The man, the myth, the expert, the 2015/16 season Gaffer Tapes League Champion Calvin Chan gives us his second instalment of tips to help us all become a little bit better at Fantasy Football...
1) Be Disciplined, Hindsight is 20/20 bonus points. Weeks come and go where there’s another Stanislas, Shaqiri, or Stekelenburg, coupled with Aguero drawing a blank or Benteke missing a penalty. Almost immediately, the Twitter bandwagon goes into effect with FPL managers all over the globe asking if XYZ 5.5 midfielder is suddenly relevant. Avoid these pitfalls and focus on fielding your best squad with a multiple week outlook. Do not live in the regret of playing Cech against Swansea instead of Stekelenburg against City even though the latter significantly outperformed. Good decisions materialize (and normalize) over 38 gameweeks. Look to see if production is sustainable. Do not bring in a West Ham defender because they’ve collected two consecutive clean sheets with a fixture schedule of STK (H), TOT (A), MUN (A), ARS (H), LIV (A) coming up. If Antonio was used as a striker for 3 games but is getting relegated to right-back, the chances are his production will decrease. Look forward and don’t be a lemming.
2) Plan, Plan, Plan. At the risk of stating the obvious, 90% of FPL is careful planning and making decisions which suit your team for both the upcoming weekend as well as subsequent weeks. Know the fixtures for your starting 11 for the next 3-5 games with possible replacement options should injuries, suspensions, ear-biting, and/or other forced disruptions occur. For the next 5-6 fixtures, Liverpool, Leicester, Man City, and even (dare I say it) Hull have some sexy match ups. Focus on getting players in on teams which will bang in as many goals as possible. Even if you don’t get the highest scoring players right, having access to high scoring teams generally sets the stage for peripheral involvement (i.e. an assist or two).
3) Injuries are not worth £0.1. With increasing midweek duties from various competitions, injuries are likely to come and go. It becomes much more important to save transfers late to ensure that the dreaded ‘Knock – 75% chance of playing’ is avoided. Hold transfers to late Friday evening if possible even if it means losing the price rises. Making decisions late in the week will ensure that you play a team with as much information as possible into Saturday while maximizing your chances of a full squad. Experienced players already know but: Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery on Twitter) is generally seen as the authority on injury news.
4) Adapt as the game changes. Teams change constantly and it is important to stay in front of changes in the dressing room. With Kane sidelined for weeks, who naturally slots into that forward role? Will Klopp continue to use Firmino in the false 9 position? Does Alexis’ production decrease with Giroud on the field? Does Kevin De Bruyne score more points when Aguero isn’t present? Why does Shane Long suck? When will Andre Ayew return to fitness? These are all the type of questions to keep in mind as the season grinds on. I still think it pays off most to pick attacking midfield players and lone strikers as opposed to wingers/defensive midfielders. Find out which players spend the most time in the opponents box and work backwards to fill your team.
5) Know your boogeyman. The boogeyman is hard to avoid but should always be kept in mind. What is the boogeyman? Aguero playing an international match during the week and starts on the bench versus a bottom-half team. Liverpool has a double-game week and Jurgen Klopp decides to make 9 changes to give young players a chance (aka Klopp-gate 2015). Three players on your team are all on 4 yellow cards a piece. Arsene Wenger decides to start Lucas Perez instead of Alexis or Giroud because he’s gearing up for his second career as an ASOS model and no longer cares. Mourinho benches Ibra in favor of a more nimble Rashford-Martial-Lingard front three because the wheels have come off at United. If at any time you are worried, give the armband to the safest option.
Godspeed and best of luck with the rest of the season. You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/calvinjchan. Every Thursday I provide my top 3 picks for captain over at www.facebook.com/TheFantasyPL. I try not to suck but no guarantees.