Tag Archives: Premier League

Fantasy Premier League: 2014 Recap

Two Words: Champion Again!

Woo Hoo! Well…in my mini league of 26 friends, at least. Heh. On a personal note, I was really pleased with this achievement of (still) defending my mini-league title four times already ( 3 times in the Citizen Sports FB League and 1 time in the FPL) since I started to mange fantasy teams! Yeah!

Of the four past seasons, the recent one is probably one of the closest I’ve ever been ran before. I t wasn’t until probably GW37 that I was quite sure none of my friends could catch me. Check out the tussle for the top in my mini-league from GW 25 onwards:

GW25 Leader: Friend P

GW 26: P

GW 27: P

GW 28: P

GW 29: Me

GW 30: Me

GW 31: P

GW 32: P

GW 33: Me

GW 34: Me

GW 35: P

GW 36: Me

GW 37: Me

GW 38: Me!

It was quite an exciting FPL mini league overall. I was consistently in the top three early on in the season. Towards the end of GW10, I briefly took the lead, only to lose it about 3-4 GWs later. My form would stumble badly in the early part of Q2 of the season, falling behind to as badly as 7th place. I then started to pick up pace again after GW20 and played catch up week in, week out, till eventually catching up with the leaders by GW 29. It was really head-to-head from this point on. Exciting stuff. After the final GW38, I finished ahead of my second placed friend by a close 14 points. Phew! Definitely a FPL season to savour. :-)

In summary I amassed a total of 2,254 points, averaging 59.3 points/GW in the process. My overall global rank is at 158,420, out of 3,218,989 total players, just making the top 5% cut. :-) Biggest disappointment was the poor investment of players, making my yield only a measely $5.7M over the entire season, making my team value at $105.7M

Key Plays Down the Stretch:

1. Consistent Scoring: From GW31 till GW38, I had managed to score 60+ points in all but one GW, averaging 70.4 points in that span.

2. Edin Dzeko: Supposedly my third striker, Dzeko was one of my more consistent performers down the stretch, where it was littered with many coaches benching players and injuries, etc.

3. Depth of Bench: With so many double and even triple GWs, coupled with the fact that towards the end many teams were not fighting for much anymore, this led to many leading players being benched. Somehow this helped me because of my bench depth comprising of regular starters too.

4. Wildcard Playing: I thought I played both my wildcards at very timely moments in the season. The first one was played early on, around GW7/8 I think, due to the numerous injuries plaguing my team. I dealt my second WC before the international break, not only to offset the second round of injuries, but also to position a team ready for the final stretch.

5. Suarez Non Performing: With Suarez not firing on all cylinders down the stretch, it was a huge relief to me, whom I didn’t have him on my squad till late on.

Can’t wait for the new FPL season to begin again! 😀

Fantasy Premier League Q2 Review

Nightmare. Insidious. Sinister. Desolation. Not Good.

Some words to sum up GW11 – GW20 of my FPL campaign. Sigh. After sitting aloft my friend’s league throughout Q1, I had continued to plummet so deep till even 4th place somewhere in GW18. I only managed to claw back to 3rd place as at GW20.

Main factors of my drop?

#1. Suarez – Failed to pick him up when he came back from suspension. Figured Sturridge would provide excellent differential to all other template managers who picked him up. Sigh…turns out Suarez was to be another (and perhaps the BEST) streak performer along with Ramsey, Coleman, Barkley, etc. which I had also missed out. Double sigh.

#2. Injuries. Injuries was what forced me to play my WC earlier on this season and it was injuries again that is hurting me in Q2. Good news about these injuries is that they are also causing massive template break-ups for other managers too.

As at GW 20, I have amassed 1,153 points, putting me at a global rank of 266,057 (big drop from sub 50K global in GW10). My investment skills have been pretty bad this year too as I only managed to increase my team value up to 104.5M. At this rate I can forget about finishing my season with heavy hitters…sigh.

So what do I do NOW?

Well, for everyone else in the same predicament as mua, ie. CHASING the leaders…here are some useful pointers:

1. Research and play the January WC well. This would be our only chance to even up the playing field once more with the leading pack. Of course it would also mean buying players at premium prices. If you are not in a rush to earn a couple of bucks buying ‘sure-rise’ players right now like Eriksen, Walcott, etc. my advise is to WAIT till AFTER the REALITY transfer deadline closes to see what new players have been brought into the BPL for the second part of the season.

2. Risk differential line-ups. With the leading pack obviously sporting some similar template line-up right now, it is crucial that we pick out a line-up that is different from that. How else would we be able to catch up if we also sport the same lineup, right?

3. Risk picking CAPTAINS that are not popular choices. For example, Suarez is the most likely choice of everyone for the captain’s armband. Why not pick SOMEONE ELSE so that we’d stand a chance to gain some ground in the event that Suarez doesn’t deliver. :-)

Of course, the exciting thing about being behind in FPL is the fun of catching up with the leaders. Looking ahead for the next half of the season! 😀

 

 

Fantasy Premier League Q1 Review

I have to admit. Being a Fantasy Football Manager this season hasn’t been easy at all. Apart from venturing into a whole new ball game with new sets and scoring rules in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL), the unpredictability of the player’s performance thus far certainly adds to the challenge of managing a fantasy team this season!

Like what I did for my previous seasons of fantasy management, I always like to reflect on my personal performance on a quarterly basis, thus after the completion of GW10 two weeks ago, here are my thoughts on Q1 to-date:

For me, GW1 started off with a bang – bagging 90 points and scaled the overall global ranking of 107,452…is a pretty good way to kick off the season! Key player was Benteke who performed admirably in his double GW, together with my Chelsea trio who had a double GW too. I was placed third in my very competitive friend’s league.

From GW2 to GW4, I was really struggling to adapt to the FPL system of having only 1 Free transfer each. week. In addition, the new Bonus Point System (BPS)  is giving me analyzing nightmare, lots! Surprisingly, I still managed to hang around 2nd to 3rd place in my friend’s league regularly till then. It wasn’t until the results of GW5 rolled out that really forced me to reconsider my tactics. GW5 ended with yet another ‘below average’ score coupled with a -8 hit and a team plague with serious injuries and suspensions. My global ranking had dipped to 375,596! I realised I was not able to rotate my squad as much as I would liked to because I was virtually running on a skeleton crew!

After many sleepless nights following the horrific GW5, I decided to play my WildCard…totally reshuffling my entire team, framed around a healthy rotatable team and to be able to run the next few GWs (at least) without using any FTs. I breathed a huge relief after GW6 brought me a respectable score that pushed my global rankings up to 201,822, but more importantly, pushed me to the top of my friend’s league for the first time this season! Yay me!

For the next four gameweeks, I managed to get by without having to take any hits to transfer in players. I still managed to stay in front of my friend’s league up till GW10 with a total of 630 points where my global ranking stood at an FPL career best of 49,454 (sub 50K…yay!) and a team value of 102.4M, which  is rather pathetic compared to other more savvy investors of the FPL…sigh.

But even as I write this, I know that Q2 would be a rougher ride. The signs were there already. By GW 10, I was forced to re-organise my squad with a -4 hit, unlike the previous GW6 to GW9. GW 11 will see me producing my WORST FPL score yet, resulting in me being knocked off the top of my friend’s league into 2nd spot, and I foresee a very tough Q2 battle ahead, what with many other fantasy managers in form catching up really FAST!

Of course, I believe that it is always more FUN to do the chasing than maintaining the lead in front. Heh. 😀

 

38 Tips to be a Successful Football Fantasy Manager! (Part 3 /3)

My final installment of my trilogy of 38 tips to be a successful Fantasy Football Manager….

25. Every year, your Fantasy League will try to be more innovative and introduce new parameters for scoring, eg. Shots on Target, or Bonus Saves. The tip here is to be well aware of these new parameters and choose the best players who can benefit from this.

26. In the event that you are CHASING a leader in your league, try to use DIFFERENT players from the ones your leader has. I know it sounds like a risk but if you are trailing in points, you can never catch up if the majority of players you have are the same.

27. In every season, there is bound to be a ‘template line-up’ formed after around 10-15 GWs. Template line-ups refer to the typical formation and players that have performed well to-date so much so that the majority of fantasy managers would have also picked in their team. The trick here is to quickly improve your salary cap and achieve the template line-up as soon as you can. For those still confused, try to recall last season when after GW10 or so, the popular line-up became one that was littered with players playing in the ‘hole’ like the midfield template of Cazorla, Michu, Bale, Feillani and Mata.

28. In your selections, try to pick some star players from mid level teams. In the long run, this could turn out better than the oft rotated stars of big teams. For example, many managers stayed clear of Man City’s star-studded midfield last season because Mancini tended to frequently rotate his midfield.

29. Plan for 2-3 GWs ahead, whilst keeping in sight upcoming games for the coming 5-6 weeks. If planned properly, you’d notice you’d have strong players to rotate to suit every upcoming GW. :-)

30.If you are trailing in your league, especially whilst chasing the leading pack….DON”T GIVE UP! The entire season lasts 38GWs….that is a very, very LONG time. Accurate selections of captains or a hattrick here or there could see you collect many points in a flash!

31. Always remember to MOVE your bench pieces too…they do make a difference! Although you are well aware of the automatic substitution based on player position, moving bench players to your preferred priorities would help in teh event that some of your subs are injured and you’d want your best sub to come on instead.

32. Especially in pre-season, keep an eye out for unknown (and golden) prospects! Keep abreast of other leagues and read, read, read on player bios, form, etc. to identify these gems. For example, by following the Primera Liga in the seasons leading to last year, Michu and Cazorla had already caught my eyes, so it was a no-brainer for me to snap them up the moment they crossed over to the BPL.

33. As mentioned above, it’s always good to do additional research on player bios, character, temperament (yellow card prone?), past statistics, etc. before buying a player. This is especially true at the beginning of the season when everyone wants to start off well! :-)

34. Anticipate a players game time. For example, if Man Utd has a mid-week match and Kagawa was rested in the mid-week match (eg. League Cup, Europe matches, etc.), there is a bigger possibility of Kagawa starting in the BPL match over the weekend!eg. run out in mid week game usually means starting 11 in weekend BPL

35. Always scan the upcoming GW and ROTATE your squad to face weaker teams. There is a higher risk of allowing your star-studded squad of primarily Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal players to remain as they are then the next GW fixtures sees Man Utd vs Arsenal and Chelsea vs Man City! Reduce this risk and use your other fringe players so that some of your stars are benched in exchange for example, your mid-level Kevin Nolan (WHU) playing at home against QPR…

36. No idea who else to buy or improve your squad? Don’t be shy…go ahead and pry on other teams to see who they are buying and their positioning strategies! There’s even a filter in the Stats area to show you which player in which position is the most popular purchase to date!

37. If you are playing in a league (friendly or unfriendly..:-p), it is always good to check out your competitors team and formation too. This will help you to plan your upcoming trades too. For example, if you are leading the pack, you;d want your team to have more or less the same players as yours! And if you are trailing, you’d want to know which players you need to improve your team so that you have a chance of catching up!

38. RAP. My final tip is to remember that in fantasy football manager, all you need to do is RAP. You need to start off by doing some Research – on players, teams, form, injuries, suspensions, etc…. Analyse the current scenario, upcoming fixtures…and Plan your next course of action…which players to buy…when to buy….when are DGWs coming up, etc.

But above all, HAVE FUN!

All the best in the upcoming BPL season!

20 Factors Contributing to Man Utd’s 20th Title

Image Credits

1. Magnificent leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson

2. Embarrassment of letting the title slip from our grasp in 2012 to City (on goal difference, on the last day, etc.) hurts so bad that it was used as an inspiration and drive for this season’s glory!

3. Never say die attititude. Personally, I’ve lost count of the number of times Man Utd had to rally back from a goal or two goals down to achieve a result in a match this season. Inspiring attitude.

4. Spanish laundry service finally clicked! After months of frustration in goal, De Gea finally came good about  a month and a half ago when he managed to keep like 5-6 consecutive cleansheets. Perhaps SAF’s keeper rotation tactic really DID work!

5. Consistency. With the level of football at its highest in the BPL where every weekend offers a tough challenge, whether Man Utd were playing the likes of Chelsea or Wigan, the team with the more consistent performance would revel.

6. Although a bitter pill to swallow, the ‘early’ defeat in the UCL (last 16) did help the cause. (Sigh)

7. Offensive Defense! This season saw the likes of Evra, Evans and Rafael consistently getting on the scoresheet at important times of the season. Whoever said that the best defense is offense is genius. :-)

8. Vintage performances. Apparently both Scholes and Giggs still have some legs left in them as their presence in some of the key matches helped steady the ship. :-)

9. City self-destruction. There were certain stretches in the campaign that City seemed unwilling to win, drawing with numerous mid-level clubs and allowing us to build our lead at the top.

10. Psychological win at the Etihad. Though relatively early in the season, RVP’s last gasp curler of a freekick that secured the 3-2 win over City in the first Manchester derby certainly had a telling effect in the months to come. So, although the loss to City in the Old Trafford reverse was tough to chew, the lead that we built over the course of the season was already too wide to cover.

11. Nov-Dec blitz! It was during this remarkable stretch that Man Utd secured critical wins over Arsenal, Chelsea, City (and a whole lot more) that probably became the foundation of building an uncatchable lead.

12. Opening loss to Everton was certainly a JOLT in every sense and probably a stern reminder of the quality of all teams in the BPL.

13. The tough 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane with Spurs knicking in the equaliser at the death would probably be what I would call the second JOLT that propelled Man Utd to engineer a 7-game wining streak in the BPL. Examples like this certainly cements Man Utd’s reputation to respond positively after each heart-breaking loss or draw.

14. Game-changer rotations. In a curious observation, I notices that whilst the team was more or less built on the consistency of RVP thoughout the season, there would be evident instances that ONE midfielder would emerge for short stretches of time. For example, I could recall those stretches where Nani was instrumental in a few matches before going off injured; then there was Cleverley for a few matches; and (even) Anderson had his time in the spotlight as well; Young was dangerous in a few matches in Jan-Feb; as was Valencia and of course Kagawa, who suddenly seems to fit into SAF’s formation like to the T. I can only imagine how devastating Man Utd would be if all our midfielders were healthy and consistent throughout. :-p

15. Rooney’s patches of brilliance. Sure it would seem that Wazza was playing second fiddle all along this season to RVP, but there were certain stretches in the season that he almost scored at will and combined with devastating effect with RVP. With constant injuries to the Man Utd midfield, Rooney often sacrificed his preferred striking role to play a much deeper, play-maker role in much of the season. Personally, I feel he definitely still has a place in Man Utd’s starting 11.

16. Itching strikers. For Welbeck and Hernandez, I guess it can become rather frustrating to watch most of Man Utd’s games from the bench, with SAF ‘s preferred Rooney-RVP as his first choice. However, one would notice that probably because of this, everytime Welbeck or Chicarito gets a chance to play, they would be playing as if their lives depended on it – scoring some important goals in the process too. :-)

17. Wealth in Youth. This has already been in SAF’s mind for a couple of years, what with the crop of young players like Young, Jones, De Dea, Buttner, Cleverly, Rafael running regularly on the pitch. Certainly helps to have young and energetic legs to keep up with the pace of other BPL teams.

18. Survival during Christmas-New Year peak period. All teams in the BPL would acknowledge that one of the toughest stretches in the season comes during the time when other European leagues go off on their winter break. Whilst most of the other pretenders faltered, Man Utd continued their solid consistent performance during this insane period to secure 7 points from a possible 9 from 23 Dec 2012 till 1 Jan 2013.

19. Barcelona. My personal theory is that SAF had steadily invested and built a team worthy to take on Barcelona. Kinda like when Starfleet designed the USS Defiant specifically to take on the Borg. :-p Anyway, from the displays during UCL nights, it was clear that he had already or was close to establishing the right pieces, formation and tactics to finally match mighty Barcelona. Whilst Man Utd’s defeat to Real Madrid was truly unlucky, I believe that in the evolving process of designing Man Utd to fight Barca, the team became considerably stronger. :-)

20. Robbie Van Persie. Sporting Jersey no. 20 from the start of the season was a clear sign of his intentions. Simply the X-Factor and made the ultimate difference with his unstoppable goal-scoring feats. ‘Nuff said. Personally, I’m truly happy for RVP for FINALLY securing his first BPL title. Couldn’t he have come to Man Utd any sooner? Hehe. :-p

5 Reasons Why BPL is the Best League

Image Credits

With the new European football season unleashed everywhere in recent weeks, many people still wonder (and some may argue) if the Barclay’s Premier League is the best lot of em all?

Personally, I KNOW it is, and here are my top 5 reasons…

1. Every match-up is just as kan-cheong! Where else would you get Southampton giving Manchester City a run for their money, or West Brom trashing Liverpool? Although there are certain number of clubs that are of a higher level in the BPL, there’s no denying that every other team in the BPL are no pushovers either!

2. It is so GLOBAL! Unlike many other European leagues where the majority of the players are domestic, I believe the ratio of British: Foreign players in the BPL is quite close! Being a global arena makes for more exciting styles and plays from all over!

3. Watchable time zone! Being in Malaysia, it is not too challenging to watch all these great BPL action. With the latest latest on every weekend coming in at 1.00am (Msian time), the BPL s one of the more watchable leagues…well, at least for me. 😛 I noticed the strange gametimes of other leagues, like the Bundesliga and La Liga which runs on through the graveyard shift, and even some during dinner times (around 7pm!). Strange…:-p

4. English tabloids! One thing that makes BPL more exciting week in week out are the English tabloids. Yup, the same blokes who are responsible for over-hyping the England team at every World Cup. the juicy transfer news, manager sackings, player scandals, outrageous bets, etc. are just every bit a part of the BPL footballing culture. Love it or hate it, they are here to stay! 😀

5. The greatest football club is playing in it….(drumroll)…MANCHESTER UNITED! 😀

RVP in Man Utd Formation?

football formations

I am SOOOOO excited with the start of the new BPL season 2012/13…..especially so much more so when RVP had just been acquired. Woo Hoo!

Now the biggest question would be how would RVP fit into SAF’s Man Utd formation this season?

Here is my recommended formation for Man United with RVP in the lineup (see diagram above).

For starters, Man United should revise from their typical 4-4-2 to a more solid 4-3-1-2. Simply because now we have the players to do so. Kagawa has impressed much during pre-season that he is certainly capable of filling in the hole in the middle, just behind the two main striking duo of Rooney and RVP. I would prefer Cleverley to play the defensive midfield role flanked by Nani and Valencia. At the back, I think healthiness is key but I would like to see a back four consisting of Jones, Evra, Smalling and Vidic. Of course, with Jones and Smalling still out injured, it may be sometime before Man United sort out the defensive formation.

Are you excited with your team’s formation for the new season? 😀

My BPL Predictions

With the new season of BPL starting tomorrow, here is a list of my brave and bold predictions….

Champions: Manchester United. After the final lap choke last season, SAF will make sure it will not happen again.

Runners Up to Fourth: City, Arsenal, Chelsea

Relegated: Wigan, Reading, Southampton

First Manager to be Sacked: Sam Allardyce (West Ham). Following a seemingly easy gameweeks to start off the season with, West Ham fumbles badly and causes the manager to get the boot. They will however recover and survive the drop at the end of the day.

First Player to be Red-Carded: Nigel De Jong (City)

First Hattrick: Carlos Tevez (City)

Best Signing – Manager: Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool). He should bring some fresh air of passing and attacking flair to the over-rated Liverpool.

Best Signing – Goalkeeper: Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham). More than 300 games of experience and on FREE TRANSFER? What a steal!!!

Best Signing – Defender: Jan Vertonghen (Spurs). If he can get into first team action, impressive (ex) Ajax captain should shore up Tottenham’s (already solid) defence pretty well.

Best Signing – Midfielder: Michu (Swansea). With all the focus on the huge inflow of midfielding talent this year in Hazard, Marin, Kagawa, Carzola, Sigurdsson, etc., many may be excused to have missed out on Swansea’s excellent pick from Rayo Vallecano. He has exceptional positioning skills and can score plenty of goals too. With a game likening him to La Liga’s Clint Dempsey, keep a watch out for this one.

Best Signing – Striker: Mladen Petric (Fulham). This Croat has been in-form in the pre-season and past BPL history will tell us that Eastern European countries often gives us strikers who adapt quite well in England. If Fulham can keep its reins on Dembele and Dempsey, Fulham can be the surprise of the season.

Biggest Flops: In no particular order…Hazard, Giroud, Oscar, Borini

 

Are you ready for the KICK-OFF? :-)

My Premier League Review Playlist

Image Credits

Sigh. It’s over. No matter how many times I replay the recently concluded BPL Season 2011/12 in my head, Man City still end up champions (on goal difference also!!!). Sigh.

So instead of weeping my way whilst cataloging the season in review the typical way, I thought it would be more fun if I were to review my recollection of the entire BPL season as if  it was replayed and reviewed on MY music player….so, the playlist would look like this…

Pre-Season: “We Are The Champions” (Queen)
7 Aug 2011; Community Shield: Man Utd 3 Man City 2: “Rollin'” (Limp Bizkit)
28 Aug 2011; Man Utd 8 Arsenal 2:  “Unstoppable” (Kat DeLuna)
First 5 games of season: Maximum points. Crushing all opponents…: “Let The Good Times Roll” (The Cars)
23 Oct 2011; Man Utd 1 Man City 6; Humiliated at home: “Bad Day” (Daniel Powter)
8 Dec 2011; Basel 2 Man Utd 1; Knocked out of Champions League Group Stages: “Unbelievable” (EMF)
8 Jan 2012; Man Utd 3 Man City 2; FA Cup. Humiliation avenged: “Redemption Song” (Bob Marley)
28 Jan 2012; Liverpool 2 Man Utd 1; Knocked out of FA Cup: “What The Hell” (Avril Lavigne)
16 Mar 2012; Athletic Bilbao 2 Man Utd 1; Knocked out of Europa League: “We Don’t Care” (Kanye West)
11 Feb – 8 Apr 2012; Scholes returns: “Irreplaceable” (Beyonce)
….and inspires Man Utd’s assault to the top riding on an 8 game winning streak: “The Climb” (Miley Cyrus)
8 Apr 2012; Arsenal 1 Man City 0; Man Utd hold 8 point advantage at top with 6 games remaining: “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” (Celine Dion)
12 Apr 2012; Wigan 1 Man Utd 0; Early signs of choke..: “Bitch” (Meredith Brooks)
22 Apr 2012; Man Utd 4 Everton 4; 2 points dropped after holding 3-1 and 4-2 leads; more signs of choke. Lead dwindles to 3 points..: “Free Fallin'” (Tom Petty)
1 May 2012; Man City 1 Man Utd 0; Title Decider.City go top on goal difference with 2 matches left..: “Livin’ On A Prayer” (Bon Jovi)
13 May 2012; Final Day. Title Deciding clashes..Man City vs QPR; Man Utd vs Sunderland…as it unfolded…
20th min; Rooney scores! Man Utd 1 Sunderland 0: “Keep the Faith” (Bon Jovi)
40th min; Zabaleta puts one past Kenny. City 1 QPR 0: “Damn” (Matchbox 20)
48th min: Cisse equalizes for Air Asia! City 1 QPR 0: “I Believe I Can Fly” (R Kelly)
54th min: Joey Barton’s dark side emerges as he is sent off for elbowing Tevez…: “I Saw Red” (Warrant)
65th min: 10-men QPR shocks City with a Jamie Mackie diving header! City 1 QPR 2: “Top of the World” (Carpenters)
90th min; At this stage, Man Utd would be crowned champions..: “So Close” (Evanescence)
91st min; Dzeko pops in a header off one of City’s hundredth (I reckon) corner. City 2 QPR 2: “Don’t Stop Believin” (Journey)
93rd min; Aguero skips past two defenders and clinically smashes home the title deciding goal…:-( City 3 QPR 2: “Heartbreaker” (Mariah Carey)
Final scores: Man City 3 QPR 2, Man Utd 1 Sunderland 0; Lost title on 2 stoppage time City goals vs QPR…: “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (Bonnie Tyler)
Post Match Blues: “Misery” (Soul Asylum)
Post BPL Acceptance : “Life Goes On” (Poison)
Looking ahead to 2012/13 Season: “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (Kelly Clarkson)

I will conclude quoting a tweet from Rio Ferdinand, simply inspiring for all Man Utd fans:

“Our history is built on coming back to WIN…..its what we do best…I can’t wait for the new season already”

 

 

Fantasy Football Tips

I must repeat myself – one of the best apps to be ever developed on FB must the Fantasy Football Premier League App. I only started playing from the previous season, and boy am I hooked to it. Can’t wait for the new season to start over. :-)

When I blogged about this addiction earlier, I was in the top 6% of about 520,000 players. Really proud to say I even stunned myself to end up in the top 0.2% (numerically ranked 1,341) from a total of 624,237 players. Sure is encouraging for this rookie to look ahead for a better outcome next season, don’t you think? :-)

Of course, I have also learnt much over the course of this one season – tactics, strategies, etc. so I thought it would be a nice gesture to share my 10 best tips that helped me score those points last season..

1. Managing Injuries – Before the start of every gameweek, I will always check out who is injured, how long are they out, expected return date, etc. An injured player will most likely drop in value very quickly, and player returning from injury can increase in value just as fast. Knowing when to buy, sell and manage these injured players is crucial in increasing your budget. My favourite site to check out these injuries is physioroom.com Apart from telling you which player is down, they will even explain the intricacies of the injuries, for the more medical-minded ones. Heh.

2. Focus on a set formation – Starting with only $150 million, there’s no way you can build a star-studded team. Trick here is to stick to a certain formation for most gameweeks. For example, if you chose a 3-5-2 lineup, you’d only need to invest more in building a strong midfield, and buy cheaper players for your other position and subs. In due time, you can buy better players when your budget increases.

3. Unheralded Nuggets – Try not to buy too many ‘star-studded’ players from big clubs like Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, etc. Since they have much depth, the chances of rotation is higher than other clubs and hence increase rick of your player being rested, etc.Do look out for ‘superstars’ in mid-table sides who get to play week in week out. Some good examples over the previous season include Villa’s Marc Albrighton, Blackpool’s Charlie Adam, Everton’s Tim Cahill, Blackburn’s Pedersen, etc.

4. The Need to Strike – Players like Tevez, Drogba, etc. will always top the goal-scoring charts. Problem is their fee is usually too high. And if your set formation (no. 2) is not heavy on the strikers, try this tip: buy strikers from clubs found at the mid-bottom of the league. My theory is although they will not score many wins, they need to find their goals from somewhere so their strikers will usually make a name on the charts too. I got quite a few good gameweeks from Dudley Campbell and Andrew Carroll. Other good examples include Peter Odemwingie and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake.

5. Choosing the Skipper – All captains score double so choosing the right captain for every gameweek is rather critical. My tip here is to pick a Superstar who is playing at Home that particular gameweek. it also helps if the superstar’s team has a soft schedule lined up for the next couple of weeks. I remember sticking with Lampard when Chelsea had a soft stretch of games in Mar-Apr 2011. worked out pretty well. :-)

6. Use the Tools – On the top tab of the Fantasy Football home page, there are many useful links you can use to better strategise your game. The link to PLAYERS will take you to the list of all available players. You can sort this list by their points, value, etc. use this to scan for cheap player with high value. Believe you me, there are quite a number of them there. For example, Elmander’s starting price was only $8M, Ben Foster is a steal at $7M, Tim Cahill started with $11M, etc. The system can also tell you which player is more prone to receive yellow/red cards, etc. So, you will never see me buying Balotelli…and check out the upcoming ganes for all the teams. Really powerful stuff if used properly

7. Stay Up to Date – Stay alerted on injury news, transfers, suspensions, external friendly matches, African Cup, Asia Cup, etc. One quick way is to read the news feed from the homepage. many participants will post updates about the current situation from all over. You can usually get the latest key news from here. Forums here can sometimes give you tips on players to buy, sell,etc. too. Of course, I sometimes just google a particular player to get the latest news about him. Having subscribed to RSS feeds from football sites like Goal.com and Soccernet.com will help too. :-)

8. Make a Quick Buck – One of they keys to success in Fantasy Football is increasing the budget. Basic knowledge is buy low, sell high. Now, whilst some smart speculations may land you some cheap gems who will shoot up in value very quickly, do look out for some quick makable bucks when a player strikes a hattrick, for example. When the trading window opens, make a quick grab for him…and watch his value shoot up thereafter. Or quickly sell star players when they are sidelined (value plummets very fast), and target to buy them again when they return.

9. Non-League Matches – Gotta be careful when you see these matches (eg. Champions League, League Cup, FA Cup, friendlies, etc.) looming in between gameweeks. I was caught several times trading players very early on when the window opened, only to find out some players fell to injuries from these non-league matches – costing me positioning problems and drop in player values. Tip would be to hold on to trading until after these non-league matches.

10. Special Gameweeks – Watch out for several gameweeks where some teams play twice (or thrice!). Plan ahead to have many players from such teams to be in action during these special gameweeks. I scored most of my points during these special weeks. I remember there was even one gameweek where 8 of my 11 players actually played twice. Reaped a bountiful of points that week. :-)

Whew. There you have it. Some tips that helped me mast season. Do share if you have any other tips or strategies, OK? My personal goal is to break into the top 999 this coming season. :-)