Is your rank target realistic?

At this time of the season, managers start thinking about end of season rank targets and we see community posts on this topic. Often, these are above their current rank, sometimes well above. 

“Currently at 44k, looking to push into the top 10k…” 

Getting a green arrow

According to, Gameweek 30 had the following averages:

  • Top 10k: 61.25 points
  • Overall: 47.25 points
  • Elite: 60.88 points

These are fairly typical values. There was no inversion against the template, yet a few differentials came good. It was a good week to examine. 

LiveFPL shows a ‘safety score’ for each team. This is the score required to achieve a green arrow. You can see this for any team by entering its FPL ID number. Here is a selection of pre-Gameweek 30 ranks and the corresponding safety scores.

Pre Gameweek 30 rank Safety score
8 65
103 65
175 64
329 65
1,958 63
2,844 64
8,672 64
11,758 63
20,585 62
135,387 62
142,599 61
299,528 60
563,742 59
666,624 58
1,006,299 57

There was a steady decline in the safety score as the rank increases, although it isn’t completely linear. With the top 10k average being 61.25 after hits, you could be forgiven for thinking that scoring 62 would see you hold rank. However, that was not the case. Top 10k managers needed to beat this average to hold rank.  

The reason for this is that top performing managers have a chasing herd of managers behind them. Every Gameweek, some of this herd will score particularly well. This results in churn in the upper echelons of rank. In Gameweek 30, it was managers owning Alexander Isak (£7.9m) that scored above 70 and made the biggest gains.

Needing to beat the top 10k average doesn’t stop there though. A manager ranked 20,585 required a score of 62 to hold rank and that safety score extended all the way down to managers ranked around 135k. I checked this at regular rank intervals all the way from 20k to 135k. 

Here is the same exercise on Gameweek 31. It is good to check ideas against more than one data set. 

Gameweek 31 averages

  • Top 10k: 60.04 points
  • Overall: 46.22 points
  • Elite: 61.45 points

This was another week with an average top 10k score near the fairly typical value of 60. 

Pre Gameweek 31 rank Safety score
6 69
7 68
17 65
83 66
1,385 65
20,422 64
30,383 63
40,027 62
142,933 63
272,869 62
945,107 61
1,072,030 60
1,782,826 59
1,842,067 58
2,414,120 57

This time, the safety score fell below the top 10k average at a much lower pre-Gameweek rank than in Gameweek 30. It was around the one million mark! To attribute this solely to the top 10k template captain Mohamed Salah (£13.4m) failing is over simplifying it. None of the player base did well on captaincy. 

Taking the two Gameweeks together, the main takeaway is: You must beat the top 10k average to maintain rank, even at much lower ranks!

How many points must you gain?

At the bottom of the Live FPL rank page is a table of points totals at selected ranks. Here is the position after Gameweek 31.

Live Rank Points Points behind leader Points per week
1 2,110
100 2,032 78 11.1
1k 1,992 118 16.9
5k 1,962 148 21.1
10k 1,947 163 23.3
Live Rank Points Points behind 10k Points per week
10k 1,947
25k 1,926 21 3
50k 1,907 40 5.7
100k 1,884 63 9
200k 1,857 90 12.9
300k 1,838 109 15.6
400k 1,822 125 17.9
500k 1,810 137 19.6

There is a wider points spread within the top 10k than from rank 10k to 500k. The upper echelons are like the right-hand end of a normal distribution: a very thin tail of a few managers with extremely high scores. This is like a wealth distribution, with a minority of multi-millionaires and billionaires. 

To win FPL, a manager ranked 1k must make up 118 points in the remaining seven Gameweeks (16.9 points per Gameweek) and hope that nobody above them gets close to achieving this. Whilst these tables don’t account for differences in chips remaining, that is still extremely unlikely. That gap increased from 112 points at the end of Gameweek 30.

Managers ranked 100 to 1k not only have at least 78 points to gain on the leader, they have a huge herd of managers behind them, some of whom will outperform. Maintaining rank at this level is incredibly difficult because the distribution starts to fatten out: there are 4,000 managers within 30 points of managers sitting at 1k. For managers sitting at 5k, there are 5,000 managers sitting within 15 points of them, as the distribution starts to widen. 

To finish in the top 10k, a manager at 50k must make up 40 points (5.7 points per Gameweek) and hope that not too many managers above them achieve likewise. 

Modelling the probability of this is tricky. Complications include:

  • How widely spread points are across different Gameweek ranks. 
  • How the double Gameweeks affect the points spread (you would assume a wider points spread but by how much?)
  • Whether trends in player or team form emerge (dependent events) or whether there is inconsistency (more like a series of independent events).

My conclusion is that eroding this 40-point gap steadily over the remaining Gameweeks is very unlikely. To simplify it greatly, having seven consecutive Gameweeks of correctly calling a coin flip (a series of independent events) has a 0.78% chance. A coin flip analogy has some validity because your Gameweek ranks must be within the top half of the number of still engaged managers every week to make up those 40 points in a steady fashion. I will spare you those details but if anything, that uses an under-estimate of the number of engaged managers.

Performances by midtable teams and inconsistent players can be seen as something like a series of independent events, so somewhat suited to being modelled on a consecutive coin flip basis. In any case, where players or teams find a run of form, you would need other managers to not jump on those bandwagons, or you would need new advantages elsewhere (new independent events).

More likely then, a few knock-out weeks with differentials coming good is required. I think many managers intuitively realise this but the above (greatly simplified) steady erosion analysis confirms it. Add in the first point regarding the need to outperform to maintain rank and you’ve got a case for managing your expectations and going easy on yourself.  

Who played the most minutes over the March international break?