Thought I’d make an entry on this as every year the Fantasy Premier League is a bane and pain for millions of sufferers. Unless you’re one of the few fortunates who just happen to pick the striker in form consistently enough or have an unquestionable hunch for the right captain.
As I write, I am listening to the BBC 606 Fantasy Podcast and they’re discussing, among other things, the Aguero conundrum. Having scored a couple of goals in the Champions League, what will happen on Saturday – will he start or be on the bench again? They toss a coin in the studio and it’s heads for Aguero and tails for Jesus. It’s a tails but it’s very much wait and see.
The Manchester City rotation is a huge issue for FPL fans in any case. De Bruyne and/or Sterling are often rested along with Aguero and even David and Bernardo Silva seem to take it in turns. A few managers dodge the bullet by not having any of these City players and turn their attentions elsewhere to more guaranteed starters, which after all, is what you need.
One of the first things to consider once the season has begun is when to use the first wildcard. Every year I use it by week three, usually because I’m already playing catch-up and it’s easy to do but really you should keep faith for a whole lot longer because you can guarantee that the players you change will start producing once you’ve binned them!
Of the chips, I have at least learnt never to use the free hit until there is a possibility of a double game week later on – it’s usually towards the end of the season. You can also keep your January wildcard for that purpose and another trick is to play your triple captain chip during a double game week. I did it last season with Harry Kane though and he was ill the first game and did nothing when he played the second – so it doesn’t always work!
This season has seen some low-scoring gameweeks. Take last weekend, 34 points is something you would usually shudder at but actually the week average was 37 and it didn’t put you further behind at all because all the major captaincy picks flunked.
Let’s look at my current team and see what surgery may be needed.
Depending on what kind of illness TA-A has, he could be recuperated by 4.30pm Sunday but Lundstram over Maguire as the replacement might be a decent call. Sheffield United’s defence looked very organised against Arsenal and West Ham may not find it a walk in the park breaking them down. Harry Maguire has mustered just below two points per game on average and missed a couple of very good chances to score with headers, chances you feel that would have been put away if he was still at Leicester!
Defence-wise I had chosen Trent and Virgil from the off and while LFC haven’t been as mean in defence as they usually are, these two are not players I would ever consider changing. Luca Digne was an addition but mainly due to the teams above me having him. Note it is always worth tracking your nearest rivals transfer movements. To that end, and to compare my own team, here’s the team that’s top of the main league I am in.
Notice they left KdB on the bench but he had had that injury so nobody was quite sure if he would start at Selhurst. Like me, they captained Abraham and with Kane not firing much AND with me being just seventy-odd points worse off as we enter the second quarter, it really isn’t panic stations yet.
Mo Salah is back from a brief injury now but Mane for Salah has been a very popular switch of late. With Mane, KdB, Bernardo and Mount, you’d think that’s a strong enough midfield for the long haul.
And with the strikers, I’ve continued to employ the budget price brigade, keeping faith with Pukki for the moment and Maupay could yet be a shrewd pick for third choice forward.
Gameweek ten begins tonight with Southampton v Leicester but before I go, one last tip. On transfers, if you can, save them up. If you don’t make one then the following week you will be able to make two changes. Okay, sometimes you will be at the point where there’s no-one you’re that interested in but it’s still a luxury; put to good use you may well benefit from getting rid of someone who just sin’t doing it. Bear in mind however that once you ditch them, they;ll score or keep a clean sheet next gameweek – it’s the Fantasy Premier League way of things.
Gameweek 14 and 15
Tammy has picked up a hip injury in the Valencia game and is rated 50/50 so while leaving him in the team, I went and replaced Digne with Tomori who will be first sub.
This frees up £1m for other areas and with a round of midweek matches incoming, the goalkeeping situation needs addressing. I’d be happy to leave Pope in against Manchester City at Turf Moor but may look at replacing Ryan with Brighton playing at Arsenal.
The contenders would be Henderson (Sheffield United home to Newcastle United) and Guaita (Crystal Palace home to Bournemouth).
This week’s captain pick by most I feel will be Vardy with Leicester hosting an hapless and enigmatic Everton but I’ll probably make another captaincy faux pas in sticking with Sadio.
My hunch is that Liverpool haven’t pasted anyone of late and they are due to hand one out to someone. Of course having two Liverpool defenders playing is a concern as they struggle to keep clean sheets these days.
Replacing van Dijk may well be an option, bringing in an Ake or Tarkowski perhaps, while Moutinho might reap finer rewards than Rodrigo.
Currently we are 15th in the A/V Forums league and probably over a hundred points behind the leading team.
Finished sixth last season and tenth in 2017/18 and while my team looks decent enough on paper, I have suffered as usual in two on going problem areas, captaincy and players on the bench performing a lot better than I considered.
Fantasy Premier League is so rich in hindsight; you always see the errors in your ways after the horse has bolted!