With the release of the Premier League fixtures ATFPL have frantically number crunched the gameweeks and is finally positioned to start highlighting potential strengths and weaknesses for fantasy managers to exploit. Last week we released our first thoughts on the schedules shortly followed by looking in depth at Sunderland’s options for Pro members. Next inline are “perfect” rotation pairs. Read on as we explain the theory of rotation pairs, particularly this type of rotation as well as declaring our initial thoughts and findings;
What is a rotation pair?
A rotation pair is two clubs whose fixtures when combined provide a sustainable fixture route as the gameweeks progress. Often these can be found as home rotation pairs where two clubs alternate their home fixtures to provide a fantasy manager with a position in their starting XI that is always at home. Used predominantly in defence, rotation pairs can be seen as the cornerstone of any squad as these pairs barring injury can be left alone allowing fantasy managers to prioritise their transfers on more important matters such as transferring in the surprise package, big hitters with the upcoming fixtures or players who have displayed incredible previous form.
How the fixtures are compiled is somewhat complex with several factors the Premier League have to consider but one constant that is always a result of the workings is that every club has one other club that they rotate home/away for the entire duration of the season. these are sometimes referred to as “perfect” rotations – seldom they are – but this is the place ATFPL will start it series of rotation articles;
38 out of 38 fixtures “perfect” rotating pairs
Naturally though some of these rotation pairs would never be utilised. The reason? Price tags of the players available to operate the rotation. Subsequently as the game is yet to be released this is where ATFPL have had to apply some presumptions in offering further advice at this stage but presume we have.
Why should a player cost 5 million or less for a rotation pair?
Balance of a squad. If too much money is spent on these rotations then the 100 million budget will restrict a fantasy manager when selecting their big hitters. Equally anymore than 9.5 million – a player costing 5.0 million and 4.5 million rotating for example – for a rotation pair and you could redistribute the money and acquire a defender in the big hitter category and a 4.0 million defender to bench. Equally any goalkeeper and defender priced at 5.5 million or more shouldn’t require the need to rotate otherwise they could be perceived as poor value for money with better options within that price bracket available.
|Aston Villa||West Brom|
|Manchester City||Manchester United|
|Manchester United||Manchester City|
|West Brom||Aston Villa|
So without further delay click on the tabs below to reveal the rotations that are affordable which will take a fantasy manager to their January Wildcard and our review of them;
AVL/ WBA/ SOT/ LEI/ SWA/ SUN/ CPL/ WAT/ ARS/ TOT/ WHM/ NEW/ MUN/ EVE/ NOR/ MUN/ LIV/ CPL/ TOT/ MCY
Things start off great for the two promoted clubs with the rotation not meeting any of last season’s top six until gameweek nine. Add that this rotation is predicted to cost no more than 9.0 million and fantasy managers could adopt this cheap rotation if their budget dictates that they must for the start of the season while they look to build value to replace it latter down the line.
However, lets not forget we are dealing with two promoted clubs with little to no experience within the Premier League making this option naturally a big risk. But even if a fantasy manager is willing to except this risk as a potential early season sacrifice, the bigger problem with this rotation is beyond gameweek eight it simply fails to offer viable fixtures with Bournemouth and Watford combining to face top six possible clubs in 7 of the last 12 gameweeks. This would require at least one transfer to be burnt resolving the issue in a period where transfers are a commodity.
LIV/ ARS/ AVL/ WBA/ MCY/ LEI/ BOU/ WBA/ WHM/ WAT/ MUN/ CHE/ SUN/ NEW/ MCY/ SOT/ CPL/ MUN/ SWA/ CHE
Due to face the top four from last season eight times, this perfect rotation is one to avoid solely based on the fixtures. Add a predicted price of 9.5 million along with the fact that neither club displayed great defensive strength last time out and there’s nothing going for this pair. To further highlight the failings of both clubs, Crystal Palace managed just three home clean sheets ranking last while Stoke didn’t fare much better registering just five.
SUN/ NEW/ TOT/ MUN/ AVL/ EVE/ ARS/ TOT/ STK/ CPL/ ARS/ WAT/ BOU/ MUN/ LEI/ CHE/ WHM/ WBA/ MCY/ BOU
It’ll be touch and go whether this rotation will actually be affordable with Swansea predicted to cost 5.0 million or more, the price associated with Leicester City defenders will ultimately dictate if this rotation is an option. The foxes finished last season strongly with six clean sheets registered in the last ten gameweeks. If priced at 9.5 million the calibre of defence used in this rotation is markedly improved compared to the other perfect rotations available and may mitigate the fact that the fixtures are hardly ideal. Last season Leicester and Swansea combined to register 12 home clean sheets which is a one in three strike rate and if repeated would give a fantasy manager 12 to 13 clean sheets over the season.
SOT/ NOR/ SWA/ ARS/ TOT/ WAT/ CHE/ WHM/ NOR/ NEW/ STK/ SOT/ LEI/ STK/ LIV/ WAT/ AVL/ EVE/ LIV/ AVL
Fixture wise this North East rotation offers a fantasy manager the smoothest run navigating the gameweeks up to the January Wildcard with just five top six opponents found within it and predicted to cost no more than 9.5 million is a very valid option available. However, the clubs involved have some serious question marks to answer. How will Newcastle perform under new manager Steve McClaren and how can Sunderland who conceded the most goal attempts of anyone last season stop the tidal wave of opportunity they present to their counterparts? Nevertheless this pairing at least does offer opportunity.
As you can tell from the above rotations, the art of perfect rotations is one to generally avoid with fantasy managers required to look deeper within the fixtures to find their rotations that will last a satisfactory length of gameweeks for the tactic to be justified. Fear not though as ATFPL plan on elaborating on some possible rotations available while any All Things FPL Member can utilise our season ticker to find their personal favourites. To register as either a Community Member or as an All Things FPL Pro which bolts on over 100 exclusive articles throughout the season for just £8 can do so via this link.