This article aims to guide you on that journey and present you ideas on how you can get better at fantasy football.
Let’s dive in.
You might be interested in: 6 Books that will help you improve your FPL skills.
How Can I Get Better at Fantasy Football and FPL?
1. Understand the Basics
Understand the basics, and how the game and scoring system works is the first.
Read more: How to play Fantasy Premier League
2. Put in Your Time for Research and Preparation
Once you’ve grasped the basics, the next step is to do your research and prepare. This involves studying player performances, team form, and fixture difficulty, both before the season starts and throughout the season.
You just need to put in the work. Dedicate your time to research and looking at stats, so you have more information available when making decisions.
Also study performances from previous seasons. Check the points distributions across different positions. Do 6.5 defenders tend to score more points than 8.5 midfielders? If you find this kind of anomaly in points distribution it can point you in the direction of which players and positions you should prioritize when selecting your fantasy football team (in this example you would prefer 6.5 million defenders over more expensive midfielders).
Check for players’ stats such as xG, shots, key passes, etc, which will give you an idea of whether a player is underperforming or underperforming. You can use these stats:
- Official FPL statistics – you can find data about xG as well here
- Bookies odds – bookies odds can help you calculate probabilities of clean sheets or scoring a goal which can help you in your decision making process
Preparation is key in FPL. Before the season starts, take the time to draft a balanced team with the potential for scoring points in the opening fixtures. However, be prepared to make adjustments as the season progresses, based on factors such as player form, injuries, and fixture difficulty.
Looking at fixture difficulty is crucial. You must know which have the best fixtures in the coming gameweeks and which have the worst fixtures. That will help you find players with high-scoring potential over the next few “easy” matches.
3. Make Informed Decisions
FPL is a game of decisions. Every week, you’ll need to decide which players to transfer in and out, who to captain, and how to arrange your team.
When making transfers, avoid making knee-jerk reactions based on a single gameweek’s performance; instead, try to consider the longer-term implications of your transfers.
Choosing your captain is one of the most important decisions you’ll make each week, as your captain’s points are doubled. Consider not only a player’s form but also the difficulty of their fixture when deciding on your captain and his long-term reliability as a captaincy option.
Read more: How to pick captain in FPL?
Arranging your team effectively can also earn you extra points. For example, if one of your defenders has a tough fixture, it might be worth placing them on the bench and playing a defender with an easier fixture instead.
4. Understanding that FPL is an Optimization Game
At its core, FPL is a game of optimization. You have a fixed budget and need to select a team of 15 players that will score the most points.
For example, you might need to decide between buying a premium forward who scores lots of goals, or buying a cheaper forward and using the saved money to strengthen your midfield. Or you might need to decide between keeping a player who has tough fixtures coming up but has been scoring well, or transferring in a player with easier fixtures but unproven form.
We have variables (players you can include in your team, valued in their points scored), decisions variables (1 or 0 based on whether you include the player in your team or not), an objective function (the sum of all players valued in points multiplied by the decisions variables), constraints (budget constraints, sum of decision variables is 15, team constraints) and our goal is to find the maximum of the objective function.
Basically, you need to understand how certain players contribute to the value of the objective function.
If a player score 200 points per season but is valued at 12.5 he contributes less to the optimal solution than a player that scores 200 points per season but is valued at 8.5 million.
You can read more about this in our articles:
- The Best FPL Team of 2022/23 season
- The Best FPL Team of 2021/22 season
- The Best FPL Team of 2020/21 season
- Optimized XI for 18/19 season
Optimization also comes into play when managing your team throughout the season. You need to optimize your use of transfers, making sure to get the most value out of each one. You also need to optimize your use of chips, such as the Wildcard, Free Hit, Bench Boost, and Triple Captain, using them at the optimal time to maximize their benefits.
Timing is extremely important when deciding about using chips. We try to maximize their potential, so we usually use chips during double gameweeks (so it is like using the chip 2 times rather than 1)
Understanding FPL as an optimization game can help you make more strategic decisions, both in selecting your initial team and in managing your team throughout the season. It encourages you to think more deeply about the trade-offs and strategic decisions involved in FPL, and can ultimately help you become a better FPL manager.
5. Manage Risks Wisely When Managing You FPL Team
Risk management is another important aspect of Fantasy Football. The game is inherently unpredictable, with player performances subject to a variety of factors, including injuries, suspensions, and changes in team form or tactics. As such, it’s important to have strategies in place to manage these risks.
One key risk management strategy is diversification. By selecting players from a variety of teams, you reduce the risk of your FPL team’s performance being severely affected by one team’s poor performance. This can lead to more consistent scoring from week to week.
Read more: Managing Risks in FPL
6. Learn from a Successful Fantasy Football Managers
No matter how much you know about FPL, there’s always more to learn. One of the best ways to improve is to learn from other successful FPL managers. This can involve following top managers, participating in the FPL community on Twitter or Reddit.
Following top managers can provide insights into effective strategies and decision-making processes. Many top managers share their thoughts and strategies on social media or in blogs, providing a wealth of information for other managers to learn from.
You can find FPL id’s of top managers for example Magnus Carlsen and then check their teams and what moves they make.
7. Understand Probabilities and Statistical Laws that influence points distribution in FPL
A deeper understanding of Fantasy Football can be achieved by delving into the probabilities and statistical laws that influence points distributions. Two key concepts here are the Law of Large Numbers and the Extreme Values Cluster Theory.
The Law of Large Numbers is a principle of probability that describes the result of performing the same experiment a large number of times. In the context of FPL, this could mean that a player’s performance over a large number of games will likely be close to their expected performance.
The Extreme Values Cluster Theory, on the other hand, suggests that extreme events (like a player scoring a hat-trick) tend to cluster together rather than occur independently. This could influence your decision-making in FPL, for example, by encouraging you to keep a player in your team who has just had an exceptional performance, in anticipation of further high-scoring performances.
The Extreme Values Cluster Theory could explain, why we tend to see “form” – a series of matches when a player is just scoring every match and then a long series of blanks.
Read more in our articles:
8. Keep an FPL Journal
Keeping a journal of your FPL decisions and their outcomes can be a powerful tool for improvement. By recording your thought process behind each decision, you can reflect on what led to successful outcomes and where you might have gone wrong when things didn’t work out as planned.
Your FPL journal could include your weekly team selection, captain choice, transfers, use of chips, and your rank after each gameweek. Over time, you’ll accumulate a valuable record of your FPL management style, which you can analyze to identify patterns, learn from mistakes, and ultimately make better decisions.
You can use Excel or google sheets to record your progress and your thoughts over the season.
9. Know Yourself
FPL is not just a test of your football knowledge; it’s also a test of your decision-making skills, your ability to handle pressure, and your emotional resilience. Understanding yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses, your biases – can be incredibly beneficial in improving your FPL performance.
For example, if you know that you tend to make rash decisions when under pressure, you might decide to make your team selections well before the deadline to avoid last-minute panic. Or if you know that you have a bias towards players from your favorite team, you might need to consciously counteract this bias when making your selections.
Understanding yourself can also help you manage the emotional ups and downs of FPL. It’s a game with many highs and lows, and being able to stay level-headed through it all – not getting too carried away with the highs or too downhearted with the lows – can help you make better, more rational decisions.
10. Avoid Emotional Moves
Emotions can play a big role in FPL. The thrill of a high-scoring gameweek, the frustration of a captain blank, the regret of a transfer gone wrong – these emotions are all part of the FPL experience. However, it’s important not to let these emotions dictate your decision-making.
Instead, try to approach your decisions in a calm and rational manner. Take the time to consider all the relevant factors, weigh up the pros and cons, and make the decision that you believe is in the best long-term interest of your team. By keeping emotions in check, you can improve your decision-making and ultimately become a better Fantasy Football manager.
11. Understand Variance and Its Role in FPL
Variance is a statistical concept that measures how far a set of numbers are spread out from their average value. In FPL, variance can be seen in the fluctuating performances of players and teams from week to week. For example, a player might score a hat-trick one week and then fail to score in the next few games.
This is variance in action.
Understanding variance can help you make better decisions in FPL. It can remind you that football, like all sports, is unpredictable and that a player’s performance can vary greatly from week to week. This understanding can prevent you from making knee-jerk reactions based on a single game and encourage you to consider the bigger picture when making decisions.
You can find more about this topic in our article: How to deal with Variance in FPL?
12. Find a Balance Between Chasing Points and Jumping on Bandwagons Early
In FPL, there’s often a fine line between chasing points and jumping on bandwagons early.
Chasing past points refers to the practice of bringing in players who have just scored highly, in the hope that they will continue to do so.
Finding a balance between these two is key. This might involve setting certain criteria that a player must meet before you bring them into your team, such as consistent performances over several games, or a run of favorable fixtures.
This can help you make more measured and strategic decisions, rather than simply reacting to the latest trends or just a single gameweek performance that could be easily followed by a series of blanks.
13. Learn to Include Probabilities in Your Decision-Making Process
While football is inherently unpredictable, probabilities can provide a useful guide to the likely outcomes of matches and the potential performance of players.
For example, bookmakers’ odds can give you an indication of the probability of certain events happening in a match, such as a team winning, a player scoring, or a team keeping a clean sheet. These probabilities can inform your decisions on which players to bring into your team and who to captain. You can use our Odds to Probability Calculator to convert bookmakers’ odds into probabilities.
In addition, some statistical models can provide probabilities for player performances based on a range of factors, such as their past performances, their team’s form, xG, stats, and the difficulty of their upcoming fixtures. These models can help you identify players who are likely to score highly in the coming weeks.
However, it’s important to remember that probabilities are not certainties. Even if a player has a high probability of scoring, it doesn’t guarantee that they will. Therefore, probabilities should be used as a tool to inform your decisions, not dictate them.
Improving at Fantasy Premier League is a long journey. Fantasy Football is a game that rewards strategic thinking, careful planning, and adaptability. With these strategies, you can improve your FPL skills, climb the ranks in your mini-leagues, and get more enjoyment out of this fantastic game. Remember, the key to success in FPL is continuous learning and improvement, so keep striving to become a better FPL manager.