Saturday, 16 August 2014

Chief's Super Cup (2014/2015)

During pre-season, I have been compiling a secret invitational H2H mini-league.  I am pleased to announce that it contains the overall reigning FPL champion, the former champion, many ex-number ones and ex-Top 100 players, a smattering of FPL pundits & personalities, as well as a good showing from the FPLH alumni.  There are no prizes for Chief's Super Cup, just bragging rights!  Moreover, there is no guarantee of success.  However, based on their collective FPL knowledge and past form, this should be a competitive and LEGENDARY H2H mini-league.

 The entrants in question are as follows:


"Horses for Courses" - Phillipe Coutinho


AGE: 22

Big Phil (Scolari) left little Phil (Coutinho) out of Brazil's squad for the 2014 World Cup squad but whereas this may have been their loss, it may well turn out to be Liverpool's gain.

Despite not being involved in (scored/assisted) in a goal until November (he missed some games through injury), he possess a great amount of technical ability and has shown flashes of of what he is capable of.
His dramatic winner against Manchester City (3-2) in May is a reflection of his technical ability.

·         Coutinho has been in involved in (scored/assisted) in goals against 5 of Liverpool's first 6 opponents. 
(Southampton, Manchester CIty, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Aston Villa).

· 5 of Coutinho's 8 Premier League goals were scored against Liverpool's first four league opponents.

· 3 of Coutinho's 8 Premier League have been scored from outside the penalty area.


VS EVERTON (3-3) - 1
VS FULHAM (2-3) - 1
VS MANCHESTER CITY (2-1 & 3-2) - 2
VS SPURS (4-0) - 1

VS QPR (1-0) - 1
- A considerable amount of Coutinho's assists have came via through balls.

- Coutinho's defence splittings passes has lead to assists and goals have seen him be involved in (scored/assists) in goals against last season's top half teams.

- Coutinho's creates numerous chances and takes many shots on goal throughout the season.

- Coutinho carries an exciting threat in the opposition's final third.

· Exactly half of (4) of Coutinho's Premier League goals (8) have been scored against last season's top 6.

5 of Coutinho's 8 Premier League goals have came against last season's top 8 teams.

The Brazilian has been involved in (scored/assisted) in 20 Premier League goals in since signing from Inter Milan in January 2013.

Coutinho was involved in (scored/assisted) in exactly half of Liverpool's 4 goals in their final pre-season warm up match against 2013 Champions League finalists Dormund (4-0) and also assisted a goal for Suso in another previous pre-season win for the reds against another fellow past Champions League finalists AC Milan (2-0).

if he can continue this good form than he could be one to watch for the as well as being an exciting and dazzling edition to your FPL team for the 2014/15 season.


Friday, 15 August 2014

Chief's Projected 14/15 Premier League Table

1st: Chelsea

It's rare for Jose to go trophy-less 3 seasons in a row.  His rebuilt team is ready to win the title.

2nd: Arsenal 

They could mount a serious title challenge with their depth, but may just fall short (again).

3rd: Man City

They may focus more on winning the CL this season, which may hamper their pursuit of the PL.

4th: Man Utd

LvG doesn't have Euro distractions and will re-work United. Will have a good start to the season.

5th: Liverpool

Without Suarez and CL football, Liverpool could struggle in the EPL.  But you never know...

6th: Tottenham

Pochettino did a fine job at Southampton.  Could win a cup or two, not the Premier League.

7th: Everton

Lukaku's permanent transfer was key, but Everton won't better last season's finish.

8th: Stoke

The signing of Bojan could herald a "Barca Lite" era at the Britannia. Get ready, be surprised.

9th: Newcastle

Bought lots of new faces in the summer.  Should do about the same as last season.

10th: Southampton

They sold their key players, but also bought some in.  Koeman will rebuild and reinvigorate.

11th: Sunderland

Poyet inspired his men to a sensational bounce back & they should continue their stability.

12th: West Ham

Won't win much away and will be hard to beat at home.  Expect the same old from Sam.

13th: Swansea

Monk is no Laudrup.  At the same time this team in transition will hardly be pushovers.

14th: QPR

New CB partnership, good start to the season and a late super buy will boost their season.

15th: Leicester

May have an indifferent first half of the season, but they could be a difficult force at home.

16th: Hull

Expect them to be bogged down in Europe and have enough in their tank to bank 40+ PL points.

17th: Aston Villa

Their summer transfers look unconvincing.  Will have a tricky start but Benteke should bail them.

18th: Crystal Palace

Pulis saved them from relegation last season, but without him they are nothing and doomed.

19th: West Brom

Another inexperienced PL manager for WBA.  Lescott is a bonus but he won't keep them afloat.

20th: Burnley

I'm sure they will notch a few decent victories at home but ultimately will battle in vain.


The above information is merely speculation & should not be used for betting purposes.

Chief's #FPL Team - Gameweek 1

Disclaimer: *FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes will most likely be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter account.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

#Flybuy - GW1

"It's back!", I hear very few people shouting.

"Flybuy is back on the FPL Hints blog, giving me an indication on which player to bring into my squad based on the astute knowledge that Fly brings to the FPL party", somebody nearly said.

Well, yes, I'm back. And so is my weekly "FlyBuy" pick. The parameters are somewhat different this season, in that there are no parameters. By that I mean I'm no longer working with only being able to select players based on their clubs league position and restrictive ownership percentages.

However, what remains is that the weekly FlyBuy pick will be based on a players potential for a good points score when that hasn't necessarily been the case based on form, injury lay-off, being out of favour or just generally not necessarily being on your radar as an FPL manager.

So, I will kick you off with a pick based on nothing other than gut feeling.

Last Sunday's Community Shield between Arsenal and Manchester City saw the inclusion of a player who was perhaps a bit of a surprise to some people. Signed by Arsenal in the Summer, it was expected he would not perhaps feature immediately. But with the realisation that Arsene Wenger has given his World Cup winners (Ozil, Mertesacker and Poldi) a bit of an extra break given their efforts in Brazil, he chose to field ex-Saint Calum Chambers in the back four alongside Laurent Koscielny.

Before the game, young Chambers' ownership % sat at 2.8%. At the time of writing today, less than 4 days later, it is 6.1%. So, some of you have already jumped aboard this particular bandwagon.

But surely this is foolish? Mertesacker will inevitably reclaim his rightful spot sooner rather than later, with Chambers only duty being to pick splinters out of his arse on the Arsenal bench? Well, not necessarily. And this is where gut feeling comes in.

Chambers will almost definitely, positively, maybe start on Saturday evening at home to Crystal Palace. Unless Wenger pulls our pants down and starts Mertesacker with no preseason. Which he might. Or he might not. And I don't think he will.

You see, Arsenal then have a UCL tie away in Turkey on Tuesday night. And I think Mertesacker will start in that game. Leaving GW2 for Chambers to come in again to face Everton away at Goodison. Then Arsenal face the return leg versus Besiktas on the following Wednesday night (Mertesacker again) before going to Leicester for GW3. Chambers again.

I predict Mertesacker will definitely regain his place by GW4, but I think Chambers is worth the place in your squad until then. Priced at a bargain £4.5m, even IF he only plays in GW 1 and 2, it'll give you the chance to analyse the form of the other "bargain basement" defenders with a view to bringing them in.

Foolish logic perhaps. But in the true spirit of "Risk v Reward", I'm certainly giving Calum Chambers a chance to prove himself in my own GW1 team. And if he doesn't play? Well, step forward Norman Wisdom off my bench...

All the best for the season. Hope you stay tuned.



Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Best Assisting Defenders in the Premier League #FPL

Following on from my "Best Goalscoring Defenders" post, I'm back with another dosage of results from FPLH's Algorithm.  This time around I wanted to know who was the "best pound-for-pound" assisting defender in the Premier League.  More precisely, from the last two Premier League seasons (since 2012/2013).  In my estimation an assist rate of 12.5% or more (or thereabouts) is exceptional for a defender.  In producing the aforementioned results I looked at a number of factors such as the first 10 upcoming Gameweek fixtures of each player (up to the first week of November 2014), assists/assist rates since 12/13, 14/15 starting prices and latest ownership which amalgamated into producing the FPLH Algorithm scores.  Please note; our algorithm score doesn't factor in non-Premier League goals, any assists, injuries, potential suspensions or possible squad rotation risk.

Click to view in full
Top 5 "Algorithm Score" Assist Players:

1. Nathaniel Clyne.
2. Jose Enrique.
3. Aleksandar Kolarov.
4. Leighton Baines.
5. Kyle Walker.

Total Value: £29M

Top 5 Players - "Best Assist Attributes":

1. Nathaniel Clyne (FPLH Algorithm Score).
2. Aleksandar Kolarov (Most Assists).
3. Jose Enrique(Best Assist Rate).
4. Matthew Lowton (Best Differential).
5. Matthew Lowton (Cheapest Price)

Total Value: £24M

Honourable Mentions (Not in our list):

1. Luke Shaw.
2. Kieran Trippier.
3. Joel Ward.
4. Phil Jones.
5. Luke Chambers.

As with the previous goalscoring defenders article, I know that this post has also thrown up some surprises.  Clyne seems to be the best all-round assist-orientated defender and like goalscoring-Fonte could flourish with their recent experience and good run of games.  However, unsurprisingly, none of the top 10 of the best assisting defenders from my spreadsheet are centre-backs.  They are the full backs who make the marauding runs, do the precision crosses or simply get the ball to their team's attackers by any means necessary.  Incidentally, none of the Algorithm Top 3 have played 60+ games over the last two seasons, which may inadvertently show them up as rotation risks.  Moreover, Baines made my Top 5 in the goalscoring and assisting category which makes him a banker for any FPL team.

With the culmination of both articles, this still begs the question, should you focus on getting assist making full-backs or goalscoring centre-backs?  Looking at the stats, the best assisters are full-backs who incidentally seem to be cheaper than the goalscoring centre-backs.  This ticks one box.  But the game changer for me is the new change in bonus points calculation rules.  As per the article on FFS, it seems that attacking full-backs will benefit the most.  As a result, I may configure my team to have 3 or 4 attacking full-backs and only 1 or 2 goalscoring centre-backs.  Ultimately, it's your call.  I hope you have found my FPLH Algorithm articles beneficial and that the supposed theory can be backed up by the real life practical come Gameweek 1.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Best Goalscoring Defenders in the Premier League #FPL

With the 2014/2015 season fast approaching, I thought it best to once again crunch some numbers with our bespoke algorithm.  I wanted to know who was the "best pound-for-pound" goalscoring defender in the Premier League.  More precisely, from the last two Premier League seasons (since 2012/2013).  In my estimation a strike rate of 10% or more (or thereabouts) is exceptional for a defender.  In producing the aforementioned results I looked at a number of factors such as the first 10 upcoming Gameweek fixtures of each player (up to the first week of November 2014), goals/strike rates since 12/13, 14/15 starting prices and latest ownership which amalgamated into producing the FPLH Algorithm scores.  Please note; our algorithm score doesn't factor in non-Premier League goals, any assists, injuries, potential suspensions or possible squad rotation risk.

Here are our results:

Click to view in full
Top 5 "Algorithm Score" Players:

1. Jose Fonte
2. Martin Skrtel
3. John Terry
4. Steven Caulker
5. Leighton Baines

Total Value:  £30M

Top 5 Players - "Best Attributes":

1. Jose Fonte (FPLH Algorithm Score).
2. Leighton Baines (Most Goals).
3. Martin Skrtel (Best Strike Rate).
4. Phil Bardsley (Best Differential).
5. Steven Caulker (Cheapest Price*)

Total Value: £28.5M
*Joint cheapest with Bardsley in our list.

Honourable Mentions (Not in our list):

1. Ben Davies.
2. Dejan Lovren.
3. Gareth McAuley.
4. Jan Vertonghen.
5. Ellaquim Mangala.

I know that the results will come as a surprise for many.  But bare in mind they give a favourable bias to goals scored by defenders in the PL over the last two seasons.  I didn't even bother to think about Fonte till I crunched the numbers, but I might try and fit him into my team now.  So now you know...  Don't delay and get tinkering!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Will You Be Infected With Fantasy Football Syndrome?

Here's an amusing news story on the discovery of a new "syndrome" called Fantasy Football Syndrome that targets people like me and you - Fantasy Premier League addicts. The article first published on FanXT blog that tells the 6 symptoms of fantasy football syndrome.

Apparently, the syndrome is far from deadly and in fact, it's almost beneficial for the victims because, playing too much of fantasy football could cause you to win lots of cash prizes. Fantasy football is a game of skill and quite a few fantasy Premier League games out there offer free cash prizes without you needing to pay a single cent. It only needs your effort (addiction, if you might say)

So during the upcoming EPL 2014/15 season, if you starting to watch too much EPL games on TV and losing your sense of attachment to your favourite club, you might just be infected. Not to worry, it's for the best :)

Rachel Lee is a guest blogger. Visit her blog at to read more about fantasy football

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

#FlyBuy - Player vs Player Feature

For my first article of the new season, I have decided to do a “Player vs Player” study based on my own thoughts and opinions while trying to select my own squad for the forthcoming season. In an ideal world, you’d be able to pick all six of the following players. But FPL is not ideal. Some managers will try though. Be warned – you’ll end up with a defence weaker than wet tissue paper if you do!


Sanchez vs Hazard



·         Listed as a midfielder in FPL

·         Good World Cup

·         Signed from Barca

·         34 league games – 19 goals / 10 assists


·         High price for an unproven FPL player (£10.5m)

·         Possible fatigue – played in World Cup round of 16

·         Will Wenger ease him in gently?

·         Will he take time to adjust to the pace of the PL?

·         28.0% FPL ownership stat (as at 5 Aug.)



·         Proven quality FPL player with over 200 points last season

·         Plays for an attack minded team with a better target man this season

·         A bonus point magnet

·         35 league games – 14 goals / 10 assists


·         Poor World Cup

·         Will probably see less of the ball this season due to Chelsea’s new signings

·         Was the talisman of the team last season and this inspired his performances; this will not be the case this year

·         Will have to act on Mourinho’s criticism that he neglected his defensive duties

·         22.2% FPL ownership stat (as at 5 Aug.)

Fly’s thoughts

Sanchez is unproven in England, yet has proven pedigree. Arguably moving from Barcelona to Arsenal is a step down career wise; but this may mean he is hungry to prove people wrong? He is Arsenal’s marquee signing, so it would be crazy for Wenger not to start him on his home debut. But Wenger has a way of frustrating FPL managers as he has proved in the past. Sanchez may struggle initially to adapt to the pace and power of the premier league.

Hazard was the third highest scoring FPL midfielder last year, behind Yaya Toure and Steven Gerrard. Although Belgium did well in the World Cup, Hazard did not exactly set the tournament alight as many predicted he would. The arrival of Fabregas may stifle his attacking prowess this season. Possibly a rotation risk, and don’t forget about Mourinho’s open criticism of him towards the end of last season.

Flybuy Tip

A tricky one this. Personally I am reluctant to include brand new arrivals to the premier league in my own squad until I’ve had chance to judge how quickly they adapt to the pace. The fixtures for both Arsenal and Chelsea are similar in terms of difficulty for the first 10 game weeks. It’s a bit of a coin toss this one. My head says to vote for the proven record of Hazard, but my gut feeling says Sanchez will hit the ground running – therefore it is Sanchez that gets my Flybuy recommendation.

Fabregas vs Ramsey



·         Proven FPL player (albeit with Arsenal!)

·         Used sparingly during the world cup (2 sub appearances)

·         will probably settle quickly into the Chelsea style of play

·        FPL assist machine – averaging 11 a season during his 5 years with Arsenal – and continued this during his 3 years at barca


·         Where will Jose Mourinho play him?

·         Rotation risk?

·         If Costa struggles, the assists could dry up

·         18.9% FPL ownership stat (as at 5 Aug.)



·         Stunning first half of 2013/14 season

·         No World Cup

·         Proven PL player

·         23 league games – 10 goals / 9 assists


·         Took 3 months to recover from a thigh strain

·         Will Wenger change his role in the attacking strategy?

·         Arsenal midfield options – rotation risk?

·         match fitness?

·         21.4% FPL ownership stat (as at 5 Aug.)

Fly’s thoughts

Both players already have high FPL ownership; nearly one in 5 managers have selected one (or both) of these players. Both are proven in the PL and there is nothing to suggest they will not hit the ground running from Gameweek 1. It may take time for Fabregas to develop an understanding with his team mates (particularly Costa) but this will be a similar situation for Ramsey (with Sanchez).

Flybuy Tip

There is very little to choose between these two truth be told. Fabregas seems to be playing well in pre-season, and he is genuine quality. It may take time to form a partnership with Matic and Hazard, but he is intelligent enough to get to grips with this quickly. However, on this occasion Ramsey gets my vote; he has had a good rest over the summer – not including the time out due to injury between Jan and Mar, which means he should be fresher. However, i would advise including both in your FPL team. You won’t, because you’ve already gone for Sanchez for your Arsenal midfield representation haven’t you?

Costa vs Rooney



·                  Chelsea’s only “real” striking option
·                  Stunning season for Atletico Madrid last year
·                  Perfect “robust” physique for a PL forward?
·                  Quality midfield at Chelsea will provide plenty of ammo
·                  35 league games – 27 goals


·                  High price for an unproven FPL player (£10.5m)
·                  Poor World Cup for Spain
·                  Rushed back from hamstring injury for the UCL final, and hasn’t looked right since - possibly carrying some extra weight?
·                  Replaced by Torres during ineffective performances for Spain – Deja vu?
·                  25.6% FPL ownership stat (as at 5 Aug.)



·                  Second highest scoring FPL forward last season in a poor team
·                  Will rise to the challenge of proving he is the main man at Old Trafford
·                  Proven PL quality averaging 174.5 FPL points per season (since 2006/7)
·                  Hasn’t failed to break into double figures for goals in each of the last 8 PL seasons (average 16 goals)
·                  No European distractions for Manchester United this season


·                  New manager, new ideas. Manchester United undergoing a period of transition
·                  RvP is evidently an LvG golden boy and is a strong contender for the captaincy. If Rooney decides to sulk, his form could suffer
·                  Poor World Cup could have affected confidence
·                  34.8% FPL ownership stat (as at 5 Aug.)

Fly’s thoughts

Both players again have high ownership percentage, especially the unproven Diego Costa. He looks to have all of the attributes associated with a successful premier league forward; robust physique, tall, eye for goal. However, his record before last season’s exceptional success for Atletico Madrid has been average at best. Is he the real deal? Rooney on the other hand definitely is the real deal. His Premier League record speaks for itself. He will be eager to impress his new manager and he desperately wants that Captain’s armband from LvG.

Flybuy Tip

Costa is proving to be a popular FPL pick for many people. His ownership stats are very high for a player coming to a new league off the back of one exceptionally good season. Rooney on the other hand is FPL’s “Mr Consistency”. Risk taking is the way to climb the FPL leader board; however it’s not necessary from Gameweek 1. Remember; it’s a marathon not a sprint. And there is no better long term bet than Wayne Rooney to guarantee consistent points week after week. With no European distraction, I predict he will be a “must have”. The only risk is being outscored by his own team mate, RvP. Squeezing them both in to your FPL team will be nigh on impossible, so make your choice wisely.