Here’s my fantasy premier league end of season review article for 2016-17. It’s been another fascinating fantasy premier league year and in this article I’m going to briefly review some of things that I feel were important to this season’s game. Ill also make some player awards and then finally analyse my own team and strategy looking at where things went well and where I can improve for next season. Just for reference, my final score was 2267 (the same as the FFG!) and my overall rank was 22k.
fantasy premier league – Rob Reid’s (the FPL vet) end of season review
A few congratulations
Before I start with any analysis, I’d just like to say congratulations to a few people. First of all to overall winner Ben Crabtree. The overall league went right down to the wire and was ultimately won by a Junior Stanislas autosub. This gave Ben a 5 point victory over Uwais Ahmed who had led the league for much of the last 10 weeks. Well done Ben. Secondly, congratulations to Ben Pearson who held off Jatin Arutla to win the Fantasy Football Geek League and also finish with a fantastic overall rank of 6th. Great work Ben.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate Amy Reid – the winner of my main mini-league. This is her 4th title in the 7 seasons we’ve run it and she finished with a fantastic overall rank of 5327, a best ever for her. A brilliant performance Amy and before you guys ask, yes she’s my wife and no I don’t run her team! Bragging rights to Mrs R this season, maybe I’ll get her to do these articles next year…
Season Review – a few thoughts
This was definitely more difficult to manage this year. The FPL algorithm for player price change seemed more volatile and inconsistent, especially with a view to rapid rises and falls. Managers that gambled on early gameweek transfers profited as usual but I reckon more so than in previous seasons – especially when it came to selling players who were falling. Injury status was sometimes slow to change as well (despite clear evidence players were going to miss a game) – this meant there was less price protection from red flags.
The Triple Captain and Bench Boost chips were again potentially profitable this year. With planning, the Bench Boost chip provided another excellent return in the biggest Double Gameweek, GW37. The main captain picks for GW37 were also profitable for those using the Triple Captain chip – Kane and Sanchez producing the 2 biggest returns of the season that week.
Earlier BB and TC chips were not as profitable, many of us for example gambled on Sergio Aguero’s slightly spontaneous Double Gamweek in GW27 to little gain. I’ve not changed my opinion on the All Out Attack chip – it’s pretty useless unless your defence is ravaged with injuries. As for the Wildcard chips, the second Wildcard was certainly profitable if used as an enabler for GW37.
One standout for me this season was the lack of attack-minded bargain buys, especially in the first half of the season. There were no Harry Kane, Aaron Ramsey or Michu type players like there have been in previous years – players with a low start value who would quickly become an ever present in your team, allowing key funds to be freed for other areas. Josh King was probably the closest to this in the second half of the season, but most notably there was no reliable cheap striker option.
This meant that at least 2 of your 3 strikers had to be premium players. This was also a tough call with 5 premium strikers who carried form on and off throughout the season (Kane, Lukaku, Costa, Aguero and Ibrahimovic.) Add to this that there were several premium midfielders producing regular large hauls and it made selection in the premium category always compromised in some form. As such 50/50 calls were even more key and potentially damaging if you got them wrong.
which leads me on nicely to formation. The lack of a quality budget striker meant that 3-5-2 was a viable option this year, using a very cheap 3rd striker as a filler. Did this work? I think in some weeks it did, especially once Josh King had emerged as a viable cheaper midfielder. On the whole though looking at more seasoned managers in the 10 top managers article, 3-4-3 was still the preferred formation and if you had the funds to go with 3 premium strikers you did reduce the risk of 50/50 calls going against you.
Did this bear fruit? Some stats analysis does raise a strong case for 3-5-2 (and even others) being a higher scoring option…I’ll touch on this later when I look at my own team.
As part of the season review, I’ve decided to make some player awards in each category. Ive left the fun awards to other people this year and focused on positions. There’s an award for the best and most disappointing player in each category and I’ve given some reasons for my calls.
Player of the season – Tom Heaton (Burnley)
It seems odd that a keeper with only 10 Clean Sheets should lead the scoring in his player category, but Tom Heaton has been FPL gold this season. Well priced at £4.5m in GW1 and with home form and save points in abundance, he proved a fine differential all season long. Honourable mention to Jakupovic who proved a handy cheap 2nd keeper post-Christmas.
Flop of the season – Claudio Bravo (Man City)
A disastrous season for the Chilean which I expect will see his EPL days numbered. In FPL terms he was a car crash – to get save points you actually need to be able to make a save!
Player of the season – Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
2nd top scoring defender, 1 point behind team mate Gary Cahill but only joined the game in earnest from GW6. 6 goals and 5 assists is a great return for a defender, not to mention the plethora of mid-season clean sheets. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is reclassified as a midfielder next season. Honourable mention to goal-machine budget buy Gareth McAuley as well.
Flop of the season – John Stones (Man City)
Big money summer signing that offered a £5m route into a City defence with great early fixtures. Sadly, this was too good to be true as the City defence was like a sieve early on and he was then in and out the team or injured. Must do better next year…
Player of the season – Josh King (Bournemouth)
It may seem odd that in a category where Sanchez, Eriksen, Alli, Hazard and co. all scored highly that I’ve gone for the 8th highest scoring midfielder but hear me out. 16 goals and 3 assists, played pretty much as a striker and a start price of £5.5m. Great value for money, an FPL gem. Big honourable mentions to Sanchez, Eriksen and Alli though.
Flop of the season – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man Utd)
Looked a good option pre-season with ridiculous attacking stats in the Bundesliga to go on. Sadly his hefty £9.5m price tag combined with Mourinho leaving him out for most of the 1st half of the season then only playing him sporadically after that made him a bad option. It was a paltry 4 goals and 1 assist in the end, though I’d keep an eye on him next year if he’s priced a bit lower as I still believe the potential is there.
Player of the season – Harry Kane (Spurs)
So many choices here but I’ve gone for the Golden Boot winner for his crazy returns at the business end of the FPL season delighting all of us who placed our faith in him. Expect a large price tag next season. Honourable mentions to Lukaku (did I really just say that?) and Costa.
Flop of the season – Alvaro Negredo (Boro)
It all promised so much. A goal and 2 assists in the first 2 weeks led to a hefty bandwagon. But then it was 1 assist only in the next 10 games, coinciding with Boro struggling to find the net full stop. Then there was his DGW34 debacle – a goal the week before gave us hope for Boro’s 2 nice fixtures, but alas it was 2 pointers all round. The salt was then firmly rubbed in in GW35, with a double figure return against Man City, trolling us when we’d all sold or benched him of course!
My team – Chaos Theory Review
On to my team then. So you may remember that at the start of the season I set myself 5 targets. They were:
1. Win my main mini-league
2. Top 10k finish
3. Top 250 finish in FFG league
4. Top 50k finish
5. Survive 4 rounds in the cup
How did I do?
1. Came 2nd (as mentioned above)
2. Missed out – finished 22k
3. Missed out – came 448th
5. Didn’t even qualify- resounding failure
So only 1/5, pretty disappointing. So on reflection were my targets unreasonable or did my team underperform? Probably a combination of the 2. Let’s look at where things went well and where I messed up this season.
What went well
First of all my second Wildcard and Bench Boost were a resounding success. 189 points (net 181) was my best ever return in a week, eclipsing the 162 I scored in GW34 using Bench Boost in 15-16. The big players fired spectacularly with Sanchez and Kane contributing a huge number of those 189. It was ultimately a well executed plan.
Next up the big blank GW28 also went very well as did the mini double GW27. Another ton in GW27 was aided by a slightly disappointing 27pts from Triple Captain Aguero. GW28 yielded 47 from just 4 fixtures, mainly from King and Lukaku and despite getting my captain choice wrong.
Finally I had a strong run from GW18 to GW29 with 9 green arrows and only 3 red in this period. My rank moved from 407k to 26k in this period, I think due to a combination of good planning and shrewd transfers.
What went wrong
So I got myself in a good position going into GW30. Sadly I then racked up 4 red arrows leaving me at 71k going into GW34. I stupidly benched Josh King in GW31 then even more stupidly sold him in GW32 on the basis of bad fixtures and to enable me to buy Aguero. A bad call and a mistake to pick fixtures over form.
Secondly, my first Wildcard was played too early. I opted for GW4 and it got me in a great position initially as I hit 12k in GW6. The next 2 weeks were a disaster however with totals of 23 and 27, 2 of my worst ever. I had planned pre-season to wait till GW7 but went early as there were some big names I felt the core of my team was missing. I should have been more patient.
Team value was a huge problem for me this year as I struggled to get this above £103.5m. I’m used to hitting £106m by Xmas and I think this did affect me from GW30 onwards. I struggled with the new algorithm and also missed some key early season bandwagon, while also losing value early on injured players.
Finally, I was reckless and reactive on a few transfers. I’ve already touched on King but another example was the crazy transfer in GW13 selling Aguero, after another poor overall score in GW12. I was trying to be too clever here and I missed out on 2 goals and 3bp. Luckily it didn’t hurt too much as he got sent off the next week.
Lessons for next season
What will I do differently next season? Definitely try and be more patient with Wildcard 1. I do like an early WC but planning for 6 weeks with my starter line-up before considering my options will serve me better.
Secondly pay more attention to form over fixtures. This should help with team value as well. I think form is key for captain and core players. Fixtures can work well for your differential picks, especially in defence.
Like FFG, I’m a big fan of stats analysis tools. I particularly like the FPL Statistico tool on anewpla.net . I’ve looked especially at captains and formations on this for my team. The captain analysis is really interesting- basically big hitters worked and differentials didn’t. Definitely a lesson there that Shield captains tend to bear fruit.
Second, you can see how my defence was very successful
Thirdly, looking at formations, 3-5-2 produced a better average than 3-4-3. The other formations also produced better averages but they were used so infrequently that more data would be needed to confirm the relevance of this. I’d be interested to see a wider pool of data from different teams on this but could 3-5-2 with a benched cheap striker be the way forward?
So that’s it from me for my season review I hoped you’ve enjoyed it and found it beneficial.
On one final sad note, I’d like to pay a small tribute to one of the dogs in the cover photo for my articles. As regular readers know, my dog walking time is where I do a lot of my FPL thinking and my 4-legged friends are amazing companions for this. I’m sorry to report that we had to make a sad decision regarding Billie (the black labrador in the picture) last week and put her to sleep at the grand age of 14. She was a super family dog and we’ll miss her greatly and I’ll miss her during my walking and thinking time. So I dedicate this season’s work to her, RIP Billie.
Thanks once more for reading folks – I plan on being back again next season with some more content provided you guys are all still interested! Enjoy the off-season!
Rob 🙂 @