Fantasy Premier League: who is everyone picking?
I’m undoubtedly going to be spending my lunch break making a few final tweaks to my fantasy team before today’s GW1 deadline, as I suspect quite a few other people will. Something that I found really useful when I first created it last week are the following quick charts showing which clubs – and playing positions within each club – were the most and least popular, both in terms of raw picks and money spent.
Share of selections
Firstly, I’ve summed up the “teams selected by %” stat for each player and grouped this by position and club to show which are the most popular overall. This is a snapshot taken at 11:00 today (9th August), i.e. eight hours until the deadline with approximately 4.8 million entries.
There’s a clear preference for Liverpool and Man City players, with the average squad having almost exactly four of them. The Reds have the edge – perhaps due to the fear of ‘Pep rotation’ – with their defenders in particular being hoarded.
Man Utd being the third most popular team is interesting – not sure whether that’s due to their global popularity, optimism for the season ahead or just that their team has lots of players considered to be “nailed on” starters or good value for money.
While Bournemouth and Everton are popular choices due to their strong showings last season and easy-looking opening fixtures, there’s a clear reluctance to trust the Cherries’ goalkeepers or the Toffees’ forwards. Bournemouth’s forwards are the most popular as it stands, followed by Wolves: on average more than one in every four forwards selected plays for one of these two teams.
Brighton are interesting: their goalkeepers are more popular than the rest of their squad put together, and their backup keeper (David Button) is actually twice as popular as first choice Mat Ryan due to the number of people wanting a £4.0m option to sit on the bench. The same logic is driving the dominance of defenders at Sheffield United, where their two £4.0m players are the most popular picks.
Share of budget
I also scaled the selections by player price to calculate what percentage of managers’ total budgets were being spent on each overall. This changes the picture in subtle but interesting ways.
The cost of Liverpool and Man City players skews things in their favour: almost £1 in every £3 is allocated to one of these two clubs and this rises to over £4 in every £10 for midfielders. The Reds’ defenders have actually had more money spent on them overall (7.6%) than all of Man Utd‘s players put together (7.5%).
Mohamed Salah has had more money spent on him than any other player – by my reckoning 5.2% of all money spent has gone on him, which is more than has been spent on all of Leicester‘s players combined and in fact more than Southampton, Burnley, Norwich and Sheffield United‘s entire squads overall.
Tottenham may have ranked seventh in raw popularity, but they’re fourth once you adjust for money spent thanks to the price of their players. This may even rise over the course of the day as managers pile into Lo Celso and Sessegnon (or Spurs generally now that they look stronger with those additions).
Aston Villa are the most popular of the newly-promoted teams, although that may have as much to do with their relatively easy opening fixtures as their summer shopping spree.
By the way, if you’re looking for further inspiration my team at work contributed to an FPL guide for Bwin [link] which breaks down what the top 1,000 managers did last season e.g. how much they spent on each position, what formations they used, where they looked for differential, how often they took transfer penalties etc.