Calvin Chan is THE MAN.
It rhymes, it should definitely be his catchphrase and most of all: it's TRUE.
He won The Gaffer Tapes: Fantasy Football Podcast mini-League last year - as well as countless other mini-leagues, as he came 61st in the WORLD - and, as well as being an exceptional Fantasy Football player, he's also a listener to the world's biggest Fantasy Premier League Podcast... 'course he bloody is, the lad.
We were going to read the email out on the podcast, but we decided that it needed to receive the attention that it deserves... plus, the people who only listen to the pod for nob-gags, goblins, big cats, sausage fascism and Dom Monaghan's weekly sing-song, wouldn't appreciate it.
So, here it is. If you want to win at Fantasy Football then read, enjoy and submurge youself in Calvin's expert tips... if you just want nob-gags, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Love the pod, keep up the good banter. Couple of tips from me. This is by no means a complete guide but 5 things I tend to consider.
1) Fixtures over form. I usually look at fixtures first and check to see which teams have favorable match-ups. This is a difficult pill to swallow for most people given most everyone is obsessed with form. Looking to GW 6-11, I'd be eyeing Watford, Arsenal, Liverpool, Bournemouth, and West Ham. The main reason I strongly believe in fixtures over form is, it pays to have guys on teams where the over/under on the number of goals are the highest. If you have a Diego Costa or Alexis Sanchez in a nice run of games, chances are they will get involved. If Liverpool is expected to play a team where the expected number of goals scored is 4 or above, there will be points allocated. Even if your guys don't get max bonus points (since its spread around many players), it is still worth it to look at match-ups with goals galore potential. Spurs/Liverpool last weekend were key examples of how this could pay off (Alli, Firmino, Eriksen, Kane, all picking up points)
2) Focus on positioning and shots on goal as better measures of performance than form. Form should be an output rather than an input. Try and find players who play in attacking midfield positions rather than on the wings or in defensive mid positions. Players who are in attacking midfield spots see the highest involvement in assists, shots per game, and goal potential. I like to take a look at heat maps on whoscored.com and statistics around shots per game.
3) Optimal Formations. I usually play 3-4-3 and find that many strong FPL players opt for the same. For goalkeepers, I see them as a cheap way of accessing clean sheets for strong defensive teams. For example Cech is a cheaper alternative to Arsenal defense than buying Bellerin. I usually go with a premium goalkeeper and try and find a favorable rotational handcuff. For example, with Cech, I trying to look at Arsenal's fixture schedule to find when they play tough teams. If say, Watford have general easy fixtures when ARS faces difficult teams, I pickup Gomez as a backup. For defenders, winning a clean sheet is the priority, then I usually look for wingers who get up field. If Souare (hopefully he's ok from his car accident) is cheaper than Dann but offers similar Palace exposure, I'd look into that. For Midfielders, I already mentioned focusing your attention on attacking mids. And then finally on Forwards, I prefer guys who play on teams with a lone striker. Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton and Spurs last year. 4-5-1 tends to be the most supportive formation for strikers.
4) Value [warning: nerdy shit]. When it comes to deciding between two players, I usually think of it as the "Expected Value of points multiplied by an ownership factor". For the real maths nerds this is: EV = probability of scoringx expected points x (1-ownership percentage)
Say for example you are evaluating Lukaku vs Gray scoring a goal each for a particular game week.
Lukaku: 6 (points from a goal and playing time) x 50% (chance of scoring) x (1-30%) which is his ownership % = 2.1
Gray: 6 (points from a goal) x 30% (chance of scoring) x (1-10%) which is his ownership % = 1.6
In this scenario (2.1 is greater than 1.6), you'd take Lukaku. If however Lukaku were 50% owned then you'd have:
Lukaku: 6 (points from a goal) x 50% (chance of scoring) x (1-50%) which is his ownership % = 1.5
In this case Gray's 1.6 is > than Lukaku's 1.5. The ownership hurts Lukaku. Yeah, I'm batshit crazy and most ppl don't do this much work for FPL. Where do you get probabilities? You can either use bookies or historical #s to infer your own.
5) Thinking about Crisps and Chips. I use them late because of the potential for double game weeks. It is usually worth it to take a hit to bring in a player who plays twice (esp for bench boost). For triple captain, I have a preference for midfielders given they get the extra point from clean sheets and scoring a goal. In a Sanchez vs. Aguero scenario, any clean sheet from Arsenal is worth an extra 3 points (could be 6 if they keep cleans both weeks). I prefer to have a little more diversification in the ways players score. Most people think All Out Attack is useless but it's actually a helpful chip when double game weeks and blank game weeks roll around. The chip is useful for giving managers optionality when blank weeks show up and you need flexibility in your formation.
That's all from me. Transfer late, drink heavily. Take risks, make mistakes. Chat shit, get banged. F Wenger and good luck with the rest of the season.
Thanks to Calvin.
You can follow him on twitter @calvinjchan
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