Anthony O'Shea

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Stag’s Take - FPL Prices

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


 

 

From May 22, FPL managers across the world settled into hibernation until the week commencing July 10. We had a tweet from the FPL Overlords confirming the game would launch for the 2017/18 season then.

 

 

 

 

Speculation was rife about when the game would start. FPL addicts seeking the time that they could get their next hit attempted to interpret the abacus attached to the official announcement tweet. There were numerous equations developed based on the beads’ formation. Others looked at the Holgate name on the side and tried to use numbers associated with the young Everton defender to get their answer. In the end, I don’t think anyone knew precisely when the game would be released, even those on Twitter who claimed to be #itk (in the know). Eventually, it launched on Wednesday morning London-time – July 12.

 

This article is not about “hidden gems”, “bargain basement”, or “the 5 players you need for fantasy success this season”. Instead, I’m interpreting the overall pricing in this year’s game in order to help people create balanced teams. Please bear in mind that I am writing this on launch day, so if I have missed a detail (though I don’t think I have), don’t be too harsh. Just tweet me @FPLStag and I’ll make an amendment. Firstly, I'll go through the four positions in the official Premier League salary-cap game. Then, I'll briefly examine the three ways I believe teams are most likely to distribute their budget.

 

 

The prices, the positions and the assessments

 

Goalkeepers                  

 

As with last season, there is little team value to be saved amongst the shotstoppers. Five of the Top Six’s ‘keepers will set you back 5.5m, Liverpool’s Mignolet is then priced at 5.0m along with five other goalies expected to score well. At the other end of the scale, there is a dearth of starting ‘keepers who will be priced at 4.0m. The only potential starter in this bracket is Newcastle’s Rob Elliot, who may get the nod ahead of Karl Darlow.

 

Thus, as per every season, the debate in this position boils down to a premium option (5.5 + 4.0 fodder), a more balanced approach (5 + 4.5) or a strategy which rotates ‘keepers priced at 4.5m.

 

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Thanks to an article posted by Fantasy Premier League Hints , it seems that a mix of Crystal Palace and West Ham is your best bet if you want to select two cheap ‘keepers before an early wildcard. More on FPL Tips for your GW1 team from me later this summer.

On goalkeepers, expect to spend 9.0 – 10.0, though I recommend 9.0. Every season, a newly promoted side has an all-action miracle man who provides decent returns as Heaton did last year, and Marshall did Cardiff a few seasons ago. Keep that in mind.

 

Defenders

First and foremost, it’s worth noting that James Milner (6.5) and Victor Moses (Also 6.5) have had their position changed from midfielder to defender. In the case of the latter, who is likely to share minutes with new-signing Antonio Rudiger, this is barely newsworthy. But for Milner, this is huge. He scored seven times from the spot last season. Each of his goals from twelve yards this season will be worth one point more, while he’ll also get more points each time Liverpool somehow manage to keep a clean sheet. They did so twelve times last term, that’s an extra 36 points for James. The goals and clean sheet corrections would bring his total from last season up from 139 to 174 points according to the official FPL site. I presume they calculated this number by adding 36 and 7 for the clean sheets and goals respectively, before deducting points for goals conceded in games. I’ll wager the bonus point system would have favoured Milner further though, and that his total may in truth have eclipsed 174. Regardless, 174 would have made him the third highest scorer in the game. If Klopp fails to bring a new left-back to Anfield, or if Milner starts consistently when one arrives, I think he’ll be an essential pick.

 

 

Marcos ‘Goalonso’’s popularity will be sure to collapse this year since he was slapped with a 7.0m price tag. As I will mention later in this article, the game is forcing players to cut back on defensive spending to fit in more than four or five strong forwards and midfielders.

 

It seems that you can guarantee yourself access to most of the top defences for a steep 5.5m outlay, although you’ll be hard-pressed to get a starting Chelsea defender for that little. Here’s a tweet where I’ve highlighted some of the top backlines from last season:

 

 

If Kyle Walker’s long expected move to Man City goes through, Kieran Tripper – assist king extraordinaire – will be available for 5.5m and should start. At the other flank, Ben Davies has the same cost and may deputise in place of the crocked Danny Rose early in the campaign.

 

I mentioned City in passing just there. Value may crop up in their defence yet as Guardiola will need to make a number of moves to make up for all the releases of their full-backs at the end of last season. City have currently got just FOUR registered defenders in FPL.

 

Mason Holgate (4.5), expected to stand in for Seamus Coleman until the new year, could well be the best value defender of all this season. I expect that most FPL managers may be forced to select two, if not three, defenders in the bargain bracket if they are to build a balanced squad. However, last year’s empirical evidence suggests that you would be committing folly to ignore the premium assets. None of last season’s top 20 come in at less than 5.0m. Only McAuley, Daniels, and Bertrand (at a stretch) come from outside the league’s elite rosters.

 

 

 

Midfielders

 

Due to the price inflation this year, it is impossible to access any of the top eleven midfielders from last term for less than 8.0m. Even at that, those two “bargains”, Pedro and Son, aren’t guaranteed playing time every week.

 

The 7.0 – 8.0 contingent is massive this year, with many of the 3rd and 4th midfielders you probably hoped to get within this category. The cheap lower mid-priced mids like Nathan Redmond have also seen their costs hike to 6.5.

 

It appears to me that there has been a conscious narrowing of the gap between near elite players and the mid-priced men. Traditionally, there’s an elite group whose value is no lower than 9.0. Now, there’s a strict choice to be made between one of Alexis, Hazard, and KdB, all of whom cost more than 10.0. From then on, you’re forced to choose between a huge selection whose values range from 6.5 – 9.5.

 

The budget constraints will force managers to flush out the group who are available for less than 6.0 to find a deal. I reckon that teams who choose to have two elite strikers may have to pull three names from this hat. More on formation decisions deeper in this piece. Of the 5.5m men, Only seven of the players broke 100 points in the game last season. Etienne Capoue, still riding high on his purple patch when last year began, leads this group in terms of points and goals – notching up 7. Joe Allen and Leroy Fer follow on 6. In terms of assists, Ryan Fraser’s nine is the largest, most of which were attained by winning penalties. That’s an incredible stat given that he broke into Bournemouth’s first team squad late in the season. Neither was he a consistent starter by any means (GET HIM!). Matic and Herrera are also noteworthy in the assist production department. Former fantasy legend Chris Brunt has been classified as a midfielder this term and he is also within this price batch. He should not be discounted in your selection, especially if he looks to be retaining set-piece duties as pre-season reaches its conclusion.

 

There are a number of defensively minded 4.5m starters. You’ll probably have to close your eyes and click on one, although Ruben Loftus-Cheek, now at Palace, is certainly tempting. I recommend waiting for my article on Brighton before you make a final call on this final slot in your side. You can follow me on Twitter if you want to be notified when I post that article in a few weeks.

 

 

 

Forwards

 

In every other position, I took a high to low approach when summarising the pricing. I’m going to invert that process here.

 

There is very little to be gained, in fact you may just get sympathy cameo points, for choosing a third striker for less than 5.5m. None of them, including Tammy Abraham, are guaranteed starters right now. I feel that two point per game players start at 6.0m. Only one of those players scored on ten occasions last season, and that was Sam Vokes of all people. Jay Rodriguez, back as a forward again, is also worth mentioning if he can earn a starting spot under Pulis and rediscover the form which saw him represent the Three Lions a few years ago.

 

Mid-priced strikers are an intriguing group. There are many high ceiling players like Vardy (8.5m) and Iheanacho (7.0) to choose from. If you err on the side of selecting Alexis Sanchez and pouring your money into midfield, you will certainly be look one, or even two, of these.

 

Harry Kane is fantasy gold at 12.5m though, while Lukaku is 11.5. Striking a balance, pardon the pun, between a high-power midfield and premium strikers will be impossible.

 

 

 

Formation consequences

 

I’ve alluded to it throughout the piece, now it’s time to address this.

 

You will not be able to select (while maintaining a balance XI or XV):

  • Sanchez + 2 premium strikers
  • 4 solid MIDs + a premium striker

 

The maths just doesn’t allow it. The average price of two premium forwards is 23.0m, give or take. Solid midfielders would average 9 million.

 

If you’re generous with your figures and select 2 premium FWDs for 23, and average 8 million for four midfielders (and that’s easy to do), you leave just 4.77 million for each of your next 9 players.

 

A game has been created this year which revolves around a number of binary decisions in attack and midfield. The correct answer, due to the crazy amount of firepower now available across seven sides, won’t be unrealistically aiming to maximise your points. Instead, you are forced to measure the sum of the opportunity costs in each of your decisions as you perceive them.

 

I have a number of squad selections here for your perusal. I advise you to pay less attention to who I have picked, and more so to how much they cost.

 

Each of these sides represent different ways to balance between midfield and attack. You could find an extra million or two for redistribution by gutting the defences of these sides, but the general point still stands. The formation in brackets sets out how a side would ideally be deployed in a gameweek.

 

Two Premium Strikers [4-4-2]

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Cost breakdown:

 

Goalkeepers: 9.0

 

Defenders: 27.0

 

Midfielders: 35.0

 

Forwards: 29

 

 

Heavy investment in midfield + a premium striker [3-5-2]

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Cost breakdown:

 

Goalkeepers: 9.0

 

Defenders: 26.5

 

Midfielders: 41.5

 

Forwards 23.0

 

 

Balanced approach [4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or 3-4-3]

 

(Note: If you take this approach, I believe Sanchez is a must)

 

View post on imgur.com

 (click to open in new tab)

 

Cost Breakdown:

 

Goalkeepers: 9.0

 

Defenders: 23.5

 

Midfielders: 44.0

 

Forwards: 20.5

 

 

 

I hope this has been an instructive article for you guys as you make your early attempts to get your teams just right. I’ve written this in such a way that it should still be useful in August on the eve of GW1, which has a Friday night kick-off, so please do refer back to it later. If you have any comments, queries, suggestions or criticism, feel free to contact me on Twitter where I provide #FPL help and tips throughout the season.  Remember, getting your team just right is a bit like when Goldilocks visited the Three Bears’ house. You have to make multiple attempts to find your lukewarm porridge or comfortable bed, so keep drafting right up until August 11!

 

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag (me) | Ben | Galin | Nik |

 






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