FPL management is at its essence a matter of economics. With only 100 million to spend and a dream team costing well over 120 million, managers must make hard decisions about where to invest.
The simplest answer might be to put all your money into attack. Strikers and midfielders will always get the most points, but they are also far and away the most expensive players. This season’s most expensive GK comes in at a mere 5.5 mil compared to the relative extravagance of an Aguero, sold retail at 13.0.
When it’s comes to decisions like this, looking at the margins can often inform you of your best course of action. Put simply, having picked a team that you are happy with, and finding yourself with 0.5 million to spare, where should that money go? Your gut might know what it’s talking about when it comes to dinner selection, but when it comes to FPL management it helps to look at some numbers. The analysis below looks at the number of points scored by every player last year, and how much they cost. The players have been broken down by position, and players who scored fewer than 50 points last year have been excluded.
A number of things are clear from the graph above. Firstly, the more you spend the more points you get in return. This is as you would expect. Secondly, midfielders and forwards tend to score higher than defenders and goalkeepers. Finally, and crucially with regard to the question at hand today, the line indicating the relationship between price and points scored appears to get less steep the further up the pitch you go.
But what does that tell us?
The line tells us how many extra points you get for every extra half million spent. The table below summarises the findings.
Based on this table going from Pantilimon to De Gea would bag your team almost 21 extra points over the course of the season. Upgrading from Baines to Ivanovic would get an extra 17 points. Trade in Eriksen for Walcott and you will walk away with about 10 points, and having Falcao instead of Rodriguez will get you an extra 8 points (obviously not really as Falcao is going to bomb at Chelsea).
It seems pretty clear, you get more bang for your half million bucks at the back. This logic can be applied even if you have spent your full 100 million. For example if you trade in Walcott for Ozil, or squeeze half a million out of your subs bench, where should you put it?
A knee jerk reaction may suggest that you should load up on expensive defenders. Ivanovic, Terry, Baines, Coleman and Koscielny, and put De Gea in goal. However this is unlikely to be the best course of action. Remember the graph above shows clearly that the best attackers will outscore the best defenders.
The best of both worlds suggests you play 3-4-3 with an expensive GK, 3 expensive DEF, a couple of marquee players who you are happy to hand your captain’s armband to, and the best you can afford to fill out your team.
As a final thought, it should be observed that this article has not considered the value of the subs bench, rather it has simply focused on the starting 11. If only life were that simple! But hopefully for those managers with a dilemma of where to put that last 0.5 mil, this might help.