Are you basking in the sunshine and rarefied air at the top of your mini league? Daily trolling the office buddies for doubting your greatness? If the answer is no…then the Surgeons are here to help as always. There are some lessons to be absorbed now that the season’s bruises are freshest for some managers. For others, it always helps to advance your thinking to cement continued superiority.
Football is a harsh mistress. Results at times don’t follow form and form doesn’t always lead to results hence leaving FPL players with the central question week to week:
How do I know the players I need for my squad?
So behold below the Soccer Surgery FPL 100% guaranteed pillars of success (or your money back):
- Money matters in real football so it matters in fantasy football – Some managers fail to appreciate this concept but in late April, when you need to punch your second wildcard, you will be at a bitter disadvantage not having accumulated profits throughout the season. In this vein there are two tactical considerations to nail from week 1 of the campaign: (1) seek out quality players at exceptional value early when affordable( e.g Lukaku) and (2) if a suitable replacement presents itself for a player losing value sell immediately. In combination these concepts will soar your team value but how do you become one of the top managers in identifying “quality FPL players”?
- Quality players in real life football will be quality players in fantasy football – This would seem like commonsense but examining rivals you can see the pitfall many make in picking up players for a myriad of reasons. Don’t fall into the “train hopping” tactic of picking up players for the sole reason they scored last week. Quality players will score more consistently simply by virtue of being better players. It’s about trust and more importantly consistency.
- A strong attack beats a strong defense 95% of the time – Managers make the mistake of selling off quality attackers when a run of 4 or 5 tough fixtures arrive. Never do that! A player might not score a hat trick but a goal or assist will still come along and will be enough to keep you competitive until soft fixtures return. Worse yet, a premature sale will cause you to repurchase later at a higher price of course.
- Save your rotation for the defense – Defenders don’t appreciate in value like attackers so you can get away with repurchasing later but more importantly you can exploit defensively sound midtable teams(e.g West Brom) with great fixtures over the short term to enable quality purchases from big consistent teams in your attack.
- Quality players can only operate in quality systems – In short, a player’s ability to produce is limited by the quality of players around him. As an example, Alvaro Negredo is a striker of reasonable pedigree but with a relegation bound midfield providing service his returns expectedly wobbled all season. You should try to stuff players from the best teams(top 6) into your squad and if provided options of similar value it is a no brainer to select those who can benefit from the quality around them on the field.
- Only players on the field can score points – a basic idea you would be surprised lets down many. There will always be that tempting player who does well for a week or two but either (a) doesn’t have his spot nailed down in the squad(Mirallas) or (b) has a lengthy injury history(Koscieny). AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE. The moment the player does not perform, club managers (with their short term survival thinking) will rotate leaving you scrambling for a replacement. The injury prone player never turns around accumulated injury problems and exits as soon as they return offsetting your best laid plans. There is a caveat here though which brings us to the next point.
- Understand how the needs of your squad vary over the season– As a default you need players to provide as large returns as possible for as long as possible but what if you are “wildcarding” your team in 4 weeks. In that case, you should laser focus your team’s transfers on the players who are likely to perform over that shorter timeframe – regardless of whether they pose a longer term rotation risk. A great example from this season was Heug Ming Son‘s rampant 5 goal patch from gameweek 30 to 33.
- Points “Hits” are for dicks! – “Hits” or transfer points deductions are the symptom of a failure to follow most of the other pillars mentioned here and increase your deficit against your rivals. As a rationale they rarely work because the player coming in already has to score 4 points for the hit to be viable..no pressure. There are some isolated cases though where the hit may be useful depending on your league position and league “posture”. Special mention also for the odd circumstance where you cannot field 11 players.
- Understand the posture you need based on your place in the table – Imagine this scenario. You’re 2nd in your table going into the last 4 weeks. Do you play it safe and captain the obvious player. Not nearly fantasy legend! One never profits without risk. On the other hand if leading you may want to make consensus transfers or take hits to bring in players from which you perceive your rival will obviously profit.
- Lastly, and most importantly know your football. If you don’t appreciate the finer points of the game – tactical shifts, player preferences, competition schedule implications you will have no hope of staying ahead of the clueless pack. If the manager announces in his press conference a shift to a 3-5-2 you have to be able to understand who will suffer and who will profit so you can capitalize accordingly.
There is our reasonably exhaustive book of rules that will launch you to legendary status as a FPL manager(though we kept back a few secrets). Reflect on them over the summer break as it relates to your choices this season then kill and eat them all next season.