Pro Pundit Teams

Why FPL can be a ‘crumb of normalcy’ when real life gets tough

It’s the last day of the year and, while I was hoping to write something about the upcoming Double Gameweeks, we have no news about it at the time of writing. I’ll just park that on the side and instead – fittingly as it is the end of the year – pen down some of my thoughts about this game we play.

It has been quite the 12 months. Our world is not quite rid of the virus that has been plaguing us for most of the last two years. That said, we have had a full year of football and along with that, a full year of Fantasy Premier League (FPL).

On a personal level, last season was a great learning experience. I’m not talking about FPL lessons learned (which were quite a few) but just general life lessons, which this game does teach us in more ways than you’d imagine.

Online FPL friendships

The game is growing at a staggering rate. With so much content out there via articles, stats, Twitter accounts, podcasts and YouTube videos, the number of well-informed serious managers is also growing rapidly. In a world of lockdowns and struggles with loneliness, this game enables you to establish connections with so many like-minded individuals.

I have seen the connection established over FPL lead to amazing things. It has led to me being ‘business and pod partners’ with someone I’ve never met in my life. I’ve seen a bunch of friends who found each other on this website remain friends for over a decade, pulling resources together to send gifts when one of their own was suffering from a serious illness. The happiness caused by this managed to feed the soul for a long time.

Speaking of serious illnesses, I have had a couple of people very close to me face tough battles this year and, unfortunately, they have lost those battles. Obviously, when something like this happens, the head goes into weird and dark places. And that’s when logging on and reading a bit of football or chatting FPL with a few people brings a welcome sense of normalcy, even just briefly. Personally, I’ve found that this temporary distraction does soften the blow and makes a slight, positive difference when dealing with real-life situations. 

That said, there are two sides to this fast-growing game. Since there are so many FPL managers that you know, many of us struggle with feeling happy due to this game. There is the mental health aspect of it. FPL is very much an escape so, when you have all your hopes pinned on this outlet, a bad Gameweek can hit hard. It is difficult to get a sense of what doing well is, due to the number of informed FPL managers growing.

Look online after a fairly decent Gameweek and there will always be other FPL managers who will do even better, making it difficult to derive happiness from your own good score. Currently sitting at 36k, this is the best first half of the season I’ve ever had and, despite that, there is a little shine taken off it because you’ll always see others at 30k, 10k or top 500. This is going to be the norm every season, so we need to amend our expectations from this game.

Pressing the ‘switch’

At this point, I just want to tell you about the ‘switch’ when I was in eighth grade. The short version is that I basically imposed a lot of pressure on myself when it came to exams and expected a lot from myself. The obsessive-compulsive trait that I (and most of us) have in terms of being well-informed FPL managers was very much alive back then as well. For me, exams were always all-or-nothing. Due to an illness, I couldn’t cope with my self-imposed timetable, which led to me thinking that if I’m struggling to cope with this, how will I cope with the hardships that life will throw at me in the future. A mental block was created.

I spoke to a ton of professionals to help deal with this but nothing worked. We had a summer break at that time and all I did was sit in a corner for three months, not speaking to a soul and not wanting to do anything in life. Eventually, I was somehow convinced back into school on the first day of the next year and I had a perfectly normal day. This is what led to me pressing the ‘switch’.

The crumb of normalcy given by a perfectly good day at school and finding a passion in the form of a school drama role was what I needed. It immediately made sense to me and I realised that everything that I had thought was so unnecessary. It is one of the biggest lessons that life has taught me: do what you can to the best of your ability. The rest is out of your control and there is no point worrying about it.

Norwich skipper Hanley's unity call after loss at Chelsea | The Pink Un

FPL is out of our control

Those of us struggling to find joy in FPL need to realise that when Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) scores a hat-trick and you’ve captained Kai Havertz (£7.8m), there is a huge amount of randomness involved. At its core, you can try learning about the game’s predictive nature to the best of your ability (whether you are an eye test person or a stats person) but the rest simply isn’t in your control. I talk a big game in terms of temperament but it is obviously very painful when that huge turn of variance happens and it affects your mood. I just control my mood by switching off the television, watching a different programme or talking to a friend and it’s a lot easier to deal with the next day.

I mention this because of the innate competitive nature of the ‘average FPL manager’. The truth of the matter is that this hobby we have developed has led to us making connections and friends, offering that crumb of normalcy and hope which helps us ‘press the switch’ when real-life situations hit us hard.


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415 Comments Post a Comment
    1. fplgaruda
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Nice. More to come pleaseee
      New year havoc.

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Ahh well ... (can't swear anymore 😛 )

  1. Arteta
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    https://www.southamptonfc.com/news/2021-12-31/announcement-southampton-newcastle-premier-league-match-postponed

    The Premier League has today informed Southampton Football Club that its scheduled match against Newcastle United this Sunday has been postponed.

  2. Eh, just one more thing ...
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Been out all day so sorry if this is old news but Klopp said he has three new covid cases in his squad … can’t name them but said it would be ‘pretty obvious’ when you see his team sheet for the Chelsea match ….. that says to me it’s three established first team players ….. any rumours as to whom yet?

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Firmino and Allison missed training

  3. Cheeky Onion
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Are there any other matches that look likely to be postponed this GW? Will have to make my transfers tonight

    1. Hotdogs for Tea
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Soton v New ? 😉

    2. Danstoke82
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Who knows! Getting out of hand now. Understand the difficulties some clubs are facing though. Huge fixture pileup coming

    3. Tonyawesome69
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Liverpool have covid cases

    4. Cheeky Onion
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      I think the strategy might be to target teams that've already had COVID - less likely their games get postponed and should have some DGWs coming up

    5. FPL KP
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Southampton v Newcastle postponed
      https://www.premierleague.com/news/2430967

  4. iL PiStOlErO
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Have 10.5m itb to replace Bilva. Who would you chose?

    Rest of the mid is:

    Son Jota Bowen D. Luiz

  5. Gabbiadini
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Absolute joke.

    1. fplgaruda
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Eh what?

      1. Gabbiadini
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 23 days ago

        PL.

        1. fplgaruda
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          4 months, 23 days ago

          Recently clubs can made up reason to postponed game as well.

          2 covid cases and 7 injuries, then they easily request for postponement.

          1. Gabbiadini
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 23 days ago

            Injuries are not covid cases it is an absolutely pathetic ruling from the PL.

            1. Scots Gooner
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              4 months, 23 days ago

              It's a bit silly. Very easy for clubs to take advantage of.

  6. BobB
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Hope Cancelo plays and scores - and I'm an Arsenal fan.

    1. Ray85
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Erm no thanks...

    2. Rupert The Horse
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      I think he’d need a break.

    3. Arteta
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      How dare you?! We don't need fans like you.

      1. Arteta
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 23 days ago

        Just joking, I need 'em points too.

    4. Scots Gooner
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Cancelo scores one, Saka scores two - deal?

  7. jackruet
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    4 months, 23 days ago

    EPL has become a joke

    1. Gabbiadini
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Spot on.

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      'Always'? 😛

  8. Mr. O'Connell hates DG…
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    We roll with 9. Again.

    1. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      And drop the rank again ...

      1. mox81
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 23 days ago

        Chin up, not possible for everyone to drop rank eh

  9. iL PiStOlErO
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Selling Rudi...best defences to target atm?

    P.s. dont want to do any double ups so looking at Saiss from wolves maybe....

    Rest of defence:
    DDG 3.9
    TAA Cancelo Dier Tierney

  10. Hooky
    • 7 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Broja and Livramento plumb home game bites the dust.

    1. Utopsis
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      For now

    2. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Plum home game in a DGW...

  11. Arteta
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Tino Livramento

    GW1-10: 42 points
    GW11-20: 12 points

  12. Rains of Castamere
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Broja and Livramento will be perfect BB options then

    1. FPL KP
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Southampton v Newcastle postponed
      https://www.premierleague.com/news/2430967

  13. Rains of Castamere
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Klopp just said in his press conference Liverpool have three new covid cases... !

    1. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      He also said it would be obvious who they are when he names his team vs Chelsea … which blatantly says they are established first team players.

    2. Arteta
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Alisson and Firmino missed last training session so it's probably them.

  14. Hotdogs for Tea
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    any news ?

    1. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Loads 😛

  15. BobB
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Newcastle seem to have friends in high places...

    1. Gabbiadini
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      or deep pockets...

    2. zeslinguer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      I don’t get this, the two teams above have 3 and 2 games in hand over Newcastle still

      1. Gabbiadini
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 23 days ago

        None of Burnley's postponements were their own doing, so?

        1. zeslinguer
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 23 days ago

          Aye I forgot Eddie Howe has been wandering around training injuring players and injecting others with Covid

          1. Hairy Potter
            • 7 Years
            4 months, 23 days ago

            Yeah because the likes of Darlow and Lascelles really enjoyed getting Covid last year.

    3. Hairy Potter
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      The same "friends' who blocked the takeover for a year and a half? The same friends who only seemed to budge when Newcastle tried get the takeover looked at by an independent body. The same friends who are trying to rewrite sponsorship deals so that Newcastle can't spend the money that others have.

      Newcastle struggled to put out a bench against Man Utd, then suffered more injuries during the match. Manquillo is banned because of yellow cards. Plus we don't know if more players have tested for Covid since Monday.

      1. Rains of Castamere
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        4 months, 23 days ago

        That's all well and good but injuries and suspensions should have no factor on a game getting postponed.

        Could have put out something like Dubravka, Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Shelvey, Longstaff, Hayden, Joelinton, Murphy, Almiron.

        A much better team than Norwich put out at Palace

        1. Hairy Potter
          • 7 Years
          4 months, 23 days ago

          Clark and Ritchie weren't in the squad on Monday, presumably with Covid. Hayden is injured and had an operation this week. Shelvey has been carrying an injury, but looked fine against Man Utd.

          Barring no new Covid cases since Monday, I think they may have been able to cobble this XI together. Not sure if they would have had a bench. Maybe 3rd and 4th choice keeper and Vilca if he's back from Doncaster loan.

          Dubravka
          Krafth Shelvey Lascelles Murphy
          Longstaff Hendrick Joelinton
          Almiron Gayle Anderson

  16. Atimis
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Anything against Royal over Reguilon?

    He is cheaper, started every game and recon he can come good

    1. Utopsis
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      I prefer him, yes

    2. SpiritRising
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      I've post patience with Reguilon having twice been booked and come off early for 0 pointers.

      Would be very interested in Dothery if he ever managed to take his place.

      Or even Dier for security of starts.

  17. CMIUK (Catch Me If U Kane)
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Rank the options from best to worst?
    A) Laporte
    B) Cash
    C) Cucurella
    D) Reguilon

    1. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      A
      D
      B (1 YC away from suspension)
      C

    2. Tonyawesome69
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Depends what you plan to do for potential DGW22. If no chip then get a doubler in. If using FH then Laporte

  18. Rupert The Horse
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Afternoon guys.
    I’ve clearly missed some news here. I’m just trying to think of a transfer and have gone to the ticker to be my aid. I’ve now noticed that Chelsea blank in 24/25

    1. Hooky
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      World Club Cup

      1. Rupert The Horse
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 23 days ago

        Ah yes of course. Thanks Hooky. Keep up the good work.

    2. Tonyawesome69
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      It's been there for a while due to the Club World Cup

  19. Mr. O'Connell hates DG…
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    EPL postponing fixtures like

    https://youtu.be/xrg-RgF5F8o

  20. El Presidente
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Wilson to ...?

    Up to 7.5, have Antonio and Dennis.

  21. Pep bites Kun
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Nice article LR. I was expecting something different. I applaud you for your candour. I think we can all take something away from this .

    Happy New Year!

    1. Lateriser 12
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Happy new year to you as well mate

  22. dshv
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Ddg foster
    Trent cancelo cash reguilon livra
    Son foden jota gallagher maddison
    Watkins ronaldo davis

    Anything worth a hit? Don’t have any bench..

    1. Shineonme
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 23 days ago

      Likely Cancela doesn't play after his house was broken into and Cancela being attacked. Foden will be on the bench. Gallagher out with convid, Maddy has no game. Even jota might be rested

  23. AutoFill 2021
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 23 days ago

    Three Liverpool players test positive -Klopp