The Best FPL team of 2020/21 season

2021/22 season of Fantasy Premier League starts soon.

In this article, we discuss the top-scoring FPL team from last season – the most scoring combination of players respecting the budget and other constraints.

Basically, the team you would have picked at the start of the season and scored the maximum number of points possible.

Let’s jump right to it…

The best (top-scoring) FPL team

First, some math introduction to this problem.

From a mathematical point of view, Fantasy Premier League is an optimization task.

We have our cost function (points scored by a combination of 11 players), and constraints (budget constraint, formation constraints, teams’ constraints).

Our goal is, of course, to maximize the value of our cost function – to maximize the points scored by our FPL team respecting the constraints.

So, let’s look at which combination of 11 players within the budget scored the most points last season.

  • We used a genetic algorithm to find a solution.
  • We were looking for 11 players in any eligible formation within the budget of 82.5 million – so the bench is 4-4.5-4.5-4.5.
  • We used prices from the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
  • We did not consider any substitutions and transfers.
  • Only one player was captain for the whole season

Here is the top-scoring combination of players:

  • Martinez (4,5m);
  • TAA (7,5m), Robertson (7m), Dallas (4,5m)
  • Fernandes (10,5m) (C), Salah (12m), Son (9m), Harisson (5,5m)
  • Kane (10,5m), Bamford (5,5m), Watkins (6m)

If you have picked this team at the beginning of the last season, you would get 2389 points at the end of the season without transfers, without subs, and with Bruno Fernandes captain every gameweek.

Lessons learned

The most important knowledge from the top-scoring team:

  • 3-4-3 formation was the best option last season – after we knew who the best cheap midfielders (Harisson) and forwards (Bamford, Watkins) are
  • The optimal team has three heavy hitters (10 million +) players – so it is something to have in mind when choosing the structure for the next season
  • All three heavy hitters were worth it despite only one of them was captained all the time
  • Expensive defenders (Robbo, TAA) were worth it
  • No Man City player – injuries/big spread of points due to rotation

Before the start of the last season, we could have predicted (to some extent) that Fernandes, Salah, Son, Kane, TAA, Robbo were going to be great picks for our FPL teams.

But it was unlikely that we would have successfully predicted that Martinez, Dallas, Bamford, Watkins, Harrison were going to have such an outstanding season.

The lesson learned here is: pick 5 or 6 “safe-heaven” players before the start of the season. And then, built a team around them during the season, when cheap options emerge.

The best FPL team with new prices

Now, let’s try something different.

The team above was the best team for the last season.

But what about this season? Let’s change players’ prices to new prices from the 2021/22 season.

How will the best team change? Which players will keep their place despite different price tags?

Here is the best team with new prices:

The Best FPL Team of 2020 21 season

Source: Official FPL

Lessons learned

The total number of points of this FPL team with the new team is only 2236 points.

  • Six players kept their place despite the price rise: Martinez, Bruno, Son, Harrison, Kane, Bamford. It suggests that they could be great picks this season as well if they are able to repeat the last season’s performance.
  • Salah is out, but we still have three heavy hitters (10 million +) in the squad – Kane (12.5), Fernandes (11.5), Son (10)
  • The formation changed to 3-5-2 – but still only three defenders
  • Surprisingly, TAA and Robbo are out, replaced by cheaper 5.5 options: Creswell and Wan-Bissaka.
  • Mid-price midfielders (Harisson, Ward-Prowse, Souček) are an important part of the midfield
  • No third striker due to price rises

Conclusion

Optimization can help us to find the best solution for our FPL teams. It shows us how we should spread our money around, which formation we should use, how many heavy hitters we should field, and most importantly, how the structure of our FPL teams should look like.

Use the knowledge from the best FPL team of the 2020/21 season when tinkering about your team for GW1 of the 2021/22 season. 

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