An Introduction to The FPL Experiment

Long-term followers of mine will know I started this last season, however, it was not completed as the password sheet got lost. I have given all of the unspecified family members running the accounts a booking and formal talking to. This season will rectify this howler. Enjoy…

The optimum FPL strategy is often debated by many members of the FPL community across the season and is something that can be incredibly difficult to monitor. There are often murmurings of the statistical benefit of playing 5 premium defenders, not owning any premium strikers or avoiding point hits, however, the analysis into this and the stats surrounding the success/failure of each strategy is often short-term. As well as this, it is very rare for an FPL manager to be patient enough to retain the same strategy over 38 gameweeks. To try to get some season-long data about various different approaches to FPL, I will be running a season-long investigation known as ‘The FPL Experiment’.

To do this, 6 FPL teams will be created for the 2019/20 season and put into a mini-league together. It is important to note here that in order to avoid breaking FPL rules, I will only be managing 1 of these teams myself. They will then be monitored across the season and their success/failure will be recorded via a thread on Twitter. This will allow us firstly, to see which strategy comes out on top at the end of the season, but additionally, to see which strategies thrive/fail at certain points across the season (early gameweeks, busy Christmas period, double gameweeks etc.).

Please Note: The exact squads for each team are not necessarily final

Team 1 – My Team

Simply, my team. No strategical restrictions. It will combine a number of strategies across the season as I’m sure my approach will change at multiple points and will be used as a comparison tool. All of my mistakes and impatience will be fully broadcast for everyone to see.

Team 2 – Triple Liverpool + Man City Defence

Self-explanatory. This team must set up with a back 5 every gameweek and have 3 defenders each from both Liverpool and Manchester City (including goalkeeper). The rest of the squad can include whoever, but obviously options such as Salah and Sterling will not be able to be included.

Team 3 – Low Maintenance

You may be aware of the ‘Zombie League’ being run by the lads from ‘Who Got the Assist?’ on Twitter, where the focus is on creating a ‘set and forget’ team. This means building a team and leaving it for the entire season (no transfers, no chips). This team will run similarly to that, however, it will not be eligible for that league due to a few key differences. The main difference being that changes to the team can be made, but only when they are essential (injury or suspension). Gone are the days of weekly tinkering and fixture planning, this team will show us how successful we would have been had we just made the essential moves and left the rest alone. Chips will also be allowed to be used, however, there will be no transfer planning for double gameweeks where the transfer is not deemed essential. This most likely means that this team will also be a ‘points hit’ free zone due to the limited changes that will be made to it over the season. The 2 wildcards can also be used as the focus is ‘low maintenance’ rather than complete ‘set and forget’.

Team 4 – Template Team

The phrase ‘template team’ is one that is used a lot within the FPL community, commonly used when someone realises they own 6 of the same players as everyone else on Twitter. Usually, when put in context of the whole game and not just the Twitter bubble, it’s not always really a ‘template team’. This team will contain the most owned players in the game across all positions and price points, to offer the full ‘template team’. If a player gains or loses significant ownership, they will be bought or sold accordingly. It’s also often said that a ‘template team’ will not perform particularly well because you have no differentials to get ahead of others. This team will take on that view and see if there is any truth behind it.

Team 5 – No Liverpool + Manchester City

Can a team score well without a single Liverpool or City asset? This team will answer that question. Obviously no Salah, no Sterling and no defenders from either club will make this incredibly difficult, but what it does allow for is a greater spread of funds across the entire squad. Time will tell if these “essential” players really are essential.

Team 6 – The Selfie Squad

Ok, hear me out. With 5 serious teams listed above, I thought it would be a fun idea to compare these strategies against a team based more on randomness to see how much of a difference putting effort into creating a strategy really makes. Over the last year, I have been lucky enough to meet around 200 footballers/managers/pundits etc and I thought it would be fun to make an FPL side out of all of the eligible players I have met and have a selfie with. I have created a full ‘Selfie Squad’ list (including every eligible player) on the homepage of my site which can be accessed here. The only rule to this team is that I must have a selfie with all 15 members in the squad. Unfortunately, I have not met any Manchester City or Liverpool players, but there still remains some form of hope as there are a handful of very good players and FPL options in there. However, if this team does not come last, then we should probably all deactivate our Twitter accounts and retire to Devon.

So there we go. 6 teams. 38 gameweeks. 1 winner. Let the FPL Experiment begin…

Written by Nick Pasquet

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