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Importance of game theory in choosing a Fantasy Premier League side

This season I have made it a goal to end my season in the top 500000 users amongst all the people who play the Fantasy Premier League. The rules are simple: you have 100 million pounds to buy 15 players in your squad, 11 of whom play in your team in a given week. Your captain earns double the amount of points that any normal player would earn, and each position has a different amount of points awarded for their performance.

For example, a defender will earn 6 points for a goal scored, a midfielder will earn 5 points for a goal scored and a striker will earn 4 points of every goal scored. Also, a defender will receive 4 points for a clean sheet (if their side does not concede any goals in a match) while a midfielder receives 1 point for a clean sheet and a striker receives none. Thus, it would make sense to spend money on top quality defenders that attack often so that if they score and/or keep a clean sheet, you get a lot of points. However, the probability of a defender scoring is clearly less than the probability of a midfielder or a striker scoring, and so it turns out that choosing a top quality midfielder who attacks and scores goals and makes assists usually helps a team have a good ranking.

Another important rule is that in a squad of 15 players, there can only be 3 players from the same team. This is a very important rule as it ensures that a user will choose players from at least 5 different teams and so there will be a lot of games where players in opposing teams are in the same fantasy squad. This is doubly important because if both the players are defenders then it is very improbable that both players will earn a clean sheet in a game.

One more important aspect of the game, which in my opinion separates and makes the game one of the best fantasy sports games is the concept of player values. Unlike most other fantasy sports leagues, in the Fantasy Premier League each player’s value fluctuates depending on how well that player performs in that week. Thus, the value of a team can be more than 100 million pounds. Consequently, it gets increasingly harder to buy players that are in-form in the later stages of a season. Also, since you can only sell your player for the original value at which you bought him, selling an in-form player does not give you a budget of more than 100 million pounds.

The last important feature of the game is that a manager can make one free transfer each week, and gets two wildcards in the entire season (the second wildcard is available at the beginning of the second half of the season so it is not possible to use two wildcards in the first half of the season). If the manager does not make any transfers in a game week, then the manager will have 2 free transfers the following week. Any additional transfers cost 4 points per transfer. The management of transfers is thus also very important, because if you do not make transfers until you absolutely need them, then you can use a lot more transfers at once to improve your squad.

With multiple areas where game theory can be applied separately, the Fantasy Premier League presents managers with a challenge of finding the optimal strategy by combining various strategies and also allows them to choose their favourite players to make a realistic fantasy team.


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