We will not do this every week, but we will periodically look at the trends in assigning bonus points for the Official Fantasy Premier League. For those who are unaware, FPL bonus points are assigned to the Top 3 performers as judged by the EA Sports Player Performance Index. The EAS PPI is a proprietary formula that looks at a players whole performance, not simply their goals, assists and clean sheets. Last season, the EAS PPI was skewed towards attacking players, with those players who had high pass success completion rates and high chances-to-goal conversion rates — as well as good shot-to-shot on target ratios. For this reason, players like Clint Dempsey were punished. Despite his phenomenal season, Dempsey earned only 22 bonus points last season. A portion of this was down to Dempsey’s poor, relatively speaking, passing numbers and the volume of shots he required to net his 17 goals.
Each of the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs have now played one competitive fixture in the league this season. While the gameweek will not end until after the Chelsea v. Reading fixture, we wanted to look at this if there were a regular gameweek. Two quick points before we get into the positions. First, goalkeepers again earned no bonus points for the game week. Second, there were a disproportionate number of lopsided scorelines this season and, as a result, all bonus points were awarded to players for the winning sides.
Defenders. The three players with three bonus points came from an interesting set of fixtures. The game score for James Collins was 25, while the game score for Winston Reid and Kevin Nolan was just 20.
In examining the opta stats for the game – which are not the statistics EA Sports utilize, they use their own stats – Collins only stood out in clearances. His passing was poor – 16/28 passes were completed, 57% – while he did win his only tackle, both of his ground 50/50′s and five of eight aerial challenges. His teammate George McCartney passed at a higher rate (17/21 81%) and won all four of his tackles as well as five of 12 ground duels. Hammers midfielder Mohamed Diame had a very good match, and went unrewarded, completing 22/26 passes, creating a chance, and winning all four of his tackles as well as seven of 12 ground duels. McCartney’s game score was 17 (and he did only play 70′) while Diame’s score was just 11. Clearly, there are other numbers being factored into the game score at this time.
The midfield was a bit more predictable, with goal scorers and providers leading the bonus point chart. Fantasy Premier League’s bonus system does typically provide dual reward for goal scorers in low scoring affairs, and nearly always sees the rich get richer when a player nets a brace or more. This season was no different with Dyer and Michu both on the list. Interestingly, Michu scored a brace and provided an assist but was assessed a game score of 48 while Dyer was one better with 49. It is worth noting, Michu also played more minutes (83′) than Dyer (76′). Dyer also touched the ball fewer times, lost possession more, had fewer passes attempted and a lower pass completion %. Where Dyer excelled was in the defensive half of the game. He made 17 ground challenges and won seven of them. Michu won three of five.
Jonas Gutierrez was the only midfielder to earn bonus points without contributing a goal or an assist. He played the full 90′ for Newcastle in their 2-1 victory over Spurs and earned a game score of 22. Goal scorers Ba and Ben Arfa each posted a 29 EAS PPI for the match, while defender Danny Simpson – who assisted on Ba’s goal – also earned a 22 and one Fantasy Premier League bonus point. Gutierrez is another puzzling selection for bonus points. He completed 27/34 passes (79%) while Cheik Tiote completed 67/81 (83%). Jonas was solid at the back, winning three of four tackles and eight of eleven ground duels but Hatem Ben Arfa won all four of his tackles and 12 of 22 ground duels – winning more of such duels than any other player attempted in the match. His one shot found the target, but it was an otherwise routine performance from the midfielder.
A different story unfolded for the forwards. Playing time was instrumental in earning bonus points but a bit of luck was required as well. A good case was Carlos Tevez. He played 86′ and found the net but his EAS PPI of 28 was just over shadowed by Nasri (37 in 90′), Yaya (35 in 90′) and Dzeko (29 in 77′). In truth, there were eight forwards who found the net once this gameweek – and Petric who netted a brace – but only five took bonus points.
This season did continue another interesting trend – the first being goalkeepers going unrewarded – where forwards saw the bulk of their bonus points come in three point chunks. Of the five forwards to receive bonus points, three of them were awarded the full three-point allocation. Only Crouch earned bonus points without scoring or assisting, as he took two points while posting the joint-87th best EAS PPI game score for the weekend. 86 players, most of whom were unrewarded by the bonus system, put in a better shift than Crouch’s performance against Reading. Interestingly, Le Fondre, who scored in that same match, went unrewarded himself as did Garath McCleary, who provided the assist on Le Fondre’s goal.
Petric, with a brace and two bonus points, posted the best EAS PPI of the gameweek – he scored two goals, recorded an assist and played in a clean sheet but was only the pitch 67′ – with a game score of 57. That is the bar against which all other performances will be measured this season.
All of the Bonus, EAS PPI and Valuation information in this post is from the Official Fantasy Premier League. We make no claim to ownership of the material presented in the tables, only the analysis of that information.