“It is by testing our ideas, subjecting them to failure, that we set the stage for growth.” – Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking
Another Gameweek passes in the Fantasy Premier League, and it’s another hit for my team.
Greyhead’s constant nods to my transfer dealings in his ‘Great and the Good‘ series keeps reminding me of my aggressive approach to this season.
Using this article as a chance to reflect on my hits, it’s quite grim reading on first glance.
A -4 to bring in Dani Ceballos (£5.3m) in Gameweek 4 was a disaster. My second hit of the season involved me chasing the points of Kevin de Bruyne (£10.2m) who was promptly benched and scored 1 point.
I managed to resist the urge for further hits until Gameweek 10, where I again took a hit to dump the underperforming Riyad Mahrez (£8.3m) for KDB… who managed just a single assist.
In Gameweek 11, another hit, as Mason Mount (£6.8m) left my team for Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m), to fund a move for Jamie Vardy (£9.7m).
My most recent hit involved taking out Ricardo Pereira (£6.4m) and Hudson-Odoi for Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.0m) and James Maddison (£7.6m). It’s quite painful to see just how much the carousel has been spinning.
What’s interesting (well for me anyway!) is how I’ve been going about making the hits.
My latest was the third time I’ve made a so-called ‘sideways’ move.
To fund de Bruyne initially, I downgraded Virgil van Dijk (£6.4m) for fellow Liverpool player Joel Matip (£5.3m). After selling him for an ill-fated fling with Mahrez, I lost Mount for teammate Hudson-Odoi.
To then upgrade Hudson-Odoi, I lost Pereira for Söyüncü.
To finally board the Vardy party, I even managed to swap Nicolas Otamendi (£5.2m), a non-playing defender, for Martin Kelly (£4.1m)… another non-playing defender.
On the whole, I think these were the right moves for my team, but in some ways, these hits felt like trading two players for one.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all but my latest hit have got me big fat red arrows.
Looking back on these moves, it’s also made me realise that I’ve been putting too much money in defence this season.
Out of the three hits I’ve just mentioned, they all involved downgrading a defender. This is despite a normal strategy of mine being to avoid paying a premium price for defenders unless they are playing at Wing Back or have set pieces in their locker.
I’ve never been afraid of making a hit, and I recently watched the brilliant Meet the Manager video with Joe and Mark, where Mark talks about his own strategy.
His fear of being £0.1m or £0.2m off transfers further down the line fuels his aggression, making him more likely to take hits, and also make earlier transfers.
My most recent hit didn’t pay off this week but it’s already helped improve my team value.
Hudson-Odoi has dropped twice, while both Söyüncü and Maddison have gone up £0.2m each.
That’s a massive swing – and my team is in better shape for it.
Just because people are saying I’m taking too many hits doesn’t mean I’m likely to slow down any time soon…!
And in true Black Box style, my hits are often correcting my mistakes, such as bringing in Hudson-Odoi, who I do feel I was a little unlucky with, damn you Christian Pulisic!
In fact, this season would probably be even worse for me if I hadn’t set about correcting mistakes in my own team.
Losing de Bruyne on the Wildcard for Mahrez was rash. It cost me four points to bring him back, but he delivered this week with a goal against Chelsea.
Not leaving an extra £0.1m in the bank for Vardy was idiotic, but my -4 to bring him in and ship Callum Wilson (£7.7m) a few weeks ago has more than paid for itself.
I have no doubt that the upgrade of Hudson-Odoi to Maddison will reap rewards soon too. He is my boy after all – despite his questionable taste in backpacks.
As people around me are getting itchy feet with players like Anthony Martial (£7.8m), Mount, and Raheem Sterling (£12.0m) – I feel like I may finally be in a pretty strong position as we head into Christmas.
I’m banking the transfer this week, and then, barring a change in Arsenal manager or a monster haul, I’ll be looking at getting rid of Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) and FINALLY bringing in the man they call Lord John Lundstram (£4.9m).
Yes, you read that right. I’m planning on losing last years golden boot winner to fund a move for a £4.0m defender… what a season this is.
So, while I do not have any hits planned in the near future, it seems inevitable that I will succumb to my cravings. When I do, let’s hope it comes from a position of strength, rather than to correct yet another mistake.
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