Pod features: the stock market

This is the final of three short pieces that highlight some of the key features for the WGTA FPL pod this year!

(nb we’ll also write about these on the blog to give a summary, but the majority of the detail will be given on the pod)

The Stock Market

One of our focuses on the pod, as we emphasised on our very first kick off effort, was that we would be analysing and reviewing the market in detail in order to help our viewership manage their finances in terms of team value. Last year, more than ever we saw frequent, dramatic price rises and subsequent heavy falls afflicting many an asset, which caught many a FPL manager off-guard.

Here’s a few key examples, which we discussed as below:

Etienne Capoue

We all saw what happened last year with Capoue, who created an FPL storm from the outset based on a few goals and advanced position in preseason, scoring 4 goals in the opening 5 games of the season. As a result of this, many FPL managers jumped on him due to his kindly 4.5 price. We saw him rise to 5.3 by game week 9 with a staggering over 1.5million (1,582,012, to be exact) transfers in, creating a net transfers in (NTI) of just over 1.4m (1,429,005).

However, when managers saw his goals dried up and his stats prove unsustainable, we saw him fall. His value dropped to 4.5 again by Gameweek 29. Many FPL managers made the mistake of not selling Capoue (cashing in on a possible 0.4 gain from selling the player), having him instead sitting on their bench like a rotting fish and not concerning themselves with transferring out their bench player. This mistake would have seen their team value drop week in. week out. This is the risk that comes from highly-owned players. Capoue is the perfect example of a ‘flash in the pan’, short-term bandwagon which we will be watching for throughout the season, advising when to jump on the wagon and, more importantly, when to cash in and jump off.

Matty Phillips

Matty (or Mr. Phillips as we previously more formally described him) began the season at 5.5, but no goals and only two assists in the first 10 Gameweeks resulted in a fall to 5.1. He then hit form and went on a run of 4 goals and 7 assists in the next 10 Gameweeks, meaning by Gameweek 22 he had increased his value back to 5.9!

If you had caught him at the beginning of this of rise of form, you would have gained an addition 0.8 in the bank, or 0.4 extra selling value. However, it quickly became selling time, as injury forced him out the WBA team and he back down to 5.3 by close season. Despite the great season, he finished with a price tag lower than the value that he began with at the start of the season!

Diego Costa

It feels like ages ago now that the want-away striker was essentially a must-own player.  However, priced only at a shocking 9.5 at the start of the season, he began the season with a hot streak. Costa had an amazing first half of the season with 14 goals and 3 assists in the first 19 games. The market responded in kind, as people rushed to bring in the ‘pantomime villain,’ and we saw his value rocket from 9.5 to 10.7 (give or take some worries about being on the suspension tightrope).

However, his relationship with Conte began to sour and his performances in the second half of the season dropped too, and as such his FPL value dropped – finishing up at 10.4. As Tom mentioned in his article on the importance of choice, we were lucky to have Chelsea’s leading attacking asset at this price, but the market has been squeezed again this season and, as a result, we don’t have any strikers at 9.5, but have a whole 7 strikers at 10.0 and above.

What does this mean?

As illustrated by these examples, managing the market plays a key role in FPL. If you do not take care of your budget, you can be seriously caught out and short of funds. Meanwhile careful cash management, using websites and apps that keep you updated on the market, you can see who is predicted to rise and fall each night, which gives a clear platform for users to monitor and thus plan their transfers accordingly.

The market was increasingly volatile last season, especially at “peak manager” time early on in the season, meaning a player could potentially triple rise in just one game week. An example of this was with this year’s most premium asset, Harry Kane. After Gameweek 14 last season, in which we saw Kane hit a brace in a 5-0 rout against Swansea, and tasty fixtures at home against Burnley and Hull on the horizon, he had a net transfer in of 317,082, and he went from 10.9 to 11.2 within the space of a week. If you acted early, you could have got him at 10.9, but if you acted late you would have had to fork out 11.2 for the Tottenham man. However, as we know, he bombed and blanked completely in those two fixtures over Xmas, with Eriksen gaining to points and plaudits. resulting in people reacting quickly, meaning a net transfer out 118,444, and a consequent 0.2 fall. Of course in true FPL fashion, all the sellers got trolled as he went on to get 6 goals and an assist in the next four games.

The Austin Rule

As mentioned however, there is a fine line between catching those price rises early and whether you go for it depends on your risk profile. In the stocks and shares world, when investing, funds are often described as conservative, balanced or aggressive. and you pick your investment based upon your risk profile:

  • If you consider yourself an aggressive player who is willing to take gambles and risks then by all means jump those price rises early – but you may be bitten by having to take hits if you make too many transfers and your players end up being injured.
  • Meanwhile, other players may consider themselves more conservative and with the threat of an injury only make a transfer on the morning or evening before the match begins.
  • We favour a more balanced approach: making transfers early in the game week does often pay off as you can catch the rises and means you can make moves later on in the season like bringing expensive assets like Kun in when you already have Harry Kane and Lukaku and not have to completely gut the rest of your team.

We at WGTA call this more balanced approach to transfers management the Austin Rule.

The background to this rule was a fateful Wendesday night last season before GW15. Charlie Austin was rising, and a decision had to be made to bring him in or not prior to a Europa League fixture on the next night. Both myself and Tom brought him in, gambling that he’d get through the game against Israeli luminaries HAPOEL Beer Sheeva. This, of course, meant that he got seriously injured, his season over, and we both had to take hits to then take him straight out for an additional -4 (we both took -8s that week!), which definitely stung us both.

Later on in the season, aware of our past mistake, we went on to apply the Austin Rule, resisting bringing in both Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who were both looking to have bandwagons forming ahead of the United double game weeks, prior to their UEL game. Both tore their ACLs in the same game, and we breathed a sigh of relief (not for them, obviously).

This year we will be very wary of bringing in Arsenal and Everton assets prior to Europa League fixtures. We would also suggest that you opt for this approach in international game weeks where, despite two weeks of inactivity, we have observed that the market tends to slow down. If you try to play the market too much by taking a gamble and bringing in the guy who is rising, and selling the guy who blanked, of course, it can blow up in your face as well – see the Harry Kane example above.

How we’ll update you

Throughout the season, we will be analysing the falls, the rises and discussing these on the pod.

We also be providing recommendations as who to buy, sell and hold based on the market trends on the blog, mostly through infographics where possible so you can quickly and easily read our views and recommendations

Finally, some advice for free… be wary of highly owned 4.0 defenders and 4.5 midfielders. At present, Angel Rangel is the highest owned 4.0 defender with an ownership of 20.8% and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the highest owned 4.5 midfielder with an ownership of 15.3%. The position of these guys in their teams is nowhere near secure and, if they do not play, less involved managers will start selling early on, and all of a sudden you may have a 3.8 or 4.3 player on your bench who isn’t playing, and will be impossible to sell due to their lack of value.