To hit, or not to hit, that is the question…
Welcome to To hit, or not to hit, that is the question… : “To hit, or not to hit, that is the question”… Well ok, it isn’t necessarily the question, but it’s certainly one that we get asked on an hourly basis on the FF247 boards. If you follow the text through, the next line actually speaks of ‘suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’. The FPL arena probably wasn’t quite the context that Shakespeare was referring to when he wrote it, but it sure is apt when it comes to the issue of taking hits!
Now the fact that you have even opened this great new magazine probably means that you are an FPL player and so will almost certainly be au fait with what ‘taking a hit’ means, but just in case you aren’t then I am talking about taking a -4 point deduction in order to bring in an additional player in any given game-week, above your allocated free transfer(s). So with the basics out of the way, in this article I am going to attempt to examine whether taking hits is actually worth it, I will take a look at a few scenarios when taking a hit is actually acceptable, and fairly guilt free, and a few where it wouldn’t necessarily be advised. I will take a look at specific examples of ones that have worked and ones that haven’t and get into the psychology behind those decisions. I will also take a look at how my own hits have worked out this season… gulp!
I’ll be honest, I’ve warmed to the idea of taking hits over the years. Now that’s not to say that I take one every week, that’s certainly not the case at all. But I’ve certainly softened my approach to them somewhat. Whether that is for better or worse is something that we can come onto later! I will admit that I was dead set against them when I began this FPL journey, some 10 years ago. The basis for that stance was mainly that during the season of my best ever FPL finish (422nd) I took the grand total of ONE hit. All season! Now that lead me to believe for some time that not taking hits was the way to go. But with the wisdom of hindsight I do now wonder whether or not I could have climbed even higher toward the summit had I actually taken a few more risks along the way. That’s a question I guess we will never know the answer to now. But it’s certainly one worth examining…
As I said above I have loosened my approach since and as a bit of a case study I have decided to take a look at how my hits have worked out this season so far. And it’s fair to say I didn’t realise just how loose I had become! I have actually taken 56 point hits so far which is 14 hits or one hit every two weeks on average. It is slightly skewed by last week being a blank game-week but I have a theory and a different approach on those which I will touch on later. I have taken a hit on 10 weeks out of the 28 thus far, so it still feels fairly disciplined, but when I’ve hit I’ve obviously gone in big! Ball rolling and all that…
The following are the weeks in which I have taken a hit and the points gained or lost as a result. The point score is a net figure given the points gained by the players coming in minus the points of the players leaving and ultimately minus the points taken as a hit. It does include points gained by some players as being doubled if I captained them. I debated whether to include those captain scores but I decided that they should be included simply because I couldn’t have gained them if I had not taken the hit –
So what are the main takeaways from that lot then? Well, I’m actually pleasantly surprised at the results for a start. On 70% of the occasions when I have indulged it has resulted in a net gain. Overall it has garnered me an extra 103 points. To relate that directly back to FPL rankings I am currently sat at (don’t laugh, it’s been a hard season!) 111k. I am currently 106 points off the person sat at 5k and 84 points off the one at 500k. A 100 point swing either way in FPL can be a chasm.
Touching on what I said earlier about including the captain points gained I have delved into it and in total from just 4 captains whom I brought in, within those hit decisions, I got 94 points which in itself is quite telling. On 3 of those occasions it proved to be the correct decision as that player was the highest scorer on my team. On the other occasion it cost me 14 points net (GW26 – Kane vs Lukaku). There are an awful lot of what, ifs and maybes in all of that though.
I have included the overall ranking gain or loss just as an indicator but really that’s all it is, as that is obviously dictated to by the team as a whole and cannot be isolated down to just the transfer decisions involving hits.
So that’s my mini analysis on my own hits this season but that’s not to say that is the norm across the board. Introspection and FPL manager’s is not a combination which always goes hand in hand, or indeed a healthy option if you value your sanity, but the above was indeed a cathartic experience and I would encourage you to do the same, but maybe only if you are as obsessive about FPL as I am!
It’s clearly worked for me but I’m certainly not advocating that everybody goes all gung-ho on us! They have to be calculated and measured and have sound reasoning behind them. It appears to be a strategy which I may be utilising more in the future! Then again you could easily argue that better planning ahead would possibly negate some of those hits, and I wouldn’t argue with that for a second, but sometimes situations just present themselves unexpectedly. That’s my excuse anyway, and I’m sticking with it!
I spoke in the introduction of guilt free hits. By this I have two scenarios in mind, both of which are very similar, and GW28 was certainly one of those. In GW28 there were only four games and as such most of us were faced with reduced numbers. Some people planned ahead to the point of coming into it with a full 11 players but in all honesty that felt a bit like cutting your nose off to spite your face both before and after the GW itself as you were limiting yourself to a the majority of your squad coming from just eight teams, and not particularly great ones at that!
If you were like me and took a measured approach you probably had about 6, 7 or 8 players with a game. Now in this scenario I don’t mind the odd ‘guilt free’ hit as I tend to view it more as a -2 than a -4, simply based upon the theory that if they play (60 mins) then we are at least at a starting point of being 2 up on a blank space producing zero. It’s up to them then to produce something to put you in a positive position but it always feels more achievable from the lower starting point.
I’ll use Josh King as my perfect example of this working out in GW28 but also illustrate the other side of it when it doesn’t with… well, take your pick out of Mane or Llorente! King was actually my last hit last week and one I wouldn’t have taken had Matty Phillips not been ruled out late in the day. Leaning on both the -2 theory above plus the ‘calculated risk’ theory I talked of earlier I decided that a slightly out of position cheap midfielder who was on penalties and up against a leaky defence was worth said risk. After 9 minutes in and a missed pen in the bag I wasn’t feeling like it was the best decision ever! Now of course he ended up grabbing an improbable hat-trick and left the hit bank on him alone 14 points to the good.
On the other hand, and this is the risk all round with taking hits, Mane and Llorente both similarly warranted inclusion given their form and the opposition at hand. Mane managed to leave me at -2 on his deal and Llorente -3 on his. Them’s the breaks.
This doesn’t just apply to blank game-weeks though. It could apply to any week really. That’s if you are unlucky enough to find yourself with less than 10 players playing due to injury or suspension. Personally I’d always roll the die on a hit for an 11th, with an open mind to the consequences. The ceiling is always much higher than the floor, as the above examples demonstrate. You just have to hope to find your King and not your Mane.
Finally I will touch on taking hits for the double game-week fest that we are about to enter. As we stand right now there no less than 22 games which need to be rescheduled. In an ideal world all of these will be announced well in advance and we can plan our transfers accordingly, thus negating the need to even consider any hits. That may or may not happen and if you have been shrewd enough you may also still have tucked away in your back pocket such tools as a wildcard and a bench boost. If the above perfect storm doesn’t either happen or apply to you then you may have to consider taking some hits to capitalise on the doubles.
The danger with doubles is the dreaded ‘R’ word. You are looking at two tasty fixtures and thinking that you can replace a player using the ‘guilt free’ theory,’ knowing’ the incoming one will at least recoup an extra 2 points of your hit, if nothing else. And then boom, Pep leaves Sterling out completely… you get the picture, and may well have recently sworn at it!
On the whole though they are probably small chances worth taking, if the fixtures look right and especially if you feel they will play both games. Ironically this is often more the case when looking at the ‘smaller’ or ‘less fancied’ teams. It’s a glass half full approach but once again, I repeat, the ceiling is always higher, if you chance your arm on the right guys.
Thanks for reading To hit, or not to hit, that is the question…. This article was written by Adam Alcock, FF247
DGW34 IS ON THERE AS CONFIRMED BUT DGW37 IS VERY MUCH PROVISIONAL!
That’s our best guess as to how it will pan out and there is still Southampton vs Arsenal to be rearranged. That looks likely to be in GW35 or 36. The FPL site itself has said that they expect the remaining games to be confirmed on or around the 7th April.
Teams with DGW’s ahead… (with thanks to Rosco)
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