Recently I wrote an article on the importance of Return on Investment (ROI) for the FPL game.  The conclusion suggested that investing maximum budget at the back was the best approach, as long as you had a high scoring captain (i.e. Salah) to maximise the armband return.

This led to me thinking about the sky game where prices are not grouped and investing just a small amount more gets you Salah (£12.9m) over Jesus (£12.1m). Would analysis on Sky data see the same positional conclusions, leading to a similar invest at the back approach in this game as well? 

Which positions should you spend your Sky fantasy budget on to get the best return on investment?

To start there are a few things that need to be reviewed to answer this fully:

  • How do we predict points returns for 2018/19?
  • Is the £100m budget the best way to review return on investment (ROI)?
  • Are there any differences in ROI across positions?
  • Are there any differences between teams in fantasy ROI returns?
  • Who are the best ROI players in each position?
  • With the need for multiple captains should we pick a captain based on ROI or total predicted points?

Jump straight to the last page if you want the full conclusion.

My main take out is that the pricing in Sky FF is far more realistic than FPL and as such it’s harder to get an advantage using the value game.  That being said value is still incredibly important.  The more you spend the better ROI you get, but that also limits the ROI for your budget players.  Getting the balance between high ceiling captain options and ROI from the rest of the squad is so important….. Basically to get the balance right between value and high impact captain choices the use of transfers is absolutely critical.


How do we predict points returns for Sky Sports Fantasy Football in 2018/19?

I have taken a simple approach to this by looking at the points achieved in the last two seasons by all players in the game this season.  New players to the game are excluded from the data (as its very hard to predict returns with no data).

The prediction equation weights last season’s points more than 2016/17 where a player has returned regularly.  I have manually adjusted certain players scores based on signing half way through a season or due to long injuries to account for the score they would have got at that scoring rate.  I also add a slight increase in points to account for players gaining experience the longer they are in the league.  Finally, there is a manual reduction for those players who are now rotation risks or potentially overachieved.  I do not personally believe Salah can get 350+ points next season with only one year’s data available.

Oh, and I am happy to collaborate to provide a more accurate prediction for each player if someone has a better way of predicting points returns and wants to share.  DM me on twitter @elldubya1 to discuss.

Here are my predicted top players in each position ordered on true points per million:


Is the £100m budget the best way to review return on investment?

To answer this question the Sky FF manager needs to decide if the base cost of each player is £0m or the lowest price of the lowest likely playing player in each position (e.g. £6m for a defender)?    This is subjective but personally I think it is important to remove the default funds for each player to get the True Points Per £m (TPP£m) for each player vs. Points Per £m (PP£m).

When reviewing this way our budget shifts from £100m to £29.8m (by removing the £70.2m base cost for the 11 players)

  • -£6m (x1) for GK
  • -£6m (x3) for DEF
  • -£6.5m (x3) for MFD
  • -£8m (x1) for FWD
  • -£6m (x3) for flexi positions

For the purposes of the analysis, I have used both views to help make my ROI conclusions.


Are there any differences in ROI across positions?

Looking at this by both calculations (PP£m & TPP£m) there are differences between positions.  However, when looking at PP£m it suggests, like in FPL, investing at the back will get you the best ROI.  Looking at TPP£m suggests that investment in GK gives you far more return for your investment the more you spend but across other positions it is slightly weighted towards the more attacking positions.  This is of course based on average returns and across each position certain individuals will score better or worse for ROI e.g. Matt Ryan is predicted to be better value than De Gea it’s just that the latter guarantees you more points at a better value than any other position.

At this point, and bearing in mind the multiple captains required in the Sky game, we need to dig a little deeper into where to invest our funds.



Are there any differences between teams in fantasy ROI returns?

There is a very simple answer to this….. Yes!

Certain teams have been priced higher this season (Burnley) while others have been priced lower (Everton, Southampton).  The result of this is there is likely value in certain players of certain teams if they perform at the same level.   Interestingly both Man City and Liverpool still represent the best value form a team perspective so players from both seem to be a must.


Going a step further and reviewing positions within teams it appears defenders from Liverpool and Arsenal look well priced while strikers from Man City, Spurs, Man Utd and Bournemouth offer excellent value.

Interestingly, there are some clear teams to avoid in certain positions if we want to achieve high ROI, with Palace being a prime example of this (and I have seen a lot of drafts with Palace defenders on twitter – although PVA bucks this trend).   But this is looking at the overall playing squads, not individuals, so more on the players to watch in the next section.


Who are the best value players in each position?

This is where it gets very interesting for the Sky game!  From the graphics below there is a clear difference between ROI when looking at PP£m vs. TPP£m.  The reader needs to make up their own mind as to which to use for the value game.

From a PP£m perspective it looks very much like the people at Sky headquarters have priced very well across all positions.  The conclusion here is that the more you spend in each position the more ROI you get, with defence representing a very slight best place to spend the money.

When looking at a TPP£m perspective it very clearly suggests that one of 4 cheap keepers is the way to go with spend then being very close between the other positions.  Azpi and Robertson in defence, KDB, Eriksen, Silva, Mooy, Richarlison and the Brighton wingers in midfield and Salah and Kane up front.

What’s very intriguing, and quite crucial for picking a team on ROI, is that many of the big-name players in midfield and forward categories can be covered easily by lower priced players who represent better value for money.



This gets more interesting when look at individual players by both ROI views (PP£m vs TPP£m).  The graphics below break down the info by each position for the predicted top 15-25 players in each position.




In summary, it the data suggests that the more you spend on outfield positions the better the ROI will be.  Again, well played Sky Pricing.

Depending on your view of how to measure ROI your top value players are (and yes I know both Burnley keepers are there – the one that plays is the one you want):


The next chart here has the top players for all positions together.  This further highlights just how well priced players have been this year by Sky.  I have added in a reference line on the TPP£m chart for those predicted to get more than 35 TPP£m.  These players are very important for the value game.


The conclusion on where to invest is to pick one of the top TPP£m keepers (there are four of them) and the best players you can afford in the other positions.  With the limited sky budget, players from promoted teams are where the sky player will need to find the budget value options.  Formation is going to be key especially with the 3 flexi positions.  Given the cost differences between defenders and strikers, it’s easier to accommodate more high ROI players at the back than up front.  However, Kane and Salah offer the best ROI for all players other than keepers, so this does not make the Sky managers job easy.


We have to factor in who you will be captaining each match day alongside the ROI debate.


Given the multiple captain requirements should we pick a captain on ROI or total points?

This is far trickier to answer in Sky than in FPL.  My conclusion is total returns is very important for the captain choice but having a captain for each game is equally so!   Every team should aim for 3-4 viable captain options for each game week.  This needs to be done without breaking the bank if you are aiming for the highest overall points.

Thankfully in our friends at sky have made the cost of key captain options good for ROI so the challenge is how many can a manager get into his team without compromising ROI in other positions.

I have created a calculation to review the points per value difference between that individual and the highest predicted scoring player in the game (Salah at 305pts).  This throws up some interesting feedback for captain choices.  The charts below highlight that you should have a captain with very high potential returns regardless of the value, but there are options in all positions.



Knowing that captains will be required 2-4 days each game week we must take the approach of picking players from teams playing on different days.  Without going into details of TV schedules (there are a few good articles on fantasy football hub for that) it’s important to have viable options from the top teams.  Transfers MUST be used to maximise the captain returns over the season, which adds further weight to ensuring the people you don’t transfer are good from a ROI perspective.

Taking this approach, these are the viable options from teams in the premiership last season:



Of course, captain picks should be based on more than value and season returns so my advice is pick a strategy based around the tv schedules but minimising transfers (oh and stick to it). Once the first overhaul has happened, and your ROI team has been established, focus transfers on getting the best available captain you can afford or improving the weakest player in your squad.


Which positions should you spend your Sky Sports Fantasy Football budget on to get the best return on investment?

My conclusions are that to optimise the return on investment (ROI) the fantasy team should include the following:

  • Your actual budget is actually £29.2m not £100m. Spending 25% on Kane or Salah is a very big, but necessary, decision.
  • Pick 3-5 high ceiling players to provide captain options and base them on TV schedules. Keep in mind some of these offer better value than others so aim for those where possible.
  • The top forwards offer the best ROI for outfield players but use significantly more budget than other positions. Focus funds on a maximum of two forwards (who must be very good captain options) and then the next part of your budget on at least three higher returning players who can also be captained.  The rest of the team should be the best low/medium cost players you can get.  The intention after overhaul should be to only use transfers on the non-captain group if they don’t play (injury/suspension/dropped).
  • If captaining your keeper then De Gea/Edison are options. Otherwise go for one of the 4 big value keepers (Ryan, Pope, Dubravka, McCarthy)
  • Focus transfers in the following order where possible:
    1. Don’t waste any transfers. If a player plays and you don’t need to remove them don’t
    2. Have 11 starting players
    3. Optimise captain choices
    4. Improve your weakest area of the playing team
    5. Have fun….
  • Keep faith if your value player is in their teams starting XI. They will come good over the season, that’s the point in the value game.

As a final parting gift here is an example team based on the best value options in each position with good captain choices for the season (assuming promoted teams offer good value).  This would not be a team pre-overhaul and is a quick example of how the value side might look:


Benefits of this team:

  • Predicted score of 2000 points (pre-captain points and with no transfers)
  • Salah, Kane, Silva for 3 very good captain options
  • Best Keeper for predicted ROI
  • 3 strong defenders for ROI
  • 3 strong ROI midfielders
  • Top 2 predicted forwards
  • 2 likely starting players for promoted teams

Biggest Possible downsides:

  • Need to use transfers to get captain coverage
  • No Man Utd coverage
  • No Arsenal coverage
  • No Chelsea coverage


Join in our new forums, jump in our Sky leagues and consider supporting the site and its contributors by becoming a member via this link. You may also want to start planning your ROI team, by using Ian’s spreadsheet below. 

Ian Parrin’s Sky Planning Spreadsheet – Updated for 2018/19