Wednesday, 19 April 2017

What is FPL Form & Which Players Are Finding It?

One thing that I’ve found to be lacking within the FPL-sphere is people identifying which players are coming into form. It’s easy to label a player who has scored in his last four matches as somebody who is in form, but how can we pick up on these players earlier and capitalise on their points before our rivals do?

The word form is bandied around a lot by FPL managers and whilst there is a close relationship between real life performance and FPL returns, it’s important to identify the differences between the two to ensure your transfer decisions are made rationally and not under false pretences.

For example, if a striker fails to score in two successive matches, you can log into Twitter and see thousands of fantasy managers branding him ‘out of form’ and speculating replacement players who have scored in their last two.

This is an element of game theory that Fantasy Football Magazine touched on called recency bias. If you’re looking for additional reading, download the first edition for free from their website.

Before I continue, I’d like to define a few terms that will be used in this article:

FPL Form: This specifically relates to a player’s point returns on fantasy football.
Player Form: The statistical performance of a player in matches.
Team Form: The statistical performance of a team’s attacking performance.

The three terms mentioned above are what I use to distinguish which players are coming into - or dropping out of - FPL form. A combination of the three has proved accurate in my testing and during Gameweek 32 displayed very positive results.

Here’s a quick example of how these three metrics work:

Key:

PPG: Points per game
SoT: Shots on target
BC: Big chances
GPG: Goals per game

Diego Costa [Out of Form]:

FPL Form: Poor, 3.6 PPG (Last 6 GWs).
Player Form: Poor, 0.5 SoT & 0.5 BC per game (Last 6 GWs)
Team Form: Average, 1.3 GPG (Last 6 GWs)

Summary: Costa has shown a dip in his performances (Player Form) and subsequently provided less FPL returns (FPL Form) over the last 6. Chelsea have only scored 8 in their last 6 which is 1 less than Crystal Palace & half the amount of Everton (Team Form).

Gylfi Sigurdsson [Out of FPL Form]:

FPL Form: Poor, 3.0 PPG (Last 6 GWs)
Player Form: Good, 1.3 SoT, 0 BC per game (Last 6 GWs)
Team Form: Very Poor, 0.3 GPG (Last 6 GWs)

Summary: Sigurdsson has had the second highest amount of shots on target from all midfielders over the last 6 gameweeks. However, due to the poor form of his team his FPL Form has subsequently dipped.

How to use all three metrics to forecast which players are coming into FPL form.

I’ve chosen the 20 highest scoring midfielders/forwards from the last TWO gameweeks [I found these by sorting FPL points by a GW range]. This provides me with a list of players who will have likely been added to many watchlists and triggered a few knees to jerk, as they’ve shown the early signs of form developing.

Note: I understand that some of these players haven’t come into FPL form over the last two weeks and are already in good FPL form. However, I’ve decided to include them to help with possible transfers.

I’ve then mapped FPL Form against Player Form. The X axis shows which players have had the highest amount of shots on target, big chances and key passes from the last SIX matches. I chose these metrics because I personally believe them to be the most accurate when forecasting expected goals & assists.

Another Note: I chose to use ‘matches’ rather than ‘gameweeks’ as some players have seen reduced minutes over the last six weeks due to injury or suspension (e.g. Kane & Ibrahimovic).

Finally, the bubble size indicates team form. The bigger the bubble, the more goals their team have scored in the past SIX gameweeks.

Just to quickly make sure that you’re all 100% on how this table works, here’s a quick guide:

Disclaimer: The table only does not include Poisson Distribution, this is left to you. This includes modelling potential returns based on opposition weaknesses/form, players returning back from injury to boost the team, having something left to play for, etc.

Gameweek 34: Which players are hitting form?

Notes from the table:

  • Son Heung-Min is in the form of his life. Tottenham are smashing in the goals, he’s having lots of shots on target/big chances and he’s raking in the FPL points.
  • Harry Kane returned from injury with a goal and assist for free-scoring Spurs. Get him in now, he’s a season-keeper with Tottenham chasing the leaders.
  • Roberto Firmino has found his scoring boots and seen an increase in FPL form since Mane’s injury. Only 15,000 people have transferred him in ahead of GW34, he could be a shrewd differential.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been performing better than his FPL points reflect, if you have the cash and want a DGW34 player - he’s your man… obviously. Just be wary of rotation.
  • Marko Arnautovic should be your go-to if you’re looking for Stoke coverage. He has better underlying statistics than Walters & Shaqiri, but beware of Stoke’s poor attacking form.
  • If you’re looking for a Crystal Palace player for their double gameweek, Andros Townsend appears to be a better candidate than Wilfried Zaha.
  • Ander Herrera looks to have peaked and could be worth steering clear of. Meanwhile, it’s too early to tell with Kevin De Bruyne though his poor goalscoring form is as turn off for a player of his value.
  • With Chelsea in need of three points, Eden Hazard will be looking to bounce back from his poor performance against United.

There’s lots more to take from the table, but I’d like to leave it to you guys to analyse. Feel free to drop a comment or send me a tweet with any particular findings that you found interesting.

If you liked this article, you can find weekly posts from myself within the Fantasy Premier League Tips section of fplbet.