Alonso and Milner: A OOP Analysis

Out of position. The three words that make every FPL player moist in their nether regions. It is a simple concept: find players that are classified as defenders or midfielders in FPL world, but in real EPL land play further up the pitch. Due to goals being worth more points if they are scored by a defender or a midfielder, finding players that are classified incorrectly is paramount to climbing in the world rankings as a FPL player.

In the 16/17 season Marcos Alonso was the prime OOP example. Classified as a defender, but spending most of the entire season out on the Chelsea wing, he finished second in overall defender scoring with 177 points. He netted 6 goals, and had 5 assists and was one of the “must own” players of the season.

James Milner, on the other hand, was the quintessential example of OOP working in reverse. Classified as a midfielder, but spending the whole season as a defender, the Liverpool man finished 19th among midfielders with 137 points. Milner was on pens the whole season as well, and scored 7 goals with 4 assists.

How would their fantasy seasons have been different if they were classified correctly?

Starting with Alonso, adjusting his point total to account for the changes in value of goals and clean-sheets as a midfielder our “must have player” ends up with a total 126 points for the season (for the sake of this analysis, I assumed BPS stayed the same, however this probably would fluctuate as well). In the Chelsea midfield, he would come in as the third highest scoring midfielder, behind Hazard and Pedro. It is also safe to assume that his starting cost would have been at least 1£ more expensive. This changes his overall points-per-pound value from 25.6 points per pound as a defender to 15.6 as a midfielder, a drastic drop in value. In overall midfielder ranks, he would have finished tied for 25th with Nathan Redmond.

How does this logic apply to boring James Milner? When you adjust Milner’s 7 goals and 12 clean sheets to defender values, his point total skyrockets to 182. This makes him the highest scoring defender in the game. His points-per-pound jump from 20.1 to 26.3. I made no adjustments to his cost, however it is fair to assume that he would be significantly less than 6.9 £ to start the season, meaning that his true PPP value would be higher than 26.3.

Now this analysis isn’t rocket surgery. But I believe it does highlight three key points:

  • First and foremost, if James Milner is classified as a defender when the game opens in July, he will be the first person on my team. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance, and a defender who is on penalties with a proven record of converting his chances is fantasy gold (Think Baines a few seasons ago).
  • Second- if Alonso is classified as a midfielder, he will have almost zero appeal. I expect him to be one of the most highly selected players at the start of the season based on how popular he was last year, but if his position is re-classified he will end up as an overpriced Nathan Redmond.
  • And finally, this exemplifies the importance of identifying and jumping in on OOP players. It is the single most exploitable quirk of FPL, and can make or break your season.