Fantasy Football – Bonus Points
Guest Post from Richard Kenny – Follow him on twitter @InfernoSix
Bonus Points – Flawed System
After the Chelsea Arsenal game on 4 Feb game there was anger in the FPL community regarding the distribution of bonus points. It appeared to be a mystery why Monreal who played in a defence that conceded 3 goals was awarded 2 bonus points. Whilst Alonso, who scored for the winning team and conceded only 1 goal, was awarded no bonus points. Also Costa, who provided two assists for the winning team did not receive any bonus points.
This article will provide a general discussion on the BPS system, suggest some improvements for next season and try to shed light on the Chelsea Arsenal game ‘mysteries’.
How are points awarded?
Before looking at the Chelsea Arsenal game, it is important to understand how bonus points (BPS) are awarded. There is a full explanation on the FPL website and below is an extract from the site.
Bonus points are a key ingredient of the scoring in Fantasy Premier League.
They are devised and allocated post-match according to a Bonus Points System (BPS).
The BPS utilises a range of statistics supplied by Opta that capture actions on the pitch, to create a performance score for every player.
The players with the top three BPS in a given match receive bonus points – three points to the highest-scoring player, two to the second best and one to the third.
Bonus point ties are resolved are as follows:
- If there is a tie for first place, Players 1 & 2 will receive 3 points each and Player 3 will receive 1 point.
- If there is a tie for second place, Player 1 will receive 3 points and Players 2 and 3 will receive 2 points each.
- If there is a tie for third place, Player 1 will receive 3 points, Player 2 will receive 2 points and Players 3 & 4 will receive 1 point each.
Players earn BPS points based on the following statistics (one point for each unless otherwise stated)
My thoughts on the current BPS system are as follows:
- Forwards are awarded 24 BPS for scoring goals whilst midfielders scoring goals are only awarded 18 BPS. This is in contrast to the normal points players are awarded in the game, where forwards receive 4 pts and midfielders 5 pts. As they play further away from goal, it is logical to think that midfielders should be awarded more BPS than forwards. The same is true for defenders; again the BPS for defenders scoring is only 12 pts, half that of forwards. I think the scoring goals BPS should be adjusted so it is more in line with the normal point scoring for goals.
- The BPS of 9 for assists is disproportionately low compared to those given for goals. The normal assist points are 3. This is 75% of the points awarded to a forward for scoring (4) and 66% of midfielders scoring points (5). I think the BPS assist points should be increased to 12.
- Players are penalised for shots off target. This is wrong. If a player has a shot they are showing attacking intent, this should be rewarded, not punished. I suggest that shots off target should be 1 BPS and shots on target 2 BPS.
- Players that take successful corners or successful free kicks are not rewarded. Again, this is attacking intent and should be rewarded. I suggest 1 BPS for each.
- Scoring the goal that wins a match is rewarded with 3 BPS. Maybe other significant goals, such as ones that take the lead or equalise, should also be rewarded, with say 1 BPS. Goals that just extend a lead should not be rewarded with any extra BPS.
- Defenders and goalkeepers are not penalised for conceding goals. They are only rewarded for keeping clean sheets. Maybe each goal conceded should be penalised with -3 BPS.
An alternative action table is below
The merits this BPS system would have over the current one are as follows:
- The BPS for scoring goals is weighted in favour of defenders and midfielders. This is more in line with the weighting of normal points. It reflects the likely hood of players in each position scoring
- Assists have been given a higher BPS and better reflect the real life contribution that an assist has in the game. Usually, an assist is required a goal.
- Attacking intent is rewarded, rather than penalised. Shots on target, shots off target, successful free kicks and corners are all rewarded.
- Goals conceded are penalised. I cannot understand why this is not part of the current system.
Now to look at the Chelsea Arsenal game.
Chelsea Arsenal Game Analysis
The table below shows the BPS for this game as reported on the FPL website. I wanted to understand how this was calculated, so I could shed some light on the ‘mysteries’ of why Monreal was awarded more BPS than Alonso and why Costa did not feature in the top 10 players.
As was mentioned earlier the BPS is based on Opta data. Using this data I replicated the BPS for some of the players.
He received the maximum 3 bonus points. This was mainly due to the goal scored, a number of successful take ons and chances created. Clearly he was the best player and deserved the 3 bonus points.
Monreal vs Alonso
Alonso scored one goal and Chelsea conceded one goal, whilst Monreal assisted one goal and Arsenal conceded three goals. So why did Monreal have 27 BPS and Alonso only 21 BPS?
There was only a difference of 3 BPS between the goal and the assist. Monreal made more accurate passes and tackles than Alonso. However, he was not punished for the three goals Arsenal conceded. This is not right. If the modifications to the BPS, I suggested earlier, applied to this game then their BPS would be as below:
To me, this reflects more accurately their respective performances.
This is interesting, more for the BPS he wasn’t awarded rather than for the BPS he was awarded. He did not make the official BPS top 10 list because he had a negative BPS. He was punished for being tackled, having shots off target and missing big chances. More significantly, Opta did not credit him with the two assists! This came as a complete surprise to me, as the game awarded him 6 points for two assists.
This is a huge contradiction in the game. On one hand he was awarded 6 normal points for the assists and on the other, they did not contribute to his BPS. In a way, due to the nature of the assists, one a rebound header off the crossbar and the other a headed flick on at the halfway line, he should not have been awarded them. Maybe Opta has it right and the folk in FPL towers do not.
A few words about Giroud. He was only on the pitch for 26 minutes and received the last bonus point. This was due to the 24 BPS he was awarded for the goal scored. It was nothing more than a consolation goal. Alonso’s goal which was more significant, as it opened the scoring and gave Chelsea the lead, was only awarded 12 BPS.
The alternative BPS system I propose would correct this flaw.
The fact there was a difference between Costa’s assists in the game and those used in the BPS calculation, got me thinking, if there were similar differences for other players between their assists in FPL and their assists in the real world?
The table below shows the top 5 players in FPL, by assist. Against each player is their real world assists, as specified on the Premier League website.
For all of the players there is a difference between their assists. Sterling has the largest difference of 6. These 6 additional FPL assists would not have contributed to his BPS in the games they were awarded.
To verify the data in the table I have taken a screen shot of KDBs stats from the Premier league website? It clearly shows 9 assists. (Bottom right)
Then another screen shot of the FPL website showing 12 assists.
The FPL game must have a lenient view of what constitutes an assist. I can understand this as it makes the game more rewarding for FPL managers. If the game was aligned with the real world then Sterling owners would be very disappointed as his real world assists are only 5 as opposed to 11 if FPL. But this difference causes confusion within the FPL community around BPS.
The current BPS system is flawed and these flaws were highlighted in the Chelsea Arsenal game. The weighting of BPS for goals scored is wrong. Attacking intent is penalised. Goals conceded by defenders and goalkeepers are not penalised.
The current BPS system could be modified, with a few tweaks, to produce a bonus calculation that better reflects real world player performances.
A significant discovery when carrying out the analysis of the Chelsea Arsenal game is that the FPL game does not award assists in line with the real world statistics.
FPL manager for 7 seasons and in the last 5 seasons finished in top 5% with a highest rank of 5,934. Writer for various FPL websites. Uses a Moneyball approach to FPL.
Follow Richard on Twitter at @InfernoSix