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Fantasy Football Interviews

The Big Interview – The Regulars Respond! Part 1

The Big Interview – The Regulars Respond! Part 1- FPL Fantasy Football Premier League

IntroJust when you thought it was safe to forget your FPL password and get World Cup or MLS focused I have returned! You can’t escape from FPL that easily and I know that secretly, you’re already missing it. While the season is still fresh in our minds I have asked some of the regulars on our site to put some thoughts together on some of the lessons they have learnt from this season that they plan to take into next season.
As with many of our discussions on the chat boards, you won’t agree with everything and some of the points made you will readily relate to. Bear in mind they are individual and honest opinions of those members I spoke to.
This article is split into two parts as it is very long – and I would hate to overburden you with too much. So please enjoy the “Regulars Response” part one. Part two will be with you very soon. Enjoy!

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Milky – total points 2,281 – global rank 108,536
MilkyAs a complete rookie to Fantasy Football, I discovered very quickly that football knowledge and fantasy football knowledge are two very different things. I know a fair bit about the majority of teams and players in the EPL, but I soon realised very quickly how this did not translate to fantasy football points. It was vital to me to get the input of the more regular players as to which players / fixtures are best to look into. Just because Marshall is a great keeper – he won’t get many fantasy football points because of the defence, for example! A few things that I’ll be taking into my second year of fantasy football are quite simple:
1) Never have 3 players from the same team (Unless it’s something completely necessary – like a DGW)
2) Captaincy choices should never be a gamble – if you have Suarez, give him the armband!
3) There are supporters from just about all the EPL teams on FF247, so someone will have an insight into a specific player from some relegation threatened team.
4) Taking hits are actually not the end of the world – as long as they are planned 3 GWs in thought.
5) Hits are great to prepare for DGWs – it’s generally only a -2 then!
6) 2 playing keepers, even cheap ones, is a great rotational strategy. Additionally, always have 14 / 15 starting players, even if this doesn’t suit the budget, it is a must!
7) Never, ever, ever, ever, ever bring Aguero in for a hit. He will get injured in that GW, guaranteed.
8) January wildcards are the devil.

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Jamesimmo – total points 2,337 – global rank 41,554
JamesimmoIt’s been my first full season playing – one I’m fairly satisfied with – but there’s a fair few valuable lessons I’ve learnt that would’ve helped me do so much better:
– When picking a captain: form and fixture are the two things to go by. Not ‘class’. Not price.
– Do not be afraid to take hits, especially earlier on in the season, where the odd stand-out player of the week may just turn out to be a key player throughout the season……Ramsey, Coleman, Yaya – need I say more? Hits are simply calculated risks. Often worth the gamble and, where appropriate, I won’t be quite so hesitant to make them next season.
– Don’t plan more than 3 weeks ahead. You will be disappointed.
– Never bench a player who you have a ‘gut feeling’ about them doing well… even if it involves benching a ‘better’ player – you can never always be right – but, surprisingly often, they do come good as you expected.
Hope you find these of use. I’ll probably refer back to these and the subsequent article you publish as the 2014/15 season gets underway!
Thank you for the fantastic work you do for FF247 by the way.

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Raz – total points 2,274 – global rank 120,251
RazFor myself I actually have a few lessons. Most important is not to stick with players that were brilliant the season before. I stuck with Hazard, Mirallas, RvP, Michu and Snoddy (not brilliant but cheap and a decent score of 152 the season before).
Also, I refused to step on any bandwagon during the first 7-10 game-weeks, which cost me my season. Think my overall rank after 10 GW’s was over the 1mln mark. I finished 120k. Dunno, but I messed it up those first 10 weeks. Refused to take hits and it’s not like that has helped at all (so take hits when necessary). All because I stuck too much with players out of form (that were good the season before), didn’t step on bandwagons and refused to take hits. Was thinking with my head instead of my guts.
To wrap it all up, don’t get stuck in the past, take calculated risks and step on a bandwagon every now and then. Aaah yes, most importantly just enjoy the game.

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Serendipity – total points 2,499 – global rank 402
SerendipityThis was my first year of FPL and starting my season I had a very clear strategy – build team valve in the first half of the season in order to afford a great team in the 2nd half. I acknowledged that I would not top any leagues in the first half as I needed to take strategic hits to achieve this. I took numerous 4 or 8 point hits in the first 17 weeks … you could say getting on bandwagons or chasing form (depending on your view ). I believe it worked & allowed me to have a team value around £8m higher than anyone in my mini league. Definitely a strategy I will repeat next year. I restricted my hits after the Cup started (GW18) & that is when I started to rise up my mini league. One thing I won’t do again is get hit happy toward the end of the season, that has been disastrous for my overall ranking and I will never ever take anything higher than an 8point hit again!
I also decided not to hold on to the players who were not performing – regardless of reputation. This led to stressful game weeks thinking this could be their week to score big – however this strategy worked well for me this year and I will try & repeat it next year.
The final key learning for me was early transfers…… Don’t do it!!!! Early in the season when chasing team value I did strategic early transfers, however next year after GW 18 I will ensure I wait as long as possible (ideally after Team Talk). I was stung a couple of times with injuries & with players being sold – really stupid moves! I can only just now bring myself to admit buying Cabaye two days before he was sold to PSG….. Agh!

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Gallant Pioneer – 2,264 – global rank 138,915
Gallant PioneerUntil the past season or two I hated this game more than I enjoyed it.  I wondered why I played season after season.  I now know why.  It’s a fantastic game of prediction underneath it all and very addictive.
We all know our football, kind of to the same level generally.  It’s easy for us to know who the best teams are, the best players, how the fixtures work and how a team are playing week from week.
What we don’t know?  We don’t know who will play well and when, who the best captain is, who can go on the bench and who goes in our first eleven, who will be injured early, who will only play 70mins, only play one game of a DGW, be dropped completely.
In short, there are more variables than probables.  And you need luck on your side.
I’ve come to realise that all we can do is make educated guesses.  Do your homework, listen to the great advice on FF247, look at the stats, fixtures, make a gut call when you have to and then it is in the lap of the gods.

From this particular season I have learnt:

* That not having someone for just their first two or three games in a streak is NOT missing the boat (Hello Aaron!)

* DO NOT chase DGWs too much.  GW37 has been a war-zone for most of us.

* No lead is ever insurmountable. I’ve seen 80 point leads wiped out in some of my mini-leagues.

I always remind myself that although as I mentioned, we all know who the best players are, there are more than 15 of them in the Premier League!  You can’t have everyone all of the time!  Don’t kick yourself about who you let go or who has gone bananas one week before you bring them in.

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Veer – total points 2,311 – global rank 67,304
VeerThis season wasn’t exactly my rookie season, I made my team in January of last season, but I only came on once every two weeks, took large hits and wasn’t in any leagues. That combined with the fact that I’m 13 meant most others in their rookie season were better off than me! Things I’ve learnt this season are:
1) Make moves based on form first, and then fixtures
2) Don’t let my Arsenal support get in the way (something I’m still struggling to do)
3) Don’t make a GW1 team with 6 DGWers (from Chelsea/Aston Villa)
4) Don’t use your wild card in GW 2 when you don’t need to
5) … use it in GW 4, instead of taking a 24 point hit
6) Stop captaining differentials that I know will not perform!!
7) Don’t keep hesitating to buy players (Ramsey in early stages)

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Elleffcee – total points 2,349 – global rank 32,457
ElleffceeI have learned this season not to be afraid to take a hit, e.g. I take no hits, next bloke takes -8pts, I get 50, he gets say 62 minus 8 so he gets 54 – still beats me. Also don’t be afraid to cappo someone different, e.g. Goofy has an easy fixture at home, scores nowt, Yaya has a toughie away + scores say 15pts doubled, heaven. Oh and one more thing I must mention, don’t listen to that fella called Steve Cook, always gives me bad advice. Hee! Hee! Cheers mate – it’s been a great season fantasy wise and we have had some fun along the way.

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Horse – total points 2,375 – global rank 18,361
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Stoke City v Everton - Britannia StadiumThis was my second full season of fantasy football.
The first had gone well with a 28K finish and 17th in the world for the final quarter due to some outrageous DGWs.
Based on that I had a set of guidelines which I thought gave me a chance of further success.
However, in this unpredictable season some things worked and others did not.

My plan was to save my wildcard until the end of the season to make big points from the DGWs.
So working backwards I had to set my team up to be solid with nailed on players so it would not need major restructuring until January. I planned to go easy on hits. I wanted to chase the dollar first half of the season and spend it on decent player’s second half.

Hit the ground running
The best thing I did this season was to take the time to prepare a decent side.  Going on the FF247 site preseason I spent time reading the articles and swapping ideas with other managers which was invaluable.
Looking back I picked up a century first GW and had players like Boruc, Ward and Coleman already in my team.
The next few game weeks I picked up the likes of Ramsey, Lallana and Sturridge/Suarez to give my side a decent core.
So lesson number one: Preparation is everything.

The New Bonus point System/ Midfield
This season defenders were picking up new bonus points and midfielders were picking up less. It sounds obvious but I not only wanted nailed on players but players who had a chance of decent returns from all over the pitch. So I spent more money on defence and less on midfield.
Further, I was convinced that it was a bad plan to buy into Man City’s and Chelsea’s midfield, due to the rotation of Mancini and Rafa so I spent most of the season without Yaya and Hazard. Doh!
Lesson number two: Don’t judge a team by their previous manager.

Wild Card
The late wild card did not work at all this season and with hindsight I should have played it earlier.
By the time I got to January my team was pretty settled. The second wild card got me the likes of Baker, de Gea, Amalfitano and Aguero for the DGW.
Lesson number three: Wildcards are not just for the end of the season.

Double Bubble
Mignolet and Kolo Toure. Ramsey and Ozil. Suarez and Sturridge. Ward and Gabbidon. Azpilicueta and Ivanovic. Coleman and Stones.
The possibilities are endless
Lesson number four: Doubling up works.

Finally
Lesson number five: Don’t devalue the Cup by sending out a weakened team. Keep an eye out on the fixtures and who knows you might end up winning the bloody thing.

Thanks a lot for all your hard work this season Cookie and congrats on your fantastic season.
The site is fantastic and it has been a lot of fun.

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Billisbob – total points 2,402 – global rank 9,363
David SilvaThanks Cookie – really glad to be a part of the article!!!

I think the main lesson I’ve learnt, (apart from to spend less time on FPL next year as I’ll never get my coursework done if I spend as my much time as now, when at the moment I don’t have coursework!!) would be to not be afraid to jump on band wagons.
At the start of the season, Barkley was a problem for me, as was AJ, Ramsey, Aguero, Hazard and Sterling, but the biggest one of all was not buying Yaya until GW37!!!!
Honestly it’s a miracle I’m not in the bottom 100k!
Also, the one I’ve made the most points from, is going for a deferential captain if you need to make up ground. The captain will make or break your game-week! For instance, captaining Ramsey lost me an extra 20 or so points when Suarez scored 4, captaining Silva when he’s scored or assisted or both has probably gained me around 35 points on my mini league leader.

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Chopper – total points 2,317 – global rank 60,796
ChopperThose that know me will know I don’t do one word answers! #badmoveCockie
Well, it’s been a topsy-turvy season for me. More topsy than Katie Price’s upper half. For those foreigners not familiar. Katie Price is an English phrase for ‘slag’.
Having rushed my initial squad pick I did my usual GW2 wildcard! This proved fruitful as I was able to sort my team properly. As per usual, went downhill quickly so used my 2nd WC before Christmas. (I get at least 3 extra self-imposed WCs a season usually ending up with a 26point hit – you do the maths). This was an excellent move causing my good friends to say ‘You’re shooting up!’ I assume they meant the league-not what people do in public toilets!
The lesson I learned most was not to be so stubborn. I did something similar to Kop and kept hold of my crap players too long hoping the idiots would come good. That said, I believe in FPL you need a bit of luck, of which I had none. It was no coincidence last season’s top players mostly struggled early doors to the changes but those inexperienced, adapted quickly. I never. I always remember FFC’s words ringing in my ears ‘Get a player on the B of the Bang’. This helped massively. It’s always good to have a bit of HINDSIGHT.
The thing I will definitely take for next season is – Not to have a baby in February! Plan it for the closed season because you cannot manage an FPL team whilst breast feeding. I tried this many times but the milk kept dribbling down my chin!
I would like to finish on a serious note and thank everyone on this site from writers to regulars and lastly, not forget FFC who brought us together. What rose from the ashes is amazing, growing and a great laugh. I have been missing in parts this year but we all know why. Next year I will be back and raring to go, and hopefully we will see more of a certain caped hero!
There you go sunbeam.

Thanks for reading The Big Interview – The Regulars Respond! Part 1, this article was written by Cookie

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