After suggesting some strategies in my previous article, now I’m going to give you 10 strategy tips that can be used as a guideline when shaping your roster and help simplify the process of creating a successful fantasy EPL team.
1. Always remember! The team you select at the beginning is not the final version of the team. The most important part of the fantasy EPL season is the first month. You can never know exactly who is going to start for each team, and there are always going to be players who sneak under the radar or come out of nowhere. Case and point: Watford’s Etienne Capoue. He had a tremendous start to last season, yet not many people decided to add him to their rosters. Those who did reaped the rewards. His torrid pace came to an end, but he still finished high in the overall midfielder rankings. Watch for those players who start well and don’t be afraid to add them right away, even if it’s to replace a player you paid a premium price for. Additionally, the season starts before the transfer deadline closes; therefore, new players are going to keep arriving and joining their teams (ruining your initial squad plans and choices). Consequently, you’ll need to adapt to the changes (or you’ll get left behind).
2. Try to get as many penalty and/or free kick takers on your roster as possible. It’s the simplest way to score. Any further explanation would be superfluous.
3. Focus on clean sheets. Add goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders from teams that concede the fewest number of goals. Other than the obpricey pricy choices from Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United, players from teams like Burnley, Southampton, WBA and Stoke City can be especially valuable since they are cheaper. Just be careful and realize you’ll have to take the good with the bad with those guys. Benching a Stoke defender versus Manchester City and playing him against Huddersfield seems logical — that is, until Stoke plays a goalless draw with City and loses 2-0 to Huddersfield. In order to avoid these types of situations, make sure he’s in your fantasy lineup all the time. That way you won’t miss out on those clean sheets versus the favorites. As long as that Stoke defender ends up in the top 10 to 20 defenders at the end of the season, you’re fine. At the end of the day, we all need to understand that that’s where the motivation lies for the “smaller” clubs in real life, performing at their best against the best.
4. Don’t get stuck on players from the perennial top teams. Those squads do battle in several fronts during the season, so players who you invested a lot of money in will be rested or injured and not play. This is especially true for midfielders.
5. Focus on consistency. Try to get consistent value from each spot on your roster. This is easier said than done, of course. Players who are on the field every game tend to finish with better overall numbers even if they don’t score too many fantasy points on a per game basis. You would not think of Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels and West Bromwich Albion’s Garreth McAuley or Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke and Watford’s Troy Deeney as high-end fantasy performers. However, they had more points than Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia, and just as many as Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
6. Goals are overrated, assists are underrated, midfielders who do both are a fantasy gold mine. Alexis Sanchez, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Eriksen, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dele Alli are the first names that popped up in my head. They, along with Eden Hazard, were the top six midfielders last season.
7. When searching for lower value with upside (usually to round up the roster), target players who performed well toward the end of the previous season (Nathan Redmond – Southampton, Tom Davies – Everton), or maybe had memorable appearances during some part of it (Ramadan Sobhi – Stoke City). You’ll be able to read more about such players in my sleepers article coming in August.
8. Don’t keep injured players on your roster in hopes they are going to miss only a game or two. You never know, so make the smart move and get rid of them. For example, you’ll start Sergio Aguero even though he’s questionable because hey, he’s Sergio Aguero. And what do you know? He’s not in the lineup. The following game you avoid the potential risk and disappointment by benching him. And what do you know? He starts, spends 90 minutes on the soccer field and scores a pair of goals. Save yourself of plenty of frustrations. My example scenario was only two games, but such circumstances tend to drag on for much longer. Replace such a player with someone who is healthy. It’s salary cap, so you can always get Sergio Aguero back on your fantasy roster later on when he fully recuperates.
9. There are different strategies on how to select your fantasy team. Regardless of the one you choose, stick with it until you cross the finish line. Only the overall numbers at season’s end can tell you whether your strategy worked or not.
10. Feelings don’t matter in fantasy sports. Don’t banish certain players or players from a particular squad just because you don’t like them or the team they play for.
Hope these 10 tips serve as a useful guide. Until next time…