Friday, 26 July 2013

FPL Wizard - A free FPL Rotation Application (Android)



Fantasy Premier League Wizard is an application that gives you a huge advantage when playing Fantasy Premier League in terms of Clean-Sheet and goalscoring probability. The application features several functions for finding good rotation options using different rotation strategies. Depending on your settings and strategy, the app automatically creates a sorted list of teams that rotates well with the specific team(s) you selected. For every combination in the list, the application creates a suggested rotation schedule for you based on the fixture difficulties for every team in the search. The application calculates the difficulty for every single of the 760 fixtures of the 2013/2014 season by using induvidual prediction along with the current form of each team.

Features:
  • The most popular rotation strategies: 2-Way Rotation, 3-Way Rotation (Play 1), 3-Way Rotation (Play 2). 
  • A powerful custom strategy tool which let's you find rotation schedules for up to five different teams to be used simultaneously 
  • Select factors like teams, gameweeks, maximum player price and difficulty for the different strategies' settings
  • Favorite your mouth-watering generated rotation schedules for easy access whenever you want
  • Fixtures for every team in the Premier League season 2013/2014
  • Eventual double-gameweeks and blank gameweeks are included in the calculation progress
  • Excellent How-To and Help instructions for every rotation strategy
  • Automatic, induvidual rating for every generated rotation schedule

If the application is not displaying or acting properly on your device, or if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact email:FantasyPremierLeagueWizard@gmail.com or at Twitter: @FPLWizard

The application is completely free and ad-free. Download at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.linus.fplw




FPL invite codes 2014/2015

Hi all,

I'm back and ready to go for another #FPL season!

I'm often asked about my private league and cup codes, as well as other codes.  I thought it best to compile an index of some FPL invite codes.  The codes in question are for the official FPL game.  Do note, there is a restriction to the number of private leagues you can join!

Enjoy...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

6 (Un)conventional "Wisdoms" on How to Finish in Top 100 in FPL - part 5



After 4 installments, it is finally time to crack something that gets tossed around all the time in the FPL dictionary and everyone seems to have a different opinion about it – the differentials. Before we go deeper and look behind the scenes, let us stop at the definition of what a differential actually is. This is what the Chief @fplhints has written about it:

A differential is a player that is not owned by many FPL gamers but has the potential to obtain a high number of points and ultimately the successful differential does so.  The fact is that as the season progresses more and more FPL teams begin to look the same, which means that there isn't much to differentiate you from other FPL gamers.  Treat your FPL team like a business, i.e. they need a successful unique selling point, you need an almost unique player.
Plan ahead and look at various factors ranging from upcoming fixtures, injuries, suspensions along with under-picked gems.  Such thinking could help you discover a winner.  I define a differential as a Premier League player that is owned by less than 5% of FPL gamers.  Other definitions may put that at 1% or less, but I think 5% is a good cut off point to determine a differential.  Be careful not to go overboard on differentials as it could prove risky if they lack in appearances, show inconsistent form or are squad rotated often.  Perhaps limit yourself to one differential per position at the very most.  Ultimately picking a differential will differentiate you from the FPL pros and the FPL amateurs.

Overall, I agree with the definition. The differential needs to have differential qualities if we want to achieve differentiation (kind of makes sense, huh? J). Let us, for the sake of simplification, assume that there are three categories of FPL players out there, taking into the account their knowledge on FPL and football overall. While this might be a disturbing oversimplification for dedicated football fans, it will only be used to portrait the point. Alternatively, you can always skip this paragraph, no hard feelings from my side, I assure you.


I would say that a rookie is a player who is just starting with fantasy football and/or does not know much about Premier League (Blasphemy, right? By the way, that was me 3 years ago. Guilty on both counts.)  An experienced player is someone who has played the game for a couple of years now and could properly identify 80% of players playing in Premier League. The All-stars are people who have followed Premier League for more than a decade and have played fantasy football since year 1. If you wake them up in the middle of the night, they can tell you how much was Torres worth (in FPL, of course) back in 2007 and who had the third assist in 5th game of GW7 in season 2011/12. Can you put yourself somewhere? J

Now, again for the sake of fun, let us assign each of these groups of players a description on how they play the differential card:
1)     Rookies usually follow the lead, which in return offers them little to no differential. They usually scout the forums and when they see that the “experienced” or “all-star” players start talking about who is a “must have” for next GW, they go out and buy that “differential”.
2)   Experienced players are for me the ones who follow the lead when necessary AND look for non-obvious differentials. I kind of think of them as the ones who only start to tap into the potential that these differentials can bring. If successful, they can reach for the stars (that was me last year), if not, they get discouraged and revert back to the rookie approach (me 2 years ago).
3)   All-stars are, as said, the ones who know everything about football. Which usually takes a toll on them. They know so many different possible combinations of differentials that they usually end up taking too wild of differentials, just because they think other people might recognize the more “obvious” ones. Trust me when I say this, we don’t!

You might want to argue that this really is an oversimplification – and I do agree. But I do want to outline one conclusion that comes out of this - rookies can hardly bet on the differential as they try to follow the lead of experienced or veteran players and never actually own a differential as such as the differential is no longer a differential. Experienced players understand that in some cases you need to follow the herd and play it wisely with selecting just enough of a differential that it can boost your ranking and not hurt you in case it doesn’t work out. All-stars have played the game for a very, very long time and usually are the most knowledgeable about all things football. In my experience they usually take too much of a gamble which in certain cases might bring them over the top, but usually costs them in the rankings.

The point that I am trying to illustrate with this is that while it is really important to introduce a differential player or players every now and then, the player should really represent a differential, but a clever one. Make sure you disperse the risk and not just fill your team with differentials just because you know so much about football. If your differentials turn out to be failures, no one will regard you as an expert.


This, my dear reader, THIS is the million dollar question. And my honest answer would have to be – I don’t know. I really don’t. But before you get all upset, the thing is, no one really does. I believe this next comment that Mito 21 posted to one of my articles, sums it up perfectly, and I quote:


However, with this in mind, I have compiled a couple of advices for you on how to select the right differentials that have worked for me last year. And I would like to share them with you today.


1.   Start the season with a differential
It is really important to have a good start to a season. Think about it – the higher you are in the rankings after the first couple of GWs, the less nutty differentials you need to take later in the season. Which means that you can play it safe (you know, RVP(c) safe), while others need to do all sort of crazy things if they ever want to catch you. Last year I opted for Torres as captain in GW1, knowing that the majority of FPL population will not even consider this “has-been” as a potential valid option for GW1. He rewarded me with 18 points, which is not too shabby. And I had Hazard and Michu in the first 11 and we all know what they did in the first part of the season. For me, THIS was the key to the successful season.
My advice – do your homework for GW1 and select 2-3 differentials (2-3 from high-tier and 1 from mid-tier – i.e. finding the next Michu)
2.     Look for great players from good teams who have had a couple of below par games
This one is my favorite. I love when top players don’t score for a couple of GWs. You see, we are all really impatient and this is especially valid for all sort of games we play, from gambling to sport bets, to name just a few. And I just know when someone mentions that this and that player has not really delivered in the past couple of weeks (obviously using a more foul language) that we are going to have an exodus of people selling that player. So I wait and wait until I see the price drop and the ownership significantly decreases. That’s when I snatch him and grin. This is my ticket. Example? Suarez after GW 5. EVERYONE was selling him. I bought him when he was at his lowest value. And I knew Liverpool wasn’t as bad as it looked in the first couple of GWs. He immediately rewarded me with a hat-trick and instantly brought with him a differential of around 20 points.
3.   Identify a player who is really, really cheap and could potentially explode – I.e. diamond in the rough
Point in case? Sterling. I got him for I think 4,6 M and he rewarded me with several goals, assists and snatching up bonus points. For 4,6M! Now that is a differential!
4.   Look out for players on a mission or who have something to prove
These players might be out on a personal mission, like Torres was at the beginning of the season and I was oh so ready so take him into my team. You could sense that he really wanted to show that he still has some fire left in him and some good performances. And I have to admit that I actually thought that he is going to have an even better season than he ended up having. Suarez falls into this category as well, I mean, come on, he said at the beginning of the season that he will win the Golden Boot. You might not like him as a person, but man, his confidence and skill? Thirdly, at the end of the season, look for players who are battling relegation. They are for sure going to overdeliver on their price tag. Remember Remy? Kone?  

At the end of the day, what I am trying to say is:


Try to be as smart as possible when playing the differentials card. Try not to overdo it and try not to follow the herd. Or, if you are a gambling man, bet all on 0 and maybe, just maybe, by the end of the season, you will be the newly crowned king of Fantasy Premier League. You never know…

As always, looking forward to your comments or a tweet on Twitter (@matejp23).

P.S. If you want to read (un)conventional “wisdoms” from #1 to #4, I have all of them here.



And as a special tribute to @TheLegendMito21 for using his quote in this article, my “About me” is wearing a special New York Knicks shirt. J

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

6 (Un)conventional "Wisdoms" on How to Finish in Top 100 in FPL - part 4



OK, so if you have somehow managed to bear with me and claw your way through my ramblings on the first three so called (un)conventional wisdoms AND you still want to continue reading…well, the choice is yours, but you have been warned – more ramblings coming your way.

By now you basically know my budget and team strategy – I invest all my money into the team, I have only 1 goalkeeper that I do not alternate and I invest disproportionately into my midfielders. Which leaves one more question which I should have answered in one of the previous posts – what do I do with the bench?


This one is probably closely connected to my basketball playing days and has a lot to do with ego. You see, I always wanted to be the first team selection and have battled with everything I had to be the top or at least one of the top players on the team. During my career I have come to realize, accept and appreciate the fact that the bench is an extremely important part of a TEAM in real life - much, MUCH more than one would assume if you have never played on at least a semi-professional level. These are the guys against whom you play every day in practice and are the ones who push you day in and day out to squeeze that last atom of energy out of your exhausted body so that you can beat the opponent come game time. But, at the end of the day, they are still exactly that – bench players. And while they will bail your ass on the odd occasion, it is clear that in 80+% of cases you will need to rely on your first team to bring home the bacon.


Now, don’t misconstrue the above statement as saying you should buy the cheapest players available just to complete the roster – for sure not. As said, there will be times when your key players will either not play, perhaps because they have a cup game or play in Europe midweek and there is a chance that they will not suit up. Or maybe they picked up a last minute injury and you have no time to react, but are stuck with them in the starting 11. That’s when bench players come in. 

My personal strategy is to get cheap players, but cheap players who have guaranteed playing time. If you can (on top) get such who are playing out of position (for instance, classified as defenders, but play as midfielders) or are more attacking minded – even better! Just make sure they play. Worst case scenario, it means you will be (most likely) getting at least 2 points.

But this was not the wisdom #4. For the purpose of that, I would like to introduce the term “bandwagon effect”. In case you are not familiar with the term itself, this is how Wikipedia defines the latter:
The bandwagon effect is a well documented form of groupthink in behavioral science and has many applications. The general rule is that conduct or beliefs spread among people, as fads and trends clearly do, with "the probability of any individual adopting it increasing with the proportion who have already done so".[1] As more people come to believe in something, others also "hop on the bandwagon" regardless of the underlying evidence.

How does this translate into Fantasy League Football? Well, do you know when a player scores a hat-trick or a brace (this means two goals in case you didn't know - I know I didn't until I started following some British forums)? Or perhaps has 4 assists and a goal and all of a sudden EVERYONE wants to have that player and are willing to take apart their teams just to be able to purchase that player immediately? And because everyone else is buying that player all of a sudden 40% of the teams have that guy (not to mention that the price skyrockets)? Well, that’s called the “bandwagon effect”. Come to think of it, it correlates closely with herd behaviour, if you are interested in stock markets.

See, there is nothing wrong in buying a player when you think he is due a good game, either because of weak opposition or great run of form. Sure, go ahead, even if that coincides with the week when he scored 20+ points. But buying that player JUST BECAUSE he did this one week and expect him to repeat it the next one? Please don’t. It is highly unlikely to happen. If you are still thinking that you might want to do it next year, then I have an exercise for you. Repeat after me: “I will not jump on more than 2 bandwagons this year!” Now write that down at least100 times.


Trust me, I know how it feels. Every week when a player puts in a stellar performance I go through the same four steps in my head:

  1. Man, I think I should buy that player. What if everyone else gets him and he continues scoring like this in the next couple of week? I will fall so much behind that I will never be able to make up the lost points! And worst of all, I might not even be able to afford him! I NEED TO BUY IMMEDIATELY!
  2. Relax. Chech your pulse. Breathe. Wait. Repeat 10x. Inhale. Exhale.
  3. Think about what the alternative could be. Decide not to buy that player. Feel content.
  4. Go back to point 1)



Thank god, I usually manage to stop at point 3) (after a couple of circles, ahem) and not give into temptation.

Sure, you will have your fair share of swings and misses when you refuse to be drawn in this whole “bandwagon” thing and you may miss on the exploits of Cisse from the end of season 2011/12 (man, this one really hurt L) or do not get the duo of Begović/ Jääskeläinen just because you think there is no way Stoke will continue to lock it up at the back. And then they go and do exactly that. But you have more than one chance. Realize that if you do get drawn into bandwagoning (wow, did I just make up an “English” word?) your team will look the same as everyone else’s and there is no way you will advance in your rankings. Even without that teams homogenize throughout the season and by the end of it they start looking more or less the same.

You see, one thing you need to remember is that the key is to find a player who MIGHT start performing any time now and getting him JUST BEFORE he actually does. That’s the real key. But I am getting ahead of myself; this is already a topic for wisdom number 5…so for next time…today I leave you with:


Be honest with me. How many bandwagons have you chased last year? Do you have any regrets for the ones you didn’t? Leave a comment or send me a tweet on Twitter (@matejp23), I am really curious to know.


P.S. If you are interested in (un)conventional “wisdoms” #1 to #3, click below.





Saturday, 20 July 2013

6 (Un)conventional "Wisdoms" on How to Finish in Top 100 in FPL - part 3



OK, I need to come clean about this next “wisdom” that I have in store for you today. I have had the text in my head kind of written MUCH BEFORE I had actually sat down and did my analysis.


See, I wanted to make a statement that (at least last year) the 3-5-2 formation was by far the best system to be used, thanks in large to the amazing outputs by midfield heavyweights and I wanted to conclude that I would recommend using it disproportionally this season as well.


Mea culpa, I admit. So, I bet you are thinking, why exactly are you telling us this then? Well, because when I actually delved into the numbers, they took me by surprise.

I believe that by now you have managed to make a mental picture about how I approach the game (if you have read my story on rising to Top 50 and both (un)conventional wisdoms published so far). If not, no worries, I will spell it out for you: “I go with my gut feeling”. Almost every time. Always have. Always will. While I love numbers (imagine, math was ALWAYS my favorite subject in school, high school and university – geeky, right? J) and still crunch them as much as possible, especially at work, the majority of my successes, be it in business, sports or personal life, came courtesy of the gut. So, what seems to be the problem? Ahem, the numbers don’t really support what my gut (was) is telling me, at least not conclusively. [nervous cough]

I would have claimed and argued with anyone that I have played the 3-5-2 formation for at least 80% of the last season and that it was one of the main reasons for my success.


Well, guess what, while It turns out that I did prefer the 3-5-2 formation, the 3-4-3 was actually my second favorite as I had set it up 16 times, compared to the 18 times I played the 3-5-2. Shocking? Yes, for me, at least! There was a slight advantage in the point average - where I was able to average 70 points in 3-5-2 and “only” 63 points on average using the 3-4-3 system, but for sure not enough to say that the “gut preferred” one was better.

So, I went even deeper. I checked how much has each playing position contributed to my point total. Almost half (47%) of the point total was coming from midfielder position, with 26% from forward position and only 19% from defenders. Ok, sounds pretty much obvious as I had the most players from midfield, but what happens when you look at the average amount of points each position has contributed? To make this a fair competition, I decided to strip all players of the double (c) points in order to see their base points and not to mix this story with selection of the right captain.


Interestingly enough, my typical Warsaw Hopefuls (my team name) forward edged my typical midfielder by 6,2 points to 6,0 points on average.

And on top of that I have actually captained my forwards 26 times and my midfielders only 12 times. Mind-boggling? Well, I had Suarez and RVP for the majority of the season and for the better part of it, they were the most logical picks for the captain band. You know, stay calm and just captain RVP.

So, while I wanted my Wisdom #3 to be “Play the 3-5-2 formation – it is the best”, it seems I actually need to rework it. Judging from the data above, I would actually say that while there was a slight average point advantage of the 3-5-2 formation to the 3-4-3, it was not a decisive one and in best case, I would position this one as not conclusive. But looking at what my team has looked like throughout the entire season, I would put it this way:


Yup. This is how I roll. No conclusive findings? I’m going with my gut. While I have been made aware that the new bonus points system might favor more the defenders and/or forwards, I am still inclined to build my team around 3-4 strong, heavyweight, if not all-star midfielders and 2 top strikers. Let’s see how it goes.

What are your plans for the season? Will you spread your bucks evenly across the team? Invest in 3 all-star strikers? Get bullet-proof defense? Let me know, I love to hear different opinions. Leave a comment or send me a tweet on Twitter (@matejp23), I am really curious to know.


P.S. If you are interested in (un)conventional “wisdoms” #1 and #2, look no further.





Wednesday, 17 July 2013

(Un)conventional "Wisdoms" on How to Finish in Top 100 in FPL - part 2


“I have no clue how you managed to pull off last season! And I bet that it will hit you at one point in time this season that you don’t either.”


I don’t really know whether you have had the chance to read my FPL story (and my background) before you read the first of my posts on 6 (Un)conventional “wisdoms” to finishing in TOP 100 (by the way, the full story is available here), but in case you haven’t – well, in that case you might be surprised at the statement above. It was directed at me. By a dear friend of mine. Yesterday. And let me tell you something – HE IS SPOT ON.


Now let me break this down for you. I admit, I don’t know much more about PL than what I read on the 4 FPL dedicated sites I visit. I do not scout players and until someone writes about them, I don’t even know they exist. As said, being a basketball fan I follow basketball at least 10 times more. I watch one or two PL games a week while playing with my daughter, cooking lunch, or tidying up at the same time. So let me put this out in the open – “I am NEITHER a football NOR Premier League expert!“

Ufff, good. Now it’s out in the open. However, and this is my favorite part and the most beautiful part of it, I have earned my right to talk about it. And that is the exact reason why I am talking about unconventional wisdoms. I try to make educated guesses based on the limited information available. In a nutshell, I try not to overthink it. And guess what, it worked brilliantly for me last year. And what I am saying is, if I was able to do it, so can you. So, while I still enjoy the bragging rights from last year, I would like to share with you the second wisdom today (assuming you are still reading this after you found out that I am not a football scout master J).

RULE #2 – “Own two goalkeepers that you can alternate on any given week”

This one is a biggie. What do you do with the goalkeepers? Do you pay a small fortune for the likes of Hart or you try to save all your money for RVPs and Bales of the world? Do you alternate?

Well, in the previous years I always went with two moderately priced goalkeepers and it hadn’t really worked out to my advantage. There was a quite significant timespan this year when everyone was loading up on both Jääskeläinen and Begović and reaping great benefits off of it. I kinda missed the whole bandwagon thing with the two of them and for a couple of weeks I thought to myself: ”Man, you are ****ed.” But I stuck to my original plan. Which was what exactly, you ask?

Knowing that I will not be forking out the small fortune that was required for the purchase of Joe Hart (ok, I did eventually put him in my team with the WC that I activated before the last two GWs), I did my best to plan to have the best available upper mid/high tier goalkeeper (from a Top 5 team) and also spent significant number of transfers throughout the season to introduce them to my team and keep the momentum going. All of my “backup” goalkeepers were the cheapest ones available on the market at that time. A calculated, deliberate, risky gamble. So, how did it work out?

As you can see from the table above, I have managed to have 8 different GKs on my team throughout the season and only one of them was a complete blunder. After ditching Cech, whom I have recruited because of Chelsea’s double game week at the beginning of the season, I took a gamble on Howard, because Everton was “bound to start producing clean sheets”. Guess what? They didn’t. 

Best performers of the season for me were definitely De Gea with a 6,5 point average throughout 11 games (and I got him just before he really established himself as a clear #1 for Manchester United – here is where I expect a tap on my shoulder from the FPL mini version of myself for gamble well recognized and taken), Szczesny whom I had during an “easy run” of 5 games for Arsenal and for short timespan also Cech and Hart at the beginning and end of the season, respectively.

In total my goalkeepers produced 187 points during the campaign which accounts for 7,7% of all points that I have accumulated in the season (and I was without a GK for one GW, mind you). Given the fact the 1 player in a team of 11 represents 9% (roughly of the team) and that they do not score goals or assist and as such are not really magnets for bonus points, I am more than convinced to blurt out my next (nonsense) (un)conventional “wisdom”:

Yup, here I go again. I recommend against having two alternating goalkeepers. Invest into one from a good team, do not fear using transfers to get the proper one in and live (FPL) life dangerously. Those who take chances, make advances.

So, wisdom #2 from me for you is – BUY ONLY ONE MID/HIGH TIER GOALKEEPER AND DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON TWO GOALKEEPERS (and not leaving points on the bench when you opt for the “wrong” GK in the GW).

I would really love to hear from all of you reading this article – do you agree/disagree? Was I just lucky? Do you prefer to disperse the risk? Let me know in the comments section or via Twitter (@matejp23), I am really curious to know.


P.S. [in case you missed the opening post, you can find it here]