How Reliable is Form in Fantasy Premier League?

If a player is in good form how likely is this to continue?

A lot of stock is placed on form in Fantasy Premier League. You can find the FPL’s regular values for player form on our Top Form page. This value is a little misleading as it does not account for missed games or injuries and is calculated using games in the last 30 days rather than, say, the last 5 gameweek. Nevertheless, it gets straight to the heart of the matter – which players are scoring the most fantasy points right now.

Recent form is obviously a significant influence on the players bought and sold each week. In a series of articles this week we’ll crunch the numbers to ask how reliable a measure form is for your team.

We’ll start off by looking how many players who score well over a period of 5 games then go onto to score just as well (or better) over the next 5 games. We’ve picked 5 games as this most closely apes what the FPL’s numbers show. We’ll class “doing well” as scoring or bettering 5 points per game (PPG). If your team can average 5PPG per player plus a good captain you’d be pretty near the top of the game right now. In our next article we’ll look at the flip side of this coin and how many players who didn’t score 5PPG across 5 games then went on to do so (or better) in their next 5.

Overall this season so far, there have been 465 different runs or "instances" of a player scoring 5PPG or more across 5 games. A lot of these are the same player on a continued run of form. The 465 instances are made up from 119 players (i.e. 119 players this season have achieved 5PPG or more over 5 games). Olivier Giroud for example has had 13 sets of 5 game runs where he’s scored 5PPG or more.

Of all these instances of good form, 183 or 39% went on to maintain that form, scoring 5PPG or more, in their subsequent 5 games. Again, this group includes multiple players featuring more than once, containing 50 unique players. Using Giroud as our example again, he’s maintained a >5PPG form for 50% of the season.

This 39% total essentially means that if you picked a player based on only a >5 PPG current form (i.e. ignoring everything else; position, players stats, team, fixtures, etc.) you’d have a roughly 2 in 5 chance of those points repeating. This overall number can be misleading though so we have broken it down further by player position and price. Note that the price is not starting price but price at the time of the fixtures in question.

Position Price Total Runs >5 PPG Failed to maintain form Maintained Form % Maintend Form
Goalkeeper any 48 37 11 23%
Defender £3.8-£5.9m 104 82 22 21%
Defender £6m+ 41 32 9 22%
Midfielder £4-4.9m 9 9 0 0%
Midfielder £5-6.4m 31 24 7 23%
Midfielder £6.5-8.4m 33 19 14 42%
Midfielder £8.5m+ 70 21 49 70%
Forward £5-6.9m 30 22 8 27%
Forward £7-8.9m 40 21 19 48%
Forward £9-10.9m 26 8 18 69%
Forward £11m+ 28 2 26 93%

Here we can see a lot more variance which is not explained by simply looking at the 39% overall value. It’s price in particular which seems to govern the trend. The more expensive a player the more likely it is that current form is genuinely repeatable whereas this is rarely seen with cheaper players. For example, looking at all midfielders priced £6.5m or under (at the time), only Wilshere, Ramsey, Cabaye and Lallana have maintained our 5PPG ‘good form’ from one set of 5 games to the next.

This is common sense we hear you cry! But there are some simple lessons to be learned (or reinforced) here, most notably at the cheaper end of the fantasy spectrum. The cheapest players in each position should really not be expected to maintain any semblance of good form (>5PPG) across 10 or so games. If you are looking at a sub-£6m player in any position based on current form the chances are he’s had his moment and is not going to replicate that in his next 5 games. This may sound obvious but we’ve seen FPL managers all season long busting to get in on the latest in-form bargain player.

This is not a hard and fast rule of course. You should always weigh up all the factors such as recent/ forthcoming fixtures, a player’s underlying stats and the general form/ablity of the team they play for (e.g. Sterling/Ramsey).

The bottom line should really be about expectations and particular what to expect from a player based on his price. For example, the ~£5-6m midfielder in your team. It’s likely this player will score 5 or so goals in a season, but you don’t know when this will be, so you really have to be patient. Sure, you can make a switch if your particular player isn’t producing and another player is, but as the figures above show, it’s not very likely that your new guy will do any better (unless he’s Aaron Ramsey).

The biggest downside to this is that you’ve used a precious transfer which could have been used/saved to exchange an injured or off-form elite player where the proper points and consistent form is really to be found.

As previously mentioned, this is the first in a series of articles looking at points scored examining form in FPL. Next up we’ll look at how often players bounce back from a period of bad form.

Don't forget to subscribe

Signing up to InsideFPL is as simple as entering your email address. All you'll ever receive is our best and most up to date content.

  •       No Spam - never ever ever (we hate it as much as you do!).
  •       Current and in-depth analysis - our top boffins at your disposal.
  •       Special subscriber benefits - secret hints and tips only for our community.

Subscribe now for free!

comments powered by Disqus