We're delighted to welcome Dan Bright to our blog team at insideFPL. Dan finished in 1484th position in last season's Fantasy Premier League and will soon be kicking off our series of articles on the pre-season friendy matches. First up though, we asked him to share his top takeaways from his winning season. Over to Dan...
1. Sort your team each gameweek
Fantasy football is a fast moving game that you need to keep on top of if you don’t want to get left behind. Sort your team before the deadline of every gameweek making sure you take fixtures and form into account. Don’t get caught out by the mid-week deadlines or by going away for a weekend.
2. Don’t gamble on untried players
At the beginning of the season it’s always tempting to go for the big names that are untried in the Premier League. They come in with big price tags, good goal-scoring records and a lot of expectation but often struggle to begin with. Soldado was my failed gamble at the beginning of last season and it took several weeks to ship him out of the team once we realised how awful he was.
3. Jump on the right bandwagons
There will always be 2-3 players that will be must-haves by GW5 – make sure you get them in before their price rockets and they aren’t worth the money. Yaya and Ramsey are last year’s most obvious examples, but that’s because they were fixture-proof so they scored big points regardless of the opposition. Beware of jumping on those bandwagons that come unstuck with a tough run of fixtures.
4. Plan transfers
Always think at least two and ideally up to six weeks ahead when planning transfers. Saving free transfers for the next week so you can make two at a time and avoid a points-hit is wise but requires careful planning, a look at the fixture list and some good luck! With that – only take points hits if you’re sure it’ll be worth it. 4 points might not seem like a lot but it is a goal from your star striker.
5. Don’t make transfers too early
Some will disagree with this one but it’s a principle I followed all season. Players train all week and are susceptible to picking up injuries, and many big-hitters play intense mid-week Champions League fixtures. Don’t make your transfers at the beginning of the week just to save a little bit of cash as it will cost you big if they pick up an injury mid-week!
6. Points are worth more than Value
Having the most valuable team doesn’t always mean having the most points – and its points that really matter! Taking Ramsey out last year was a big dilemma for many people as he’d risen in price so much that once he came out he was too expensive to put back in - especially if you’d got him in early. However, it’s important to remember that players can’t earn points if they’re not playing, always go for points over value.
7. Look at fitness and not just injury status
Club managers really love playing mind games with us fantasy football lovers. They use language that gives us hope, but not certainty. When Pellegrini declares Aguero as ‘available’ that doesn’t mean he’ll start. Or Moyes tells us that Rooney has been ‘declared fit’, it doesn’t mean he’ll make it through the full 90 minutes. Most of the time you’ll only get the best from a player if they are fully match fit so don’t gamble your budget on bringing in a big player returning from a series of injuries.
8. Use your wildcards wisely
Don’t rush into using your wildcard too early. Unless you made some serious errors in judgement with your pre-season selection you won’t need more than a few weeks to bring in those playing well whilst getting rid of the dead wood. So hold out on the wildcard until you really need it, and that includes the January one! You’ll have an advantage over your rivals if you wait until the end of the window before using it, especially with the inevitable fixture backlog.
9. Look out for players being played out of position
Players being played out of position always hold great potential, as long as they are playing further up the field than they are listed. Teams that play with wing backs are ones to look out for (we all know about Coleman and Baines!) as are those who play just one striker supported by attacking wingers (Walcott, Mirallas etc). It’s all about finding attacking returns from players who will either pick up more points from scoring or also get clean sheets.
10. Enjoy it!
Remember – it’s only a game. When I saw red arrows last year because Ryan Giggs had gone with the youngsters who weren’t even in the game I got a little fed up but there’s no point in playing if you aren’t going to enjoy it so keep it light-hearted and deal with the fact that sometimes it just doesn’t go your way! You’ll miss it in the summer!