Choosing your strategy is one of the hardest parts of being an FPL manager. There are a lot of moving parts to consider–it makes you wonder how stressed the real managers get! Thankfully, Fantasy Premier League gives you plenty of data to help make your decisions a little easier. One of these helping hands is the fixture difficulty rating, which gives you an idea of each team's upcoming fixtures.
Understanding the fixture difficulty rating can help you determine who to play in the upcoming gameweeks. Here's a complete guide to understanding fixture difficulty, including some helpful information for the 23/24 Premier League season.
Fantasy Premier League publishes its own table of fixture difficulty ratings. The chart shows each team's upcoming fixtures, including whether they are played at the team's home ground or away at their opponent's. FPL managers use this data to determine the best squad.
Each fixture is highlighted in a certain colour depending on its perceived difficulty. A green fixture usually means it's a straightforward game where players are likely to score plenty of FPL points. Meanwhile, a red fixture usually means that players will struggle that week.
It's not always clear-cut, though. For example, FUL LUT (H) is an easy game for Fulham at home, highlighted green in the FPL table. However, it's also green for Luton, who are playing away. In this instance, it's hard to tell who will come out on top.
The FPL fixture difficulty rating is based on a complex algorithm developed using key Opta data variables. FPL experts use the data, where a set of formulas process all the variables to determine the difficulty.
All 380 fixtures are rated before the Fantasy Premier League season begins, which means you can start planning your FPL team ahead of the first match and look ahead to plan your strategy.
It's worth noting that FPL fixtures are based on past performance. So, these difficulty ratings don't take into account current form, injury issues, and so on. In other words, this is not the only stat you should be using in your team selection strategy.
Many FPL managers plan based on the first few fixtures and might even plan their chip strategy by looking ahead. However, the next gameweek opponent is not the only piece of data you have to think about. You should also consider a player's recent form and the number of transfers you have.
Fixture difficulty ratings can form an integral part of your team strategy, but they're not the be-all and end-all to getting FPL points.
You also need to consider other competitions. Liverpool and Arsenal have semi-difficult games around GW6, but remember, both are playing in European competitions earlier in the week. As a result, tiredness and player injuries could start to kick in.
You should review the fixture difficulty rating on a weekly basis to check out what's happening with your squad. That said, looking ahead can help you plan your strategy in the long run.
Here's how the different teams shape up for the start of the 23/24 season.
Arsenal performed well last year and have a run of easy fixtures to start the season. Their test will come in GW8 with MCI (H). Nevertheless, it's worth having an Arsenal player or two in your team.
Aston Villa is very much a wait-and-see team. Their FPL fixtures swing frequently, so it depends highly on recent performances. GW8 to GW12 is a favourable swing, though, so it could be time to bring in some players.
Bournemouth have tricky fixtures up to GW7. It's best to avoid the Cherries until then.
Brentford have some decent fixtures, but without Toney and Raya, the question is who you should pick. Check out their recent form when selecting kindly-priced players from this team.
Brighton have a great start to the season, but things go awry around GW4. Then again, from GW10 onward, consider selecting more BHA players like Estupiñan and Mitoma to score some extra points.
Newly promoted Burnley have some tough fixtures to start off in the Premier League. This is a team that falls into the "wait and watch" category.
With no European football, Chelsea are unlikely to get tired and can focus on FPL fixtures. However, their performance is worrying, so it remains to be seen how they will play. Again, Chelsea is one to keep an eye on for recent form.
Palace have a mostly positive first half of the season, with their most difficult games being ARS (H), NEW (A), and LIV (H). Eze was a standout at the end of the last season, scoring 67 points in the last 10 games. He's definitely one to watch.
Although Everton have a kind start to the season, it's probably best to keep an eye on their form. After all, last season was a struggle.
From GW5 to GW10, Fulham has a generous fixture run. Jump on the likes of Mitrovic and Leno to take advantage of their easier games during this time.
Despite a reasonably difficult first few fixtures, some Liverpool players are always fantasy favourites. Mo Salah is likely to pick up a few points here and there, and Alisson is often preferred among managers for an easy clean sheet. Consider drafting them in around GW9, but beware of MCI (A) in GW13.
Luton's initial fixtures are not all that bad. And as a strong defensive side, you could set your eye on some cheap defenders to flesh out your squad.
With a run of easy fixtures to kick off the season, City players are a shoo-in for your FPL team. With only three challenging fixtures in the first 16 gameweeks, you should have at least one City player in your team.
Manchester United have a mixed start to the season, and with difficulties off the pitch, it's not necessarily a safe choice for FPL managers. That said, Marcus Rashford is usually a good shout for scoring goals in the easier weeks.
Newcastle have a rough start to the season, with difficult matches for the first five gameweeks. Newly promoted to the Champions League, it remains to be seen how they will perform from GW5 onward. However, fired up by the fans, there's a chance that Alexander Isak could be a good transfer.
Forest have a tough start in terms of FPL fixtures, facing several top teams in the first 6 weeks. Wait and see how they perform.
With a tricky run of fixtures at the start of the season, it's probably best to avoid SHU until you have seen how their players perform.
Spurs have an easy run at the beginning, facing all three newly promoted teams before GW8. However, without top FPL scorer Harry Kane, it remains to be seen how they will perform. Destiny Udogie is a solid shout in defence.
West Ham have a tricky start to the season, and with no Declan Rice, it's safer to wait and see.
Wolves have a tough start to the season and look to be a team to avoid at the start.
You can view upcoming FPL fixtures on the Fantasy Premier League website. On your browser, in the top tab, navigate to 'Fixtures.' There, you can see a list of upcoming matches, or you can view fixture difficulty ratings. The key in the top right explains the colour code.
In the app, 'Fixture Difficulty Rating' is located beneath the 'Pick Team' and 'Transfers' buttons.
Sometimes, viewing difficulty by team is not all that helpful. You might want to see which players in your squad have difficult upcoming matches.
Head to your team by clicking the 'Pick Team' tab in either your browser or app. Then, view upcoming difficulty by clicking on your chosen player and looking in the 'Fixtures' section.
There are many ways to use fixture difficulty to your advantage. Of course, there are other factors to consider, but here's how you can leverage the FDR:
When it comes to assessing fixture difficulty, don't be impulsive. One hard fixture is not a sign that you need to make a transfer. After all, there have been plenty of occasions when the underdog has come out on top.
Instead, look ahead and devise a careful strategy.
Better FPL's Chrome extension is ideal for seeing upcoming difficulty ratings–but it also does much more than that. With access to recent form, quick actions, and special insights, Better FPL can help you plan a strategy and dominate your mini-league?
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