Rotating Goalkeepers

18/11/2018 Planet FPL

Rotating goalkeepers. Something of a Marmite topic within the FPL community, some people like them and some people absolutely despise them. I’ve always been a set and forget man myself but the dominance of the big clubs so far this season has me wondering whether I need to reassess this position.

Is it worth having rotating keepers to avoid games against the top 5?

I’ve used the top 5 rather than the traditional big 6 because as countless parents will have said to sulking Mourinho-esque teenagers, “if you are going to act like a mid table team then I will treat you like a mid table team”.

So far this season goalkeepers have scored 158 points against the top 5 at an average of 2.63 points per game. However 58 of these points have been scored in games featuring two of the top 5, putting the average for a non top 5 keeper at just 2.17. That is exactly half the average for a non top 5 keeper playing a non top 5 team which is 4.34 points per game.

So over the course of a full season a goalkeeper rotation that avoids the top 5 would be worth 22 extra points on average. Whether that justifies an extra £0.5m spend on your bench depends how well it could be utilised in the rest of your squad but will certainly be something to consider next preseason. The main gripe of those utilising rotational keepers seems to be the regret that arises from selecting the wrong option in a particular gameweek and seeing FPL points staring at you from the bench. Maybe in future a “set and remember” rotational approach of picking a 28 game (26 if United get their act together) 1st choice keeper and remembering to rotate them with your 2nd choice keeper for the 10 (12) games against the top 5 (6) could be the way to go to remove some of those what if moments.

With 12 gameweeks already gone, the extra investment/transfers required to move to rotational goalkeepers now doesn’t seem to make much sense. The most popular budget pick currently is Fabianski and with West Ham facing only 4 of the top 5 between now and a likely gameweek 32 wildcard he would seem a sensible set and forget for that period. In the past I’ve rarely made a goalkeeping transfer other than for injury or suspension but these numbers seem to suggest even a -4 hit could be justified if you have a particularly bad run of fixtures upcoming, something that Hennessey owners experienced recently and Begovic owners face in the near future.

Personally I’m going to give postman Patricio games against Huddersfield and Cardiff to start delivering before I weigh up a long term move to Fabianski providing I have no other issues in my squad that need rectifying at the time.

A couple of interesting things that researching goalkeeper rotations did throw up was that Cardiff don’t face Man City, Liverpool or Chelsea again between now and a GW32 wildcard making their players, Camarasa in particular, ideal candidates for bench fodder over the rotation heavy Christmas period and into the new year.

Also for anyone who followed Suj’s recommendation and brought in West Ham’s Balbuena then a Burnley defender might complement that acquisition well. A Burnley West Ham rotation gives you 16 games against the current bottom 7 out of the next 19 gameweeks with the only exceptions being 2 games against Watford and 1 against Wolves.

With the top 5 having scored 117 goals against the rest of the league so far this season at an average of 2.5 goals per game and failing to score in just 2 games (both Chelsea) maybe it’s time to consider a goalkeeping change as a legitimate use of a free transfer, however uninspiring it may feel