We will now turn this space over to MGlo, co-founder and co-commissioner of the Backpost Premier League Fantasy competition. He and Our Man at the Valley will be posting regularly throughout the season. Take it away MGlo:
Let’s see here….Antacids? Check. Pepto Bismol? Check. Ambien? Check.
Ok, I am all set for another season of EPL Fantasy Soccer! As fun as this game is, it can also be brutally nerve wracking.
Throughout this season I am going to document, on a weekly basis, the rollercoaster ride of emotions I will no doubt cycle through as I seek the championship of the Backpost EPL Fantasy League. In addition to laying bare my inevitable anxieties, I will also offer tips, insights, and hopefully some humor in each post.
(If you haven’t signed up for the league yet, click this link and follow the directions.)
Let’s get to it.
I have £100 million to form a team of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three strikers, with only three players coming from any one team. Sounds easy enough, but before you know it, you have 20 million left and still need two midfielders and all three strikers.
So how do you go about picking a team? Here are some things I consider:
1) You definitely need superstars, but it’s the players one level below who are really the key to your team. I like to have at least one megastar in defense, two in midfield, and one up front. But the truth is that players like Leighton Baines, Robert Huth, Peter Odemwingie and Darren Bent usually put up numbers at a better price. Finding these gems is what takes you to the top.
2) Know the roster. There is a transfer window in the summer and in January, and players you’ll be selecting are definitely affected. Take Bent of Aston Villa. Last year he had a very good season taking crosses from Ashley Young and Stuart Downing. Those two are gone now, which could easily affect Bent’s production. Charlie Adam is another example. He starred at Blackpool last season, but how will he fare in a crowded Liverpool midfield?
3) Know the schedule. Knowing who your players face is crucial, especially when bringing players in. You don’t want to have your new striker face Man U, Chelsea, and Arsenal one after the other, while someone else faces Swansea, Norwich and QPR. Throw in European and domestic Cup games and weather postponements, and you realize that knowing who plays midweek can add an extra 10 points to your team.
4) Leave your emotions at the door. Fantasy sports are no place for loyalty. Picking players because they play on your favorite team is a mistake. I’m a Liverpool fan, and last season I had Steven Gerrard on my team. He cost a huge chunk of money, and I kept waiting for him to produce. By the time I decided to bring in someone else, I had to transfer Gerrard out to free up money. So it took two weeks to get to where I wanted to be.
5) A word about transfers. You get one free and then every transfer after that costs you 4 points. Or does it? If you figure that the second guy you bring in plays the whole game, he claims back 2 of those points, and if he does anything else (score, assist, bonus) he makes that second transfer worth your while.
Thank you MGlo. All participants would do well to pick up what you’re putting down. Good luck to all, and again, click here and follow the directions to sign up if you haven’t done so already.