I’m a big fan of playing fantasy football, in particular the official Fantasy Premier League, which is focused on the highest level of football or soccer in England. For many of us it’s the closest thing we get to being a football manager – analysing the game and picking our teams each week.
Generally speaking I feel I’m pretty good at it too. Not brilliant, certainly nowhere near winning anything but consistently respectable. I generally finish around the 100,000 mark which doesn’t sound like much of an achievement but out of 3.5 million that’s pretty good going.
This season. Disaster. With 10 games to go I’m still outside the top million. It’s been the worst season I’ve ever had, and by some way. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. I think I’m realising where I’ve gone wrong and am starting to put it right. I’ve now done well for 3 weeks in a row and have been on the rise.
Here’s where I’ve been going wrong…
This season I’ve spent more time than ever analysing the stats – looking at which players are having shots, shots in the box, shots on target, etc. I’ve used this as a basis for my team selection. This seems quite reasonable but stats can be deceptive. A player can have lots of shots appear to be a real threat whereas if you actually watch a game you can see that the player in question was never any real threat whatsoever – the centre half marked him out of the game and blocked every attempted shot with ease.
Listening to Others
I’ve been watching or listening to the weekly chat between the guys at the Fantasy Football Scout site. Their podcast or Scoutcast is very entertaining and enjoyable and I’ve often allowed myself to be led into making transfers on the back of one of them advocating it.
I think I’ve put too much faith in sides being at home. This season more sides seem to be playing a more counter-attacking game and actually seem to do better away from home. When a side is not doing so well and come under fire from their own fans its often easier for them to play away from home.
My final realisation is that I’ve put too much faith in what has happened in the past. I tend to pick players who have done well for me in previous seasons rather than look towards the new emerging talent. Previous seasons’ performances influence price and a high price is no guarantee of point scoring.
Back to Basics
My tactic in the past was never any of the above. I’d make my decisions based on watching games. You can easily see which players look a threat going forwards or solid at the back. You take less notice of the actual score and think more about what the score might have been. You see who is putting in the crosses, taking set pieces, who deserved their fantasy points and who just got lucky that week.