With the season now complete, our team of statisticians have been reviewing data to analyse just what made the Top 50 managers of the 2018/19 season so successful, and why the All Time Top 50 managers in the game struggled more then you would think. These stats can be reviewed in more detail in the 2019 Pre-Season Site here. It includes ten new features providing the most in-depth Opta stats, heatmaps and Artificial Intelligence to review your 2018/19 season performance and help you plan in advance for the 2019/20 season. This blog provides a sneak peek into our new Pre-Season site, through a review of the first three (of eight) strategy sections to provide an insight into the strategies deployed by the Top 50 teams for the 2018/19 campaign compared to the All Time Top 50 to help determine the optimal route for success in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
It is always tempting to load up a team with reliable assets from top teams such as Salah, Sterling, Hazard, Kane etc. but how many players over £10.0m should you own to avoid weakening the rest of the team? Captaincy can only be delegate to one of them in any given week, and when these heavy hitters fail or get rotated it usually leads to a red arrow (declining rank) as the rest the team cannot pick up the slack. It is wise to spread the risk by having players across the different price brackets in all positions to capitalise on the value options available. This approach also means fewer transfer hits (-4 points) as the structure is in place to hop onto form assets.
All manager types had at least one premium forward around the £11.0m mark, shuffling between Aguero, Aubameyang and Kane based on form and injuries was the evident strategy. Due to heavier spending in midfield, the second forward slot was often compromised, with the Top 50 spending a tad more than the rest on their second forward. This season’s Top 50 also spent less than the other two groups on the third forward, with many opting for a £4.5m non-playing forward to free up cash to deploy a 3-5-2 formation.
With two teams keeping 20+ clean sheets this season, is the 3-4-3 dead? For the first time in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) history a defender has racked up over 200 points (Robertson), outscoring every single Forward. Full-backs have been given license to maraud down the flanks and Midfielders have seen their attacking involvement increase as more teams adopt a possession-based game. Many teams have switched to a ‘false nine’ system, where the Forward plays a more creative role and only a handful of teams now operate with two ‘up top’. FPL managers need to adapt to the change in the landscape and this section analyses how the best have found a winning strategy.
However, the introduction of attacking defenders and wing-backs such as Robertson, Digne, Doherty and Alonso has changed the dynamic. These attacking defenders have outscored many of their midfield counterparts, who are priced significantly higher. Over 30% of the 2018/19 Top 50 managers opted to play with four defenders. Taking advantage of the value offered in defence could be a great strategy for 2019/20.
Good team balance is key. As already touched on, it allows fluidity to bring in the high-priced heavy hitters with minimal hits, and ensures that an FPL score is not dependent on just one area of a team. Clean sheets from Defenders can help achieve a green arrow (improved rank) in a low scoring week, and with goals counting for six points from Defenders choose wisely and invest healthily. It is worth having a budget in mind for each position; Defenders, Midfielders and Forwards to maximise the consistency of steady points scoring each week (50+).
The data shows the best FPL managers will spend around 26% of the budget on the defence, enough realistically for two or three attacking defenders from the ‘top six’ sides. This can then be supported by two or three decent budget options from the better defensive sides lower down the league, preferably using a home/away rotation strategy. The data also shows that the budget allocation was actually quite similar across the board looking at all three tables (approximately 26%).
Check out the new Pre-Season site here. In-depth squad analysis and unique statistics available which cannot be found on any other website, guaranteed to provide entertainment over the summer until FPL is back!