IT’S THAT TIME of year again. Whereas once upon a time, the details of a Stoke-Wigan game meant nothing to most people, fans now obsessively watch such matches all because of an increasingly popular phenomenon – Fantasy Football.
Given that the season is about to start, we at TheScore.ie have generously agreed to share our tips for the coming season. So sit back and take heed of our guide detailing everything you need to know (aside from obvious facts like ‘don’t pick Peter Crouch’) about Fantasy Football…
1. Pick cheap substitutes
It might seem like a high-risk strategy, but you should be confident that all your first XI are good enough to start and perform respectably. Worry about a player getting injured or suffering a loss of form when it happens and you can make the appropriate transfer(s), rather than playing it too safe and picking an overly expensive bench. There is no use having a goalkeeper worth £7.0m if you never play him. That is not to say you shouldn’t choose your bench wisely though – try to ensure all your subs, though cheap, are at least starting for their clubs.
2. Take each game on its merits
Richard Dunne has a very good chance of keeping a clean sheet if Villa are playing Swansea at home. However, if you forget to take him off your team when they’re playing Chelsea away, you’re screwed essentially.
3. Form is temporary, class is permanent
Have some faith in Darren Bent. Admittedly, he hasn’t scored in his last five matches and is starting to resemble Harry Redknapp’s wife again, but don’t worry, those last five matches were all against top quality opposition. He now has a run of games coming up against the likes of Stoke and QPR, in which the goals will inevitably flow.
4. Make at least one maverick selection
Unfortunately, your team can’t be filled with players as talented and expensive as Wayne Rooney, so you’ll have to be smart with some of your picks. These selections are what separate the men from the boys in Fantasy Football terms. Any old eejit is smart enough to pick Frank Lampard, who you just know, is bound to score his usual plethora of deflected free-kicks. My maverick choice, incidentally, is Adel Taarabt (pictured below). Yes, he plays for QPR, but he scored a ton of goals last year and was named Football League Player of the Year. Thus, he has the skills to thrive in the Premier League.
(Rebecca Naden/PA Wire)
5. Make sure to check your team and make the appropriate changes every week
As Bill Shankly might well have said once: “Fantasy Football isn’t a matter of life or death, it’s much more important than that.” Therefore, providing they’re in a league that’s halfway decent, anyone who doesn’t regularly check and update their team (i.e. every week) has no hope of succeeding. If you go through with the hassle of picking a team in the first place, you might as well stick with it. It may seem like obvious advice, but there’s always at least one player in any given league who succumbs to such laziness. Make sure you’re not that player!
6. Try to avoid using your wild-card too early
Firstly, be thorough in your selection before the season starts. That way, you won’t end up regretting picking Javier Hernandez only to realise that he’s injured for the first few weeks of the season. Secondly, no matter how poorly your team is performing, you should be extremely wary of using your wild-card prematurely. If you do so, you could later be faced with the unenviable situation of having half your team out injured, with only one possible transfer to be made.
7. Lies, damned lies and statistics?
Despite what Mark Twain says, statistics are occasionally important, especially when picking a Fantasy Football team. Pay attention to players’ previous form. When picking your defence, keep in mind that Chelsea and Man City had the joint best defensive record in the Premier League last year, so it doesn’t take Nostradamus to determine that it might be wise to pick a fair few of their players at the back. On the other hand, of the teams from last year still in the league, West Brom had the worst defensive record, so picking their defenders is honestly just silly.
That’s what we think, now here’s what you had to say in response to the question of how to create a successful Fantasy Football team: