Hello guys, @RichP_FPL here with an introductory article into the metric I use to assist with my FPL Team: Fantasy Premier League Fantasy Points Against – FPLFPA for short.
First off: a bit about me. I’ve been playing Fantasy Premier League since it was Budweiser Fantasy Football (anyone remember that?!), but FPL records started in the 2006/07 season. I finished in the top 90k that season, followed by finishing 2020th in the 07/08 season. Since then, it’s been more of a casual hobby where I focused on winning my mini leagues, as opposed to focusing on overall rank. Last season (19/20) was my first serious season for a long time and I finished at 98k.
In addition to FPL, I also play NFL Fantasy Football. NFL Fantasy also uses the Fantasy Points Against metric, but for NFL positions. This tool ranks the teams 1-32 in terms of which team gives up the most points to which position. So when looking at players to play, one of the considerations is using a player who is playing a team that gives up the most points to players in that position.
I started collating this information for FPL purposes in February 2020, off the back of successfully using it in NFL Fantasy. I got the idea from @fplkernow seeing him collating the info and wondered what it would look like if I could each positions data into their own fixture tickers.
First off, we see the data in total, at each position. This is broken down into the following: FPL Points Against (FPA) & FPL Points For (FPF) like so:
In terms of FPA – this means how many FPL points this team have conceded at this position. So if they are classed as a green team in the table, they are giving up the most points to the opposition and that position.
This is good, and means this team is a good team to target…
If they are a red team for FPA, this means your player likely wont get many FPL points against this side. So last season for example, Liverpool and Man City were predominantly red teams – they didn’t give up many FPL points to anyone!
In terms of FPF – this is a bit easier to explain. Green teams score the most FPL points at this position and red teams don’t score a lot. You dont want to be targetting red teams for your squad as they don’t score a lot of points.
Each position has its own overall FPA fixture ticker as per this picture:
The fixture ticker gives a visual indication of who has decent games coming up. If a team has a lot of green fixtures coming up, it could be worth considering them for your team. Each position has its own ticker, rather than the basic FDR ticker that just covers the team in general.
I go even further with this, by splitting the data into both home and away games, and also on a Points Per Game Basis, as per the pictures below:
This can really drill down and give you great information about how teams are giving up FPL points to which position, so you can target teams playing these green teams at this position.
I realised using FPL Points as a metric has legs when I was testing it using my Draft team. I identified Watford had some games coming up where their opponents give up a lot of FPL points to Forwards, so I put Deulofeu in. He then got 7 & 12 points.
That led me to write my first article on it, which I submitted and had published by @FFScout. You can read it here:
My first big success from that article was Pepe. The metric told me he could do well against Newcastle and Everton, so I highlighted him as a pick. He got 17 points against Newcastle and then 5 against Everton.
Caveats, OOPs and Improvements Going Forward
There are caveats to using this as a metric, much like there are for using any stats to aid your decision making. Last years top scoring defenders were Sheffield United. However, not only did they play 5 FPL Defenders each game, they also used a 6th frequently by the name of John Lundstram. He scored 5 goals and was on the field for 10 clean sheets! So naturally, Sheffield United scored highly on this metric. If you break it down even further with a PPG per player metric, they still score well, but then they fall a bit closer to Liverpool (the highest scoring defenders using a 4 man defence). On an average (assuming Sheffield United played 5 defenders each game, they averaged 4.3 points per game, per player. Compare that with the 4 man defence of Liverpool, they averaged 4.8 points per game, per player. You have to say though, on prices last season, the Sheffield United guys still offered great value.
We also had players like Martial and Richarlison playing upfront, despite being classified as midfielders in the game. We also had the likes of Mane and Salah playing further forward, but being classed as midfielders. So you need to take these sort of things into consideration.
If you’d like to read more information on the “Outliers”, I wrote a further article here:
Takings from Last Season/Recommendations
Now that the season has finished, heads are already turning towards the new season. The final a FPLFPA data can be used to show top performing teams at each position, which may or may not help your decision making for that GW1 squad (subject to pricing and the fixture list!)
Below you will see the overall table and the table since the restart, for each position. If you’re a believer in form, you may want to consider the table since the restart as a more up to date reference point. With only a few weeks off for players, could we see these teams pick up where they left off?
Nick Pope was the top scoring keeper this year, so he’s due a price rise. I personally like the looks of Hugo Lloris at Spurs. After the restart, Lloris was only second to Ederson for FPL Points scored by goalkeepers. You’ll note Alisson of Liverpool missed 9 games but still amassed 122 of Liverpools 149 GK points. On a 4.2 PPG basis, a full season would have placed him 3rd overall. You’d still argue that Pope & Henderson are better value, but depending on their price next season, this might be a smaller gap.
Despite the caveats mentioned above, I still think Sheffield United defenders could be good value, subject to pricing. Burnley are normally reliable at a reasonable price point. Naturally, people will go for the likes of TAA and Robertson at Liverpool, for good reason. I feel like any teams in both tables will be good options for the upcoming season. If Man City can keep Laporte fit, I’d imagine their defence will be right up there as well. However, they will be priced accordingly, so there may not be much value there.
Man City were outstanding at the Midfield position, and will be key assets next year. People will also flock to the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane as well. Pulisic interests me next year, I think he’ll do very well. As a budget option (subject to price) I like Tomas Soucek. He was joint top for Shots in the box (12) since the restart, for midfielders at £5.5m and under.
As we see Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United and even West Ham featuring on both of these tables, I imagine I’ll look to these teams as my midfield options, depending on price/fixtures of course.
Arsenal, playing 2/3 forwards each game, top the charts here. If Aubameyang becomes a midfielder next year he could be very popular. I feel the likes of Ings, Jiménez and Chris Wood could continue to provide good value next year.
Notice how Sheffield United feature in both tables here. Frequently playing 2 Forwards, they would also sub Forwards on quite a lot as well. Their top scoring Forward was McBurnie on 86 points. At £5.5m, he is 50 points behind Andre Ayew (£5.1m) at Palace, who scored around 50 more points. As mentioned previously, use this metric with caution, and in conjunction with other things. You’d likely prefer Lys Mousset, who scored 84 points and finished at £4.3m for your bench option striker.
Conclusion and Plans for This Season
As mentioned above, I gave this a brief trial using my Draft Team last season. This season, I plan to dedicate a specific additional FPL team to play FPL using the metric. I’ll also use other stats etc, but I really want to test it fully, so when I know more details about how I plan to do this, I’ll get another article out. I’m excited to see how it performs!
For this season, I also plan to go one further with the data, and compile a table using Points Per Game Per Player. So we will be able to see the true value when comparing 5/4 man defensive units, teams playing with 3 Forwards for example.
I hope you find this metric useful, but remember to use it as part of your research, alongside other statistics, to try and come to a well informed decision. Please do leave any comments below, or drop me a message on Twitter!
(All stats taken from the Official Fantasy Premier League website and Fantasy Football Hub)