With Fantasy Football an established way for people to enjoy football for almost 20 years now, SBC has set up its own community league here. Sam Cooke gives some advice to would-be managers who are interested in joining the fun.
The number one rule; if they ain’t playing they ain’t scoring points. It’s especially vital to watch out for this with players at bigger clubs, who may seem like bargains due to their talent to value discrepancy, but there’s doubtless a reason for this. Far better a regular for a club destined to finish in the bottom half than someone warming the bench at the Etihad.
Also bear in mind new managers, their preferred formations etc. ahead of a new season; though not the best evidence, a look over player selection in pre-season matches should give some clues.
2. Goals and assists.
The obvious but vital FF goldmine. Look out for midfielders who create and score – Sanchez, Ramsey, Toure etc. and strikers who are target men but that can produce chances too – Rickie Lambert delivered 10 assists last season (joint third highest in the league). It’s also ever so nice when you have defenders who score, create and play for sides who know how to defend and don’t leak goals. See Leighton Baines’ valuation of a whopping £7m for evidence of this. He’s not the only one who fits such a bill of course…
3. Set pieces takers.
Just because it’s from a dead ball situation doesn’t mean it lessens its importance. Take note of those who take penalties, free kicks, corners for their club; these are prime opportunities to secure bonus points via goals and assists. With Lampard leaving Chelsea Diego Costa will be the likely penalty taking replacement; a fact that adds considerably to his value.
Check here for a full list of each club’s set piece takers.
Closely tied in with playing time but worthy of its own mention. If a player is a bit Jonathan Woodgate-esque, they may be best avoided if it’s a toss up between him and another who’s always right as rain. Of course this factor can be overcome by regular checking and changing of your team and starting line up, but we’re all busy people.
One weekend you might forget and there’ll be an ugly blot of injured Bony in your starting lineup which you don’t notice till Monday morning at work. This has ruined whole days in the past. Don’t let it happen to you.
5. Not all newbies.
After each transfer window it’s always tempting to pick the new recruits. They regularly impressed in La Liga after all, and set Ligue 1 on fire last season, but this is the Premier League and it’s a different kettle of fish. In addition to the differing style of football, there’s the personal lifestyle changes and culture shock. As an example West Ham’s new big money Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia, having only played club football in Ecuador and Mexico previously, might not enjoy rainy Tuesday night away games in Burnley.
Then again he might love them. It’s a gamble. By all means pick some new recruits, but research (as meticulously as you dare) first and don’t fill your team up with them lest they all be on a plane somewhere new come January.
(Note: I learnt the hard way with this scenario having touted Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s name to anyone who would listen last year, the less said about that the better.)
6. Be cold hearted (don’t pick your mates).
This is not a popularity contest, this is Fantasy Football. Don’t pick Vaz Te cos you got a selfie in a club with him once, and don’t opt for Joe Cole over Gareth Barry at the last minute cos you’re best friends with his cousin.
Forget who you support, who you like, forget everything but what you’ve seen and know of their footballing ability, the stats, what the experts are saying and maybe just a drop of gut feeling.
7. Think of the overall picture.
Don’t pick Toure, Gerrard, Aguero and Rooney then fill the rest with Hull City reserves. It is a far better thing to have 15 reliable contributors than a smattering of stars amongst duds.
It’s nice to have all the £10m plus big name boys in your team, of course it is, and by doing this you’ll be guaranteed some points for sure. But you won’t win. One or two key players is fine but don’t undermine your whole side for this purpose. Be more Moneyball, and less stupid(ball).
A big one; if a team has a relatively easy start to the campaign, it’s a good shout to factor this into your team selection. For example Van Gaal and United have one of the easiest starts to this season, and so if you’re dithering on Mata or David Silva, choose Mata. City face Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in their first six games, United meanwhile face each of the promoted three. You can always make alterations later.
9. What’s he doing there?! Capitalise on mistakes.
Players who are wrongly categorised, or at least players who are able to play in more than one role, are useful – see Sanchez listed as a midfielder at Arsenal amongst others.
10. Spend money to make money
If you really like Fantasy Football (and I mean really like it/want to win the cash prize) then a visit to this site and paying to become a member might be a worthy investment: http://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/
I can ramble on about good ideas when picking your team and you can read all this for free, but this guy is worth his weight in fantasy football gold.
Join the Sports Betting Community league by clicking here