And after everything I said about chips I then didn’t play my All Out Attack this weekend. Instead I fielded exactly the same defence as gameweek 6 and found that the same four defenders that were injured / dropped last week were injured / dropped again. Kompany was still injured, Targett has now been replaced by Bertrand while Muniesa and Gomez both remain on the sidelines. Diouf was on my bench and scored 7 points for a sub appearance, a goal and 2 bonus points. He was a doubt to play and came off the bench so I would have been cheeky to play AOA for his appearance but as you will know this sort of thing is the bread and butter of fantasy football. And even though I’ve kept my AOA chip (which I will use if my defence is slashed again) I still have serious issues in defence. Even if I keep Kompany I still have three defenders to replace…
A big factor for me in deciding which defenders to bring in as replacements has been Bonus Points, BPS or ‘baps’. The Fantasy Premier League have changed how these are accrued this season and I’ve spent a little bit of time looking into it.
The Kolarov factor
It has been an unusual start to the season in that lots of defenders (and goalkeepers) have achieved excellent points returns. Kolarov is the perfect example of this. In the first 5 gameweeks Kolarov got 5 clean sheets, 1 goal, plus 10 bonus points. Through this period he averaged 9.2 points per game. Without the bonus points this would have been 7.2 ppg, which while will still impressive, is not stunning.
Taking a look at last season the stand out defender was Ivanovic, who achieved a pretty stunning 179 points for the season. He played every minute of every game with an average then of 4.7 ppg with 17 clean sheets, 4 goals and 6 assists. Of course, these sorts of points returns are not always sustainable. In the current season Ivanovic has returned so badly that his ppg average is down to 1.3 ppg, while Kolarov now sits on an average of 6.6 ppg (following 0 points in 2 weeks as City have lost heavily to both West Ham and Spurs). Interestingly, in an excellent season for Chelsea, Ivanovic only earned 13 bonus points through the whole season. As a comparison Azpilicueta earned 19 points across the 2014/2015 season, so Kolarov’s 10 bonus points for the current season (7 games played) looks massive by comparison.
Bonus points are earned for each match relating to BPS scores. If you go to your team page on the fantasy league website and click on any of the game scores it will break down scorers, assists, saves, bonus points etc. If you then click on detailed stats it will show various in game totals including BPS. The Bonus Points in a given game are awarded to the three players with the highest BPS scores, simple as that.
As Mark at Fantasy Football Scout explains, ‘The system uses a variety of Opta data which measure player actions on the pitch and allocates a score to each action – either positive or negative. These scores are then totalled with the top three ranked scores earning bonus points’. So there are BPS awarded for minutes played, goals scored, assists, clean sheets etc but The Fantasy Premier League adjusted how BPS were accrued for this season. It used to seem as though the bonus points were just given to the players who’d scored the most fantasy points anyway but now it seems to have balanced out a bit. For example, a defender or goalkeeper could effectively ‘save the team’ last season but if one of the attackers scored in a 1-0 win then the players scoring or assisting the goal would always benefit when it came to bonus points. I put that scenario crudely but it does seem that the changes have affected how players earn BPS this season more in favour of defenders and keepers in such games.
If you want to delve into exactly how BPS are earned you can look here:
For the purposes of the exercise though I want to look at how players this season have earned good BPS and Bonus Points against the grain (and maybe wouldn’t have last season).
Ultimately full backs and defenders overall have benefited most from the changes to how BPS are accumulated. This more often comes into play in games with clean sheets but what has changed is the way defenders are rewarded when attackers are performing as well. While goals are easily connected to bonus point returns, simply getting an assist or a clean sheet by no means guarantees bonus points. In this way the League hasn’t changed what BPS are awarded for, but they have changed by how much.
Taking GW1 as a starting point, I was surprised Rooney got no bonus points for his contribution to the only goal of the 1-0 against Spurs. Instead the bonus went to Smalling (3), Darmian (2), and Romero (1) who made 4 saves.
Kolorov is a good example, and I’ve had a look at how he achieved his 10 bonus points.
In GW1 Kolarov earned 1 bonus, while Silva, Navas and Bony who assisted the 3 goals in that match got nothing (the scorers got the 2 and the 3).
Likewise in GW2 when City beat Chelsea 3-0, Kompany earned a clean sheet and scored a goal but still got 0 bonus points. Aguero also scored but got 0 bonus. Kolarov however took all 3 bonus points with a clean sheet and, a lot of chances created, completed passes, crosses, blocks and interceptions but no assists.
Gameweek 3 is a slightly different story as Kolarov scored a goal as well as keeping a clean sheet. He got 3 bonus points that week but guess what? So did Sagna from defence with a clean sheet. 3 points each for them plus 1 for Yaya with an assist. Nasri and Sterling were also involved in the goals but neither played the full 90 minutes and both got 0 bonus.
Kolarov’s final 3 bonus points (so far) came in Gameweek 5 in a 0-1 win over Palace. Iheanacho also got 3 bonus too (winning goal) and Sagna got 1.
So what does this tell us asides of how valuable Kolarov was in those weeks? He had already achieved 10 of the 13 bonus points that Ivanovic got last season in just 5 games. This is against Ivanovic’s full 38 games, all 90 minutes, with 17 clean sheets, 4 goals and 6 assists – so something must have changed here.
It must tell us that the BPS changes account for a lot and that work rate accounts for a lot, or at least efficient work rate.
Looking at Arsenal’s defense, Koscielny, Bellerin and Monreal have got a few bonus points this season but not a vast difference to their own average’s last season. My thinking is that the weighting is just better (or more fairly) distributed now. A clean sheet will not automatically guarantee a bonus, nor will an assist, while goals of course rule, as they should. However, if a player works his butt off he’s in with a good shout. Bearing in mind there are only 3 bonus point allocations in a single game, it seems that clean sheets in a scoring game are going to benefit full backs, running the lines, whereas in a boring 0-0 it’s more likely to go to the centre backs.
I think all this indicates that now for the first time a good defensive performance is just as likely to earn bonus as a good attacking performance. Further it shows that these good defensive performances will be rewarded above an average performance from an attacker who happens to get an assist.
There are exceptions to every rule of course, Payet got full bonus of 3 in GW7 but scored neither of the two goals (he got a single assist in a 2-2 draw). Krul made 9 saves in the 0-1 defeat to Arsenal in GW4 and got 0 bonus even though the only goal in that game was an own goal (in fact he was just 1 bps away from a bonus on the losing side). Diouf got his 2 bonus this weekend after a 29 minute appearance with a goal (a winning goal), presumably the rest of the outfield players weren’t very ‘efficient’ that game. Walcott and Giroud both missed out on bonus even though they scored the goals in a 2-0 win over Stoke in GW5 (because they didn’t play the full 90 mins and their defenders kept a clean sheet, Cazorla on an assist earned 2 bonus that game).
So what has all this told us?
Good players, working hard, playing for a full 90, are going to do well even if they don’t get on the scoreboard.
A player like Scholes would have been great for this. Up until gameweek 5 Kolarov was all over it. We’ll see if that starts again in the coming matches.
Ones to watch
Gomes (4.5m) – Watford. Gomes is currently the keeper with the highest BPS although Myhill is faring better when it comes to points due to his teams clean sheets.
Francis (4.5m) – Bournemouth. Currently the fifth highest defender on BPS although Bournemouth have only achieved one clean sheet so far. He has two assists to his name but he still pulled a 6 points total when Bournemouth beat West Ham 3-4 in GW4, in that game there were 7 goals. Wilson got 3 bonus, Francis got 2 (assist) and Kouyate and Noble got 1 apiece. So no clean sheets, goals for Maiga and Pugh got no bonus, assists from Sakho, Cresswell and 2 assists from Gradel also got no bonus.
Hazard (11.3m) – Chelsea. Sounds silly I know but for an attacker, Hazard has still only got 1 goal and 2 assists in 7 games. Even then he’s still high up on the BPS list and the point is that bonus rewards when players who work hard also get points on the board. If Hazard starts repeating the same form as last season, I believe he will be getting 3 bonus points week in, week out, for his involvement, his creativity and his tenacity (his BPS is far higher than Sanchez despite a hat-trick on the weekend and an assist in the bank).
Vardy (6.4m) – Leicester. I am biassed yes but interestingly the highest scoring BPS forwards are also the highest scoring forwards overall (the same is not true of Gk’s, Def’s or Mid’s). The reason for this is simple, consistency, and that forwards only get BPS for returns. Proving attacking consistency is a minefield but early indicators may suggest some good forwards to keep for the season; playing 90 minutes in every game and more often than not involved in the goals. Pelle is another good example, never going to be emphatic but will return points. Of course we all know that forwards are all about form so for now I think I’ll try and consolidate my defence and midfield so that I can leave them alone and then use my transfers for the form forwards through the season.
To start with I need to choose my defenders to replace Muniesa and Gomez? As well as form and fixtures I’m looking at clean sheet potential. Assist and goal potential is relatively low for defenders despite the onus on defenders who get assists (Ivanovic’s return for goals and assists last season was unusual), and therefore I’m looking strongly at BPS potential.
Who did I go for? You’ll have to check this weekend, but I’m seriously hoping my new players don’t get injured mid-week, or ever…