Wednesday, 3 August 2016

| 5 Types of FPL Teams | Formations |

Following my light-hearted post on the 5 archetypal FPL managers, and with not long to to go until the new season, it's time I got more technical and divided the draft teams I've seen on Fantasy Football Scout and Twitter into 5 groups. Teams are often judged on their balance, but not every team can rotate all of their players effectively so that they can start any of their 15-man squad depending on form and fixture difficulty, injuries and suspensions. It's much more common for teams to have a cheap bench and an obvious starting formation. You may rotate a defender, midfielder or striker with one from your bench, but your team formation tends to stay the same.

How you structure your team in terms of pricing is a big part of FPL and will be important when it comes to picking your early wildcard team, which will set your team up until at least the new year. In this article I weigh up which is the best of the 5 most popular formations:

1. Standard 3-4-3

4.5-5.5 (bench: 4.0-4.5)

5.5-6.5, 4.5-5.5, 4.5-5.0 (bench: 4.5, 4.0-4.5)

9.5-11.0, 7.5-9.5, 6.5-8.0, 6.0-7.0 (bench: 5.5-6.0)

10.0-13.0, 9.0-11.5, 6.5-7.0

This is the go-to formation for the seasoned FPL manager. As with any other formation, the keepers can add up to a total of 8.5-9.5 for a pair that does not much affect the rest of the team. Pricing is difficult to pin down in the high-end midfield and forward spots, where there are variations; either 2 premium strikers (10.0-13.0) and one premium midfielder (9.5-11.0), or typically Aguero or Ibrahimovic as the single premium striker with 2 premiums in midfield. Mid-priced to premium strikers obviously allow for more flexibility. However, there are price boundaries which I have used to decide whether your team meets the standard 3-4-3 criteria or takes a more attack-orientated approach to 3-4-3 (below). The midfield should add up to 31.0-35.0 and the attack should total no more than 31.0 in this structure. The 3-man defence generally costs between 15.0 and 16.5, with 2 cheapies on the bench.

Strengths: Your 4th midfielder can rotate with your 5th midfielder and score similar points. You can afford to have 3 defenders with a good FPL record who play for teams with strong defences. There is less of a need to have a cheap bench, so the defenders you can sub in are sure to start. Starting defenders are less likely to fall in value.

Weaknesses: The cost of your defence and bench means you miss out on a top of the range mid or striker. If your cheaper alternative doesn't score as many points your rank will suffer.

2. Attacking 3-4-3

4.5-5.5 (4.0-4.5)

5.0-5.5, 4.5-5.0, 4.5 (4.0-4.5, 4.0-4.5)

9.5-11.0, 9.0-10.5, 6.5-8.0, 6.0-7.0, (4.5-5.0)

10.0-13.0, 10.0-11.5, 7.5-9.5

As you can see above, there is more spent on the attacking line. Compared with the standard formation, less is spent in defence to afford an extra premium mid (9.5-11.0) and a cheaper 5th midfielder means more can be spent on your forward line. No more than 17.5 should be spent on your 4 bench players and no more than 14.5 should be spent on your 3 starting defenders for a big-hitting front 7.

Strengths: Your midfield and attack will be sure to contain at least 4 of 2015/16's top 8 highest scoring players, which were all midfielders and strikers last season.

Weaknesses: Your defence will only have one of last season's top 6 highest scoring defenders. Your sub midfielder will be unlikely to score or assist if he is needed and your sub defenders will be unlikely to keep a clean sheet if they start.

3. Standard 4-3-3

4.5-5.5 (4.0-4.5)

5.5-6.5, 5.5, 5.0-5.5, 5.0-5.5 (4.0-4.5)

9.0-10.5, 7.5-8.5, 6.5-8.0 (5.0-5.5, 4.5-5.0)

10.0-13.0, 9.0-11.5, 6.5-7.5

This is a similarly priced team to the standard 3-4-3 model, but with a more expensive defence. There are 2 cheap mids on the bench that will not start costing up to just 10 combined, and up to 23.5 might be spent on your 4 starting defenders.

Strengths: You can afford more defenders that are more likely to keep clean sheets, make assists and score goals. Midfielders are more expensive than defenders, so having 2 cheapies on the bench saves more money to spend on upgrading the rest of your midfield and defence.

Weaknesses: The same is true of bench fodder. Cheap midfielders tend to be more expensive than cheap defenders, so you will have more cash on your bench and slightly less to spend on your starting 11. Also, midfielders score more points on average than defenders.

4. Attacking 3-5-2

4.5-5.5 (4.0-4.5)

5.5-6.5, 5.0-5.5, 4.5-5.0 (4.0-4.5, 4.0- 4.5)

9.5-11.0, 9.5-10.0, 8.5-9.5, 6.5-7.5, 6.0-6.5

10.0-13.0, 6.5-7.5 (5.0-6.0)

This is a formation for those who have settled on 5 midfielders who they think will outscore strikers of the same price. It can be altered slightly if 2 premium strikers are chosen over 2 premium midfielders, but the 5 starting mids should be chosen to start every game regardless of fixtures and potential rotation.

Strengths: It allows for 3 premium mids and 4 of last season's top 8 midfielders are now 9.5 or over.

Weaknesses: You are unable to rotate midfielders and you will have more money on the bench than 3-4-3. Only 2 of last season's top 6 point scorers are midfielders.

5. Standard 4-4-2

4.5-5.5 (4.0-4.5)

5.5-6.5, 5.5, 5.0-5.5, 5.0-5.5 (4.0-4.5)

9.5-11.0, 9.5-10.0, 7.0-7.5, 6.0-7.5 (4.5-5.0)

10.0-13.0, 6.5-7.5 (5.0-6.0)

This line-up is the same as 3-5-2 but with an extra starting defender and a cheap mid on the bench. Again, it depends on your outlook as to whether to invest in 2 premium forwards or 2 premium midfielders, but this formation is favoured by those who don't see value in having 3 starting strikers and would prefer to spend the cash on 4 defenders with a proven point-scoring record.

Strengths: You can afford more defenders that are more likely to keep clean sheets, make assists and score goals. Your team is likely to be balanced, so there is more opportunity to sub in starting players in each position if needed without using a free transfer.

Weaknesses: There are limited forward options below 6.0, so your sub striker may not start and drop in value. Midfielders and strikers score the most points, so not fielding the maximum may result in less points.

The best formation for you is based on your player preferences and whether you want your high end players in midfield, attack or both, including how many reliable defenders you feel you need. There is no right or wrong at this stage as we don't know who the highest scorers will be, but your favoured formation is something to bare in mind. The best thing to do is look for value for money in each position.

Kyle Norbury, obsessive fantasy football manager and have been for many years. Bit of a nerd when it comes to stats.  #TeamIbra.
Follow me, Kyle on Twitter: @SCFCNerd, and subscribe on Youtube @FPLNerd

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