Top flight football is back and with it comes one of the most enjoyable/stressful (delete as applicable) offshoots of the beautiful game, Fantasy Premier League. Footy fans around the country will have their sporting acumen put to the test as departments go head-to-head competing for that much-coveted office league title.
If however, this is your debut season and it all seems a bit daunting then fear not, we have you covered! We’ll help you get up and running right from the first kick off! Here are 5 tips for Fantasy Premier League first-timers:
1. Hold the Chips
In FPL you have a number of chips you can play at different times. You may be unsure of when to play them, and the reality is there are no guarantees in fantasy football. Everybody is guessing to a certain extent however it is worth holding on to them. Why? 3 words: double game weeks. This is where some teams play twice in a single week. As your chips apply to the whole game week you can really increase the potential of your bonuses. With enough forethought and planning there are huge opportunities throughout December and January to get maximum value from your bench boost or free hit chips.
Also if you are going to free hit or wildcard don’t forget to check you have it enabled before confirming your transfers. There were so many of stories last season of people taking a 30+ points hit because they forgot to select the chip.
2. Don’t Blow the Budget Straight Away
When you first start it is very tempting to spend every last penny of that cool £100m snagging as many of the best blockbuster players you can, there are a lot of unknowns coming into a new season though. Some players have changed teams, managers have come and gone, and will the star players of last season retain their form?
Initially it may be wiser to try and come in under budget. This will give you some change to play around with while you refine your team in those first couple of months. If you have no wiggle room and there is a must-have player out there, it can prove a real headache to juggle your team around. Allow yourself some flexibility in those early games.
3. Bargain Buys
At the end of the day, it’s not about how much you spend on your team, it’s about how much return you get on that investment. Low value players that return a lot of points are the stuff of FPL dreams. Last season Patrick Bamford proved to be fantastic value considering he was £5-6m to begin with (very cheap for a striker). Leeds and Bamford had both shown huge potential in the Championship and that form carried across.
Look out for star talent from newly promoted teams. Which forwards look capable of causing a few problems and how does their team like to play? If they are a forward facing team that create a lot of opportunities, there could be one or two bargains out there waiting to be snapped up.
4. Midfield Scores and Defensive Clean Sheets
There are a number of players classed as midfielders who often play as forwards or wingers in real life. They can bag a whole lot of goals and assists in the process so when looking for midfield talent, consider where the potential lays. Last season Son was a goal-scoring machine for Spurs, Grealish was providing assists for fun, and Fernandes the highest points scoring player in the game!
As for your defence, it’s worth examining which teams concede the fewest chances. While some defenders may pop up with goals or assists from time to time, clean sheets can provide a steady income of points week to week. Look at which teams were defensively strong towards the end of last season and who has invested in their back line over the summer. Also think about the managers and what style of football they specialise in.
5. Don’t Panic!
I get it, it’s been a low point scoring week and your instinct is telling you to take action! So you take a gamble on an off-form player, or you take a points hit and bring in a whole new team. We’ve all been there.
While there is a lot to be said for going with your gut, do remember that football ebbs and flows. Just like the beautiful game, your team will have good weeks and bad weeks. Try to stay rational and look at the bigger picture. If you’re considering swapping out a player because they’ve had a bad week, look at how they’ve performed over the past 5 games. Look at what games are coming up. It may well just be a blip.
That being said, it is easy to be overly committed to an under-performing player too. If they’ve provided little return for a while it may be time for a transfer, or at least benching them. The goal is to be considered in your approach and keep an eye out for opportunities that other people may have missed.
Well there you go, that’s 5 basic tips to get you going in the Fantasy Premier League. Best of luck for the new season everybody and may your points be bountiful!