FPL Matthew is arguably the best FPL manager in the world with three top 500 finishes and a further six top 10k finishes. Every week Matthew writes his FPL Team Reveal article detailing his team, captain and plans for the coming Gameweek exclusively for Fantasy Football Hub members. Matthew now reviews his 2019/20 season and his lessons learned for future seasons.

 

What an FPL season 2019/20 was! I found it a particularly challenging, and sometimes frustrating, season to be honest, as many 'veterans' seem to have. Of course, it was also a memorable season for the wrong reasons, with the long delay due to the Coronavirus crisis and then a packed schedule with new rules on its return. The good thing about FPL though is that there's always a fresh new season to look forward to and, this time, we don't have long to wait!

Season Review

I ended up with 2,283 points and an overall rank of 71k. This is my worst rank in eleven seasons of FPL, my previous worst being 15k in my first season back in 2009/10! Not a disaster perhaps, and still in the 'top 1%' but certainly a bit disappointing, and I hope to improve next season.

Some interesting facts about my season:

  • My highest position was 43k which I achieved in GW33+ - so I never really threatened the top 10K
  • My best gameweek of the season was GW30+, the first one after the restart, where I scored 120 points
  • I took just one -4 hit all season - I don't tend to take many but was this too conservative even for me?
  • My most-picked captains were Vardy and Salah, who I chose nine times apiece, averaging 14.4 and 12.9 (doubled) points respectively.
  • My most successful captain was De Bruyne, who I captained four times, at an average of 20.5 points (doubled)
  • My captains scored 1-6 points (doubled) i.e. "blanked" on 16 occasions!
  • My vice captains scored 111 more than my captains - so not a great season captaincy-wise
  • My average points per game by position were:
    • Goalkeepers: 3.74 - keeping and playing Pope all season would have got me 4.47 ppg!
    • Defenders: 4.5
    • Midfielders: 5.68
    • Forwards: 4.38
  • The only team I used no players from all season was Newcastle
  • My most successful player (apart from one-offs) was Bruno Fernandes with an average of 8.4 points without captaincy points) followed by Martial on 7.2
  • My "why did I think that was a good idea" players were Haller, Iwobi, Ramsdale and Janmaat!

(Many stats from above sourced from the excellent https://www.anewpla.net/)

So, that was my season. More importantly, what can I learn from this and apply to next and future seasons?

Lessons Learned:

 

Enjoy the Silence

"Words like violence break the silence, come crashing in, into my little world"

Or, rather, "avoid the noise". I have definitely been more active on Twitter this season, largely because of doing these articles and working with the Hub and I suspect it has often clouded my thinking. Its difficult not to get swept up by this weeks "must have" or popular captain, and its not always the right choice.

So What?

I think I need to try and ignore the noise more - ironically I've usually been pretty good at that in the past, but there's something about Twitter! I need to focus on my own team, and my own thoughts and, as much as possible, try not to get swayed by things such as ownership or popularity. Not easy...

 

Take a Chance on Me

"Baby, can't you see? Gotta put me to the test"

This is all about expected goals, and similar stats, and really links to the lesson above in many ways. If a player is getting lots of scoring chances and they're halfway decent, with a reasonable set of fixtures coming up, then the goals should come. The trick is identifying the players who are good enough to take those chances, even if they haven't necessarily been doing so recently and more subtle things like 'do the upcoming opponents suit that player or their team?'. The link to the lesson above is having the trust in your conviction that, yes, they are a good pick and should be getting the goals, when others may be more focused on what has gone before in terms of FPL points, rather than what is to come.

So What?

I need to look more at recent expected goals and related stats in the context of player quality and upcoming fixtures and trust in this more.

 

I Should be so Lucky

"Lucky lucky lucky"

One of the biggest debates around FPL has always been to what extent luck is a factor, as opposed to skill. I have always been on the side of FPL being predominantly about skill with luck forming a relatively small part over the season as a whole. Of course there will be pieces of luck, or bad luck, in individual incidents or individual matches but my belief has always been that over the course of the season, skill will prevail. This seems to be supported by many examples of people who consistently do well at FPL, season after season; surely they can't just be lucky?

Whilst I still remain on this side of the argument, I must admit that this season has opened my eyes to the luck variable in FPL. Perhaps the most stark illustration of this was in Liverpool's Double Gameweek 24. Like many people, I decided to use my Triple Captain Chip that week which seemed the logical thing to do. Liverpool were in great form and had two games where they were still highly motivated to win as part of their title charge. For me, like many, there was a choice between Salah or Mané. Both were in good form, Mané tending to do better in away games with Salah tending to do better at Anfield. In terms of ownership Mané was more highly owned overall. I went for Mané, given that the two games were away from home, although in reality this was a coin-flip.

We all know what happened next. Mané came off injured after half an hour in the first fixture and missed the second one altogether rendering a solitary 1 point. Salah went on to get a goal, assist and maximum bonus points giving him 16 points for the Gameweek. That coin-flip ended up costing me 26 points compared to the other side of the coin and compared to many of the people that I am competing against. In terms of overall rank that equated to around 68,000 places at the time had I captained Salah instead - a huge swing.

Was there any skill involved in this decision, yes, but could the outcome have been foreseen? Certainly not, that was pure bad luck, or good luck depending which side of the equation you were on. This certainly made me think about the impact of luck on FPL, and made me wonder if I had been particularly fortunate overall in previous seasons.

So What?

Unfortunately, there is not too much to be learned from this lesson except not to be so hard on myself when things go badly. There was probably some bad luck involved and conversely to remember to be humble when things go well; the opposite may well be true! Just remember it's a game, and not all down to skill.

 

Money Money Money

"All the things I could do if I had a little money...it's a rich man's world."

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About Matthew Penycae

Matthew Penycae is, arguably, the most consistently good FPL player in the world. In 10 seasons, Matthew has finished top 500 three times, top 10k eight times and never finished lower than 15,535 (in his first season). He’s also a dab hand at Sky having finished 2nd overall in 16/17, his first season, proving his strategies are effective across fantasy formats. 

His full FPL history can be seen below:

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