My FPL 17/18 Season Review Part Three
This is the final part of my review of the FPL 2017/18 season. The first part can be found here, and the second part can be found here. In this part, I describe my FPL philosophy and look at how it worked across the season. I’ll also look at any lessons for the coming season.
I have a few guiding principles when it comes to picking my team which are a little different from most top players, so let’s look at my thinking.
The biggest difference is that I believe in buying an extremely cheap defence. Many top players will play one or two defenders from the top teams. A typical set up is to have two heavy hitters, two moderately priced players and an extremely cheap defender who never plays.
Their logic is quite strong. Defenders can have fantastic scores, far higher than a midfielder or striker of the same price. Points per million (PPM) is a good metric for determining how good a player is over a season, but it is misleading. The captaincy chip effectively doubles the PPM of a player so always having consistently good captaincy options is essential.
On top of this, your transfers should be used to ensure your premium attackers are always in form players. This is harder said than done, but the bigger your budget for attackers, the easier this is to do.
While it is exciting to have lots of expensive players in your team, there is a real cost. Your defence has to be made up of very cheap players. For most of the season I used a five way rotation, with three cheap defenders who could all play from one week to the next. It takes more work to manage your team, paying attention to what combinations of defenders you will play in the coming weeks. There are lots of points to be had though, with some real bonus points magnets at the £4.5 million price bracket.
The first big attraction of the five way rotation is that you get more value out the ability to rotate from week to week. Since a portion of your budget must be spent on the bench, if you rotate more, you are getting better value from your budget. The cost of rotation is that normally rotating can mean putt a large chunk of your budget on the bench. This means I would never rotate expensive defenders, but with five cheap defenders, you can rotate whilst keeping your ‘bench budget’ low.
The second attraction is that in general predicting clean sheets is easier than predicting goal scorers. This means that cheap defenders with good fixtures can match expensive defenders with worse fixtures.
My Philosophy Reviewed
Having said that my philosophy was validated, I didn’t always stick to it as closely as I should have. I should have used my array of options to be picking good captains every week, and I should have had far more captain points from Salah this season.
I misused some of my chips, which hurt, but I think I wasn’t punished as badly as I could have been in other seasons. I’m sure that the average bench boost has been above 17 points in previous seasons.
I have also come to realise that my philosophy is probably more appropriate to the earlier parts of the season. I should have brought in more expensive defenders nearer the end of the season, to raise the quality for the double game weeks. Since cheaply priced defenders were less likely to play in the later stages of the FA cup, I found it impossible to fill my team with players who played twice in a double game week.
What have I learnt?
Looking at my season as a whole, these are the main lessons;
- Save a wildcard for the very end of the season. Use preparation for the earlier unusual game weeks, and combine it with a free hit chip and bench boost. These chips make each other better.
- I was correct to prioritise having multiple big hitters. But pay more attention to captain choices. Even an FPL record setter like Salah can go under the radar.
- The average number of points earned from each chip is actually quite moderate.
- Cheap defenders work well at the start of the season, but you should transition to spending more on defence as the season progresses. This gives you more freedom to get key big hitters early, but keeps you better prepared for the challenging end of season stretch with blank and double game weeks.
Bring on August and the new season!