Fantasy Premier League Beginner’s Guide

Your first stop when building your FPL squad

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Starting the fantasy premier league game with just 100 million could be perceived as not enough and that you can’t possibly get a successful squad together that a fantasy manager will be happy with. Well this fantasy premier league beginner’s guide will show you one method on how to create your squad for a successful 2017/18 season campaign. Rotations and Balance are two words to get used to. They allow you to get a squad together and more importantly, keep a squad together without a fantasy manager suffering from premature Wildcarding and/or serial point hitting, hacking away at your squad and your overall rank.

Balance within a Fantasy Premier League squad

Generally the ideal budget split is the following:

PositionMin Total ValueMax Total Value
Goalkeepers9.09.5
Defenders23.025.0
Midfielders35.041.0
Forwards26.030.0

The sweet spot in these ranges is up to your preference but stay within them and your team will be balanced and able to react to whatever happens in a season. You have to make sure that while staying in budget you have enough big hitters to not miss out on Harry Kane or Eden Hazard blowing up a seemingly sedate Gameweek. Aim for three to four big hitting attacking players. Next thing to remember is you have to bench four players every gameweek. There is no point spending/wasting too much money on the bench. You do this by picking cheaper and on the face of things less desirable players within your squad; someone valued at 4.5 million within your defence and 5.5 million or less in your attacking areas of the squad.  To better illustrate this lets go into more detail;

Balanced Squad

Example 1
  • 4.5
  • 6.0
  • 5.0
  • 4.5
  • 9.5
  • 9.0
  • 8.0
  • 5.5
  • 12.5
  • 11.5
  • 6.0
  • The
    bench
  • 4.5
  • 4.5
  • 4.5
  • 4.5

Example 1 includes four big hitters (all captain choices), a trio way rotation and rotating Goalkeepers. Your bench value will never by higher than 18.0 million or 18.0% of your budget.

Example 2
  • 5.5
  • 5.5
  • 4.5
  • 4.5
  • 9.5
  • 9.5
  • 9.0
  • 7.0
  • 5.5
  • 12.5
  • 8.5
  • The
    bench
  • 4.0
  • 5.5
  • 4.5
  • 4.5

Example 2 includes five big hitters (all captain choices), 2* rotating pairs and an attacking rotation. Your bench value will never by higher than 19.0 million or 19.0% of your budget.

Legend

Goalkeeper Defender Midfielder Forward

Player Selection

Two standard rules when picking players:

  • Club loyalties cannot affect who you pick. For example if you support Arsenal, you must allow yourself to pick Spurs players otherwise you cannot win. You need all weapons available to you in the game.
  • The player must be nailed on at their club. Goes without saying really. You can’t make plans for the player to only be benched. Your rotations must be done with nailed on players otherwise they simply don’t rotate; a blank fixture is the worst thing you can get in a rotation.

The other consideration you have to take into account is coverage. This can either be coverage of the top clubs when they have favourable fixtures, coverage of a club you perceived will be popular (for example the West Brom defence) and finally coverage of players who you think will be popular within your mini league. This is hard to do upfront when building your squad but is definitely something to consider early on in the season when making your initial transfers.

Value

Once the rules are known and adhered to, the number one thing you must consider is value. Value per million against your perceived points that player will get. Is there room for growth or is the player overpriced? Sounds simple logic but trust me, people are drawn to names and not necessary what is right for your team. Just look at the % selected by figure on the fantasy.premierleague.com site and you will see firstly, it’s the names from last year and secondly, players who aren’t even going to play but got the most points last season for the price tag they have. Players who were injured last year, lowering their price this year, could be an example of value or players who had their first season in the Premier League last time out and are expected to push on now they have experienced what English football is all about.

Next thing to consider is value within the same club. This applies more to your back line but can apply all over. It applies more to them because of the point scoring system. Every goalkeeper or defender gets four points for the clean sheet. With this in mind there is no point paying 6.0 million for a player when there is a team mate for 5.0 million. There is an example of this at every club.  When doing this remember the above two standard rules.

The only exception to the defensive rule is when a defender from that club can contribute enough to the attacking play of their club that the price difference is actually worth it. Seamus Coleman at Everton or Charlie Daniels at Bournemouth are examples of these types of players. These of course will all fall into the big hitter category.

Rotations

You now know that balance is key to maximising your budget and points, you may be asking how do you do this. It’s called rotations. Rotations tend to happen in defence and there are two common rotation patterns. 2+3 where you have two big hitters playing every week and three players rotating every week to make up the third spot. The other option is 1+2+2 where you have one big hitter and two rotating pairs filling the other two spots in your defence. Before you ask 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 are the best formations! They allow you to get the most dangerous players on the pitch at any one time. Also the bonus points system are steered towards attacking players as well as captaincy. General rule is when rotating players at the back is they should not cost more than 4.5 million each. Collectively they shouldn’t cost more than 9.0 million for rotating pairs (1+2+2) and 13.5 million for your trio rotations (2+3). Anymore then they should be able to stand by themselves. Rotations work by finding combinations of clubs that gives you the easiest possible opposition route through the gameweeks sometimes referred to as fixture chains. These are often home games. Luckily enough for us the Premier League pairs up clubs that rotate home and away for every gameweek so they are pretty easy to find, especially if you read our preseason articles. Trio rotations allows you to look more into the fixture list to find clubs that are potentially better at home that don’t necessary rotate and pair three up to give you a sequence of home games. The other advantage of a trio rotation is that when adopting rotation pairs the two clubs play the big clubs within the Premier league at home at some point and you have very little option but to play that player in that gameweek while in a trio rotation you can be more fussy and remove as many of these danger fixtures as possible. The advantage to rotating pairs is your decision is easier every week so you’re less likely to pick the wrong fixture leaving points on your bench. It also comes out cheaper allowing you to spend more of your budget on attacking players. It is also a preferred option if you don’t mind your rotating defender playing on the road. Preference for either system is up to your management style.

Have you noticed that you will be using two sub spots for either rotation in your back line? This leaves a sub spot to include a rotation in your front eight. Look for midfielders or forwards that are valued at 5.5 million or less to rotate. Remember the defensive rotations you have found may not work as well as an attacking rotation as some clubs are defensively sound at the detriment of their attacking output.

First stage squad building

Presuming you have worked out your value players, have your rotations armed and ready to serve you proud, you can start to flesh out your squad. So this will be your goalkeepers, three or four defenders depending on your rotation tactic used and your two attacking players that are rotating. Note this covers around half of your entire squad. The reason why you put these players in first is because you should never have to make a transfer to replace them and therefore it shows you your budget to fill in the other spots within your squad, remembering to stay within the balanced squad boundaries. When coming up with rotations, have in mind when you are going to Wildcard. There is no point letting fixtures that are after this point affect your decision on the rotation.

Hot and Cold prices

Next thing to note is what ATFPL call hot prices. These are prices where there is a gathering of players you might not want from gameweek 1, but will at some point. For a smooth ride through the season if you have identified a hot price, picking a player valued at the same price in your initial squad will mean it will only ever take one transfer to bring any one of those other players in. Big hitters often fall in to hot prices. There are also cold prices, prices where you only like one player at that price. You have to be careful with these prices as it will take two transfers to bring in your next player. The other option to try and negate these hot and cold prices is to reserve 0.5 to 1.0 million in the bank for flexibility. Have this theory in mind when picking a player based on fixtures or taking a punt on a gut feel.

Fixtures V Form

For me it’s simple; a good run of fixtures will create form and therefore you will be on the form player before anyone else. There are always exceptions to the rules but take this approach and you will create the bandwagons instead of jumping on them. This approach will also mean that you cash in on the player’s price going up, increasing your budget quickly. One thing to say on this is don’t be stubborn. Not everyone gets their decisions right every time.  When making these decisions know how long you plan to keep this player. This way if your player had a two point score in gameweek 1 and an opposing player scored nine, but you know you are going to keep him for a further eight gameweeks, there is no reason to jump ship just yet. How do you know you’re going to keep this player? Because you looked at the fixtures using our season ticker!

OOP and POO Players

OOP or out of position players can make a mockery of the points system. Just look at Joshua King last season as an example. These are players where the people at fantasy.premierleague.com have mis-classified a player’s position. You can argue that these players are almost a must have within your squad. However, no matter how much you like the player if he is POO (reverse OOP); don’t touch him even with a very long stick. These players don’t get value for their output and there will always be a better option than them for the place in the squad. Forwards forced to play out wide in a 4-3-3 are sometimes an example of this.

Big Hitters

Once you have your rotations installed and hot prices made aware of, it’s time to pick your big hitters. This is where your captain is going to come from, so while picking who you think are going to be this years season stars for your squad, also remember that they have to rotate. This will mean you can maximise your points total for your captain. This normally works itself out if you have one to two big hitters who are your nailed on within your squad, and two big hitters that you’re planning around fixtures. Also pick your big hitters at the back at this point. Big hitters at the back tend to also contribute to the attacking phases of their club’s play. Captains are crucial for mini league movement and you should aim for 25% of your total points to come from your captain. ATFPL can confidently say this because of the following presumptions; 1. You have 12 players playing each week, captain’s points double so in theory they play twice so this equals 2/12 of your points for any given gameweek or in percentage form 16.66666% if everything was equal; 2. You have complete choice of your captain and therefore your ability to change from gameweek to gameweek should contribute to the overall percentage making it 25% and not the 16.66666%. Using this theory our captaincy tips would have had a squad finished inside the top 1.0% for the last three seasons.

Finishing Off

Right now do you have a squad that is 13/14 full?  Time to pick a player from the mid table sides whose got the best fixtures out there. This is also the time when you can take a punt on someone you’re not sure about but could pay off big. You can do this because you know your squad of 15 can cope with this one hopeful player.  This is also the time when you will find out if you have stayed within the constraints of being balanced. Too much on one area won’t allow you to have these fixture/punt players.

In theory, if you follow this fantasy premier league beginners guide you will have seven to eight rotation players and one to two nailed on big hitters meaning you will only ever need to make transfers on five to seven players. This will allow you to plan when to get the next big hitter to cover the best players, have the best captain choices and still have the gameweek transfers to take your player punts and find that fixture man throughout the season ahead.

Notes

To win your mini league you need to average 60 points or there about, however this average ramps up throughout the season as teams become more predictable to pick as big hitters and punt players raise their hands. A general theory is average 55 till January and 65 afterwards; this will put you in the frame. Use this as your measurement as no one else can affect these figures, and these figures are a good gauge to how well you are doing without looking at your overall rank or mini league position.

Point hits are a quick way to suicide especially for defenders and keepers. Think about it, a clean sheet is worth four points while a point hit is worth four points so what are you expecting? A player off the bench will likely get you the same score. Transfers are priceless. Don’t waste them but at the start of the season do follow the early trends as building value is vitally important for the second half of the season. Later in the season if you can, save a transfer allowing you a lot more flexibility that two transfers brings you in a single gameweek. Overall if your transfer policy throughout the season tallies around the 40 mark then it wouldn’t have had a detriment on your overall rank.

Your overall rank should have a gradual rise throughout the gameweeks. There is no point in peaking too early. To win your mini league, it will need to be around the 10K mark or better, so if you’re top of the mini league in December with an overall rank of 100K, the hard work hasn’t even started. That being said, if you hit gold from your initial squad and find yourself at the lofty end of the overall game, hats off to you. 10K or better and you’re in the frame and that’s your measurement.

Your squad value should increase throughout the season. This is an indication that your transfer activity and original squad selection were correct. It is also very important for your Wildcarding as it may allow you to forgo your punt/fixture player and replace with another big hitter. Depending how much value you have obtained, you may be able to get three big hitters at the back negating the need for a rotation. This is a useful tactic as top clubs keep more clean sheets in the second half of the season as they do in the first. Don’t know why, but they do.

Having the same squad as someone else is no bad thing. You only need to be different by one player. Don’t think you’re the “special one” by not conforming to the general thinking of a player’s value, as it is often correct. Just remember a two point gain every week on the opposition will equate to a 78 point difference by the end of the season, or in other words a drubbing by all accounts.

Information is king, try and track your rotations points per game, your captain performance, average points score, be on the pulse of real transfer activity, know who is on a suspension tightrope, know the fixture list etc. More information will lead to better decision making. of course we will provide all this information and more for you and if we can’t our community will.

Double gameweeks are bound to occur throughout the season. Spot them and plan for them. A double gameweek is the exception to the point hit rule. However, it will only work if your squad can function post the event. Don’t kill your squad. Double gameweeks should be seen as moving day to use a golfing term. They always occur for the later stages of the FA Cup or if a club is involved in postponed fixtures. If your squad saving your chips, then having them in your back pocket for one of these gameweeks can set you up for that final end of season rallies or catapult you away from the rest. You must keep your bench boost chip as a very minimum.

Lastly, with all the planning and preparation, studying of form guide and fixture lists, this game still has a element of luck and you will need it to win so good luck to you all and bring on the competition.