Fantasy Premier League managers should make themselves aware of how much impact each of their decisions have on their overall performance.
For 38 Gameweeks every year, we are all making choices, determinations and judgements about our teams, each of them affecting our success and/or failure.
I have done a little bit of research into how we can quantify the impact of each of these, with a specific focus on the captaincy and chips.
After all, the 2019/20 campaign will bring chip season to us much earlier than usual.
Liverpool and West Ham both have no fixture in Blank Gameweek 18 and could have a double-up of matches in a Double Gameweek very close to that.
Furthermore, the first-ever Premier League winter break in February will split one Gameweek across seven days, with five fixtures at one end of the week and five at the other.
Before I go any further, I just want to clarify that you should not take the numbers mentioned below as gospel, as there is only so much research that can be done on the subject.
I simply want to give my view and stimulating some interesting discussion for the Fantasy community to consider.
Playing FPL forces us to make several decisions each week, some of them high impact and others low impact.
For example, swapping a £4.5m defender based on upcoming clean sheet potential is a low impact decision, in my opinion.
You’d expect a 10 to 20 point swing on average over a period of four or five Gameweeks, I’d imagine.
Moving Mohamed Salah (£12.2m) to Sadio Mané (£12.2m) or Harry Kane (£10.8m) for a hit so that you can captain the Spurs man is a high impact decision.
This is where 10 to 20 point swings happen perhaps in one Gameweek alone.
I was recently talking about how this season has offered more big hitters than normal and setting your team up to switch through these by keeping set and forget players in your team could be a potentially good strategy. That way you are giving yourself the best chance to make high variance decisions week on week chasing the right captaincy hauls, although I appreciate this tactic is not for everyone.
In my opinion, the chips available to Fantasy managers are also of high impact across the course of the season, despite some disagreement on this issue.
I know some people who believe that the chips don’t matter too much as they influence only between two and three percent of our overall score at the end of the campaign.
However, I don’t see it that way, even if twice Triple Captaining Sergio Aguero (£11.9m) in a Double Gameweek, for a hat-trick each time, I might be guilty of bias in this area!
I will admit that it’s hard to disagree successful chip deployment only influences a small portion of your overall score.
Let’s assume that serious managers score somewhere between 2,200 and 2,300 points in a good season.
A great Triple Captain is probably worth 25 points (if you only choose to count the additional 25 points that the chip is giving you on top of a normal captain in a Double Gameweek).
A good Bench Boost should be worth around 20 to 25 points, so if you nail this chip and the Triple Captain that equates to roughly 50 additional points, admittedly a small amount numerically.
However, I don’t think assessing your Bench Boost and Triple Captain based on the percentage of your total score is the right way of looking at them, as you might unfairly downplay the importance of getting them right.
When you consider the concept of high and low impact decisions already discussed about strategy from week to week, you probably make a total of 140 to 150 of these in the whole campaign.
- Initial team (15) + 2 Wildcards (30) + 1 Free Hit (15) = 60 decisions
- 38 captains = 38 decisions
- When to play your Wildcards + 3 Chips = 5 decisions
- Transfers over the season = 35 – 55 depending on your hit taking appetite (I made 50 odd last year)
A lot of these decisions are low impact ones. The high impact ones, in my opinion, would be all 38 captaincy decisions (your Double Gameweek captains in particular) and your chip choices.
Perhaps a better way of looking at the points generated from these decisions is not about your overall season score, but the impact they can have on rank.
After all, finishing as high as we possibly can in the world rankings is the most important aim for many of us.
I spoke to several people in the Fantasy community about how they got on in 2018/19 so I could get a general idea of how points correlated with rank last season.
- 2502 points – Rank 237
- 2250 points – ~Rank 125k
- 2150 points – ~Rank 500k
Each season, most of us hardcore managers will be aiming somewhere between the 2,250 and 2,500 point bracket.
That’s a difference of 250 points. This is the variance we should look at in my opinion.
On average, most seasons, the difference between all managers like us will probably be at a maximum of 250 points.
Keeping this in mind, let’s begin to attempt to quantify the impact of various decisions we make.
The first one we need to look at is captaincy. Last season, I scored 2,377 points, of which 573 of those were from the armband (24%). That’s quite a sizeable portion.
If you were to take these points out of the equation then I would guess that the difference between all serious managers would go down to about 150 to 200 points instead of 250.
So, to define the percentage impact a single decision makes, I think it’s better looking at it out of 250 points and not 2,300 points because that is the standard gap between most serious managers.
We had four Double Gameweeks last season, in 25, 32, 34 and 35. Here’s how I got on for the captaincy:
- GW25 – Aguero TC – 57 points
- GW32 – Aguero – 20 points
- GW34 – Lukaku – 4 points
- GW35 – Sterling – 16 points
So the remaining captaincy total was 476 points spread over 34 rounds, an average of 14 points per single Gameweek. The average captain score per Double Gameweek for me last season was 24.3 points.
My own scores aren’t going to give exact impact variance but I am attempting to get a range of variance possible.
It must be said that 14 and 25 points respectively are not huge number when looking at your overall points but when you look at the 250 point range that exists for most serious FPL players, we are looking at a variance of 6% impact for single Gameweek captaincies and a 10% impact on Double Gameweeks.
You might argue that you already have the player that you are captaining in your team anyway but if you look at big hitter chasing to try getting the best captaincy hauls week on week, you’re looking at an impact of 5-7% in single Gameweeks and 9-11% in Double Gameweeks.
If you think about it, we actually pick that captain for 42 matches and not 38 in a four Double Gameweek season like last year.
This further elevates my view of the Triple Captaincy chip as well.
It eliminates a lot of skill in the game and makes things very luck dependant for one single decision out of 150 decisions you make in an FPL calendar year and it is one that in my opinion has the potential to be the highest impact decision you’ll make all year.
Just last year, I the Triple Captaincy on Aguero while my main mini-league rival went with Leroy Sané (£9.3m), who failed to deliver.
That led to a difference of 50 points. 50 points in the space of seven days. I was trailing him by exactly that much before the Double Gameweek and took the lead after it.
This was 50 points out of the 250 points bracket, which was a 20% variance impact that I had on my FPL team.
Yes, you could that you’re only adding one additional player to your team with the Triple Captaincy, but if you play it in the right week, you’re potentially getting two of them if he’s playing twice.
Furthermore, if you’re chasing in your mini-league getting lucky with a Triple Captain differential in a Double Gameweek is a very very potent weapon as it can make that 20% impact out of the overall variance that exists between serious managers.
Your Triple Captain decision is a combination of two decisions which is the use of the chip itself and the choice of captaincy.
These two decisions, out of a maxiMum of 150 in my opinion, is roughly 1.3% of choices you have to make across the course of the season – and they have the ability to cause that 20% variance. That is huge.
Mini-leagues and extreme rank variances can be caused by these decisions. That 50 point impact can be the difference between 10k and 40k in a season.
So trying to revisit and tabulate these decisions, here is a summary (the variance could be a much higher range):
- Captaincy decision – 5-7% variance amongst serious managers
- Captaincy in a DGW – 9-12% variance amongst serious managers
- TC in a DGW – 15-20% variance amongst serious managers
I think that is all I have to say on the matter for now. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong but I do find it interesting, enjoyed writing it, hope you enjoy reading it and look forward to discussing this with you.
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