Before the start of every Fantasy Premier League season, veterans of the game such as myself have their own version of Christmas morning — when the game goes live, and more importantly, when the prices of players are released. Much scrutinization occurs over the next several weeks over which players look a value at the start of the season. One key element in weighing players, specifically defenders and midfielders, is recognizing out-of-position (OOP) prospects. Players who are classified OOP will return more fantasy points for you than those who are not, mainly clean sheet points. Most defenders offer little in attacking returns. To have a defender that is playing farther forward and attempting to garner those attacking returns while still getting credited for four clean sheet points is worth its weight in gold.
There are two main reasons a player becomes or is considered to be OOP:
1. The first is a natural move by the player himself, or a decision made by that club’s manager. Someone at Left Back the previous season may have shown an asset to the club by getting forward a ton and contributing to goals but also showed below average defensive ability. That manager may shift the player, who is viewed as an overall positive influence on the starting XI, from a left back to a left midfield spot. Naturally, the folks running the FPL site have no knowledge of this change in position during the offseason and can’t assume anything. Generally, a player will be designated to whatever position they appeared most in the previous season. But if you are following the news closely during the preseason, you can make that assumption yourself.
Anyone ever heard of Gareth Bale? You know, that rarely talked about player that went to another league or something. YES, him. Bale actually began his Spurs career as a bonafide left back. Then, he kept showing such pace and creativity, he was moved up to a midfield position. In the past couple of seasons, we have witnessed him become one of the most lethal players when on the ball. By the end of his time with Spurs, he was their center forward. So lesson being, players get moved out-of-position by their managers based on their developing skill set and fantasy managers need to take advantage.
2. The second scenario for an OOP player is the club’s formation and how FPL decides to classify the players in that formation. For defenders in question, some managers will adopt a 3-5-2 formation where the club goes with three center backs and two “wing” backs — players that would be full backs in a conventional 4-man defense are now playing farther up the pitch with defensive midfielders tucked within.