Fantasy Football: Tips & Tricks

A list of tips and tricks for Fantasy Football Players (soccer)!

Stop trying to create a balanced team.

A lot of beginners make the mistake of trying to create a balanced Fantasy Football team.
Often, they’ll select two wing backs and two centre defenders. In some cases, they’ll even add a defensive midfielder. Unfortunately, Fantasy Football does not work that way. You see, Fantasy Football is all about the points. You get points for goals, assists, saves and clean sheets. You do NOT get points for positional awareness, tackles, “covering the back four” or passing accuracy. i.e. Choosing Matic, Fletcher or Fernandinho over an attacking midfielder probably isn’t the best idea! Instead, you should focus your efforts on purchasing players who will notch up goals and assists.

Typically speaking, this means that your team should be comprised of attacking-minded players. Examples:

  • Having four wing backs in your defense will increase the chance that one of your defenders will notch up an assist or a goal (although, there are centre defenders who will prove otherwise).
  • Attacking-minded midfielders will usually out-perform defensive midfielders and regular centre midfielders. i.e. Hazard, Ozil and Mata will usually out-perform the likes of Gerrard and Carrick.

A player’s price does not guarantee his worth!

A player’s price is based on his popularity. i.e. It is based on how many people have selected him. For instance: Torres is currently £7.5 million, even though he rarely scores (and now that Costa and Drogba are back, he rarely plays)! A lot of casual Fantasy Football Players will recognise his name, select him and then forget about the game! You also have a sizeable amount of people who will use the auto-select option, simply because they wanted to join their work league or their friend’s league. Another example is Robin Van Persie, who currently costs £12.5 million to buy, despite the fact that he did nothing to justify his worth in the 2013-2014 season (and he’s currently injured, by the way).

Don’t chase last week’s results!

A wonder kid came off the bench and scored a 30 yard screamer. Do you really think that it is a good idea to transfer him in? A newly-promoted team gets two clean sheets in a row. Should you start purchasing their defenders in bulk?

More often than not, the answer is no. With Fantasy Football, consistency is key and each week is different from the last. Different lineups, different fixtures, different circumstances! Don’t get roped in by flash-in-the-pan performances!

Diversify!

Over-relying on one or two teams is a recipe for disaster:

  1. Teams can collapse after one or two bad results. It has happened before and it will happen again. A bad loss can have a terrible effect on a team’s confidence. If this happens, you do not want to find yourself in a situation where you are fielding three of their defenders or two of their strikers.
  2. Some of the bigger teams will have congested fixture lists in the second half of the season. This is because they are more likely to be battling it out in a number of different competitions. This can lead to key players being rested. It can also lead to a string of poor performances.
  3. Bottom-half sides have a habit of taking their foot off the pedal as soon as they’ve guaranteed their safety from the drop zone.
  4. Every team is prone to shock defeats (and heavy defeats). Remember Arsenal in the 2013-2014 season? They were destroyed 6-0 at Stamford Bridge. Remember when Manchester City defeated Manchester United 6-1?
  5. A lot of teams will go through a period of difficult fixtures.
  6. If you are fielding six players from two teams, how badly will you be affected if they play each other in a scoreless draw?

All-in-all, over-relying on one or two teams can be incredibly risky!

Clean sheets.

When selecting defenders, you should make an effort to select players that belong to teams that have a good defensive record. For example, Azpilicueta was cheaper than Terry and Cahill, yet he still managed to notch up the same amount of clean sheets. Remember: The player doesn’t have to be a superstar! If he’s a starter for a team that is defensively sound, he will earn you points. A lot of people will splash the cash on Terry, Ivanović and Kompany without ever giving enough attention to their team mates. I mean, think about it – Why pay £6.5 million for Kompany when you can get Demichelis for £5 million? Is Kompany really going to justify the extra £1.5 million?

Price Changes

Keep an eye on some of the “Price Changes” websites that are out there. These websites will let you know when a player’s price is about the change. If a player gets dropped or fails to prove himself as a regular starter, Fantasy Football managers will begin to transfer him out. As this happens, his price will continue to fall. Alternatively, if a player has a string of good games, his price will rise as more and more people decide to purchase him. Remember that the popularity of a player will help to dictate his price.

Keeping on top of price changes can be extremely advantageous, as it can allow you to increase the value of your squad. Increasing the value of your squad will leave you in a position where you can splash the cash on better a better squad of players.

Note that half of the price change will be attributed to your team’s value. i.e. If you purchase Dawson at £6 million and he rises to £6.2 million, you will receive a profit of £0.1 million if you decide to sell him. If he rises from £6 million to £6.4 million, then you’ll receive a profit of £0.2 million if you decide to sell him. Here’s the basic Math:

Selling Price – Buying Price / 2

Some points that you should be aware of:

  • A player’s price can only change once per day.
  • The price change usually occurs after midnight.
  • A player’s price can only change three times per week. After that, his price is locked until the next game week begins.
  • If you sell a player, you will not be able to get him back for the original price.
  • Players that are flagged for injuries will change price at a much slower pace.

How Substitutes Work

Remember that your substitutes are ordered from 1-3 (from left to right)! If a player in your starting lineup fails to play, the substitute that is first in line (first on the left) will be used as your first choice substitute! However, there is a bit of a caveat here: If your lone striker fails to play, he will be replaced by your first substitute striker. This is because a team must have at least one goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and one striker. i.e. If you have selected three defenders and one of them fails to start, that player will be replaced by the first defender on your substitute bench. If the substitute defenders on your bench didn’t get any playing time, no substitutions will be made and you will be left with an horrible-looking “0”.

Pay attention to fixtures.

Knowing what teams are facing an easy / tough fixture list is extremely beneficial! If you’re left with a free transfer and you don’t know what to do with it, you can save it for a rainy day or you can begin to shape your team in order to take advantage of an upcoming list of fixtures. For example: If it’s the middle of November and I know that Liverpool are in for an easy string of games in December, I can begin the process of bringing in some of their key players. That way, I can take advantage of their easy fixture list without having to subject myself to a -4 point hit.

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