After reviewing the most selected players in FPL earlier this week, we continue to look at 'themed FPL teams', this time examining an optimal FPL team using last year’s Points Per Game (PPG) and this year’s prices.
We’re primarily looking to see if there are any undervalued players based on performances last year and, by exclusion, we’ll also determine who might not be worthy of their lofty price tag this time around.
First of all the ground rules. We set the following constraints on the players selected here:
- Must have made 10 appearances in the Premier League last year.
- Prices were taken from the 2014/15 game.
- Points are determined from 2013/14 Points per Game (PPG)
- Budget: £80M (allows a generous £20M for 4 substitutes)
To run this we used our Team Solver from last season with the above constraints.
This team would have averaged around 64 points per GW last season to finish on 2418 points and roughly around a rank of 1000 in the world. The big let down would have to be having Rooney as Captain. With Suarez's available this team would have finished almost in 1st place. Unfortunately he went off to Spain.
The defence offers no surprises. Mannone in goal is a no brainer, an incredible 2nd half of the season saw him finish with an impressive PPG last season and his price has remained at £4.5M this year. Terry and Koscielny are similarly predictable, they come into this season with fair price tags and are looking likely to be equally as good picks this ime around.
Clyne is the big surprise here, though with a PPG of 4.0 he bettered Kompany, Azpillicueta, Jagielka and former teammate Shaw. A starting spot looks very probable with Shaw’s departure and he may be a smart pick dispite the price rise to £5.0M.
The inclusion of Ramsey despite a hefty price increase to £9.0M is noteworthy. Ramsey was the real deal last year and the numbers still back him even at a higher price. Fellow midfielders Eriksen and Shelvey are also heavily favoured at their new prices of £8.0M and £5.5M respectively, both have proven popular earlier on and are certainly two players high on the insideFPL radar at the moment.
The obvious omissions are Yaya Toure and Hazard; their very high prices see them excluded from the optimal team. Lallana also misses out despite being the 4th highest scoring midfielder last year due to his price increase to 8.5 and a relatively low PPG.
The front 3 are a real odd bunch and it’s the exclusions rather than inclusions that are more noteworthy. With a drop in price to £10.5M Rooney gets into the team with a PPG of 6.55, only the more expensive Sturridge and Aguero scored higher last year. Admittedly, Lambert's starting place for Liverpool this season is not secure, and Adebayor's recovery from malaria may well see him miss the start of the season, but both player's inclusion here shows the great potential you can get in your team outside the elite priced players.
If we exclude everyone from the A-Team and re-run the solver we end up with this as a B-Team, again a 3-4-3:
Agger Baines Cahill
Morrison Silva Walcott Toure
Giroud Rodriguez Wickham
Boruc, Baines and Cahill could again prove popular this season. They all returned solid points last year and are priced similarly in 2014/15. Agger is a surprise, but Liverpool’s defence was much better than many gave it credit for last year.
In comes the power house Yaya Toure, who’s huge price hike doesn’t stop him being good value if he recreates last year’s form. Teammate David Silva also makes the B-Team, at £9.0M he could be the best attacking option from Man City providing he can stay fit. The same applies to Walcott, though, with so many great midfielders at Wenger’s disposal, even when Theo fully recovers from his injury he may still not see consistent game time. Ravel Morrison rounds off the midfield. Fantasy managers and West Ham fans alike will be praying that the talented youngster is given a starting berth this season.
Up front and the ever underrated (in fantasy terms) pairing of Rodriguez and Giroud appear to look good value based on last year’s form. Giroud may have to rotate with Sanchez at times, but with Lambert and Lallana gone is it time for Rodriguez to step up and lead the line? Once he gets over his ACL injury we could have another fantasy star on our hands.
Running various permutations, such as differing budget or formation, gives us slight variations on these teams and the below players are those that are on the fringes according to this methodology:
Defence: Coleman, Lovren, Fonte, Ward
Midfield: Hazard, Ozil, Puncheon, Mirallas, Arnautovic
Forwards: Sturridge, Aguero, Lukaku, Dzeko, Bony
As mentioned earlier, the biggest point to take away from this may be who was excluded. Aguero, Sturridge, RVP, Hazard and Sterling were all deemed too expensive for this team, though Aguero and Sturridge came very close. In using last season's data to look at this year’s game we have to be cautious that we don’t attach too much weight on past performances (Toure may be the best example of this) nor that we ignore them completely,
Much of a successful campaign in fantasy football lies with the spotting of new opportunities. Focusing too much on historical events will only get you so far, but then again, there are really only ever a handful of real surprises in each new season and the household names in fantasy football are household names for a good reason. We wouldn’t be surprised if a mix and match of the above players plus a little opportunistic pruning turns out to be a pretty damn good team this season.