In his maiden piece in the FPL blogging universe, @DeathStarFPL thinks about team value and its impact early in the season.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an FPL manager who desires Salah, Aguero and Kane, must be in want of as much TV as possible.”
-Pride and Prejudice (I think)
As we’re now nearly a month into the season and the memories of tinkering with our pre gameweek one sides fade into distant memories (did I really consider Gerard Deulofeu for that long?) many FPL managers’ minds have begun to turn to their team value or ‘TV’. Those who are attuned to the vagaries of FPL on social media will have seen many people (including WGTA’s own Tom) Wildcard in order to build value on those early ‘bandwagons’.
Others, such as me, have taken early points hits in order to either hop on to players whose value is rising, or to hop off those who are plummeting like a stone.
Examples of price rise bandwagons have included Sadio Mane, Benjamin Mendy, and Sergio Aguero. Players to ditch in order to preserve value have included such gems as Xherdan Shaqiri, last years version of Mendy – Nicolas Otamendi – and Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Alexis Sanchez – all of whom dropped £0.3m in value.
Memories of last season and this season’s status
On the face of it, this makes sense. Later in the season when we are building our second wildcard teams, in anticipation of double gameweeks and the like, our team value can seem the crucial difference between a good side and a great one. It’s logical to assume we’ll need to make less compromises with as high a TV as possible.
Many an experienced FPL manager has lamented being £0.1 short of bringing in that player who has great underlying stats and upcoming fixtures through not generating quite enough in the piggy bank early on when price changes were more volatile.
There is a difference however between our perception of our team value and what our ‘actual’ team value is. It is here that the FPL website can be a bit misleading depending on how you read it and what your future transfers may or may not be. I will use my own team in order to demonstrate:
As you can see, my team value is currently at a not-entirely-unhealthy £101.4. I’ve been fortunate enough to have started the season with Messrs Mane, Aguero and Mendy in my squad, which is why that number is as ‘high’ as it is (I say ‘high’ because others will have values far in excess of what I have at this point). For context, lets use Fantasy Football Fix’s statistics tool to view the current average squad values.
As you can see there, the average squad value across the game as of gameweek 3 is £100.1. The average value of a top 1000 ranked squad is £101.2, and I am peeking just above them at my £101.4.
I’m rich… right?
In anticipation of my likely wildcard coming in the next few weeks as fixtures shift and European football becomes a mid-week regularity for the top teams that populate much of our FPL squads – I can start planning for a side with a value of £101.4 right? Mo Salah, Harry Kane and Aguero triple-up, here I come!
Our team value on the surface may be what the FPL site is telling us, but our actual team value – that which we could use to construct a squad – is influenced by two key factors. Those factors are the value that we lose in transferring a player out, and the players in whom value is tied up and we are keeping anyway.
Those who have read the rules regarding transfers and player value are keenly aware that it takes two price rises to generate profit out of an FPL player, and this is represented on the website (in the ‘List view’ of your squad on the Transfers page) as a player’s ‘SP’ or ‘Selling Price’. An example of this is Scotland’s finest – Andy Robertson.
While ‘Robbos’ ‘Current Price’ (or CP) has risen to £6.1, if I were to transfer him out this week, I would only be able to use the £6.0 that I bought him for – because he has not risen the requisite two times to generate ‘profit’. If he rose again to £6.2, then I would be able to transfer him out at a value of £6.1, as he would have made the requisite rises in that scenario.
This is important when discussing our overall team value, because the FPL website doesn’t provide the team value by selling price. It provides the value by current price. So, hypothetically, you could have a side with a total team value of £101.5 – but if you transferred them all out you would still be back at £100.0!
The Salah effect
There are also players who rise greatly in value who contribute to overall team value who – superficially at least – appear to be making your team value quite high in comparison to your FPL playing peers. This is an FPL mirage however, as the value that you have generated in that player is only of use to you if you transfer them out.
The best example of this is the Egyptian King himself, Salah.
In the 2017/18 season, Mo’s starting price was a now incomprehensible £9.0. By the end of the season, on the back of 56.7% ownership his price had risen to £10.6.
So, if you had bought him for gameweek 1 and then sold him prior to the last gameweek of the season, you would have had a cool extra £0.8 to play with.
Who was selling Mo Salah over the course of the season though? Granted there was an injury at one point but, memorably, he didn’t see the price collapse expected as owners mostly were relieved by his stability.
Simply put, with a record points total behind him, Mo was the very definition of ‘essential’ last season. While Mo’s £10.6 may have made your team value look astronomical, in reality – unless you were going to transfer him out – you may as well have ignored that cash in the bank. Therefore, unless you are going to transfer a player out of your side, that value is effectively irrelevant.
My side as an example
Probably the simplest way to demonstrate this idea is to take my whole current squad out – my current team value is £101.4.
As you can see, though my ‘team value’ is represented as £101.4, my actual value is at a much less exciting £100.4. This is because many of the players I have (such as Robertson, Wan-Bissaka, Mkhitaryan and Ings) have only risen £0.1 – and others (such as Mane, Aguero and Mendy) are between price rises or have quite a bit of value ‘tied up’ in them. So in planning for my wildcard coming up, in order to establish how much money I actually have to play with, I need to consider who I am likely to keep longer term, and as such – who have I actually profited from that I would consider ditching.
This is also worth considering when surfing about FPL social media – when you see people talking about their team value and how high it is. Don’t get sucked into wildcarding or making trades based on your perceived team value compared to others – as you may find for the reasons outlined above, that your value is closer to theirs than either you or they know.
In fact, the wise words of the gentlemen at the Always Cheating FPL podcast are worth considering when your mind turns to team value in these turbulent times.
It’s annoying how fast drops in particular are happening but I’m making a concerted effort to almost ignore prices this season – talking with top managers last season I was amazed how many don’t pay attention to price changes or at least don’t dictate their moves based on them
— Always Cheating #FPL Podcast (@hailcheaters) August 30, 2018
Or stick to Fantasy Football Scout Joe’s adage: