Analytical Guide to Fixtures GW1 – GW8
This article looks to review the importance of a team’s fixtures and how to use rotation in a slightly different way to the existing tools and opinions available on FPL selection.
The highlights (for the opening 8 GW’s) are:
– Arsenal and Man United look the strongest of the big teams
– Southampton and Swansea are good for mid priced teams
– Leicester and Bournemouth are likely to be the best budget teams (and both rotate well with Crystal Palace)
– Chelsea are the stand out team defensively
– Southampton and West ham are good for mid priced teams
– Leicester and West Brom are the best budget options (and rotate well with West ham and Southampton)
– There are some teams that have very strong fixtures and so don’t need to be rotated (Chelsea and the attacks of Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City)
– There are a few teams I would steer well clear of for the first 8 weeks (Newcastle, Watford, Norwich)
– Always remember that some players can be fixture proof; regardless of the team they play for.
– Always have an Exit/Entry strategy in place as team fixtures change, the bargains become obvious and Aguero becomes fit.
If understanding how I got to these conclusions is of interest then read on… otherwise good luck this year.
The importance of rotation for your FPL team….
with analysis on the opening 8 GW’s of the 2015/16 season.
There are some very good fixture analysers (and opinions) out there in the FPL community. Some of them are very helpful for team planning when used correctly. The one thing I have consistently found is that they place too much reliance on rotating pairs, both home and away, (e.g. Newcastle and Sunderland) and less emphasis on the quality of the opposition. Personally I would rather have Stoke away to Sunderland than Newcastle at home to Everton…
An important omission from this article (one for another day) is the importance of having an entry and exit strategy for all your players. Injuries happen, bargains become available, standout players shine, transfers happen and big game players become fit again. Be mindful on this as long term planning is key to a successful season and all poor teams have a couple of good players… Although 2 wildcards does help.
For the purpose of this analysis (and how I like to pick my team) I have a few criteria I like to follow. These are:
– Always separate a team’s attacking potential from its defensive potential.
– Form, playing style, player’s average ability all factor into a team’s potential.
– Don’t underestimate the positive (and negative) impact of transfers/injuries.
– Playing home and away have an impact as well (but it’s not the most important thing).
– Big Teams can have bad fixtures.
– Small Teams can have good fixtures.
– Every team no matter how bad has a couple of standout players (there is an ‘I’ in some teams).
The opening 8 fixtures
I have chosen to look at the opening 8 fixtures for this year’s season, as you have to plan, but beyond 8-10 weeks is too far in FPL. Remember to factor in your weekly transfers as the fixtures shift and with it so do the fortunes of your budget teams. Having a banked transfer always helps and avoids unnecessary point’s hits.
The opening fixtures look like this:
Based on the opening 8 fixtures I would expect the league table to be ordered something like this:
(*Please note that this reflects the teams overall ability and ,as mentioned above, to get a team’s true potential for FPL you need to break them out into attacking potential and defensive potential.)
Focussing on the overall fixtures could lead to some incorrect assumptions around which FPL players to choose. While on face value the above table suggests it is best to steer clear of the bottom 5-6 teams there is definitely value in some of them. Going on just the overall view of the teams we can see the following likelihood of the teams having positive opening results:
When we split out the teams attacking and defensive ability and look to rotate you can find a lot of value in those bottom (budget) teams. The “Pulis affect” at West Brom is one I particularly like for their defence (especially when rotating with Southampton or Palace).
Looking at the top 6 teams we can see that for all of them their attacks are likely to do well. However all, except Chelsea, are likely to have a harder time defensively.
In order to achieve an optimal FPL return it is clear that you need to adopt a balanced approach between players from the big 6, mid table and budget teams. The key to the latter 2 is rotation pairs.
To identify which teams you should pick players from it is important to know, defensively and offensively, who needs to rotate and who will stand on their own.
Attack rotation need:
– Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Tottenham
– Liverpool, Southampton
– Villa, Bournemouth, Palace, Everton, Leicester, Stoke, Swansea, West ham
Avoid (unless stand out bargain is obvious)
– Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, Watford, West Brom
Defence rotation need:
– Arsenal, Man City, Man Utd, Southampton
– Villa, Bournemouth, Palace, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Stoke, Swansea, Tottenham, West Brom, West ham
Avoid (unless stand out bargain is obvious)
– Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, Watford
So focussing on the teams with a rotation need who do they rotate well with?
Each team with a rotation need has 2-3 good options. Rotate 1 is the best but in all cases the rotation sees a big positive impact. Team type determines if they are a big 6 (1), mid table (2) or budget team (3) so aiming for budget rotations frees up more cash.
There are clearly plenty of options available in both attack and defence. Personally I recommend rotating budget teams with a mid-table team or another budget team. For my defence I will be looking at a combined cost of £9-9.5million per pair. For my attackers I will look to rotate based on my available funds once I have 8-9 of the team selected.
As a case study we could take newly promoted Bournemouth and look to rotate them with the best budget/Mid table team.
By combining West Hams defence (options at £5.0m) with Bournemouth’s (options at £4.5m) we will be likely to rival that of Man City’s and Arsenal’s £6m defenders. In attack choosing Players such as Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie (On Pens) and Palace’s Patrick Bamford (championship player of the season) you can fill up 2 attacking slots for less than £12m freeing up cash to get the all important heavy hitters. This might not seem a lot but it’s the difference between Oscar and Hazard in your team. And you get 7-8 good to great fixtures in the next 8 weeks:
There are plenty of options available for team rotations in the opening 8 game weeks. By aiming for budget options you can end up with 1 or 2 extra, and very important, heavy hitters.
In attack I recommend:
– 3-4 players from Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City.
– 1 player from a mid table team (or looks cheap) who has big potential (e.g. -Bolasie/Milner/Tadic/Schneiderlin)
– 3-5 players from mid table and budget teams that rotate well (and ideally take pens or set pieces)
In defence I recommend:
– A nailed on Chelsea defender
– 2 budget keepers who rotate well
– 2 pairs of budget/mid table defenders who rotate well (e.g. Southampton/West Brom and West Ham/Leicester)
– Every team has a stand out player (or two), from defence and attack, who suck up most of their teams points (e.g. Janmaat at Newcastle and Sigurdson at Swansea). These guys can be almost fixture proof as the heavy hitters.
– Plan for injuries, transfers, the fixture landscape changing and spotting the season bargains early. Banked transfers help to react to these.
Following all of this you have a great chance to get a head start on your mini-league rivals.
Good luck for the season and if you like what you have read then please follow –
And many thanks to the following for the proof read and recommendations –