Team Selection Strategy. Key moments.
It’s time to launch a series of articles with a close look at fantasy football team’s creation. Let’s start with a general concept and later move on to specific fantasy platforms.
Recently I’ve noticed many different questions about the approaches to fantasy team selection in my blogs and on the forum. How close to the deadline should the team be selected? How to drop dubious players and remember about the right ones? What aspects should be paid the maximum attention to? How to adjust to a certain fantasy-platform? How much time should be spent on stats research and team selection? What should be paid attention to in the first place: reviews, analytics or statistical information?
While the national teams are preparing for the European championship, there is time to clear these things up. My experience of playing on multiple fantasy-platforms and participating in more than 500 fantasy tournaments should help you outline the formula of success. Let’s discuss the general idea to begin with and then move on to the team selection twists and turns on popular fantasy platforms in the following articles.
Reviews? Analytics? Statistics?
It is hard to name a single perfect source of information for quality team selection in fantasy world. Synergy is very important here: watching games gives you a general idea about the form of various teams and certain players, analysts explain the reasons behind match scenarios, while statistics help us single out the players, contributing to the team’s attacking performance the most.
Let’s have a look at defenders’ selection as an example. Reading reviews and watching a couple of previous games can show us how efficient the entire defensive line is and whether specific defenders have been any good lately. Analytics coming from tactics pundits can give us the information on how exactly the team managed to record a clean sheet and whether we can expect similar defensive performance against squads with different tactical set-up. Statistics is a perfect tool for the final choice of the players. Once we pick a team which is expected to keep a clean sheet, we’ve got to choose specific defenders. This is where we look for their attacking potential. We need to study the number of touches in the opposite third, the number of touches in the opposite box, crosses and key passes, total shots and, finally, the number of goals and assists. Having done this research, we can make the final choice.
The required minimum: watching gameweek reviews, research of quality analytical articles about the games registering bombshell results and using statistics as the key argument while choosing between a couple of seemingly equal players.
In regards to analytics I’ve got to note that it makes perfect sense to find a couple of credible sources of information and rely on them while making team selection. Obviously, they’ve got to be reputable media or internet websites.
When should you pick the team?
Team selection starts long before you open the fantasy-platform website. Regardless of the platform you choose, carry out massive analytical work before proceeding to the team selection. This work has got to have the ultimate goal, preferably documented to a table:
- Teams with the highest clean sheet possibility.
- Defenders from these teams, having the best attacking potential.
- Teams having the best chances of scoring two or more goals.
- Attacking players from such teams, who have the biggest chances to be involved into attacking actions (pay special attention to set piece and penalty takers).
- Players who are expected to make the majority of fantasy teams (this one is particularly important in 50/50 tournaments).
- Contenders for the captain armband.
- Jokers – odd options or underestimated players who you believe might put in successful performance and give you key advantage over other managers.
Here is a theoretic example of a prophet’s pick ahead of Premier League Gameweek 31 (2016).
This table can be modified with time, reaching perfect shape in terms of efficiency, convenience and informative value. For example, it makes sense to add a column with players possessing high fantasy potential but set to miss or being doubtful for the upcoming game. It’s also very important as the information about players’ injuries, presented on fantasy platforms, might be deceptive at times. Besides, some platforms do not allow making substitutions.
Such table can be prepared a day or two before tournament deadline, and it will help you organize all available information. It won’t be difficult to pick the right team on different platforms: a perfect lineup is made of the highlighted players – it’s a quick process that can be done in the space of one hour before the deadline after the starting lineups of the first games are named.
There is another approach, with the teams being selected long before deadline. Once the starting lineups are named, minor changes may be introduced to the fantasy team. However, this technique represents a hidden rock: everything is great when things run smooth, however, when a manager decides to introduce a joker to the starting lineup, or someone from your fantasy squad remains sidelined without any reasonable explanation, you will need to cut your team again and do it fast. Reshaping your squad may be tougher than drafting a team anew, while difficult tasks are sometimes baffling, making you lose precious time. If such situations happen to a manager, playing on several platforms at a time, the problem is aggravated by the difference in prices and scoring rules on various platforms. One may fail to make changes in time before the deadline or simply make a mess of mistakes. Considering that there is no option to withdraw from the tournament you have entered, your bankroll may suffer a significant blow.
Flash tournaments on FantasyBet platform, providing you with just three minutes for selecting a lineup out of 70 random players, represent a great drill of team selection speed and quality. Firstly try to pick a flash tournament team without and then with a table we’ve described to realize the importance of preliminary thorough data collection. Trust me, you’ll see a giant change in sensations.
In the following articles of the Team Selection Strategy column we will have a close look at team selection process on FanTeam and FantasyBet platforms. I’d be glad to hear from you in the comments or in the forum thread should you have any thoughts or ideas after reading the article.