Using Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) in FPL

fpl fantasy football pareto principle 80 20

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a concept that suggests that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, this principle has been applied in various fields, from business to health and even sports.

In the context of Fantasy Premier League (FPL), the 80/20 rule can be a powerful tool for team management and strategic decision-making.

1. Understanding the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule was first conceived by Pareto when he noticed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He further observed that this distribution was not unique to wealth and land ownership but was a common occurrence in various other areas. For instance, he found that 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced 80% of the peas.

In the modern context, the 80/20 rule is used across different fields and industries. In business, it’s often observed that 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers. In software development, it’s commonly noted that 80% of errors and crashes are caused by about 20% of the known bugs.

The 80/20 rule is not a hard-and-fast rule but rather a guideline that illustrates the imbalance that often exists between inputs and outputs, effort and reward, or cause and effect. It’s a principle of disproportionality that can help us focus our efforts on the areas that yield the most significant results.

2. The 80/20 Rule in Fantasy Football and FPL

In the context of Fantasy Premier League (FPL), the 80/20 rule can be interpreted in several ways.

a) 20% player responsible for 80% (50%) of points

One of the most common applications is the idea that 20% of the players in the league are responsible for 80% of the points. This is not a precise statistic, but it illustrates the fact that a small proportion of high-performing players often contribute a significant portion of the total points in FPL.

For example, in 2022/23 Fantasy Premier League season, there were 31 724 points scored by 552 players (players who scored more than 0 points in that season). But 20 % of these players (110) were responsible for 47 % of all points scored. 

Basically, half of all points scored came from the top 20% of players.

It is not precisely 80/20 (we could call it 50/20) but it is a good example how are fantasy points concentrated among top players.

This disproportionality is often due to the nature of football itself. In any given team, only a handful of players are likely to be consistent goal scorers or assist providers. These players, often forwards or attacking midfielders, are the ones who typically accumulate the most points in FPL. On the other hand, players in more defensive roles or from lower-ranked teams may contribute less to the overall points tally, despite making up the majority of the player pool.

b) 20% of your decisions can results in 80% of your success

Another way to apply the 80/20 rule in FPL is to consider your own team management efforts. You might find that 20% of your decisions, such as choosing the right captain or making a timely transfer, result in 80% of your success in the game. This can help you focus your efforts on the areas that have the most significant impact on your team’s performance.

c) Applying 80/20 rule on budget – 20% of budget responsible for 80 % (50 %) of points

Furthermore, the 80/20 rule can also be applied to your FPL budget. Often, you’ll find that 20% of your budget, allocated to key, high-performing players, will contribute to 80% of your total points. This can help guide your budget allocation and transfer strategy, ensuring you get the most value out of your investments.

For example, if you owned Haaland, Trippier and Martinelli the whole 2022/23 season, and captain Haaland on each gameweek, these 3 players (costing you 22.5 % of your budget) would score you 272*2 +198 + 198 = 940 points. So if you end up the season on 2000 points, 23 % of your budget tied in Haaland (C), Trippier and Martinelli would be responsible for 47 % of your all points.

So in this case, the 80/20 rule changes to 50/20 again.

d) Applying 80/20 rule on players’ form

The 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. When applied to a player’s form in FPL, this could mean that 80% of a player’s points come from 20% of their matches throughout the season. This is often the case with players who have explosive performances, where they score multiple goals or assists in a single match, resulting in a high points haul.

For example, a forward might have a run of games where they score only a few points, but then they have a breakout match where they score a hat-trick and earn bonus points, resulting in a massive points return. These standout performances, although less frequent, contribute a significant portion of the player’s total points for the season.

For example, Almiron scored 158 points in the 2022/23 season. However, 50 % of all his points (79 points) came between gameweek 9 and 17. So, 9 consecutive gameweeks (24 % of all 38 gameweeks) were responsible for 50 % of his all points.

So in this case, 80/20 changes to 50/20 again.

e) Supplementing talismen theory

I think this concept can nicely supplement The Talismen Theory – where very few players are responsible for majority of their teams FPL points.

3. Benefits of Applying the 80/20 Rule in FPL

Applying the 80/20 rule in FPL can offer several benefits. Firstly, it can help you make more effective decisions about player selection and transfers. By focusing on the 20% of players who are likely to contribute 80% (or as we show on 22/23 data – 50 %) of the points, you can prioritize high-performing players and allocate your budget more effectively. This can help you maximize your points return and improve your ranking in your leagues.

Secondly, the 80/20 rule can help you manage your time and effort more efficiently. FPL is a complex game that requires a significant amount of time and effort to play effectively. By identifying the 20% of decisions that contribute to 80% of your success, you can focus your efforts on the areas that matter most and avoid wasting time on less impactful decisions.

Finally, applying the 80/20 rule can help you develop a more strategic approach to the game. By understanding the principle of disproportionality, you can make more informed decisions and develop strategies that maximize your return on investment. This can make the game more enjoyable and rewarding, as you see your strategic decisions leading to success.

4. Strategies for Applying the 80/20 Rule in Fantasy Football

Applying the 80/20 rule in FPL requires a strategic approach. Here are some strategies that can help you apply this principle effectively:

Focus on Key Players: Identify the 20% of players who are likely to contribute 80% (50 %) of the points. These are typically high-performing players from top teams, often playing in attacking positions. Prioritize these players when making transfers and allocating your budget.

Choose the Right Captain: The captain of your FPL team scores double points, making this one of the most important decisions each gameweek. A well-chosen captain can contribute a significant portion of your team’s points, aligning with the 80/20 principle.

Time Your Transfers: Making timely transfers is a crucial aspect of FPL. A well-timed transfer, such as bringing in a player ahead of a favorable run of fixtures, can have a significant impact on your team’s performance.

Manage Your Budget: The 80/20 rule can also apply to budget management. Often, a small number of expensive players will contribute a large portion of your team’s points. Balancing these high-cost, high-reward players with cheaper enablers is a key part of FPL strategy.

Utilize Chips Effectively: Chips like Wildcard, Free Hit, Triple Captain, and Bench Boost can have a significant impact on your team’s performance. Using these chips strategically aligns with the 80/20 rule, as they can contribute to a large portion of your points in specific gameweeks.

Consider Ownership Percentages: Players with high ownership percentages can be risky to ignore, especially if they’re in good form. If a highly-owned player performs well, not having them in your team could result in a significant rank drop. This is another application of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of highly-owned players can cause 80% of rank changes.

Analyze Past Seasons: Look at the data from past seasons to identify trends and patterns that align with the 80/20 rule. This could include identifying the types of players that typically score the most points, or the times in the season when big points hauls are most likely.


The 80/20 rule, or Pareto Principle, is a powerful concept that can be effectively applied in Fantasy Premier League. By focusing on the 20% of players or decisions that yield 80% of the results, FPL managers can optimize their teams, make more effective decisions, and ultimately, enjoy more success in the game.

While the 80/20 rule is not a guaranteed formula for success, it provides a strategic framework that can guide decision-making and resource allocation. By understanding and applying this principle, FPL managers can enhance their gameplay, improve their rankings, and derive more enjoyment from the game.


Does the 80/20 rule mean I should only focus on 20% of players in FPL?

Not exactly. The 80/20 rule suggests that a small proportion of players (around 20%) will contribute a significant portion of the total points (around 50%). However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the other 50% of players. They can still contribute points and can be valuable assets in your team, especially when in form.

Can the 80/20 rule guarantee success in FPL?

No, the 80/20 rule is not a guaranteed formula for success. It’s a principle that can guide your decision-making and help you focus your efforts, but success in FPL also requires a good understanding of football, careful observation of player form and fixtures, and a bit of luck.

How can I identify the 20% of decisions that will have 80% of the impact in FPL?

Some of the key decisions that can have a significant impact on your FPL success include choosing your captain, making transfers, and managing your budget. These decisions often require careful consideration and strategic planning, but they can yield significant rewards.

Matej Šuľan

Fantasy Football enthusiast with two top 1k finishes in FPL. Best FPL overall rank: 119th in 2019/20 season. Five top 500 finishes in UCL Fantasy, best overall rank: 23rd in 2018/19 season. Founder of Fantasy Football Reports.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *