FPL: Consistency is King – who comes out on top?

In FPL I’m a firm believer that over time, consistency is the key to a successful season. Having one brilliant gameweek always feels good, but having five good gameweeks in a row is a more effective way of improving your chances of success.

This also applies even if you’ve fallen behind (for more on that, find our comeback article here). So who are the most consistent players? We take a look.

 

Who are we looking at?

We’ve picked the top scoring FPL forwards and midfielders to look at (with a few exceptions made for players that have missed matches through injury). The reason for this is that I believe defenders are far more reliant on their defence as a whole, and not on them as an individual.

 

How do we define consistency?

We’ve used two measurements:

  • Points per start
  • % of starts with no attacking returns

Where start = at least 45 minutes played.

Why starts? Ultimately none of us want to see our attackers benched, and very few experienced managers pick a player/captain in the hope they return points off the bench.

With the added factor that substitutes are often brought on for differing reasons: returning from fitness, chasing a game, protecting a lead, etc, I believe that judging a player based on when they start a match is a better indicator of their consistency.

Here’s what we found, sorted by blank rate:

Player Points per start Blank %
Sane 7.54 23.08%
Son 8.33 25.00%
Lacazette 5.44 25.00%
Kane 6.45 30.00%
Aguero 6.06 31.25%
Martial 6.75 33.33%
Sterling 7.12 35.29%
Eriksen 5.38 38.46%
Salah 7.35 40.00%
Hazard 7.47 41.18%
Wilson 5.47 42.11%
Jimenez 4.70 45.00%
Aubameyang 5.53 47.37%
Arnautovic 5.29 50.00%
Sigurdsson 5.11 52.63%
Bilva 4.95 52.63%
Pogba 5.82 52.94%
Richarlison 5.53 52.94%
Dilva 5.53 53.33%
Rashford 5.00 57.14%
Fraser 5.47 57.89%
Firmino 4.95 57.89%
Vardy 4.13 60.00%
Mane 5.78 61.11%
Anderson 5.00 61.90%
Mitrovic 4.14 61.90%
Lucas 5.06 62.50%
Pereyra 4.71 66.67%

 

Son and Sane lead the way

Spurs’ Son and City’s Sane have been by far the most consistent at providing returns when they start, with both having blanked in just three of their starts so far and averaging the highest points in matches that they start. The problem is of course that between them they’ve managed only 25 starts thus far. However, that hasn’t stopped both of them notching over 100 points and sitting in the top 8 midfielders despite playing far fewer minutes.

Son Korea
Son earns himself military exemption following his Asian Games win with South Korea

But, I hear you ask, how can you expect consistent FPL scores if your players aren’t making the starting XI?! I think you need to bear in mind that Son had an enforced absence due to his international obligations, and Sane wasn’t selected as regularly at the start of the season. No doubt the Mendy injury played a huge part, but he’s started 8 of the last 9 and until the evidence suggests otherwise he looks to have a starting spot nailed down.

Troll: An ugly cave-dwelling creature depicted as either a giant or a dwarf.

See also: Eden Hazard.

Yes, it will come as no surprise to see the talented Belgium so far up this list in terms of his points per start. With ten goals and nine assists to his name already this season, Hazard is the second highest scoring player in FPL currently. Equally unsurprising to managers that have owned him at some point during his FPL career is that he has blanked in 41% of his starts. Only marginally worse than Salah – not too bad, right?

Hazard FPL troll
No. 2 points scorer, No.1 FPL troll?

What’s really interesting here is who Hazard has blanked against. This is particularly important for premium players that you would consider captain material: you’re unlikely to captain them in tougher matches, so you really need them to deliver against the lesser sides when you want to give them the armband.

Salah has only blanked against Leicester and Everton outside the top six, compared to Hazard who has blanked against FIVE non top six opponents… they don’t call him troll for nothing!

Table below shows the top five scoring players in the game and their respective blank rate against non top six opposition:

Aub Kane Salah Haz Raz
30.77% 26.67% 15.38% 38.46% 27.27%

 

The Laca/Auba Paradox

The Arsenal strikers share a very similar points per start of around 5.5, but the percentage of starts they’ve blanked in are very different. With just four blanks in his 13 starts, Lacazette looks far superior to his Gabonese teammate who has blanked in NINE from 19 – a staggering 47%!

So why is Aubameyang owned by over five times as many managers? That would be because in the two gameweeks he hasn’t started he amassed 27 points in two substitute appearances of just under half an hour. Added to his security of playing time, and that’s why he’s the top scoring forward in the game and a very popular pick.

Déjà vu – dilemma of yester-season

Like many others I’m sure, I found myself facing one particular dilemma last season more often than any other – who should I captain: Kane or Salah? Salah was Mr Reliable and always felt the safe pick, but Kane offered the allure of potential hat tricks.

Kane vs Salah FPL
Will these two FPL heavyweights be facing off for the Golden Boot again this season?

This year has presented a similar problem, however the numbers tell a different story. Kane has just a 30% blank rate compared to Salah’s 40%, whilst the Egyptian is returning nearly an extra point per start.

More Mane more problems?

To say that Sadio Mane has had a bad season would be harsh – with 105 points he is the 6th highest scoring midfielder and has eight goals and two assists to his name. Despite this, he has the worst blank rate of all the premium assets on the list at 61%. That makes him about as reliable as Mitrovic, but for significantly more money.

How do the budget players measure up?

As you might expect, the cheaper players have a far higher blank rate. The simple fact is that they play for teams that don’t score in enough matches to give them chances of goals or assists. Two of the more popular forwards however, Wilson and Jimenez, are more than holding their own.

Ryan Fraser FPL
Deeney:”I’m fuming with him to be honest, every time I’ve picked him for my FPL team he’s blanked”

With just eight and nine blanks respectively they have been remarkably consistent so far this season. Jimenez’ points per start is inferior, but with a blank rate of just 45% he has proven a reliable budget forward thus far. Wilson and his partner in crime, “Wee man” Ryan Fraser, actually have an identical points per start, but Fraser has blanked in nearly 58% of his starts so far.

 

So… what does this mean? And what should I do?!

  • The players on this list have been analysed because they’re the top scoring players in the game. That means that, consistent or not, they’ve outscored the other players in their positions. With certain players, *ahem* HAZARD *ahem*, you have to accept that when you bring them in you’re going to have to ride a wave that involves more blanks than you’d hope for from such a prolific FPL points scorer.
  • Some of the players on this list come with caveats – you can’t always be sure they’ll start a match. However, I do think this is becoming more and more common within top teams, with even players like Salah and Kane being rotated at times. Son and Sane, when they do start, are proving themselves to be the most reliable FPL point scorers. Just make sure that the evidence (press conferences, injuries, form, etc) suggests to you they’re likely to start before you give them the armband.
  • When it comes to captain choices, a lot depends on what you’re looking for in a captain. For those that like to play it safe, players like Kane and Aguero offer a far lower rate of blanks but lack the explosiveness that Hazard has provided this season.
  • You probably don’t expect players from “lesser” teams to score against the top six, and that makes up 32% of their matches anyway. Try to be patient with these players as they have shown so far this season they’re capable of providing good value, despite having a higher blank rate than we’d like.

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