How to compare FPL players using minutes/appearance filters

When comparing players in the Premium Members Area of Fantasy Football Scout, it’s often useful to look at their ‘Minutes Per’ stats or check the ‘per90’ filter to level the playing field. 

This makes a comparison between players with disparate playing times more insightful. 

Ideally we want to target players who are certain starters, but first XI players may have missed a period through injury or perhaps they’ve burst onto the scene and gone on to establish themselves after impressing as a sub.

‘Minutes Per’ or ‘per90’ allows us to see who performs best if playing time were equal.

However, it’s important not to forget time played entirely; a sub who makes an impact off the bench might top a per90 stats table but that doesn’t mean we should be adding them to our Fantasy team.

By the same token, players who regularly complete matches will suffer compared to those taken off earlier in the game. Last season Gabriel Martinelli (£6.0m) averaged 64 minutes per match, so is looking at his per 90 stats slightly misleading if he’s not playing 90 minutes? A per appearance comparison might be better.

As always, context and interpretation is important. 

Refining Results

To help improve the results of a per90 comparison, last season we added two important filters to our Player Stats tables:

  • Minimum Appearances (‘Min App’)
  • Minutes Played per Appearance (‘Mins/App’)

Now we can refine our sample size by filtering out players who haven’t played many games, and we can also remove substitutes by setting the Minutes per Appearance (‘Mins/App’) filter.

  • top ten ‘minutes per expected goals’ from 2021/22 with Mane and Aubameygang removed

Applying these settings to our KPI Attacking table and sorting by ‘Minutes per Expected Goal’ makes for interesting reading.

Raheem Sterling (£10.0m) and Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m) feature prominently but while both are likely to get more pitch time this season, will they sustain their impressive ‘minutes per expected goal’ rates away from Man City?

Conditional Formatting

Premium Members have the option to refine their results even further when creating a custom Members table.

The ‘Conditions’ in a custom Members table act like the filters in Player Stats.

But, unlike in the Player Stats section, there’s no restriction on the filters/conditions that can be applied. So you can be much more specific with your requirements.

Perhaps you feel a minimum of 60 minutes per appearance is too generous and that 70 minutes would be better, you can apply that setting in a custom Members table.

  • top eight ‘xG per Shot Non-Penalty’ from 2021/22 with Mane removed

When creating this ‘High Quality Chances’ table, rather than filtering by the number of appearances I decided to set a minimum number of non-penalty shots instead. I also upped my ‘Minutes Played per Appearance’ to a floor of 70 minutes and added a ‘Minutes Played per Start’ filter.

The table throws up some fascinating results but perhaps raises more questions than answers.

Playing for a new team, in a new system, will Sterling continue to be presented with such high-quality chances? Or will Thomas Tuchel adapt his approach to get the best out of his new recruit?

Will Phil Foden’s (£8.0m) xG per Shot suffer following the arrival of Erling Håland (£11.5m) as centre forward?

Can the elite finishers from that table, Son Heung-min (£12.0m) and Jamie Vardy (£9.5m), who needed just 0.7 and 0.69 xG to score one goal, maintain their high level in front of goal?

Time Out

Whether it’s used for filtering results or for making an informed comparison, ‘time played’ is one of the most important considerations for a Fantasy manager.

And with the implementation of the five substitutes rule next season, it’s likely to play an even greater role in our decision-making. 

In part two, we’ll reveal the tweaks we’ve made to our time played stat used for all ‘Minutes Per’ and ‘per90’ metrics. In particular how we’ve improved the minutes recorded for those substituted in a match.

Often a stat we take for granted, playing time can have a crucial bearing on the stats tables we use when planning our transfers.