Another fantasy Premier League season has come to an end and now it is time to review what happened. The 2015-16 season was one that featured a large number of high value options at a low cost along with several high cost options with low value. The change in how players prices were valued throughout the season was a major factor in which players became the most popular picks each week.
By the end of the season Harry Kane had become the player selected by the most teams at 44.8%. He was followed by Alexis Sanchez at 37.2% and Eden Hazard at 34.2%. The amazing about this is the fact that Kane remained an affordable option all season long. His lowest price was at £4.8 after starting out at an even £5.0. At his peak cost he could be added to a fantasy team for £6.5. While his form towards the end of the season dipped and he finished at £6.0, he wound up with 191 points for the season. This was good enough to be tied for fourth with David Silva.
While I don’t have the expertise to say what exactly the change was in price adjustments, this season was markedly different from previous years. During previous seasons the price fluctuations for in form players made it so that fantasy managers needed to get lucky with players like Kane or Saido Berahino or even someone like Charlie Austin. In the past players like these that hit streaks of form followed by dips would have their prices rise rapidly and fall gradually, meaning that those FPL managers who didn’t get these players in early were often saddled with high price players who were underperforming.
This season’s changes in price adjustment throughout the season made it possible to bring in players who had favorable matchups coming up. It also meant that there were more and more teams able to stack low price players mixed with the best of the best. Think about some of the early cookie cutter teams that included an £11.0 Diego Costa up front along with a £6.6 Gylfi Sigurdsson in midfield. By week six Costa had racked up 48 points and Sigurdsson 36.
There were certainly times in the season when it was possible to carry the top three scorers in fantasy Premier League with Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, and Alexis Sanchez. This did take a certain amount of planning along with luck, but teams able to gamble on low cost players who provided solid points could then stack their side with the top scorers.
This was also the season of the high value defender. Players like Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand began the season at £5.0 and finished at £5.9 and £5.8 respectively making them affordable all season, but also meaning that teams who picked them up early and carried them all year had some extra money to play around with. There were also the likes of Kieran Trippier at £4.8 and Wes Morgan at £4.6. Both were able to provide solid points all season long even if they did play for relegation threatened teams all year long.
There were plenty of breakout players that were able to carry some fantasy teams including the likes of Tottenham’s midfield duo of Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli. Both remained affordable in the under £8.0 range. Chadli was never higher than £6.7 while Eriksen did climb as high as £8.5. The problem with Chadli was that he was a very streaky player who tended to get his points in bursts.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was another breakout player whose peak price reached £7.0. His low cost made him difficult to drop, but his fantasy points, and value, certainly dropped once Swansea sold Wilfried Bony. Bony himself was a standout player to start the season, but after being transferred to Manchester City his playing time, and fantasy points, dropped significantly.
Dusan Tadic was another player who started out with a breakout season, but this was one that was interrupted by a massive dip in form following his promising start. Ultimately he was benched and did not play in the final five matches. He could make a return to the lineup to start next season, particularly with transfer rumors surrounding Morgan Schneiderlin.
Other noteworthy players that really shown this season include Steward Downing, Chris Brunt, Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Danny Ings, George Boyd, and Ki Sung-yeung. Once again these were all players, mostly midfielders, who were good value at low cost.
Perhaps the greatest value came with the low cost goalkeeper. The best goalkeeper of the 2014-15 fantasy Premier League season was Lukasz Fabianski. The former Arsenal keeper began the season at just £5.0 and his highest price reached £5.4. However, his 151 points was just one point more than Tom Heaton who was the best goalkeeper in terms of points per cost. His highest price all season was just £4.7 and he spent most of the year priced at £4.5. Playing for Burnley meant he didn’t get many clean sheets, but he got plenty of points for saves.
This was also true for Costel Pantilimon. While he scored 123 points all season, he was the seventh best fantasy goalkeeper, ahead of Thibault Courtois and Hugo Lloris. He likely would have gotten more points if not for the fact that he did not play in the first nine matches of the season. Like Heaton he was a very low cost option starting at £4.4 and moving up as high as £4.6. He also finished the season with 11 clean sheets.
I can’t talk about goalkeepers without bringing up Fraser Forster. This was truly a breakout season for him in many ways. The problem is that he was only able to play in 29 full matches. His injury in week 30 kept him out of the last eight matches of the season. 13 clean sheets on the season was a great display and enough to get him 118 points. If he had managed to stay healthy it is very likely that he may have finished the season as the top fantasy goalkeeper.
With the transfer window open now there are plenty of rumors to follow throughout the summer and many of which will impact the 2015-16 fantasy season. In addition three new teams will be joining with Bournemouth, Norwich City, and Watford all being promoted from the Championship. The transfer window should be followed closely as the new season looms, especially with some of the standout players from last year’s relegated teams.