There is a level you can reach in martial arts where the only way for you to improve yourself is to teach others. The theory is that you see your pupils approach the work from a different viewpoint than your own and the challenge of explaining what you already know gives you a deeper understanding of your craft. As such you never stop learning no matter how much of an expert you think you are.
Whether you consider yourself as a black belt in Fantasy Football or not you should always be looking for new ways to improve your team and new angles to view it from. A great way to do this is through talking to other managers and exchanging ideas either face to face or online. Twitter has a great community of FPL managers and it was on there that I came across the excellent @FPL_ElStatto and his stats dashboard which you can see below. (You can follow him on Twitter here)
Having been inspired by his work I decided to begin a points by position breakdown for my 9 manager draft league and it saw some interesting results. Of course 7 Gameweeks is a very small sample size and it will be interesting to see if any trends that have emerged are still visible later on in the season.
In my mini league so far the best performing positional group by league average is the Goalkeepers who average 4.2 Pts Per Gameweek (starting players only). The results are very close between Forwards (3.8 PPG) and Defenders (3.7 PPG) with Midfielders clearly the lowest scoring position with just 3.3 PPG.
Midfielders are also by far the least efficient members of starting lineups. 36.2% of all starting players this season have been Midfielders yet they have produced only 32.9% of the total points scored. In fact when I did this efficiency test on a team by team basis 7 out of the 9 teams had Midfielder groups with a negative rating, one team scored exactly zero and just one team saw his Midfielders earn a higher percentage of points than starts. That’s interesting when you consider that most people would rather play an extra Midfielder than a Defender. Of course the sample size is way too small for any definitive statements on formations but it will be fascinating to see if Midfielders continue to be the weak link throughout the season.
Whilst researching these numbers it became apparent that there is a manager in my league who is having his season completely ruined by one of his position groups. I decided to investigate.
To protect the innocent let’s call his team Team X. Team X are languishing down near the bottom of our 9 team head to head League and currently sit in 8th place. In terms of total points scored they are tied for 6th place, some 106 total points behind the team with the most so far. But this only tells half the story.
Team X has actually scored more total points from Goalkeepers than anyone else in the league. They also have the second biggest total points haul from Midfielders. Sounds pretty good up to yet doesn’t it? Incredibly the points total for Team X’s Forwards is the second best in the entire league too.
So how does a team that ranks 1st for GK’s, 2nd for MID’s and 2nd for FOR’s find itself 8th in the table? By having an absolutely monumentally bad Defence. Check the chart above. Team X has actually scored exactly the same amount of points this season from its Goalkeepers as its Defenders. Let that sink in a moment. Exactly the same amount of total points have come from 23 Defenders used so far as from just 7 Goalkeepers!
Over the first 7 Gameweeks combined the 23 starting Defenders from Team X are averaging just 1.9 Points Per Game each. That’s roughly half the league average.
But the fact is that with a decent defence Team X could be challenging at the top of the table. Even a defence that scored close to the league average would make a huge difference. Team X has lost 2 head to head matchups by a single point so far this season. With these stats it’s clear that one positional group in particular was responsible.
His season long points deficit to the league leader is an enormous 90 points on Defence alone. Discounting Defenders would leave Team X just 16 total points behind 1st place instead of the 106 points that it is now.
So how has this been allowed to happen? One theory is that the rest of his team is doing so well that the manager simply hadn’t noticed where his problems lie. Losing 2 head to heads by a single point may have led him to believe he has merely been unlucky and to be fair his defence has suffered point deductions for 5 yellow cards and one sending off already. Obviously he knows that his defence hasn’t scored well but he probably didn’t realise just how costly that one positional group has been.
It can be easy to keep your focus on your Forwards or your star players whilst subconsciously neglecting other areas of your lineup and this can have a hidden impact on your points. Sometimes it can take a fresh set of eyes to see your team from a different angle and prevent you from sleepwalking into an average season.
Maybe you too have an area of your team underperforming, or have been holding onto a low scoring fringe player for too long. The best way to combat this is to talk to other managers and exchange ideas on how to improve each other’s sides. Helping them to improve their lineup may well give you a different perspective on your own team. It worked for me. Doing the research into Team X made me realise that the one weak link in my side so far has been the Goalkeepers.
It just goes to show that even an experienced fantasy football manager can never stop learning, however much of an expert you think you are.
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