8 nuances in the picking of fantasy football team

2016-11-02 14:56:39 Author: stishenok Rating: +19

TimeToDraft reveals non-obvious decisions that will help you get the most out of the participation in fantasy football.

Each of fantasy managers knows that you need to watch games, study the statistics, and while picking the team – to choose attacking players and set piece takers, but there are things that can help you stand out among others. I offer you 8 points – each of them will be accompanied by an example from my own fantasy-football experience.

In the process of making this list I realized that each of these points has helped me during current season’s Premier League despite the fact that it was kicked off only two and a half months ago. These nuances are quite specific, but they can really make a difference: all of the examples below helped me get into the top three of different tournaments based on Premier League games.

1. Out of position

However, we start with advice which surely isn’t the most original one. Bringing in your team those players who don’t play in the position they are classified by fantasy-platforms, you inevitably increase attacking potential of your team. Such moves are especially valuable at those moments when majority don’t know about them, that is, when footballer plays in the new position for the first time. Analysis of the squads that are available before the start of fantasy football tournaments can often help here.

My example: Nathan Redmond was used by Claude Puel, Southampton manager, as part of the front two in pre-season, and it was quite obvious that Englishman would start as a forward against Watford in the first gameweek, despite him being classified as a midfielder by every fantasy platform. Position in attack, goal, three bonus points and 10 overall points from the budget midfielder – this was the return for those who were quick enough to bring him in before the season started.

2. Blocking Tactics

Sometimes you even need to buy players you don’t believe in for some reason, if they are presented in every other team near you. If you don’t bring such a player in your team and he scores a hat-trick, your tournament will be over before it even starts.

My example: I don’t really like Ibrahimovic and I initially thought that he wouldn’t be able to replicate familiar goalscoring record in the Premier League for many reasons, which are pretty irrelevant in relation to this text. At the same time I realized that in the first gameweek of the season almost everyone will bring him in and many will even awarded him the captain armband. Despite my own opinion, I joined the majority, "blocking" the possible failure in the process, and was right as Ibrahimovic scored, got three bonus points and collected 9 overall points on his Premier League debut.

3. Focus on trends and adapting them to fantasy football

It is important to monitor overall football trends that may affect fantasy football. Premier League introduced a new set of rules for referees before the start of the season, according to which any contact in the penalty area should be punished with a penalty. These recommendations have significantly increased the amount of penalties given and notably raised the role of penalty takers as a result.

My example: Arsenal played Southampton at home in the fourth gameweek with two penalties taken in the first three matches. Theo Walcott at that time was far away from being as good as he is now, Mesut Ozil was increasing fitness level after participating at the EUROs, Alexis Sanchez came back late from international duty and wasn’t ready to start the game from minute one while Santi Cazorla was calmly preparing to execute the potential penalty. Exactly that happened in the end: goal, three bonus points and 9 overall points from the Spaniard for those managers who wasn’t afraid of his position on the field.

4. Playing against former club or former coach

Another interesting football feature which also applies to fantasy games is the fact that players often have very good matches against former clubs. This is especially true when it comes to attacking players which regularly score in those type of games, wanting to prove to the club as a whole or coach in particular that decision to sale them was rash.

My example: Nacer Chadli and his West Bromwich played against Tottenham in the eighth gameweek. Chadli scored 2 and assisted another 3 in three games before, was in fine form and came up against the club he played for a few months ago. Goal, three bonus points and 10 overall points were the deserved reward for those who wasn’t confused by the name of the opponent.

5. Playing against comfortable team

Many footballers have a "comfortable" team against which they always perform well. The opponent may even be inconvenient for the club – player’s history against it is much more important in this case. It’s easy to get necessary information from open sources: particularly, Opta always tweeted about these things ahead of the games. Such facts also appear in various previews – all you need to do is not to miss them and use for your own purposes in the right way.

My example: Chelsea and Swansea played at Liberty Stadium in the fourth gameweek after Eden Hazard scored or assisted in each of the first three. Captain choice of numerous fantasy managers fell on the Belgian, while I remembered what had happened when Diego Costa faced Swansea before. In two seasons in England Costa scored against "swans" five goals and added two more in September: brace, three bonus points and overall 12 points for those managers who were brave enough to believe in the Spaniard.

6. Playing on the Birthday

The chance of playing football match on the Birthday is extremely small, so it’s always nice to mark it with a goal. It may seem naive, but players really try to score on their birthdays – a goal from central defender Laurent Koscielny against Southampton in the fourth gameweek is the best proof.

My example: on October, 15th two Premier League players celebrated their Birthday: Mesut Ozil and Nolito. Spaniard was left on the bench (although he came on later and still scored), while Ozil was named in the starting line-up, played a terrific game against Swansea, scored a goal, collected maximum bonus points and return 10 overall points for those who believed in him. I won’t speak for others, but the only reason I brought German in my team was his Birthday.

7. Using of players’ previous experience in the tournament

It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of knowledge of not only how players perform in a particular season and for a specific period, but how they performed in the past. Experience is often that thing that can help you make a decision which will differ from the popular choice and bring the desired effect.

My example: Bournemouth played Hull at home in the eighth gameweek, and it was pretty clear that we could expect enormous fantasy potential not only from attacking players but from defenders as well. Many opted for Adam Smith, who managed to collect 1 goal and 1 assist by that time, but I kept in mind superb goalscoring record of Charlie Daniels last season and brought him in. Goal, assist, two bonus points and 13 overall points even without clean sheet were an excellent return from the Englishman.

8. Intuition and risk

Finally, you can’t underestimate the value of intuition and risk. You’ll find it very hard to win big money without at least one risky decision in your team (at least before you start playing at higher buy-ins with lesser competition). If you watched games, made the necessary research and have a gut feeling that is worth the risk, it makes sense to gamble.

My example: very few people believed that Negredo, who went into the shadows and lost in confidence in recent years, will be off to a great start with Middleborough. However, I remembered his first month at Manchester City (two goals in three games), and I had a gut feeling that playing against Stoke at home was a great opportunity to replicate that start. Negredo scored, collected three bonus points and brought me 9 overall points, but what was more important, those were the points that others lacked.


As you can see, fantasy football can be much more diverse and versatile than it seems to be. Distribution of the prize pool is often decided by a few points that you can get through unusual decisions, drawing attention to the nuances your competitors won’t think about. Each of the approaches described above has already helped me this season. Perhaps, now they will help you.

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