If you’re a seasoned FI professional trader, this may be a question that you think you know the answer to. If not, it might be something that you haven’t given too much thought to.
Regardless of whether you think you know or not, this blog will take you through what makes a good PB player and, most importantly, how to use this knowledge to make more money.
Performance Buzz or PB is the bread and butter of a good player on FI. Players who don’t return good PB scores will be drastically limited in terms of their dividend returns, and their value will often reflect this.
Unfortunately, being a good footballer, doesn’t always translate to good PB scores. Players like this include Casemiro (ranked 469), Koke (ranked 597) and N’golo Kante (ranked 625). These players are often described as being “not suited to the Matrix” and you can learn just as much about PB from these types of players, as you can from those who kill it week in and week out.
Who are the best PB players?
To understand what makes a good PB player, we need to look at the best PB players. The screenshot below shows the players with the highest average PB.
Just looking down the list, any similarities between players might not be blindingly obvious, so lets break this down
More goals = Better PB?
You may have noticed the lack of pure goalscorers on this list (apart from Ronaldo and Lewandowski, who we’ll talk about later) and this may be a bit confusing as goals and game winning goals are 2 of the highest scoring single actions. Surely players who score more goals, will get more points right?
Well, goals do definitely get you points, and the highest PB scores will definitely involve goals, but as this graph will show you, there’s something extra that certain goalscorers (Messi, Ronaldo and Lewandowski) are doing which seperates them from the pack in terms of PB.
So, we need to look beyond goals and see what links all the players in the first picture. When you look beyond the goals, you look at players for their baseline PB, which is a much better predictor of a player’s potential to earn long term dividends. A good baseline means they still have a good chance of winning PB even without a goal.
Player baseline score is also easier to predict – goals have a much bigger element of luck to it, whereas the baseline is more reliable as it’s what the player does across the 90 minutes.
So what makes a good baseline?
So, we’ve got to the real question. What makes a good baseline PB score.
Well, for a player to have a good baseline score, they need to consistently perform well over the 90 minutes. It’s also about what they do, not just how well they do it. The scoring matrix for PB rewards actions that directly influence the game, like passing and shooting, rather than indirect action, such as off the ball runs, no matter how good they are.
In fact, if you look at these graphs which show the players with the highest number of passes/game and key passes/game, you can see immediately that a lot of them have a very high baseline.
So, is that it then? You just need to find a player who passes the ball about a lot and you can just sit back and watch the dividends fly in? Sweet!
Well, not quite.
Players who are just involved in the passing aspect of the game will earn a decent PB score on a consistent basis, but most of the time, decent won’t win you dividends. You need bigger numbers.
And as you might be able to guess, the best PB players do a lot more than passing. These players often combine high passing output with high outputs in other aspects of the game. For players Messi and Neymar, this is often dribbles and shots (as well as end product), but for other players it may be tackles, interceptions, crosses or a combination of all these aspects of the game.
This is why being the primary set peice taker is important, as it’s a great opportunity to get some points with accurate crosses and shots on target etc.
Players like Ronaldo and Lewandowski are outliers to this as they are generally not involved in the passing game as much as other players who have high PB scores, but they instead combine their high goal scoring tally with a ridiculously high volume of shots.
Team Playing style
A general rule for high PB players is that they are a primary creator or attacking target in a dominant high possession team who produce a high volume of quality chances.
If a player is a primary creator, he’s going to be given the ball more often than his other teammates. If Manchester City are looking to find a way to break down a defensive team, players will look to get the ball to Kevin De Bruyne more often as they know that he’s most likely to break down the defense.
Team playing style is an important factor to consider too. The reason Trent-Alexander Arnold gets such high scores is not just because of his quality on the ball, it’s because of Liverpool’s style of play – they like to get the wingbacks on the ball as often as possible to whip in crosses.
Bayern Munich is an interesting example as well, with Kimmich, Alaba and Thiago all putting up very high numbers on a consistent basis. Their possession based, high pressing and direct style of play allows their players to be constantly involved in PB scoring actions.
Finally, players who are older and more experienced are more likely to be getting higher scores. Most often, this is because their teammates will trust them more and be willing to pass to them. It’s not always an indicator of player quality, but mental bias in their teammates as they view their long term teammates more reliable than a youngster on his second start. So don’t be put off if a youngster doesn’t immediately start putting up 200+ scores.
Getting ahead of the curve
If you stopped reading at this point, you might not make a whole lot of money from this post. The players who already do this, are the players already earning divs on a regular basis, and are already valued highly.
To make serious money on any trading platform, you need to remember the golden rule: Buy low, sell high.
So, the real value from this blog will come from your ability to use the information to predict which players are not already doing this, but have a chance of doing so in the future. Obviously, no one will be able to predict the future with 100% accuracy, but there are a few things to think about which can help you to do so.
Firstly, is the player’s style. If he’s a creative player who’s constantly getting the ball and making things happen for his team, then there’s a good chance of him becoming a PB machine as he develops into a better player.
Conversely, if he’s more of a screening type of player who often shys away from creative responsibility e.g. Kante then his chances of winning PB are slim. This is important for CBs as well. Those who are comfortable with the ball at their feet and are trusted to play it out are more likely to rack up higher scores compared to others who prefer to play it safe and kick it long.
When a player transfers to a different team, their ability to win PB changes, and you need to be able to predict this. Firstly, the teams playing style needs to match his personal style – a world class creative mid may struggle to consistently hit high numbers if his new team tend to bypass the midfield or play through the wings, but if they are heavily reliant on the midfield, you could be looking at a lot of money if traded right.
When teams lose a high PB player either through injury or transfer, it’s often a great time for someone else to step up. Teams may buy a direct replacement, or it might be the perfect opportunity for a backup to showcase his skills. It’s up to you to think about whether the replacement is good enough.
You should also assess competition in the team. Kylian Mbappe is a world class young player, but his dividend potential is massively limited by having Neymar on his team. Not only is Neymar’s high scores reducing Mbappe’s chances of winning star man/top FWD, but Neymar is more of a creative player compared to Mbappe, so it reduces the amount of influence that Mbappe has on the ball – thereby reducing his PB score.
It’s pretty similar to Romelu Lukaku and Ciro Immobile who are both world class strikers but their PB potential is limited as they often play with a strike partner. This means they’ll get less individual chances, compared to Ronaldo and Lewandowski who play in teams as the sole striker.
The best traders will be able to use this information and combine it with their thorough research. For example, if someone has been watching a lot of a certain team and noticed that they start to play out from the back a lot more, buying shares in their ball playing CB would be a good punt that would put them ahead of the curve.
Another example would be a teams primary PB threat being taken off set peice duty, you’d start to look at his replacements PB scores.
Of course, even with all of this information, you’re not always going to be able to predict with 100% certainty who the next Joshua Kimmich or Lionel Messi is going to be, but if you can see that a player is undervalued relative to their PB potential before the public can, you’ll be in for a lot of money!
So, with that in mind, I hope you enjoyed this first blog, it may not be the best quality piece of writing, and some of it may be obvious, but the aim with this platform is more so writing discoveries to myself, and if some of you find value in this, great.
Happy trading. DJ