Fantasy Premier League

FPL secrets: Finding the right formation

By The Scout 23 Jul 2019
Diogo Jota, Wolves

Unsure whether to use 3-4-3, 4-4-2 or another shape for your team? The Scout says being flexible is key

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As the 2019/20 season draws ever closer and Fantasy Premier League managers step up their preparations, The Scout explains the FPL fundamentals.

Finding the right formation

While it is sensible to build a squad with a starting XI and formation in mind, managers must be flexible as the season progresses.

The 3-4-3 system is the most popular in FPL.

In that formation, the fifth midfielder and two benched defenders should be cheap back-up options for the first three to four Gameweeks.

But the value available in various positions can prompt a change of plan.

Savings up front

Last season, budget-friendly strikers were hugely successful.

Twelve forwards who cost no more than £7.0m at the start of 2018/19 went on to score 10 or more goals.

Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) and Callum Wilson (£8.0m) both started at £6.0m or under and totalled 181 points and 168 points respectively.

By comparison, in 2017/18 only two forwards who cost £7.0m or less at the start scored at least 10 goals.

If this trend continues, the improved output from reliable, budget-friendly forwards gives managers the option of investing more money in midfield.

This would allow them to pair big-hitters like Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) and Raheem Sterling (£12.0m) in a 3-5-2 formation.

By rotating two in-form strikers according to the fixtures, they can capitalise on the value available up front. 

Dangerous defenders

The goals and assists offered by wing-backs or attacking full-backs can also be a factor.

Defenders score six points for each goal in FPL, while midfielders earn five and forwards four.

Finding the players who offer a big attacking threat from the back can again lead to a change in tactics.

Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) and Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) were among the top five highest-scoring players overall, totalling 213 and 208 points respectively.

And Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m) produced 6.4 points per match, the third-highest average in FPL last season.

That kind of output can merit more investment in defence, with a switch to 4-4-2 or 4-3-3.

Positional switches

Reacting to on-pitch changes is also vital.

Diogo Jota (£6.5m) thrived after being moved up front for Wolverhampton Wanderers last season.

He did not score and only assisted one goal as a left winger in the opening 14 Gameweeks.

But after his switch to a more central role he scored nine goals and supplied seven assists in 20 subsequent appearances.

Monitoring such changes, as well as player form, will help shape and dictate your formation.

Also in this series

Part 1: Building a successful squad
Part 3: Picking the perfect captain
Part 4: Save up to use mini Wildcards
Part 5: Make tactical use of your chips
Part 6: Bonus-point kings offer edge

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