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.
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.
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.