Making Millions In the Fantasy Premier League Game

One of the factors that helps make the Fantasy Premier League game just that little bit more fascinating than the rest of the fantasy field are its fluctuating player values. With player values rising and falling all the while, it’s possible for canny managers to play the market and eek out an advantage over their rivals. But just how do you go about playing this market and is there an exact science behind the FPL player values?

There has long been theories and formulas around the fantasy scene that have gone a considerable way to proving that there is a definite science or code behind it. Indeed over on this site you’ll find that research has spawned a tool that enables you to track and predict FPL player value changes throughout the season – it’s all blank right now but will be active once the season starts.

That site was born from a formula that you’ll find within the FISO forums. It’s pretty advanced stuff and certainly not for the feint hearted so to compliment that, here’s a guide written by Ryan Forsythe – an FPL manager who came top of the 2006-07 rich list with a team value of over 119.0 million.

The guide will introduce new FPL managers to concepts of rising and falling player values in addition to how you can go about predicting them using the factors at play.

Making The Most of FPL Transfer Market

By Ryan Forsyth

This guide can be used by FPL manager striving to make money to make the rich list with points being academic. However if you are playing the conventional points game, it’s possible to maximise profits without dropping points – you’ll never make the rich list but you could well end up with quite an impressive squad.

I came top of the rich list for season 06/07 with my team GR€€N BACK$. I topped out at 119.6 million, 4 million clear of second place. The transfer marketing system on the whole is very predictable although it all boils down to how much effort you want to put into keeping an eye on it.

Read on and you’ll discover how sad and obsessive you will need to be…

The Basics

Prices go up and down based on a variety of factors including form, injuries, suspensions, fixtures etc. It goes without saying that to make money you buy cheap and sell high but because the game takes away half your profits (and rounds odd numbers down) you need to be careful. For those of you who are new to the game I’ll explain:

You buy a player for 8.0. He plays well for a few weeks and his value rises to 8.6. So you have made a profit of .6. If you sell that player you have to pay half of this profit back, so in reality you sell the player for 8.3 a make only .3 real profit. But let’s say you didn’t sell your player for 8.6 and his form starts to slide and his value drops to 8.5. If you decide to sell him now, the profit is .5 which divided by 2 is .25. The game rounds this figure down so you only make a real profit of .2.

With regards to the timing of transfers, it’s all about even profit margins. You need to transfer players into your team who you feel will rise in value by at least .2. And you should aim to only transfer players out who have already made a profit of an even number.

How do I predict when a players value will change?

Players values change based on popularity. If lots of FPL managers start transferring a player into their team then sooner or later his price will go up. To be more accurate, it’s the difference between the number of transfers in and the number of transfers out. If you go to the transfers page in the FPL game and change the ‘Score (Total)’ drop down to one of the bottom two options – “Transfers in (Gameweek)” and “Transfers out (Gameweek)”, these two statistics are invaluable when predicting price changes.

Here’s an example:
Lampard gets off to a flyer
Transfers in (Gameweek) = 10,500
Transfers out (Gameweek) = 1,000

So the net transfer is 9,500 (the difference between the 2)

When the net transfer gets to a certain amount his value will go up by .1

Two seasons ago this figure was 10,000 (although it dropped to 6,000 in March/April)

At the start of the season transfer in the hottest players and keep an eye on the net transfer amount and when a players value increases. You should have a good idea what this figure is after gameweek 1. It should be between 10,000 and 15,000. The figure appears to be proportional to the number of managers playing the FPL game. With that in mind, it will change slightly as the season progresses. To discover this exact threshold you’ll use the stats for “Transfers In” and “Transfers Out” and monitor those players that increase in value, and those players who don’t, to discover the exact threshold.

For the purposes of this guide we’ll use 10,000 as our figure.

Back to our example then – Lampard is sitting on a net transfer of 9,500 this means his price will rise soon, now is the time to get him in your team.

When do prices change?

Prices change once a day. It used to be in the middle of the night (4am) but they changed it last season to 12 midnight GMT. This is an approximate but I’d recommend making your transfers before midnight just to be safe. This can be frustrating as it will probably mean missing the Stoke City match at the end of Match of The Day.

So in order for a player to go up in value his net transfer must reach 10,000 before midnight. If a player got up to 9,500 at midnight then his value would stay the same and he’d have to wait until the following midnight to see if he had reached the 10,000 figure.

Let’s Get Complicated

Sometimes a player will go up in value by .2 or even .3 within the same gameweek. This is how it works: To go up by .1 the player needs a net transfer of 10,000. To go up another .1 within the same gameweek he’ll need to get a net transfer of a further 20,000 (that’s 30,000 in total). To go up another .1 within the same gameweek he’ll need to get a net transfer of a further 40,000 (that’s 70,000 in total). Don’t forget these figures are based on the net transfer figure of 10,000. Whatever the threshold figure turns out to be at that current time, you basically double it each time for each increase.

Here’s an example:
It’s Saturday morning 11.30am and the first gameweek is underway.
5.00pm and Lampard has scored a hatrick.
11.30pm his net transfer is 12,000 (remember this is the difference between transfers in and out for this gameweek).
So you transfer him into your team.

Sunday 7.00am you check the site and Lampard has gone up by .1.
Make a note of his net transfer figure at this time. For this example let’s say it’s 13,000. Because we are still in the same gameweek, Lampard will need to add a further 20,000 if he’s to rise in value again.

Monday 11.30pm you check the site and Lampard net transfer is 25,000 so he’s gone up by 12,000.
If this was a new gameweek he’d go up tonight but because he’s already gone up this gameweek, his value will stay put.

Tuesday 11.30pm you check the site and Lampard net transfer is now 35,000 so he’s gone up by 22,000 since his last value increase.
He’s hit the 20,000 mark and will go up in value that night.

Wednesday 7.00am you check the site and Lampard has gone up by .1
Make a note of his net transfer figure at this time. For this example well say it’s 36,000.

If Lampard is to go up again he’ll have to get another 40,000 net transfers before 12 midnight on Friday night.

Lets say that on Friday night he has got to 60,000 (he needed to get to 76,000) so he isn’t going to go up in value that night.

Once the second gameweek starts on Sat 11.30am the transfer target figures are reset. This means that Lampard now only needs a net transfer of 10,000 to go up. He’s way above that at 24,000 (60,000 minus his net transfer the last time he went up was 36,000).

Saturday night 11.30pm Lampard is on 66,000 – (66,000 minus his net transfer the last time he went up was 36,000) means he’s now on 30,000 which is way more than the 10,000 he needs to go up.

Sunday 7.00am you check the site and Lampard has gone up by .1 making it a profit of .3 over the week. The cycle then repeats itself.

It’s the reset at the start of the gameweek which results in most value increases taking place between Saturday night and Sunday morning. If you want to make money you need to make your transfers based on Saturdays results and before Saturday midnight.

Dedication’s What You Need

In order to make accurate predictions you need to keep a record of what a players net transfer figure was when his value changed. It’s that figure which needs to increase by 10,000 for the value to increase.

I set up a spreadsheet and recorded the net transfer figures for most players at the time of a value change. So every morning I’d check the site and see which players had either gone up in value or down in value on that gameweek and record the net transfer figures. Once the value rise target was imminent that player would be transferred into my team.

When should I cash in?

As I have mentioned before, the ideal scenario is to buy a player who you feel will definitely go up in value by .2 and replace him with a player whose popularity is tailing off and whose profit is an even number. So why not get rid of a player who has slowed (or is starting to slip back with negative net transfer figures) and who’s profit is an odd number? Quite simply players on odd profit amounts contain padding. It doesn’t matter if their value falls by .1 because it makes no difference to their selling value.

For example:
Lampard was bought for 11 million and has risen to 11.5. This means that when I sell him I will make .2 profit. I can afford to leave him in the team in the hope that he can get up to 11.6 and thereby make me .3 profit. But if he does continue to slide he will drop to 11.4 which when sold still makes me .2 profit. So I’m no worse off than if I’d sold him at 11.5. If he looked like he was going to drop down to 11.3 however, he would definitely be transferred out.

Spoilt for Choice

When you get the hang of it you’ll end up juggling players in and out trying to hoover up as much profit as possible. You won’t need to think who will make a profit but who will make the most. Don’t stress about it though, it’s impossible to catch all the profit.

Falling player values

It is a lot harder to predict when a player is going to drop in value. In general a player with a net transfer of -10,000 should go down but it’s not as predictable as that. It shouldn’t affect any manager playing the rich list game as all your players should be going up, not down. However, factors that will contribute to a falling value are:

  • Negative net transfer figures (Transfers In Minus Transfers Out)
  • Injuries
  • Suspensions
  • Lack of playing time

Sometimes the game can be very lenient and a player being transferred out of tens of thousands of teams may only drop .2. Other times unpopular players who simply don’t play can lose .1 every week. In general a player will gain value quicker than they lose it, so don’t freak if one of your players starts falling in popularity, in general you’ll have plenty of time to catch him before you suffer a serious deficit.

Abnormalities

Sometimes (and this happens a few times each year) a player will hit their net transfer target (for our example 10,000) and not go up in value. There is no reason for it and is completely indiscriminate. It’s as though a player is deliberately held back by the games administrators. I don’t know why it happens but it just does.

General Tips and Summary

  • Values change daily at midnight GMT approx
  • Make your transfers on Saturday evening as most values change overnight Sat/Sun
  • Transfer players in that will go up by at least .2
  • Transfer players out that have made and even amount of profit and started to stall.
  • Don’t be afraid to transfer out a struggling/stalling player even if they have made a lot of profit.

That last pointer is a significant one for the rich list player. All your players need to be making money all the time. Even if a player goes up by over a million and flat lines it’s better to swap him for a hot replacement. You’ll make your money back and have a more flexible team. When I came top in 06/07 I didn’t hit 1st place until Christmas because of this tactic. But it wasn’t long before I had amassed a clear 4 million more than second place. It’s only for the last couple of months that you need to start thinking about retaining players with large profits intact.

I don’t mind sharing this info with you because I don’t intend to play the rich list again. It takes up way too much time, there aren’t any prizes and I’ve just become a dad. So enjoy the guide. I hope it proves useful for you.

Scout Picks

For Gameweek 16

  • Foster
  • Ivanovic
  • Baines
  • Kolarov
  • Hazard
  • Sigurdsson
  • Nasri
  • Bolasie
  • Lukaku
  • Diego Costa
  • Dzeko
  • Evans
  • Downing
  • Bony

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“Last year was quite open for me, I was in good positions, but I was quite lucky because I was getting free kicks and some penalties as well.”

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