Sunday, 28 August 2016

Early Wildcard - Pros and Cons

With gameweek 3 now over, we embark on a period without any Premier League football as a result of the first international break of the season. For FPL fanatics, like myself, an international break also brings up the prospect of having to decide quickly to wildcard early or not.  In case you don’t know, the wildcard chip allows you to make unlimited transfers until the deadline of the next gameweek. The use of a wildcard may have positive implications on your rank and positions in mini-leagues but it also may have the reverse effect.


Early Bandwagons: The use of an early wildcard allows FPL managers to get players who have a blistering start to the season. This doesn’t always guarantee higher overall gameweek points and a plush overall rank.  However if you jump onto the correct bandwagons you will laugh all the way to the fantasy bank with quick fire returns.

Increase in Team Value: The method is rather simple. It involves activating your wildcard as soon as the gameweek kicks off, transferring in the players that are bound to rise in price and ideally, transferring out the players in your team that are injured, out of form or those who will drop in price. Therefore, this allows you to build value during the international break, so long as you carry our the correct wildcard transfers at the right time.

Taking advantage of price changes: As it is still the beginning of the season, there are less inactive teams than the end of the season. This means that the overall number of transfers of particular players will be far higher than from January onwards. This means you will see rapid price fluctuations in the market early on for in-demand players. The use of an early wildcard allows FPL managers to bring players who are due an increase, thus ensuring they are not maxed out of budget.  Taking advantage of price changes is also linked to the last point as it enables managers to pragmatically increase team value.


Injuries: Unexpected knocks and niggles can occur at any point in a season. By playing the wildcard so early you leave yourself exposed in the event of dealing with an injury crisis to your squad from now till December. Of course you can manage it by slowly waltzing along with your free transfer or by doing a mini-wildcard (two free transfers and a -4 hit).  Yet the fixture congestion during November to December could be gruelling without a wildcard. Your rank could suffer as you may be forced to make multiple transfers in back-to-back gameweeks leading to mass point hits. 

Form: FPL managers cannot predict when a player will dip in form. It's unlikely that all early bird performers maintain their standards consistently for a full season.  This must be considered when the initial thought of using the wildcard is made.  You may be forced into taking hits suddenly and regularly if your early wildcard transfers backfire.  To make matters worse, your opponents may have a better slice of luck and could outdo you if your wildcard players don't perform.

In my opinion, the use of an early wildcard comes down to personal preference. If an FPL manager thinks that their team is performing below par and the use of a wildcard would help achieve higher gameweek points, they will be naturally inclined to use it. But for me, even though the temptation to change the structure of the team is truly daunting, I would recommend using the wildcard when there is a true reason to, i.e. you can justify the transfers for a significant amount of your squad, at least 5 players. Don't use the wildcard so early for the sake of it.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Written by: Mark Dinkha

Friday, 26 August 2016

DreamTeam - Latecomers League Tips

Tips for the Sun's Dream Team Latecomers £30k league.  
Starting Gameweek 4, that's the weekend after international break. 

Right, to begin with, it's totally changed from last season. No unexpected Daley Blind "Star Man" every game, or Rooney randomly getting "Star Man" against Villa when he admitted he'd had a shocker.  This season the ratings are done by First tip, get to their site and see who were the top rated players from last season and who's done well at the start of this season. Look at who got the most Man of the Match awards and the top average rated overall players. For instance, you will be surprised to see that Man City's top rated player last season was Nicolás Otamendi. I'm not saying I will pick Otamendi but it's worth noting. That's a good indication of who you want. No point in having a player who doesn't get the right ratings. 

You get the basic 5 points for a clean sheet, 2 for an assist and 5 for a goal regardless of position (no extra points for a defender scoring).  Also with the clean sheets it doesn't matter if your player plays 1 minute or 90 if he's on the pitch he'll get points as if he's played the full match. Likewise when Arsenal were 4-3 down to Liverpool and if they had brought on Kieron Gibbs for the last few seconds he would have scored -3 as it's minus a point for every goal conceded after the first. But it's the ratings of 7.0+ for additional 3 points and the Star Man gets an additional 5. There are no points for a player starting a game. 

Of course, you really want to aim for goals and assists. I always thought there wasn't much point in having a defensive midfielder, who doesn't score or assist but Moussa Dembélé despite only getting three goals and one assist was Spurs top rated player from last season with a higher rating than Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. So I might rethink that but I would still go for goal scoring midfielders, i.e. Hazard, de Bruyne, Mahrez types. 

You also want clean sheets and top keepers who won't concede many. But a cheaper option from a mid table side who make a fair few saves can also work like Heurelho Gomes of Watford. He actually had a higher average rating than David de Gea over the season. You also have to remember that every game counts. So a Europa league tie against some part timers could be a points fest. Same with domestic cup games.

Also this season you have three transfers per month so you can look ahead and if Manchester City play Hull, Burnley and Sunderland you can fill you boots and put in Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne. Whereas if Arsenal play Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona you might not want Mesut Ozil and Oliver Giroud plus if you can get two games a week out of someone then make the transfer. But you have to remember that game weeks start on a Monday so if you have Diego Costa and Chelsea play Monday night then he is locked out after that game until the following Monday. Any player who's team have played cannot be transferred even if they didn't play. 

Prices also rise and fall so if the cheap diamond you selected goes on a good run your mates will be paying more for him and you'll have benefited from picking him early. 

I'd also scan the player list for the under priced players and other players who will do well as someone else at the club is injured or the player priced cheaply at one club has moved to another. So Luke Shaw for example at £2.5m is a must have. I also think John Stones at £3m is under-priced. If Nolito carries on the point scoring form he's started the season on he'll be a must have at £3.5m. 

Finally, I would recommend scanning the fixtures and see who has extra non-league games.

Follow Dream Team Expert on Twitter for more tips!

Fantasy Foxez's #FPL Insight - Gameweek 3

Monday, 22 August 2016

Nay to the Gray? - Gameweek 2 Review

Gray vs Negredo- the battle of the 6.5 forwards goes on

Gray to Negredo was the most popular transfer leading up to the gameweek 2 deadline. 52k transferred Andre Gray out of their teams after he blanked in the first week at home to Swansea. Little did they know the Burnley striker would assist a goal and open his Premier League account v Liverpool in Saturday. This left the 10.5% who kept the faith in Gray rewarded while those who knee-jerked to transfer Alvaro Negredo in feared the worst going into Sunday's North East derby between Middlesbrough and Sunderland. A Negredo blank would be costly. Thankfully for the 18% of managers who own 'The Beast', he came up with two assists and scored the same amount of points as Gray due to his 2 bonus points. No doubt the two standout 6.5 strikers from the first two gameweeks will continue to cause headaches throughout the season.

Liverpool's Problems Remain

After spending £69.1m on new recruits so far, Liverpool have strengthened greatly this summer, particularly in midfield. While their notorious defensive issues are yet to be resolved, the question on most FPL players' lips after Liverpool ran out 4-3 winners at the Emirates was which of Liverpool's talented midfielders to sign for your FPL team. Coutinho was the favourite and raised 0.2 in value due to popular demand after his brace, Adam Lallana had a goal and an assist and Sadio Mane also impressed with his goal, though injured in mid-week and was ruled out of the game at Burnley. Add to that list Giorginio Wijnaldum, who weighed in with an assist and showed his quality at times last season, though seemingly forced to play a deeper role for Klopp than at Newcastle and Firmino, Liverpool's top point scoring player last season. The quality of these midfielders can be top class as we saw against Arsenal, but the consistency of all of these players hangs in doubt. Liverpool in general suffered with inconsistency last season. Beating Chelsea then then losing to Crystal Palace, losing 3-0 to Watford and then beating Leicester was the kind of form Klopp's team were in throughout last season, which could cost you points if they continue to blow hot and cold. Having been outstanding in attack against Arsenal, they struggled to break down Burnley's defence, so the early signs are that they haven't changed.

Aguero and Ibra or bust?

There is beginning to be a recurring theme in FPL this season. Ibrahimovic + Aguero = success. Like last week, they were the two highest scoring strikers again. The other premiums have not come close to the two most expensive players' identical record of 3 goals in two games and maximum bonus points from the first two gameweeks. Whether this trend continues remains to be seen, but the forward alternatives are sure to improve. After a slow start, it might be only a matter of time before Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane start hitting the net as regularly as last season, so it may not be best to panic to get Ibrahimovic for a -4 point hit or to wildcard in order to get both just yet, but another week like the last two and that might be a viable option as the pair have already gone up 0.1 in value and continue to increase in ownership. Miss out on another price rise and they could become difficult to afford even in a wildcard team. 

Kyle Norbury,
Stoke fan and fantasy football nerd,
Follow me, Kyle on Twitter: @SCFCNerd

Friday, 19 August 2016

Candido's XI for Gameweek 2

 GK – Mignolet vs Burnely (A)
  • Liverpool  have kept 9 clean sheets in their past 12 matches against Burnley
  • Made 2 saves vs Arsenal, including a penalty
  • Picked up 1BP in GW1

DEF – Ivanovic vs Watford (A)
  • Watford only had 5 shots in GW1, with only 1 on target
  • 1 chance created in GW1
  • He also registered 2 shots inside the box vs West Ham

DEF – Clyne vs Burnley (A)
  • Liverpool  have kept 9 clean sheets in their past 12 matches against Burnley
  • 1 shot on target in GW1
  • 1 assist
DEF – Baines vs West Brom (A)
  • West Brom only registered 3 shots on target in GW1
  • Baines managed 1 shots assist
  • Being stationed at left midfield heightens his chance of attacking returns

MID – Townsend vs Tottenham (A)
  • Returning to face his old club at White Hart Lane in the league for the first time Has a point to prove
  • Registered 6 shots in GW1 (2 on target) and also managed 2 shot assist
  • Played Tottenham at St James’ Park in GW38 last season winning 5-1 Townsend managed 3 shots in this game (1 on target, 1 off target and 1 off woodwork)  and created 4 chances for his teammates
MID – Firmino vs Burnley (A)
  • Registered 4 shots in GW1 and created 1 chance
  • Burnley conceded 11 shots inside the box last GW (2nd most) and also conceded 2 big chances (=2nd most)
  •  May start the match up front again
MID – Ramirez vs Sunderland (A)
  • 2 shots on GW1 both inside the box
  • Created 3 chances and registered the assist for Negredo’s goal
  • Sunderland conceded 9 shots inside the box in GW1 (=3rd most) as well as 2 big chances (=2nd most)
MID – Lamela vs Crystal Palace (H)
  • Registered 3 shots vs Everton in GW1, one of them the equalising goal all three shots were inside the box
  •   2 bonus points

     FWD – Aguero vs Stoke (A)
  • 6 shots (5 inside the box) vs Sunderland in GW1, including a goal
  • 10 shots (7 on target and 1 off woodwork) in the midweek Champions League playoff, including 3 goals
  • He has registered 3 goals in his last 3 games vs Stoke
FWD – Llorente vs Hull (H)
  • Registered the most shots (6) in GW1
  • He was also first for shots inside the box (5)
  • Hull conceded the equal 3nd most shots inside the box in GW1 (9) as well as the most big chances (4)

FWD – Carroll vs Bournemouth (H)
  • Managed 0 shots and 1 shot assist in GW1
  • However, Bournemouth conceded the equal most big chances in GW1
  • West Ham have registered 8 goals in their last three matches against Bournemouth
  • It will also be West Ham’s first league appearance at the new Olympic Stadium
  • Carroll’s potential is boosted by the comeback of Payet and the likelihood of Antonio being deployed at right wing, who will both provide him with excellent service


And here’s how they line up:
Llorente - C
Aguero – VC 
 C:\Users\scandido\Documents\Fantasy\EPL\Articles\GW2 XI.PNG
Player map graphics via @StatsZone

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Gameweek 2 - Best Buys and Why

Gameweek 1 was an interesting start to the season. We saw some surprise packages that could be potentially good for our FPL team in the long run. Today I will highlight some of the best buys for Gameweek 2.

First up, if you are looking for consistent returns from your defence, consider West Bromwich Albion players. With Tony Pulis style of play in which he likes to park the bus, West Brom’s defenders are value for money as they are pretty budgeted. Ben Foster scored a whopping 10 points in the first match of the season and showed why he is one of the best English goalkeepers around. If you are looking for a full back providing assist, at only £4.5m, Gareth McAuley provides good opportunity for assist while Craig Dawson offers goal scoring threats from set pieces at £5.0m.  West Brom’s next few fixtures are relatively good, taking on Everton, Boro, Bournemouth, West Ham, Stoke and Sunderland in coming weeks.

Next, Eden Hazard looks to continue his strong start of the season against Watford this weekend. Hazard has shown in previous seasons what he is capable of, apart from the 15/16 where injury made him have a pretty bad season. With Chelsea’s good run of fixtures in the next few game weeks, Antonio Conte’s side look to score big. Hazard is also able to play as a forward should his team mate Diego Costa ever get suspended for getting booked. At £10.0m, he is pricey, but the possible returns he can get you surpasses his price.

Finally, Manchester United look to be title contenders this season after missing out for the past couple of seasons. With the addition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and a few others, their squad look solid and with Jose Mourinho as their new manager, the club is moving in a new direction.  If you are looking for a midfielder, Anthony Martial (£9.5m) is a good option as he provides lots of crosses into the box and is able to cut in from the left and create chances himself. For forwards, Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks to retain his goal scoring threat with his new team. He has shown he has what it takes to play in England despite his age. He is a premium player at £11.5m but I believe he is a safe long term investment that will bring you returns over the course of the season.

Those are my picks for Gameweek 2. Most of them will be good in the long run. Some of them are budgeted, some are a premium, pick one that suits your needs for this weekend.

Written by: @FantasyFoxez