27 essential Fantasy Premier League tips from old winners and experts
1. Have a solid pre-season
"You need to do your research, starting in the summer. A few weeks before the season starts I’ll look at injury news, transfers and so on, trying to find those unknown players that other people miss. Then in the last week of pre-season, when it’s still unlimited transfers, I’ll just start throwing players in, tossing teams around – you’re looking for that good combination to start with. Once you’re happy with your team – unless someone’s injured – then it kind of manages itself."
2. Don’t be afraid to gamble...
"It’s no good having the same team as everyone else. In defence, a lot of people go for five players from different teams, playing it safe. I’ll go for three from one, two from another. I’m only relying on two teams to keep a clean sheet then. You have to gamble a bit, especially at the end of the season. Don't be afraid to take form players out when they've gone cold – especially if you know most people around you have them in their teams."
3. But be mean in the market
"Think like a real manager. A player might have a goal spurt, but is he actually any good? Would you normally want to buy him? You want the maximum games out of potential signings, so look at their upcoming fixtures, possible suspensions – no matter how desperately I want someone, I won’t buy them if they’re on four bookings. And, most importantly, don’t make drunken decisions at 1am. I’ve done that before."
4. Ignore reputations
"The best players don’t always make the best team. I used to fall for the flashy, skilful players, but they weren’t earning enough points, and in most games defensive midfielders never win any. Attacking full-backs are always good, because you might get points at both ends – I played three left-backs in some games. And this is something I got over a long time ago: don’t ignore players just because you don’t like them."
5. Recharge the batteries
"People’s teams usually go wrong when they forget about them, so I have a regular routine. Thursday and Friday, I’ll follow the managers’ press conferences and check the predicted line-ups. There are also some good Fantasy Football websites. But as soon as the weekend games are finished, unless there are midweek fixtures, I switch off until Thursday again – you get too into it otherwise. And I stop altogether in June. It’s a long season. You need a life as well."
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