Fantasy Football Tips to Top the Table: Fantasy Premier League
To the relief of football fans everywhere, the Premier League returns this weekend after the first international break.
We’ve also reached that time of the season when fantasy football managers up and down the country suffer their first crisis of confidence with tables taking shape after the first few gameweeks.
Struggling to make any kind of impression in your fantasy league?
Don’t worry just yet.
With the season still young, there’s plenty of time to reshuffle the pack before the latest deadline to help close the gap on your nearest rivals.
Here are our top tips to help you charge back into contention….
Fantasy Football 2019 – Table-Topping Tips for Fantasy Premier League Managers
Which under-the-radar players have caught the eye?
Burnley’s uncomplicated approach to achieving their target objectives means their consistency rarely leads the back pages, but the Clarets can be manna from heaven for canny FPL managers looking for differentials in the transfer market. Eric Pieters, Dwight McNeil and the perennially underrated Ashley Barnes are all worthy of a place on your watchlist.
Setting sights a little higher, when it comes to the title chasers, Roberto Firmino can often be treated as the poor relation in Liverpool’s free-flowing attacking trio. At £9.5m, however, he’s cheaper than teammates Mo Salah and Sadio Mané, and consistently racks up the points even when his more-fancied colleagues suffer the occasional off-day.
Who are the top performers from the promoted sides?
Sheffield Utd have been the star performers so far out of the promoted trio with five points from their opening four games. Chris Wilder has caught several of his Premier League off-guard with his use of overlapping centre-backs so far this campaign. Blades defenders look ideal for bargain hunters, with Enda Stevans, John Egan and John Lundstram all starting well.
For Aston Villa, the quick feet of Jack Grealish and John McGinn could pay dividends as the season progresses. Norwich frontman Teemu Pukki has also raced out the blocks. However, the Finn’s flying start means his value has surely now peaked, which could make his quietly effective teammate Todd Cantwell a better steal.
Who are the must-pick players?
The evergreen Sergio Agüero continues to rack up fantasy points at an astonishing rate. At 31, he’s also currently showing no signs of slowing down. With Gabriel Jesus returning from injury, expect Pep to stick with the Argentinean upfront for the next few weeks with some very winnable games to come for the champions.
In midfield, Raheem Sterling and Mohammed Salah’s prolific output means they are more than value for their pricey £12m+ price tags. A set piece specialist is also a must for any fantasy team. That makes Everton’s pinpoint free-kick taker Lucas Digne a must-have.
How should I pick my captain each week?
In the world of Fantasy Premier League, your captain’s pick can be the making of you, with your skipper stacking up double points each week. Stats show last year’s outright FPL champion accrued a remarkable 24 per cent of points from his captain’s choices alone. It therefore pays to think about your pick very carefully.
Aside from the usual suspects (Salah, Kane, Agüero, Sterling), look for when ‘flat-track bullies’ in the mould of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Sébastien Haller can excel on the fixture list. Seek out those players who ruthlessly prey on weaker opposition.
When should I play my triple captain?
Watch out for those double gameweeks – but avoid triggering your triple captain chip too late in the day. Logic suggests the games will begin to stack up for the high point-scoring players by the final few weeks of the season, and that could prove costly.
Don’t be surprised if real-life managers suddenly become your own worse enemy as they rest key players. That could leave your inspired triple-captain strategy lying in tatters if your main man starts from the bench. Last season, players had to wait until Gameweek 25 for the first double gameweek. When it finally arrives, it’s best to make the most of it, as the longer you wait the higher the risk of your captain being a gameweek no-show.
When should I play my Fantasy Premier League wildcard?
Provided you haven’t already opted for the ‘rip it up, start again’ strategy after the opening few weeks of the season, there is no ‘optimum’ time to play your wildcard.
However, being bold and going early could work in your favour at this stage of the season. Bigger clubs currently have free reign to play their strongest squads without any major cup or European distractions currently on their radar. Remember, the fixtures will also start to pile up by midwinter. That that could ruin your best laid-plans if your wildcard replacements are constantly being chopped and changed as managers guard against fatigue and injury.
Alternatively, the opening few weeks of the season can be misleading. Early-season form players can easily go off the boil by mid-autumn. Many a fantasy football manager has boxed themselves in once their £6.0m summer ‘bargain buy’ starts stinking the place out in November. For that reason, if you opt to play the long game, wait until the late autumn to make wholesale changes once form starts to level out and injuries hit hard.
Before you commit, it’s also worth scanning the fixture list to spot potential red flags. Do the bulk of your re-tooled squad have more games away from home? Do you have too many players from one team playing only teams in the top half of the table? Take that moment to pause before you press to confirm your wildcard. It could be the best tactical decision you make all season.
Remember you only have two wildcards to use per season – one before and one after Christmas. Make sure you use them wisely.
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