After being invited to write a guest article for Sportito this week I knew exactly what my preferred subject would be, Me! I’d like to share with everyone my strategy of how I’m going to approach the next few weeks with my personal team and beyond including negotiating the blanks and double Gameweeks.
For those that may not know me, I’ve played FPL since it’s inception and other Fantasy games before that. I’ve had varying degrees of success over the years but never managed the top 1k finish I crave. You can find me on Twitter @FPLCoach.
Daily Fantasy Football is a lot more dynamic competition than the full-season one, and that’s why establishing a solid strategy and stick to it with discipline is important. Here are ten DFF strategies on what the player should and shouldn’t do.
1. Setting up the lineup
Although you can set the lineup early, it is the best to carefully follow all the news regarding a particular player as the match approaches. The things change quickly in the world of football, and unexpected injury news can always potentially alter your initial best eleven. Also, the coaches may decide to make a last-minute change, but the announced lineups should be available some 30-60 minutes prior to the start.
2. Selecting the right players
In a salary cap free Daily Fantasy Football, the managers don’t have to worry about money, and they can choose whichever player they think is the most suitable at the given moment. While selecting the biggest stars from a league or team is surely the attractive option, you should always expect some lower-rated players to explode.
3. The best formation
When it comes to DFF of this type, where managers don’t have to think about player’s market value, the offensive formation is an entirely appealing option. You can choose top forwards and midfielders in the league, and with the wisely picked goalkeeper and three guys in the defence, a 3-4-3 formation looks like the winning combination.
4. Follow the match-ups
Probably the most important strategy when selecting your lineup is to be aware of the match-ups, both individual and head-to-head ones. Even the superstars can have a bad day at the office, and your researching skills should help you in finding their weak spots. If the player is traditionally unproductive against certain teams and players, the best advice is to avoid him for the day. On the other hand, those with prolific records versus some opponents must find the place in your lineup.
5. Ups and downs
It is likely that even the players of the highest caliber experience rough periods throughout the season, and that’s why is vital to keep track of the recent form. If the player is on a cold streak, you should choose another option despite his coach’s persistence of keeping him in the lineup.
6. Be a contrarian
The afore-explained strategy is rather reasonable, but sometimes, when the skillful Daily Fantasy Football manager has a positive feeling about a player, he should follow the instinct and make the unusual decision. It could be a real hit if the player suddenly turns the things around and collect valuable points when nobody (or smaller amount of managers) expects him to do so.
7. Stand out from the crowd
The most of the managers will select the players with excellent performances in the previous few matches. However, when the majority picks the obvious ones, you can think a bit differently and give it a try with selecting those who are under the radar. After all, there is at least one potential hidden gem in every team, and your job is to find it and include into your lineup.
8. Attacking-minded lineup
If you opt for a 3-4-3 formation, the forwards and midfielders will present the backbone of your team. Therefore, choosing the most-efficient individuals is required. Although it’s a no brainer, three of the league’s top-scoring forwards and four creative and attacking-minded midfielders must be selected. Look for the highest-scoring teams, and you can easily find two or three players who will continually provide much-needed points.
9. Don’t neglect the defense
The solid defense is the spine of every successful team, and despite the fact that forwards and midfielders usually bring more points, there are always defenders with great attacking abilities, who can record a goal or assist now or then. Also, make sure that their respective teams are not allowing plenty of goals, and if they have a top quality goalkeeper, you can be assured that the points will come. Still, be aware of those who are regularly being booked as you don’t want to lose any points and reduce the chance of winning.
10. Start slowly
If you are the beginner in playing Daily Fantasy Football, it is recommended to start with free roll or low-stake types of contests, at least before getting some experience. Remember that the competitions with higher stakes are usually full with professionals and you don’t stand a chance against those guys. Lose your ego and stick it with large pool, guaranteed tournaments, which offer biggest payouts and always look for free ones to earn some money with zero risks.
How FPL Coach applied his strategy in Premier League 2018/19
To provide some context now the basis of this article started last week before Gameweek 28 as that is when we had almost all the information as to which games were to be postponed and which games were going ahead in Gameweek 31. At this point I had one free transfer.
As I write this, five matches are currently scheduled for Gameweek 31 but with Spurs due a replay with Rochdale on Wednesday night at Wembley. In the likely event that Spurs go through in the cup then we will only have eight teams to select from in Gameweek 31.
A look through my team showed that prior to Gameweek 28 I would have had 6 players who, if fit, would be available to play in Gameweek 31. This number appeared to be pretty low.
Players I have available for Gameweek 31:
Robertson, Salah, Choupo-Moting, Firmino, Wilson, Milivojevic.
Other players I want to keep in my team:
De Gea, Alonso, Jones, Sterling, Kane.
Players on my out list to cover for blanks:
Willian, Coleman (Hud backup GK), Dummett, Goldson (BRI).
A look at the fixtures in Gameweek 31 though does not inspire a great deal of confidence.
Bournemouth v West Brom
Huddersfield – Crystal Palace
Stoke v Everton
Liverpool v Watford
The obvious pick from these matches is Liverpool vs Watford for the late kick off on Saturday night. I already own three Liverpool players in my team so as far as I’m concerned there are no further actions to take here. It also provides me with one of my easiest captain picks of the season in Mo Salah. He could be one of the highest ever captained players this week.
I would advise anyone to max out on Liverpool assets for the next few weeks as they’re scoring goals for fun.
With Firmino and Wilson both playing and no intention of transferring out Kane then this takes away any opportunity of making any changes to my forward line before Gameweek 31. This makes things slightly easier as it rules out the likes of Mounie, Rondon, Rodriguez, Benteke, Sorloth, Diouf, Rooney, Niasse and Deeney to name a few. Any transfers that I make would be from a position other than forwards.
After Liverpool I don’t think there is any other obvious team that stands out in this Gameweek as a team that on paper should collect an easy three points. For this reason, there is not a single player that currently I feel that I desperately need to get into my team so have no intention of taking a hit to bring in a blank player.
This leaves me with four free transfers between Gameweeks 28-31 which could take me up to 10 players in my team. I am also aware that with no Wildcard then I’d have to find a way to move these players on after Gameweek 31 which may involve unnecessary hits.
So, going back to my options with interest in Liverpool players and forwards ruled out from a transfer perspective for me personally I then turned to look at who may be the standout players from these matches. I’m approaching this list with the view that anyone I bring in is probably going to go straight back out for a double Gameweek player down the line.
I’m conscious that Bournemouth have not kept a clean sheet for 8 Gameweeks now so this takes away any interest in their defence for me. Charlie Daniels is the only Cherries’ defender I would consider but he was taken off at half time vs Newcastle which puts question marks on him for me now.
The only player I may be interested in is Junior Stanislas. He’s a great creative player for Bournemouth and I enjoy the way he plays. After having some time out injured, he has returned with two goals and two assists in his last five matches despite only playing an average of 62 minutes per match over these games. He is high on my list especially with their opponents.
Right now, West Brom hold no interest for me. Unless they have some dramatic change of fortune in the next couple of weeks then they are not in my plans. I believe the Baggies made the wrong appointment in Pardew and are facing the drop. Having said this, a couple of my usual Albion players are going on my watchlist just in case. These are Ben Foster and Craig Dawson and I wouldn’t really consider anyone else.
Huddersfield have shown some good form in the last couple of Gameweeks and banked some important points. I like their attacking style and they’ve played well at home this season.
I like the look of van La Parra for them. He’s been in and out of the team all season but played 90 minutes in the last two matches and scored a goal in each. He also took a penalty a couple of weeks back. Alex Pitchard is another cheap midfielder for Huddersfield who interests me currently, he’s been playing in the number 10 role of late and was unlucky not to score vs WBA when his goal bound shot hit team mate Mounie on the line.
Palace are so inconsistent this season. Hodgson has bought some stability but I fear he is not getting the best out of some top players they have like Zaha, Benteke and Townsend. I already have Milivojevic and I don’t really want two Palace mids.
The only place I would consider a change is in defence or Hennessey in goal could be a good option as I’d only be selling my second keeper for him and it’s a small swing in price currently of £4.3m.
I’m a big fan of van Aanholt but at £5.1m I consider him to be a little too pricey but for a one week punt is also on my list.
This is a hard game to call as Everton especially are just so inconsistent and frustrating. On paper they should comfortably beat Stoke but it’s not that easy.
I already own Choupo-Moting. A player I bought in as an enabler who had good fixtures when I played my Wildcard. A move I’d massively come to regret as I tried to save some money by going for him over Shaqiri who has scored three goals and an assist since. I may swallow my pride and consider a double up for this one week.
I also like the look of Stoke’s new right back, Moritz Bauer. He appears to get forward, puts in some good crosses and could provide some attacking points.
The hardest one on the list to call. Really it should be an easy decision to select Sigurdsson or Walcott and just get on with life but their form is just so poor. I’m hoping they get a result or two in their next couple to make the decision easier.
I’m also a big fan of Seamus Coleman and would love to have him as a one week punt if he was available.
No players interest me as I have three Liverpool players. It seems counter intuitive to look at their team for me so I’m ruling them out.
So this is my analysis and I think you would agree it’s pretty slim pickings.
I’ve also considered what the impact of not owning these players may be if they were to haul and how it might impact my overall rank. Of these 7 teams there are only 18 players who have an ownership of 5% or more two of which (Wilson and Milivojevic) I already own. Again this does not compel me to desperately bring players in especially for a hit.
The conclusion I’m drawing is that apart from the match at Anfield, I believe that Gameweek 31 is going to be a low scoring Gameweek especially from an attacking perspective.
For this reason I believe that having 8 players playing this week could be enough to see me through the Gameweek but allow me enough flexibility going forward to bring double Gameweek players in for Gameweek 34.
So, of my four transfers available I only intend to transfer in two players to cover the blank week. This will allow me one transfer to play with before Gameweek 31 but more vitally save an extra transfer to put towards an extra double player in 34.
This brings me to 8 players available in Gameweek 31 with 2 free transfers going forward whilst still leaving six double Gameweek players but with enough to take it to ten with transfers and possibly a couple more with a hit or two.
Here is my current strategy,
I already made this transfer and brought in Mahrez for Willian. On paper this looked like a good move as Mahrez had three good fixtures starting with Stoke at home. If it wasn’t for a world class save from Butland and some excellent defending from Zouma then he would have got on the scoresheet.
As Mahrez didn’t produce it was of course a double blow when Willian did vs United as I remembered why I had brought him into my team in the first place. On paper it was away at United and at the time seemed like a good move.
It’s likely Mahrez will be a player I take back out for Gameweek 31.
GW29 Save FT
I’m happy with my team this week and banking my transfer to save for a double Gameweek player in 34.
GW30 1FT for player who won’t blank
No obvious change to make so this may be Coleman my bench keeper to Hennessey in preparation for Gameweek 31.
GW31 1FT for player who won’t blank
Mahrez out for one of Sigurdsson, Walcott, Stanislas or long shot Pritchard.
My possible team in Gameweek 31 would then be,
Hennessey, Robertson, Siggy, Salah, Choupo-Moting, Milivojevic, Firmino, Wilson.
I’m happy with this plan and believe it covers me enough for the perils of the blanks but also sets me up for the more lucrative double Gameweeks down the line.
I’m also happy with my decision to not let the blank week cloud my judgement and allowed myself the discipline to bring in Mahrez in Gameweek 28 as it appeared to be the best move for my team. This was a logical approach that just didn’t work out. I’m still confident for a return from Mahrez in the next week or two.
The point I’m making here is that there are still two more Gameweeks before the blank week so don’t tear apart your team or disrupt your natural game to bring in players who may not even score big anyway.
Going forward my intention is to try and get as many double Gameweek players into my team as possible. I have a view to use my bench boost in Gameweek 34 and my triple captain in Gameweek 37 with my free hit in between in Gameweek 35 when some more teams will blank again.
Obviously a lot can change in just a few short weeks which may throw this plan out of the window but hopefully you’ve enjoyed this little insight into my thoughts and my self-indulgent plans for the weeks ahead.
Good luck for the rest of the season.