Saturday, 8 August 2015

The road to FPL 2015-16 (part 3)

This post is the third in a 3 part series leading up to kick-off in the EPL and, of course, the FPL season. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

This post looks at the over the next few matchdays to decide a good squad to start the FPL season.

As we saw in part 1, the points output depends on:
  • Team
  • Opposition
  • Venue
  • Position
The approach to deciding a team is really simple once all the numbers are in place. We have:
  • Points scored by position-team-venue
  • Points allowed by position-team-venue
Let's consider the expected payoff from each fixture as the average between the two. For example, say Chelsea are at home to Swansea. Chelsea midfielders score 4 points per game at home, while Swansea allow midfielders 5 points per game away, yielding a payoff of 4.5 for Chelsea midfielders from this fixture.

All that's needed now is to calculate payoffs for each fixture, and pick from the highest payoffs. The actual numbers are not that important, but I'll mention them anyway.

Choosing the opening 4 weeks as a window, we get a squad with a payoff pool that looks a bit like this (cumulative payoffs over 4 weeks in brackets):

Fantasy Premier League payoffs

Which is a LOT unlike the squad mix most of us would pick. It pays testimony to two things - Southampton's easy opening fixtures, and Chelsea's propensity to score points regardless of fixture. The rest of it... Let's call it weird, but not discard it entirely.

Codifying intelligence

Besides, there is a lot of FPL know-how that remains un-automated at this point. The next steps now are to make judgements based on:
  • Set-piece takers: Set piece takers tend to be rather valuable for the chances they create from dead ball situations
  • Keeper pairings: Picking rotating keepers is an important part of the FPL strategy to generate points on a budget
  • Out of position: Players listed a position behind the pitch compared to where they play, like Bale in 2009-10.

The Blogger's Teams

To experiment with the payoffs, I have a slightly crazy team set up:

Fantasy Premier League experimental team

And this is the team I'm using in my primary account, FYI

Fantasy Premier League blogger team

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