Fantasy Premier League Review – Which common mistakes were we guilty of committing during the course of the 2016/17 FPL season?
With our debut FPL campaign behind us, it is time to reflect on our overall performance. We have highlighted some of the common mistakes we’ve made in the hope of avoiding them next season.
An overall finish inside the top 23,000 managers was a respectable first effort but it could have been a lot better and we certainly feel that the experience makes us much better equipped to handle certain situations next time around. So, let’s have a look at some of the common mistakes FPL managers make and assess whether we were guilty of falling into those traps.
(1) The differential FPL captain … Not Guilty
If you frequent message boards or forums, you will often hear members discussing speculative captaincy choices they may have undertaken. This is a definite no-no unless you are running out of fixtures and looking to make up ground in your mini-league and it’s something we can safely say that we avoided, throughout the majority of the season.
Fortunately for us, we are ‘armed’ with our ‘Armband’ ratings which indicate the contribution expectancy of the leading candidates in terms of goals and assists on a weekly basis. Focusing on this core group of players takes much of the guesswork away
Of course, no-one gets it right every week but if anything cost us at all, it was one or two marginal calls, where we chose one prospect over another.
(2) The knee-jerk reaction … Guilty
We certainly fell into this trap on a couple of occasions throughout the course of the season, so let’s talk you through them.
İlkay Gündoğan burst onto the Fantasy Premier League scene after finally making his Premier League debut for Manchester City in October 2016. A budget valuation and 4 goals and an assist from his first 2 appearances for the Citizens, which included 2 goals against Barcelona in the Champions League, certainly had FPL managers clamoring to include him and we were one of them!
However, hindsight is a wonderful thing – Pep Guardiola was rotating heavily at the time, so there really was no guarantee of exactly how much playing time Gündoğan would actually get. Following the crowd can be a dangerous tactic and this was certainly a case where jumping on the bandwagon didn’t pay-off.
To make matters worse, the German international was to go on and pick up a serious injury in December, ruling him out for the remainder of the campaign!
However, our biggest regret of the season was our over-reaction to an injury that Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez sustained while on international duty with the Chilean national side.
We hastily transferred him out before news broke that the injury wasn’t as bad as first feared. He went on to feature in every single game for the Gunners but he never returned to our squad. His hat-trick at the London Stadium in December was a bitter pill to swallow and it meant that we were playing catch-up for the remainder of the season.
(3) Poor time management … Not Guilty
Plenty of Fantasy Premier League managers will give up during the course of a season but this is something we were not guilty of. With over 4.5 million entries in the Official FPL game, it’s estimated that around 50% give up at some stage of the season, so, if you cannot manage your time effectively then daily fantasy football might be a better option for you.
The season is an endurance test and there will be occasions when work and family commitments get in the way – you need to manage these gameweeks carefully.
Our final overall ranking was the highest we had been placed since GW13, suggesting that at no point did we throw in the towel but that decision to remove Sánchez, after being inside the top 5,000 managers in GW11, certainly had catastrophic consequences.
(4) Lack of planning … Not Guilty
If you’re familiar with our goal projections, you will know that we have the ability to gauge how difficult upcoming fixtures are for each side.
Getting the maximum return from your FPL chips in those double gameweeks that occur towards the end of the season is critical if you are to have any chance of being successful. Weighing up all the possible connotations becomes even more important and we feel we planned this well, something that was highlighted by our strong finish to the season.
(5) Having team loyalties … Not Guilty
Successful bettors never let their heart rule their head and you would expect this old adage to apply to fantasy football selection as well. However, the 2016/17 champion Ben Crabtree, a staunch Evertonian, proved that this is not always the case. According to the BBC, he didn’t select one Liverpool player in a single gameweek but still emerged as the victorious manager!
However, it could be argued that this was a bit of a one-off, so picking players on merit rather than because of who they play for is something we feel we managed to achieve throughout the course of the season.
(6) Taking too many hits … Guilty
Evidence would suggest that the top performing managers seem to keep the number of ‘hits’ they take to the minimum. We certainly made far too many transfers in the early part of the season and will not want to be found guilty of committing the same offence next time around.
It’s imperative that you have faith in your team and that includes your bench players. Take a player like Dele Alli, for example. Returns of just 2 points,1 point and 1 point in the first 3 gameweeks would have tempted many to discard him but those that stuck with him were handsomely rewarded.
(7) A lack of focus on playing time … Not Guilty
In any form of fantasy football you need to keep that scoreboard ticking over by selecting as many players as possible that are ‘nailed-on’ starters. It’s worth remembering that there is a strong correlation between game minutes and bonus points as well so the last thing you want to be doing is picking uncertain starters.
We feel we handled this aspect fairly well, although the aforementioned Guardiola did catch us out once or twice in the early part of the season. Club managers that are new to the Premier League can present their own unique challenge so it’s important to identify their ‘favourites’ as early as possible, especially those that are likely to complete 90 minutes on a regular basis.
WhoScored are a great resource for this. Not only do they provide team news with projected line-ups but they also show the most-used formations for each side, as well as the number of game minutes every player has under his belt.
Our attention now switches to August which can’t come soon enough – make sure you follow our progress during the 2017/18 Fantasy Premier League season – we’re expecting to fare much better this time around!