So, how do you get good at Fantasy Football? Well perhaps I am not really the best man to be asking, judging by my side’s shoddy showing this season – I blame Jo’s ineptitude & Carlos Tevez’s absence personally, and how was I to know Geovanni would be such a coup for Hull?!
But there are a few general tips that will stand you in good stead for most Fantasy Football games, the rest I’m afraid, is down to luck. Here are some of the best fantasy football tips you’ll ever get – learn, apply and see your side rise up your fantasy football league table!
- Form is massive! – They say form is temporary, class is permanent. That may be true, but in the Fantasy Football League, form is vital. You can’t always afford to wait for a tried and trusted striker to find his scoring boots, whilst the donkey from Boro is banging them in. Form players get points, and the transfer system means you can move them out when their form dries up, just don’t miss their purple patch!
- Build from the back! – Brian Clough swore by it, Kevin Keegan failed because of (lack of) it. Defensive solidity is vital throughout football, and Fantasy Football is no exception. A solid base of regular clean sheets will compensate hugely for when your midfield and forward stars have their inevitable off day.
- Discipline! – Players are no use to you when they aren’t playing, so perennial yellow/red card recipients should be avoided. Suspensions can hurt a side, and the minus points brought about by these cards are none too helpful either.
- Goals from all over – Often, the most points to be gained in a game come from a goal. Therefore it is useful to have players capable of chipping in from all over the pitch, this means selecting defenders who are handy from set pieces- Martin Laursen of Aston Villa is a great example- and midfielders who chip in with 8-15 goals a season- think Frank Lampard rather than Jon Obi Mikel.
- Avoid the Makelele – He may be so good he has a position named after him, but Makelele and his type are yet to make their mark on Fantasy Football. They may break up play like no one else, shield their back four admirably and keep things ticking over in midfield, but you rarely get points for that. And points win prizes.
- Set Pieces – All good managers put heavy emphasis on the importance of set pieces, and you should be no different. Selecting players who take set pieces for their side, be it free kicks, corners or penalties increase not only the chance of a goal, but also of an assist. Think how many of Stoke’s goals come from Rory Delap’s delivery, then think of the points!
- Players have to play – Ok, I am simplifying things hugely here, and I accept that. But it is easy to underestimate the importance of a player who plays week in week out. With teams who rotate regularly- let’s use Liverpool as an example- it can mean that good players like Keane, Babel &, of course, Agger, can be left out without warning. And if a player does not play, then a player does not earn (points that is, they earn money sitting on the bench just fine!).
- Put aside your prejudice – Something I struggle with, I admit. But there is no place for principles when there is office bragging rights at stake. You may curl up into a fit of inexpressible rage every time Cristiano Ronaldo appears on your TV screen, but the lad earns you points in fantasy football, and plenty of them. You would be silly to let a little thing like bias get in the way of 10 points a week.
- Captains – If the game has the “captain” feature, it is always useful to have two or three of these type of players- players who you know can come up with a couple of goals or assists. This enables a manager to rotate between captains depending on how hard their respective fixtures are- e.g. make Gerrard your captain when Liverpool host West Brom, Berbatov when United are at home to Stoke, or Lampard when Chelsea play Bolton. Or just give it to Ronaldo every week.
- Patience – Ok, it may go against the “Points over principles” argument from earlier, but there is something perversely satisfying about seeing the lad who everyone said was rubbish eventually come good. And trust me; there are few things worse in the game than losing patience with a striker, only to see them find their scoring touch with a spectacular hat-trick a week after you replaced them with Yakubu!
Of course these tips won’t guarantee success- they certainly aren’t helping me much this season! – And people will often have their own ideas on the type of players which they want to select. And there is nothing wrong with that at all, just be prepared to get addicted.
Be prepared to celebrate yellow cards for Robert Koren like last minute winners, be prepared to pen angry complaints at how Wilson Palacios didn’t get three bonus points for his performance at Boro, and be ready to enter another world of football.
Almost a “fantasy” world, you could say.