The Premier League season is almost upon us, and fans around the world are busy tinkering with their Fantasy League teams. But it’s not easy building a winning team, and picking your team ahead of the 2015/16 campaign is arguably looking harder than ever.
With a number of players yet to return from extended holidays following the Copa America and other similar competitions, there are question marks over some of the usual big hitters.
So how do you go about picking your squad? And who are the must haves this season?
Want to win a free Arsenal shirt?
We at All Arsenal are hosting our own league through the Barclays Premier League official site, and there’s a prize up for grabs.
Finish top of the league come the end of the 2015/16 season, and you’ll win an Arsenal shirt – with your choice of the 15/16 or 16/17 strip.
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Head over to www.Fantasy.PremierLeague.com, and sign your team up to join our league with the following code.
League Code: 1083183-262860
Good luck, Gooners!
Need some tips on building your team?
Check out the guide below, and stay tuned for more tips and tricks.
The following guide is geared towards the Official Barclays Fantasy Premier League, but the tips and hints within may apply to a number of other fantasy football games.
Getting your squad balance right is one of the most difficult parts of picking your team in pre-season, but is also one of the most important.
Unsurprisingly, fantasy league is all about points, and the majority of your points are going to come from your forward players. A large portion of your £100m should therefore be invested in your midfielders and attackers, with less focus on the back line.
That isn’t to say you should ignore your defence – as if you want to reach the top you’ll need to be raking in points from every area of your team – but your big hitters are going to be those playing farther forward.
You should generally be spending about £30m-£35m on your goalkeepers and defence, with the remaining £65m-£70m split between midfield and attack.
Deciding on a formation:
You need to have a formation in mind before you finalise your team, as you don’t want millions of pounds wasting away on the bench. As previously stated, the majority of your points are going to come from midfield and attack, so most opt to play three at the back.
The 3-4-3 formation is probably the most popular formation, but with striking options arguably slightly more limited this season and a plethora of top quality midfielders available, more and more players are moving towards a 3-5-2 formation.
Picking your squad:
There are a number of different philosophies when picking your squad, with two main schools of thought generally used.
The first is to pick a best possible starting eleven, and fill your bench with the cheapest players you can – regardless of whether they will play or get you points. This method can certainly get you high points yields, but is also very risky. If one of your starting XI suffers an injury or is rested for some reason, you can’t rely on your bench to step up.
The second option, which is safer and more balanced, is to fill your bench with players who aren’t necessarily starters, but are still capable of raking the points in. While you may end up making the wrong decision on occasion – ending up disappointed when you realise you’ve left points on the bench – you are far better protected against injuries and rotation.
If you’re really brave you can look at rotation yourself, and bring in players whose fixtures match up well. For example, in the early stages of this season West Ham and Aston Villa’s games match up very well, and if you were looking to rotate – either with defenders, midfielders, or attackers – you could always ensure what in theory should be a winnable game.
For example, if rotated properly, your West Ham and Villa rotation could face a first ten fixtures of Bournemouth, Leicester, Bournemouth, Sunderland, Newcastle, West Brom, Norwich, Stoke, Crystal Palace, and Swansea. This can be a fantastic tactic, but takes a bit of research.
Players to look out for:
There are a number of big hitters who regularly finish the season with massive hauls, the likes of Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, and Wayne Rooney usually there or thereabouts come the end of the campaign. You should look to have a few of these behemoths in your side, but unfortunately your budget won’t allow for a team full of them.
It’s important therefore, to look out for bargains and those likely to fly under the radar somewhat. Set-piece specialists are usually a safe option, as if a player is on penalties, free-kicks, and even corners, then they are likely to consistently score points for goals and assists. Players like Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla, Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Norwich’s Wes Hoolahan can all be relied upon to regularly take their respective sides’ set pieces – but be wary, and think about whether the player is a nailed on starter.
Fixtures are an important part of picking your initial squad too, so look out for teams with the best opening runs. Arsenal have an excellent set of fixtures in the early stages, and with our current form you can’t afford not to have an Arsenal midfielder or two.
Another excellent way to get value for money is looking out for players deployed out of position. Defenders get more points for a goal than forwards do, so if a full-back is being fielded on the wing and is getting among the goals, then he could be a fantastic purchase.
Theo Walcott is a great example of this, as he is classed as a midfielder in Barclays Premier League. This is despite the fact that the pacy star prefers to play further forward, and is likely to be handed more than a few chances up front this season.
Stay tuned for more Fantasy League tips and hints, and head back to All Arsenal for your weekly FPL updates and news.