What's the point of playing Fantasy Premier League? - score the most points. And that is what we need to focus on the most at the end of the day. I'm going to list some of the things I've learned after playing three complete seasons of the game. Let's look at them one by one.
#1 Be proactive but not reactive
FPL is all about being proactive. It means always being on the lookout for options, being aware of injuries, price changes and identifying opportunities before it's too late. While it's always preferable to identify the opportunities early, it's not always possible, so it would be better not to delay if any such opportunities arise.
A lot of the times, these opportunities are missed due to our own biases. Say, we do not like Arsenal's defense, or surely Luka Milivojevic's penalty luck will end. It doesn't end that way and we miss out on a hell of a lot of points.
Saying that we must also be aware that we are not too reactive. A random big performance should not be enough to get a player in. Looking at that player's record, his underlying stats, as well as his price, should all be considered.
Stats like expected goals (xG) and expected assists (xA) should always be considered - they indicate whether the player is likely to continue his form or not. They also help us in finding relatively unknown gems and help us be proactive as well. They will help you make better decisions.
#2 Don't take unnecessary hits
There often comes a time when you feel like ripping up your team, take a bunch of hits and making your team into something else. Often it gives instant relief to you too. However, if we sit back and relax it might not be the best idea. Sure, many times, when in the following game week, the players you sold perform well while your transferred in players flop, a prime example of being "reactive" is exhibited.
So how do we decide when it's better to take hits and when not to?
First of all, a hit takes away four points you've already won and you need to be super careful because the least you want to do is make those points up. If we can delay the transfer to another week, we don't have to take the hit. So unless we're very confident that we can make the point in the same week, it might be better to delay the transfer.
Secondly, we might have no choice but to make the transfer if we will get priced out of a player we desperately need if we wait unless this is the case, it might be prudent to not take hits.
#3 Focus on your captain, and vice-captain
Captains in FPL are often make or break. There are weeks where your captain is the savior even though your whole team flops, and there are those where even though your team as a whole does well, your captain lets you down and it ruins your week.
That's why it's advisable to choose your captain very carefully. Do not take a lot of punts on your captain - you have ten other players to take risks, so go for the safe and sound option.
I would like to stress upon this too because this is often not taken much seriously but choose your vice-captain very carefully too. While it won't happen too often, there's always a chance you might have to rely on your vice-captain and you don't want to have a non-playing captain and vice-captain.
#4 Try to maintain a flexible team
Unforeseen contingencies happen a lot during the season; injuries, suspensions, an important player suddenly going out of favor or just a certain manager just being extra naughty with his team selections (looking at you, Pep).
So, it's very important to have options available from the bench. It might become extremely troublesome if you have a non-playing bench because firstly, they do not contribute and you have to play the same players every week irrespective of circumstances that might take a turn for the worse.
Secondly, these residual subs are often very difficult to upgrade unless you have significant funds available. It's always advisable to have a keeper on the bench that would play if your first choice keeper doesn't and out of the three outfield substitutes, at least two should be playing, even if they only offer appearance points.
Also, never forget to arrange your bench based on your priority replacements.
#5 Cover all price ranges
This is a bit different from other pointers. There are different price ranges in all the categories. Goalkeepers rarely change but you need to be extremely proactive in the other areas.
Having representation from different categories like the cheap, mid-range and premium players offer amazing flexibility. It helps you to jump ship at any point if you see an opportunity, and it helps you do that with one or two transfers.
It helps you achieve all the objectives, be proactive, and do that with minimum hits, taking full advantage of the opportunity. I'd recommend having price diversity in your team.
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That's all for this article, I hope all these pointers will help you manage your team well. Less than a month to go before the Premier League will be upon us. I hope your preparations are going well.