The November international break is a good time for Fantasy Premier League managers to reflect on their progress to date and to assess their strategy leading into the Christmas period and beyond. That’s what Ruth_NZ has been doing and here are his thoughts:
A season of three parts
The Fantasy Premier League season seems to fall into three sections and I think a different strategy is needed for each part, at least that’s how I’m approaching it.
Stage I – Gameweek 1 to Gameweek 12 (followed by an international break)
This is where you need to be cute, it’s all about reaching a solid position and achieving a solid team value. You need to jump on the “good” bandwagons (and try to avoid the ones that are just chasing last week’s points) so you don’t have players like Payet and Mahrez killing you every week. And you need to keep a close eye on price sites because this is the key period of the season for building team value – as more teams become inactive then price movements will slow.
To do this I think you have to be willing to take some hits if you need to. Obviously it’s better if you don’t need to but hits taken in this period have the whole of the rest of the season to pay off, especially if they are hits with a longer-term perspective.
I’d give myself a 7.5/10 rating for how I have navigated this first third – overall rank 16k and team value of 105.2m going into Gameweek 12 and with a team that has all the key players I want and no significant problems. I have taken six hits which is more or less what I expected to do. I’d have hoped for top 10,000 but I’m not too far away from that.
Stage II – Gameweek 13 to Gameweek 26 (followed by the FA Cup Fifth Round break)
I think the emphasis switches to smooth management in this period, steady adaptation of the squad rather than the frenetic activity of assembling the “right” players that happens early on. Decisions will need to take a longer-term perspective and be less influenced by potential price changes – you are looking for capable teams with good fixture runs over a period of eight-ten weeks, such as Everton have just commenced (Gameweeks 11-19) and Spurs (Gameweeks 15-25) and Liverpool (Gameweeks 14-20) will be entering soon. Planning will need to be clever, especially in handling the busy Christmas period (Gameweek 18 and 19 are two days apart and a good bench will be important).
In particular, hits should be reduced and basically reserved for very good strategic reasons or emergencies. Saving a free transfer and rolling it will be preferable if possible. Having taken six hits in the first third I’ll be disappointed if I take any more than three in the second third and ideally less than that.
My personal target in Stage II will be to beat the top 1,000 average by an average of five points per week. If I can do that I’ll be 70 points further up by Gameweek 26, enough to put me well inside the top 5,000 as far as I can tell.
Stage III – Gameweek 27 to Gameweek 38
This is where the sprint for the line begins and the time when tactical (shorter-term) considerations again become more important. All the double gameweeks should usually fall into this period and there will also be the second wildcard, bench boost and triple captain to use. Getting the maximum from the chips and the double gameweeks will be the crucial factor and I will increase my readiness to take hits again, but this time for tactical rather than strategic reasons. For instance the bench boost will help to justify a hit or two if the players you are bringing in will radically improve the 15-man potential you can field.
It was relatively hard to make big gains over other capable managers in this period of last season and basically you probably had to be in the top 1,000 going into Gameweek 27 to have a chance of winning. But the volatility will be markedly increased by the chips this time and it should be possible for anyone in the top 5,000 or so to have a chance if they can nail their key choices and get their timing right. It’s a time in the season I am quite looking forward to.
Well, that’s how I will be approaching it. And one of the reasons I am writing this is to emphasise the change of gear I need in my own mind: calm and steady. That’s what I will need in the next stage of the season.