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FPL tips: How elite fantasy managers are handling a tough start

2020/21 Premier League Preview Package
(Image credit: Laurence Griffiths/NMC Pool)

The new Premier League season is only three weeks old, but it has already wreaked havoc with the meticulously-planned strategies of elite Fantasy Premier League managers.

We have identified a sample of 500 elite managers who have finished in the top 10,000 in the FPL on multiple occasions to see how they’ve been navigating the chaos.

How are the elite faring?

In a nutshell: not great. The 500 managers on our list have earned their inclusion by repeatedly finishing inside the top 10,000 but not a single one of them is on course to achieve this at the moment.

Only six are even inside the top 100,000 after gameweek three, and two thirds of them are ranked outside the top million.

A graphic showing the current placings of 500 top Fantasy Premier League managers in this season's standings

If you’ve had a bad start to the season then, don’t worry just yet.

Plenty of experienced managers are in the same boat and their track record of long-term success suggests that there’s still plenty of time to get things right.

Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers (right) speaks with Harvey Barnes on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, right, talks with Harvey Barnes (Michael Regan/NMC Pool)

What usually separates an elite manager from the rest is a refusal to panic and an insistence on looking at the big picture – after all, you only get one wildcard to use between now and January so a knee-jerk reaction after a few disappointing gameweeks could cost you in the long run.

This degree of caution was evident ahead of GW2, with almost two thirds of the top managers neither using their wildcard nor taking a points hit to make more transfers.

While 36 of the 500 did pull the wildcard trigger, almost four times as many (141) preferred to take a points hit to make additional transfers.

However, the aftermath of GW2 saw their resolve crumble, with fewer than half as many (156) opting to keep their powder dry. The rest were split almost evenly between those activating their wildcards (171) and those deciding it was worth incurring a transfer penalty (173).

A graphic showing how top Fantasy Premier League managers have used their transfers so far during the 2020/21 season

As we head into GW4, with an international break and the transfer deadline still ahead, fewer than a quarter (114) of the 500 top bosses in our sample have yet to either use their wildcard or take a points hit.

More than one in six have both used their wildcard and incurred a transfer penalty, while almost one in eight have made at least two transfers more than their free allowance.

Will the elite’s traditional rule of patience win out once again, or will the rebel faction who have decided now is the time to act be vindicated?