Matthew Penycae is arguably the best FPL manager in the world with three top 500 finishes, a further six top 10k finishes and he has never finished outside the top 20k in ten seasons. 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 and now updates us with some his lessons learned from the season so far.


What an FPL season this has been! I have found it a particularly challenging season to be honest, for various reasons. And then, of course, the season was suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis. Before the season restarts - the calm before the storm - I thought that I'd take the opportunity to reflect on the season so far and see if there are any lessons to be learned from it.

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 equates to around 68,000 places from my current 131k to 63k had I captained Salah!

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'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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