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A top 10k finish will always be a great achievement in FPL but, as the game grows in size, it no longer represents what it used to; a highly-challenging yet achievable goal.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. Steve The Spud
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    I am at 45k but think it will be very hard to stay there with no chips left

    1. Ruinenlust
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      You’ll be lucky to finish top 100k

      1. SINGH
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 26 days ago

        Exactly. He needed some fries instead

    2. jason_ni
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      37k with bb this week and fh 37.

      Not sure how it will work, fh for doubles in 37 could backfire when pool and city keep performing!

      1. Pep bites Kun
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 25 days ago

        I reckon I'll be keeping City & Pool players for fh37 - some at least

    3. dshv
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      I am 14k with bb now and fh for 37.. hope to hit 10k for fisrt time

  2. Lucky Z
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Guys, how to improve this FH team?
    Soyuncu is a main concern.

    Schmeichel
    TAA | VVD | Dias | Soyuncu
    KDB | Foden | Salah | Son | Saka
    Nketiah

    1. SINGH
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      Look good maybe bring in Cash?

      1. Lucky Z
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 26 days ago

        Liverpool in the other fixtures do not looks good though

  3. jason_ni
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Son or kdb for the run in?

    Bb 36, fh in 37.
    2ft
    Werner and sterling out for
    A) Jesus & son ( cap salah)
    B) richarlison & kdb ( cap kdb)

    Foster - Schmeichel
    Cancelo - Robbo- Taa - alonso - Davies
    Sterling - Kulu - Salah - Mount - elanga
    Werner - pukki - dennis

    1. SINGH
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      I am doing Son to KDB just for GDW and then bring Son back in 38 as FH 37.

  4. Riverside Red
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Why didn't Matip play for Pool in the Champions League

    1. SINGH
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      Easy game so rested him

    2. DavidBW
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 26 days ago

      Konate preferred in UCL it seems

      1. tokara
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 26 days ago

        Konate will play some b4 the final

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

          Yes probably correct

  5. ElliotJHP
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Slightly too lenient, I'd say top 44,843 is a fair marker

    1. Make Arrows Green Again
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      You'd better not finish out of the top 50k now 😉

      1. ElliotJHP
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 26 days ago

        I'll readjust the algorithm accordingly

  6. aapoman
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Currently ranked 25k and still have BB anf FH left. I've been knocking on the top 10k door multiple times this season but always get pushed back even when I've used chips. Really hoping I can end the season in top 10k for the 2nd time in my FPL career.

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

    Is Cancelo still worth bringing in after 120 mins last night? If Walker is out then I can't see a rest for him

    1. aapoman
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      I'd say there is no chance that Cancelo rests in the league anymore. It's the only trophy they can win this season so they should go all in.

      1. tibollom
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 26 days ago

        agreed, same for KDB i reckon. Laporte is the one Im worried about

  8. Ooh Ah Cantona
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 26 days ago

    +1 for dropping in "anachronistic"

  9. Malinwa
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    What would you do?
    1ft and 1.2itb. BB in 36. Will be using FH in 37.

    Ederson Foster
    TAA Robbo Cancelo Alonso White*
    Salah Havertz Saka Kulusevski Gordon
    Watkins Pukki Dennis

    1. aapoman
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      That's almost excactly my team with a BB 😀 I'd wait on news about White. If he is still injured he is an easy transfer out.

      1. Malinwa
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 26 days ago

        Cheers. If he's fit, maybe Havertz > Foden?

        1. aapoman
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 26 days ago

          Yeah that sounds good

  10. DavidBW
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Is it worth selling Havertz? I have 8.8m to spend and could get in Mahrez instead?

    I have 11 DGWers and benching one of Matip or Laporte. Probably Matip as I don't think he'll play both.

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

      Anyone??

      Do I not get a reply because I have no picture??

      1. Lingard’s Shin Guards
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 26 days ago

        correct

        1. DavidBW
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 25 days ago

          But you have a rubbish name, picture and don't add any worthwhile opinions.

          Do you get replies?

          1. Lingard’s Shin Guards
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 25 days ago

            yea sometimes

      2. Holmes
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 25 days ago

        nowadays, it doesnt really matter

    2. tibollom
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      id get rid of Havertz yes.. why do you think Matip wont play both?

  11. tisza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    It's fair to factor in that if some of the more popular pundits are going well then there's a decent number people of mirroring those teams.

  12. Lingard’s Shin Guards
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Ronaldo, Odegaard -> Nketiah, KDB (-4) then gtg for the BB?

    Sa Foster
    TAA Cancelo Laporte Alonso White
    Salah KDB Son Saka Gordon
    Pukki Nketiah Gelhardt

    Anything worth another hit here? Considered Sa -> Pickford but idk if thats worth it

    1. rilo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      Looks ok

  13. wulfrunian
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    One more excellent article from Simon.

  14. Babit1967
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Right -4 gets me this BB team, really looking forward to this weekends games

    Schmeichal Foster
    Robertson Matip Cancelo Laporte Nouri
    Salah (C) Son Kulusevski Martinelli Ramsay
    Kane Nketiah Pukki

  15. SharkyT
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Start 1:
    A) Nketiah
    B) Gordon
    C) Amartey
    D) Broja

    1. Lingard’s Shin Guards
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      a

    2. ryacoo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 26 days ago

      A

    3. Silent Hunter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      B

  16. dshv
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    BB36 FH37 .. trying to hit 10k

    Casper Foster
    Taa Robbo Alonso Cancelo Cash
    Son Salah Kulusevski Havertz Mount
    Dennis Nketiah Pukki

    0.6itb 2FT. ..

    One to go is havertz, use him and give me 2 good moves ??

  17. DavvaMC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 26 days ago

    Planned on Mount > Foden, but not sure how about the below choices?

    A. Mount > Mahrez
    B. Pukki > Jesus

    Thanks

    1. krumcake
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      B looks good

      1. DavvaMC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 25 days ago

        Thanks, do you think Jesus will play both games?

        1. krumcake
          • 9 Years
          1 month, 25 days ago

          I have no idea. I think Pep will set up their best team for the run in though.

  18. ryacoo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 26 days ago

    A) Saiss to Laporte (bench Ramsey)
    B) Martinelli/Kane to Son/Richarlison -4 (start Ramsey)

    Current team:

    Schmeichel / TAA James Cancelo / Salah Saka Mount Martinelli Ramsey /Nketiah Kane
    (Dubravka Digne Saiss Broja)

  19. J to the T
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Ronaldo Elanga -> Kane Gordon
    Ronaldo Elanga -> Dennis KdB
    Ronaldo Livramento -> Kane Matip (keep Elanga for 38)

    1. rilo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      B

      1. J to the T
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 25 days ago

        Can also just do Kane without a hit. Is kdb worth the (-4)?

        1. rilo
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 25 days ago

          I think he is

        2. CapK
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 25 days ago

          If your gona captain him - Yes

  20. Deulofail
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    For GW36 & 38*

    A) Son + Dennis
    B) Kane + Dewsbury-Hall
    C) KDB + Sargent
    D) Mahrez + Richarlison
    E) Jesus + Kulu (Mane > Salah (-4) possible)

    *Good squad, so can bench one of these in GW38 if necessary)

    1. rilo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      C

    2. Lingard’s Shin Guards
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      A

  21. rilo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Current team
    Ramsdale
    White James TAA Cancelo
    Son Coutinho Jota Saka Sterling
    Weghorst

    Dubravka ASM Schar Broja
    1FT 1.7 itb

    I think i Should get Salah but who Should i sell? Additonval founds i will get by downgrading ASM.
    Sterling, ASM, Coutinho -> Salah, Greenwood (Leeds), Foden
    Or Sell Jota to Salah by downgrading Weghorst and ASM?
    Both-8
    FH GW 37

  22. Bavarian
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Would you do the following moves for -4?
    White-Havertz-Kane > Matip-Son-Jesus

    1. DavvaMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 25 days ago

      Yes.

      1. Bavarian
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 25 days ago

        Thanks mate

    2. CapK
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 25 days ago

      The Kane > Son play is such a tough call - Son been over-performing (as usual) and Kane been underperforming

      Will Jesus play, I have no idea what him playing 80 mins and no more champions league means for him....

      At some point Kane will catch up with his stats. If you think Son will continue to outperform, do it

      1. Bavarian
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 25 days ago

        Thanks for the reply mate, I can see Kane continuing in deep roles with Son's high performance in attack.

  23. CapK
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 25 days ago

    A) Kane + Raph > Nketiah + KDB (C) (-8)
    B) Salah > KDB (C)

    Both moves allow Weg > Richarlson (C) next week

    1. Lingard’s Shin Guards
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      A is a little better but i dont like either tbh

      1. CapK
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 25 days ago

        Want Kevin captain - only way to get him is to loose one of TAA / Salah / Kane I guess.

        Was tempted by Foden as an alternative but with 120 minutes last night, who knows whats gonna happen now

    2. rilo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      Maybe A by i dont like both

  24. DA Minnion (Former great)
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    I agree wholeheartedly with this. I've never finished outside the top 50 K in 12 years playing. A few top 10 k finishes throw in.
    Today I languish at 112 K. Sad times indeed.

  25. Tarby
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Totally agree. As someone who only started playing 5 seasons ago, and only properly 3 seasons ago it is somewhat annoying that I don't have several historical top 100k's or even better, but I've always recognised that it used to probably be easy. Finishing top 100k more than 5 or 6 seasons was probably quite likely is you simply remained all season and did ok. Now it's remaining active and actually have a good season for even top 100k I think

    1. Tommy J
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 13 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      I don't disagree and it is absolutely a valid point. What has changed though is it used to be that you made management decisions based on your own football brain (and 'exchanges of views). Now there will be countless managers who use all the tools and vast amount of guidance on sites like this without having to think for themselves and so we are also now trying to play against cloned teams. I personally don't look at any of the data tools and still go off my 'eye test' when watching the games(and naturally I am not finishing as high as I used to).

      Still great to play and love it each week!

      1. bitm2007
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 25 days ago

        At 23k with BB and FH to play you've still got a good chance of getting your 9th top 10k in 13 seasons though, that's impressive.

  26. ZTF
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Captain which of the following

    A) Salah
    B) KDB
    C) TAA
    D) Kane
    E) Saka

    1. Bavarian
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      A

    2. Silent Hunter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      A

  27. Vlad Tepes
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Is it a risk going cancelo and laporte when they played 120 min yesterday?

  28. C_G
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Amartey + Schar + Carson + Kane ----> Cancelo + Laporte + Nacho + Foster (-8)?

    1. C_G
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 25 days ago

      OR

      Schar + Mount + Kane + Carson ----> Laporte + KDB + Nketiah/Dennis + Foster (-8)?

  29. XX SMICER XX
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 25 days ago

    Would you bench boost this team:
    A. GW36
    B. GW37

    Who is the best Young replacement?
    1. Tavares
    2. Royal
    3. Guehi

    Dubravka Ramsdale
    TAA Alonso Laporte Tarkowski Young
    Salah Son Havertz Barnes Ramsey
    Watkins Weghorst Richarlison

  30. Il Capitano
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 25 days ago

    0.8m ITB - 2FT - BB36

    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)