FPL selection analysis, 17 Aug 2020

This afternoon I thought I’d dust off something I found useful when picking my FPL team last year. While it’s early days and the fixture list hasn’t even been announced yet, I’ve had a look (with Pete Fabianksi‘s help) at which players are proving most popular. The following quick charts rank each club in terms of both their share of player picks and money spent, split by playing position.

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 16:30 today (17th August), based on the approximately 700,000 entries so far.

Champions Liverpool are the most popular team thanks to their enduringly popular defence, with Trent Alexander-Arnold already in more than half of all squads. They and the two Manchester clubs are streets ahead of the rest – accounting for 30% of all player picks between them. United are edging City at the moment in raw popularity, with both clubs’ midfields a popular hunting ground.

Narrowly edging fourth place is Chelsea whose two most popular players (by some distance) are new signings Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Burnley and Brighton both rank highly thanks to their goalkeepers, with Nick Pope’s £5.5m price tag not putting that many people off and Mat Ryan viewed as one of the more attractive budget picks.

Leeds are comfortably the most popular promoted team, which is perhaps unsurprising given how they dominated the Championship. Three of their four most-selected players are defenders, no doubt thanks to their 22 clean sheets and healthy attacking output last season (both Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling registered eight goal involvements).

Aston Villa were higher than I expected here, but on closer inspection they’re just a popular source of budget-balancing ‘junk’ players. Keinan Davis and Orjan Nyland are their two most popular players and it’s probably no coincidence that they’re in the cheapest price bracket for their position and scored some points last season.

There’s not much love for West Brom at the moment, with fewer than 1% of all 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.

Man City are top of the pile when the cost of their players is adjusted for: roughly £12.9m of the average manager’s budget is spent on their players, although both Liverpool and Man Utd also account for over £12m.

The cost of Werner (£9.5m) and Ziyech (£8.0m) puts Chelsea clear in fourth place and Arsenal also rise significantly thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s £12m price tag.

Over 80% of the money spent on Burnley players has gone on their keepers and defenders, so few managers are expecting them to do much damage at the other end. That figure is over 70% for Brighton and over 65% for Sheffield United – the Blades may get a further boost when they sign a goalkeeper.

Meanwhile almost three quarters of the funds spend on Fulham assets has actually gone on one man: Aleksandar Mitrovic. The only other players who account for more than half of the money spent on their club so far are Kevin De Bruyne (56% of Man City) and Allan Saint-Maximin (54% of Newcastle).