, Salah blanked with 173% effective ownership in the week that Fernandes hauled 17 points at home to Southampton. This resulted in huge rank swings for Bruno captainers.

FPL Salah Bruno

Ownership Opportunities & Risks

In-depth knowledge of player ownership can become a powerful tool when combined with FPL analytical skills. This includes reading fixture runs, assessing a player with the eye test and statistics, being aware of player injuries and analysing downturn in either individual player performance or that of their team.

I’ll look at Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) who endured a goal drought from Gameweek 12. This analysis shows that elite teams were slow to bin the Everton marksman.

This drought represented an opportunity for those wise to the absence of Everton’s key creators, and Calvert-Lewin’s downturn in output, to move the England international on.


Conversely, FPL managers can reap huge rewards from calculated risks. Michail Antonio (£7.5m) returned to starting action for West Ham United in Double Gameweek 19 following an injury. As demonstrated below, elite managers felt that Antonio was a risk worth taking and were rewarded with a point haul.

FPL Antonio

Combining player composition analysis with knowledge of an upcoming fixture swing can provide real insight into rank boosting defensive differentials too. For example, last season when Manchester City began an extraordinary run of fixtures from Gameweek 10, no defender from that team had an ownership higher than 10%.

Early adopters of Manchester City defenders reaped the benefits but those who doubled up truly got ahead of the curve. Combined ownership of City defence soon reached the point of saturation and in Gameweek 22, only a defensive double up would boost your rank in the event of a clean sheet.

FPL City Defence


An understanding of ownership, and effective ownership, at the elite level helps FPL managers understand how each player can affect your overall rank. We should be mindful of effective ownership rather than using it as the sole driver of our decisions.

A sound understanding of effective ownership can help managers spot opportunities and risks for their team. The wisdom of the crowd should be respected. Selling a highly owned player who is performing at the peak of their powers, just for the sake of being different, could end in tears.

The key to success is to wisely select to be a part of the herd and when to back against the house at the right time. Do not succumb to the fear of missing out when it comes to captaincy and become part of the flock if you genuinely feel a player can be opposed. Be more of a sword rather than a shield.

For those that have read, thank you. Keep an eye out for more articles in pre-season as we build towards Gameweek 1. Drop me a follow on Twitter @Hibbo_FPL.


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