Fantasy Football Thanks

As a fantasy manager I have some strong convictions when it comes to how I plan my squad and strategize over the course of the FPL season. That statement could be applied to nearly all fantasy mangers in the game. This year, more than the past 4 years I feel I have a better knowledge and understanding of how the game is played. The misconception of participating in fantasy (NFL) football for 38 years gave me a false sense of understanding the English game. Understand the players, understand the game, but there is much more to FPL.

The 2017/18 FPL season represents just the 5th year I have taken the reins as a fantasy manager. Overall points and rank aren’t really representative of individual decisions made, but I have improved over the season, as it’s been a constant state of learning to play the fantasy game. It’s more than being a “casual” manager, which honestly I probably was the first 2 years.  However 2015/16 saw a different approach to the season, which resulted in early season success that carried me to my best finish of 75k.

Since that time, I started relying on sites like Fantasy Football Scout, Fantasy Football First, Fantasy Football 24/7 and Fantasy Football Geek to assist in my decision making. However, an adverse effect occurred, caused to me have more questions than answers during the season. This caused further frustration during the year, but I attempted to remain positive, taking it as a learning experience, but most of all remember it’s a game and to have fun.

During pre-season, this year felt different from the start. Maybe it was the fact I put in too many wasted hours, while at work, getting paid, to plan a strategy for the upcoming season. Lots of banter before FPL released players prices got me thinking about who I wanted and what potential formations I would consider.

This year was also the first year I decided to pay for a few subscriptions, tossing money at Fantasy Football Scout, Always Cheating and Fantasy Football Fix. While money doesn’t buy success, it does help promote other like minded managers and give them a bit to help offset costs for the time and effort they put in to provide a service. Never once in the 38 years of fantasy (NFL) football did I think a fantasy service deserved my money. However, I have a respect for those who support the FPL game.

For me, Twitter was an all new experience. While I have had an account since October, 2010, rarely was is used…until this season. Just last month I updated my profile and built a new website called the 6thGoal, to provide opinions and commentary on my fantasy teams. It’s really just an extension of my personal site, in which I moved all the football content to, based on a Watford theme, the club I support.

However after a few months on Twitter, @6thGoal, I have a new found appreciate for the game and feel this has been the best source of information that has helped me achieve my current rank of 171k, on the back of 8 green arrows in the last 9 weeks! Over that period I have gained nearly 1 million spots in the overall ranking and feel my squad is ready to excel through the holiday period.

Why has Twitter helped? I believe it has to do with more of a “personal” interaction with other fantasy managers, which includes those who run football sites, record pods or promote the game on You Tube. As mentioned previously,  Fantasy Football Scout, Fantasy Football First, Fantasy Football 24/7 and Fantasy Football Geek have been my “go to” sites for weekly insight.

One thing that appears to be lost are quality response, especially on the LONG threads at FFS. Great information from the contributors but many questions and comments get passed up, with fantasy managers failing to get an answer. FFG has been a great site, as Geek weaves news and comments in fine fashion. Unfortunately, I feel like there is not quite enough interaction, while comments don’t get passed up, sometimes they never get answered at all.

That is where Twitter has filled the void for me. Currently following 107 different accounts; 87 fantasy football, 3 Watford, 4 amateur radio, 4 beer halls, 2 English football teams, 1 Italian team and 5 “other” accounts. It’s been here I have gleaned much of my information, which has be making more informed decisions regarding my squad on a weekly basis.

It also provides an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the “fantasy elite” like FPL hall of famerJames Egersdorff. His insight from his pods, as well as information could potentially play a key role in your decision making. The same can be said for @andy85wsm, who can be found at Let’s Talk FPL and on the Fantasy Football Scoutcast. Andy brings great experience to the fantasy game as he discusses the game, fielding questions in his weekly show.  Peter Blake at Mathematically Safe, provides a detailed look at FPL while analyzing the numbers to help fantasy managers understand where value may lie in order to improve fantasy decsions.

This year I have begun to identify closely with AZ, Brighton fan and personality on FFS. Based on his information, I have begun to notice a bit of a parallel in our teams, from 3 big forwards, shifting to premium wing backs and more recently, mighty midfielders. His overall score of 899 has him just inside the top 5k, while I am 69 points off his score, languishing at 171k.

A new piece I have added to my weekly preparation has been three fantasy based podcasts; Fantasy Football Scoutcast, Who Got the Assist and Always Cheating. Each podcast brings something a bit different to the fantasy game, from panel discussions on risks and clean sheets to #NyomWatch and how to respond when your manager asks you, “How’s your team doing?” I look forward to being entertained by Nick and Tom at WGTA,  Brandon and Josh at AC, as well as a rotating panel from FFS lead by Mark, Jonty, Andy and AZ.

As I have seen for nearly 40 years, fantasy gaming comes down to one key component none of can predict. Luck. I subscribe to the theory of the fantasy football  law of averages. As described by Russ Bliss on Fantasy (NFL) Football Starters (now defunct) with a twist for the FPL we play.

This is a law that dictates there are only so many goals and assists to go around and mediocre guys who have really good weeks will have to have really bad weeks later on to average their stats out. It also works in reverse for good and/or great players. Those who have really bad weeks will have to have some really good ones to again, average it out by seasons end.

Case in point right now, Harry Kane. Previous years tell us Kane is worth every bit of his £12.8 price tag. Yet you look at his underlying stats and overall points (82) and some might begin to question his value to your FPL squad. Conversely, many fantasy mangers have been high on Richarlison de Andrade, at £6.6 has been the sort of budget player we attempt to predict early on, in order to take advantage of a “budget” price (started at £6.0), while posted 5 goals, 5 assists and 4 bonus points for 75 points on the season!

As we approached Gameweek 1, I took a page from Rob Reid, contributor at Fantasy Football Geek. This year I used his goals to help formulate mine.

  1. Top 10k finish in the Overall Rankings
  2. Average 60.0 points/week
  3. Survive 4 rounds in the cup
  4. Win my random FPL leagues

Currently I am ranked at 171k and feel I have a great shot at a top 10k finish. With 830 overall points I am averaging 55.33/PPG, which is much improved over last season at this time (48.6). The cup begins in Gameweek 17, we will see how that goes. I am ranked #2 in both the random mini-leagues I joined, along with the other 13 leagues I am participating in.

Finally, I just want to say thank you to everyone I failed to mention by site, podcast or name who has provided their opinion and insights to help me get to where I am this season.

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