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FPL Fallacies Opinion Piece

1. Differentials 

Almost every content creator dedicates a portion of their videos and articles to differentials, promoting the idea that this is the way to get ahead of your FPL peers. It is not. To do well in FPL your aim should purely be to score as many points as possible, drown out the noise of what others are doing and think which players will get me those points. A player’s ownership has no bearing on how many points they will score. To allow this to influence your thinking will only ever be detrimental to your FPL performance. 

Ownership = Form, this is generally true and a big part of why the above is true. If you’re picking a player due to low ownership, the low ownership is usually a reflection of their poor form, they’re coming back from injury, or have a bad run of fixtures. Any of these factors make the asset risky and unattractive. If you’re falling behind your mini-league leader and want to make up ground the last thing you should do is start making high-risk bets, to the contrary, you need to see FPL as a marathon and not a race. The best strategy is to gradually gain on him by picking players based on fixtures and form as opposed to being influenced by his team selection. 

2. Statistics are god

Statistics are good, but not god. The idea that they present pure definitive and unrefined truth is false. Anyone doing statistical analysis will first choose the stats they wish to use, this presents the first opportunity for subjectivity to enter. They will then choose how to present them, and propose what they mean, the second point of entry for subjectivity. Finally, the analyst will make predictions based on these statistics. All three aspects will be influenced by the subjectivity of the analyst. This is not to say don’t use stats they are rubbish but approach them as though they were an opinion piece, allow it to influence your decision making but not dictate it.

Another issue with stat’s is that they paint a rather static picture of football. The idea that teams, players, or statistics will “regress to the mean” ignores that fact that football is in a continuous state of flux. Players can get older, weaker, stronger and better, teams evolve and recently even the rules suddenly seem to be ever-changing. 

Plenty of stat merchants have said the likes of Fernandes or Vardy are bad picks, but the most important stat of all would say otherwise, their FPL points. 

It would be a huge mistake to ignore stats, but take care when using them. For me, nothing beats the eye test. This allows me to not only see the number of shots they take and opportunities created, but also an insight into the quality of their attacking output. It also allows me to see if they look happy, hungry frustrated or tired.  It provides context and a third dimension to a player’s/team’s statistics. 

3.  Early transfers, Team value, and Transfer planning

Early transfers and team value- This is not the season to do early transfers. 

Fixture congestion and lack of a break. The fixture congestion means more injuries, these injuries can happen at any time during the week. This leads to an increased chance of new and important information being available before the GW deadline. 

Covid. Again this is an additional factor that can change the GW environment drastically. 

These two variables mean the chance of major FPL news breaking before the GW deadline has increased exponentially and therefore so has the risk associated with an early transfer. 

If price rises will price you out of a move then fair enough make the transfer. But to avoid this I will always try to have around .3 in the bank as emergency cash 😉

Nothing irritates me more when at the beginning of a season a content creator comes on and says this is my team and these are my planned transfers… Then the player they planned to transfer out does really well and they say: “Oh no! Now I can’t transfer him out!” So what had they hoped, that the player would perform badly? Why have him in the first place then?  It’s good to make a couple of rough plans here and there, but the above sort of planning leads me to question the rationale of the content creator. 

4. We want others to do well

This is probably my most controversial point and more a reflection of my own cynicism than anything else. I don’t want others to do well. I don’t enjoy it when other’s do well. I also don’t believe all the hand-clapping and congratulating that litters the FPL Twittersphere is genuine. You are competing with these people, FPL is only fun when you are doing well, to do well you have to do better than those you are competing with. Yeah, it would be great if we could all just be in the top 10K but we can’t, and to enter into the top 10k you have to take someone out of it. 

Apart from FPL_AZ, for some reason, he’s the only content creator that I don’t enjoy seeing do poorly. His toxic relationship with Mahrez makes me want to call a domestic abuse hotline. 

21 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Original - Wolves Ay We
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 1 day ago

    Thank you great article. Point 4 is why I always say "Good luck to those who have the same players as me",

  2. COVID-CASUAL
      2 months, 1 day ago

      Long post incoming because I think this is a great article, mostly. Tells us way more than the usual articles IMO.

      1. Differentials across all fantasy sports is generally a clever term for “bad selection”. They have a place - for example, when its really late in a season and you need to take a punt to catch a ML leader. But for most of the year, you pick the best and most popular players, you make ground. The wisdom of crowds usually overrides your self belief of being the smartest guy in the room.

      2. I work in stats, I get them. I don’t use underlying stats - because I’m cheap and won’t pay for content. I don’t even use the eye test - because soccer is nowhere near my favourite sport, and I don’t watch much. (Although I will admit to reading the opinions of others and relying on their eye).

      Underlying stats are good but I think most wouldn’t use them well, and they are only a value add. Most knowledge to do well is available just by the regular stats on the EPL site, sites like liveFPL and the price change ones, looking ahead at fixtures, and a bit of reading/watching “experts” to pick up stats/eye test key points by proxy.

      The other 10% can be well and truly covered by a good start to the season and/or luck variance.

      3. I abandoned early transfers after GW4 and Son’s hammy, and I don’t think the risk is worth the 0.1 saved reward.

      4. Don’t agree. I can only control what I do, and if I’m happy with it, but someone does better, then good for them.

      Another one I’d add is this: since I started taking it somewhat seriously and joined here, I find a lot of people really reactionary. everyone is apparently big on stats but players are ultimately recommended primarily based on their last score. There must be guys here who have changed their mind of someone like Grealish six times already this season.

      1. Tarby
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 1 day ago

        Some really good points.
        Agree on differentials for a punt, either at very end of season or when you know WC is about to used so have a throw away transfer.

        On other players doing well I agree too, there are some people who I find enjoyable when it goes wrong, but in mini leagues especially if I think success breeds success and so if your competitors are doing better it’ll bring out the best in those chasing them down too.

        And absolutely agree that reactionary is a huge trait amongst FPL players. A Mahrez brace and lots forget why they hate to own City players and think they’ll hit gold, then drop him after 3 weeks without getting a minute from him! Is a player good for the reasons you selected him or not? It can’t change after 1 week!

        1. COVID-CASUAL
            2 months, 1 day ago

            Mahrez is a great example. Nothing changed really, except one week he hauled and the points chasing was on.

            When I 100% decided to only read the majority of comments here for lols was a few weeks ago. Grealish blanked and most live react was calling him useless and looking to drop him. But he created eight chances and these people are paying for detailed underlying stats! Who’s the casual again?

      2. MikeBravo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 1 day ago

        You must have had a chuckle when Az finally got rid of Maupay, only for him to finally score...?

      3. Stejson
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 1 day ago

        Nice article. More like these please

      4. jones711
          2 months, 1 day ago

          Good article, I don't need stats either, and in fact I don't even pay for TV coverage of games. Instead I just read match reports from at least two English newspapers and work it out from there. Football is not my primary "football", but I do enjoy it, however there is no way I'm going to spend time poring over it. This is my second season in FPL and I'm currently around 200k. To get to here I'm just patient really, plan a couple weeks ahead, don't use chips early, and rack up free double transfers every few weeks. I don't necessarily agree on the point made on differentials in the article. Differentials can be very useful as it doesn't always mean a player is out of form because he's unloved by the masses. A few weeks back I jumped on James Maddison (for a week or two only) as he was two full games back in from an injury and match reports indicated he was getting back to full touch and fitness. I was duly rewarded with a 15 pointer from memory. Stuart Dallas was another "differential" in the early part of the season. That's turned out pretty well !

          1. COVID-CASUAL
              2 months, 1 day ago

              I think there’s differentials where you genuinely believe they are the best option but it’s not necessarily the main view, which is risky but reasonable.

              But trying to be different for difference sake, to “catch up” or whatever, is essentially gambling and suboptimal.

          2. Werkself
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 19 hours ago

            "I don’t want others to do well. I don’t enjoy it when other’s do well."

            Then why submit the article?

          3. TheBeesAreGoingUp
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            2 months, 4 hours ago

            I agree with number 1 particularly. You need to own the players who are doing well regardless of how many people own them or not, and "especially" if lots of others own them, or you won't even keep up. Differentials only matter if you are right at the top trying to get your nose in front of someone else.
            I'd add a (partial) number 5: blank and double gameweeks. You should do chip planning for these weeks, and factor them in to your planning to some extent - but in the end the same teams and players play the same number of matches. So taking lots of point hits for them is a false economy.
            I disagree with number 4. As long as people do slightly less well than me... 😀

          4. unitednations
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 2 hours ago

            Best moves here with 2FT and 0.3m ITB

            Martinez --- Forster
            Cancelo Coufal Dallas -- Taylor Lamptey
            Salah Bruno Son Kdb -- Burke
            Dcl Watkins Bamford

            A: Taylor >> Shaw/Holgate/Lowton/Holding
            B: Lamptey >> Same options as A but could also stretch to Stones
            C: Lamptey >> Holdings + 0.5m itb to maybe do Forster > Johnstone if i BB19 depending on how fixtures get allocated

          5. fusen
            • 9 Years
            1 month, 29 days ago

            I think, as some above have said, that "differential" is a bigger category than you make out.

            If a defence is doing well then you can go for one of the non-popular options and hope to still get the same cleansheet points but you're gambling on that player getting something more. It isn't necessarily a bad pick, you shouldn't be choosing a differential just because no one owns them.

            It also ties into 'form', players enter into form and leave form at some random point in the season. If you don't have a differential then you aren't going to be the one that owns the player that enters form. Hopefully you're trying to pick that player with some sort of rationale behind it, in the same way of switching off from a current player who is slowing down and moving to someone else.

            I'm fully on board with the idea of simply choosing 11 of the best performing players as they should in theory get you points, but that will only get you so high up in the ranks. At some point if you want to do really well you can't just choose the players who did well last week. As you'll never get above the players who choose the hauler a week before their sudden hattrick.

            1. fusen
              • 9 Years
              1 month, 29 days ago

              In terms of 4, I think there is a difference between wanting someone to do badly and not wanting any players you don't own to score.

              I don't want any defender who I don't own to get a cleansheet but I don't actively want my friends in my mini league to do badly, I just want to do better than them. The #1 priority is different even if the outcomes are connected. There is a key difference there.

          6. Sharkytect
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 28 days ago

            Lovely article.

            However, isn't there ironically another item that could be added to this...

            5. Listening to advice from FPL articles will help you succeed at FPL.

            - any article you read giving you advice on FPL truths, do's and don't, fallacies etc is influenced by the author's opinions, however rational and convincing the article may seem. Including this point - feel free to listen to whoever you want to, do whatever you want to, and feel however you want to about your decisions.

          7. johnnymorrocco
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 26 days ago

            Best article on here in a long while. The one potential missing part is assuming everyone giving advice is an expert on the game. Use the info from twitter/internet/podcasts to inform your decision, not make it. Play your own game and learn from your own mistakes. It's way more enjoyable than " I knew I should have picked X, that's the last time I listen to @FPL_somebollocks on twitter

            1. Trophé Mourinho
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 26 days ago

              I do take advice on here and from other sources, but most of the time I’m mainly looking for positive reinforcement of my own choices.
              Some advice is valuable and changes my plans though, such as someone have info I didn’t have or maybe I over-looked someone or a factor.
              I’ve learnt though that when it comes to punts and gut decisions, it’s totally pointless asking here if it’s a good idea. You can tell people your idea but 95% of people won’t side with a gut instinct you have. In those cases you just need to follow your gut, those are typically the ones you like yourself over for having ignored your own feelings.

              1. Trophé Mourinho
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 26 days ago

                Kick yourself over*

            2. Blush Response
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 25 days ago

              Bang on.

              FPL Twitter is a state.

          8. richarlison2348
              1 month, 25 days ago

              My team is currently: Martinez Johnstone
              Robertson Coufal Dallas Kilman Balbuena
              Salah Fernandes Son Raphinha Soucek
              Kane Adams Bamford
              I am FH-ing in gw 18. In gameweek 19, do you think it is worth it to take a -12 in order to do Son, Kane, Kilman, Balbuena out to Watkins, De Bruyne, Cancelo, and Wan Bissaka? This would allow me to bench boost... If not, what would you do? Thanks for replies

            • Blush Response
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 25 days ago

              I'd add a fifth point: there's such a thing as an "FPL Expert".

              There are people who seek to make money from FPL players who are incapable of making decisions, they aren't football experts - they aren't ex-players, football analysts, tactics experts or journalists who have inside scoops on tactics or team dynamics.

              FPL's a simple game of optimising your resources and hoping you get lucky, its nothing more.

            • TB303
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 25 days ago

              Any improvements needed for my DGW?

              Darlow

              Holding-Saiis-Dias

              Saka-Fernandes-Kdb-Son-Grealish

              Lacazette - Kane