A warm welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout round-up on Saturday 4 April. Firstly I hope you are all in good health, and while there may be no live football to entertain us life carries on.
Although the people’s game has ground to a shuddering halt, the ingenuity of our editorial team is as fertile as ever.
The FPL World Cup is proving a fun way to promote discussion about the stars of our much-loved pastime.
The tournament, featuring players rather than teams, pits FPL legends against each other in a World Cup-style format. In each round the winners are decided by public vote, and the opening group stages have seen some heavyweight casualties. Shockingly both Eden Hazard and Steven Gerrard have been eliminated.
There’s been much debate about the FPL greats of the present day and yesteryear during this enforced delay. And Hot Topics from Andy (aka andy85wsm), wslnpt, and Geoff have drawn numerous comments.
Andy called on us to recount our favourite FPL memories, while wslnpt wondered who we would have in our all-time best Fantasy XI. And Geoff earlier opened a discussion on our favourite FPL asset this season.
Making the most of his time while we wait for life to get back to normal, Andy is enjoying researching the FPL Legends. He has begun a series of videos looking at what he believes are the best players in each position. In the first, he considered the merits of the forwards.
And with an eye on the football season resuming at some point, he also took a look at the forgotten players of 2019/20. It will be interesting to find out how Ole Gunnar Solskjær adapts his Manchester United side to accommodate both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, should the Frenchman finally regain fitness.
Fantasy Football Quiz
Our favourite Newcastle fan Neale has put together a fun and challenging 20-question quiz on FPL this season, which will put your knowledge of the campaign to the test.
Having delved into the members’ area to compile this quiz, the doyenne of the team news has brought us three new members articles since the adjournment of the football season.
Out-of-position players are FPL gold. Neale highlighted four players who haven’t perhaps got the same attention as John Lundstram and Anthony Martial – could recent tactical changes mean this quartet flourish once the season gets back underway?
How important are free-kicks and corners in FPL? Surprisingly only two of Kevin De Bruyne’s 18 assists have come from set plays. Follow the link to find out who tops the table with seven assists from set pieces this season.
Finally, the current leader of the Mods and Cons league shone a light on the murky world of the FPL Bonus Points System. He explains how bonus points are awarded and examines each position to understand how they benefit. A soupçon to whet your appetite:
The Bonus Points System is, unquestionably, the forward’s friend in its current guise. Whereas defenders and midfielders often need to perform well on an underlying stats front in order to supplement their clean sheets, goals and assists with bonus points, forwards can be completely anonymous, score once, and walk away with a nine-point haul.– Neale
New Games – Football Manager FPL
They say necessity is the mother of creation but quite what she would make of her latest offspring I’m not entirely sure!
But David and Az certainly seemed to enjoy themselves playing a Fantasy Football game about a Fantasy Football game (aka Football Manager FPL). And you can help Az pick his team, not that Az needs much help after soundly beating David in the opening match.
You may have gathered that I’m not a big aficionado of Football Manager, but thankfully Rob Pick is. He brought us up-to-date on another virtual world phenomenon being played out on social media:
There is no doubt that some people will think that Championship Manager FPL is weird. It probably is.
But what has happened for around 1,000 managers off the back of one tweet from @SimpleGull_FPL has given a lot of people some entertainment at a time when there isn’t a lot of positivity around.
Dave Perrins, Andy Martin and the incredible spreadsheet builder behind them, James Elapren, have created an FPL-style competition based from a simulation of Championship Manager 01/02.
Gameweek 1 launched on Wednesday night with 1,000 managers remembering the pleasure and pain that we all miss from our FPL and SkyFF teams. Players randomly benched, players substituted injured inside 20 minutes, early red cards; we already have Blank Gameweeks and Double Gameweeks, too.
James Linden is running a live stream in the style of Jeff Stelling – and Ben Crellin is trying to plan for blanks and doubles.
The greatest compliment as someone outside the inner circle – and I saw it mentioned in a tweet – is that it didn’t feel like a simulation. It felt real, and it was entertainment that everyone needs right now, however they choose to find it.
Gameweek 1 of 38 is done and there were no major surprises in terms of results. The main captains (Henry and van Nistelrooy) both delivered points but weren’t the standout players, with Robbie Keane and Marcus Bent shining amongst the strikers.
The top midfielders didn’t deliver either but budget options began to emerge in the form John Collins (£5.5m) and Stephen McPhail (£5m).
The leading sides kept clean sheets but many were left frustrated by a penalty miss from Ian Harte and, of the most-owned goalkeepers, Peter Schmeichel delivered.
There were no-shows – Craig Burley, Robbie Fowler, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Paolo Di Canio caused the most frustration for managers – but it has been confirmed through the media that Paolo Di Canio will be back in the side for Gameweek 2.
The game will no doubt throw up curveballs for managers to adapt to but, in an FPL season that’s been full of curveballs, what’s the harm caused by a few more?
Ruud van Nistelrooy is the man with all eyes locked on him for Gameweek 2. With Arsenal having no fixture, a lot of managers will be moving from Henry to bring in the Dutchman who scored the winner on his Manchester United debut against Leicester in Gameweek 1. Can the Dutchman repeat the feat, or perhaps add even more, in Gameweek 2?
To me, it feels just as likely that he will be rested and left on the bench and that’s why this simulation will provide endless entertainment. Congratulations to Dave, Andy and James – you’ve created a buzz that I think the FPL Community needed.
Ragabolly’s Virtual FPL
Football Manager FPL is not the only option available to you over this period of isolation. The maker of the incredibly useful Live FPL website, Ragabolly, brings us his very own simulation-based fantasy game – Virtual FPL.
Create your team before the Gameweek 1 deadline of 5pm BST on Saturday 11 April by signing up for the competition here. Ragabolly introduced the game in a recent post on site, and provided a further update here.
Meanwhile, Ted (aka Rotation’s Alter Ego) invited us to submit our favourite football-related community tournaments in his Hot Topic. I have a feeling Ragabolly’s could well top that list very soon!
And while the football may have paused, the Gameweek deadlines haven’t. We continue to get our free transfers even though no FPL points can be won. With Fernandes proving a popular acquisition, is this a good moment to optimise our teams? Neale outlined our options.
Luke (aka d1sable) used points per game to analyse his decisions so far this season, and it highlighted to him the importance of timing in Fantasy football. A flexible front-line looks to be one of his tactics for next season.
For an update on all FFS Mini-Leagues and Community Competitions, please click here to read the latest round-up.
The article includes news on how competitions might progress should the season be restarted.
Adapting to Change
The biggest shock the current measures have caused for most of us is the disruption to our daily lives. David has written about how he is adapting to his time in isolation with his wife and two daughters.
I hope you are all coping and keeping well during the ongoing lockdown; normal life will resume at some point.