Pro Pundit Teams

How I’ve improved my FPL rank after a slow start

Az discusses his rise up the Fantasy Premier League ranks in his latest Pro Pundits article


My ascent up the rankings continues. After being down in the depths of the two million mark in Gameweek 11, six out of seven green arrows has seen me move into a more respectable position of 372,885th at the time of writing. The gloom of the start to my season has been lifted and I can look forward to the second half of the campaign with some cautious optimism.

The Black Box has been gathering dust over this period, as I haven’t needed to reflect on any mistakes and learn from them. Instead, I enter strange territory where I can actually look back over the last few months and think about what went right for a change.

Vardy and captaincy

This isn’t particularly insightful but I have to mention the current highest-scoring player in the game and the impact he’s had on my season. Going into Gameweek 12, I had a successful captain return in five out of 11 Gameweeks (a 45% success rate). Then Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) came in. Since then, I’ve captained Vardy for point hauls of 12, 12, 5 and 5, and my captain has returned in all but two Gameweeks (71% success rate). Vardy has also been my highest-scoring player in three of these Gameweeks.

Having a consistent player like Vardy, to many, can seem quite boring. But ultimately, I find that the captaincy is the single most difficult decision we face each week. Even when presented with an ‘easy’ game for certain key assets (like Sadio Mané (£12.2m) versus Brighton in Gameweek 14, or Raheem Sterling (£11.8m) versus Southampton in Gameweek 11) there is always the risk that players will blank.

However, Vardy’s record since Gameweek 9 is unbelievable: 12 goals, not a single blank and four double-digit returns. As others have looked to be clever and go for more leftfield options, sticking the captaincy on Vardy has led to consistent returns in an area which I have struggled with. His effective ownership might be high each week but you are still making up ground if you captain him and he returns. Slow and steady has been the key to my rise.

Ings

Ings continues scoring run as Shelvey nets third goal in three

Let me tell you a story about Danny Ings (£6.5m). Last year, I bought him into my team around Christmas time. I had a strike force of Ings, Isaac Success (£5.8m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) and to be honest, I was looking for trouble.

The three were appalling for me, as players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m), Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.7m) hoovered up the points. I’ll always remember listening to the Soccer Saturday commentary in one particular game, as Ings was through on goal, only to miss the target and then be taken off with an injury. His price, around £5.0m at the time, meant it was really difficult for me to move him on, and I had fires all over my squad. This meant that Ings stayed in my team for weeks despite his red flag. It was a nightmare.

This year, however, he’s more than made up for it. When Tammy Abraham (£7.9m) picked up an injury, I thought it may be a chance to take a punt on Danny again. But I did not expect him to get five goals in as many games and be second to only Vardy in the goalscoring charts at the time of writing.

I’ve always felt that injuries to a player such as Abraham present a great opportunity to move ahead of people who are slower to react. While my decision to remove Kevin De Bruyne (£10.4m) earlier in the season was a misfire, I stuck to this strategy, and I’m glad that I went for Ings. Equally, I’m sure that those that moved for Jiménez will be delighted with his goal and three assists over the same period. Those that held on to Abraham however, will be disappointed that they didn’t roll the dice.

Avoiding Pulisic

Pulisic benched as Lampard switches to a 3-4-3 against unchanged Spurs

One area that I was determined not to get dragged in to was entering into the lottery of Chelsea’s midfield rotation. Of course, I didn’t expect six gameweeks of blanks for Christian Pulisic (£7.2m), but I did fear that he may be at risk of rotation due to the number of players that are vying for starting spots and any potential unsettling of the team that may be caused by Lampard’s tinkering.

Instead I went for James Maddison (£7.8m), and while he has now left my team, his returns have been excellent for me – despite occupying a much deeper position than I was happy with.

As we enter the Christmas period, rotation is expected – but giving yourself a headache of a player like Mason Mount (£6.5m) or Pulisic, where you are fearing their name not being on the teamsheet every time you check the line-ups, does not seem sensible to me. Yes, Pulisic has only missed one game over quite a long period, but now Chelsea have put in one of their best performances of the season against Spurs, you have to feel like his spot is less secure.

As some advice, consider who in your team is droppable and consider moving them on. I’d be a worried owner of players like Anthony Martial (£7.7m), Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) or even Brighton star Neal Maupay (£5.8m), who may be pushed out to the wing or even dropped over the Christmas break.

My plans going forward

But that’s enough reflection. I now need to think about how to capitalise on my good run. We have several new managers in the league and I’m looking to see if there are any “bounces” I can exploit.

Watford put in a great performance against Manchester United and the training videos that have Pearson encouraging quick passing and explosive running make me think that players like Troy Deeney (£6.2m), Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) or Ismaïla Sarr (£6.2m) could start to pick up points with good fixtures ahead.

I’m also an admirer of Carlo Ancelotti. I think his appointment is great news for Everton and it’s the defence I am particularly interested in. Lucas Digne (£5.7m) has dropped in price and I think he will continue to be heavily involved in Everton’s attacks, with his chances of clean sheets surely increasing. Other players like Yerry Mina (£5.3m) and Richarlison (£7.9m) could benefit from the new manager – and even options like Moise Kean (£6.4m) could also potentially come into reckoning.

Arsenal, under Arteta, I am much less confident about. I think he has inherited a mess, and if he can get them firing, he truly is a miracle worker. There are simply no players other than Aubameyang that I think you can consider for your team at this stage. It will be fascinating to see what he can do with the squad but, in my opinion, it is far too lightweight and weak to compete in the league, or to factor into our squads. Sorry, Arsenal fans!

This will likely be my last article before 2020, so I’d just like to say a big thank you to anyone that has read these and to anyone that has followed me on the Scoutcas, or on my new venture of FPL Top Guns with Luke. I’m having a lot of fun writing and recording things lately, so it’s nice to feel like I’ve got my mojo back, and that hopefully you are enjoying the content.

To everyone on the site, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Az has been a contributor to the site and Scoutcast guest for many years. The Brighton and Hove Albion supporter has three top 10k finishes to his name in a long Fantasy career, the best of which was a rank of 817 in the 2017/18 season.

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2,958 Comments Post a Comment
  1. RamaJama
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    23 days, 2 hours ago

    Anyone here for captains with only pros and no cons?

    A) Rashford
    B) Salah
    C) Tammy
    D) Alli

    1. AMP
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      23 days, 2 hours ago

      A

    2. linkafu
        23 days, 2 hours ago

        A has the best fixture

      • JoeSoap
        • 6 Years
        23 days, 2 hours ago

        Gut is telling me Rashford. Don't trust Ali. Abraham could be good but don't think I would trust with captaincy and think Pool game will be tight.

      • RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        23 days, 2 hours ago

        Cheers, captain changed to Rashford, good luck to you!

      • S.Kuqi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        23 days, 2 hours ago

        A) starts and plays 90mins
        B) best team, stats and on form
        C) Easiest opponent on paper and has stats
        D) Plays against Brighton

        1. RamaJama
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          23 days, 2 hours ago

          Cheers!

    3. linkafu
        23 days, 2 hours ago

        Is Mount going to be bench? It's home but with Puli back in the XI, I don't want to get just 1 point from him

        1. JoeSoap
          • 6 Years
          23 days, 2 hours ago

          These are tough ones. Would be inclined to start, depends on your bench.

      • JoeSoap
        • 6 Years
        23 days, 2 hours ago

        Captain

        A. Ali
        B. KDB
        C. Rashford

        Looked at goals scored and goals conceded by opponents (last 3 games only) and narrowed down my captain to Ali, KDB & Rashford, the latter would have been ruled out but he was my choice originally.

        1. linkafu
            23 days, 2 hours ago

            C

          • RamaJama
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            23 days, 2 hours ago

            C

          • Skalla
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            23 days, 2 hours ago

            Go for C, brought in Pogba thinking United will do well this week but was burned by Rashford last week so going Tammy myself.

          • JoeSoap
            • 6 Years
            23 days, 2 hours ago

            Thanks all. Hoping Pogba (if he turns up) will help Rashford.

          • J ⚒ Gimme your Mané…
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            23 days, 2 hours ago

            B

          • Lexi2014
            • 4 Years
            23 days, 1 hour ago

            B for me

        2. andre_c
          • 1 Year
          23 days, 2 hours ago

          Son, TAA > Salah, Kelly -4?

          Hendo
          Lund, TAA, Aurier
          Alli, Cantwell, KDB, Richarlison
          Tammy, Jimmy, Vardy (C)

          Button, Soy, Son, Rico

          1FT, 0.5ITB

          1. linkafu
              23 days, 2 hours ago

              TAA to Kelly is terrible..

              1. RamaJama
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                23 days, 2 hours ago

                Great way to move funds forward to attackers.

              2. andre_c
                • 1 Year
                23 days, 2 hours ago

                Any other ways to get Salah, or just hold with only 1 active bench player?

          2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            23 days, 2 hours ago

            In the (extremely?) unlikely event of a Pulisic haul today...

            At least his price should start rising as rapidly as it has fallen?

            Would be a nice 0.3 of both TV, but more importantly, instant SV to get back

          3. wulfranian
            • 3 Years
            23 days, 2 hours ago

            Fornals has three assists in the last 4 games.He is at 6.0 and with good fixtures.

            1. BNMC
                23 days, 2 hours ago

                I was so excited when he signed for West Ham; I saw a bit of him in La Liga. He was one of the first players on my watchlist (and he's still there) but he hasn't really kicked on.

            2. AmroY
                23 days, 2 hours ago

                Henderson
                Kelly Lundy TAA
                Grealish Alli (C) Salah KDB Cantwell
                Vardy Abraham
                Button Calvert-Lewin Soyboy Rico

                G2G? should I bench Cantwell and start Calvert-Lewin instead?

                1. BNMC
                    23 days, 2 hours ago

                    Villa may be the whipping boys now but DCL also has a great fixture.

                  • linkafu
                      23 days, 2 hours ago

                      Same prob...

                      1. One Wheels Enough
                          23 days, 2 hours ago

                          Cant gets extra goal/CS points which might swing a toss-up decision...

                    • GreennRed
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 8 Years
                      23 days, 2 hours ago

                      https://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/Sport/Football/Premier+League?type=ln

                      Merry New Year one and all. The best of luck today, Amazon Day 🙂

                    • g40steve
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      23 days, 2 hours ago

                      So last week Vardy most capped who will it be this week?

                      The poll on here only shows a %age of the 7m players.

                      1. GreennRed
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 8 Years
                        23 days, 2 hours ago

                        Probably Kane, Mane or Salah. I'm sticking with Vardy.

                      2. RamaJama
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 7 Years
                        23 days, 2 hours ago

                        Or Rashford or Vardy due to ownership.

                    • Mike2795647
                      • 5 Years
                      23 days, 2 hours ago

                      GTG for this game week?

                      Pope (Button)
                      Lund Diop Aurier (Soy Rico)
                      Sterling KDB Alli Maddison Moura
                      Ings Vardy (Greenwood)

                      1FT so looking to save it and swap 2 out of Sterling, Vardy and Greenwood next week for Mo, Mané or Kun with another

                    • andre_c
                      • 1 Year
                      23 days, 2 hours ago

                      Son, TAA > Salah, Kelly -4 to move funds forward?

                    • Wxdz
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      23 days, 2 hours ago

                      Bought Alli and Zaha at 8.7 and 6.7, their current price is 8.9 and 6.9.
                      Selling price is still 8.7& 6.7.
                      Shouldn’t it be 8.8 & 6.8?

                      1. One Wheels Enough
                          23 days, 1 hour ago

                          Yes

                      2. S.Kuqi
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 7 Years
                        23 days, 2 hours ago

                        Plp really think Pogba makes the difference?

                        1. JoeSoap
                          • 6 Years
                          23 days, 1 hour ago

                          He can if he turns up

                      3. Babelcopter
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 1 Year
                        23 days, 2 hours ago

                        God dammit! Really want to captain Lord but dont have balls to do so. Current captain KDB.

                        1. linkafu
                            23 days, 1 hour ago

                            Keep it on KDB

                        2. AnfieldLad
                          • 5 Years
                          23 days, 1 hour ago

                          Gazzaniga
                          TAA Lundstram Soyuncu
                          Mane Maddison Alli KDB
                          Vardy Abraham Ings
                          (4.0 Traore Rico Janmaat)

                          2FT 0ITB

                          Really can’t think of anything to do...

                          A) Maddison -> Moura
                          B) Janmaat -> Kiko
                          C) Other ?

                          1. One Wheels Enough
                              23 days, 1 hour ago

                              Soy to Holgate

                          2. Lexi2014
                            • 4 Years
                            23 days, 1 hour ago

                            Bench one:

                            VVD
                            Lundstram
                            Kelly
                            Aurier
                            Cantwell

                          3. UpAndAway
                            • 6 Years
                            23 days, 1 hour ago

                            Not seeing many Vardy captainers...

                          4. MoManeTaa
                            • 2 Years
                            23 days, 1 hour ago

                            Salah in the team and (c) for the first time this season - good luck with yours guyz

                          5. Trophé Mourinho
                              22 days, 22 hours ago

                              Damn Ings benched 🙁 Danny BoY!