Here’s the second of the FFGeek Contributors with their fantasy premier league season review for the 2021 season. Rob reviews what went right and what went wrong and learnings for next season
Fantasy Premier League Season Review – FFGeek Contributor Rob Reid
Follow Rob on twitter here
Rob finished this season with an overall rank of 12,780. Rob’s 6 season’s overall ranks before that were 80k, 148k, 94k, 22k, 4k & 7k
You can see all the FFGeek Contributors final standings in this article linked here.
Here’s Rob’s 20/21 gameweek history:
It’s all over for another season then and now that the dust has settled a bit I’ve decided to reflect upon my FPL campaign. I try to do this every season as for me FPL, is an ongoing journey and learning experience. I’ve learnt many things from my 9 seasons seriously playing FPL and many more seasons playing other games previous to this and I always strive to try and improve my game and learn from my mistakes. I’ll talk about this more in my personal season review a bit later, but for now I’ll start with a more general review of the season just gone.
This was in my opinion the oddest FPL season yet for a number of reasons. First of all, it was incredibly high-scoring. My final score of 2483 would have in previous seasons been pushing into the top 100 and much of this was down to a far more even spread of scoring across the price brackets. Who would have thought that Emi Martinez would rack up 186 points for example, or that £5.5m priced Patrick Bamford would be the 5th highest points scorer. Yep, this was the season of the budget asset and as such budget and overall team value became somewhat of an irrelevance.
This was also a season where it was more difficult to consistently raid a club for FPL assets. I think of previous seasons where I’ve had triple Liverpool, City, Arsenal or United for long parts of the season. You could do it for shorter streaks this season, but eventually you would have to shuffle the pack due to the intensity of the fixture schedule. Think about it – how many of us went into the last gameweek of the season without a single CIty asset for example? On paper, this looks like absolute madness when you consider how comfortably they won the league.
Finally, this was definitely a season where organisation and planning was key. But what also went hand-in-hand with this was an ability to quickly adapt your plan to the fluidity of the fixture schedule, both in terms of managing injuries and Covid absences and also in terms of managing blank and double gameweeks. A big part of this was also making sure you had a deep bench – it wasn’t too much of an irregularity for your 3rd bench player to be needed this season. Will next season present a similar problem? Who knows!
My season – Final Overall Rank 12k
For the first time since 2016-17 I can honestly say that I’m delighted with my Overall Rank and I’m really proud of the way this season has gone. It’s fair to say that my last 3 seasons have been pretty underwhelming. In 17-18, I chased a mini-league rainbow in the last few weeks of the season and stuttered to 90k Overall Rank. In 18-19, I had a disastrous first Wildcard that ruined the first half of the campaign and only a complete change in strategy with an early 2nd Wildcard salvaged an Overall Rank of 150k. Then last season, I blew a great position at Project Restart dropping from 27k to 92k by GW36 before clawing back to 80k by the end of GW38. It’s fair to say I went into this season with a point to prove!
During the Covid shutdown last year, Geek asked some of the Contributor Team to write a short piece for a mini e-book, giving some feedback on how we play the game and our playing style. In this, I described my own playing style as flexible. However, when I reflected on my 2019-20 season what I came to realise is that I didn’t actually have a playing style any more. I had become a bit lost over the previous 3 seasons and got myself bogged down in trying to over-analyse decisions and it meant that I was making poor choices on how I played the game.
So for this season, I decided I would go back to what had previously served me best. I looked at the playing style that had landed me a top 10k and a top 5k finish and decided that I had to revert back to that. This was to play aggressively in the first 10 weeks, not being afraid to take hits and jump on bandwagons to build some team value before locking my game down once a template was established and playing more conservatively. What I also did was go back to basics on how I analysed players. Covid helped me here. With the UK lockdown, hobbies and social commitments were shelved but what stayed constant was football. Indeed, it was even more of a constant as gameweeks were spread out so you could in theory watch every game.
This certainly helped my gamestyle as I like the eye test. I was able to watch more games and scout more players. I then coupled this was a more refined way of looking at stats. I tended to stick to a couple of trusted sources (like Geek’s player ratings and Bookies Odds) and I supplemented this with a couple of Podcasts a week, usually listened to while I was walking the dogs. It’s fair to say that I’ve probably talked more to Finlay and Ivy this season about FPL than anyone.
And you know what? This season it worked! I felt my decision-making and planning was better than in previous campaigns and as a result, I hit my pre-season goals which were: to win my main friends and family mini-league, finish in the top 0.5% overall and to finish in the top half of the Contributors League.
There’s always room for improvement though and one frustration I guess for me was not managing to crack the Top 10k when I was so close. I hovered between 11k and 16k for a few weeks at the end of the season, but just wasn’t able to kick on that last step. It’s fair to say that cracking the Top 10k is a huge achievement now and there’s certainly a school of thought that because of the size of the game and the sheer wealth of information available now for managers, that 40k or 50k is the new 10k. That being said, I needed to be just a little braver with my calls in the last few weeks. I was inclined to try and hold rank and my GW38 decision to cover Dallas in defence rather than go for bust and bring in a big hitter for Bruno probably reflects this. Perhaps next season I’ll be a bit bolder with my difference makers!
I’ve used the fantastic FPL Statistico resource again this season to do a deep dive into the stats behind my campaign and as usual it makes for fun analysis. The first part of this that stands out to me is how successful my Captain picks were this year – 600 points worth, making up over 24% of my total score. 26/38 Captain Picks got a return and although Salah and Kane made up half of my picks for the season, I also had great success with the likes of Fernandes, Son and Gundogan too.
What was also a big improvement this year was the number of goals my team scored – 117. The last 3 seasons, I’ve been below 100 for this and it makes all the difference. I’m kind of on par with previous campaigns on the assist front at 89 and I was actually slightly down on previous seasons with a clean sheet count of 66, probably down to the fact that I inexplicably benched 17 clean sheets this season. 17! That’s nearly one every other week, but I guess this is the trade-off of having such a deep bench.
Another great tool this season has been LiveFPL – a big thanks to Ragabolly for creating such an incredible resource. Part of this has been an end of season data sheet with a section on which players helped and hindered your overall ranking the most and it makes really interesting reading. In the ‘who hurt me’ list, I was not surprised to see Son at the top – he was my nemesis this campaign (my low point was definitely selling him in GW2 where he then went on and bagged a massive haul!) Surprisingly, the player who helped my rank the most was none other than Emi Martinez. It just goes to show that sometimes, it not the flashy premiums who are pushing you up the rankings!
Some Parting Comments for 2020-21
I’ll finish up by speaking fairly philosophically about this season, in that FPL of no doubt has been a most welcome distraction. Let’s not beat around the bush, 2020 and the start of 2021 has been diabolical. My thoughts go out to anyone out there who has lost a loved one as a result of this pandemic and I don’t think humanity really knows the true extent yet as to the long-term effects that Covid-19 will have on our society, both directly and indirectly.
What I do know though, is that this season FPL has certainly kept me going and I know it has done the same for other people. It has provided entertainment, social-contacts and structure to my life in a world where many of the freedoms that we once took for granted have been compromised or lost. What I would also say though is that please remember that FPL is just a game and it is a game that is there to be enjoyed, Personally, the lows of the game are as important as the highs – they are a key part of the experience and learning from them is part of the pleasure for me. I know that while for many the structure of FPL has provided solace this year, I also know that there are many who haven’t enjoyed the season (for a number of reasons) and remember there is no shame in knowing when to take a step back.
In terms of what I’ll be doing now, there is no rest for the wicked and I’ll be kicking straight on this week with starting to look at some Euro 2020 content. I am really excited about the tournament, not just because I get to see my nation at a major finals for the first time since 1998, but because it means another Fantasy Football game! So if you’re playing Fantasy Euro 2020, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming articles…and if you’re not, I’ll see you again at the end of July for FPL 2021-22.
To finish up, some congratulations and thank yous I think are in order.
First up, congratulations to Rick for winning the Contributors League this year with an amazing finish of 1674 overall. I’d also like to applaud 2nd placed Alex on his Top 5k finish – great work mate! I’d also like to congratulate Michael Coone, this season’s overall FPL champion who won the league on an amazing final day thanks mainly to a bold Sadio Mane Captaincy call – very well done. Finally, a big thank you to all for reading my ramblings this season and a particular thank you to Geek for hosting them on his site, along with my contributor colleagues.
All the best everyone and I look forward to next season.