The start of the season is a stressful time for all avid fantasy football players. Choosing the core of your team can either help you get a head-start, or force you to play catch-up for the rest of the season. Despite all the work you put in at the start of the season, you will continue to have to change around your team in order to maximise the amount of points that you will gain throughout the season. One bad move and your dreams of winning the league could be over. But don’t worry, here are our tips and tricks for winning at fantasy football.
Attack over Defence
A popular strategy amongst fantasy football managers is to pick more attacking-based players over defending ones. The theory behind this is that attacking players are likely to score more points than defensive players. Apart from the odd goal or assist they get, the only times where defenders gain points is when their team has kept a clean sheet. On the other hand, attackers (as expected) find themselves in goal-scoring positions multiple times per game and as a result, will often outscore defensive players in almost every game. Although forwards will gain you more points over the course of the season, players are still required to have a few defenders in the team. A common strategy amongst some of the best fantasy football players is to use attacking wing backs who often find themselves in goal-scoring positions. Using these players will optimise the amount of points that you will gain.
The best players don’t always make the best team. Although it is incredibly tempting to have your team filled with some of the league’s biggest stars, it is often the cheaper alternatives that end up outperforming them. For example, world record signing Paul Pogba is currently being outperformed by numerous midfielders (in terms of fantasy football points).
As a fantasy football player and a football fan it can be incredibly tempting to choose players that come from the club you support, or are from a club that are overwhelming favourites to win versus their opponent. However, this is a very risky strategy. If the team has a bad day at the office then you can expect to have a low scoring week. On the flipside, if a team and your players performs well in their game then you can expect to have a very high scoring game week. Overall, it comes down to how much risk you are willing to take.
Players that are in fantastic form (especially goal-scoring form) are serious contenders to be added to your team, especially if you are aiming for the fantasy football league title. Players that continue to find the back of the net are your best source of points. For example, Jamie Vardy managed to break a Premier League record last season by scoring in eleven successive games. Any fantasy football manager who jumped on Vardy’s impressive form reaped the rewards by gaining valuable points over their opponents.
However, it’s not just goal scorers’ you need to consider. Players that are racking up assists will also help you score some more points and push you up the fantasy football league table.
As well as picking players who are in-form, you should also try and include players that are playing in in-form teams. Although there may not be a stand out individual in the team, if a team is on a hot-streak then their players are more likely to score, versus a team that is in poor form. But it’s not just goal-scoring you need to look at – the recent defensive record of teams can also give you a slight advantage over others. If a team has kept multiple clean sheets in a row, it would be a good idea to place a defender or two in the team to try and take advantage of their defensive stability and bank some bonus clean sheet points.
Much like football betting, fantasy football also requires some research and analysis if you are aiming for the top of the table. This analysis should be used when you are adding and removing players from your team. When looking at your team for the upcoming game week, you should always check if anyone in your team is playing one another – especially if one of your forwards is facing one of your defenders or goalkeeper. Having players ‘face against’ each other could mean that you end with less points compared to if you had replaced the defender from another team. Another way you can analyse the fixtures is to look at it from a team perspective and decide if there is any players from a particular side worth adding. For example if a top near the top of the league is playing against a team on a losing streak and a poor defence, it may be worth adding one of their strikers as there is a good chance a few goals will be scored.
The most important thing you will need to do if you are to be successful in any fantasy Premier League is to constantly be updated with the latest news. It is almost guaranteed that players will pick up injuries, suspensions, or get dropped throughout the season. When this occurs it is vital that you are ready to replace them with eligible players. Even if your replacement player has an average game, they are still guaranteed to pick a few points in the game. Those bonus points you pick up could be the difference between winning and losing the league.