The FPL Twitter Community vs The Masses

9:47pm Aug 2 2018

Feature writer @FPL_Fly takes a look at how FPL Twitter could indirectly influence an FPL manager, without even realising

Fantasy Football Fix

The basis for this article came as a result of an interesting question posed on twitter by @lee_86_lee.

He asked:

“Do you personally have a threshold for player ownership in mind that if a player goes over that you feel that you must get them in your team?”

My immediate reaction was:

“Of course not! I play my own game and I’m confident enough in my own abilities to pick my own team and not be a sheep!”

But that is wrong. And it’s EXACTLY at this time of the year that your FPL season could be over before it has even begun.

With the glut of FPL accounts on Twitter these days, you can easily be mislead into thinking they all know what they are talking about, or have the best opinion. The truth is very different, in my (@FPL_Fly) humble opinion.

Herd Mentality is an aspect of human behaviour ever since cavemen hooked up with each other to form tribes with a view to enhancing protection, and has only snowballed as humans have evolved.

Think about who you follow on Twitter

A group of like-minded people who happen to share a common interest with you? So it stands to reason that they also follow many of the same like-minded people – and some have a bigger reach than others.

The more followers you have, the more interaction’s you get – the more your message gets out there to be seen by more like-minded people.

Very quickly, one person’s opinion can become fact and here’s a good example.

4 days ago, I tweeted out a link to an updated article entitled “FPL Home Truths”. From looking at the tweet activity, at the time of writing that tweet has been seen by nearly 40,000 people.

That’s staggering, but it doesn’t make my opinion right. It just gets it out there – and many people will see what I wrote, and some will accept it as fact. without even questioning it.

We all know (courtesy of a certain US President) that we are living in an era of “Fake News” and to me, this applies to FPL as well.

If you are more than just a casual manager, and follow a myriad of different people for FPL info, then you are almost certainly falling for “Fake News”.

What we’re led to believe?

You are probably seeing lots of tweets stating that Crystal Palace defender Patrick Van Aanholt is in someone’s draft squad.

You’re probably hearing the same name mentioned if you listen to one of the many, many FPL Podcasts out there, or viewing video content available for FPL.

Even the man himself has set up his own FPL league  on Twitter and is interacting with the community about it.

And let’s face facts, Palace DO have an enticing run of so-called easy fixtures to start the season with.

He’s an exciting, attacking full-back and Palace did improve last year under Hodgson after all – so of course, EVERYONE is going to own him. Who wouldn’t, right?

Except only 5.2% of FPL managers have selected him. That’s 92,685 out of 1,748,781 players at the time of writing. So actually, he’s still in the differential category and by no means owned by the masses.

Contrast that with Trent Alexander-Arnold who NOBODY on FPL Twitter is tipping. Y’know, he went to the World Cup and England got to the semi-final and even though he didn’t play he’s still on holiday and so he definitely won’t start the season etc etc.

Well, who has convinced you he won’t start the season? 15.4% of FPL managers currently have him in their team. That’s 269,313 people. That’s nearly 3 times the ownership of PVA!

What if he does start? What if he keeps a clean sheet? Or scores? What are you basing your opinion on?

If you’re interested, he reported to Liverpool’s pre-season training camp in France this week and Klopp has since stated that TAA and Firmino are both in contention to play in Gameweek 1.

Here’s another example – stay with me…

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva. Scored 2 goals against Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly 2 days ago and now there is increased talk on FPL Twitter that he should be included in your team.

1.1% ownership at the time of writing – 19,237 managers. Meanwhile, Christian Eriksen (who I have barely seen mentioned) is owned by 17% (297,293).

And don’t get me started on Harry Kane. He said he wants to start the season and aims to be fully fit and ready to boot up for Gameweek 1.

Nobody on Twitter thinks he will. Or if he does, he won’t score because everyone believes in an “August Hoodoo”.

What nonsense – you better hope the masses are wrong because if he does start – and more importantly if he gets off to a flyer – then 589,339 managers will be ahead of the drag curve.

And you’ll have some serious re-working of your squad to do if you want to squeeze the £12.5m forward in.

But of course, there is always another way of looking at it

FPL Twitter is packed full of people who know their onions. They’re students of both fantasy and real-life football. They KNOW Kieran Trippier (the most owned defender currently) won’t start in Gameweek 1.

They’ve been tipping Pedro after seeing his performances in pre-season, and despite being owned by only 1.9% at the time of writing, he is the guy to send you screaming ahead with an early advantage.

The percentage owned stats on the FPL site are skewed by those ‘casuals’ who select players based on nothing more than a vague awareness that they heard their name a few times during the World Cup or they did OK last year.

It’s up to you to decide which camp you fall into, but I’d advise caution. Stacking your Gameweek 1 team with a load of differentials will almost certainly end in tears.

You need the right mix and balance throughout your team. How many of you have checked the “Teams selected by %” (TSB) option on the FPL site? Be honest.

For me, based on my success last season (Ranked 5050th overall after Gameweek 1 and 596th overall after Gameweek 38) it was crucial that I got off to a good start.

From looking back on that Gameweek 1 team now, I can see that it was as a result of having 7-8 highly owned players starting (10% or more TSB) with only 2-3 sneaky differentials (Hegazi, Bertrand and Mkhitaryan if you’re interested).

This was vital in being able to consolidate and build on that good start which wasn’t built on 11 “flash in the pans”.

It wasn’t luck. I studied to achieve the right blend in that Gameweek 1 squad. I listened to FPL Twitter, but I didn’t allow myself to be influenced too heavily by them.

It’s easy to forget they are not the voice of the masses – they are the voice of the minority in the grand scheme of things but that doesn’t mean they should be disregarded.

So, go away, take a look at your draft squad, work out whether you’ve got a decent blend of high and low owned players, and if you discover it’s full of under 5% owned differentials plus Mo Salah, then perhaps give it a rethink.

Anyway, that’s enough from me, but I do hope, as always, that my article has given you some food for thought and helped to make you think twice about how you read and use FPL content – especially on Twitter.

Drop me a follow on Twitter via @FPL_Fly if you’ve any questions or wish to continue the discussion and best of luck for the new season folks!


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