There have been a lot of questions over the last few days about player price changes in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) so I have written this basic guide to try to answer some of them. For many this will be familiar information, but hopefully this will be useful for newcomers and, maybe, a reminder for others. This is intentionally designed to be a basic guide. Some seasoned members of the Fantasy Football Scout community will undoubtedly be aware that some situations are more complicated than portrayed here, but I have tried to keep things simple for newcomers.
What we know for sure
All we know for sure are two details (because they are written in the rules):
1) Players will change in price during the season depending on their popularity in the transfer market.
2) You will sell a player for the price listed as the current selling price unless the player is worth more than you paid for them, in which case you will pay a 50 per cent fee on any profit, rounded up to the nearest 0.1. The following table demonstrates how this works (PP = Price you paid for a player; CP = Current market price for player; and SP = Sale price of player):
PP | CP | SP
7.0 | 6.8 | 6.8
7.0 | 6.9 | 6.9
7.0 | 7.0 | 7.0
7.0 | 7.1 | 7.0
7.0 | 7.2 | 7.1
7.0 | 7.3 | 7.1
7.0 | 7.4 | 7.2
The CP, SP and PP for each player in your team is available by clicking on the Data View tab above your team in the transfer page in FPL.
What we might know
Beyond this information, we will not know more for sure about the transfer market until the first price changes occur. However, we suspect the following might occur as they have been consistent features of recent seasons:
Price changes are based on net transfers in (NTI). Put simply, if Player X had 6,000 transfers in and 5,000 transfers out, his NTI is 1,000. If he had 5,000 transfers in and 6,000 transfers out his NTI is -1,000. This figure keeps going up or down as a player receives more transfers in or out. FPL would then check if the player had hit his NTI threshold for a price rise or a price fall. If they have, they rise or fall 0.1, the NTI counter is then reset to zero and the count begins again as the player is transferred in and out by more Fantasy managers. If a player hasn’t hit the threshold, nothing happens; the NTI counter carries on from whatever NTI level it had reached.
The price change usually occurred in the middle of the night UK time last season, and it appears the same is happening this season with changes tending to happen shortly before 3am UK time. Aside from checking on the FPL transfers page and sorting by price rises and falls the changes are also posted on Fantasy Football Scout by a member of the community. These can be easily found by arranging the comments of an overnight article by ‘Sticky Comments First’.
It is widely thought that the threshold for a price rise is based on the number of active people playing FPL, while the threshold for a price fall is based on the number of people who own a player. The distinction is important as it affects the number of transfers required for a player to move in price. Every player has the same rise threshold, but each player would have an individual price drop threshold. Let’s use an example where Player A had 10,000 owners and Player B had 1,000,000 owners. If the price rise threshold was, say, two per cent of all active players and there were 2,000,000 active players, both players would require 40,000 net transfers in before their price could rise. But if the drop threshold was ten per cent of each player’s ownership, Player A would require an NTI of -1,000 to drop in price, while Player B would require an NTI of -100,000 to drop in price. After a price change, the threshold counters would reset.
Price changes have historically been limited to a maximum rise or fall of 0.3 in a Gameweek. FFS member The_Colonel has noticed there is no mention of this limit in the FPL rules this year. I haven’t seen an explanation why, but one reason could be an expectation that it is no longer required. Time we tell here. In 2013-14, price rises of 0.3 in one Gameweek were quite possible for players who everyone was rushing to bring in as the same threshold applied to each price change, but in 2014-15 it is widely believed that FPL changed its rules around the price change thresholds for the second rise in a Gameweek so that was higher than that of the first rise (once a new Gameweek began the higher threshold limit returned to normal). The rate for a third rise within one Gameweek was even higher still, so a triple price change in one Gameweek became rare last season. There may be no need to state a limit anymore… or maybe FPL is planning to change the formula again. Until we have some dramatic Gameweek transfer activity we can only guess.
There were several other factors that altered NTI and price thresholds last year and these included a player being flagged (having a yellow, orange or red “i” (for injury/suspensions) box beside their name on the transfer screen). The price drop threshold for a player with a yellow flag was higher than for an unflagged player. It was higher still for a red flagged player.
Players could be locked, or protected from price movement last year. The NTI counter for locked players also reset to zero. This usually happened in one of two scenarios:
1) When a new player was added to the game, their price was locked for eight days or until the start of a new Gameweek (where the gap between Gameweeks was longer than eight days). Much like pre-season, this allowed the player to build up an ownership without their price changing.
2) After the status of a flagged player changed to a different status, say from yellow to red, or red to available (blue).
Transfers made by players on a Wildcard were also believed to affect NTI figures, with one theory suggesting they didn’t count at all towards NTI. If this was correct, a player who had 10,000 transfers in, including 5,000 on a wildcard, plus 1,000 transfers out, would only have had an NTI of 4,000. Wildcard transfers had the potential to skew how quickly a player rose or fell in price in a Gameweek.
Predicting price changes
FPL participants can get a rough idea of which players might be heading for a rise or fall in a particular Gameweek by selecting transfers in (round) and transfers out (round) from the “Sorted by” drop-down menu on the Transfers page of FPL. However, remember that a player’s NTI counter only resets to zero if they change in price or are locked. If Player B in our earlier example had an NTI of -80,000 between Gameweeks 1 and 2, then an NTI of 60,000 the following week, he would neither rise nor fall because his NTI thresholds were -100,000 for a fall and 40,000 for a rise and his counter at the start of Gameweek 3 is at -20,000 (-80,000 + 60,000).
Several price change prediction websites operate by monitoring the number of player transfers in and out, adjusting for the various factors that can affect NTI, and matching those figures against estimated price rise and fall thresholds to predict when a player is likely to increase or decrease in price. These sites display this as a percentage, with a player being predicted to rise when they reach or exceed 100 per cent, or fall when they reach or exceed -100 per cent.
At the start of the season these calculations are very rough and based on experience of how the price changes worked in previous years. Therefore they can be faulty, particularly if, as last year, FPL changes the price rise and fall formula.
Once the first price changes happen, the price change prediction websites will start to refine their threshold estimates and NTI calculations. As the season progresses they usually become more accurate.
But remember, until we have more price changes this season none of the price change sites will be very precise. All we know for sure is that there will be price changes and that you can check the Data View on the FPL Transfers page to see how much you will receive for selling a player.