December 15, 2010 1 Comment
With the league season fast approaching its halfway point, this week’s post will be the final entry in my series of fantasy football tips for the 2010/11 season. To provide you with some succour during the long winter months ahead, in addition to all the advice I have previously offered, here are five specific tips for managing your way through the rest of the season.
1. If you still have it, don’t waste your first wildcard
If you haven’t yet played your transfer wildcard – which allows you to make unlimited changes to your squad without penalty for one week only – then think carefully before playing it in the next few weeks. It is a precious commodity, and one whose use should be timed to have maximum impact. Obviously, you do not want to play it too late in the season, but unless you absolutely need to utilise it in the next week or two, I would strongly advise considering saving it for later use. But why should you wait? Here’s why …
2. Use your extra wildcard
This season, there is an ‘extra’ wildcard, which can only be used between gameweeks 23 and 27. It will be available for use after the start of gameweek 22 (January 4th, 19:30) up until the gameweek 27 deadline (February 12th, 11:30). Use it or lose it!
Consequently, there is probably not much point using your first wildcard in weeks 21 or 22, with the time-limited extra one coming up shortly thereafter. Better to hang on for another week or two, play your extra wildcard in gameweek 23, and then save your main one to use whenever you like. And don’t forget about any players you may have who will be involved in the Asian Cup, which runs through most of January – the likes of Tim Cahill and Ji-Sung Park will be absent during this period.
3. Beware the Christmas programme
As is traditional in England, the festive season sees a congested schedule, with teams typically facing four matches in the space of just ten days. Consequently many teams – particularly the bigger clubs who have deeper squads – will look to rotate their players to keep them fresh.
Of course, you will not be able to completely predict what managers will do. But it will help to be aware who those critical, high stamina players are who are more likely to play no matter what, versus those who are more likely to play one game and then be rested for the next. Teams with small squads (e.g. Aston Villa) or those with multiple injuries in certain positions are less likely to rotate heavily, providing additional opportunities for points (although, of course, fatigue may count against them).
You may remember the weekend last season when only three matches survived the extreme snowy and icy conditions. We may well experience similar periods this winter. (And it is worth remembering that Blackpool have no undersoil heating, so their home matches are more likely than any other to be called off.) For canny managers who have a wildcard up their sleeve, this can provide opportunities to tailor your squad to the demands of a particular week and pick up valuable extra points.
Also, remember that if a match is postponed it will have to be rescheduled, meaning that having no match in one gameweek will correspond with two in another somewhere down the line. Keep a careful eye on how the fixture lists evolve from week to week as postponed games are rescheduled. Planning your transfers around certain rescheduled games a couple of weeks ahead can give you opportunities to slant the make-up of your squad towards players who can give you a double game bonus.
5. Cup ties
There are two gameweeks which coincide with cup fixtures, where a number of teams will have their league fixtures postponed and rescheduled, creating more situations where teams do not play in one gameweek but then play twice in a subsequent week.
The two weeks to take note of are:
Gameweek 28: Carling Cup final. Tottenham vs Arsenal may be affected (if Arsenal beat Ipswich in their semi-final), and either Chelsea vs Birmingham or West Ham vs Liverpool will have to be rescheduled, depending on the result of the other semi.
Gameweek 33: FA Cup semi-finals. Depending on who progresses to this stage, as many as four fixtures (i.e. eight teams) may be postponed to accommodate the semis.
And that’s it from me. I hope you have found this series useful over the past four months, and that some of the principles and analytical techniques I have shared with you have proven to be useful in helping you build and develop a successful fantasy football team. As I have said throughout the series, there is no one definitive ‘best’ way to play the game, but the more effort you are willing to put into the game and the more comfortable you are understanding what all the available data can tell you, the more likely you are to enjoy success.
I will be the first to admit that I do not always stick by all my own guidelines – rules are made to be broken! – but they do provide a basic set of principles which I apply 95% of the time. And when I do go against my own advice it is generally a conscious decision based on an educated hunch. After all, despite all the numbers that can be crunched, fantasy football is still very much a human game – which is what makes it so much fun to play.
Do my rules and techniques work? Well, I’m not normally one to blow my own trumpet, but I will leave you with the screen capture to the right, which shows my overall ranking within the game – I am currently in the top 1% of managers – and the five private leagues I am a member of. I think the numbers speak for themselves.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with the rest of the game!
Previous posts in the Fantasy Football series: