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How did Fabio Borges become arguably the best ever FPL manager?

Introduction

Fabio Borges is the current career number 1 in the FFScout Hall of Fame and his FPL season history (shown below) makes me want to cry.  

As Stephan Haugsrud of FPL Surgery once said – and Stephan is a guy who is not too shabby at FPL himself, finishing 150 OR last season – Fabio may be the closest thing we have to an algorithm that has cracked FPL.

But the million-dollar question is: how does Fabio do it? Despite being a pro pundit, he doesn’t spoon-feed us the secret to his success. He doesn’t give too much away, but, if you read old interviews, he does give us tantalising clues. Looking at this brilliant article from TopMarx, and Fabio reveals:

“Four seasons ago, I found out about xG. And since then it’s the only stat I use (along with xA) when making FPL decisions. Of course, it is not perfect but if the model is reliable – and you know how to interpret it – I believe it is, by far, the most useful stat for FPL.

I make my own xG tables which I try to update as often as possible. I put a lot of work into it and I try to adjust players’ xG numbers by using their career xG Delta (when the sample is big enough).

There are players who are consistent xG overperformers and others that underperform the model for long periods of time. For example, Kevin De Bruyne overperforms the model by 35% while Jesus underperforms it by around 25%.

I think it’s important to use xG Delta because you can easily be fooled by some great xG numbers from a particular player who is a consistent underperformer/bad finisher. And vice versa.”

I found this quote very interesting. Has Fabio inadvertently revealed the ingredients to the secret sauce of his FPL success?

Career xG Data

xG is a marmite stat, but even those FPL managers who hate it must admit it is clearly working a treat for Fabio. But what does he mean by “career” xG data? And is this where he gets his edge by looking at a long enough time period that variance is stripped out and what you are left with is very reliable numbers that you can put your mortgage and your 1 free transfer on?

To look at this, I downloaded from the FFS Members Area a mega spreadsheet of expect data from the last 5 seasons. Then I took a look at a few of the most popular transfer targets from this international break, starting with Man City’s Joao Cancelo. The idea is to see if we should be bringing in the player by looking at the largest possible sample size of data.

To date, Cancelo has started 47 games since he has been at Man City and in that time generated a “career” expected assists (xA) figure of 8.53. However, season after season, he has underperformed his xA to arrive at a total of minus 4.53. This suggests he flatters to deceive – he has a history of creating lots of chances that never lead to goals and never get him the assist points we expect. Perhaps his teammates and the lack of a clinical striker to convert these chances has let him down in recent years? I’m not saying that Cancelo is or isn’t essential, but rather trying to show how looking at career data can give us deeper insights into how a player will perform in the future.

Now let’s take a look at perhaps Fabio’s favourite player: Mo Salah, who is also in the top 5 for transfers in this week.

We can see from his very juicy career data that there are very few minus figures. This is a player who season-after-season outperforms his expected data (truly the sign of a world-class player). Across the last 5 seasons, his xGI Delta is +19.11 (albeit his exceptional first season does help to power this plus number). This is a guy you can rely on – his xG data never flatters to deceive; he always hits what he is expected to and often surpasses it. If we were looking at one season’s worth of data with Salah and he was posting very strong xG stats, it is tough to know whether this can be maintained. But once you start looking at his career data and see the consistent trend, you know you can rely on the data and you can rely on the player.

What’s also interesting about Salah’s historical data is his goal conversion rate. In the 2017/18 season when he scored over 300 points and broke FPL records, his goal conversion rate was 22.2% of shots. So far this season, it is very close to that at 21.4%. Is he on course for another 300-point season? Keep a close eye on his goal conversion rate as it progresses in the gameweeks to come this season, because if it falls to around the 15% mark, we’re looking at something closer to 200 points like we’ve seen in the last 3 seasons.

Conclusion

With a wealth of data in the mega spreadsheet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The potential and the opportunities for looking at career xG data is tremendous. It allows you to properly audit your transfers in to see if the player you are considering is a flash in the pan or if they are the real deal. By checking their season-after-season figures, you perhaps have the biggest clue you can possibly get in knowing how a player will perform for your team in the future.

74 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Rotation's Alter Ego
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 10 Years
    11 days, 6 hours ago

    Cheers for writing Virg!

    I am surprised about how little attention expected data gets over long time periods - that is, after all, what it was designed for. I guess when we play a game that encourages you to chase form you can lose the big picture a bit. It's certainly something I'm guilty of, often recommend people look last 6 gameweeks when looking at data when perhaps I shouldn't.

    Cancelo being 50% below his xA is weird though. Always felt like he's unlucky but that's a pretty hefty gap for such a long timeframe. Your suggestion seems reasonable, but surely that would mean other City players would have a similar record if it was poor finishing, ie KDB? From memory he always overshoots his xA but admittedly would be creating different types of chances. Perhaps it's just that City don't score enough headers for Cancelo to rack up the assists?

    1. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 4 hours ago

      Thank you so much for publishing this, R.A.E.!

      If you look at Fabio's quote in the article, he mentions KDB overachieving and Jesus underachieving their expected stats. I think Cancelo is in the Jesus mould. But even if he underachieves on his numbers, he is still a great pick!

    2. Goonsquad245
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 7 hours ago

      Cancelo is just variance. Sample nowhere near big enough.

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        10 days, 6 hours ago

        Fair point.

      2. Phil_fox85
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        10 days, 3 hours ago

        Yep agreed, especially on xA.

        The delta on xG over time is far more predictive of future performance.

        Makes sense really as its a measure of that players ability to finish, rather than random team mates ability to finish chances they create.

        1. Goonsquad245
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          9 days, 14 hours ago

          You've got it - xA delta is pretty much useless. There's no such thing as 'assisting skill' as it's inherent in xA - pretty much all variance unless you are setting up Kane/Son/Messi every time (so can see how you might want to apply some weight to Kane/Son's xA)

    3. ryanlatty
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 1 hour ago

      Care to share the spreadsheet?

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        9 days, 7 hours ago

        I'd have to get permission from scout, it's a big ole ugly thing.

        Are there any players in particular you wanted to check?

        1. ryanlatty
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          9 days, 21 mins ago

          No player in particular but a big fan of what you've put together. Perhaps members only access?

  2. BoleynWin
    • 4 Years
    11 days, 6 hours ago

    James Tarkowski first on Newcastle’s radar in the January window apparently, he would drastically improve that defence in fairness. Was disappointed West Ham didn’t manage to persuade him to move last summer.

    The Robinho-esque deadline day moves can wait until next year…

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      11 days, 6 hours ago

      Bring in Potter and couple of transfers like Tark in January, and they will be enough to see Newcastle safe this season, with foundations for the futire.

    2. BENOIT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 6 hours ago

      Meh. Take Zouma all day...

      Hammers needed some legs in defence with Oggy and Dawson both slow, Tark not quick enough either.

      1. BoleynWin
        • 4 Years
        11 days, 6 hours ago

        Zouma is definitely a better centre back but I think Tark would make a great partner to him. Dawson & Oggy are both getting on & will be phased out next season no doubt.

      2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
        • 11 Years
        11 days, 6 hours ago

        Zouma is flying alright

        Only 5 goals conceded in 3 games with him

        1. BoleynWin
          • 4 Years
          11 days, 4 hours ago

          We’ll concede plenty this year, part and parcel of playing more expansive football.

          10 years ago we were in the Championship, we’re now topping our group in Europe & signing World Cup winners. I’ll take that

    3. Hairy Potter
      • 6 Years
      11 days, 6 hours ago

      Far too early to tell where money will be spent in January given the widespread weaknesses in the team.

      The manager situation is priority. 7 wins from last 37 games means that something should change, regardless of the takeover.

      1. Andy_Social
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        11 days, 5 hours ago

        My opinion is instead of going for a glam name like Mourinho, who only coaches galacticos who've peaked sorts, get a solid chap like Potter who will mould less stellar players into a winning unit. Build the infrastructure first rather than spunk money like PSG.

        1. Hairy Potter
          • 6 Years
          11 days, 5 hours ago

          Absolutely agree. Someone who can build a team and style of play, rather than a "name" parachuted in to deal with superstars. One of the frustrating things as a Newcastle fan has been the lack of playing style and cohesion on the pitch at times.

      2. BoleynWin
        • 4 Years
        11 days, 4 hours ago

        Whole heartedly agree on Bruce going, the single reason he’s still there was due to Ashley not wanting to pay a severance package. Now that money is no longer an issue, he should be relieved of his duty shortly.

        In terms of where the investment will be, I don’t think it’s speculating to say we’ll see wholesale change in defence. Absolutely leaking goals, no leadership whatsoever in that back line for me.

        Good luck to you, proper club with proper fans. Deserve to enjoy the ride

  3. Andy_Social
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    11 days, 6 hours ago

    This is really really useful. Has anyone/can anyone made a table of long-term xG/xA/delta in the members area?

    1. Rotation's Alter Ego
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 10 Years
      11 days, 6 hours ago

      I'll ask if it's something we could look into - not sure how it could be presented with the current table setup, but maybe as something that could appear on the player profile pages?

      1. Andy_Social
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        11 days, 5 hours ago

        Something like Top 20 or 30 players' xG Delta, ranked by average xG with one column giving the number of years in the PL.

    2. Salan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      11 days, 6 hours ago

      Hope we can have this in members area very soon.

    3. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 4 hours ago

      I completely agree. Career data is so valuable because it irons out the kinks in the data over time and makes it more reliable.

  4. Major League Shocker
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    11 days, 6 hours ago

    That's a great find Virg, he effectively has a stat that the rest of us don't even have or use! Since he doesn't talk that much about what he does, people who take the time to study what he does and understand it can gain an advantage. Magnus Carlsen is even more mysterious to most.

    Fabio is also one of the very few managers with the patience to usually keep a transfer in his back pocket. He'll roll a transfer, then use only one of his two FT the next week and roll the other, and do this for as long as possible until there is really a massive gain to be made by using both transfers. Most patient managers are quite concerned about ownership and the perceived risk of falling behind the template. Not that Fabio is necessarily 100% unconcerned, but if the numbers don't support a need to do what is popular, he'll go a different way.

    1. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 4 hours ago

      Thanks mate!

      That is why Fabio is so patient with a player. He has seen their career stats and knows that they will come good in the end. Short term form will revert to the long term mean!

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 4 Years
        11 days, 4 hours ago

        Wonder if he’s as patient as I am with Kane though lol

    2. polroger
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      9 days, 16 hours ago

      Great point! Hits are dangerus in the long run.

  5. Ginkapo FPL
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    11 days, 5 hours ago

    If you fancy an update, who are his more non template favoured purchases? I dont need stats to tell me Salah is reliable/"in decline".

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      11 days, 5 hours ago

      I checked his Gw7 side and transfers until then. Looks a bit of a mess to me. But I'd really like to see a table.

  6. The Train Driver
    • 6 Years
    11 days, 5 hours ago

    England playing with 6 attacking players, should be fun to watch...

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      11 days, 5 hours ago

      Only the three goalkeepers on the bench

  7. Bruno Commando
    • 7 Years
    11 days, 5 hours ago

    How has Hwang's recent performances been? On a WC and I'm looking at the below options..

    A) Toney + Raph + ESR + (Livra on bench)
    B) Hwang + Dias + Mbeumo + (max 5.1 and below mid on bench)

    Ramsdale
    TAA Cancelo Rudi
    Salah Son
    Lukaku Antonio

    Bench: Foster Manquillo Luiz

    1. BoleynWin
      • 4 Years
      11 days, 4 hours ago

      He’s taken his goals well, the double against Newcastle were carbon copies of eachother & very similar finishes. Keeper should have done better in my opinion.

      Plenty on here doubting his ability to continue that form given his career goal scoring stats, seems to link well with Jiminez though…

      For me, Toney is worth that bit extra.

  8. Sgt Frank Drebin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    11 days, 4 hours ago

    Interesting article. I wouldn't look at the xA delta though, as it is totally independent of the player. As long as I think it is good to look at past xG stats of a player to assess whether recent results aren't a result of a variance, I'm not sure xG delta can be trusted as an assessment of player's finishing ability. It just involves too much randomness to be conclusive whether it was lack/bad lack or not imho. And you would also need a big enough sample size. Looking at how much variance there is in a seasonal basis xG delta for individual players I would say that it's randomness more than anything and the notion that good finishers will overperform xG and vice versa is just a myth. For example Lewandowski underperformed by 11.14 xG (!) in 18/19 only to overperform by 8.9 xG in 20/21. 22 goals vs 41 goals from almost exact same xG. But that's just my opinion, I would be happy to hear some contradictory arguments, though. Maybe it would be better to look at the difference between xG and xG On Target than xG delta.

    1. RogDog_jimmy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      11 days, 58 mins ago

      This is a great point that needs extra layers of unpacking.

      xA conversion leads to another player’s xG. I suspect xA is already weighted to a ‘generic player’s’ ability to finish?

      One thing this long term data analysis could take into account is age related progression and regression. Especially at the start of seasons to take into account expected performance changes.

      1. Sgt Frank Drebin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        10 days, 4 hours ago

        I think FFS gets xA from Opta and the calculation is a bit more complicated, for example xA is credited even if there was no shot as a result, so it doesn't always lead to another player's xG. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAAVmbzTwH0

        Yes, agree, I was also thinking about it. It would be interesting to see how much on average a player is improving/regressing with every year, when is the peak on average (that's already calculated though, isn't it). So far I was only assessing players subjectively on individual basis but more quantitative approach would probably be better.

    2. Sgt Frank Drebin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      9 days, 8 hours ago

      I had a second thought and maybe xG delta isn't that bad when it comes to slight corrections to the model, but on the other hand I think that measures based on xGOT would be better at explaining finishing skill.

  9. Bobby Digital
    • 4 Years
    11 days, 4 hours ago

    Foden bossing it as playmaker

  10. Sgt Frank Drebin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    11 days, 2 hours ago

    By the way - where can you find such a spreadsheet for download in the members area?

    1. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 1 hour ago

      Custom stats tables. You have to copy and paste each season into a spreadsheet.

      1. Sgt Frank Drebin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        10 days, 4 hours ago

        Thanks. Too bad. Thought maybe such a feature was added - it would be very helpful.

        1. FPL Virgin
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          9 days, 7 hours ago

          Agreed!

  11. Tarby
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    11 days, 35 mins ago

    Definitely the more data the better.
    I'd raise a point that only looking at PL could also be mislead for many player. Top players might have 25% of their minutes outside PL matches, due to the smaller sample sizes in other comps it might be that some hugely over or under perform in say CL that would bring the in-line with xGI in total and cancel out the 'anomalies'.
    To use the Cancelo example in the CL with Man City he's had 2 goals and 1 assist with a 0.5 xG and 0.5 xA. So over xGI by 2.
    Although I agree the Cancelo flatters to deceive!

  12. Casual Player
      10 days, 23 hours ago

      This is interesting. But there were also some simpler takeaways from that Borges article that most here seem to ignore.

      1. Andy_Social
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        10 days, 20 hours ago

        What I got was taking hits is inefficient. Unfortunately, I've had to take hits due to the massive amount of injuries my squad has been incurring, but in general it seems a decent principle to adhere to.

    • Goonsquad245
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 11 hours ago

      Wait....people don't know about using xG delta to derive a measure of finishing skill?

      A few things with this:

      - The Cancelo example - a sample of 8.5xA is nothing (despite the fact that it's over their 'career', and as others have mentioned xA delta is really not relevant at all.
      - xG delta is a piece of the puzzle (it helps with adjusting expectations for players for obvious reasons) but it's not a secret sauce and it doesn't transcend the xG model itself. It just helps you make better predictions based on that model.
      - Fabio is clearly an exceptional FPL player, but he does that by playing safe a lot of the time (not necessarily from an ownership perspective) and makes very few 'mistakes'. It's also likely (close to certain) that he's had a healthy dollop of variance in order to achieve those results.
      - For smaller samples - you can 'weight' the xG for finishing skill calculation purposes to get to a more realistic figure. What I mean by this is adding 50 or so on to each side of the equation - which helps you avoid silly conclusions like Mason Greenwood being a 300% finisher.

    • How shot volume, position, and squad value help predict finishing skill
      TopMarx
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 8 Years
      10 days, 28 mins ago

      Finishing skill is a really interesting topic, and I think one aspect of finishing skill that doesn't get spoken about enough is something Michael Caley observed back in 2014 https://cartilagefreecaptain.sbnation.com/2014/4/25/5652640/player-finishing-skill-is-real :

      "Football managers recognize which of their players have the best striking skills and arrange tactics to get those players the most chances."

      Consequently, as Caley highlighted in his article, there is a correlation between players who shoot a lot and players who finish more of their chances.

      He also found a link between position and finishing ability, noting:

      "Managers, unsurprisingly, know to put their better finishers in advanced positions, and from these positions the players score more goals."

      A third interesting aspect of finish skill is squad value:

      "... player finishing skill is the primary driver of the "super team effect" in expected goals. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all outperform typical versions of expected goals by large margins ... these top sides tend to finish their chances for the simple reason that they have collected players who nearly all, individually, shoot well."

      https://cartilagefreecaptain.sbnation.com/2015/10/19/9295905/premier-league-projections-and-new-expected-goals

      When making their pre-season predictions, squad value is key component of Five Thirty Eight's model:

      "We’ve found that a team’s market value — relative to their league’s average value — is strongly correlated with its end-of-season Soccer Power Index (SPI) rating."

      https://fivethirtyeight.com/methodology/how-our-club-soccer-predictions-work/

      This information is all well and good but, as Fantasy managers, we only really care if it helps us identify which players to pick - a much harder task to do accurately. Nonetheless, I think at least part of the reason Fabio does so well is by considering who gets on the end of chances and how well they finish them.

      1. ritzyd
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        9 days, 18 hours ago

        Seems obvious? Better players are better than average, and the teams with more money / higher wages buy the better players......

        1. Sharkytect
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          9 days, 15 hours ago

          Yeah I kind of agree, but read the article - the detailed content is better than those obvious opening statements

        2. TopMarx
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 8 Years
          9 days, 7 hours ago

          Well, yeah, kind of but I thought it was a little more interesting than that.

          FPL Virgin's article looked at Fabio's use of xG to identify the better finishers. And to use that information when interpreting current, smaller sample size, xG data.

          It's a fairly simple idea but it helps overcome one of the weaknesses of xG: when producing its values xG doesn't account for who takes the shot.

          So if player A tends to overperform his xG, while player B tends to underperform, then player A is more likely to score from 0.5 xG chance than player B.

          Sure, that's obvious, but it helps us get a better feel for xG numbers while also adjusting for potentially noisy smaller sample sizes.

          My point was really to highlight other (much older) research that uses different stats/methods to identify the better finishers: shot volume, position, and team value (or perhaps payroll would be more specific).

          So those are three specific things we can factor into our thinking when reviewing stats or deciding on our transfers/captain.

          I should note that FPL position is not always the same as Opta position. For instance, I think Opta have Mohamed Salah as a forward not a midfielder, which clearly makes a difference.

          I also found Michael Caley's approach interesting: grouping players by different criteria to get bigger sample sizes (small sample size is a criticism of many theories/ideas people put forward).

          It's kind of satisfying to take an idea, in this case 'finishing skill is real', and then to see it proved.

          Another minor thought/point is about what actual football managers do. They want to get the best out of their players, make the team/squad as efficient as they can. Of course they do. It means the data we look at is evolving because a football manager is trying to manipulate his team. (I'm not sure I'm articulating this point well - broadly I think it's about giving context to stats).

          For example, look at Chelsea players before and after Thomas Tuchel. And look at what Nuno is doing at Spurs while he gets to know his players: small sample size but it already appears he is trying to get Son to shoot more frequently, having identified Son as an excellent finisher. Potentially useful info for us Fantasy managers.

          I also thought people might enjoy reading the articles, which are full of fascinating info, imo.

          Michael Caley not only gives his formula for xG but discusses his thoughts/findings behind the formula.

          Expected Goals essentially takes lots of different data points, groups them and weights them to arrive at a single useful metric, which aims to be greater than the sum of its parts. It's geeky, it's interesting, it's thought provoking (to me!).

          I was hoping the post might spark a discussion around some of these points - I've clearly failed at that! Or maybe it's simply not as interesting to others as it is to me. Or maybe it is interesting but I haven't presented it in a way that encourages thought or discussion. Anyway, I will try to do better next time.

      2. Sharkytect
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        9 days, 15 hours ago

        Blast from the past, reading that article, with adebayor and Michu getting mentions alongside “everyone’s transfer target” benteke!

        Summarising the article like this makes it sound a little obvious, I have to say. I mean, obviously managers out the teams best finishers into forward positions and try to supply them with the most chances. All of that goes without saying.
        (An extra note, by the way, is that I find players typically also BECOME better finishers if they regularly get more chances to shoot in top level games. Literally practice-making-perfect…ish)

        But the stats tables in that article are quite interesting. Worth a read.

        1. TopMarx
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 8 Years
          9 days, 7 hours ago

          Yeah, fair, not a great job summarising the articles, but thank you for looking a little deeper.

          And your point feels like it makes sense, how could we test that? Maybe look at players who've taken more than 250 shots and see if their finishing improved when comparing different groups: 1-100 shots, 101 to 250 shots, and 250+ shots? Maybe a fun exercise to do and useful to know if there is a pattern.

      3. Goonsquad245
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        9 days, 14 hours ago

        So the takeaway is that strikers are more likely to be good finishers? The xG model will account for that to some extent - given that it's the strikers who take the most shots, the 'average' will be higher than if it was fairly weighted between strikers/mids/defenders/keepers

        Can you explain how market value helps to predict finishing skill? Can see how it correlates to team strength, but finishing skill specifically?

        Also:

        Who gets on the end of chances = xG
        How well they finish them = xG delta.

        Come on people, it really isn't rocket science. Looking way, way too deep.

        1. TopMarx
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 8 Years
          9 days, 7 hours ago

          Well, three fairly obvious takeaways:

          1) strikers finish a greater proportion of their shots
          2) high volume shooters finish a great proportion of their shots (and combining the two: strikers who shot more finish a greater proportion of their shots compared to strikers who take fewer shots)
          3) earning more money means you are more likely to finish a greater proportion of your shots.

          And you are right, it's definitely not rocket science.

          1. Goonsquad245
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            9 days, 7 hours ago

            Thankyou for the response.

            1. TopMarx
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • Has Moderation Rights
              • 8 Years
              9 days, 7 hours ago

              Of course! And I'm in a different timezone to the UK, I would have replied sooner otherwise.

      4. Goonsquad245
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        9 days, 14 hours ago

        Also, who decides what is a 'hot topic'?

        Is it simply mod post = hot topic?

        1. RedLightning - Top 10k Any …
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          9 days, 13 hours ago

          A large proportion of recent hot topics have indeed been posted by members of the scout team, some of them being regular features and others one-offs, but we also welcome hot topics from other members of our community.

          So if you think that a post by yourself or someone else is a strong hot topic candidate then please flag it to us and we can then decide whether or not to actually make it one.

          The Pro Pundits also used to be encouraged to generate regular hot topics, but now they mostly just write main articles instead.

        2. TopMarx
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 8 Years
          9 days, 7 hours ago

          See my reply to Ritzyd above, but I apologise, I'll give more thought to making hot topics in the future.

      5. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        9 days, 7 hours ago

        Thanks, TM!

        Did you feel you got to the bottom of how Fabio does so well in FPL? He seems a little guarded about his strategies in his pro pundit articles. I have this nagging feeling that he has cracked FPL but he doesn't want to give away the keys to the kingdom.

        1. TopMarx
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 8 Years
          9 days, 6 hours ago

          No I don't. If I had, I'd be better at FPL 😉

          From the few exchanges we've had, he strikes me as a very clear thinking person, he seems to have a good knowledge around football, for instance a better feel for the Portuguese players he's familiar with (given that he's Portuguese).

          Team news and a player's expected minutes are also very important.

          In the interview he mentions a couple of people who do know him well, and they could doubtless give more insights. But from the little I know (and without wanting to betray his trust), I would say you are barking up the right tree by thinking about career xG.

          Also, regarding the Pro Pundits in general, I think it's great that we get to hear from several top managers now, but equally I think there's value in an outside perspective: are you always aware of the things you do well and the things you do badly?

          I would say mostly yes, but there's also knowledge to be gained from what Greyhead does now, and I definitely learned a lot when I used to write those Top Five HoF articles.

          Sometimes people make an emotional (gut) decision and then justify those judgements after the fact. Decision-making is often a mixture of both logic and gut-feeling. And people who are better at something (more experience, deeper knowledge) tend to make better gut decisions. It's not that logic always trumps gut-feeling. So what I'm saying is: it's interesting to hear from the best managers but it's also useful to observe them, if we want to improve.

          1. Simon March
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            9 days, 5 hours ago

            I think there’s a lot to be said for the ‘sixth sense’ you gain from having played FPL for a long time in that, the more scenarios you’ve experienced in the past, the easier it is to navigate them when you encounter them again. The difficulty is that we humans tend to have a very crude method of pattern-matching where, if something reminds you of something, it tends to heavily influence your behaviour - which is fine, except we tend to put more emphasis on the things we can recall easily.

            So, in the same way you might take a punt on a player because they did well for you in the past or remind you of another player who did well for you, a player scoring or not scoring last week is likely to heavily influence your expectation of whether they’ll score next week, and so on.

            That’s why it’s probably helpful to have a system and/or objective standard for making FPL decisions. For Fabio, it looks like that’s xG/xA and his process is to assess the players he’s interested in against these metrics. I’d hazard a guess that this process is probably as important as the metrics to his success as it likely reduces impulsiveness and subjectivity, meaning he not only makes more informed decisions than your average FPL manager but he likely also makes fewer mistakes

            1. TopMarx
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • Has Moderation Rights
              • 8 Years
              9 days, 2 hours ago

              That's interesting that the process could be as important as the metrics. So literally just taking your time over something naturally reduces impulsiveness, is that the idea? (seems fairly obvious)

              I've been reading about 'quasi-rationality', which has intuition at one end of the scale and analytical thinking at the other. The criticism of intuition is that it doesn't require any hard work; it's very easy to say 'my gut tells me'. But, at the same time, I would give value to the gut feeling from someone with experience and a good track record in FPL (yourself or Fabio for instance).

              And I'd also question what something like xG is telling us, given that it groups and weights different shot attributes into one. If a player is consistently over-performing, is that because he's especially good at finishing certain types of chances?

              Maybe they happen to be good at something the xG model considers difficult, such as scoring from distance, or scoring headers.

              Last season JWP scored 3 goals from 4 penalties, which is about what xG would expect, but he also scored 4 goals from 33 shots from outside the box, which is perhaps a little better than xG expects. So he had a delta of +2.27 on an xG of 5.73, therefore he's good at finishing. But we all know he's never going to play centre forward, and get huge volume of chances.

          2. FPL Virgin
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            9 days, 3 hours ago

            Completely agree. The Great and the Good article series is becoming increasingly important. Which is why I was glad to see it promoted from a community article.

        2. Dokdok666
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          9 days, 4 hours ago

          I'm not TM but to me, the fact that he is a former pro poker player says it all. He is used to deal with high stress situations, he is used to deal with (unwanted) emotional response, he knows that the numbers eventually always return to the mean and he has the patience to follow through on a strategy, etc etc

          1. FPL Virgin
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            9 days, 3 hours ago

            Spot on. Fabio has talked about how his poker background has helped him. Getting a bad hand is like having a bad gameweek I guess!

    • Riggs
      • 3 Years
      10 days, 22 mins ago

      Ramsdale or Raya?

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        9 days, 7 hours ago

        Raya. Ramsdale not nailed.

      2. Monster Muppets
          9 days, 7 hours ago

          ramsdale, easy

      3. Quinnie211
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        9 days, 4 hours ago

        Great Article, very informative. not something I'd considered previously all that much. Here's to defeating Fabio!

        1. FPL Virgin
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          9 days, 3 hours ago

          Thank you, that's very kind!

          1. stooshermadness
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 12 Years
            8 days, 10 hours ago

            Just getting to this piece. I am wondering why one would need to look at xG or xA or xGI instead of just looking at a player's G/A/BP/total points history. If a player has a few years in the league his goals/assist/BP numbers tell you what you need to know - I think. I can see where there would be some variance for a defender moving from a weaker team to a strong team (Gary Cahill from Bolton to Chelsea for instance) in terms of CS and gained appearance points. But in terms of attacking players - what does the career x factor tell you that the raw numbers don't ? What am I missing ? And are the x factors meaningful in our own FFS tables - or is there too much variance if we limit our look to, say, the last 6 GWs ? Or even limit it to all GWs played in the current season ? In any event, I wonder if someone far stronger with stats or math can explain why the career x factor would be more instructive than the career raw numbers.

      4. BTMBOCMB
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        8 days, 7 hours ago

        Flash in the pan form is still one of the ingredients for a successful season, you just need more of them. The trick is to get the balance.