Three weeks ago, we closed another chapter in the book of FPL history. With every new season, this history is getting richer and the book is bulking up. However, as the years go by, things tend to get forgotten. In an attempt to collect different pieces of information about previous FPL seasons scattered all over the Internet, I’ve spent some fair amount of time delving into the WayBack Machine, searching through the archives of the FISO Forum, running scripts for history pages on the FPL site, and intensively googling what was still missing. My joke post about the birth of FPL was a spin off of this research.
In dramatic circumstances, Tom Fenley won the game this season beating the runner-up by only 1 point. The 2,634 points scored in process is the second highest result ever. Only Jon Reeson scored more in season 09/10.
Number of Participants
The number of FPL teams has been increasing from season to season. This season has seen the highest surge: over 500 thousand more teams starting in GW 1 than a year before.
This data sheds some light on why it is getting more and more difficult to achieve good results. I started playing in season 06/07 and the number of competitors has increased almost fourfold since then. Purely because of the number of rivals, it’s now four times as difficult to finish in top 10K as back then.
This diagram shows the rise in competition from another angle. As the number of teams rises and more and more fantasy managers use specialised fantasy football websites and, as a result, normally become more sensible, gaps between teams decrease. This season these gaps were as small as never before (partly except for season 08/09 which had an abnormally low top score). One needed to score roughly 87% of the winner’s score to finish in the top 100K. In season 06/07, when I started playing, such a result would have meant a top 10K finish. Finishing in top 1M these days is almost as tough as finishing in top 100K back then.
There is a fair degree of luck and randomness in the champion’s points, so it could be more useful to look at the differences from the 100th team’s points. See this graph HERE. The trend is easily visible: the gaps are becoming smaller and smaller.
Points Scored and Dream Team Points
Points scored by top FPL teams are to a big extent determined by the FPL points scored by the best players of the season. In the graph below, I plot each season’s points versus the score of each season’s dream team.
Correlation is easy to notice. What’s also easy to notice is that, over the years, the red line has descended from the top 100 mark in season 03/04 to the top 10K mark (and even lower this season). I think it’s another evidence of the increased competition. These days, you don’t only have to figure out who the best players of the season will be and ‘ride their points’, you need to pick them during their good spells and drop them during their bad spells for the better performing ones.
Here are all the dream teams that I’ve built retrospectively. This season was the highest scoring one in FPL history. Thanks to Luis Suarez’ historical record, the dream team scored 2,189 points. It’s 22 points more than in season 09/10, the one where the Chelsea trio of Lampard, Drogba, and Malouda helped Jon Reeson score most points in the history of FPL.