In his first article for the Hub, new contributor @RichP_FPL gives an introduction into the metric he uses to assist with FPL, essentially using FPL Points as a Metric, followed by some player suggestions.
First off: a bit about me. I’ve been playing Fantasy Premier League since it was Budweiser Fantasy Football and have a massive passion for this game that we know and love. I’m no expert by any stretch, but I love data analysis and stats and use them frequently to try and improve how I play the game.
In addition to FPL, I also play NFL Fantasy Football. This is where I noticed a metric called Fantasy Points Against. This tool ranks the teams 1-32 in terms of which team gives up the most points to which position. So, when looking at players to play, one of the considerations is using a player who is playing a team that gives up the most points to players in that position.
I started collating this information for FPL purposes in February 2020, off the back of successfully using it in NFL Fantasy, and wondered what it would look like if I could put each positions data into their own fixture tickers. From there, I started using it to help me identify targets for my squad, with the likes of Pepe’s 17 pointer against Newcastle one of the biggest successes of using it as a metric! Let’s take a look at the tables…
First off, we see the data in total, at each position. This is broken down into the following: FPL Points Against (FPA) & FPL Points For (FPF) like so (All data collated during GW19 and prior to Aston Villa v Newcastle):
In terms of the table on the left – this means how many FPL points this team have conceded at this position. So if they are classed as a team in this table, they are giving up the most points to the opposition at that position.
This is good, and means this team is a good team to target…
If they are a team in this table, this means your player likely won’t get many FPL points against this side. So far in this season for example, Aston Villa and Everton are not giving up many FPL points to opposition goalkeepers.
In terms of the table on the right – this is a bit easier to explain. teams score the most FPL points at this position and teams don’t score a lot. You don’t want to be targeting red teams for your squad as they don’t score a lot of points.
Each position has its own overall FPA fixture ticker as per this picture:
So you can use the individual fixture tickers at each position to plan transfers accordingly. Naturally, no one would suggest using one data source to make decisions, you can use this in addition to all of the usual suspects such as expected goals conceded (xGC) etc, all available on the Hub’s OPTA stats tool.
I go even further with this, by splitting the data into both home and away games, and also on a Points Per Game Basis, as per the pictures below:
This can highlight certain things on its own. Liverpool for example, hardly give up any FPL points to opposition at any position when they play at home (apart from v Burnley…) but are much easier to score FPL points against when they play away.
There are caveats to using this as a metric, much like there are for using any stats to aid your decision making. Last year’s top scoring defenders were Sheffield United. However, not only did they play five FPL defenders each game, they also used a sixth frequently by the name of John Lundstram. He scored five goals and was on the field for ten clean sheets! So naturally, Sheffield United scored highly on this metric. If you break it down even further with a PPG per player metric, they still score well, but then they fall a bit closer to Liverpool (the highest scoring defenders using a four man defence). On an average (assuming Sheffield United played five defenders each game, they averaged 4.3 points per game, per player. Compare that with the four man defence of Liverpool, they averaged 4.8 points per game, per player.
This year, Crystal Palace are scoring highly in midfield (ranked in the top five for most FPL Points scored by midfielders). This can be partly attributed to the fact they have been playing six players that are classified as midfielders for most of the season, as Cheickou Kouyate (£5.0m) has been deputising in defence. In addition to this, Wilfried Zaha (£7.3m) has been playing upfront and his having a good season.
Now that we’ve familiarised ourselves with this as a tool, let’s try and identify some players to target (article compiled during double Gameweek 19):
The likes of Ederson (£6m), Hugo Lloris (£5.6m) and David de Gea (£5.3m) all have a decent run of fixtures over the next few games, but not everyone wants to spend upwards of £5.0m on a goalkeeper. So, I think Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) might be a decent option. In his next 5 games, he comes up against two of the five teams giving up the most FPL Points to opposition goalkeepers. 18 shots saved from 30 on target, and a league leading 74 saves so far, he faces a mixture of opponents that will offer both clean sheet potential or save point and bonus point potential.
Manchester City’s next three fixtures should give them a very good chance of a clean sheet, as they are playing three of the five teams giving up the most FPL Points to opposition defenders. City as a defensive unit themselves are one of the five teams scoring the most FPL Points at their position. At the time of writing, Joao Cancelo (£5.8m) is the highest owned of them at 12.7% ownership, so now could be a great time for a lowly owned double up. However, it’s worth noting that in Pep Guardiola’s press conference, Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) is very close to a return, which could potentially see less game time for either John Stones (£5.1m) or Ruben Dias (£5.8m).
Both Chelsea and Manchester United also have reasonable runs coming up. Depending on your risk appetite, Antonio Rudiger (£4.5m) may be worth a punt as a cheap defender that has potentially usurped Kurt Zouma (£5.8m) from the starting line-up. Frank Lampard’s comments post Fulham indicated that Zouma may have to improve his leadership at the back, which could mean Rudiger starts in some of the next few games. Both Reece James (£5.1m) and Ben Chilwell (£6.1m) have impressed when they’ve played, but with James a rotation risk, Chilwell appears to be the safer play.
The United defender I’d be tempted by is Luke Shaw (£4.8m). He seems to have made that spot in the side his own now and he’s less than 2% owned. He could be a cracking differential. It is worth noting that both him and Harry Maguire (£5.4m) are on 4 yellow cards, so a suspension could crop up at any moment.
If you are feeling really adventurous, you could look at West Brom’s Semi Ajayi (£4.8m). Two goals in his last four matches and in Fulham and Sheffield United, he’s coming up against two of the five teams giving up the most FPL Points to defenders. With Sam Allardyce in charge now and him being known for trying to keep his teams defensively solid, Ajayi might find himself on the end of returns at both ends of the pitch.
A few different teams standout here, but I’m going to look at Leicester and Everton (or James Rodriguez (£7.7m) specifically). In Leicester’s next five games they face Leeds and Fulham, both in the top five for most FPL Points conceded to opposition midfield units. Two players that spring to mind here are Harvey Barnes (£6.8m) and James Maddison (£7.1m). Comparing them using the Hub’s Comparison Tool, over the season it looks like Barnes is your man if you want more chances on goal, and Maddison if you want more assists. For the £0.3m saving, my choice would be Barnes as it stands.
Seeing Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) back in training and assuming he will be fit soon, James Rodriguez could be a decent punt at less than 9% ownership. They play Newcastle, Leeds and Fulham over the course of their next five games, and all of these teams are in the top five teams giving up the most FPL Points to midfielders. With Lucas Digne (£6.0m) also back now, Everton should be back to full strength sooner rather than later and this could mean a mini resurgence from James.
A lot of the forwards that are nailed have a mixed bag of fixtures here. This is in part because there are so many teams giving up 99 points or less to opposition forwards (as per the above table). I’d love to go for Timo Werner (£9.2m) based on a run that includes Burnley, Sheffield United and Newcastle in the next five games. These are three of the six teams giving up the most FPL Points to opposition forwards. We just don’t know if he plays and even if he does, if he plays centrally. If him playing centrally becomes common and he starts producing, he could be a great option. Aside from that, forwards are tricky right now. Everton’s fixtures aren’t too shabby, as mentioned above, so Calvert-Lewin could also surprise a few sellers. Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) gets plenty of volume in respect to shots, so you can never rule him out, especially with Newcastle and Crystal Palace (5th & 2nd most FPL Points conceded to opposition forwards so far) coming up.
Well there we have it. I hope you’ve found this interesting and would love to hear your thoughts on it! Drop me a follow @RichP_FPL.