Price Change Trends in FPL 2016/17 – The Story So Far

8:06pm Dec 22 2016

Are Fantasy Premier League managers proving to be impatient when it comes to making their weekly Fantasy Premier League transfers?

Just in case insomnia was at risk of being a problem over the festive period, your friendly neighbourhood price changes geek @trevg1977 is back with an update on happenings in the exciting world of price changes so far in the 2016/17 Fantasy Premier League season.

Prompted by seeing several experienced FPL twitter notables bemoaning the pace and ferocity of price changes this season and the resultant pressure on transfer decisions, I was inspired to check the data and see if FPL managers really are even more impatient than usual this season when it comes to pressing the ‘Confirm Transfer’ button.

The numbers (and graphs of course!)

The overall story so far on price changes from GW2 to GW17 this season compared to last is as per the graph below.  It shows a slight increase (7.1%) in the total price rises in the period, and strangely enough a reduction in the number of price drops of around the same percentage (8%).

Digging deeper, as I’ve been known to do, the next graphs show the rate of price rises, and then price drops per Gameweek across the last two seasons.  The International breaks (which unhelpfully are in different gameweeks in both seasons) are identified for each season.

So is there anything notable here? Not hugely, really.  There is a better correlation in the levels of price drops across the two seasons, although with somewhat less drops in the initial GW3 to GW7 with the exception of a spike in GW6.

In terms of price rises the first international break continues to have the lowest number of price rises, while the second international break is the most popular early season week for rises.  It’s later in the first half of the season that a change is noticeable.

There;s a significantly higher level of price rises from around GW11 this season compare to last,  with 4 of those 7 weeks equalling or exceeding the traditionally busier GW3 to 7 period (when we expect more price changes due to more active players etc.)

Having looked at the rises that were happening around then it seems a few players stopped producing while others, many who had dropped value much early in the season hit good fixtures and form.  We realised around then that Chelsea defenders were suddenly a must, with many having abandoned premium defenders earlier in the season.

In this period

  • Hazard reignited, and rose 0.7m between GW11 and 17, having previously dropped by 0.5m from GW6 to 8.
  • Alonso, Azpilicueta and Cahill rose by 0.4m or 0.5m each.
  • Kane and Eriksen who had dropped 0.3m and 0.4m respectively rose by 0.6m and 0.5m.
  • We had the end of the Lukaku reign of terror, sorry, “borderline consistency”, as he dropped 0.5m for GW13 to 15 and Coutinho’s injury prompting a 0.5m tumble from GW14 to 15.
  • The Gundogan-wagon came and went, rising 0.4m before dropping 0.6m (a few managers reportedly wore special No 8 jerseys in solidarity).
  • Zaha and Philips emerged awakened from their early season slumbers rising 0.4 from GW13 to 17

What does it tell us? If anything…

Not a lot, other than that I am now horrendously behind on my Christmas shopping.  While in 2015/16 things were settling down to a nice template heading into Christmas, with everyone holding tight to the likes of Mahrez, Vardy, Lukaku, Ozil and…God help us…Scott Dann, this year we seem to  have had a wholesale changing of the guard as managers start the Christmas shopping early (unlike me).

This change in the levels of stability in the price change market is also highlighted by a look at the key price risers across the first 17 GWs in both seasons.  A similar number of player made solid gains of 0.4m or more in the GW2-17 period in both seasons (25 vs 27) but the number of players who kept consistently rising and gained in excess of, say 0.8m, begins to show a variation.

  • 11 players rose by more than 0.8m by this stage in 2015/16 compared to just 6 this season.
  • The total increase in value of the 11 last season was 11.9m vs just 5.7m gained by the ‘big’ risers this year. Yet we’ve had 23 more rises in total – clearly the wealth is being spread around more evenly.
  • And of those 6 big risers so far this year, 3 of them are player who rose early on and have since dropped back by 0.4 or more in recent weeks (Lukaku, Capoue, and Coutinho) due their respective troll-iness, crap-ness and injury.
  • 6 had risen by more than 1.0m by this time last season (gaining 7.7m between them) compared to just ONE (Diego Costa) in the current campaign who had risen by 1.5m before the long-awaited yellow card.
  • Despite a 7.1% increase in total price rises there were in fact over 20% more players who rose in price at least once in the period, bearing out the points above that bandwagons were sporadic and short-lived, with a similar number of price rises to last season spread across a few more players.
  • In contrast going back to the 8% reduction in price drops figure, this encompassed just 3.5% less players who dropped at least once.

Players are showing less consistent form and it is more necessary to keep changing, where last year half of your starting eleven was probably set in stone by now.

It’s also noticeable that many of the player who have risen significantly are those who had initially lost value as their early season form was inconsistent or nonexistent – Zaha, Philips. Kane, Eriksen, Hazard and a couple of the Chelsea defenders being obvious examples.  Meanwhile some early season bandwagons crashed spectacularly (I’m looking at you Etienne Capoue), with very few players (other than Costa) consistently trending upwards from GW2 to 17.

So are the moaning veterans, who started me off on this course to waste several hours of my life looking at excel sheets of player prices, correct about price changes being more difficult to keep up with this season? In the type of answer those who read my preseason articles may have expected – Yes and No.  Sort of.

Price change levels overall are at a very similar level to last year, however there has been much less stability, with players yo-yoing up and down throughout and several late bloomers only becoming popular from around GW11.  So there has been a greater level of variability in the second quarter when last year things were more settled.

Another factor in this may be the phenomenon of new teams being added, such as the GW17 top scoring team, which seem to be contributing to the record high level of teams (if not necessarily managers!) registered in the game – many joining the party well into Q2, and therefore contributing to more transfers.

And finally…

A final question I looked at was whether there was actually a trend towards the bane of the dogged and serious FPL manager  – the early Gameweek transfer! Are managers more jumpy this year and forcing more price rises early in the week, oblivious of EFL Cups and Europe, much to the ongoing frustration of those wise old men of the FPL Twitter community?

The graph below shows the breakdown by percentage of what day price rises and then drops have occurred this season and last.  I have excluded GW16 and 17 of the current season as they were shorter weeks around a midweek series and would skew the figures, so this only relates to GWs greater than 6 days.

What they show is that there certainly has been no change in this practice, however annoying, compared to last season.  Even with the addition of extra Friday deadlines, things have stayed largely the same in terms of rises.

However it is notable that while around 25% of price rises take place in the normal “Friday rush”, a surprising 45% of them take place from Sat to Monday as people “knee jerk” to the weekend’s results.  With regard to price drops the rate is more evenly spread across the week but retaining the Friday rush factor.

The only change to the trend this season is a slightly higher Friday peak of price drops, with perhaps the Friday deadlines having some impact there.

So in summary, price changes trends are as unpredictable as ever, and this being my second analysis of them I would say, perhaps stating the obvious, that events on the pitch across the season will have the biggest impact on them.

So while the broader trends such as the GW3 to 7 free for all will generally stay consistent a big shift in fixtures, form and a couple of injuries can throw any spell of the season into frenzy.

And where last season was unprecedented for unexpected players and teams being FPL essentials, this season seems far less predictable week to week, with very few players showing anything like season long (or even quarter long) form.

As ever holding players past their sell by date is poison to your team value, with bandwagon players then rapidly shedding that value and often ending up below where they started (e.g. Sterling, Gundogan).

Happy Christmas fellow nerds, I hope your real gifts gain you value and your bandwagons have soft landings.

If you haven’t already read on Twitter, we have teamed up with our good friends at Footie Survivor once again to bring you a FREE TO PLAY weekly survival game, with a copy of FIFA 17 for PS4 or Xbox going to the winner.

It’s completely free to play – simply click the Football Survivor banner below and register a username, email address and then pick which Premier League team YOU think will win each week, starting 26th December for Gameweek 18.

It’s quick and easy to play and great fun so please spare yourself 30 seconds to register, pick a club and help us get over 1000 users in our league by Boxing Day.

Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips: Price Change Trends in FPL 2016/17 – The Story So Far’ which was written and published by @trevg1977

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