Rookie Lessons from Fantasy Premier League

Whilst I managed to perform considerably well in Facebook Citizen Sports Fantasy Football League for the past three seasons, I had to go back to the drawing board and sorta start afresh this season following Citizen Sport’s decision to merge with Yahoo! Football Fantasy, which I felt was a bit buggy.

So, following some other football kaki’s advise, I joined the more renowned Fantasy Premier League (FPL), supposedly the biggest fantasy football league in the WORLD..:-p

Anyway, with quite a number of differences in terms of point scoring and exciting elements like wildcard, I felt like a total rookie coming into FPL. I had already sensed it was gonna be quite a difficult fantasy season ahead and I was proven right because from the season kickoff, I had already started to make several uncharacteristic ‘rookie’ mistakes in the FPL.

As the season progresses, I hope to learn and adapt more to the FPL system so that I can improve on my standings. So, as for today’s blog, I thought it would be good for me to share some ‘rookie lessons’ learnt (so far!) from my first year playing in FPL. guess it would provide some good references to others in the same boat too…

1. There’s NO SHAME in taking a HIT (ie. minus 4 points for each additional trade in per GW). Unlike the previous fantasy league I was familiar with, FPL only gives ONE free transfer per week. Additional transfers will involve points deductions. After GW1 completed, it felt so awkward and sinful to make more than one transfer. It only came to my senses to make around 2 transfers after GW3. After all, most managers would also be forced to make similar number of transfers, so on the overall, the point deductions won’t matter so much.

2. Need to master the new Bonus Point System (BPS). Apparently FPL rewards best players of the match via BPS, where the top players gets an additional 3 points, second best scores 2 points and third best gets 1 point.  So far, I have to admit I have not done enough research to determine which kind of players would benefit best from the BPS, although on paper it would seem like the DEFENDERS would stand a better chance, with the assumption that there would be more 0-0 or 1-0, 2-0 scorelines in the defender’s favour.

3. Using the Wildcard (WC) wisely. When I first saw this exciting element in FPL, some thoughts came to my mind on the best times to use the WC – (i) during key double or triple GWs; (ii) when the team is badly struck with injuries; (iii) when the total points deducted from additional trades is like 16-20 points.. Anyway, I had already set my mind to use it during one of those double GWs where a top team would be playing twice, but I had to use this as early as GW 6 because of items (ii) and (iii) above. My decision was based on the fact that I didn’t have a complete team that I was ‘comfortable’ with, and although I was still consistently scoring above average every GW, I foresaw that I would be running into trouble shortly. Hope that using my WC this early into the season won’t come back to haunt me later.

I’m also learning that many managers also tend to use the WC quite early into the season to fine tune the template formation based on the early games into the season. This is quite common because the first three GWs is usually a trial and error phase where we would be studying the performers of the league.

4. Using the WC does NOT guarantee an immediate points harvest! How you should utilise the WC is to plan for the dividends to show up in the longer run. For example, when you use the WC, you would already know which players can or cannot play, so this will help you to save up on those precious free transfers in weeks to come.

5. Cannot see my friend’s team selections for the coming week. Something minor but of which I had to adapt to because the previous fantasy league that I played allowed me to peek at my friend’s selection, so I could re-strategize some pieces based on that. :-p

6.  There is NO specific opening or closing of window to perform player trades. Apparently, I could already start making transfers and pick my team as early as when the current GW is under way. This minor thing cost me some chances to make easy money in the early GWs. Sigh. Shall be more alert now that I know…:-D

Plenty to learn, yet plenty more GWs to play for! 😀

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