Mythbusting Fantasy Premier League: Form over fixtures

Therefore, to test whether form is indeed more important than fixture, I used FPL data since 2016 to compare their contributions in predicting clean sheets and attacking points in FPL.Sample screen of Fantasy Premier League1..Finding data and defining form and fixtureI was able to gather the past two season’s data collected by Vaastav Anand through FPL’s API..After acquiring data for the past two seasons (2016–17 and 2017–18), I defined player’s “form” as the previous 6 week average of their performance identical to how it is defined in the official FPL website..Fixture difficulty was determined as follows: top 2 teams were given a fixture difficulty ranking of 5, teams ranked between 3rd to 6th on the table were ranked 4, teams ranked between 7th and 12th were ranked 3, and teams ranked between 12th to 20th were ranked 2..This is not exactly how it’s defined on the official FPL website which claims to use a “complex algorithm developed by FPL experts” but seems like a close enough approximation.Fixture Difficulty Ranking ChartI will jump to the results but all the data and code for the analyses are available here and the notebook is also embedded at the bottom of the article.2..Estimating fixture and form contributions to clean sheetsFirst of all, I assess how fixture difficulty affects the probability of finishing with a clean sheet..In the left panel of Figure 1, we can see that fixture difficulty of the opponent reduces the probability of a team finishing with a clean sheet..About 15% of teams keep a clean sheet against a team with a fixture difficulty of 5 (e.g., last season’s Manchester City and Manchester United) where as about 30% keep a clean sheet against a team with a fixture difficulty of 2 (e.g., last season’s West Bromwich Albion or Stoke City)..We also see a home-team advantage such that clean sheets are more likely when the team was playing home.Figure 1..Fixture difficulty on clean sheet probability..Left panel uses the opponent’s fixture difficulty..Right panel uses the difference between the playing team and the opponent team’s fixture difficulty ranking such that higher difference suggests that a high caliber team is playing a low caliber team.. More details

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