Good morning FFUKers.
As we all know the 2016/2017 Premier League season is done and decided, and that means our own FPL season has drawn to a close. Chris gave a thorough breakdown of the Top 10 in the EPIC GW38 review, and prizes of £1175 were shared between the ten who finished highest in the league. Here I will be discussing the other prizes, and how they were won. Now, this article is lengthy but there are some good nuggets in here, things we didn’t know before writing, and I’ve also spent some time looking at how all the prize winners used their chips. Hopefully then, it can be useful for future strategies, but the article may take you more than one sitting. Grab a chair.
The essence of this article is not for those who have won prizes to check their winnings, they will likely know that anyway, and if not, will receive an email. The purpose here, beyond a record of the prize winners, is hopefully to allow those who did not win a prize to gain some insight into the tactics (and luck) at play in the prizewinning. The Top 10 speaks for itself as simply the ten who scored the most points across the whole season, but the cups require a different kind of consistency, the best gw score planning heavily weighted towards certain weeks, and the MOTM prize recognizes those who were most consistent across the biggest months of the season.
The distribution of these games and prizes is organised with an aim to make prizes winnable for everyone in the league, and we hope that this season’s winners demonstrate how this has succeeded. For example, only two of the prizes listed here were also won by members of the final Top 10. As I am one of those two, allow me to tell you that this is the first time I have won a prize in many years, and is the first time I have ever finished in the Top 10.
The Challenge Cup
The Cups may have been forgotten by many of you long ago, but at the start, 192 members of the league were entered into Cups based on their October scores, and the beauty of this timing is that while we are still trying to feel our way into the season, the top players in the league do not necessarily have the best month. I’ll use Lester Deeble as an example, who finished 4th overall in the league, I’m sure he won’t mind. Lester was 105th for the month of October, missing out on the FFUK Cup and therefore finding himself in the Challenge Cup along with a number of previous FFUK League Champions, Chris Galloway, Paul Baker, and Neil Stewart.
Lester, Chris, Neil and Paul all found themselves out of the Cup by Round 3 in February, while the last 16 of the Challenge Cup only included 1 player in the league Top 20, Toby Jones, who went on to the semi-final but eventually fell out of the Top 50 in the league.
Just taking a look at that Challenge Cup Semi-Final in April, it involved 4 teams, Toby Jones, Tom Aitchison, Jamie Cooper and Louise Wilcockson. Their April positions were 69th, 93rd, 147th and 179th. Bad news for Tom was that he was playing Toby, meaning that Jamie’s 147th for April was enough to take him to into the Challenge Cup Final, which he would go on to win!
I won’t labour this point, but from February onwards, the Challenge Cup scores were consistently lower than the FFUK Cup scores, and the majority of the teams who were playing well in the league Top 50 had already been knocked out. It may well be that our own Challenge Cup this season pays testament to the beauty of the cup, and acknowledges the randomness of a knockout tournament, but it was still surprising to see low scores succeeding month after month in this competition.
A juicy £150 is awarded to Jamie Cooper for his cup win, while Toby Jones picks up £75 for his runner up. Jamie came 103rd for the month of May, but Toby, after a relatively strong season, finished 146th for May, and dropped to 54th in the FFUK league. 226 points for Jamie and 179 points for Toby, but prizes for both.
The FFUK Cup
The FFUK Cup was different to the Challenge Cup as some of those who were performing consistently in the league also did so here. In February, the 3rd round of the FFUK Cup, 4 of the 16 players would go on to finish in the league Top 10. Here it seems that the quality is matched between the league and the Cup. Indeed, the majority of those February 3rd round were in and around the Top 20 in the league at some point of the season, which is why the lack of league performers is so stark in the Challenge Cup.
So for those that don’t know the FFUK Cup final came down to myself and Scott Volker (The Phoenix), a beautiful thing seeing as we are mates. Notably Scott beat FFUK League Champion Nick Johns in the semi-final by an impressive 26 points. This was partly down to the use of the Triple Captain chip which both Scott and I utilised in GW35 on Josh King. This was the final gameweek in April and therefore our last chance to ensure cup success. Indeed, Scott was trailing to Nick going into that final gameweek and I can tell you that King’s late goal vs Sunderland was one of the sweetest feelings this season for both Scott and I. King had been largely overlooked as captain material that gameweek, despite playing against bottom of the league and being in an excellent run of form. 11 points isn’t a massive return for a TC, and I’ll be doing an article over the summer assessing chip value, but for me and Scott, captain King did more than necessary to push us into the prize places in the Cup. Incidentally, back in the final gameweek of March, I had deliberately played the bench boost chip GW29, which saw me through to the semi-finals of the FFUK Cup, after making sure my bench was full for that round of fixtures. This was followed by an international break where I wildcarded, going into April and set up for the double gameweeks which had by then been announced. This isn’t necessarily the best tactic for using chips, as I’m sure they are worth more points in the doubles, but the overall strategy worked well for both Cup and league success. Similarly Scott finished 52nd in the FFUK league, which is admirable considering his -56 point wildcard fail back in GW2.
This meant that I came away with a £200 prize for winning the FFUK Cup and Scott £100 for finishing runner up. Should the overall prize fund increase next season it is likely that the Top 10 league prizes will be prioritised, but it is worth noting the value of the FFUK Cup and the Challenge Cup should you find any early success next season. Of course, when compared to the league, there is far more luck to the cups, who you are drawn against and how your players perform in the given game month is random, but that is not to say that planning and tactics don’t go a long way. Captain choices, hits taken, who you’re transferring in, and of course playing chips, all affect how a one on one match pans out.
Best Gameweek Score
Whether it was deliberate tactics or not, Dan McBrearty’s strategy demonstrates another way to win FFUK Prizes. Dan was the top FFUK scorer for the month of May, finishing the month on 374 points which almost clinched a MOTM prize, just 5 points off a winning score in fact. But What Dan did achieve, is the second best gameweek score of the season in GW38, the final gameweek of the season, with 119 points. Dan, Tom Wollin, and Tim McEwan all played similar cards, using their triple captain chip in the final gameweek, with a bench boost the week before in GW37. Both Dan and Tom had wildcarded in GW36 too (Tim wildcarded earlier in GW24). But all 3 of this trio saved their chips for a late surge, working a viable tactic to get amongst the prize places. Likely, none saw the value in the GW27 Aguero TC, and didn’t want to gamble on Sanchez’s bad form in GW36 (some of us are extremely glad that Alexis put that right).
But these are big single gameweek scores, Dan 119, Tim 111, Tom 109, achieving monthly scores of 374, 362 and 347 points respectively, all in the Top 7 scores for May. December and April were the biggest game months of the season by gameweek, both with 6 gameweeks, with May only having 3 gameweeks. But May did have two double gameweeks, and the final gameweek was a goal rout, especially with Harry Kane about, and all three of Dan, Tom and Tim triple captained Kane’s last hat trick. Nice. It has to be said that these guys made it pretty close in the league too. Tim finished in a respectable 31st, while Dan made it up to 15th, and Tom only just missed out on the prize places in the league by finishing 11th.
I’ll also reiterate that if it wasn’t for the MOTM winning months of December and April, Dan’s May score would have won a prize. And coincidentally, Tom Wollin finished 2nd for December in MOTM. That’s bloody close, and kudos to you Tom. So Tom was just 3 points off the Top 10, just 1 point off the December MOTM, and 10 points off runner up best gw score.
Which brings me to Lester Deeble, who did take best gameweek score of the season. Lester also won Best GW Score in the 2015/16 season, finishing 2nd in the league, and won MOTM too. So I guess this has been a bad season for Lester? No. Lester ‘the luck’ Deeble is either the jammiest wotsit playing, or he is actually rather good. I’m still trying to decide. But let me tell you that Lester has even won a £40 sweepstake on Chelsea winning the league which I drew back in December.
Lester also saved his chips (good boy) and then played his wildcard GW35, his TC for Sanchez in GW36, and his badboy bench boost in GW37. Who did Lester plump for his 5th mid on his wildcard? Etienne Capoue, who then scores at Chelsea GW37. Remember when Capoue scored loads of goals at the start of the season? I do, Capoue was on my bench. 4.5m midfielder. Lester was playing him then. Between gameweeks 6 and 36, the Watford midfield general scored 2 goals, and earned 1 assist, that’s in 30 gameweeks. No one owned him for most of that period. Whether it was for Watford, or for old time’s sake, Capoue was back in Lester’s team and back on the score sheet at Stamford Bridge in GW37, Home of the Champions. Unlikely to get a return, but possible.
But Capoue was just one of many excellent picks on Lester’s wildcard. Lester demonstrates the benefit of building up a good value, as in GW37 rather than owning Holgate like everyone else, Lester picked Jagielka. Yep, Lester brought in Jagielka on his GW35 wildcard, knowing that Everton were likely to keep a clean sheet against his own team, Watford. Jagielka did get that clean sheet, as well as an assist, and full bonus for 12 points. Not bad for a single gameweek player on a double gameweek. Is that luck or judgement?
I better move on now before this becomes a tribute to Deeble article, but over the past two seasons he’s become a big character in FFUK, and he’s won five prizes along the way. Oh, and he never played the game before then by the way. So in the end Lester Deeble comes away with the Best GW score for this season, 192 points in DGW37, and £100 for his trouble. Dan McBrearty clinches the runner up score with 119 points for GW38 and a £40 prize. Well done to both of you.
The MOTM prizes, as I touched on before, were won in December and April, very simply the game months with the biggest numbers of gameweeks. Now I have a theory that the success of chips is proportionate to the comparative value of points in a given gameweek, but I’m not quite ready to articulate that yet. In the meantime I’ll let you be the judge as to whether Robert Simpson’s GW31 bench boost was a success. His actual bench score was an acceptable 14 points, but his total came to 86, which is 8 higher than the highest score on Page 1 in the FFUK league that gameweek. Robert wasn’t in the Top 50 at that stage, and presumably he is aware that hits don’t count towards monthly scores, for the first gameweek of the month only. But Robert seemed to take his hits wisely, a -8 before April had begun, and then the next hits (another -8), four gameweeks later when he brought in and captained Benteke for his double gameweek GW34. I’d actually forgotten there was even a dgw then, as for virtually all of us it was a complete misnomer…. Ah Daley Blind, now I remember. But anyway Benteke was the best choice by far that gameweek, and in the end Robert won the April prize with 401 points.
The runner up for MOTM goes to John Gordon, who finished December on 378 points. I’m not looking for a theme here, but if I was, well you would have never have guessed it. Yes, it seems that John G did play a chip back in December, and seeing as he only beat Tom Wollin’s December score by 1 point, that Diego Costa Triple Captain in the first gameweek in December proved crucial. John takes a prize of £40 while Robert Simpson gets a tasty £100 for his work. Congratulations guys!
And that concludes the 2016/17 prize round up. I was going to mention the Head-to-head league that goes on in the background, next season’s FFUK Contributors League, and the Last Man Standing competition that Tim McEwan organised for us this season, but I’m running out of space.
So finally, I would briefly like to reiterate the thanks that Chris gave in his GW38 review, in what is undoubtedly the biggest season FFUK has ever had, thanks to all our agents, contributors, and players, and how much fun we have had this season! I won’t recount the Top 10 winners, nor will I go over the individuals who have contributed to the season, suffice to say that the WhatsApp group is a wonderful thing, and those in it, as Duncan Hannigan says, have become friends. Hug x. But I will thank Chris, who for those of you that don’t know, works incredibly hard behind the scenes to keep FFUK ticking along, and ultimately holds together the structure that means we can all enjoy playing.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the End of Season do June 3rd, and to next season!