After an incredible run of success during the final few Gameweeks of the season, our site regular Ed Masters, who posts on the boards as “Mo Mane Mo Problems”, won our Members league and came close to claiming the Fantasy Premier League title itself. Between Gameweek 33 and 37 he leapt from 57th to fourth place and eventually finished in third overall to cap off a remarkable campaign.
Congratulations on a sensational season. Take us through that final Gameweek and especially the final match, where a stellar score from David de Gea and a quiet Marcus Rashford could have seen you take the FPL title.
By half-time on Sunday I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and went to the gym. I felt it was only a matter of time before key players I didn’t own including Andros Townsend, Dusan Tadic, Harry Kane and Riyad Mahrez got something. They all blanked, though, making it really close at the top.
I needed a perfect storm to win overall and even contemplated transferring out Alexis Sanchez, as I knew he would be captained by at least one of the three above me going into Gameweek 38.
I just felt that – given my team name – fate had taken over and I had to captain the in-form Sadio Mane. In the end he did the business but I was let down by Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Manuel Lanzini, and Andy Carroll, who were all differentials to the teams above me.
By Tuesday I had virtually given up, to be honest. I needed a very unlikely set of circumstances, which required Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford being rested or the former being sent off to concede a penalty that De Gea would save. It would have been so harsh on Dimitri – who was top and eventually won FPL – if I had claimed victory due to players being rested. I’d just like to say congratulations to Dimitri, a more than worthy winner.
You had a dreadful first Gameweek, achieving a rank of just 1.4m, but by the end of Gameweek 4 you were ranked 58K. This proved a season-defining set of games – how did you turn it around?
Thanks for reminding me! Fortunately I’d plumped for Riyad Mahrez as my fourth midfielder, who saved me with his 15-point haul. My first four-point hit (there would be another 13!) of the season was important: I removed Nabil Bentaleb (not sure what I was thinking!), Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic for David Silva, Dimitri Payet and Aleksandar Kolarov. I decided early on that this season was going to most definitely be form over fixtures.
How would you rate your first wildcard and why did you use it in Gameweek 7? On the face of it your rank moved from 17K to 1K within two Gameweeks, but by Gameweek 12 you had slid back to 23K after four red arrows. What were your key players on the wildcard, both good and bad.
My first wildcard was fairly average. Only Sanchez came in and scored well (GW7: 20 points , GW8: 16 points). Key players were Sanchez, less intelligent was Cesar Azpilicueta, clearly I thought Chelsea were going to tighten up. Captaining Sergio Aguero and bringing in Jamie Vardy in Gameweek 8 propelled me towards the top 1k. As for the subsequent fall, some suspect transfers, most notably Fabricio Coloccini, who scored one point and a -3 in his first two weeks.
The All Out Attack (AOA) chip looks to have cost you points, but your Gameweek 33 wildcard, Gameweek 34 Bench Boost and Gameweek 37 Triple Captaincy helped earn a move into the top five placings. How important were chips to your season? What do you think of them and what changes would you make?
The AOA chip is awful. In hindsight I’d just save it for a Gameweek when you literally can only field two defenders, yet are pretty sure your front eight will play. If this scenario doesn’t arise, then I wouldn’t use it at all.
In hindsight, and probably my biggest regret, was stubbornly playing my Bench Boost chip in double Gameweek 34. Like a lot of others on Fantasy Football Scout, I had pretty much planned this since the double fixtures were announced. I felt that with Liverpool likely to rotate due to the Europa League that I had not got it quite right, and I ended up only scoring 11 points from my Reds’ contingent. That would have been much lower if Simon Mignolet hadn’t got six points in the final action of the Gameweek.
To rub salt into the wound, Sanchez, who I captained, scored 25 points and Aguero netted 26 points. I felt there was little chance I would get near these hauls for my triple captaincy in double Gameweek 37. In the end Hazard got me 12 points, which could’ve been worse. I do sometimes think ‘if only’ with regards to this – if I had swapped the weeks I used them I would’ve scored an extra 14 points (Alexis Sanchez TC DGW34), and an extra nine points (Bench scored 21 versus Hazard’s 12) with Bench Boost in DGW37. That would have brought 23 extra points and an FPL crown. If only.
Over your previous six seasons your highest finish was 6580th place. What did you do differently this season or was it “the chips wot won it”?
I never really liked FPL until the end of 2013/14 when I caught the bug. That was the season when I first found FFScout, or at least put it into action for FPL purposes. I first found it for the 2012 Euros and, after reading a few articles in April, decided I wanted to win my mini-leagues. I was miles behind, having basically forgotten about my team (as with all the previous years where I don’t think I didn’t end as a ‘dead’ team) but captaining Edin Dzeko for a double Gameweek propelled me hundreds of thousands of places up the overall standings. I still lost those mini-leagues, so decided it would need a full season’s effort. So I kept reading FFScout over the summer and made a fairly decent starting team for 2014/15 before ending 6580th overall.
I learnt a lot last season and put that into effect for this one. The reason I did so well this year was due to my value fascination. I hate losing money on players and love building value. At one point my transfer value (meaningless I know) was something like £112m. That was easy to do this season as players seemed to find form and trigger huge bandwagons – Mahrez and Dele Alli are two that spring to mind. In the end, I think the fact I managed to quite easily get Sanchez, Hazard, De Bruyne and Aguero into the same final day team perhaps was as a result of the previous 37 Gameweeks’ work. Perhaps fittingly for the season, though, it was the budget Rashford ‘wot won it’ for Dimitri.
Who were your star players this season? Who were your flops?
Mahrez went into my Gameweek 1 team. I was a bit worried about the Tinkerman’s plans and how this might impact on his minutes, but from what I’d seen from the opportunities Nigel Pearson had given him in 2014/15, the Algerian looked like the perfect fourth midfielder. Other stars were the ever reliable Mesut Ozil and Vardy, who kept me ticking along nicely for large parts of the season.
There are too many flops to mention them all, but special mentions to Bentaleb, Sebastian Coates and Coloccini. If Hazard hadn’t edged me so close to the title in the final weeks, I’d probably have included him in this esteemed list.
What Members functions helped you the most and why? Please give examples of how key decisions were made through Members tools.
I used the ‘Rate my team’ tool pretty much every week, but didn’t always take it as gospel. I think the stats available through the members tables gives you a wealth of information that can be used to good effect – it certainly helped me bring in some players I wouldn’t have, or perhaps more importantly ignore ones I would have been tempted to bring in.
I remember transferring in Anthony Martial during his initial hot streak, despite knowing his conversion rate was so high. In hindsight I wish I had paid attention and not acquired him, as he quickly dropped off in terms of returns, as the statistics predicted.
I’m not really a fan of the Premier League, I only follow it for FPL, so didn’t watch any live football and watched maybe TV highlights once or twice. Ultimately, I think the most valuable tool on FFScout is its community. If you read enough of the comments you spot trends and there is always great advice on offer. For example, it was the community who said that Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe and Patrick van Aanholt were unlikely to start in Gameweek 38, so I benched them. They did indeed fail to make the starting XI. It’s the little things like this that can make a big difference over the course of a season.
Finally I’d like to shout out my friends in the ‘Champs League’ mini-league. I don’t play FPL for money, but Darren, Andrew and Ed will be treating myself, James and David to a nice dinner at some point in July.