Musings of A Manager – Goalkeepers

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Goalkeepers, love them or hate them they are a unique part of FPL. Generally player prices are based on logic, hence we (usually) avoid situations where a given player exceeds his price tag by such a gulf that he becomes an essential part of any competitive team. Goalkeepers are different…

Goalkeepers earn points through ‘saves’ which acts as an equalizer, effectively penalizing those from the best teams whose world class defenders prevent opponents even getting a sniff at goal.

The other unique point is that you can’t play both goalkeepers in a given week. There is always a goalkeeper on the bench acting as ‘dead money’ if you select a 5.5 premium option and a basement 4.0 option you still have to commit budget towards someone who will not play.

These two factors contribute to goalkeeper rotation being a potentially sound strategy. We have a pool of talent whose scores are condensed thanks to the points awarded for saves, plus a desire to try and use all the players in our squad.

Therefore it will come as no surprise that I am a massive fan of two 4.5 goalkeepers. Out of the 20 starting keepers you can typically find two who are underpriced, their fixtures ‘pair’ and have strong starts to the season (first 6 to 8 gameweeks).

Premier League HQ have thrown a spanner in the works this season with a variety of changes:

  • The ‘premium’ goalkeepers have had 0.5 slashed off their prices, coming in at 5.5 rather then 6.0
  • Each save adds 2 to the BPS (Bonus Point System) rather then one. This should see spectacular keeping performances rewarded with more bonus points
  • The wildcard windows have changed! See here for more info.

The price slash will invariably lead to more people picking up 5.5 goalkeepers to start the season. Discounts are always appreciated and when people assume value they are more then happy to jump on board.

However here at FPL Addicts we are smarter then the crowd. Looking at last seasons goalkeeper point standings as well as the two factors outlined above ‘premium’ goalkeepers do not offer value across a season for our squads.

What premium goalkeepers offer is reliability at a high price tag. They will get the most clean sheets across a whole season and make the most appearances. However this doesn’t necessarily equate to scoring the most fantasy points (remember save points help bridge the gap for less clean sheets).

The 5.0 goalkeeper is an interesting midway point. They are from ‘top 10’ teams who ‘tend’ to get a higher proportion of clean sheets. If you pick the right ones they will ensure a solid ‘set & forget strategy’ in the goalkeeping department.

Unfortunately FPL is not a ‘set & forget’ style of game. With a wildcard for the first half of the season and now the second you will have two ‘free’ opportunities to change both of your goalkeepers. Additionally one has to consider the price of keeper pairings.

Price Ranges of Goalkeeper Pairings

Price Ranges of Goalkeeper Pairings

Looking at the prices it is easy to say ‘its only 0.5’ but budget flexibility is the difference between a good fantasy player and a great one. Having the ability to get the transfer target you would like in one trade reduces the likelihood of poor trades.

For value hunters Butland has assumed the throne at Stoke after Begovic’s recent transfer to Chelsea and comes in at a cut price 4.5. He is worth considering strongly. A young keeper can easily be exposed in the PL though and Stoke have lost the defensive edge once in force under Pulis.

Myhill has the gloves in his hands as Ben Foster continues to recover from his knee injury (Until October at least). At 4.5 he is an excellent route into a Tony Pulis defense. Although an occasionally error prone goalkeeper (a ‘number two’) he will provide plenty of save points and a nice collection of clean sheets.

Tim Krul makes up my third ‘value’ pick. He’s a quality goalkeeper and a strong shot stopper. Krul plays for a middle sized club that look to secure safety in the Premier League by accumulating as many points as quickly as possible. This is great for those who start the season with him, but long term prosperity could be a problem.

Starting Goalkeepers (less Bournemouth)

Starting Goalkeepers (less Bournemouth)

Promoted keepers are always a worry. They can put a good run of form together but you typically want to be looking for PL experienced defensive units. Ruddy has proven his ability at this level before, but Norwich’s defence isn’t going to be the best. Boruc also has experience but I wouldn’t go there with Federici battling for his spot. Gomes is up there for squid of the century next to Alumina (What a pairing) so steer clear of them at this stage…

So, as can be seen from the musing above striking a good balance is no easy task when it comes to goalkeepers. They’re hard to predict over the season as they can go through stellar runs of form but are easily changeable with wildcards. I prefer two 4.5 options in which I look for strong first 6-8 fixtures for quality underpriced keepers. By taking two starting goalkeepers I have the flexibility to get one horribly wrong and carry them through to my wildcard OR have a rotatable option for when one keeper has a top 4 side away from home.

Let us know what your goalkeeper strategy is in the comments below or if you have any questions on the above.

Manager Musings brought to you by @liambednarski with a 10th attempt at FPL trying to break the 5000 rank mark for the first time. 

For those that are interested I am hosting a draft concept league on the website www.realff.co.uk with the draft occurring in the week leading up to the season proper. The website fee is around $10 AUD, the scoring is similar to FPL (no bonus points though). Looking for 1-3 extra players at the moment. Please comment below or message me on twitter if interested.

20 comments on “Musings of A Manager – Goalkeepers

  1. baysietoff

    Top shelf Liam. I’ve had Pulis’ Myhill for most of the preseason (+ a 4.0 dud), and don’t see a reason to change! His fixtures are pretty ordinary at home however…

    • Liam Post Author

      I am honestly leaning towards a single goalkeeper (4.5+4.0) on merit that would be Krul but I have not yet checked the fixtures out on that one

      • baysietoff

        Like you say that 0.5m opens up some more possibilities! Turns an 8.5 mid into Sterling or Walcott… Newcastle have never had a good defence though?

    • Liam Post Author

      It depends on how you think Sunderland are going to go. It think they will be near the bottom again and he will be rather busy, they haven’t really recruited at centre back either. I would look at other 5.0 options personally but don’t rule him out if the fixtures suit your early season planning. His a great shot stopper very tall accumulates a lot of save points.

  2. greenninja15

    Going with Fabianski due to good start and they are my pick to be the middle tier team to climb up the ladder. Pretty sure I am going to set & forget with Schmeichel but Myhill nags at me instead.

    • Liam Post Author

      Remember there are two wildcards spread across the season so the need to ‘set and forget’ is not there. Pick two keepers that rotate well or two that you think will do well and possibly increase in price.

      Fabianski is a viable option the 5.0 bracket is really interesting I think I will take the extra money elsewhere though

    • Liam Post Author

      Was horrendous at Fulham, utterly terrible. I would be cautious with so much change in the Southampton team. Look elsewhere to start the season

  3. kingcolesy

    I was under the impression the newly promoted clubs were the ones to go for because of the rule changes and good rotating fixtures, then found a butland/krul combo seemed to work well for a long time, 9m for good mid tier teams seemed to be the go. 4.5myhill fixtures ruled him out. The. I realised there was such a thing called a wildcard and I would be looking to use it gw3/4. So a 4,5/4.0 combo seemed the go and schemical/swarzer combo fills the void nicely. Not much faith in Leicester but there were sparks at the end of last season as hope. I’m more of a low end team/high end fixture type of fpl player when it comes to keepers. If I got no time irl I would just slap a high end keeper in there with set and forget(that’s what I do for my mates haha)

    • Liam Post Author

      Middle tier clubs are probably the ‘ones to aim for’ with a favorable start and a history of being keen on defending (think Lambert’s Villa from last season).

      Leicester’s run home was one of those miracles the squad is still quite weak.

      Sunderland also kept a few clean sheets at the tail end of the season, when teams are desperate for results whilst some other teams are playing for nothing odd runs can stick out.

      That said Leicester’s run was amazing but they don’t have much central midfield depth and they certainly have not replaced Cambiasso.

      I do like Kasper as a goalkeeper though

      • kingcolesy

        Ya, that said, I’ll still be open minded to some of these new promoted clubs being good for fantasy, with their high goal tallies and high clean sheet records in the championship. 19 Bournemouth Cs, 15 Watford, 14 Norwich. Goal difs 53 Bournemouth, 41 Watford, 40 Norwich.

        • Liam Post Author

          It is a much higher quality league so you have to reduce those clean sheet numbers by a margin (from memory most decent defenses get between 6-12 clean sheets I would expect them within that range if they manage 10-12 very much worth having in your side)

          You have to remember that championship level sides have smaller squads then premier league teams, they are also carrying fringe players from lower divisions which are not cut for the higher levels.

          The best 11 might be able to compete but one or two injuries and they will struggle

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    • Josh

      Thoughts on Adrian? In previous seasons has been a proven shot-stopper and wham have good defensive history with clean sheets. At 5.0 i think he is worth a look but i might be committing too much money with him and a Butland or Myhill as a second. Adrian has been one of the most consistent shot-stoppers since his introduction to the PL and will finish in a mid-table team, almost guaranteed.

      • Liam Post Author

        Bilic as a manager is largely unproven but West Ham have recruited some good players.

        Adrian is a strong shot stopper and West Ham have bought players right throughout the squad.

        I would strongly consider him, he has 3 strong opening home fixtures and could well be top of the goalkeepers list after 6 weeks.

  5. templetontherat

    10.0 too much to invest, I’ve got Cech (5.5) and Guzan (4.5) right now. I had Myhill after Foster got hurt and some of his best performances came while on my bench, but towards the end of the season West Brom’s defense really struggled, I am thinking it my carry over. I would’ve liked Schmeichal as a value pick had they not sacked their manager.

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