Fantasy Football Inside The Mind Of An FPL Player Gameweek 22
Once more we delve into the
personal lives FPL minds of our wonderful team of writers…
And probably more so than ever this week as the issue of mental health and FPL was raised in the press due to a recent study. You can read one of the press articles about it from The Guardian here or if you want the full study that is available here.
There’s no agenda here, it just came up on the writing team’s chat and it was suggested that perhaps we should touch on it somehow this week. As such we have asked that if anyone would like to do so in their answers below then they have free reign.
ROSCO – TEAM LINK
GW21 points: 75
Total Points: 1429
Overall Rank: 778
Rank Change: Red arrow 241
Free transfers: 1
Money In the bank: £0.3m
Chips: Both Wildcards, Bench Boost and Free Hit used
This week I’m going to step outside of the format slightly. There will be no ‘good, bad and ugly’. I’m going to use this opportunity to give an insight into how my season is going, but also address a few issues that I feel are pertinent to a lot of FPL managers in the current climate. I don’t want this to come across as a ‘woe is me’, so if it does, I apologise in advance. Hopefully, it will help some people who like me, are struggling to take any real enjoyment from what is meant to be a fun game, but for many, due to circumstances out of our control, has become a very difficult (and different) game to what we signed up for.
Like many managers, I’m struggling with how the current Covid cancellations are affecting FPL. I had a great start to the season, better than I’ve had before, and current rank of 778 at this stage of the season is fantastic, more than I could have hoped for at the start of the season, however, this is tinged with the thought of ‘what might have been’. I was 61st on Christmas Day and just 15 points off 10th overall. Quite an achievement. But in the game weeks that have followed, I’ve wasted a Free Hit and my second Wildcard and slipped down the ranks. I say wasted, in the case of my Free Hit this is very true, in the case of my Wildcard you could argue that it’s too soon to pass judgement on that, time will tell.
So, why did I play the chips and what went wrong? Well, the Christmas period is always my least favourite part of the season for FPL, but the best time as a lover of football. Games come thick and fast and if you enjoy watching football (as I like many of you do) then there’s lots of it. But for FPL it’s always incredibly difficult for those of us who like to plan, this has been made almost impossible thanks to the current Covid situation. Games have been cancelled left right and centre, sometimes after the game week deadline and we’ve all lost players without warning.
One of the biggest parts of FPL that I enjoy is the planning. There is nothing better than looking ahead to a particular game week, or run of favourable fixtures, picking out a player you think will do well and then watching them grab a double-digit haul before the masses ‘follow the points’. Covid cancellations have made this almost impossible. I’ll use Jared Bowen as an example. Bowen had amazing fixtures from GW19 through to 22 (Southampton, Norwich and Leeds at Home with trips to Watford and Palace in-between). I had earmarked GW18 or 19 to bring him in, but unfortunately, a few cancelled games and missing players meant I had to prioritize my transfers elsewhere. To say it was frustrating when he scored 14pts against Watford in GW20 would be an understatement.
Let’s get back to those wasted chips. My Free hit was a waste. I didn’t needn’t need to use it, it was a mistake. I was so busy in the build-up to Christmas Day, that it seemed an easy solution to resolve a few issues that my team had, without having to overly think about it. It was the wrong play, and one I regret. I’ll get over it.
On to the Wildcard. I should caveat this by saying that I have never used my second Wildcard early. I’ve always kept it till late, sometimes really late (GW36 and 37 in previous seasons). This year I saw an opportunity. When a DGW pops up unexpectedly you have a choice to make. Attack it or remain conservative. My team prior to GW21 was a mess. I had 5 injured players, no DGW players and more than a few players who I simply didn’t want moving forward. I also had the luxury of a 27-point Bench Boost already in the bag, so in my mind, not having to save the Wildcard to use in conjunction with a Bench Boost was a luxury I had that others did not. So, in came triple West Ham (I finally got my man Bowen) along with double Everton (Calvert-Lewin and Gray). We all know how this panned out. Leicester who had managed to put out a side capable of beating Watford in the cup, suddenly do not have enough players to fulfil their game against Everton and the game is postponed. Thus, any advantage I may have gained from grabbing the Toffee’s duo was lost. What do we make of the cancellation? Well, on the surface it looks like their reasons are less to do with Covid, and more to do with injured players and those who are off on international duty. Who’s to blame, Leicester City? Maybe, but the Premier League have to be the ones who should be held accountable, they make the rules, they make teams submit a squad and if that squad can’t be boosted by youth players then surely the rules need to be looked at. It does seem strange, however, that other teams (Leeds are a good example) with squads depleted by injury and Covid have been forced to play while others haven’t. Some level of transparency would no doubt help. We’re never going to get it sadly.
Where does this leave us as FPL managers moving forward? We can’t plan ahead (or not in the same way we have previously), we are never going to have all the information, and circumstances will change before and sadly after the game week deadline. The debate of ‘luck vs skill’ feels very one-sided in the current climate. If you manage to get your chosen side out, without losing a player or fixture then that’s lucky, there is no skill involved. Unless you happen to have a crystal ball. If you do, pass it in my direction, please!
So, we then come to the often-thorny issue of mental health and FPL. ‘It’s just a game, get on with it’. A comment I’ve seen levelled at others and sometimes in my direction many times over the years. Right now, given all that I’ve discussed above, I’m seeing it a lot more. People are struggling, and that’s ok. For some people it is just a game, that’s cool, I wish I could be more like them, but I’m not. A recent study ‘Exploring the mental health of individuals who play Fantasy Football’ was published, using data collected from hundreds of managers from around the world that play FPL. It’s a very interesting read, and as someone who’ll hold their hand up unashamed and admit to suffering mental health (both good and bad) due to FPL, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I do think that how much time you give to FPL is a factor in how you deal with the highs and lows. I spend a perhaps unhealthy amount of time dedicated to FPL, hours a day, every day, of every week. It’s caused arguments at home, it has ruined many weekends. When a free game starts to affect real life it’s time to take stock, make changes.
So, what changes can you make? Well, for some it’s often best to take a step back. That could be permanently or just a temporary break. You have to do what is right for you. What I do find a big help is sharing (it is caring). We have a great community here, I’d argue it’s the best. If you’re having a tough time, don’t bottle that shit up. Share it on the boards, chances are there are more than a handful of other managers going through similar. Two close members of the community recently reached out and asked me (on different occasions) to look after their teams for very different reasons. I was more than happy to help. So, if you have a friend or fellow FF247 member you trust, reach out, I’m sure like me they would be more than happy to help.
For me, a bad game week and any ill effects that come with it are usually forgotten the moment a game week ends. I like to think I’m a fairly positive person (my glass is always half full and I’ve always got another can on hand to top it back up quick-smart!), and tend not to dwell, what’s done is done. Try not to look back and instead look forward, you can’t change what’s happened, but you can look forward (and try) to do things moving forward that push you closer to whatever your goals are. Also, try to put things in context. If you’re not having the best season will it really matter 1, 2 or 5 years down the line? You might look back and say ‘that was a bad season’ but will it be any more than that? If you had a particularly bad game week or run of red arrows, yes, you may look back and remember how it was not a very enjoyable period or season. Chances are you’ll be too focused on the current set of games (or season) to spend more than a fleeting moment lamenting the week you give Salah the armband, he missed a penalty and scored you a big fat zero. Ouch, that hurt.
I’ll wrap this up as I’ve blathered on more than I intended. No matter how your season is going, try to take enjoyment from it, it’s not always easy I know, but if you can laugh about it (at some point) it will help. I know. If someone says ‘it’s’ just a game’ don’t take offence, after all, factually that is correct. My best bit of advice though? Remember why we started playing the game in the first place. We love football. So, when the dust settles on a bad game week, make sure you watch the highlights of all those games you avoided because ‘player X’ scored and you don’t own them’. You never know, you might see something someone else hasn’t and gain an advantage next game week or the one after – providing of course that the game doesn’t get called off. I’ll leave it there. As always, may your arrows be green and if they’re not, that’s ok, next week just might be.
With the announcement of another DGW and my captain of choice Son now injured I find myself in something of a predicament. I don’t think the fixtures are that great so I’d be happy to roll with just the 4 DGW players, especially given the favourable fixtures for most of my SGW players. However, I feel I’m lacking an obvious captain choice. I imagine most will look to Ronaldo and Kane, its hard to ignore a player with 2 games after all. Getting either of those will require a hit, but then I’ll be moving out one of Antonio or DCL, both of which have excellent fixtures. I guess I have a lot to ponder (overthink), and as yet I have no clear path to follow!
Captain for GW22: Unknown
INIT – TEAM LINK
GW21 points: 78
Total Points: 1273
Overall Rank: 254,756
Rank Change: Green arrow 37k
Free transfers: 1
Money In the bank: £0.5m
Chips: First Wildcard and First Free Hit used
Much like my colleagues elsewhere on here I have found this Christmas period to be a frustrating one. And that isn’t because I failed to plan or missed deadlines, I often thrive in this period as I’m fairly meticulous with prep, after all which other idiot would sit there on Christmas Eve night (their Birthday!), Boxing Day night and NYE night writing and publishing the FF247 Site Team article?!
It was frustrating simply because of the reasons others have mentioned: you plan and it doesn’t matter as you are either lucky or not as to whether your players actually get to play.
Rank wise I was building some momentum going into this period and it hasn’t really gone backward, rather just stagnated.
As for the issue of mental health and FPL I’ll simply copy below what I originally sent to the team on the issue when it arose, I’d prefer to do this as it was my gut instinct when asked and so it is from the horses mouth;
“I think it’s more priorities than anything. The more time you invest in something then invariably you are going to be more affected by its outcome, good or bad.
When I started all this I had less of other things to do and so I spent more time on it. The result of it was then more important to me as a consequence of that time spent. A bad result used to actually affect my mood. Although I must admit I realised that quite quickly and stopped it in its tracks.
Since that time I’ve had two kids and developed a much more time consuming (real) career. You then prioritise progressively.
My season ranks show that slow recline into other interests, almost perfectly.
I’ll give you a real life example from tonight itself. Since tea (dinner, whatever) I’ve just spent two hours ordering kids football kits and telling the parents how to measure sizes. That’s just priorities and life.
As for FPL I prioritise the site itself over my own team by a mile. I have to or else it doesn’t exist for us or for all those other people on it for whom FPL for them is clearly a priority in their lives.
That was a decision I made a long time ago and so the site sits up there as a priority for me along with the family, work, gym and the kids football team. Unfortunately, time wise, that means my own FPL team / time gets shunted.
But the proof is in the pudding on that one: what do I care about on a Saturday now? I care that the site is in working order and is busy as a result, I care how the kids football team got on. In fact I care so much that my main priority when returning is that I send them a match report and answer any questions about it before I even look at any football results or what is on.
I still do my FPL team and don’t get me wrong I care about it and I do still want to win my own ML. I just don’t prioritise it enough to care to the point that it affects my mood.”
As you can see from the pic above I am yet to make any moves. I appreciate that part of the intention of this article is to give the readers a clue as to what we are planning, and perhaps some ideas to consider themselves, but in all honesty I haven’t got a clue myself yet.
I currently have about 6 red/yellow flags but I expect that 2 or 3 of those will be resolved. That said it still leaves me very shy of DGW’ers, with just the 1 at present. I have two options here. One is to attack the DGW with a Free Hit but in honesty I am somewhat reluctant to do that given that games are still being called off at the drop of a hat. I think I’d rather hold that for future use when hopefully things are a bit clearer, although we have all been saying that about a good number of things in life for about the past 2 years now.
Most likely then is that I will simply take a couple of hits on Friday with an eye on the likes of Dennis and Maddison and probably a punt elsewhere, although most picks feel like a punt these days as getting any of them on a pitch in the first place feels like a bonus.
Transfer summary: unknown
Sorry that I cannot be of more help but it is what it is and I shall be leaving any decisions right up until; the last minute on Friday in the hope that we know some more about the current flags and probably more importantly which if any games will go ahead.
Captain for GW22: unknown
CAROLYN – TEAM LINK
GW21 points: 92
Total Points: 1342
Overall Rank: 48,064
Rank Change: Green arrow 127k
Free transfers: 1
Money In the bank: £2.6m
Chips: First Wildcard, Bench Boost and Free Hit used
I am within the top 100K which is where I want to finish at the end of the season and I am on the same points as Smash and Horse so I am very proud of that and within 100 points of the mighty Rosco. The season has been a lot of ups and downs, I had a run of green and then a run of red then a run of green – you get the idea. The Christmas and New Year period has completely broken my team, I am never going to get used to these postponements and all the backwards and forwards. Anyway rant over – hang on a minute rant isn’t over I am still a Manchester flipping United fan and I am pretty fuming about that as well.
Nothing and I mean a big fat nothing, it’s all going wrong and I would quit right now apart from the fact that I don’t want to lose my work ML.
All of it, seriously though I’ll be honest I am pretty much making it up as I go along at the moment, every move I have made over the holiday period has either been too early and games have been postponed in the last hour, or too late and the site crashes, so for 21 I did my moves a couple of hours before the deadline, I had James and Wilson who are both of sick so I took a hit and brought in Dennis now he is no longer going to AFCON and Coufal trying to get a bit of luck from the double, all makes perfect sense until you realise I didn’t even play Dennis and Coufal isn’t doing me much good so far, there was simply no point in taking the hit apart from to not lose money on James or Wilson. Told you I was making it all up didn’t I?
All of it, it isn’t pretty to look at so I am not going to until the day before the deadline when I have to. Oh and have I mentioned I am a Manchester United fan?
Its hard to decide on this right now because we don’t know if there are going to be doubles and I just don’t know really, the new magic free hit is available and I may use my wildcard.
Ah, plans do you remember those and when they used to work? I do, such happy times. As I have said I’m not sure what I am going to do yet, I might even just keep Salah, I might get Son or Kane but one thing I can guarantee you is I will not be getting any United players, how on earth have I ended up with de Gea? Too much wine maybe Mmmmm I like wine, especially pink wine.
So I have just read this back to myself and if it appears that I am doing a lot of moaning well I am, but sometimes a girl has just got to get stuff off her chest, so thanks for reading and I will hopefully be back for the next In The Mind of Article with a smile and a green arrow.
Captain for GW22: Another shrug of shoulders
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Inside The Mind Of An FPL Player Gameweek 22. This article was written by Rosco, Carolyn and Init
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