If you are planning to join Fantasy Premier League (FPL) for the first time, then this guide is for you. Setting out on your first FPL journey can be a daunting task to begin with. But, with some inside knowledge and tips, you can get off to a great first season. If you are joining for the first time because your work colleagues persuaded you to join their league, there’s nothing worse than being the centre of attention when it comes to the Monday morning banter.
This guide is targeted at new managers. It will run you through the basics of FPL and help you get your first season off to a good start.
What is Fantasy Premier League (FPL)?
FPL is a game in which you take the role of a ‘Fantasy Manager’. You start the season having to pick players for your 15-man squad (2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders, and 3 forwards). Your role is to pick a squad of real-life players from the Premier League (PL) who accumulate points based on their real-life performances in matches.
When you start the season, you have a budget of £100m which you have to spread across the whole squad. You can only pick a maximum of 3 players from the same PL team. Once you have selected your squad of 15 players, you will then select your Starting XI (4 players will be on your bench). When all the matches in a gameweek have finished, your players’ points will be totalled up and you will receive your Gameweek Score. There are 38 gameweeks in a season. When the season is over, your Gameweek Scores will be totalled up to provide you with your Overall Score for the season. Whoever has the highest number of points at the end of the season wins FPL.
Do I have to be part of a League?
Every player is automatically enrolled in the ‘Overall’ public league. You can play the game solo and pit your skills against FPL managers from all over the world. In the 2020/21 season, there were over 8 million registered teams. Many believe that number could grow to over 10 million in the 2021/22 season.
You can also join private mini-leagues with your friends and/or work colleagues through an invitational code. These mini-leagues can either be in Classic or Head-to-Head (H2H) format. In H2H format, each manager is drawn against a different manager each week. The manager with the most points at the end of that Gameweek earns 3 points, as in the PL.
Here Are Some Useful FPL Terms – An FPL Glossary
When it comes to discussing FPL, especially on social media, there are a lot of terms that only experienced FPL Managers will understand. We’ve tried to accumulate as many of the commonly used terms here:
|BB||Bench Boost||One of the 3 chips you start with in a season. This allows players on your bench to score points instead of just your starting XI.|
|BP / BPS||Bonus Point / Bonus Point System||This is a separate points system added to a players’ score, FPL Players score BPS points based on various statistics.|
Players with the highest BPS scores from a game are awarded Bonus Points (BP), this ranges from 1-3. Essentially the three players with the highest BPS score will gain additional points from their match.
|CS||Clean Sheets||Points for a Clean Sheet are awarded when a player’s team does not concede any goals.|
GK and DEF will receive 4 points for a CS. A MID will receive 1 point. Note, the player must play 60 minutes to get awarded with the points. If they concede after the 60 minutes, they will still lose their points.
|FH||Free Hit||One of the 3 chips you start with in a season.|
This allows managers to make unlimited free transfers for that gameweek only. Once the gameweek is completed, your team will revert back to exactly how it was in the previous gameweek.
|FT||Free Transfer||This is a transfer you can make for the gameweek at no additional points cost.|
Each week managers will be able to make 1 FT, but these can also be rolled forward to the next week. Please note, there is a cap of 2 FTs in any one gameweek.
|ICT||Influence / Creativity / Threat||A single index that presents a view of FPL players with respect to how they have performed previously. A tool for assessing possible transfers.|
|ITB||In the Bank||This is how much money you have remaining in your budget after fielding your team of 15 players.|
|OR||Overall rank||The ranking of your team with respect to every other registered FPL team. It is your position within the Overall public league.|
|TC||Triple Captain||One of the 3 chips you start with in a season.|
This allows your captain to score 3x the points for the gameweek you use it, as opposed to the double which is usually applied to captains.
|TSB||Teams Selected by||This is a percentage that shows how many managers own a particular player.|
|TV||Team Value||This is the total value (prices) of all your players. Players can increase and decrease in price over the course of the season. You start off with £100m, but this can increase or decrease depending on the change of ownership of players.|
|WC||Wildcard||This is available twice a season. You get one you can use from GW2 but before the end of the calendar year, and a second one afterward.|
A wildcard allows you to make unlimited free transfers throughout a gameweek and the changes you make are permanent.
The above are technical terms associated with the game. Here are some more commonly used expressions, typically used within the online FPL community:
|Bench Fodder||Usually this is a player who is only likely to make an appearance in your team in the event one of your main players doesn’t start. Generally, these are low priced players who allow you to improve your starting XI.|
|BGW||Blank Gameweek – This refers to a gameweek in which there are less than the standard 10 matches playing.|
|Blank||This refers to earning no more than the participation points from a player. This is usually 2 points for a GK, DEF, or FWD or 3 points for a MID (if the team kept a clean sheet).|
|DGW||Double Gameweek – This refers to a Gameweek in which there are teams playing more than one fixture.|
|Differential||This refers to a player who has a low ownership percentage. While there is no standard definition of differential, it is generally agreed that a player who is owned by less than 10% of managers is considered to be a differential. Differentials are useful for managers looking to raise their rank. When their differential player performs, they will get points which many other managers will not benefit from. The players picked are usually ones who have recently picked up form or players whom are under the radar.|
|Enabler||This is someone who is cheap and enables you to afford another premium player. For example; a 4.5m MID or FWD would give you the money to upgrade your team elsewhere.|
|Haul||In a nutshell, this can be something like a player getting a hat-trick, a brace, or two goals and an assist, for example. If an individual player scores 10 points or more, it’s usually considered as a haul.|
|Hits / Point Hits||This refers to a 4-point deduction; a penalty you incur for making transfers after your Free Transfers have been spent. This deduction will be taken from the total of your Gameweek Score for the gameweek in which the transfer was made.|
|Knee Jerk||This refers to making a decision without giving it due consideration.|
|Nailed On||This refers to a player who is guaranteed to start in the next gameweek and will avoid rotation in the squad.|
|OOP||Out Of Position, this refers to a player playing in a position which is different from the one designated to him by FPL. When it comes to FPL, this tends to refer to a player having a more advanced role in their squad.|
For example, in the 2019/20 season, Sheffield United midfielder, John Lundstram, was designated as a Defender by FPL.
|POO||The opposite of OOP – this refers to a player playing in a more defensive role than his FPL designation. These tend to be players we try to avoid.|
|Premium||This usually refers to a player who costs more than the usual price (depending on the position they play). As an example, this could be a Defender who costs more than £5.5m or a Midfielder player who costs more than £9m.|
|Return||This basically means any point returns from a player other than the points you get if they played in the game. This is usually an assist, a goal or a clean sheet.|
|RMT||Rate My Team – This is a common expression to get advice from other people on social media. Essentially, you showcase your team (or plans) and people either give a rating or advice to help you move forward.|
|Set and Forget||This refers to players who will be in your team either all season or as long as possible. Sometimes managers can be forced into a change if the player suffers from a long-term injury or suspension.|
|xG / xA / xGI||Expected Goals / Expected Assists / Expected Goals Involvement. These are Opta Stats metrics which are designed to measure the quality of a shot or creation of a chance. For example, each shot on goal in the PL is given an xG rating. This is a measure of the likelihood of that same hypothetical shot to result in a goal.|
That covers the essential FPL terminology, let’s continue with the tutorial…
How do I score points in FPL?
There are a variety of ways to earn points in FPL, they are:
Playing a Match – Nice and simple this one. If a player plays (for his respective PL club), he will be awarded 1 point. An additional point will be added to that player’s score if he plays over 60 minutes in the match.
Scoring Goals – The more goals your player scores in their real-life team, the more points you will receive. GKs and DEF’s get 6 points for a goal, MID’s get 5 points, and FWD’s get 4 points. As you can see, attack-minded defenders can generate a lot of points.
Keeping Clean Sheets – In your team, GK’s and DEF’s will receive 4 additional points if they keep a clean sheet and play for at least 60 minutes in the match. Please note: if you are checking points in real-time, your player could be awarded CS points and then lose them if they are playing and then concede. The only other position in which you can get clean sheet points is a Midfielder, the same rules apply but you will only receive an additional 1 point for this position.
Getting Assists – Players who make a pass, which is then converted to a goal, will earn you assist points. Irrespective of position, a player is awarded 3 points for an assist.
Playing Well – (BPS) – You can accumulate between 1-3 additional points for each player in your team based on their real-life performance. There are a lot of different metrics used to assess this, but usually, the ‘best performing’ player on that day will receive the most points (3), the next best player will get 2, and so on…
If there is a tie in the BP, then players will be awarded the same number of points. BPs are usually awarded to 3 players, but it can potentially include more players in rarer cases if the BPs for the top players are the same.
So, can my players lose points?
Yes, yes and yes. It is possible and it is not nice when it happens. Players can lose points in the following ways:
Conceding Goals – GK’s, DEF, MID’s will lose the chance to get the clean sheet if they concede a goal. In addition to this, GK’s and DEF will lose an additional point (-1) if they concede two goals (they will receive another -1 for every additional 2 goals conceded).
Getting Carded – If your player receives a yellow or red card, you will lose points (-1 for a yellow card and -3 for a red card).
Missing a Penalty – It happens, and you will lose 2 points when it does.
How do I pick my team?
In FPL, you will have a budget of £100m, which will be spread between the 15 players you need to select before submitting your team. Don’t worry, you can make unlimited free transfers before the start of the season. You can also use the Auto Pick feature to get your team registered, and then tinker with your team afterwards when you have more time.
It may seem like a generous budget, but when you add all of your players, and a few premiums, you will soon realise that it does not go far. Most commonly, it will be your midfielders and strikers who will absorb most of your funds. A good starting point will be to have a good spread of premium players, mid-range players and budget players occupying each position. This will make your team flexible for when the season commences and the standout players begin to emerge.
Can I make changes once I submit my team?
You can indeed. You can make unlimited transfers before the deadline of the first gameweek. It’s pretty common that your team will change several (perhaps even many!) times before the season commences.
Once Gameweek 1 (GW1) is completed, you will be given one free transfer which you can make in GW2. You don’t have to use it; you could ‘bank the transfer’ which will allow you to make 2 free transfers in GW3. Please note: you can only bank a maximum of one additional transfer, any additional banked transfers will be lost.
You can actually make as many transfers as you like each gameweek, but each one (additional to your free transfers) will come at a cost of 4 points.
How should I allocate my budget?
This is a very difficult question to answer, but we will do our best.
We personally like to invest more budget on Midfielders and Forwards as, generally, these guys will get you the most points overall. When it comes to the Goalkeeper, we like to pick someone who is a budget player, who is likely to be from weaker teams. The only points a goalkeeper tends to receive are 2 points for playing over 60 minutes and an additional 4 points if they manage to keep a clean sheet (unless you’re Alisson Becker, of course!)
With Defenders, we might throw a premium in there depending on fixtures and how attack-minded they are. Defenders get 5 points for a goal as opposed to a Midfielder who gets 4 and a striker who gets 3. If you have strong faith in a defender (like Trent Alexander-Arnold for example), a premium defender can pay off massively. This player, for example, will be someone who is likely to get a clean sheet but also has the potential to get either an assist or a goal in any game. Investment in a premium defender will impact the budget you have on the rest of the squad. Goalkeepers and Defenders, as a general rule, should be kept as cheap as possible (within reason) and they have to be starters.
A good balance is the way forward. As an example, you could select 4 players for your bench that are the cheapest players in the game, which allows you to upgrade your starting XI. That being said, this can hurt you in a big way if you have an injury crisis. For example, if one of your players doesn’t play, a substitute can come on from the bench and still earn you points. This is when a balanced squad can negate risks.
In an ideal world, you need to aim for a state of play where one transfer a week will be enough to fix any problems in your team. If you’ve invested highly in one area of the team, you could fall into an unlucky situation where you have to make more than one transfer (and take a hit) to resolve your squad’s problems, which isn’t ideal. Try to keep a balance and do a bit of research for budget players you are not sure about.
Which players should I pick?
This is a very difficult question to answer and, over time, your decisions will be governed by your individual playing style. Cautious managers will tend to lean towards reliable, proven assets who have a track record of providing FPL points. Risk-taking managers will lean towards exciting new prospects and ones who are not highly owned in FPL.
Obviously, knowing your players, watching matches, checking stats (and so on…) gives you an advantage, but it’s not going to get you the #1 spot when it comes to Overall Rank. We can obviously help you with picks, it’s something we love to do. We create gameweek articles where we discuss our player picks for each gameweek, differential picks, captain picks, and the best value picks, but the rest is up to you. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling.
The best advice we can give is to follow our articles, check our members’ picks (for each of the categories mentioned above) and get involved with the FPL Community on social media. Twitter has a large community of FPL managers and you will find quite a lot of good friends in the process. They will give advice, suggestions and ultimately put you in a better position moving forward. It’s always good to discuss your team with other FPL managers, especially those who have been playing for several years and can provide you with lessons learnt from the previous seasons that they have been playing.
So, get an initial team setup that you are pretty happy with, and then start interacting with fellow FPL managers. You can also get in touch with us over social media or drop a comment below and we’d be more than happy to help you and give you some constructive criticism.
My team is all set, what do I do now?
Awesome, you’ve completed the first hurdle. Now, simply wait for the season to start and hope that you have a cracking start. Watching the games is great if you have the time, but you can always look up some stats if you don’t. Doing research will help identify successful players that will earn you a lot of points and add value to your squad. Trust us, the first season can be challenging, but it gets a lot easier after that. Once you have beaten your mini-league rivals and you’re enjoying your involvement with the game, you will then be chasing the best overall rank possible, well, at least that’s what we did.
Any tips to help my approach for the new season?
The first tip we will give is that you need to assess and react to injuries pretty quickly. You can use a website called Physio Room, for example, to see how long players are out for and then make the decision whether or not to transfer out the injured player before the next gameweek deadline. If you have a player that looks to be out for more than 2-3 weeks, we would usually replace them. If a player’s injury is short-term, you may want to consider hanging on and using your bench to cover his absence.
You should avoid players who get their ‘minutes managed’ or are rotated with other players. That is to say, a player who often doesn’t complete 90 minutes of football or doesn’t play in every game. If you are spending over £8m on a player and he’s on the bench, it can be quite frustrating. One thing we will mention here is Man City and what is known as ‘Pep Roulette’. Man City have a lot of class players and so Pep Guardiola has a tendency to rotate players often. This poses a dilemma because Man City assets can offer explosive returns in one Gameweek and then not play at all in the next Gameweek.
Players’ form can make a huge impact and can massively determine how well your season will pan out. You might have a spell across the season when a certain player is performing exceptionally well and gaining a lot of points, then all of a sudden, his form will drop (along with his confidence) and he will stop generating points. It’s best to get these players in early when the form is on the up and shift them out when their form is dropping. Your instinct for this will improve with time.
In addition, in-form players will go up in price (as other managers flock to bring them in) this will increase the value of your squad. Sustained form and proven point scorers are exactly what you are looking for. Jumping on ‘bandwagons’ can lead to profitability in your squad value if you manage to get them early on which can put you in a better position later on in the season.
We’re not going to lie, FPL can appear to be easy but there are a lot of different tactics people use to give themself the advantage over the ‘Average Joe’ player. As we mentioned before, if you’re following our articles, getting advice from other FPL managers, being active on social media, this will ultimately put you in a much better position.
We would highly recommend not bringing in players for a ‘one week punt’, it can pay off, it can be risky. We would recommend having a look at the fixtures for all teams over the course of the subsequent 6 Gameweeks and analyse which transfers would be the best moves in that time frame. Don’t plan for one week, plan for the next six. When we talk about fixtures, we mean looking at which teams have the ‘easiest’ fixtures. A team with a more friendly fixture is more likely to keep a clean sheet and get attacking returns, it’s not always the case, but statistics show that it’s the best way to go.
I didn’t do very well in my first season, should I keep trying?
Honestly, give yourself a pat on the back! The first season is usually the toughest. Like anything, you can’t possibly understand the best techniques and how everything works in your first season, but, it all gets easier. If you’ve played your first season and you really enjoyed it, you will undoubtedly go on to having a much better season in the subsequent year as you learn from your mistakes. You may even get addicted like us.
Here is a complete list of how scoring is worked out in FPL
|A player thas had played for up to 60 minutes||1|
|For playing 60 minutes or more (excluding stoppage time)||2|
|For each goal scored by a goalkeeper or defender||6|
|For each goal scored by a midfielder||5|
|For each goal scored by a forward||4|
|For each goal assist||3|
|For a clean sheet by a goalkeeper or defender||4|
|For a clean sheet by a midfielder||1|
|For every 3 shot saves by a goalkeeper||1|
|For each penalty save||5|
|For each penalty miss||-2|
|Bonus points for the best players in a match||1-3|
|For every 2 goals conceded by a goalkeeper or defender||-1|
|For each yellow card||-1|
|For each red card||-3|
|For each own goal||-2|
Here is the FPL Starter Guide Checklist
- Get to know the scoring system above, if you know how it works, it will help. As you will see, defensive midfielders do not have much capacity to generate FPL points.
- Make sure you understand how transfers work. If you grasp this and understand how banking a free transfer works, it will put you in a better position.
- Find out when you can make the transfers and when you should make them. For us, we tend to make transfers just before the deadline of a Gameweek (once we have checked injury news), anything can happen in between as there is nothing worse than wasting a transfer (especially if it could cost you a -4 hit).
- Get a feel for your initial £100m budget. Learn the best ways you can downgrade players with similar returns to get premium players which may provide the most consistent returns
- Try splitting your budget based on player positions in your team. Quite often, you can find lower budget players that will perform more than premium players.
- Check out the stats of players from the previous season and make sure you select players that are likely to start. Research can do wonders, so try making a shortlist of players that you feel like you should include.
- Always check a team’s fixtures using a thing called a ‘fixture ticker’. If a team has a favourable run of fixtures, it’s definitely more likely that these players will perform. As a general rule of thumb, we tend to look at the upcoming 5-6 fixtures before making any changes to our squad.
- It’s always wise to check the injuries and bans for your players. There is nothing worse than a player having 4/5 yellow cards and then one more yellow will cause a suspension. Plan early and you will be able to avoid this.
- Create multiple drafts and plan ahead. There is never such a thing as a bad idea, sometimes asking the community about your proposals can change your opinion on selections in a very positive way.
- If you’ve been taking risks with one or two players, make sure you have a backup plan (a plan B) that can be carried out with the minimum transfers possible.
- Avoid taking hits if possible. Sometimes this can’t be helped, but the fewer hits you take with careful planning, the better position you will be in.
For more detailed guidance and advice on FPL, check out FPL Obsessed: Tips for Success in Fantasy Premier League by our contributor, Matt Whelan. The book covers all the important aspects of FPL from pre-season planning to navigating the gameweeks, as well as the different playing styles and psychological aspects of the game.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this Beginners FPL Guide and that it has provided you with the knowledge to start the season on a high.
All the best amigos! <3 From @TheFPLWay Team!