Wednesday, 19 June 2013

2012-2013 FPL Transfer Analysis - Would Knowing This Info Help You Too?

2012-13 Fantasy Premier League Transfer Analysis

I’ve gotta level with you guys.  I just can’t get the recent FPL season out of my mind.  It was a year of growth for me; a year where finding an outlet to talk about the sport (EPL) and the game (FPL) on Twitter raised my appreciation and enjoyment of the FPL game to levels I had never anticipated.

I’ve learned so much just from reading what knowledgeable fans have said to one another and asked one another about, let alone the actual conversations I’ve had with people that have helped me understand and enjoy the game with a new awareness.  I’ve said before that the season ended too early for me.  I didn’t want the momentum to stop.  Having improved from 352,257th place in 2011-2012 to 33,058th place in 2012-2013, part of me was afraid that the momentum I carried through the end of the season and all that I learned this year would fade with the two-month gap; that I might forget what I had learned and would essentially be starting the new upcoming season from scratch again.

So without being able to keep playing the FPL game, I wanted to do the next best thing.  I wanted to analyze my performance and delve further into how the knowledge I gained from talking and “listening to” so many respectable friends and fans helped me reach levels that surprised me.  The logical place for me to start was to analyze my transfer activity; specifically the transfers I made throughout the season that resulted in point hits.

If you’ve played FPL for any length of time and are active on Twitter, you’ve inevitably fretted over the prospect of “paying” or “spending” 4 extra points to make a transfer that you can’t make for free.  The concept is an integral part of the game, and one that often can make or break an individual gameweek and ultimately how you perform in your mini-league and overall ranking.

Respected FPL players talk about “the 4-point hit” just about every week.  Is it worth it?  What has to happen to make it pay off?  For which positions is it worth considering and for which positions is it a guaranteed no-no?  What are the odds that it will pay off?

I read and listened to many people.  One of the things I remember hearing most from people that I respected highly was “Don’t take a hit if you don't have to; they don’t pay off 80% of the time.”  That scared me and had me thinking carefully about all of the things that would need to happen for a 4-point hit to pay off.  Not only would the person I transferred in need to do well, but they would need to score at least 4 more points than the person I transferred out.  In FPL, where every point is valuable, a 4-point hit needed to be weighed carefully.

Partly because of the fear instilled in me with the prospect of a 4-point hit, and partly because I was in a position in my mini-league towards the end of the season where every point would end up being important, I always found myself thinking long and hard about the prospect of giving up 4 points to make a transfer that I thought would pay off.

With three weeks left in the season, and hearing the old mantra of “4-point hits don’t pay off 80% of the time” from respected FPL players in the back of my mind, my mini-league rival made the surprising decision of making 5 transfers during double game week 36; a 16 point hit!  I was freaking out.  I had taken point hits in the 2-3 weeks leading up to double gameweek 36 to prepare and set myself up for it, but was surprised that my rival took such a risk; especially when things were so tight in our mini-league.  One of my good friends in the FPL Twitter community, knowing my mini-league was tight and probably trying to make me feel better, said “Don’t worry dude, there’s no way they’ll all pay off for him”.  Well guess what; 4 of his 5 transfers DID pay off for him, and it left me questioning the “4-point hits don’t pay off 80% of the time” adage that had been ingrained in my head.

So, after the season ended, I thought I’d take a look and see just how I fared when making the decision to take transfer hits.  The results actually surprised me very much.
Note: Because almost all of the transfers I made that resulted in 4-point hits were transfers that required swapping more than 1 player, I’ve analyzed my transfer hits based on each gameweek as opposed to each transfer.  It was very rare that I took a 4-point hit specifically to swap one player for another; it more often required a double move to “downgrade” a player in one position to be able to “upgrade” a player in another.
Here are my 2012-2013 season statistics/details with regard to point hits and transfers:
(Please excuse the formatting; I've had a heck of a time with it and it's not quite the visual that I wanted)

GW2:   Out: Mata, Aguero (3,0)            In: Hazard, Tevez (13,12)        
             Pts Hit: -4    Net Pts: +18
GW5:   Out: Federici, Petric (0,0)          In: Davis, Berbatov (0,8)          
             Pts Hit: -4    Net Pts: +4
GW6:   Out: Torres, DeGuzman (11,0)  In: Fletcher, Fellaini (8,2)          
             Pts Hit: -4    Net Pts: -5
GW7:   Out: Davis, Lescott, Kagawa, Berbatov  (0,6,0,0)
             In: Begovic, Gibbs, Cazorla, Jelavic  (9,1,8,5)
             Pts. Hit: -12 Net Pts: +5      
GW16: Out: RVP, Silva, Bale (6,2,0)     In: LeFondre, Sessegnon, Michu (4,10,12)
             Pts Hit: -8   Net Pts: +10
GW18: Out: Britton, Rafael, Fletcher, Fellaini (2,0,8,0)  In: Walcott, Nastasic, Ba, Toure (6,6,2,3)
             Pts Hit: -12  Net Pts: -5
GW27: Out: Suarez, Michu (0,0)           In: Giroud, Bale (2,15)              
             Pts Hit: -4    Net Pts: +13
GW29: Out: Fellaini, Cameron, Giroud (0,1,0)      In: Snodgrass, Garrido, Benteke (3,6,7)
             Pts Hit: -8    Net Pts: +7
GW31: Out: Benteke, Puncheon, Garrido (6,2,2)   In: Berbatov, Cazorla, Monreal (13,12,2)  
             Pts Hit: -4    Net Pts: +13
GW32: Out: Sturridge, Bale (2,0)          In: Lambert, Hazard (7,2)        
             Pts Hit: -4     Net Pts: +3
GW33: Out: Hazard, Davies (6,0)         In: Fellaini, Baines (5,12)          
             Pts Hit: -4    Net Pts: +7
GW34: Out: Fellaini, Cazorla, Suarez (2,3,11)        In: Michu, Maloney, RVP (3,2,17)
             Pts Hit: -8    Net Pts: -2
GW35: Out: Monreal, Lambert, Snodgrass, Johnson (0,2,2,5)
             In: Dawson, Lukaku, Bale, Figueroa (0,15,12,1)
             Pts Hit: -12   Net Pts: +7
GW37: Out: Defoe, Michu (1,8)            In: Sturridge, Lampard (17,14)  
             Pts Hit: -4     Net Pts: +18

Well there you have it.  All told, I spent 92 points on 23 transfers during the 2012-2013 FPL season.  Of the 14 gameweeks in which I took hits, I achieved net gains on 11 of them (78.5%) and had net losses on 3 of them (21.5%).

In summary, I gave up 91 points scored by the players I transferred out, spent 92 points to transfer in other players, and those players that I transferred in earned 276 points in the week I brought them in; for a net overall season gain of 93 points.

Here is something that I found fascinating... check this out:

The points scored by the players I transferred out  = 91

The number of points I spent on the 23 extra transfers = 92

The NET OVERALL GAIN I made through these transfers during the season = 93

Pretty crazy, huh!?!

I am so glad I took the time to put this information together and look back on my transfer dealings throughout the course of the season.  It taught me that depending on the situation, taking hits on additional transfers can work out rather well if done carefully.  As a fairly conservative FPL player, after the initial and necessary early season adjustments accounting for players who no longer started, fell out of form, were injured, etc., the majority of my point hits were taken to offload players who were either suspended, injured, had blank game weeks, etc.; or to bring in players with upcoming double game weeks.  In hindsight, this is perfectly normal and to be expected.  What I was surprised about was the percentage of times that point hits actually worked out for me.  Had you asked me that question throughout the season I would have said that it seemed like point hits worked out for me roughly half of the time.  My decisions look better in hindsight than they felt at the time, although obviously what’s not accounted for here are the players I DIDN’T pick who went nuts on certain gameweeks, like giving up Benteke to see him nail a hat trick a few weeks later.  But that’s FPL for ya.

If you would like to put together analysis like this for yourself based on last season’s statistics, PLEASE PRINT OUT YOUR GAMEWEEK DETAIL TODAY!  Next year’s EPL fixtures will be released tomorrow and there is speculation that the FPL site may reset itself and remove all 2012-2013 gameweek detail as early as tomorrow.  They do not store gameweek detail from prior seasons so once they reset the site it’s gone for good.

Sorry for being so long winded, but I hope you enjoyed seeing the stats of my transfers and how those transfer dealings affected the overall season points as a whole.  I improved my overall ranking considerably this year compared to last, and looking back now, these 93 extra points played a very large factor in that.

Cheers guys!

Please follow me on Twitter:  @EPLFanForLife