Friday, 30 March 2018

The week in Fantasy Premier League: End of season is true devotees' time to shine

Of course, that was almost exclusively down to Mo Salah (LIV, 10.7), who produced a performance that will live forever in FPL folklore.
Mo Salah as captain (58 pts) has scored more than my whole team has in 57% of the preceding 30 GWs, in case you were looking for context on both the state of my team and, conversely, his performance.

That 58.8% of active managers who captained the Egyptian King enjoyed a 58-point return from him alone - that's 12 more than the total score of an average team that week.
It wasn’t the last surprise FPL had in store for us. On March 22, the Premier League finally announced the fixtures for DGW34. The decision to grant two fixtures to just eight teams rather than the expected 12 forced managers right back to the drawing board.
To view the full article, click here...

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Gameweek 32 - Daily Fantasy Football Tips

Starting 11 is a new Daily Fantasy Premier League football game and app, which has become extremely popular amongst the FPL community since August 2017, as managers get to pick a brand new fantasy team each week, without the headache of managing a season-long team.

As always, this week’s picks are suitable for all fantasy football game formats and will suit most scoring systems, so we hope you find good use for them, whether you’re playing Fantasy Premier League, or daily fantasy games over at Starting 11.

If you’d like to get involved this week by challenging us, simply create your lineups for Gameweek 32 today via the FREE Apple app.


Safe Pick -  Salah v Crystal Palace (A)

Unbelievable scenes last time out as this season's key fantasy player scored 4 goals in one game, as well as an assist for good measure – was he your captain?

Whether he is in your midfield on FPL or upfront in your Starting 11 side, this man cannot be ignored and it’s hard to find an article without him.

Crystal Palace will no doubt have plans to contain him, but the question remains, how many will Salah score this week?

Differential - Murray v Leicester (H)

A player who continues to surprise me.  I expect his goal scoring form to dip then he finds the back of the net again.

Having scored 5 goals in 6 games, you’d expect to see that sort of goal scoring form for a striker at a European giant – not Brighton!

Leicester haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since mid-January and I see every chance that Murray will take advantage of that poor defensive form.


Safe Pick –  Mkhitaryan v Stoke (H)

After crawling out from the darkness at Manchester United, Mkhitaryan has already reminded us of the type of performances we saw at Dortmund – highlighted again with a goal and assist vs Watford.

Arsenal's opponents on Sunday are Stoke City, who are stuck in a relegation dog fight after 7 games without a win.

As if they were never separated at Dortmund, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang have been stand out performers at Arsenal making them useful choice across all fantasy formats.  A favourable domestic fixture list means we should be seeing a lot more of Mkhitaryan.

Differential Pick – Gudmundsson v WBA (A)

Well know this season for their defensive capabilities, Burnley have now started to offer an attacking option.

The Burnley winger has 2 assists in 2 games and with a broken West Brom team up next I expect Burnley to be too much for the Baggies.  Provided Gudmundsson is match fit he will start.

Burnley have played some good football lately in contrast to WBA. With a double Gameweek on the horizon for Burnley I expect them to be popular picks on FPL, as well as on Starting 11.


Safe Pick – Bailly v Swansea (H)

Bailly returned from injury to a defence which had started to leak goals in his absence. He showed Manchester United fans what they had been missing against Liverpool in a game he was unlucky to concede in.

With Jones nearing full fitness, Mourinho has his first choice pairing back at last – I expect (and Manchester United fans will hope) to see more clean sheets between now and the remainder of the season

Swansea have been playing some good football of late, however aside from the 4 goals they scored against a shambolic West Ham, they haven’t found the back of the net often against their other opponents of late.

Differential Pick – Mee v WBA (A)

Only 26 goals conceded all season for Burnley, finally their efforts were rewarded with a clean sheet against West Ham – their first for 8 games.

Judging by this week opponents, I think Ben Mee will make it 2 clean sheets on the run. West Brom have only managed to score 3 times in their last 5 games.

After defensive injuries across the back line, Sean Dyche finally has the boys back together – a chance for one final push between now and the end of the season.


Safe Pick – Ederson vs Everton (A)

Manchester City defensive assets have been frustrating at times this season, the team scoring freely at one end of the pitch but conceding the one odd goal at the other end to deny fantasy bosses of their clean sheet points.

Well that seems to have changed lately - 3 clean sheets for Ederson in his last 3 games.

Everton’s form is hit and miss at the moment - they may have won their last 2 games however both opponents ended the game with 10 men.  I can’t see them having the same luck again this week.

Differential Pick –  Dubravka v Huddersfield (H)

Since taking over as Newcastle’s number 1, Dubravka has gone on to keep 2 cleans sheets in 4 games.

Huddersfield haven’t scored a goal for 3 games - a dreadful record which Newcastle will be hoping continues.

This is an important game for both sides this weekend, a win will put some air between them and the relegation battle – I believe Benitez has the tactical prowess to win this battle.


This week I am handing the armband to none other than Mohamed Salah.

We all know he rarely blanks, added to the high ceiling he has now created for himself – only scoring 1 goal would probably be a disappointment.

Crystal Palace have been scoring goals but also leaking them, highlighted when they went from 2-0 up against Manchester United, only to go on to lose the game 3-2.

Salah is the one player you can always captain with confidence.

Whatever you decide, I hope you’ll join us this Gameweek by downloading the FREE Starting 11 app in the App Store or the Google Play Store.

Chief's Picks - Gameweek 32

Must-have pick?

Comeback pick?

Differential pick?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Gameweek 31 - Daily Fantasy Premier League Tips

Starting 11 is a new Daily Fantasy Premier League football game and app, which has become extremely popular amongst the FPL community since August 2017, as managers get to pick a brand new fantasy team each week, without the headache of managing a season-long team.

As always, this week’s picks are suitable for all fantasy football game formats and will suit most scoring systems, so we hope you find good use for them, whether you’re playing Fantasy Premier League, or daily fantasy games over at Starting 11.

If you’d like to get involved this week by challenging us, simply create your lineups for Gameweek 31 today via the FREE Apple app.


Safe Pick -  Salah v Watford (H)

I can’t see last weekend’s blank vs Manchester United causing any doubt for fantasy bosses – having shared the limelight with Kane all season, Salah is this week’s stand out asset by a country mile.

Whether you have him as part of your midfield on Fantasy Premier League, or in your forward line-up for Starting 11 – a home tie vs Watford means the Egyptian is just about as safe as they come.
After a good run of results for the Hornets, they were convincingly beaten 3-0 by Arsenal on Sunday – I expect Liverpool to do something similar.

Differential - Benteke v Huddersfield (A)

The desperate things a Blank Gameweek will cause us to consider – after being burnt by Benteke in the past I might potentially line up my strangest ever transfer over on FPL, Harry Kane for Christian Benteke…..

Benkete is not without form, having provided returns in seven of his last nine games – admittedly the majority of which have been assists.

Up against a Huddersfield side who have conceded 50 goals this season, the third highest behind Stoke and West Ham – I fancy Benteke as a useful differential on Saturday.


Safe Pick –  Shaqiri vs Everton (H)

Shaqiri has scored three of Stoke’s last four goals - highlighting once again that if Stoke are to find the back of the net, the Austrian will be involved.

On Saturday Stoke host Everton, a side that has conceded nine goals during their last five games and continue to be unreliable at the back.

In a Gameweek which includes limited key players, Shaqiri is likely to be relied upon by a number of fantasy bosses this weekend.

Differential Pick – Stanislas v West Brom (H)

Who are West Brom playing this week?  Bournemouth?  Get a Cherry or two in your fantasy teams!

A player looking to take advantage will be Stanislas, who tops the charts for the number of shots during the last four Gameweeks (16) – equal with Kane and two more than Salah.

I am backing Stanislas this week – having nailed down a place in the starting line-up, his goal against Spurs last weekend made it three in six games for the midfielder.


Safe Pick – Robertson v Watford (H)

It’s a strange situation to be in where our best chance of a clean sheet comes from a Liverpool defender – still not convinced?  Well at least Robertson can offer you some attacking potential.

Robertson has looked dangerous in advanced positions lately and his displays have impressed me enough for him to be the preferred defensive option in my Starting 11 line-up over van Dijk – backed up by his assist against West Ham during Gameweek 28.

With Watford only managing to score three times in five games, I know I will be loading up on Liverpool at the back this week.

Differential Pick – Daniels v West Brom (H)

Bournemouth’s last clean sheet was six games ago vs Chelsea - but with only eight teams on offer, we work with what we have available!

West Brom look defeated, the Championship looms and the players know it – heads have dropped and their opposition can take full advantage.

I want to see some of those attacking returns we all know Daniels is capable of this weekend!


Safe Pick – Begovic v West Brom  (H)

In for a penny, in for a pound – stack that defence with a Bournemouth double?

The main talking point here of course is their opposition; a side I have already mentioned look defeated before they even walk out of the tunnel.

West Brom have only scored only twice in four games - in fact they have only mustered up eight shots on target from their last four outings - should Begovic be worried?

Differential Pick –  Karius v Watford (H) 

A goalkeeper such as Karius is anything but a Safe Pick, he does however make it into my article as a differential as I do believe Liverpool provide us with the best chance of a clean sheet this week.

Since taking over from Mignolet at Anfield, Karius has recorded five clean sheets this season – three of which have come during the last six league games.

It may surprise some of you to read that Liverpool on average this season have only allowed 7.6 shots on goal per game – a record only bettered by Manchester City.


Those weekly captain polls will undoubtedly look a little one sided this week, no Kane, no Aguero – Mohamed Salah is one of the easiest captain decisions you will ever have.

With an incredible 24 goals and 10 assists this season he leads the way as this seasons star player.
Then consider the other options available during Gameweek 31, the next highest number of goals is from Roberto Firmino with 13.

He was stifled by Manchester United, he will want to bounce back and it’s Watford who will be on the receiving end.

Whatever you decide, I hope you’ll join us this Gameweek by downloading the FREE Starting 11 app in the App Store or the Google Play Store.

FPL Bonus Points System - Solution

By Tom Campbell

I’d venture that the vast, vast majority of FPL players are, at heart; football fans.
As such, it’s not too much of a stretch to understand that when, as a football fan, we see what we recognise as great play on the pitch – be it a defence-splitting slide-rule pass, a curling shot into the top corner (top-bins avec pace), an acrobatic save, a last-ditch tackle, etc – should be rewarded through FPL points being awarded.
Happily, FPL has a route designed to accommodate precisely that – the Bonus Points System (BPS).
This is the process by which player actions, as recorded by Opta, are assigned a consequential BPS point score.  A player’s actions will accrue him a BPS point score over the course of his time on the pitch and, at the game’s conclusion, the best three performing players in terms of their BPS point totals are respectively awarded 3, 2 and 1 additional point(s).
Fundamentally, positive actions such as the scoring of a goal or making an assist are rewarded by an award of a pre-determined BPS point score and, perhaps more controversially, negative actions such as being sent-off are punished by way of subtracting BPS points.
Broadly I’m in favour of this type of system – I don’t like fantasy games which promote subjectivity as a means by which for players to score points – as it’s too easy to claim irrational bias and become embittered...

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Gameweek 30 - As It Happened

Friday, 9 March 2018

The week in Fantasy Premier League: Changing your approach to BGW31 and pushing past FPL burnout

Barely two minutes had passed before Fantasy Premier League managers were greeted with their first bizarre sight of Gameweek 29.
Life is confusing enough when you own one of Everton's carousel of attacking players without the club's graphics department making things even worse.
Own-goal king Lewis Dunk (BRI, 4.5) finally did the business for his long-suffering owners, despite being second or even third sub for many of them.
Then came the frankly bizarre sight of Chelsea’s approach to coming back from 1-0 down against Man City.
When the dust settled, star turns from players like Riyad Mahrez (LEI, 8.7) and David Silva (MCI, 8.0) soon saw a sea change in the mood among managers when it came to perhaps the dominant theme of recent FPL discourse.
To read the full article, click here...

Chief's Picks - Gameweek 30

Must-have pick?

Comeback pick?

Differential pick?

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Chief's Picks - Gameweek 29

Must-have pick?

Comeback pick?

Differential pick?

Insights from above - Three managers from the Top 150

We all know that FPL is a marathon and not a sprint.  You have to navigate appropriately and be lucky to attain a superb overall rank.  I caught up with three high flying managers from this season to see what has been behind their success.

Gangsters Allardyce / David Isaacs

FPL ID - 452

Current Rank - 141st

Nation - Christmas Island

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"I started playing in 2004/2005. I have four top 10k finishes including finishing 573rd in 2014/2015.  I am currently in the top 150 for this season and clearly obsessed with FPL!"

"No matter how good you are, you need a lot of luck to get in the top 100. I have bought in players at the perfect time before they became highly owned and before all their big points. Having Fabianski save a penalty against Everton and DCL scoring the rebound is the kind of luck that’s helped me this season!"

"It feels amazing and like I’ve just mentioned, there is a lot of luck but also I do put in time by doing research/looking at stats etc. So it feels good knowing that my work has paid off."

"Bringing in Hazard and Sterling in my Gameweek 8 Wildcard team and getting some big points off them really helped me climb the rankings. Getting Alonso in Gameweek 16 where he got me 67 points in 9 games (7.4 points per game) was also a massive factor."

"My worst decision has been ignoring Salah as captain for so long (Captained him for the first time in Gameweek 21). I’ve missed out on so many points. I have overcome that by captaining him most of the time now and he hasn’t blanked in the 5 times I have!"

"You need to plan ahead with all the blanks and doubles coming and try to pick a few cheeky differentials for these gameweeks."

Team Name / Jamal Rice

FPL ID - 320240

Current Rank - 14th

Nation - Barbados

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"Fantasy football was a past time for me.  I played it with my brother initially but as I got older I stopped.  I started back after a workmate challenged me; his hope was to beat me at it!"

"Research, patience and knowledge of how all the teams play has assisted my current overall rank."

"In terms of my high rank, at the beginning I was awestruck like the first time on a roller coaster but after a couple rides you get use to it.  With that said, red arrows can be depressing."

"I'm indebted to Kane, Davies, Gross, Salah, Alonso".

"Not getting Salah at the beginning has been one of my worst decisions.  I was his biggest critic until I realized he is unstoppable!  I bit my tongue and put him in my team."

"Choose the in-form players don't abuse minus points and always choose the obvious captain - Salah or Kane."

Powerpuff Girls / Lejuan Basson

FPL ID - 2817369

Current Rank - 16th

Nation - South Africa

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"So my journey with FPL started 2 years ago. My husband is addicted to the game and all he does is talk about FPL so he convinced me to join and make a team just for fun. I basically picked a team full of good looking guys - Aguero, Sanchez, Giroud, etc and they ended up doing okay.  I finished 35k in my first season which I didnt really realise was good till i finished just inside the top 1 million last season 😁".

"A major factor in my current overall rank is definitely getting my captain picks right most of the time and obviously the fact that I've had Salah from the first gameweek has helped. I also haven't taken many hits, if any. But to be fair my team has always looked solid so I've never had the need to take hits. But I don't think hits are a bad thing in medium to long term planning".

"It feels great being ranked so highly.  Obviously it comes with a lot of pressure now and with all my friends rooting for me to win it.  However just to have the opportunity to be so highly ranked is quite satisfying".

"Just remember, the game is still mostly about luck though so can't get to caught up in it."

"In terms of which players have helped me - Salah since gameweek 1!!! Davies Trippier and Aguero at the start of the season. Aguero captain first few weeks. I jumped on de Bruyne at the right time as well as Kane. And Coutinho in December did quite nicely for me."

"With all of the good, I still haven't forgotten that I left Trippier on the bench in gameweek 4 when he scored 10 points (and Hegazi got 0) that hurt a bit. And then deciding not to transfer Kane out for Aguero for his good run a few weeks ago definitely put me back a little bit.  Other than that I can't complain too much."

"Just remember to navigate the double and blank gameweeks well, don't take crazy risks (like Salah or Kane out) because even though you won't gain much through owning them you stand to lose so much more ground if they do well without having them. Its all just a game of mostly luck though and sometimes a great save or a player missing inexplicably can determine whether a transfer was a success or not so still only so much in our control."

So there you have it.  I wish them all the best.  Be sure to follow David, Jamal and Lejuan on Twitter. We may be looking at a future champion (or thereabouts) from these fantastic FPL managers.

Friday, 2 March 2018

The week in Fantasy Premier League: Butland's bonus, Kane V Salah and differentials for the desperate

Fantasy Premier League managers everywhere love a good moan about the allocation of bonus points - usually when one of their players gets short-changed. This week was very different, though.
The bonus points system itself is a laudable endeavour, ostensibly designed to spread the points around a bit, rewarding some of the lesser lights for their more subtle contributions to a match.
 In FPL, it's reassuringly stats-based, unlike some past formats which saw English reporters invariably award maximum points to Wayne Rooney and John Terry, with little, if any, regard to the quality of their performances.
 However, one single action in Gameweek 28, Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland (STO, 5.0) managed to make a mockery of the whole thing.
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