Before getting into the gist of the article in which I will analyze the effect of venue in FPL last season, I would like to introduce myself as I am a new addition to the FPLConnect Team.
I go by “StatOnScout” and I have been posting about FPL stats on Twitter since September 2018. I have been playing the game since 2013, and have finished in the Top 10K in 2 of my last 4 seasons.
I find it interesting to break down statistics relating to FPL, whether for trivial reasons or for analysis that turns out to be helpful, and I will be contributing to FPLConnect over the course of the season with articles utilizing statistics as well as the simulator that I coded.
For my first article, I am going to delve into how players’ outputs were affected by venue (i.e. home or away) in games last season. In order to do so, I have calculated how many points players averaged at home as well as away last season with the following caveats:
- I have only chosen to consider the performances of players in games in which they played at least 60 minutes, in order to analyze how players did when they played a significant amount of time, with 60 minutes being the arbitrary cut-off point since FPL awards the 2nd appearance point after the player has played 60 minutes.
- I have also removed appearance points from the equation as it is more helpful to look at other, less predictable forms of returns which depend on more than the player simply turning up and being selected by his manager.
|Position||Home PPG||Away PPG||% Difference (H-A)|
Predictably, compared to the other positions, there is a minor difference between how goalkeepers generally perform in away games when compared to home games. This is illustrated in the following table, in which per game metrics of relevant statistics are considered.
|Points lost for goals conceded||-0.84||-1.01|
|Points gained for saves made||+0.85||+1.07|
The reason that goalkeepers do not return that differently in away games when compared to home games is because the fact that teams tend to concede less shots on target in home games means that they are likelier to keep clean sheets, but conversely conceding more shots on target in away games leads to more saves.
Similarly, as a result of allowing teams to spend more time in their penalty boxes, goalkeepers are likelier to concede penalties in away games, which is another double-edged sword because on the one hand it means that the goalkeeper is much less likely to keep a clean sheet, but on the other hand saving a penalty is worth 6 points in FPL, and last season, goalkeepers were rewarded with bonus points on all but 3 of the 19 occassions that they saved a penalty.
On other hand, defenders do not have anything like the save metric; defenders cannot really benefit from conceding more shots, so that could be an explanation for why there is such a drastic difference in how they perform in away games when compared to home games.
|Points lost from yellow & red cards||-0.15||-0.17|
|Points lost from goals conceded||-0.79||-0.93|
Surprisingly, there is not much of a difference in how defenders performed in attacking terms (goals and assists) on average last season when split by home and away performances.
Moving on to midfielders, it is possible that they do not tend to perform that much differently in away games when compared to other positions because of the fact that many midfielders in the game do not occupy particularly attacking positions.
In fact, many people in the FPL community have suggested over the years that the game should reward defensive midfielders in some way, as they are essentially useless for our squads since they do not do much else apart from collecting appearance points, whereas in real life their importance on the pitch is much greater.
Predictably, midfielders did better for attacking returns in home games than in away games, collecting more bonus points partially due to that.
However, it is hard to lump all midfielders into one group because they contain such a plethora of different positions, including defensive midfielders, central midfielders, more attack-oriented midfielders and wingers.
Thankfully that is less of a concern with forwards as there is less variance in the positions that they occupy on the field.
As illustrated by the above table, when taking the fact that the Bonus Points System greatly rewards forwards for scoring goals moreso than any other position, it makes sense that they average significantly more bonus points in home games than in away games.
Finally, here are my key takeaways from this analysis:
- Setting and forgetting a 4.5 goalkeeper is justified in that goalkeepers can still get a decent amount of points in the long run from making saves even if they rarely keep clean sheets, whereas a 4.5 defender cannot generally not be relied on for much more than clean sheets.
- In general it is probably safer to captain a player in a home game rather than an away game. 57% of double digit returns came in home games last season. However, obviously other factors must also be considered like the strength of the player and the strength of the opposition.
- Adding on to the first point, you are potentially more likely to benefit from rotating defenders rather than rotating goalkeepers, because a goalkeeper benched in a difficult game may still get a decent haul due to save points. Rotating defenders makes more sense because they are more reliant on clean sheets for points.
Thanks for reading my article and I hope to provide you with helpful content throughout the entirety of the coming FPL season.