I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see the back of this season. Those of you who have sampled this article regularly, or had the misfortune to listen to my bleating via the ScoutCast, will know that I’ve suffered somewhat. The rank doesn’t lie – this is my worst ever Fantasy Premier League campaign.
I’ve wasted words and breath attempting to analyse what’s gone wrong and, while I can point to some bad luck along the way, I’ve little doubt that my season has been tainted by errors of judgement and stubbornness to go with the “wisdom of the crowd”.
At least I can comfort myself by the fact that I’ve left the season with some lessons learned: nine months of struggle have at least helped me come up with the following pointers:
- React as quickly as possible to form players and don’t be shy to use hits.
- Apply that rule to bandwagaons and hunches alike – if there’s form, back it.
- Don’t beat yourself up about chasing points when signing form players you’ve missed.
- Don’t take unnecessary gambles with the captaincy in a bid to make ground.
- Sign dominant centre-backs who win headers.
- Only sign full-backs if they have an outstanding statistic in their favour – normally, crosses or tackles.
- Don’t be shy spending money on defenders if they also offer goal threat.
- If you think a player is injury prone, he’s likely to eventually live up to that tag.
Few of these will come as a surprise to most of you. You’re seasoned Fantasy managers, right? You know this stuff. I thought the same.For some reason, however, I’ve either been in the dark on these principles, or I’ve just been far too stubborn to apply them. I’d say it was 25:75 in that respect. Personally, I’ve been taken by surprise on just how much the bonus system favoured centre-backs over your run-of-the-mill full-back, while my reluctance to jump on bandwagons has punished me.
I mentioned some of these in last week’s ScoutCast and Granville, wise old whining head that he is, pointed out that “every season is different”. A cliché for sure, but an essential point to consider.
We can have our lists of rules and principles to follow but the fact remains: each season we are given new problems to solve and have to react and shape our strategies accordingly. The list above may have worked better for me this season – it could be next to useless next time out.
That’s the beauty of this game we play. Guiding principles are great and undoubtedly can help you out – but they can only get you so far. Most of use are pretty convinced that succeeding in Fantasy Football requires you to go with your gut and ride your luck, almost in equal measure.
The ten sets of 22 players each weekend aren’t aware of the methodical thinking we’ve put in – they’re not working with us or conspiring against us – not even Aleks Kolarov. We can construct best-laid plans and hope they aren’t ripped up by the whims of a Premier League manager or a reckless challenge and card-flapping referee. If they are, we have to ensure that we don’t give in to frustration and go again the following week, reacting to what we’ve seen, what’s unfolded and what we’ve learned. Or in my case, the following season.
I’ll be back in a few months, then, oozing positivity and seeking a season more like that of Luke Weston and Tom Fenley than my own experience over the last nine months. Those two Scout league names tussle for the Fantasy Premier League crown today, with Borna Gamulin sandwiched between them. Best of luck to those guys – and all the Fantasy managers who soaked up this and any of our articles and other efforts this season. It’s been a pleasure, even in this most bruising of seasons.