Pro Pundit Teams

Why ‘Top 50k’ should be the new ‘Top 10k’ in FPL

Ex-FPL winner Simon March: How to avoid getting carried away with your GW1 picks

For well over a decade of Fantasy Premier League (FPL), a top 10k rank finish has been the gold standard target for most of us managers. While there are some who achieve it so regularly that it probably feels more like a formality than an achievement at this point, for the mortals among us, a 10k finish has been the iconic badge of honour, the shorthand for ‘I’ve had a really good season’ and, if you’ve managed more than one, a clear demonstration that, at some point at least, you were pretty good at this game.

A top 10k finish will always be a great achievement in FPL but, as the game grows in size, it no longer represents what it used to; a highly-challenging yet achievable goal. Instead, top 10k has become a somewhat anachronistic and perhaps overly-elitist measure of managerial prowess. This article will discuss why this is the case and argue why we might need to adopt a new standard for what a ‘Top 10k’ finish used to mean and, I will argue, that this standard should be ‘Top 50k’.

The Game Has Grown

The first and most obvious argument for why we should consider reviewing the 10k standard is that the game is much, much bigger than it was when that standard was established. I had my first top 10k finish in 2012 when, I believe, there were about two million players but now, ten years on, there are over nine million. In fact, if you finish in the top 5.3 million this season, you will have beaten more managers than it took for me to win FPL in 2015.

To put it another way, a top 10k finish 10 years ago would have put you in roughly the top 0.5% of all managers whereas a top 10k finish this season would put you in the top 0.1%; there is a world of difference between those figures.

In pure probability terms, the more people that play the game, the more difficult it becomes to succeed in it or, rather, to succeed as a result of skill alone. That’s not to say that anybody ever did succeed as a result of skill alone, but with nine million opponents playing a game, it is highly likely that a good proportion of those will outperform you on the basis of luck, even if their technique is objectively worse than yours. This effect will compound the bigger the game grows.

In addition, it’s not simply the fact that there are a lot more people playing FPL now but there are also a lot more people remaining active throughout the whole season. While I don’t have access to the numbers themselves, in the past you could sense that outsized gains were achievable simply by not losing interest halfway through the season. Nowadays, those gains still exist in some form, but they are far less significant. For most people, a really good rank requires a season-long effort.

The Gap Between Serious and Casual has Narrowed

Speaking of technique, however, it would be wrong to say that skill is no longer a factor. While FPL managers have good and bad seasons by their own standards, it is no accident that those who take the game more seriously tend to do better more consistently than your average player. Indeed, there are managers and content creators within the FPL community who are having incredible seasons right now, and some are even flirting with the possibility of winning the whole game.

So skill and dedication are not dead as factors in FPL and never will be, however big the game grows but, aside from the quantitative argument detailed above, we also need to factor in the qualitative element that the skills and techniques that tend to make a good manager are no longer solely the purview of those of us who stumbled across an FPL blog a decade or so ago and stuck around for the stats tables.

Nowadays the ‘secrets’ of FPL success and the information necessary to gain an edge over rival managers are more easily accessible and more plentiful than ever before. The net effect of this is that there are not just more FPL managers playing the game but more with the toolkit required to play it well.

In totality, whether it be the number of people playing, the increased luck factor or the growing sophistication of the average player, achieving a good FPL rank is becoming an ever more challenging objective. This is why I believe we should be looking at ‘top 50k’ as the ‘new’ top 10k.

Why Not Just Stick to 10k?

The counter-argument to this might be that, even if these factors have made the game more challenging, they shouldn’t necessarily dictate how we judge success. Lots of games and sports have become more competitive over the years without the definition of ‘doing well’ being relaxed. Heaven forbid that the dog-eat-dog theatre of war that is FPL should become the domain of participation-trophies or *shudder* ‘just playing for fun’. The competitive spirit that surrounds FPL is a big part of what makes it so compulsive. However, that is not the reason why 50k should be the new 10k.

A top 10k finish was always supposed to be an exclusive club but not necessarily an ‘elite club’. The point of it was that, if you were a dedicated player, it typically remained just about achievable as a goal at least up until the business end of the season and this added a lot of engagement and motivation for that type of FPL manager.

Nowadays, unless you have an extraordinary run late on, your chances of a top 10k finish are probably more-or-less determined by the start of the final third of the season, probably even earlier. Because we don’t talk about breaking the top 50k with the same sort of reverence that we talk about breaking the top 10k, we find at this stage, a small (and ever-decreasing relative to the whole) group of managers in and around the 10k with lots to compete for followed by, well, everyone else. It’s a bit like how you might imagine the lower leagues would be without the play-offs. 

There are tens of thousands of managers in and around 50k who, for reasons explained above, should feel like they’re having a great season with everything to play for, but because our conventions and our standards of success haven’t evolved or expanded along with the game, instead these managers are probably just waiting for the season to end.

Why 50k? Well, technically we’d be best served by shifting to a percentage-based model where we’re all aiming for the top 0.5% and the target evolves automatically alongside the number of players but, probably because we look at ranks in absolute terms, that model never seems to catch on. ‘Top 50k’, on the other hand, is probably just about catchy enough to stick and, being the equivalent of ‘Top 10k’ about ten years ago relative to the number of players then and now, it should serve us for another few seasons at least, depending on how fast FPL continues to grow.

Conclusion

A top 10k finish may never not be an iconic target in FPL, particularly for us old-school managers, but it no longer means what it used to mean. The game is far bigger and more competitive than it was when ‘Top 10k’ emerged as the de facto target for serious FPL managers looking to measure themselves against more than just their mini-leagues.

A top 10k finish is now arguably closer to what a top 1k finish used to represent and there’s a reason why ‘top 1k’ was never the standard. For a competition to be compelling, targets need to be challenging but also realistically achievable for a big enough group of people so as to maintain the competitive motivation at a scale that can sustain its community. This cannot be done if those targets are too narrow, or too elitist in nature.

If you are the type of FPL manager who understands the difference between finishing 10,000 and 10,001 in the world, you will also understand why finishing in the 40,000s versus in the 50,000s or 60,000s should also matter but, right now, I’m not sure that it does and the game suffers as a result. That’s why we need to adopt the top 50k as the standard target for serious managers.

Postscript; coincidentally, yes I have just broken into the top 50k for the first time this season, I’m really not sure why you’d think that is important…


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369 Comments Post a Comment
  1. OptimusBlack
    • 9 Years
    18 days, 14 hours ago

    Pick one to get from city from those
    A- Laporte
    B- Dias
    C- Mahrez
    D- Foden

    1. McSauce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      C

    2. Silent Hunter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      C

    3. Indpush
      • 4 Years
      18 days, 3 hours ago

      A

  2. McSauce
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    18 days, 14 hours ago

    Dias or Laporte?

    1. Bavarian
      • 4 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      Laporte

    2. Silent Hunter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      Dias

    3. Indpush
      • 4 Years
      18 days, 3 hours ago

      Laporte

  3. AC/DC AFC
    • 6 Years
    18 days, 14 hours ago

    Since Pep and his boys pepped the final, are they less tempting for the league run in?

    They've got to be deflated but should be professional enough to pick themselves back up.

    Or is it easier to just focus on Son and Spurs?

    1. Qaiss
      • 6 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      Man City will still win the league, not sure who they will drop points to, especially if West Ham go through today.

    2. ebb2sparky
      • 11 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      I think it’ll make them even more determined to win the league. They won’t want to see Liverpool winning the quadruple.

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        18 days, 13 hours ago

        Yeah, you're probably right on that.

        I also thought that Pep may leave this summer with a Champions League win, as that still eludes them he may go for it again with Haaland.

        In a footballing sense it's good to see the £100m for Grealish wasn't enough to win it. But i get it's against Real Madrid.

        Liverpool have shown they could well have beat them again anyhow.

  4. Giggs Boson
    • 10 Years
    18 days, 14 hours ago

    Who scores more iyo?

    A. Saka (LEE, tot, new, EVE)
    B. Zaha (WAT, avl, eve, MUN)

    1. Holmes
      • 8 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      A

    2. Bavarian
      • 4 Years
      18 days, 14 hours ago

      A

    3. Calv1n
        18 days, 14 hours ago

        A

      • Il Capitano
        • 1 Year
        18 days, 14 hours ago

        A

      • Silent Hunter
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        18 days, 14 hours ago

        A

      • Giggs Boson
        • 10 Years
        18 days, 13 hours ago

        A

        1. Rohirrims
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          18 days, 13 hours ago

          lol

      • OptimusBlack
        • 9 Years
        18 days, 13 hours ago

        A

      • Camzy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        18 days, 7 hours ago

        Saka easily.

      • Natflax
          18 days, 5 hours ago

          Doesn't everyone love answering the easy questions lol

        • RedRo
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          18 days, 5 hours ago

          A

      • Viper
        • 12 Years
        18 days, 14 hours ago

        Which combo looks best for this week & Gw38

        A. KDB & Martinelli

        B. Diaz & Richarlison

        C. Diaz & Jesus

        D. Diaz & Dias

        1. Holmes
          • 8 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          A

        2. Deulofail
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          C>A>B>D

          1. Rohirrims
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            18 days, 13 hours ago

            this

        3. Silent Hunter
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          A

      • Calv1n
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          Start:
          1. Ramsdale
          2. Foster

          Captain:
          A. Son
          B. KDB
          C. Saka
          D. Mount

          1. Silent Hunter
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            18 days, 13 hours ago

            1 , B

            1. Bucket Man
              • 3 Years
              18 days, 13 hours ago

              Agree with this

        • Kloppage Time
          • 6 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          I´m thinking or either Mahrez or Foden as my third City player to replace Mount, but I should I bring in Saka instead?

          Yes/No

          1. Sea-goals
            • 7 Years
            18 days, 14 hours ago

            No. I like City despite the minutes in the CL. Foden seems the safer bet but Mahrez is tempting. I'd go Foden

            1. OptimusBlack
              • 9 Years
              18 days, 13 hours ago

              But Foden played 120 minutes dude

          2. Camzy
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            18 days, 7 hours ago

            Don't replace Mount imo.

          3. Indpush
            • 4 Years
            18 days, 4 hours ago

            Keep Mount

        • checkit_j
          • 2 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          What to do with this crew?

          A)Kdh - Gordon ? Too sideways?
          B)Pukki to Jesus?
          C) Roll

          Schm

          Taa - James - Laporte - Cancelo
          Mount - Son - Salah - Coutinho - KDH
          Nketiah

          Pukki - Davies - Gelhardt

          Might TC this week Salah/Son or punt TC Coutinho GW37 to catch up

        • Il Capitano
          • 1 Year
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          0.3m ITB - 1FT

          Ramsdale
          TAA Robbo Cancelo Laporte
          Salah Saka Kulu Raph
          Kane Pukki

          Foster - Nketiah Ramsey Doherty*

          BB36, no FH for 37:

          A) Doherty > 4.9m Def (Everton, Palace, Leicester, Spurs)
          B) Doherty + Ramsdale > Digne + Schmeichel (-4)

          1. Bucket Man
            • 3 Years
            18 days, 13 hours ago

            A. Ramsdale will probably get a clean sheet so could match or even beat Schmeichel. Would get Guehi.

            1. Il Capitano
              • 1 Year
              18 days, 13 hours ago

              Cheers

        • Sea-goals
          • 7 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          How to use my 2FT? FH37, so it's use them or lose them. 1.6ITB

          A. White and Havertz > Laporte and Foden (play 5-4-1 with Barnes on the bench)
          B. Barnes to Foden (play 4-5-1)
          C. Something else?

          My team:
          Schmeichel
          Alonso Matip Robertson Cancelo
          Saka Havertz Barnes Salah(c) Kulusevski
          Kane

          Bench: Foster White Rodriguez Ferguson

          1. Rohirrims
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            18 days, 14 hours ago

            Kane and Kulu to Son and Jesus?

            1. Sea-goals
              • 7 Years
              18 days, 13 hours ago

              Interesting, thanks! I had been stubbornly sticking with Kane, but this is certainly an option. A bit unsure of Jesus getting minutes

        • Rohirrims
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          On a BB this week and will be FH in 37.

          Alisson - Foster
          TAA - Cancelo - James - Laporte - BDavies
          Salah - Sterling - Mount - Saka - KDH
          Pukki - Watkins - Nketiah

          1 FT, 1.6 ITB.
          Going to move Sterling to KdB and could take a hit to bring in Gordon if KDH looks unlikely to start. Any thoughts?

          Don't like Ben Davies all that much but he is needed for GW38.

          1. Sea-goals
            • 7 Years
            18 days, 13 hours ago

            I'd stick with Gordon. He's more attacking and against Watford in one of the games. Most likely both of them blank

        • FPL MAN 123
          • 4 Years
          18 days, 14 hours ago

          G2G?
          1FT in the bank.
          FH next week.
          *DGW

          Ramsdale*
          TAA* | VVD* | James*
          Salah*(TC) | Saka* | Maddison* | Kulu* | Coutinhio*
          Kane* | Dennis*

          Foster* | Broja | Schar | White*

          1. FPL MAN 123
            • 4 Years
            18 days, 14 hours ago

            tempted with a -4

            White and Maddison > Fodder & Mount

        • TopBinFC
            18 days, 14 hours ago

            Had Foden & Saka on WC, changed to KDB & Odegaard, yay or nah?

            1. Rohirrims
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              18 days, 14 hours ago

              Nah

          • Taegugk Warrior
            • 3 Years
            18 days, 14 hours ago

            Alonso or diaz..?
            Already have cancelo & james

            1. Bucket Man
              • 3 Years
              18 days, 13 hours ago

              Alonso for attacking upside.

          • Tommo1212
            • 1 Year
            18 days, 14 hours ago

            I personally think you should always play your strongest lineup when available.......but with potential rotation or so called minute management , whatever you want to call it these days...how many mins will these 3 assets get across the DGW?

            A - Mount (Wol/lee)
            B - Foden (New/Wol)
            C. Bowen (Nor)

            Thoughts?

            1. Hktrader88
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              18 days, 13 hours ago

              A. I expect 90 in the first game. If Spurs lose and Chelsea win then benched in the 2nd.

              B. Benched in the first, probably 0 minutes. Starts 2nd

              C. I expect he will play. West Ham need to secure 7th.

          • Tigger_7
              18 days, 14 hours ago

              Have Cash & Coutinho (FH in WK 37)
              Switch out for -8 to Alonso & Saka??

              1. Tigger_7
                  18 days, 13 hours ago

                  Using BB this week

                • Indpush
                  • 4 Years
                  18 days, 4 hours ago

                  No

              2. Trovsmash
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                18 days, 13 hours ago

                Playing my BB, some feedback would be greatly appreciated 🙂

                Pope
                TAA James Laporte Cash
                Martinelli Saka Salah Son Ramsey
                KAne

                Dubravka Broja Hwang Holgate

                A. Kane & Martinelli to Pukki & KDB -4
                B. Broja & Pope to Nketiah & Pickford -4
                C. Kane & Martinelli to Foden & Rich -4
                D. Kane & Holgate to Richarlison & Cancelo -4

                1. AC/DC AFC
                  • 6 Years
                  18 days, 13 hours ago

                  B but can you afford Broja to Nketiah on his own?

              3. dabber7
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                18 days, 13 hours ago

                Hey guys, for the rest of the season ...

                A) Guaita & James
                B) Pickford & Laporte

                Many thanks

                1. Bucket Man
                  • 3 Years
                  18 days, 13 hours ago

                  Probably B.

                2. AC/DC AFC
                  • 6 Years
                  18 days, 13 hours ago

                  I know they've got the motivation and fixtures but Everton's away form has been terrible.

              4. BoroPhil
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                18 days, 13 hours ago

                On BB, all DGW players
                Schmeichel, Foster
                Cancelo, James, TAA, VVD, Laporte
                Salah, Saka, Havertz, Gordon, Foden
                Pukki, Watkins, Nketiah

                1FT. £1.1 ITB

                a) Foster to Pickford
                b) Havertz to Maddison
                c) Watkins to Richarlison
                d) something else

                FH37 so rolling burns a transfer

                1. Bucket Man
                  • 3 Years
                  18 days, 13 hours ago

                  Would probably go C. Will Maddison play both games?

              5. thomashl
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                18 days, 13 hours ago

                Mount to Foden for free this week or no?

                1. Indpush
                  • 4 Years
                  18 days, 4 hours ago

                  No. Use it for something else or roll

              6. Disturbed
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                18 days, 13 hours ago

                Best defender under 5.4m for the dgw?

                Schmeichel dubravka
                Robertson cancelo XXXX white schar

                1. fish&chips
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 11 Years
                  18 days, 13 hours ago

                  Matip

                  1. Disturbed
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 8 Years
                    18 days, 9 hours ago

                    Good shout, cheers

              7. hobfpl
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                18 days, 13 hours ago

                I have to go aggressive in my mini league for the final few gameweeks.
                1st 2nd and 3rd have the following same players in common:
                Alonso, TAA, Salah, Saka, Mount.
                Think i need to roll the dice here inorder to catch 1st and 2nd.
                I need to transfer out some of the common players and hope to catch them on points.
                Who would ye move out and for who ?

                1. Indpush
                  • 4 Years
                  18 days, 3 hours ago

                  Alonso for Laporte or Dias

              8. fish&chips
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                18 days, 13 hours ago

                Would you take a hit to move havertz or mount on?

                Trouble is all of the options are rotation risks themselves so not sure it's worth it even though I'm unlikely to get 2 games out of them

                Foden, Diaz , Jota, maddison

                1. Indpush
                  • 4 Years
                  18 days, 3 hours ago

                  Nope. Keep them this week