So you followed all the experts advice, you picked all the players they suggested, you did all the sums and read all their analysis. But your season has not started well at all and you’re on the brink of disaster. Well I’m not here to tell you who to pick but I’m here to tell you what you should do to rescue your season.
Some people probably will not agree with what I’ve written and thats up to them. This article probably goes against all that they preached in pre-season, I honestly do not care. This is about rescuing your season not theirs! I will say this is not to dismiss any of the work done by people in pre-season far from it. It’s about addressing problems in teams for people ranked in the millions and how they can fight the slide.
Lets have a reality check for a second, let me be open with you first, I am currently ranked 1091st overall. I have used my wildcard and triple captain chips. My season is off to a flyer and I am extremely happy, I am confident I can stay in the top 1k over the season but wouldn’t be surprised if I end up back at 10k-20k.
Now the reality check for you is we are only in gameweek 5, there’s 72 points covering ranks 1k to 1m. Over a season that gap can easily be made up. So I guess you have nothing to worry about right? WRONG! Over the first 5 gameweeks your strategy has not worked out so why would it over the next 33? If you gonna come at me with I am playing the long term game then thats fine you crack on, if you wanna rescue your season keep reading.
Have a serious look at your team, identify where the problems lie. Maybe you bought into unsustainable returns? Have you placed too many funds at the back? Be critical, hell be over critical, but do not just sit there doing nothing, you will stay way back and ultimately be out of the race for any mini-leaguer glory come the end of the season.
People probably saying that its too early to bed thinking like this the problem with that is this isn’t like the old days where you could drop to a rank of 2m by Christmas and then template your way back to 50k. There’s more players now and lots more information available. Before you know it its gameweek 10 and the gap is now 200 points to the top 10k and its much more difficult to bridge.
Playing this seasons game with last seasons data
I really do feel like this has been one of the biggest issues for people. Do not get me wrong some of the work done in the summer about value etc was absolutely first class. But playing this seasons game with last seasons data was always going to be setting yourself up wrong in my opinion.
I am a big fan of stats and you see me use them all the time in my articles. The problem with using last seasons data however for this season is that teams have changed and recruited new players.
There has been a splurge on attacking talent look at West Ham for example, added Haller and Fornals for about what £70m, two players with enormous potential. But all around the league teams adding players Everton spent over £100m, Bournemouth £50m, Man City over £100m, United £140m etc, etc.
So whilst the quality of the work was absolutely superb by FPL twitter in the summer its not really relevant right now. What I will say is, second half of the season I think that the twitter template and big at the back will definitely come into play. So what you will be wanting to do is remember a lot of what you know now for down the line when teams eventually tighten up defensively.
Big At The Back
Big at the back has failed I don’t care what anyone says, if you’re not currently funnelling money from your defence to your attack then I’m sorry but its going to be a long season.
Above is the clean sheets recorded from last season, all I keep hearing is that its about attacking returns, can I just put this to bed NO IT IS NOT. Liverpool and City kept 41 clean sheets between them, so every other game the defenders are chipping in with 5 points. To put this in perspective thats the same as a striker netting 20 goals. Also last season they cost less, from memory I think Trent was £5m and Robbo was £6m. I am currently saving £3m on this seasons prices, thats £3m that I was using elsewhere.
I could afford to leave them in and just roll with it if they didn’t return, they did pop up with attacking returns too which again made it more bearable. This season its just not happening and I am also paying a premium to get them in.
If you want to stick with them then more power to you, personally I am happy to roll with the cheapest option in the big club defences till they get their act together. Do not forget that clean sheet points are a team metric, Matip, Aurier, Vertonghen, Garcia, Zinchenko and Mendy (when he returns) are all attractive options right now. I currently own Matip and Vertonghen for disclosure. If it is not for you and you want to stick with the premiums fair play, you picked your strategy and are sticking to it, just because I don’t agree with it means jack really. Also I do believe as already stated that big at the back will have its place this season, just not right now.
The Other Side of the Template
I keep getting asked often “what is your opinion on my team” like a serious amount of DMs and tweets. 90 percent of them all look the same, 3 premium players from City 3 premium players from Liverpool. The problem being that people are putting all their eggs in one basket. You saw this last weekend what can happen when you do that. Even when I ask people what they think is wrong with their team they say “nothing”. This is when I struggle because obviously you think something is wrong.
Most teams I see that are struggling tend to have one of Salah or Mane, Sterling, De Bruyne and either Aguero or double Liverpool defence. Last season that is a really strong team, but today is a new day.
Again if you’re gonna stick with that kind of makeup fair play you have picked your strategy and are sticking with it my hat goes off to you for being ballsy.
I have seen so many people scared to go without Sterling, I totally get that he was brilliant last season. The problem is you’re reliant on him matching Salah, people seem surprised also that he has blanked the last two matches. To put it frankly if he returned every week he would be in Lionel Messi’s class, Sterling is good but he ain’t that good. He already has 5 goals, realistically how many more is he going to get? I would say between 10 and 12 is a good bet. Given also that he is recording on average 0.25 xA a game I really would not be afraid to drop him.
Also when it comes to Liverpool premiums, the above fixtures especially from gameweek 9 do not fill me with confidence. Whisper it quietly but I’ll be going without a Liverpool attacking asset for these few weeks. Not saying Liverpool wont win these games but I am just hedging my bets. It will not be a long term thing, it is a short term bet, a bit like the one I took on Aguero over Sterling for the last 2 gameweeks.
So you have given your squad a post-mortem and have identified the weak points. Now what you need to do is identify who you’re going to target to stop the rot and how you’re going to move funds around. I have already identified how you can keep up with the premium defenders and limit the damage from their returns. But now it is about reshaping your attack and getting away from your City and Liverpool cul-de-sac. I have already identified below players I am looking at but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Do your own scouting, identify plum fixture lists, find players with good underlying stats and take a chance on them.
The Scouting List – Premiums
I have wittered on about what is not working but what about how to fix things?
First up is Aubameyang, not really a differential as such owned by around 22 percent of squads. Arsenal have decent fixtures on the horizon, Lacazette is out so Aubameyang will take up a more central role. Not that I ever trust Arsenal to win games one thing you can be certain of is Aubameyang will get chances.
This is Aubameyang’s shot map for the last 4 matches, as you can see he is getting opportunities especially in the box. He is averaging 2.98 shots per game with an accuracy of 43.8% accuracy. A definite captain option in the next few weeks, a good finisher who will hope to retain his golden boot crown once more.
Next up is the worlds happiest South Korean, Hueng Min-Son. Above is his heat map for the match against Palace. He was playing on the left but also spent time getting beyond Kane and playing as forward. Son really excites me, currently owned by 5.4% of players, that will only grow. However because of peoples reluctance to switch out their city and Liverpool premiums it will not get as high as you’d expect. He finds himself in an awkward price point of £9.5m. He is someone I really want as we have seen in seasons gone by, when he is in form you need to jump on quick.
Scouting List – mid priced players
There are currently 3 sets of fixtures that I am really interested in, they are Norwich, Chelsea and Everton.
I have amassed all 3 fixture lists here for you to look at and I will discuss them. As much as I wish I had Pukki from gameweek 1 I have been able to have a prolonged look at him. It does appear that for the minute he is the real deal. Norwich’s next few games represent an opportunity to gain points. If you are not currently on Pukki it definitely is not too late.
Another player fro Norwich who may be of interest is Buendia, in that £5.5m – £6.5m bracket of players. Currently has 4 assists to his name and is owned by 1.2% of players. He could offer differential potential when compared to Cantwell and Pukki. Above is his pass map from the Manchester City game, was not involved his usual amount but that can be forgiven given the opposition. However you can see he is everywhere on the pitch and with FPL 4 assists is one of Norwich’s prime creators, with those fixtures on the horizon his returns will only increase.
Everton really interest me, it is not really clicking for them but it does not look like it is far away.
A player I do not currently own but I am keeping a very close eye on is Richarlison. This was his heatmap against Bournemouth. Not his best day at the office but managed an assist, he still managed to cut inside and offer a little threat. He had 2 shots at goal one of which was on target, just someone to keep an eye on. Currently I hold Iwobi and he will keep his place for the foreseeable. Moise Kean could also offer some relief in one of your striking slots but until he nails that starting position he is best left.
Finally Chelsea, They also have good fixtures, so if you are sat thinking that you have missed the Abraham hauls I would think again. Mason Mount picked up an injury last night so this could prove problematic, but Callum Hudson-Odoi is on the way back and I think this lad will be points. With a value of £5.9m and ownership of 0.1% keep an eye on when he is due back. Chelsea will also offer good value in the defence with some potential clean sheet returns, especially with Rudiger on the way back.
You should always have a plan, that is my team for the coming week above. I have already planned my next few moves, I will roll my transfer next week and then the plan springs into action.
These are the players I will be targeting, also with the money I will have left over Abraham or Haller can become Vardy. Leicesters fixtures really improve from gameweek 9 onwards. From there I can lay the groundwork to get Salah or Mane back in Gameweek 13 will likely take two moves but that is fine. Like I keep saying every week its about making short term bets, keep rotating the premiums.
In conclusion you are free to play the game anyway you damn well please, you may think that my advice is absolutely horrific and wouldn’t dream of following it and thats fair. But if you want to reignite your season and try and fight against the the rank drops this article may just offer you the advice and inspiration you need. Whatever you decide the very best of luck!