In this game theory article @Hibbo_FPL explains the basics of FPL price changes, discusses transfer strategy, and how to spot value. He aims to provide a fundamental understanding that savvy novice managers can use to gain a team value advantage over their Fantasy Premier League rivals.
Player prices change due to FPL transfer market activity which is influenced by form, fixtures, injuries, and suspensions. Player prices may change by £0.1m a day and can rise or fall by a maximum of £0.3m per Gameweek. For each price rise over the original purchase price FPL managers receive 50 percent profit rounded down to the nearest £0.1m.
In the table below you can see that a price rise for Salah of £0.1m from a purchase price of £12.0m does not impact his selling price. However, if Salah rises to £12.2m his selling price increases by £0.1m. Please note that profit in a player is notional and is only banked when they are sold. Furthermore, any player price drop of £0.1m below the original purchase price is felt in full.
|Player||Current Price||Selling Price||Purchase Price||Profit|
When value is accrued in a player there is an element of slack and not all price drops impact selling price. Players that have an even numbered amount of gross profit (current price – purchase price) will see their selling price and profit drop by £0.1m if they drop in price. Players that have an odd numbered amount of gross profit can drop in price without impact.
|Player||Current Price||Selling Price||Purchase Price||Profit||Comment|
|Salah||12.6||12.3||12.0||0.3||PRICE DROP IMPACTS SP|
|Salah||12.5||12.2||12.0||0.2||PRICE DROP DOES NOT IMPACT SP|
|Salah||12.4||12.2||12.0||0.2||PRICE DROP IMPACTS SP|
|Salah||12.3||12.1||12.0||0.1||PRICE DROP DOES NOT IMPACT SP|
|Salah||12.2||12.1||12.0||0.1||PRICE DROP IMPACTS SP|
|Salah||12.1||12.0||12.0||0.0||PRICE DROP DOES NOT IMPACT SP|
On the transfers page on the FPL website there is an option to change the view from pitch mode to list view. This will reveal a breakdown of your squad’s relevant prices (i.e. current price, selling price, and purchase price). This information is crucial in determining when a price change will impact one of your players.
Price Change Predictions:
The number of transfers needed to make a player rise or fall in price is set by FPL game administrators and as per game rules “won’t be revealed to any game players”. However, since the game began FISO community enthusiasts have manually monitored net transfers and established correlation to price changes. This research led to the creation of mathematical formula and third party utilities which closely replicate the FPL price change algorithm. The industry standard at present is fplstatistics.com which does the heavy lifting by identifying players that are due a price rise or drop.
Amendments to the secret algorithm by FPL can lead to inaccurate predictions in early weeks until price prediction sites adjust their formulae. Therefore, price prediction sites cannot be taken as gospel and early season it is wise to be decisive in case a surprise price change catches you out. Furthermore, there are anomalies when a player’s price is locked and transfers do not contribute to rises or falls (i.e. new players to the league are locked for approximately eight days). When a player red flagged through injury, suspension or loan has their flag removed they will be price locked until the date on fplstatistics.com passes.
Value Based Transfer Strategy:
Leaving transfers until the deadline will undoubtedly lead to an information advantage from training pictures, press conferences, and team leaks. Cautious FPL managers will gain information but forgo price changes which could leave them unable to make their originally intended moves. Conversely, price aggressive FPL managers could make early transfers and buy players for a cheaper price but risk incurring injuries.
The famous quote “everything in moderation including moderation” echoes my thoughts on a price based transfer strategy. Combining a sound knowledge of the price mechanism with information provided by prediction sites can help you to time transfers perfectly. For example a price drop for a player in your squad might make no difference to their selling price. Furthermore, an extra day could be the difference in a prospective replacement being injured in a midweek Champions League match or coming through unscathed. Furthermore, this season environmental factors such as Covid-19 have added an extra element of risk.
Early moves for highly desired players can be risked to avoid being priced out if there are no midweek games. Furthermore, shifting a player due to drop and buying a desired player due to rise can be lead to upswings in team value. Recently FPL managers have grown frustrated at the amount of points on their bench due to the number of value picks in the game and overall squad depth. However, a high performing squad of 15 players will accrue value better than a team operating with one or two bench fodder subs.
Wildcard and Free Hit:
The wildcard can be powerful in generating additional funds. Bandwagon players from the previous week can potentially double rise and be sold for a profit. Furthermore, underperforming players can be sold before they drop below purchase price. When on a wildcard it is important to know how close to a rise or drop every player in your team is.
Care should be taken with players that you have accrued value in as removing them from your team and confirming transfer will involve rebuying at the higher purchase price. Furthermore, when the free hit chip is played if you remove a player with accrued value and confirm the transfer you will pay current price if you rebuy them that week.
Spotting Value Opportunities:
FPL managers should look for clues that players may represent good or bad value. Injuries could represent an opportunity for starts, a player could be deployed out of position, or perhaps a penalty missed could see spot kicks passed on. Below I have a couple of examples from this season.
James Justin (£5.0m) started at full-back in place of the injured Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m) offering a cheap route into the tight Leicester City defence. The Englishman was priced some £1.0m cheaper than Leicester’s other defensive options and buyers were rewarded with 101pts before his season was ended through injury.
George Baldock (£4.9m) offered returns at both ends of the field last season for Sheffield United. A starting price hike to £5.5m this term dented his appeal as did the loss of keys members of the Blades rear-guard. These issues coupled with second season syndrome has seen their defensive performance tank and their players represent bad value.
In conclusion, understanding the FPL price change system is fundamental in building team value. Team value built early in the season can provide competitive advantage over rivals as the season reaches crunch time. Your transfer strategy should be calm and calculated with risks considered rather than aggressive and gung-ho. Furthermore, value accrued in a player should not be a burden that prevents us from selling. While undoubtedly an increased budget can help to assemble a powerhouse team FPL managers should not chase value at the expense of points.
For those that have read, thank you. Keep an eye for more articles in the near future and good luck for the coming Gameweeks. Drop me a follow on Twitter @Hibbo_FPL.