Pro Pundits - Simon

Double or triple-up? How much trust should FPL managers put in one club?

It could be argued that the question of whether it is better to centralise or decentralise control or resources has caused more conflict than any other throughout history as it does, after all, underpin almost all political debate.

At the core of these discussions exists the balancing of some very disparate beliefs, priorities and ideologies such as flexibility versus efficiency and individualism versus collectivism. Since, as we already know, Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is a powerful metaphor for life in general (or perhaps vice-versa), it is not, itself, absent of these tensions.

Within an FPL context, the clearest manifestation of this question is whether it is better to focus your squad selection on players from just a few teams or to spread that selection across many teams. This is the question that this article will seek to address.

The Case for Centralisation

Centralisation in an FPL context begins to occur when more than one player is selected from an individual Premier League team. Given that three players per team is the maximum in this respect, the highest level of centralisation would involve 15 players being selected from just 5 teams.

What are the advantages of this method?

First, by limiting your player selection to fewer teams, it reduces the number of teams you have to research. This permits you more time for analysis and, thus, an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of individual teams. Typically in FPL, the more you understand a team, their line-ups, patterns of play, set-piece takers, general strengths and weaknesses, the better-informed your decisions relating to their players can be.

It also means you can assess their fixtures and overall team form more easily. As with engine mechanics, the fewer the moving parts in FPL planning, the greater the overall efficiency.

There is also a ‘multiplier effect’ associated with picking several players from an individual Premier League team. For example, if you owned three Manchester City defenders, one clean sheet could be worth at least 12 points whereas, if your defenders came from three different teams, you would need each of these teams to keep a clean sheet in order to score the same amount, an outcome that is objectively less likely to occur.

Equally, if an individual team is scoring a lot of goals, it may well pay to maximise your coverage of their attacking assets. Not only will this give you access to a potentially strong supply of attacking points, it will increase the likelihood that you own at least one of the players generating them.

A key problem with the centralised strategy, however, is that it reduces flexibility. If, for example, you had three Man City defenders and wanted to bring Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) in, achieving this would involve at least two transfers.

The spend balance throughout your team will also be dictated by the relative pricing of individual teams. Three Man City defenders would involve more money spent in defence than, say, three Burnley defenders. This will have a knock-on effect on spend elsewhere and potentially reduce options for alternatives should you want to swap one out.

The Case for Decentralisation

Decentralisation, in an FPL context, would mean spreading out your player selection across a wider range of Premier League teams, the maximum, of course, being 15.

One key aspect of the decentralised approach is that it is less likely to produce extreme outcomes. Similar to how, in probability equations, the introduction of more variables typically reduces the odds of a particular outcome, utilising players from a wider range of teams is both less likely to produce a huge score and less likely to produce an absolute stinker.

You can observe this effect in practice by checking out the highest points scorer on the Official FPL site at the end of each Gameweek. These teams will almost always lean more towards a centralised rather than decentralised composition, with more players selected from a fewer number of Premier League teams.

Decentralisation reduces the risk of a blow out because it spreads that risk across a wider range of teams. Using again the example of the three Man City defenders from above, one goal conceded would wipe out all three cleans sheets. With defenders from three different teams, three goals would need to be conceded for the same outcome to occur. From a purely quantitative perspective, three events of a particular type will almost always be less likely to occur than just one.

From an attacking perspective, a decentralised FPL squad can tap into attacking returns from a wide number of teams, reducing the impact that opposition or team form might have on your likelihood to score points.

If you only had one attacking player from a team, statistically-speaking your odds of owning the player who scores the points is low compared to if you owned three. You also cannot score multiple points from a single goal (i.e. if you own both the scorer and the assister of a goal), meaning that you will typically need more goals to be scored in general than a more centralised team.

This effect can, of course, be mitigated based on who you select. For example, if you own Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) or Jack Grealish (£7.8m), there’s a good chance you will profit from a large proportion of Manchester United or Aston Villa goals, given their high levels of scoring involvement.

Finally, while a decentralised FPL squad featuring many individual Premier League teams will usually be more work to manage as it requires analysis of more sources of information (e.g. looking at team news for up to 15 teams instead of as few as 5), you are far more insulated against FPL’s more unexpected ‘black swan’ events. These can include the cancellation of a match or unexpected results (e.g. Liverpool losing successive home games to Burnley and Brighton) or the general dip in form from an individual team.

Conclusion

Ultimately, whether you choose a centralised or decentralised strategy is likely to depend on your approach to playing FPL in general. If you prefer more consistent scores (“dullard”), you are more likely to opt for a decentralised approach where the risk is spread more widely and, thus, somewhat mitigated. If you are willing to put up with the occasional blowout Gameweek in order to achieve some huge scores (“maverick”), you are more likely to lean towards a centralised approach which, due to its narrow focus, will produce more extreme results. Both, of course, still rely on the qualitative element of you picking the right individual players.

I’ve personally typically leaned towards the decentralised approach as my goal is generally to try and accumulate consistent scores over the course of a season (I also think it’s usually more fun to have players spread across different teams – particularly if you’re watching the matches) but I’d suggest that, if you are struggling towards the end of a season, adopting a more centralised strategy might be worthwhile as a final throw of the dice. At that point, extreme results may well be what you need and you don’t really have much to lose by trying it.

One final note; the tendency of a centralised approach to produce extreme results is also very often evident in daily fantasy sport games where the best scores almost always come from those managers who focus their selections on just a few teams and happen to nail it that Gameweek. I’d expect that their average scores are usually lower than a player who might adopt a more decentralised approach but, in that environment where it’s all about individual gameweek scores, that really doesn’t matter.

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

471 Comments Post a Comment
  1. SHOWSTOPPERRR
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 4 days ago

    Pages moving in a snail pace even on a Thursday..what happened guys??

    1. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 4 days ago

      Counting the flags

      1. Tango74
          2 months, 4 days ago

          I agree

          DCL, Pope, Digne, Dias, Antonio out

          And Gundogan playing more defensive has thrown people

          People praying they are fit

      2. Camzy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 4 days ago

        Too many flags. Can't plan. I'm waiting until Friday night after all the pressers before I decide on anything.

        1. Tango74
            2 months, 4 days ago

            In a way it’s good with flags as people will need to think and there be more differentials.

            I think it’s more exciting ??

        2. Black Knights
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 4 days ago

          Been some very fast moving GWs lately and i know i'm fatugued from the constant deadlines and anti-climaxes. Nice chance for a bit of a breather for a few days til things become clearer.

      3. Fudgy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 4 days ago

        Son + DCL to Raphina + Cavani -8 definitely on the cards now

      4. Hazz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 4 days ago

        BRB - need to find the users who said Moyes was lying over Antonio fitness & convinced he'd miss out.

        Piggy-backing onto what Baines on Toast mentioned last page, in a since deleted Twitter post:

        "FYI ExWHUEmployee has been the go-to reliable ITK for years now. Runs a patreon for West Ham leaks. This person shared Ex's patreon announcement on the injuries for us all to see big up Eddie lol"

        https://www.reddit.com/r/fantasypl/comments/lhlgu3

        1. Fudgy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 4 days ago

          I said he's fit

          1. Tango74
              2 months, 4 days ago

              Not many RMT today

              Which is great

              1. Fudgy
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 4 days ago

                Yes very good

            • Hazz
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 4 days ago

              Always trusted you.

        2. rnrd
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 4 days ago

          I have benn tinkering chips strategies in & out, and I think I have come down to one conclusion: play bench boost whenever you think it is accurate but clearly don't build your strategy around it.

          1. Holmes
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 4 days ago

            GW1 😉

        3. PlayPercentage
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 4 days ago

          Is Siggy worth a punt?
          On penalties. Should start both games.

          1. Fudgy
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 4 days ago

            Not really

        4. AndyMurraysMum
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          2 months, 4 days ago

          On a WC - Gundy/Rash/Dias vs Sterling/Greenwood/Stones - your opinions matter...

          1. Holmes
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 4 days ago

            Prefer 1st option if Dias is fit

          2. aleksaa2
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 4 days ago

            Hi Judy, GRD

            1. AndyMurraysMum
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              2 months, 4 days ago

              The people have spoken - GRD it is. I’m off to make Jamie’s dinner.

          3. Tango74
              2 months, 4 days ago

              Gundogan may play more defensive abs Dias is doubt,

              Stones may concede due to Dias out ?

              1. Wild Rover
                • 10 Years
                2 months, 4 days ago

                Talk about looking for problems

            • ivantys
                2 months, 4 days ago

                2nd one but not Greenwood

            • King Kohli
              • 8 Years
              2 months, 4 days ago

              Would you BB this?

              Martinez
              Cancelo Stones Mee Tarkowski
              Salah Bruno Son Gundo
              Bamford Adams
              Meslier Antonio Soucek Coufal

              Can get Ings/Barnes/Richa for a hit if Antonio is ruled out

              Want to WC 26 with a strong 11 and get BB out of the way.

              1. ivantys
                  2 months, 4 days ago

                  No

                • Corgzzzz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 5 Years
                  2 months, 4 days ago

                  I would play Soucek/Coufal ahead of Adams..........

              2. JelliedSpark968
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 4 days ago

                All of my DGW players have knocks - Digne, Justin, Dias

                Just my luck

                1. SHOWSTOPPERRR
                  • 3 Years
                  2 months, 4 days ago

                  Oly digne got knock, Dias illness, Justin knee injury

                2. Bushwhacker
                  • 1 Year
                  2 months, 4 days ago

                  Dias has the s**ts, could well be fine ; Justin and Digne not serious.

              3. aleksaa2
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 4 days ago

                Sean Dyche: "Corky [Jack Cork] and Popey [Nick Pope] have trained today, which is good. Woody [Chris Wood] is a doubt for the weekend. Josh Brownhill has settled down. He’s certainly in with a chance on Saturday."

                1. SHOWSTOPPERRR
                  • 3 Years
                  2 months, 4 days ago

                  Great news for pope and burnley defensive asset owners..

                2. Hazz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  2 months, 4 days ago

                  Lovely.

              4. Don Kloppeone
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 4 days ago

                Robbo > Mee or Shaw if I'm not planning to WC until GW29/30?

                I have Pope and no MUN def

                Basically who scores more over next 5-6 GWs?

              5. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 4 days ago

                Do we expect Sterling to start 2 games in GW 34?

                1. aleksaa2
                  • 4 Years
                  2 months, 4 days ago

                  Maybe not in 34, but in gw44 he will 100%

                  1. AMBELLINA PRISE
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    2 months, 4 days ago

                    He will blank though

              6. poidlolo
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 4 days ago

                which 1 combination scores more gw24?
                A) Martinez Mee
                B) Pope Targett

              7. fantasydan
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 4 days ago

                Would you bench boost Martinez, Watkins, Dallas and Mitchell this week?

              8. bigdip
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 4 days ago

                GTG? or any hits to make? (0 ft and 3.8mn itb)

                Mcarthy (FORSTER)
                Pieter Rudiger Cancelo (Justin, Lewis)
                Salah Fernandes Gundo SON (Soucek)
                Antonio Bamford Dcl