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FPL Under & Over Performers GW1-12

14 Nov. 2023

Believe it or not, almost a third of the FPL season passed. As we head into international break #3, we reflect on the performances of the FPL players in whom we bestow our trust.

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In this article we crunch the numbers to find out which players have been under-performing against their expected data, which have been over-performing, and which have been pretty much in line with expectation.

Underlying data explained

In order to analyse the underlying data, we need to use a metric to capture this. At Fantasy Football Fix, we prefer to use the compound metric Expected FPL Points (xFPL Points).

xFPL is calculated using Expected Goals (xG) and Expected Assists (xA), which combine as Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Involvements (xG + xA = xI). It also incorporates Expected Clean Sheets (xCS), appearance and bonus points. This metric translates these underlying statistics (i.e. shot type/location giving a probability of scoring = xG) into an overall expected FPL point score (xFPL).

We can compare this data to their actual FPL points score to determine whether a player should have done better than they did, given the opportunities they have had (under-performance), or if a player has done better than would be expected given the quality of the chances they have had (over-performance).

How this data is interpreted requires context and, in most cases, is a personal decision to make, with many nuances to consider.

Top 10 under-performers


Assessing under-performing players can be useful, as it can offer insight into players who are performing well, despite not earning FPL points. FPL managers who do not utilise underlying statistics can sometimes overlook – or sell – perfectly good options, just before they start converting their chances. In most cases, and given enough time, players will eventually come in line with their underlying statistics.

Using the Opta Stats Sandbox, we have put together a list of the top 10 biggest under-performers so far this season. The first thing which jumps out is that Aston Villa’s entire backline features in the top 10. This suggests that defensively, Villa are conceding more goals than they should be, given the quality of opportunities their opponents have had.

Indeed, running a similar analysis at team level, we can see Aston Villa is ranked as the 3rd most-under-performing team when comparing clean sheets (2) to Expected Clean Sheets (3.99). Matty Cash (£5.2m) comes out ahead of the others due to under-performing against his xG and xA, in addition to dropping clean sheets.

In Gameweek 9, Nicholas Jackson (£6.8m) was top of this list by a country mile, but after scoring 4 goals (from 3.43 xG) in the last two Gameweeks, he has dropped down the list somewhat, and has been replaced by Marcus Rashford (£8.6m) who only managed 35 points, despite strong expected data.

Top 10 over-performers

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It is equally important to assess when players are over-performing. As with under-performers, those who are scoring from low-quality opportunities will eventually find that their performance comes back in line with what is expected. Of course, we may see a player who just has a gift for scoring long-range screamers, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Generally, over-performance is not sustainable over a season.

A great example of this is Ollie Watkins (£8.4m) who in Gameweek 9 topped the over-performers' table. He has now dropped down to fifth after a series of disappointments for his new owners. Rather than simply coming back in line with his expected data, Watkins seems to have gone backwards! Over the last three Gameweeks, Watkins has scored just once from 3.00 xG, and has no assists from 0.76 xA.

Of note, Hwang Hee-chan (£5.5m) has displaced teammate Pedro Neto (£5.6m) from the table; the South Korean has racked up 5 goal involvements in the last 6 Gameweeks (from an xGI of just 2.99). Whether or not this over-performance is sustainable is anybody’s guess, but Wolves now embark on a good run of fixtures, and at £5.5m, Hee-chan offers tremendous value.

Players most in-line


Of course, FPL is not all about those players who are about to explode and/or the superb finishers for whom everything is going their way. To be successful in a campaign, we must also include those players who we can rely on to go out onto the pitch and do the job we expect.

As a result, we have included, for your reference, all players who are within 2 points of their expected data. Solid options who will deliver when we expect them to, and maintain consistency across the season. Popular options such as Erling Haaland (£14.0m), Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Kieran Trippier (£7.0m), and Kaoru Mitoma (£6.6m) are all performing as expected.

By Matt Whelan


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