fantasy premier league goalkeepers – cheap rotation or just one GK?

Here’s our fantasy premier league goalkeepers article where we look at whether you would have been better off with 2 cheap rotating goalkeepers or a single cheap goalkeeper last season.

fantasy premier league goalkeepers – cheap rotation or just one GK?


So here we will compare the points gained from a home and away rotation of 2 £4.5m goalkeepers versus whether you owned just the 1 cheap £4.5m goalkeeper and a reserve non playing £4.0m.

There are some limitations to the analysis.

Firstly I’m not trying to take into account how the additional £0.5m could be spent.

The rotation is strictly home and away.  There is no attempt to avoid top 6 teams for example or try and guess which would have been the easier fixture.  This was just for expediency.

A few times the number 1 GK for the team changed.  I didn’t factor this in and just assumed you used your crystal ball and guessed it was going to happen.  Obviously this isn’t realistic but again it was for expediency.

I used 3 sets of £4.5m GK pairs that rotated perfectly through out the whole season although a DGW did cause a couple of assumptions to be made.

The pairs vs single GKs

Here were the 3 £4.5m pairs that had perfect rotation throughout the whole season vs if you used the single GK theory.

Bournemouth and Crystal Palace

These 2 teams rotated home and away perfectly.  I have added the GK points up from the teams home fixtures irrespective of whether that was in theory the easiest fixture.

At the start of the season £4.5m Begovic and £4.5m Hennessey were the number 1 GKs respectively.  However in each case 3 GKs were used for each team during the season.  For simplicity, I have just assumed that you were miraculously able to anticipate this and make transfers accordingly.  Otherwise I would be doing this for days.

Bournemouth GK home points:  74

Palace GK home points:  75

Total 149 points

Points if you just used Bournemouth GKs Begovic, Boruc and Travers  = 118

Points if you just used Palace GKs Hennessey, Guatia and Speroni = 149

Note:  Boruc was £4.0m so could have covered seamlessly when Begovic was dropped.  Not the case for Guaita who was also £4.5m

So unless you were stupid enough to go solo with one of the worst defences in the league and one of the worst shot stoppers in Bournemouth and Begovic respectively going with Palace alone would have seen you with roughly the same points

Watford and Cardiff 

Again the 2 teams rotated perfectly although DGW32 confused matters somewhat.  I have added the GK points up from the teams home fixtures irrespective of whether that was in theory the easiest fixture.

Watford GK home points:  55

Cardiff GK home points:  71

Total 126 points.

Both Foster and Etheridge played every game and didn’t have a £4.0m back up.

Points if you just had Foster and a non playing reserve:  129

Points if you just had Etheridge and a non playing reserve:  154

So here you were better off going with just a single GK.

Southampton and West Ham

The 2 teams rotated perfectly.  Neither had £4.0m backups. I have added the GK points up from the teams home fixtures irrespective of whether that was in theory the easiest fixture.

Southampton used 3 GKs during the season.  West Ham only used Fabianski.  Team had £4.0m back ups.

Southampton GK home points:  54

West Ham GK home points:  69

Total 123 points

If you just used the 3 Southampton GKs and a non playing £4.0m GK your total score would have been 122.

If you just used Fabianski and a non playing £4.0m reserve you would have got 143 points.

So again you were better off going with just Fabianski.  The Southampton case was closer.

Other total points of £4.5m GK’s

Wolves Patricio plus Ruddy and Norris :  126 points

Brightons Ryan plus Button:  119 points

Huddersfields Lossl and Hamer: 108 points

What about premium GKs

Premium GKs get you more points but unless you’re prepared on doubling up on defence (something that would prevent you doubling up in attack)  they can come at the sacrifice of an attacking defender.  It’s that decision you need to make as well as comparing an alternative price.

Ederson started the season at £5.5m and totalled 169 points.  Having him would have meant no Mendy who was an attacking force at the start of the season.  While you could have doubled up on defence it’s worth noting that double Man City attack was also fairly popular choice which would have been impossible with double defence.  So in essence £1m extra to buy 26 points in addition to Fabianski at £4.5m.  It’s worth noting that Laporte at the start of the season was £5.5m and scored 177 points.

Alisson started at £5.5m and scored 176 points.  However attacking options in Robertson (213 points), Van Dijk (208 points) and Alexander Arnold (185 points) were attractive alternatives as was a Liverpool midfield double up.

Similar issues are also apparent with Chelsea although less so with Spurs although neither Kepa and Lloris played every game.

So what does this tell us?

Even with the limitations in the analysis (and it is a bit of a quick and dirty look at it) there’s nothing here that tells me that 2 cheap rotating £4.5m GKs is worth the extra cost over and above a single £4.5m GK.  That surprised me as I thought it would be more a case of is the rotation’s extra points worth the extra £0.5m.

The 2 rotating £4.5m GKs do give insurance for when the other GK is injured or loses his place.  So if you go with a single goalkeeper it’s important that you either go for someone you feel is significantly superior to the back up or the back up is £4.0m.  Otherwise you need to hope that there is a £4.0m playing GK in another team.  Otherwise you will have a week without a GK if he is dropped or injured and will then need to use a precious transfer to sort the situation out.

The one thing that does strike me is if you’re going for a single £4.5m GK then a GK with a decent save percentage is a help.  You can see that the 3 GKs with low save percentages in McCarthy, Lossl and Ryan were involved with the clubs with the lowest GK points.  Begovic isn’t in this table for some reason but I know only Lossl had a worse save %.

For me the premium GK is a balance between price differential with your defensive options, the attacking alternative defensive player you miss out on.  If you think the defence warrants a double up then the prevention that has of an attacking double up.

The save % table from STATS/NBC sports

fantasy premier league goalkeepers

Hope you found it interesting

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4 thoughts on “fantasy premier league goalkeepers – cheap rotation or just one GK?”

  1. Really interesting analysis. Like you, I’m a little surprised, but could be useful info for next season.

  2. That’s interesting. I have also been doing a lot of research on the top performing FPL teams at four different season checkpoints, driven by my Achilles heel of only 8 keeper cleansheets from 38 games

    15% of the very best teams used a premium set and forget keeper with a non playing 2nd cheapie. 43% rotated two 4.5 keepers, 42% played just one with a non player. So they are split on the use of one or two 4.5 keepers – with the same results – which ties in with your conclusion that rotating two is a lot of hassle for no significant gain

    Having studied the rotating teams, I haven’t seen one that convinced me. Many times, the keeper left on the bench had the higher score, probably more save points from tougher games. The dilemma of which one and getting it wrong is removed by one 4.5 keeper if the results are similar.

    However, the likes of Fabianski, Foster, Guaita etc only had 7 sheets. I switched around and had 3/15 from Fabianski, 0/4 from Patricio, 0/3 from Ryan. I had more success on set and forget spells with Lloris and Ederson. Allison has 21 sheets and Ederson 20 and the best 4.5 keeper had 7 !!

    I am likely to find the extra 0.5M for a 5.5 / 4.0 over a 4.5 / 4.5 if it means a set and forget 20 sheets. Yes save points are less but overall it’s a gain. Most 4.5m options fell 30-40 points short of Ederson.

    I don’t feel that will damage my Attacking returns. Allison is a no go when there is already the dilemma of Trent, Robbo, Salah Mane of whom you need three. But Ederson can easily sort the one Man City defensive slot to leave Sterling and Aguero.. the 0.5M extra keeper cost can be saved on Laporte to Digne.. the Ederson / Digne combination outscored 4.5M keeper / Laporte..

    There are lots of things to stress over in FPL. A set and forget 20 clean sheet keeper removes the rotating dilemmas, without limiting the attacking potential of Man City and still leaves me 3 City and 3 Liverpool and covers an essential clean sheet coverage for both..

  3. Good article, I wondered about the comparison. I used two 4.5 keepers. However, I found it wasn’t just a case of altering the home and away every week: ie, Watford at home to City, Wolves away to Newcastle, you’d go with Wolves. I think it does improve your options over the season.

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