FPL Diary: April and May 2022 + End of Season Review
I ended March with nine back to back red arrows. This is definitely an awful season for me. Can I reverse the decline and push back up the table? Read on to find out.
Game Week Thirty-One:
Points: 41 (Average: 43) GW Rank: 4,988,701
There was an extremely frustrating game-week. I got my captaincy wrong and benched the wrong players. Salah had an easy fixture against Watford and blanked whilst Son got twelve points from a goal and an assist during a 5-1 demolition of Newcastle. I benched Raphinha who got an assist, and picked the wrong goal-keeper, missing out on Guaita who scored 7 points. Individually none of these decisions are that bad, but they add up to a poor game-week.
To make things more painful, players like Bowen, Jota and Cornet who have all been in my team during the season all got a goal and an assist. It’s impossible to have all the good players, but it’s annoying to see players I liked having in my team doing well while I struggle. This was my tenth red arrow in a row and another poor week has seen me drop out of the top 500,000.
Game Week Thirty-Two:
Points: 77 (Average: 48) GW Rank: 548,199
Finally a green arrow after ten weeks of red arrows. Clearly Son was the main reason with a hat-trick against Aston Villa. If you captained Son this week you were almost guaranteed a green arrow. There were a lot of interesting results this week. Man City and Liverpool drew 2-2 to keep the title race alive. All of the big names in these two teams got small returns this week with five points for Cancelo and Salah in my team. Everton beat Man United 1-0 to give themselves hope in the relegation battle and Chelsea smashed Southampton 6-0. Despite all these interesting games, the only thing that mattered was that I got my captaincy right this week and my run of red arrows is over. My transfer however was a dud with the suspended Jiménez making way for Antonio who only got one point in a 2-0 defeat to Brentford.
Game Week Thirty-Three:
Points: 44 (Average: 61) GW Rank: 7,309,525
This was a total disaster. Arsenal, Brighton, Burnley, Leicester, Man United, Newcastle and Southampton all had double game-weeks this week so I played my free-hit chip to try and take advantage. Unfortunately I got every decision horribly wrong. It was an interesting game-week where the teams with double game-weeks often had one good fixture and one bad fixture. Man United were a classic example of this with Ronaldo getting a hat-trick against Norwich but getting humiliated by Liverpool a few days later. I picked Fernandes over Ronaldo and got completely punished. Since Liverpool had already demolished a gung-ho Man United team earlier in the season, I was expecting them to shut up shop. For this reason, I traded out Salah for the week to finance my other picks. This was a terrible decision with Salah getting two goals, an assist and maximum bonus points for 19 points. He had been pretty quiet for the last month but this haul was his second biggest of the season, second only to the 24 points he got in the other game against Man United.
Leicester were a team with pretty good fixtures against Newcastle and Everton so I brought in and captained Maddison which was a complete failure with Leicester only managing to pick up a single point. When players like Salah and Ronaldo were getting big hauls, you need your captain to haul if you are trying something different. Dubravka was the highest scoring player in my team this week and with Trent and Cancelo being highly owned, their points didn’t help my rank very much. This left me with an awful game-week rank and feeling miserable after wasting such a powerful chip.
Game Week Thirty-Four:
Points: 57 (Average: 51) GW Rank: 2,940,029
A slightly above average game-week feels amazing given how badly I’ve been doing at FPL. Only five players returned for me, but it was good enough for a green arrow. I got my keeper wrong again this week with seven points for Guaita on my bench. Jesus had a fantastic week with four goals and an assist against Watford. It was also a double game-week for Manchester United and Chelsea. Alonso got a fantastic 19 points and Ronaldo got 16 points despite Manchester United only getting one point from two games. This was a pretty under-whelming week for me compared to those sorts of scores, so I’m happy to escape with a green arrow.
Game Week Thirty-Five:
Points: 45 (Average: 44) GW Rank: 4,159,946
Nothing represents my season better than finishing one point above the average. This week was all about Son. If you captained him you had a fantastic week and if you didn’t own him you had a bad week. His two goals and an assist in a 3-1 win against Leicester earned him 19 points. Unfortunately I captained Salah over Son and missed out on having a much better week. A fixture that stood out to me was Brighton beating Wolves 3-0. For most of the season Wolves were defensively solid and Brighton were struggling to score. I’ve been doubling up on the Wolves defence so results like this are really painful.
April – Summary
Overall Rank: 544,222
April was another bad month with three red arrows. At least I ended my disastrous run of ten red arrows in a row. This was just another month to forget in a terrible season for me.
Game Week Thirty-Six:
Points: 89 (Average: 79) GW Rank: 2,752,756
This was a wild game-week with players like Son, De Bruyne and Sterling getting massive scores. The game-week average was 79 making it the second highest scoring game-week of the season. I’m so glad I captained Son who returned against both Liverpool and Arsenal this week. I had been considering captaining Salah and my game-week rank would have really bad if I had done so as I would have dropped 17 points. Man City were absolutely dominant this week putting five goals past both Newcastle and Wolves. De Bruyne in particular got the headlines with four goals against Wolves and an absurd 30 points for the game-week. Sterling was also outstanding with a mix of goals and assists across the two games for 28 points. This was a bumper week for Man City players and only having Cancelo meant I missed out on lots of points here.
Cancelo and Son really carried my team this week. Their points put me above the average for the week but it wasn’t good enough for a green arrow. My Arsenal players are a particular concern. Lacazette has fallen out of favour and Ben White picked up an injury. It feels like a very long time since I was happy with my squad and didn’t have annoying issues like this to fix.
Game Week Thirty-Seven:
Points: 24 (Average: 43) GW Rank: 7,707,289
This was the final double game-week of the season with five teams in action twice. A good number of other managers still had chips to play so this was always going to be a tough week, but I didn’t expect it to be this tough. The big news of the week was that Salah had a potential injury issue. I had too many other transfers I wanted to make and decided to take the chance that he would be fine. This turned out to be a mistake and I ended up with a very expensive player sat on my bench. I also ended up with-out a playing goal-keeper which is awful in a double game-week. I don’t know when both Sá and Guaita became risks but my lack of interest in FPL meant I wasn’t paying any attention to things like this.
The rest of my team didn’t fair much better. Dier was my only player to get a return with a clean-sheet against Burnley. I made two transfers bringing in Coutinho for his double game-week and Nketiah for the out of form Lacazette. Aston Villa have been poor recently but I like Coutinho. I decided to give him a chance but my faith wasn’t rewarded.
Arsenal deserve special mention. They had a must win game against Newcastle, but when the pressure was on they absolutely crumbled. They were awful in this match and to make things worse Ben White got an own goal to give him a negative score for the week. Meanwhile Everton and Leicester were the big winners this week. Everton secured their premier league survival. Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin both scored in both games this week to earn 19 and 17 points respectively. James Maddison was the big star of the week however with two goals, two assists and five bonus points this week. Having captained him in an earlier double game-week where he blanked, this really stung. All in all this was a miserable week, but I was resigned to having a bad season at this point and had basically given up on this season.
Game Week Thirty-Eight:
Points: 93 (Average: 50) GW Rank: 66,664
Out of nowhere, I suddenly had one of my best game-weeks of the season. I made a single transfer bringing in Kulusevski for Salah. Salah did score, but this was a great transfer with Kulusevski scoring a brilliant 16 points during a 5-0 win away at Norwich. My captain Son also got in on the action putting him level with Salah for the golden boot this season. I got 46 points from this one fixture! Nketiah and Coutinho also rewarded my faith in them last week with returns this week and Guaita was a star with 10 points in a 1-0 win against Manchester United. In fact Spurs and Crystal Palace were the only teams to get clean-sheets this week so I did well to get two clean-sheets this week.
After a pretty miserable season, it was a real surprise to finish with such a banger of a game-week. This was both my second-best points total and second-best game-week rank of the season. It will be a couple of months before fantasy football returns, so it’s nice to end on a high.
End of Season – Summary
Overall Rank: 644,834
I’m just glad this season is over. This was a chaotic season but I was struggling before fixtures were getting cancelled. I didn’t enjoy the strategy around predicting when games would be rescheduled and I’m hoping next season will be a return to normality. Something really weird is that my points total of 2,303 is exactly the same as the number of points I got in the 2017/18 season. That year my final rank was 13,356. This shows how high scoring this season has been from premium wingbacks getting tons of attacking returns and extremely reliable players like Salah and Son as well as all the double game-weeks for bumper points hauls. I averaged over 60 points every game-week and still feel like I had a miserable season. I definitely feel like FPL is getting harder and harder as more and more players take the game more seriously.
My 21/22 FPL Season Review
At the end of each season I take a look back at my season, discuss the highs and the lows and see if there are any lessons I can learn for the next season. I didn’t enjoy this season so this might not be too fun but hopefully I’ll be able to learn for next season.
There was really only one contender for my best game-week this year. I did get 125 points when I played my bench-boost, but that still wasn’t good enough to get a green arrow in a crazy game-week. Going by game-week rank, my best ever week was game-week 20 when I played my first free-hit chip. This was between Christmas and New Year when many many games were being cancelled at short notice. Only three games got cancelled this week, but Arsenal blanking was devastating for my current set-up. I also had Ronaldo who I was desperate to sell after I watched an awful performance from Manchester United against Newcastle. My plan was to free-hit and then use my wild-card to set up for any games that were quickly re-arranged. This strategy might not be the most efficient use of chips but I scored 90 and 91 points two weeks in a row and got close to the top 100,000 for the only time this season.
Using a free-hit when most managers aren’t using chips and are just accepting that they can’t field a full squad is obviously going to be easier than a normal game-week so there is a bit of an asterisk next to this being my best ever game-week. However I’m still proud of the decisions I made. Because Manchester City were playing several games close together it was easier than normal to predict their line-up so I brought in De Bruyne and Foden even though I would normally be too cautious about owning Manchester City players at a time of the season where managers have to rotate heavily. What made this so good for me is that Manchester City won one-nil with Foden as my captain getting the goal and De Bruyne got the assist. Along with Ederson in goal, I had the perfect three players from this game. Ederson and De Bruyne even tied on bonus points to give me seven bonus points instead of the usual maximum of six. I doubt I have ever scored thirty-nine points from a one-nil game before. Just crazy.
I also invested heavily in Crystal Palace who were perfect for this one week gamble with a game against Norwich. They gave me two clean-sheets in defence and Edouard was involved in all three goals with a goal and two assists. I also invested in Spurs, and whilst they disappointed with a one-all draw against Southampton neither Kane or Son blanked as Son assisted Kane for the goal. Another game that boosted my rank was Leicester beating Liverpool 1-0. I only had Jota in my team so this was a great result for me. As you would expect from such a incredibly high rank I needed almost everything to go my way. I doubt I will ever have a week like this ever again.
My Favourite Players
There were quite a few players that came to mind. I’m a Spurs fan so it’s not a shock that Son is one of my favourite players in the league. I wish I had captained him more often but when I did captain him he rarely let me down. Four of the six times I captained him I got double digit returns, and two of those were scores of twenty and twenty-one.
Some players came into my team for short periods of time and did well. Bowen hauled both times I captained him. Smith Rowe kept scoring from the bench in December and ended up being a great pick despite not being part of the first eleven. This was fantastic when I didn’t have the transfers to swap him for a regular starter.
I also had good luck with goal-keepers during the middle of the season. After Meslier and Leeds disappointed at the start of the season, I brought in Ramsdale and later brought in Sá who both got plenty of clean-sheets, save points and bonus points for me. I held on to Sá for too long, but he was an amazing FPL asset for several months.
Raphinha was a player I owned for most of the season and was a pretty consistent source of points. Unfortunately he blanked when I used my triple captain and it’s hard to overlook that when choosing my favourite players.
Unfortunately there were plenty of horrible game-weeks for me. But the worst had to be game-week 33 for me. I’ve already talked about this in my review of April but wasting a chip and getting a rank below seven million are both so painful. I also wasted my triple captain chip, but that chip only affects one player and is more unreliable.
There is a symmetry here in that my best week of the season was when I played my first free-hit chip and my worst was when I played my second free-hit chip. Getting two free-hit chips is highly unusual so I won’t be able to repeat this pairing next season. I assume we’ll go back to only having one free-hit chip and far more normal game-weeks with the standard ten game fixture list and I for one can’t wait for a bit less chaos.
My Worst Buys
Forwards. All of them. No matter who I put up front I rarely got the points. This was a season where strikers were poor value in FPL but even by this season’s standards I really struggled for points from my forwards. I kept chopping and changing with my forwards and seventeen different players played up-front for me across the whole season and most of them disappointed me. Even when I had Kane he only scored one goal for me, despite the fact I played him six times. The most memorable examples are Dennis who got sent off in a double game-week and Weghorst who I held onto for far too long despite how many times he blanked.
Another notable player was Livramento. He gave me a clean-sheet on his first appearance for me and then a long string of blanks and low scores. I missed the boat on a player who was fantastic value for the earliest part of the season.
In my last season review I said that captaincy has always been a challenging issue for me and this season didn’t break the trend. This year the top 10K managers got an average of 354 points from their captains before doubling or tripling. This is almost 100 points above a normal season which is huge. Because there were so many double game-weeks I’m not surprised that managers did really well from captaincy this year, but 354 points is just massive. I expect that Salah is personally responsible for this because he was consistently unstoppable at the beginning of the season.
I didn’t manage to keep up with the top 10K here with only 318 points from captaincy. I would be absolutely delighted with this in a normal season but this year it wasn’t good enough. Interestingly I captained strikers eleven times and they blanked every single time. Sometimes this was because I made poor choices, but at other times it was really poor luck. For example Kane blanked in a three-nil win against Norwich.
However I had much better luck with midfielders. I got double digit returns fourteen times this season which is great, and even better five of those were worth 20 point or more thanks to Salah, Son and Bowen.
Triple Captain Chips
My triple captain chip usage this year was absolutely awful. We were gifted the perfect triple captain opportunity this season with Salah against Norwich and Leeds but I decided to be really maverick and bet against Salah. I was expecting Salah to miss a game so I would take Jota for Liverpool coverage and have Kane upfront. Jota then got injured so I had to take hits to get Salah in. The meta was to play the triple captain chip in this week but my team was set up for bench boost so I used the bench boost knowing I would have other opportunities to use the triple captain chip later in the season. As you can see from the graph below, when Leeds crumbled and Salah scored 3 goals and 2 assists he was a very popular triple captain choice, and thousands of top managers profited. In fact they got an average 22.7 points from the triple captain chip, which is only the points from the chip and not the player’s base score or normal captaincy points. This is a huge amount and the three points I got was just not good enough.
Free Hit Chips
The free hit chip is very difficult to evaluate in a normal season, and this season to make life more complicated we got an extra free hit chip. As you can see from my highs and lows section this chip can be really powerful or it can backfire horribly. In game-week 20 I finished 37.2 points above the average that week whilst in game-week 33 I finished 33.6 points behind the average. Combined this means I got a measly 3.6 points from two free-hits chips over the average which is really poor.
Looking at the top managers, it’s interesting how spread out the scores are. Some did even worse than I did whilst others got huge scores. Seeing the graph extend beyond 100 points is frankly scary. The average this year for the top 10,000 managers was 27.2 points above the average when combining both chips and comparing to managers that didn’t use any chips.
Bench Boost Chips
There were a lot of double game-weeks so there was a little disagreement over the best time to play the bench boost chip amongst top managers. In fact 49% of the top managers used it in game-week 36 whilst 25% favoured game-week 28. Game-weeks 29 and 33 were also popular with 9% and 8% respectively.
I have had success with the bench boost in the past, but this year, it was a pretty big flop. When I played my bench boost I scored 15 points from my bench which seems fine, and I finished with 125 points for that game-week. However I got a red arrow and missed out on triple captaining Salah. The top managers got 24.3 points from their bench boost when compared to other managers in the top 10,000 who didn’t use a chip. My 15 points was the same as the average for top managers who used the bench boost in the same week as me, but most top managers used their bench boost chip to greater effect in other weeks. In a normal season 15 points would only be slightly below average for top managers, but this season it was pretty poor as the graph below shows.
Lessons for Next Season
It’s hard to know what lessons to take from this season because it was so unique. Flexibility was extremely important this year and I definitely struggled with the uncertainty over when games would be rescheduled. Hopefully we won’t see a repeat of the chaos we had this year, but I do need to get better at adapting to whatever the season throws at me. One example of this is the scarcity of good forwards. I kept transferring forwards in and out but I wasn’t open to the idea that there were no good forwards to find. If I had shifted my formation and funds to focus on midfield and premium wingbacks I might have had a much better season.
After taking a season off from FPL and taking a deeper look at players and fixtures before the season started, I felt like I was set up to have a good season. I set a resolution to make more sensible decisions and not make silly decisions based on what would be more fun. Unfortunately I didn’t stick to this resolution after a few bad game-weeks. It’s a waste of time to do research over the summer, and then make rash and hasty decisions as soon as the season starts.
I also need to get better at using my chips. I always struggle with them, but this year was worse than normal. However I think this also reflects how much I was struggling during the second half of the season. I think my big aim for next season is to make better decisions around using chips and get a respectable result from every single chip.