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FPLFPA – Exploring the outliers

You can find part 1 and 2 of Rich’s look at his metric FPA and what it is here and here respectively.

Hello – @RichP_LFC here again. First off, I want to thank everyone that read my debut articles on using FPA as a metric; I’ve been overwhelmed by the response. I’ve had a lot of requests for further info/comments on it, which leads me to my first follow up article below.

Today, we are going to look at teams that may skew the figures in respect of how many points are scored and see what this means for our tables.

For this, we will look at Fantasy Points For (FPF) for Defenders, Midfielders and Forwards. We will look at team formations, and how this could either inflate their numbers, or maybe even unearth players that are overperforming. If you’ve read @WGTA work on Talisman theory, some of the findings may be familiar.

Defenders

fplfpa-outliers 2

Data correct up to and including Gameweek 25

Without too much research, we know that Liverpool and Leicester have been pretty solid throughout the season, so let’s focus on the other 3 teams in the top 5 for FPF: Sheffield United (SHU), Newcastle and Everton.

Sheffield United

Now you might be thinking that SHU have been pretty solid as well and they have. However, a certain John Lundstram has been tearing up trees playing in midfield. Add this to the fact that SHU play with 3 centre backs and 2 wing backs, and they are fielding 6 FPL defenders a game on average! So, lets break that down:

558/25 = 22.32 points per game from Defenders.

22.32/6 = 3.72 points per defender over the course of 25 games.

Compare this with Liverpool and their back 4, who are averaging just under 5 points per game per defender (PPGPD). Leicester are averaging just over 4 PPGPD with a back 4.

If we were to remove Lundstram’s points altogether – SHU would be sitting on 3.6 PPGPD, very marginally less, but this accounts for the fact they’re only playing 5 Defenders now. Their total would be 450 points to GW25, and they would still be 2nd overall for FPF.

Top scoring defender as a percentage of points (excluding Lundstram):

George Baldock – 105 points – 23.3% of total defender points for SHU

So for me, they are still well worth investment, even with the Lundstram caveat.

Newcastle

Next up we look at Newcastle. They usually play with 5 FPL Defenders as well:

449/25 = 17.96 points per game from Defenders

17.96/5 = 3.59 PPGPD

Top scoring defender as a percentage of points:

Federico Fernández – 67 points – 14.9% of total defender points for Newcastle.

This is basically the same as SHU, and given that some of their most reliable starters are sub £5m, could still be classed as a decent pick, either as rotation when managing fixtures, or decent bench fodder. With Fernandez being the highest scoring defender with less than 15%, you could argue any of them are worth a spot.

Everton

With Fabian Delph classed as a defender, Everton frequently have 5 FPL Defenders playing in each game. We’ve also seen Djibril Sidibé operate as a right sided midfielder. So for the purpose of this, we will say Everton play with 5 FPL Defenders when working out their PPGPD:

373/25 = 14.92 points per game from Defenders

14.92/5 = 2.98 PPGPD

Excluding Delph, who plays in midfield, the breakdown is as follows:

350/25 = 14 points per game from Defenders

14/4 = 3.5 PPGPD

We now see them roughly fall in line with SHU and Newcastle.

Top scoring defender as a percentage of points:

Lucas Digne – 81 points – 21.7% of Everton’s defensive points

Despite their average points (without Delph) being similar to SHU and Newcastle, Everton’s upcoming fixtures are pretty difficult, so I wouldn’t view it as a bad decision to swerve them or remove them from your teams.

Midfielders

fplfpa-outliers 1

So our top 5 here are Man City, Liverpool, Leicester, Spurs and Chelsea.

I would say for all of these teams, the caveats are pretty clear. These teams have one out and out striker (or player that is classified as a Forward on the game) surrounded by 5 Midfielders:

Man City

Players like De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Mahrez all play in advanced positions most of the time, but are Midfielders, so I can’t see any outliers here.

Highest scoring midfielder and their percentage:

Kevin De Bruyne – 161 points – 22.6% of City midfielder points

Liverpool

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are part of a 3-pronged forward line, so are classed as Out of Position (OOP) players within the game and have been for years. Tactical switches sometimes mean either of them can spearhead the attack, with Roberto Firmino dropping deeper.

Highest scoring midfielder and their percentage:

Mo Salah – 165 points – 25.4% of Liverpool midfielder points (Mane currently on 22.65%)

If we were to reclassify them as Forwards, giving them 1 less point per goal, and losing their 1 point for a clean sheet, their points tallies would be:

Mo Salah: 138 points (2nd overall for Forwards)

Sadio Mane: 127 points (7th overall for Forwards)

This would propel Liverpool to the top of the Forwards table on 437 points, over 200 points clear of Arsenal, and would drop them into mid table for Midfielders with 384 points. Jordan Henderson would then be their top scoring Midfielder on 92 points. I personally can’t see FPL restructuring the game to make Mane or Salah forwards, so I think they will be our premium Midfielders for the long term. It’s also clear to me that if this were the case, Liverpool Midfielders wouldn’t be somewhere to look.

Leicester

Maddison is joint 6th highest scoring mid on the game, with Perez just behind him.

Highest scoring midfielder and their percentage:

James Maddison – 110 points – 19.4%

Ayoze Perez – 104 points – 18.3%

Spurs

Without Harry Kane, they have players like Son and Lucas Moura leading the line, so this can explain their appearance in the top 5.

Highest scoring midfielder and their percentage:

Heung-Min Son – 109 points – 20% of total midfielder points

Dele Alli – 96 points – 17.6%

Chelsea

Much like the other teams, they only really play with one recognised striker, and 2 midfielder wingers such as Pulisic or Willian playing in an advanced role.

Highest scoring midfielder and their percentage:

Mason Mount – 99 points – 19.2%

Willian – 97 points – 18.9%

Other Out Of Position cases

I’m also going to look briefly at Richarlison and Antony Martial specifically, as they are OOP players that currently contribute to middling FPF Midfielder points for their respective clubs.

Richarlison – 110 points – 29.6% of Everton’s Midfielder FPL points.

Martial – 96 points – 22.49% of Man United’s Midfielder FPL points.

Applying the same calculation we did to Salah and Mane above (giving them 1 less point per goal, and losing their 1 point for a clean sheet) their FPL Forward totals would be:

Richarlison – 96 points – bringing Everton’s total Forward FPL points into the green to 234, from just above the bottom 5. Huge swing. This would also see Everton drop into the bottom 5 for total Midfielder FPL points. As mentioned above, Delph is classed as a Defender but converting his points to Midfielder points wouldn’t help much. Percentages for Forwards would be:

Richarlison – 96 – 41%

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 85 – 36.3%

Moise Kean – 37 – 15.8%

Cenk Tosun – 12 – 5.1%

Anthony Gordon – 1 – 0.4%

Martial – 82 points – bringing United’s total Forward FPL points to 259. This would also see United’s total Midfielder FPL points drop to 331, just outside the bottom 5. Percentages would be:

Marcus Rashford – 134 – 51.7%

Martial – 82 – 31.7%

Mason Greenwood – 43 – 16.6%

Another caveat to United is if we are going to revert Rashford to being a Midfielder as he mainly plays on the wing. He’d gain an extra 18 FPL points and be sitting on 152 points, 3rd overall for Midfielders. But I still class him as a Forward playing in a system.

It’s also worth noting that if we were to convert John Lundstram’s defender points into midfield points, SHU Midfielders would still be in the bottom 5 for FPF.

Also bear in mind to calculate this properly, we would have to consider how the BPS system would affect bonus points changing. I have no idea where to start with that! So these are just rough interpretations.

Forwards

fplfpa-outliers

What we will look at here, is the top 5 of course, but also, certain teams that only play with 1 recognised striker, to see if we can bridge the gap between high FPL point scoring teams with 2 strikers and mid to low FPL point scoring teams with 1 striker.

Arsenal

According to FPF, Arsenal are the top scoring Forwardsin FPL, as of GW25. A well known caveat however, is that they play with 2, sometimes 3, FPL classified Forwards at a time. So of their 232 FPL points, they are broken down as follows:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 129 (55.6%)

Alexandre Lacazette: 62 (26.7%)

Gabriel Martinelli: 39 (16.8%)

Edward Nketiah: 2 (0.9%)

Whilst Aubameyang is in the company of Danny Ings and Tammy Abraham amongst the top scoring FPL forwards, Lacazette is in the company of the injured Wesley and Ashley Barnes. So although the figures are skewed slightly, let’s also remember that Auba is still a premium asset, with over 55% of Arsenals FPL forward points. When we look at teams that deploy one striker however, we might find better options.

Southampton

Currently, Southampton are second overall on 219 points. They vary their formation, sometimes with 2 strikers and sometimes having advanced midfielders supporting the main striker.

Danny Ings: 128 (58.45%)

Shane Long: 38 (17.35%)

Che Adams: 33 (15%)

Michael Obafemi: 20 (9.1%)

Danny Ings is currently sat 1 point behind Aubameyang, with roughly 300 less minutes played and at around £3.5m cheaper.

Burnley

Burnley, sat 3rd in our table on 218 points, play with 2 up top pretty much without fail.

Chris Wood: 98 (45%)

Ashley Barnes: 61 (28%)

Jay Rodriguez: 50 (23%)

Matej Vydra: 9 (4%)

Since Ashley Barnes’ injury, Rodriguez has come in and got a couple of goals. This highlights that teams playing 2 strikers most weeks generally can have 3 strikers playing/contributing regularly to FPL output, with less of a clear pick. As Woods is Burnley’s front runner scoring less than 50% of the total points, he could be worth a punt, but with the issue Rodriguez/Barnes could steal the show any given week.

Man City

4th on our table, on 210 points, is Man City. We rarely see City play with more than one striker. With only Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus classified as Forwards on the game, lets see how the split looks:

Sergio Aguero: 121 (57.6%)

Gabriel Jesus: 89 (42.4%)

Aguero at nearly 60% of the points here, despite only playing marginally more minutes. Both are a rotation risk, but both can haul at any given moment, so the upside is there.

Wolves

Joint with Man City in the table, Wolves are on 210 points. They usually have a main striker flanked by 2 wingers. Diogo Jota is classed as a forward this season however.

Raul Jimenez: 131 (62.4%)

Diogo Jota: 56 (26.7%)

Patrick Cutrone: 23 (10.9%)

Jimenez here with a whopping 62% of the points. I think when we see teams that are in the top 5 overall, with a striker that is in the top 5 FPL point scoring forwards overall, he needs to be in our teams. Note that if Jota was still classified as a midfielder, Jimenez would have a huge 85% of the FPL forward points percentage.

Now that we’ve had a look at the top 5 teams, I’m going to look at Liverpool and Leicester, as Jamie Vardy is the top scoring forward to date and Firmino is in the top 10, but is in a team where he is surrounded by 2 of the top 5 players in the game overall.

Leicester – 192 FPL forward points

Typically Jamie Vardy spearheads the attack here, with Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Ayoze Perez just behind.

Jamie Vardy: 152 (79.2%)

Kelechi Iheanacho: 40 (20.8%)

Vardy quite clearly the main man here. Iheanacho makes up the numbers, but as a result of the one striker system, the percentages are as expected here. I’ll be holding Vardy as his fixtures turn in GW27.

Liverpool – 172 FPL Forward points

Much like Leicester, Liverpool operate with a main striker surrounded by Midfielders. In the game, aside from Roberto Firmino, they only have Divock Origi classified as a forward, as Rhian Brewster is on loan at Swansea.

Roberto Firmino: 122 (71%)

Divock Origi: 50 (29%)

Similarly to Vardy at Leicester, Firmino is the only choice if you’re after a Liverpool forward. As we’ve seen, he does take back seat to Salah and Mane. However, he is 6th in the table for active Forwards, in front of Aguero and only behind Vardy, Jimenez, Abraham, Aubameyang and Ings. He is only behind Aguero in terms of form as well, so if you need a forward, the form is there and the fixtures certainly appear to be.

It’s worth noting that even if Salah and Mane were classed as Forwards in the game this year, Firmino would still be 9th overall for top scoring Forwards.

Conclusion

Let’s recap our findings:

SHU would drop from 1st overall for FPL defender points to 2nd, as they play with 5 Defenders each week (excluding Lundstram). They are still well worth investment at that price point.

Newcastle offer similar PPGPD (Points per game per defender) as SHU as they also regularly play 5/6 classified Defenders. At cheaper than SHU Defenders, they could also be budget friendly options. Whilst Everton (excluding Delph) also offer a similar PPGPD to both Newcastle and SHU, their fixtures take a turn from GW27.

In a somewhat obvious statement, Salah and Mane are clearly outliers in midfield, so when doing your research and if using FPA as a tool, don’t forget to look at which Midfielders you would look to target and how they are performing, as you’re not necessarily going to get many Midfield points against Bournemouth from Jack Cork of Burnley or Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester for example (sorry guys).

Targeting forwards that hog FPL points is likely the best way to go. Players like Aubameyang and Aguero are top class players, but their price point, rotation risk/playing as part of a 2/3 man Forward line could sometimes impact their productivity. The likes of Jimenez, Ings, Vardy and Firmino are all matching/exceeding their output and are a lot cheaper, freeing up vital funds to use elsewhere. When you consider Vardy and Jimenez are also on penalties, they could be well worth keeping, form dependant of course.

Finally, if we were to have the Midfielders playing as Forwards classified as Forwards, Liverpool would top the rankings, Everton and Man United would also make it into the green, with Man City, Wolves and Burnley dropping out. It’s also likely we would also have to rethink our strategy completely!

Thanks for taking the time to read this, please give it a retweet if you’re on Twitter and share where you can! Remember, use this as part of a well-balanced diet of numerous different statistics, rather than just using it as the holy grail. Let it help you make decisions or justify ideas, rather than placing all of your faith in it. It could be a very useful tool.

Rich

(@RichP_LFC)

9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Rotation's Alter Ego
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 8 Years
    14 days, 15 mins ago

    Great stuff Rich. I mentioned that the varying number of defenders / midfielders / forwards playing could be an issue, but you've certainly put the time in to make sure you limit that!

    Always good to take a look at the situation from a slightly different angle or with some different approaches - even happier that it supports my Ings / Vardy / Jimenez frontline!

    1. RichP_LFC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      13 days, 10 hours ago

      Cheers Ted - I have the same front three! Will be sticking with Vardy through the decent upcoming fixtures form permitting, but there are options out there if he continues to falter.

    2. Bare Foot United
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      13 days, 9 hours ago

      Yes mY front 3 too !

    3. Devo-McDuff
      • 1 Year
      13 days, 2 hours ago

      I’m in the same front 3 club too. Good club.

  2. Bare Foot United
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    13 days, 9 hours ago

    Once again very good work , curious about Jesus , if he'll play on the left wing since Sterling is flagged

    1. RichP_LFC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      13 days, 9 hours ago

      Could do couldn’t he! Him and Aguero caused havoc against Villa...

  3. ritzyd
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    13 days, 7 hours ago

    Good stuff

    1. RichP_LFC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      13 days, 7 hours ago

      Thank you!

  4. Two Popes and a Gazza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    12 days, 13 hours ago

    Thanks for the follow-up post.