Prepare to lose track of time while you stare at your screens confused, conflicted and desperate.
That’s right, Fantasy Premier League is back and we couldn’t be happier!
Another season promises to bring with it plenty of highs and lows as the Premier League action captivates us. There will be FPL captains scoring big and others being benched, Wildcards that could make or break your season and dreaded rotation that will have you pulling your hair out – we’re looking at you, Pep Guardiola.
Key to starting on the right note though is not falling victim to some of the most common mistakes.
Here, we look at the FPL pitfalls you must strive to avoid in order to enjoy a good start this season.
KEEPING CLUB LOYALTIES
This is arguably the most difficult of FPL mistakes to avoid. If you’re a devout fan of a Premier League team then sometimes you need to go against every fibre of your being and look at players from your club with cold objectivity.
Take Manchester United fans for example. Mason Greenwood may have thrilled in pre-season but other than drafting in him purely as bench fodder, there’s no reason he should make your team in GW1.
An Arsenal fan must fight the urge to get in fan favourite Sead Kolasinac. The Gunners are bound to struggle for clean sheets and there are several other full-backs capable of more attacking returns while he faces competition from Nacho Monreal at the Emirates Stadium.
One needs to be pragmatic and drop an admired if temperamental player for one who’s simply effective and chipping away with regular points.
When one of your players does begin to perform of course, ride that wave and reap the benefits. FPL is meant to be fun after all.
EARLY WHOLESALE CHANGES
Anyone who hasn’t been guilty of this simply doesn’t care enough. You suffer a horrific start, maybe even score below the average and then scramble around to overhaul your squad. Hasty transfers are a sure-shot way to sabotaging your own team and you must resist the temptation to wield the axe early on.
That’s why it’s important to prioritise consistent performers when setting up your team for GW1 rather than opt for too many explosive or maverick assets. Limit your punts to a couple of picks and steer away from too many foreign recruits as well. Make sure at least half your team consists of seasoned, reliable assets. Steer away from too many foreign recruits as well.
That way, even if you don’t get off to a flyer, you can count on those players to come good over the next few GWs while making little tweaks along the way.
Repeat after me: I will not use my Wildcard before GW4.
Nothing satisfies an FPL manager more than a player bought on the cheap going on to deliver big. Harry Kane was once such a buy, so too was Swansea City’s Michu a few seasons ago. Raul Jimenez was last term’s most successful budget buy.
The danger is in seeking out these hidden gems at the detriment of your overall squad level. You may be scrimping in certain departments to fit in as many big-hitters as possible in attack, but that would be asking for trouble as well.
There’s a reason why a popular pick is priced 1m more than someone who could be just as good but isn’t nailed on. What you want is a balanced squad to begin with and then make adjustments according to how things unfold.
Also remember that it’s a lot harder to go from Kevin De Bruyne (9.5m) to Raheem Sterling (12m) than the other way around. So it’s always worth starting with the more expensive option if you can afford it.
PICKING A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER
Defensive midfielders don’t get you points, not enough of them anyway.
Just because they’re cheap and play regularly in a top six side doesn’t mean they’re worth having. So stay away from the likeable N’Golo Kante (5m) or even shiny new assets like Rodri (5.5m). No good can come from buying them.
You’d be much better served opting for more attack-minded midfielders from mid-table or even relegation threatened sides. Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden (4.5m) shows real promise for example, as does John McGinn (5.5m) of Aston Villa.
GOING FOR GLORY
When you fall behind in your mini league, desperation can set in and lead to some suspect decisions. That may involve abuse of your chips or the classic wild captaincy pick.
Where chips are concerned, you’d ideally hold on to them until they can be used around Double Gameweeks (DGW). A Bench Boost or Free Hit otherwise is just a waste.
A Triple Captain can work well during a normal GW. If Sergio Aguero is in form and you think he’s going to have a blinder at home to Norwich, go for it. But know that your odds are better during a DGW.
On the whole though, the focus should be on consistency and the big hauls will come. Being above average most weeks is the key to keeping you in the running. A few gambles along the way then can fire you to the top. Relying on big gambles though just isn’t sustainable.
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