Earlier this week I noticed a Hot Topic questioning whether the January Wildcard should be scrapped. I’ll happily admit that I support many of the arguments for it being banished – not least the fact it compounds the creation of template teams – but I’m torn: if it wasn’t for the New Year refresh, my season would probably be in tatters rather than edging towards some degree of respectability.
The Wildcard has been kind to me. It took until January but, finally, I managed to salvage a few sound decisions which have laid the foundations for a gradual recovery.
In a season of lessons learned, it’s taught me something I’ll take forward to future seasons: if there’s obvious errors that require major surgery, turn to the scalpel quickly, whatever the cost. The Wildcard has highlighted that when your squad feels sound and is regularly earning you green arrows the burden of decision-making suddenly becomes easier – the chances of making further “good calls” are somehow enhanced. That’s a nonsensical theory but, for some reason, one that I’m clinging to.
My stubborn approach in the early season – my reluctance to admit errors and opt for obvious “bandwagon” targets meant that I was, for weeks on end, fighting fires. Every decision was pressured and mistakes stacked up, sinking me further into the mire.
Since January, the experience has been different. My decision to jump on the Luis Suarez bandwagon gave me the initial spurt I needed; my twin Chelsea defenders, along with a flourishing Eden Hazard, have provided me with a consistent and robust platform to build from.
Suddenly there are fewer fires to douse and I’ve been able to use transfers to aid recovery – the decision to bring in Raheem Sterling. Last weeks’ successful move for Wayne Rooney. Gradually I’ve managed to add a few more sound judgments to the mix and, low and behold, things are looking healthier.
It’s too little, too late. I know that. But, I also know that it’s made me realise the value of addressing issues quickly. Granville said to me earlier in the season that I was making changes too slowly. It pains to admit it, but he was right.
I should have used the initial Wildcard more wisely but, aside from that, I should have had the mettle to spend points to rid myself of failed decisions and move for obvious targets. Had I established the foundation I have now back in Gameweek 10, my season would have been more enjoyable and, in all likelihood, more successful.
Obvious, right? I’m not sure why it’s taken me seven seasons to realise this. Perhaps the reality is that I’ve never really suffered such a slump, that somehow I’ve always found a right decision at the right time to stem the slide.
I’ll end with a story.
Earlier in the season, I took comfort that I was ranked alongside Ulrik Nyland. This guy was top of our Career Hall of Fame – clearly a Fantasy Premier League manager of some repute. Ulrik was uncharacteristically struggling this term but, in Gameweeks 5 and 6 he spent no less than 24 points on transfers. I scoffed at the time. Surely this was a classic knee jerk? Maybe Ulrik’s credentials weren’t so sound.
Ulrik was ranked 939,746 in Gameweek 6. After spending those points he earned two red arrows and 17 green. By Gameweek 25 he was ranked 21,117. I was ranked 478,442.
Clearly, Ulrik learned the lesson long before me.