“If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighbourhood. Who ya gonna call? Mythbusters!”
The international break is a time of reflection, contemplation, self-awareness plus debates about your favourite sitcom, over-sharing of your social circle and pizza toppings if you happen to be part of the FPL Twitter community.
Yet, I thought I would use this time away from The Great and The Good to take a closer look at the current Hall of Fame, see how the very best have performed this season and whether I can bust a few FPL myths along the way.
Myth #1 – A good start is critical!
The graph above shows the ranks of the Hall of Fame over the first 29 weeks, the vertical scale is the rank 1 to 2 million and the distance between the ranks is the number of points that separates them.
This is a useful reminder of how the level of difficulty in climbing the ranks increases as you get nearer the top with a gap of 239 between 10,000 and 1 million, whilst that drops down to 151 when you get to the distance between 100,000 and 1 million.
Perhaps no surprise that 2 of them are in the top 5,000 with our no.1 Fabio just outside at 5,881 and they have all shown improvement over the campaign with their highest ranks of the season not hit until Gameweek 21 onwards.
This is a good opportunity to challenge the FPL mantra that a good start is critical with 3 of them sitting outside the top 1 million after the first two weeks.
The most extreme case of this is Tom Stephenson who was at the 3 million mark in Gameweek 3 but who now sits at 4,261, higher than both Darren and Fabio who both had good starts with positions in the top 50,000 after Gameweek 4.
Myth #2 – Stay loyal when it comes to the armband
The general guidance when it comes to picking your captain is to stay loyal to your heavy hitter and if in doubt go with Mo.
The five Hall of Famers have a strong record when it comes to captaincy averaging between 14.8 and 16.9 per armband pick and the initial evidence suggest limiting your choices pays off with most only having 7 or 8 different players.
However, take a look at Alistair who has cast his net much wider with 11 different picks and sits on 452 captaincy points, he has split his selection between Salah, De Bruyne and Kane but also picked seven other players for a one week roll of the dice, even Werner, but let’s not dwell on that. So maybe we can afford to be slightly more promiscuous in our captaincy picks.
Myth #3 – This player is essential!
At various times during the season, players are claimed to be essential and woe betide any manager who thinks of dismissing the anointed ones.
In order to test this I had a look at the top 5 picks of the Hall of Fame, which you can see below, what is interesting here is not who is included in this list but who is not, although an eyebrow may be raised at the popularity of Robertson.
Emiliano Martinez is one that has been deservedly lauded throughout the season and had the “e” word attached to him and yet neither Fabio or Darren have seen it necessary to bring him into their sides at all this season.
In addition, the top-scoring defender in the game Aaron Cresswell has also been surplus to requirements in their squads and indeed Tom’s. Maybe no one is essential.
Myth #4 – Limit your transfer hits and don’t waste your moves on defenders
Two for the price of one here as we challenge the guidance that you should limit your hits and certainly not waste him on defensive moves.
A look at the transfers of the Hall of Fame show that’s not always the case as whilst there is caution evident, Darren Wiles has been the most cavalier with 11 minus fours so far and yet has a good rank and indeed a strong immediate return on his trades with 231 points gained.
There is a school of thought which suggests being sparing in your transfers when it comes to defenders, with the logic being that you should focus your attention on the midfield and forwards where there are points to be made.
Yet, a quick look at Tom’s transfer dealings shows that the majority of his 33 moves have been in defence with 15 different backline trades and only 7 forward swaps.
This is not a one-off with Stephen Harrap also spending most of his transfer kitty on defenders and 35% of Fabio’s moves have been at the back. Maybe taking a hit for a couple of Chelsea defenders this week isn’t the worst idea!
Myth #5 – A decent bench is a necessity
In this season of uncertainty, the only certain thing is that you will be counselled to make sure you have a decent playing bench and so I have pulled the bench data for the Hall of Fame.
What is intriguing here is the divergence in approach with Fabio very rarely calling to his substitutes with a start XI that is usually full of sure starters whilst Stephen has regularly shouted to his reserves to start warming up.
Tom has played little attention to his squad depth with the likes of Brewster, Mitchell, and Balbuena regular members on his bench, so maybe there is no need to have a fine pine despite the chaotic nature of this campaign.
Myth #6 – 3-4-3 is the go-to formation and never dare play the double pivot of doom midfield!
The 3-4-3 has been the staple diet of many an FPL manager, certainly Stephen and Darren feel this way, but this season has shown that the power midfield may be the better option with both Tom and Alistair having 3-5-2 as their preferred option, Mr Stephenson has deployed this formation 64% of the time over the campaign.
Meanwhile, Fabio caused an audible gasp when he dared to go 4-3-3 at the start of the season and play the double pivot of doom, that is the option of playing two cheap 4.5 midfielders in the centre of the park, getting its nickname for the lack of perceived flexibility it gives you when you need to make changes.
Yet, his blistering start which saw him up to 18,000 by Gameweek 10 was built on the dynamic duo of Lemina and Bissouma in his squad, in fact it’s only when he moved away from this partnership that his rank started to wane before he recovered.
There are many more guiding principles that could have been challenged, the importance of team value is normally a good one to provoke a bit of healthy debate and although Tom is cash rich with over 107 million ready to spend, the remainder seem content sitting with 104 million.
I could also have brought up the thorny topic of effective ownership, but I believe that has been that has argued over elsewhere and we all know how upset Az gets on that topic.
Therefore, it just leaves me to wish all the Hall of Famers good luck for the remainder of the season and hopefully, this has given you food for thought.
I will leave you with the suggestion that sometimes the rules are there to be broken and going back to the Ghostbuster reference at the start of the article think of it as daring to “cross the streams” when it comes to FPL.
Back to normal service next week with The Great and The Good and I will also check in on our Community champions to see how they are faring.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now and remember don’t have nightmares.
For those affected by any of the topics raised in the above article then you can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Greyhead19