FPL bosses are a breed of some unique kind, the strategies that formulate in those nitty heads are beyond something even Pep Guardiola could imagine. The cumulative permutations and combinations used by us would surpass every Premier League club's squad choices.
Which player to Captain?
Even after scratching your heads around so many alternatives, each FPL gameweek ends up being defined by the points scored by your captain. Since the captaincy points count for as much as a quarter of your gameweek points, in my personal opinion, it is the most important decision to be made. There is no set and forget rule to have a successful FPL captain each gameweek. Yet, one smart strategy to optimize your captaincy pick is to reduce your decision fatigue.
Decision fatigue is the diminishing quality of the decisions you take after a long arduous decision-making session. By the end of the brainstorming exercise, you could be talked into making any random choice.
This is the exact reason why Steve Jobs always wore a black turtleneck, why Mark Zuckerberg is usually seen in a plain tee and why Barack Obama only prefers a blue or grey suit. At a Vanity Fair in 2012, Obama said
"You'll see I wear only grey or blue suit. I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing, because I have too many other decisions to make."
The same applies to FPL decisions, managers should try and reduce the number of decisions you make every week. But, this comes with primarily identifying decisions which are the key factors in deciding your fate in the week. I can list two principal decisions which proportionately shape my gameweek output.
Which transfer to be made, if any?
With due respect, all other decisions made during a gameweek are pure distractions. The same way choosing a shirt or suit color is a distraction for Barack Obama. So what are the decisions should you avoid?
#1 Build your team for 11 players, not 15
The biggest blunder managers can make at the start of a season, or upon playing their wildcard, is to select a set of mediocre 15 players instead of splashing the £100m to assemble their own core of 11 avengers. This means finding cheap gems who can act as a place-holder and warm your benches. It is an obvious statement to make, you get FPL points for 11 players, not 15. Therefore, search for lowest-cost assets that can come into your team to produce the basic 2 points in case of an injury or rotation of one of your players.
Last season, Aaron Wan-Bissaka turned out to be an unnecessary headache for few managers including me. After selecting him as a place-holder, he started producing clean sheets and assists sitting on the bench. Invariably, he soon made his way into our starting eleven.
By selecting the best 11 you are not only multiplying your points potential, but reducing the number of decisions every week with your starting squad.
#2 No rotating goalkeepers
Another decision managers take every week - which goalkeeper do I start with? By opting for two first-team goalkeepers, managers tend to bang their heads over this decision more than required. I would suggest avoiding this strategy and in turn, avoid another conundrum. Besides, you will end up losing a bunch of save points, bonus points and unexpected clean sheets to the keeper you benched. This, in turn, will lead you to take a skewed decision in the following gameweeks and a run of regrets will follow.
Instead, choose your goalkeeper who does not attract any rotation risk, has a decent run of fixtures and most importantly is a top shot-stopper (accumulating save points). Use this set and forget strategy and enjoy your excess time to select the better captain.
#3 No £4.5m rotations in defence
Also, managers can benefit from eliminating the choice of selecting a starting position each week, between two £4.5m rotating defenders. Similar to the rotating goalkeepers' issue, FPL bosses can never correctly predict the instant when a defender could turn a fixture around and produce a goal or an assist. FPL is not a game based solely on prediction, rather it is one which satisfies the law of averages more than any other.
The saddest visual during a gameweek is watching your benched player produce an FPL return. The only thing you end up doing is praying for one of your premium attackers to miss the gameweek and auto-substitution to save your day. I agree that having one defensive cover on the bench is essential (in the form of a £4.0m cheap buy), but anything more than that is a waste of valuable money.
By getting rid of the above nuisance, you will find yourself making better captaincy decisions and transfer choices. Selecting the best captain alternative depends on numerous inter-dependent factors, we will surely dwell upon these in the long season ahead.
As of now, if you are picking your initial squad, give as much time in reducing decisions fatigues before the season begins and watch your ranks soar.