Filed under: Interview - Posted by: Paul
In case you missed it, we’ve expanded our coverage of Fantasy games this season and have rolled out our own league in the Sky Sports game. What better way, then, to boost our know-how of this new diversion than an interview with last season’s overall winner, Michael Shipley: a long-time visitor and member of Fantasy Football Scout…
FFScout: Take us through your title winning season. What were the turning points and key transfers/decisions you made during the campaign?
MS: Since you have the opportunity to change your captain every week there are plenty of decisions to regret throughout the season! However it’s the choices towards the end of the campaign that you tend to remember and think of as crucial, even though in reality, early decisions are just as important. In the same way that Man City’s three points against Swansea in Gameweek 1 was just as important as the dramatic win against QPR on the last day, my decision to select Sergio Aguero as captain for the final week stands out.
FFScout: Who was/were your key player(s) throughout? Were there any differentials who came in and produced for you?
MS: It was obviously essential to cash in on Robin Van Persie’s form for much of the season. I drafted in Jonny Evans, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson sometime around March – all performed consistently until May and also provided the necessary funds to invest in Aguero in April.
FFScout: How did your initial lineup fare? Are you a believer in clawing back early lineup mistakes?
MS: I benefited from Edin Dzeko’s early season goal blast but obviously had to remove him fairly sharpish when he fell out of favour. If you make a mistake with your initial selection or if circumstances conspire against you early in the season, then you definitely can’t ride it out for almost an entire campaign without subs to call on. However the difficulty is identifying it and not making another mistake trying to rectify it.
FFScout: Did you play any other games alongside the Sky Sports Fantasy last season? At which point did the Sky Sports game become the priority?
MS: I also entered the Mirror (YTM), Metro, Sun and Daily Mail competitions. I didn’t pay any attention to the Sun or Metro from November. After that I mainly focused on the Sky teams and helping my wife with her Daily Mail teams, although I kept an eye on YTM for the remainder of the season after staying in contention for longer than expected.
FFScout: How much of an impact did the race for the prize have on your day-to-day life?
MS: Not too much. During the run-in I was keenly refreshing the leaderboards the morning after fixtures and wondering what players rivals might have.
FFScout: How did the final day of the season unfold for you?
MS: I had used all my transfers and the captain deadline was the previous midweek (note Gameweeks now run Saturday to Friday), therefore the dye was cast, so to speak. So I could enjoy normal weekend activities such as taking the kids to the cinema and mowing the lawn. The term “enjoy” is adopted loosely for the latter, but I could enjoy the final day drama unfold knowing it had eventually been done! Even after Aguero scored and subsequently was awarded the Man of the Match, I didn’t know whether it was enough to secure top spot, since it was a strong possibility that my rivals could have captained him. So I didn’t get excited until I learned that my main rival had chosen Fernando Torres as his captain for Chelsea’s double Gameweek.
FFScout: Do you tend to favour established players or are you willing to take a risk on new arrivals to the Premier League?
MS: I am quite happy to take a calculated gamble, sometimes it works out and other times you pick Mauro Boselli!
FFScout: Without giving too much of your strategy away, do you have any tips for new Sky Sports Fantasy managers out there? Ie, with no benches to allow rotation, how should our approach differ?
MS: I honestly can’t think of anything other than the standard Fantasy football strategies that I’m sure that the average Fantasy Football Scout visitor would be aware of. Having no bench should make team selections simpler; just pick the 11 players that will score the most points!
FFScout: How do you think the rule changes concerning bonus points will alter your strategy for the forthcoming season?
MS: It is just another factor to consider when weighing up the value of a player. It will require less conventional judgments to be made on selections but I am fine with that.
The Scout League
Thanks to Michael for taking time out his pre-season to talk to us. You can join him in the hunt for the top prize of £25,000 this season’s Sky Sports Fantasy Football, while in our Fantasy Football Scout League we’ve a home cinema system worth £600 up for grabs.
Register your team here and then sign up for the “FFScout” League with the PIN Code: 8004519.
Sky Stats On the Way
If you’ve already signed up, or on the verge of doing so, you’ll hopefully interested in knowing that tomorrow we’re scheduled to release our Sky Sports stats table for members. These will take the new bonus points system and apply them to last season’s data. The tables will identify those players who earned 60+ successful passes and 4+ tackles won per match and offer an overall bonus score, plus a minutes per bonus stat. They’ll be available for all positions and fully sortable. Right now, if you’re playing the Sky Sports game, this data is unavailable elsewhere.
We’ll also be publishing a follow-up article, analysing the top performers from last term and identifying the potential benefactors of the Sky Sports Fantasy Football bonus points for the season ahead.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby