Fantasy Premier League is a minefield at the best of times. Gone are the days when you can just wing it and hope for the best.
The FPL community blogs and articles equip every player with the tools to take the initiative in your mini leagues and improve your overall rank. I am here to share a few of my strategies and some of my research to help you navigate the potentially treacherous early rounds.
Twitter only represents a microcosm of the FPL community but a big trend on there right now is going full premium defence or at least having 4 big defenders. I have been going over the first five game weeks from the last 3 seasons with interesting results. Historically Game week 1 had the lowest total for clean sheets unsurprisingly. However across the 3 seasons game week 2 had the highest total number of clean sheets. In week 2 last season there was a total of 7 clean sheets. This number was not surpassed until game week 9 when 9 clean sheets were registered. Its probably fair to say we can agree most of the premium defenders play for top 6 clubs and this was reflected wth those teams accounting for less than 50 percent of these clean sheets on all but two occasions.
Last season showed that on the whole defences were generally leakier then then norm. We all had our token West Brom defender and the fact a Pulis team struggled for clean sheets in the first half of the season spoke volumes.
Now there may be long term value in going full premium defence but I would wait till your first wildcard. I personally will have 1 or 2 premium defenders ,But the rest will be pound shop defence fodder and I will invest further up the pitch. I personally am going to advise against loading up on premium defenders.
Let us also consider the fixtures and what potential wildcard strategies could be employed. Form has no consideration for the fixture list but is still an important factor. Everton and Leicester both have players I and the rest of FPL are interested in but they have horrendous fixtures in the first 6 or so game weeks. Stoke are another team who have some great enablers but have tough opening fixtures. These are the three teams I will be avoiding in my opening draft. The opening 6 weeks is not a time to be fire fighting and taking hits. So think about your enablers carefully no one wants to take a hit to sell Cuco Martina (£4.5m).
Teams with kind opening fixtures filled with enablers are Newcastle, Swansea, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton. Gayle (£6.5m 10.4% owners), Rangel (£4m 18.8% owners), Cedric (£5m 16.4% owners) and Foster (£4.5m 20.2% owners) are the popular picks from these clubs. It is easy to see why as they all represent good value for money. Other picks for me with low ownership are Abraham (£5.5m 3.3% owners), Rodriguez (£6m 2.9% owners), Yoshida (£5m 1% owners) and Diame (£5m 1% owners). Any of these players will help you get more premium forwards and midfielders into your teams.
By all intents and purposes there is no right or wrong time to wildcard but looking at the fixtures I think gameweek 6 is when you could catch certain players at their lowest value. Stoke and Leicester I expect to be safe mid table teams. They may well struggle for points in the opening few weeks as they play a fair few of the top 6 teams. I also expect the same for Everton, and with Wayne Rooney (£7.5m 20% owners) having relatively high ownership he will be high danger of dropping in value. The same can be said of Pickford (£5m 14.6% owners) and Baines (6m 10% owners).
From game week 6 onwards the fixtures for these teams improve greatly so for my money this represents the optimum time to wildcard. Especially if like me you are opting for a top heavy team. You can cash in on price fluctuations and set your team up effectively to deal with the congested fixture list over the November and December period. You may think it is too early to be thinking about wildcarding but trust me you should always have a plan or at the very least a brief idea.
If the clean sheet trends keep up then hopefully some of the premium defenders will decrease in value. Teams have normally gelled together by this point so the premium defenders will be rife for points. These are just a few of my thoughts for the coming season, I will revisit Midfielders and Strikers in another blog for @FPLWILDCARDS before the season starts.
Thanks for reading, and come see what I am cooking up next on twitter @FPLChef
Image courtesy of Dailmotion