10 months ago
We are now, officially, halfway through the 2020/2021 Premier League season. Fantasy Premier League managers everywhere are starting to assess their teams and decide if they are onto a winning formula with their team or if this season is a practise in damage limitation. Let's make one thing clear, it is possible to recover from practically any situation in fantasy football. If you find your overall rank sat in the millions, there is still plenty of time to rally the troops and achieve a top 100k rank by the end of the season. The trick is knowing how to do it.
It is important to try and take a step back from your own team and look at it as if it was a rival's team. What strengths does it have? What weaknesses?
Do you have assets in your team that have been underperforming for weeks? Do you have players you feel connected to but who haven't actually performed yet? Do you have viable captains that will return most week? If the answer to the last three questions is 'no' then that is a good place to start. Now you know what you need, the next step is to plan.
Planning your next few weeks is now the most important move. How can you get to players in good form with good fixtures in the least moves possible? Targetting players and teams with good fixtures, without taking hits, is a quick and easy way to try and gain some much needed green arrows. Even if those players you bring in are highly owned, you have to start making these changes.
A lot of managers that are struggling midway through a season want to do something to change it. The first thing they think of is to drastically change their team, taking multiple hits in the process in an attempt to fix the problem. The issue with this solution is that without knowing it, you could actually be adding to your misery. There is no guarantee that the players you are bringing in will instantly return for you and that gap you have been targetting between yourself and your mini-league rival has just increased.
The best aggression is focused aggression. As mentioned in the previous section, planning your moves sensibly is still the best way forward but the most effective way to start moving up the ranks is to target specific teams and ensure you have captains for favourable fixtures. This also moves us nicely on to our next section...
Personally, this tactic is the one I employ in my own team whether I am struggling or not. Fantasy managers can often find it hard to bring in players that are well owned and have a good run as it is hard to envision them helping you climb the ranks. If they score well, it doesn't matter because over 50% of the community own them. A way around this, and an exciting one at that, is to transfer in two or three players from the same team who are likely to return in the next few weeks. This doesn't have to be done in one week but the sooner it can be accomplished the better.
Say, for instance, Manchester United have a nice run of games for the next three to four weeks. Most managers will have Bruno Fernandes (and rightly so) so owning him alone will hardly help your cause. To really make a difference, you have to attack the fixtures. Coupling Bruno with Rashford, and maybe even tripling up with Pogba, is a viable strategy that can see you really benefit from a team's upcoming potential. Obviously, if said team then doesn't perform, it can leave you with three unwanted players so make sure you have thoroughly scouted which players and teams to target.
If it works, it can be a masterstroke that turns your whole season around.
This one has always been a popular strategy among FPL managers but can sometimes be misunderstood. As briefly mentioned before, it is almost impossible to climb ranks if you own every player that every other person owns, so looking for differentials that can return big in a short space of time is a nice idea. The problem is, finding that diamond amongst the rabble of players that are owned by less than 5% of managers is a tough ask. It can be done, with good scouting and a gut feeling, but I much prefer to go differential in a different way.
Captaining against the grain is, for me, a far more successful way to gain points against opposition. If you honestly think that a very popular captain choice will not return against the opposition, and fancy one of your players to do the business then chuck the armband on him. A player who is 20% owned is still an extreme differential when they are wearing the armband. After lockdown last year, those that punted on captaining players Sterling and Martial over Bruno and De Bruyne reaped the rewards.
This is a big one. Until game week 38 is officially completed and tables are finalised, all positions in a mini-league or overall ranks are false. Why? Because certain managers have already played their chips, or certain managers have used their second wild card. It is hard to say what value these chips have in terms of direct point returns, but when you play one well it can mean the difference between a 1m rank and a 200k rank.
These chips should always be saved for the double game weeks. Without question. They provide managers with the highest upside for one given week and when used properly can also provide their managers with thirty-two fixtures in one week. I have seen scores of 200+ being recorded. Personally, my highest points total was 175, when I triple-captained Alexis Sanchez in a double gameweek which saw him score four goals and collect six bonus points.
Hold those chips, and prepare to fly when you use them properly.
This is the most important point of all. The number one most popular excuse people use when they start doing badly in Fantasy Football is 'I got bored so gave up'. And I'll be honest, this is a lie. They did't get bored, they didn't like the fact they started badly and didnt back themselves to pull themselves out of it. When things are going against you, it is a brilliant opportunity to test yourself and see what kind of manager you can be. Even by the halfway stage, around 50% of managers are dead teams. So these teams can easily be caught up due to injuries, transfers and lack of chip usage.
With that in mind, if you use your chips well and captain players that can return big, by the end of the season it's actually difficult to not see green arrows next to your team name in mini-leagues if you continue to stay active. Nothing is over until game week 38 has finished.
And that's the list. Feel free to follow me or DM on twitter, @fplmode. I am happy to advise how best to tackle a situation but knowing your team helps due to each case being different. If it makes you feel any better, I was floundering at 1.2m OR just a few weeks ago after a poor start to the season. After using my bench boost in the recent double gameweek, I hit 138 points (with two players remaining) and now sit at 300k. It can all change very quickly in FPL.
I have been playing Fantasy Premier League for almost 13 seasons, with multiple top 100k finishes. I still enjoy the start of every season as if it was my first. Always make sure you're enjoying the game!