Friday, 30 July 2010

Picking Your Team

I posted some of this information up last July when I first started the blog, but I thought I'd revisit it, add to it, and re-post for any new managers, or anyone who's simply forgotten it all from last year! It's some basic methods that have worked for me and many others for seasons now, so it's only fair to share...(also check out "The Rules" on FantasyEPL)

Firstly, I've posted the scoring matrix above (click the image to enlarge it if you can't see it clearly). You cannnot be successful in this game if you don't know what players score/lose points for. It amazed me last year when one of the guys in my private league (for 5 seasons) had only just realised defenders don't lose points for conceding goals, so he would never pick defenders playing tricky games, even as fillers (more on this later). Not knowing the scoring system can cost you dearly.

Anyway, from my experience of playing Yahoo Fantasy Football, it appears that if you can hit an average of 100 points per game-week (180+ in double-game weeks) you've got a pretty good chance of finishing in the Top 500. You always have £100 million to spend, so before picking anyone I look at a player's price and decide if I think they will "return their value"... a player who costs me £6 million should really earn me 6 points. If all my players return their value, I'm looking at 100 points. It's not an exact science, but it's I feel it's a sensible way to approach the game each week.

e.g. For Week 1...
Florent Malouda has a market value of 13.07, so the question I ask myself is: Do I think he will get around 13 points for the week? He's playing quite a nice game at home to West Brom and has a chance of scoring (or exceeding) this amount, so he will be considered.

However, if I look at Mikel Arteta, he has a market value of 16.83, so do I think he'll score 16-17 points for the week? Despite the fact he's a great player, it's a big ask with a tough away fixture against Blackburn first up, so it's possible he is a bit too expensive for Week 1.

I hope that makes sense - it's very basic, but I'm sure a lot of you do the same thing.

An obvious one - look to pick players playing in home fixtures if possible. It's a fact the teams pick up more league points playing at home, and it works the same in fantasy football...players playing in front of their own fans take more shots, get in more crosses, keep more clean sheet and score more goals, so there's far more fantasy points to be had, especially when you're playing Derby Blackpool.

Next, it's obvious again, but always try to pick 11 players who will actually play! There's nothing worse than failing to check team news news on a Friday and paying money for a player who doesn't feature - it's probably the most frustrating thing in fantasy football! Sometimes you can't do anything if a player gets injured in the warm-up, or the manager chooses to rest a player unexpectedly, but if you pick Joey Barton when he's serving 6 months in prison then you only have yourself to blame. There's loads of sites to check for injuries & suspensions - see the Useful Resources links on the right hand side of this blog.

The next thing is to try and load up on as many set piece takers as you possibly can. You're likely to get more assists, but more importantly Yahoo is one of the only fantasy games that rewards for successful crosses/corners won/shots on target, so these players quickly rack up the points, even in 3-0 defeats & this can be vital. Do your research on who takes kicks for all Premier League teams (this could be a good starting point...).

You also want to keep an eye out for players who end up playing further forward than their fantasy position suggests. Exhibit A: Gareth Bale. Listed as a defender again this season, but playing as an attacking left midfielder for Spurs, it's the equivalent of trading a defensive spot for an extra midfielder, and that is a huge bonus. Just look at the average points scored by players last season and you'll only see a couple of defenders on the first few pages - over a season it's the midfielders and strikers who get you the big points.

If you decide you want to load up on the more expensive players but are struggling for cash, then you can sometimes use "fillers" to fill spots in your starting XI. I'd class a filler as player with a price below 5.00, but it's common to find players as low as 1.00 as the season progresses (Tuncay! :). Fillers can free up funds for the big purchases, but almost always offer the risk of not playing/negative points. For this reason I would try not to have more than 1 filler at a time - it can completely unbalance your team.

I also try to pick 1 player each week who I feel very few other teams will have. A good example in the past has been my unlikely hero, Danny Higginbotham, who scored twice for me on the two occasions I picked him in the 08/09 season. Sunderland had home games on both occasions & I'd noticed he was getting forward for corners in previous games. I got very lucky when I picked him, but a lot of the successful players take risks & get lucky. I'd encourage anyone playing the game this season to make 1 "hunch" pick each week - it's very satisfying when it works!

If you get stuck, you'll always have the information on this blog, including my weekly recommended Player Picks posts, plus the fantastic advice over on FantasyEPL. Also, thanks to the excellent community we've built up here there's no better place for assistance than the comments sections under each post or in The AM Chat Room. We have a global audience, so you'll find people willing to assist you at all hours of the day & night, but in particular on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.

I'll leave it there for now - there's more information about dropping/keeping discounts and "the barndoor" which I could add, but I don't want to overload people before the season even starts. I hope you find this useful, but please feel free to add any advice of your own via the comment section below this post.

My plan is to start looking at Week 1 Fixtures & Player Picks over the weekend and hope to have something ready to post next week, but until then join the blog leagues & enjoy playing around with your team selection...

...isn't it great to have Yahoo Fantasy Football back!? :)



Anonymous said...

YES!! it is GREAT to have it back! this is my Guilty Pleasure.. all the way over here in Texas, America!


Alex Darlo said...

If I had a few wishes, ones that may well actually come true they would be;

Arsenal sign a new keeper, he would be first choice and of course cheap so he would be a season keeper (see what I have done there?)

Smalling is first choice in Rio's absence, gaurenteed first choice.

Chamekh plays week in week out.

Hernandez, see above.

Benayoun, see above.

Chelsea sign a partner for The Drog who will play regularly.

Anyway that would make it easy, my Team is expected to be, if Kirkland is fit;

Kirkland if he's not broken

That new arsenal defender or boateng
Terry but if I downgrade to Boswinga (is he fit now?) I can upgrade the Captain.


Ballotelli or Chamekh

Anonymous said...

Got 4 players in my team at the moment

Boateng J
Silva D
Cole J
Boselli M - Should be a good pick for week 1


greginho said...

i have both rodellaga and boselli for the first game hosting blackpool. i am thinking of getting the wigan goalie too.

Assistant Manager said...

Very decent opening post from The Fantasist on the Official Blog, recommended reading:
The Fantasist - Top 10 New Players

BCB said...

Kuyt listed as a midfielder but surely he leads the line while Torres is injured.

Assistant Manager said...

Just had a play around for half an hour, and here is my very early team:

Kirkland, Boateng, Koscielny, Evra, Adam, M.Petrov, Silva, Malouda, Boselli, Anelka, Rooney

So much will change, but hey. it's a start!

Anonymous said...

I'll watch Kirkland, I'm not sure his fit for the opening match.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to another great year and the advice on this blog. As always, thanks to AM and the other posters for the help.

I'm still playing around with how many newcomers to include in the first week. Boateng, Silva and Adam seem like the most likely. Also be moving around lineups with Koscielny, Boselli, Brunt, Dorrans, Chamakh, Hernandez and Carroll. I'd like to load up on a couple of Man Utd and Chelsea players out of the gate though with those matchups. That probably means Malouda/Nani/Valencia, Evra/Cole/Terry, Rooney/Drogba. Some kind of combination of those players.

Cech's Mates

Anonymous said...

I believe a good value pick is when a player returns 80% of his face value. See for yourself below (I cut and paste from excel, with numbers rounded appropriately). Also notice that at low prices 80% rounded is basically 100%.

Price // 80% of Price
1 1
2 2
3 2
4 3
5 4
6 5
7 6
8 6
9 7
10 8
11 9
12 10
13 10
14 11
15 12
16 13
17 14
18 14
19 15
20 16

Now if you choose to use 80% of face as a baseline to start, you must throw in a scenario that a player scores below and above that.

For example, Wayne Rooney is priced around 20. I assume he's fit to play and plays 90 mins. I determine his good/great game at home to NEW.

Good game: Ignore match-winning goals, fouls won/conceded difference and just go with some basics: 1 assist, 2 corners won, 1 goal, 3 SOT, 1 cross. Remember, a goal will give a player 1 SOT for sure--that is 23 points.

Bad game imo: minus goal and 1 SOT. I am keeping his 1 assist. That is 13 points.

Since his bad game 13 points is close enough to his 80% of face (16 points) and according to my risk tolerance, I would have him on my team given that my assumptions about fitness, time on pitch, and his tendency to be a flat track bully is sound.

Just an example of how I am starting to look at things.


Kellz said...

Early and rough team but here goes:

Bale, Kosciely, Boateng
Malouda, Joe Cole, DaSilva, C. Adam
Drogba, Hernandez, Boselli

4.76mil in bank

Feel actually good about it so far, minus the really attractive Utd matchup, but between Rooney, EvDs, maybe Evans, no one else really thrills me and those 3 are expensive. I almost feel Newcastle, with the experience of playng in the premiership before, will come out strong.

I always seem to find new signings always impress on their debut (think back to the nice 16+ pts Gomez and Milijas got you last season game 1) Hoping Hernandez starts, but again lots of time to keep picking.

Assistant Manager said...

Just a thought for those of you considering a certain striker for Week 1, remember...

Drogba Doubtful For West Brom

Mike B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike B said...

I may as well post my early team too!

KIRKLAND - Very decent chance of a CS, cheap as chips too!

BOSWINGA - This depends on the Carvalho move and other Chelsea signings though.
EVANS - Should start in Rio's absense.
BALE - As proven last season, he will get 10+ without fail, even in a loss.

N'ZOGBIA - Providing he doesn't go elsewhere, he could be pick of the week against newly promoted Blackpool.
LAMPARD - Hopfully will shine with no Drogba. Always a threat with penaltys.
HITZLSPERGER - Playing his old club, in fabulous pre-season form.
PETROV - Fantastic player, should get the nod to charge at that Fulham defence, maybe with set pieces.

CAMPBELL - Mainly because he's cheap, but has been in good form for Sunderland in pre-season.
BERBATOV - Very unsure on him, but i have a feeling this is his season. I may lose my bottle though.
BOSELLI - Another from Wigan, scoring plenty and cheap enough.

My slightly OCD obssesion with picking players in their proper posisions has been satisfied.

I fancy Manure, Chelsea and Wigan to win comfortably. Predictable, but i figure it's best to play reasonably safe in the first couple of weeks.

Boswinga will probably have to change, and Bale may be downgraded if i decide to beef up my forward line. Petrov may also go.

I cannot understand people picking Silva from the off though. Yes he's Spanish and a at bargain price, but is he really going to get 90 minutes without much of a pre-season?
He looks a bit lightweight, and will probably be restricted to 30 minute cameos while he gets used to playing the likes of Stoke.
Tottenham away is also not a good fixture to pick from. I say steer clear and get him on the barn door if he looks decent.

Patrick said...

What about The Felon Joey Barton for a cheap filler? He's seems healthy and is currently a free man. Anyone have definitive knowledge of his chances to play 90 min. and get back to form this season?

bean said...

@MikeB - I'm the same way with trying to get players in their proper positions, probably sways my decisions at times when it should certainly not. I'm also not as interested in David Silva. He is certainly cheap in the fantasy game for a player who cost 24m in real life, but I think there are a lot of question marks with him. I think the transition from La Liga to the Premier League is always a difficult one and one that a lot of spanish players have a tough time adapting to the more physical game. He is only 5.40 which doesn't take much to return your investment, I just can't believe he's 50% owned! Add to that questions of fitness and player rotation and the away fixture at Spurs, I'm probably checking him out after a few gameweeks.

bean said...

Also, I don't think Kosci is set to start for the Gunners. It looks pretty certain that Wenger will sign another central defender that will most likely be more experienced and I would guess whoever that signing is, they will be first choice with Verm.

bean said...

@Patrick - I would be more interested in Routledge, Carroll, Guthrie, or R.Taylor from Newcastle, but definitely not in the first week away to Manchester United.

greginho said...

how is koscielny not experienced? two years of starting every game.

Maxer said...

haven't check the injury news yet with the only confirm doubt i know is drog's.. anyway my early team are..

bale, dunne, givet
adam, silva, walcott, milner
chamakh, gabby, tevez

we still have 15days and this lineup might change..


bean said...

@greginho - i was just going by this: in his own words... and just that he's quite young. i could certainly be wrong.

Dr. Dave said...

My team so far:

Evra Boateng Koscielny
Nani N'Zog Silva Benayoun Malouda
Rooney Chamakh

This is very preliminary and I will obviously check injuries, expected lineups, etc prior to finalizing.

Looking forward to another season of great advice from this blog.

ToffeeDave said...

It's my birthday today! Everyone check out my blog as a gift :D

Anonymous said...

Week 1:
Koscielny Evra Ivanovic
D.Silva Lampard Nani M.Petrov J.Cole
Boselli Chamakh

some positions will changed if confirm
not 1st 11 team.


greginho said...

which is better adams at wigan or boselli at home to blackpool? i have rodellega already!

Saul said...

Good looking teams so far guys. Mine looks as follows...


I quite like it and may stick with it unless further news about Drogs and Rooney reveal themselves.

Saul said...

By the way, great great post AM! Thanks for taking the time to write an exellent article for all of us.

ToffeeDave said...

Since we're all in the mood here's my team

Koscielny Boateng Kolarov
Adam Mpet Silva Brunt
Rooney Rodallega Drogba

Anonymous said...

Using the 80% rule, i have constructed a team which is

Verm, Johnson (Birm), Dunne
Ethers, Jarvis, Nzog, Steed
yayga, Mcfad, Doyle

I have half a mind to run this as the team for the year and see where it finishes.

Dave said...

My early draft:

Kosci, J-Boat, Faubert, (waiting for Kolarov!)
Lamp, Nani, M-Pet, Hitzel
Chamakh, Boselli, Rooney.

If Roon is not fit or to be rested, I would look at Berbs and Rodallega, or perhaps Anelka.

As some others have noted, I am also shocked to see 50% of people holding David Silva right now. He's not even trained with the team, so I wonder how ready he will be to start AND do well. I like his potential, but might have to wait to see how he plays in week 1 and risk missing out, then grab him on the barn door. Besides, who wants a player that half of YFF managers are owning??
Waiting to see the Emirates Cup this weekend, mainly to get a glimpse of how Arsenal lines up and how they play. Since Bendtner is crocked and RVP perhaps a minor doubt, I hope Chamakh starts the season up top. And will be watching if Djourou is fit.

kwyjibo said...

Current pre-lim team:

Bale Smalling Faubert
Malouda Adam Silva MPet
Tevez Rooney Boselli

Debating between one of three cheap picks up front: Chamakh v Chicharito v Boselli
And between one of two new-comers in the midfield: Yaya Touré v Silva

Is Boselli a lock to start? If so, I'll probably go with him with the match-up v blackpool. Toure v Silva, I still have no idea. But, with only 0.14 left, I can pretty much only go for one of the 5.40 choices.
May change the Smalling choice (filler), but it's still early...

greginho said...

do not pick up ya ya toure, he will average, 3-4 points a game, with an occasional assist or goal.

Anonymous said...

For ppl considering playing Koscielny away to LIV:

Some quotes:
"Should Koscielny and Vermaelen be partnered as the Gunners' starting central defensive pairing? Probably not."

"Vermaelen's incredible offensive contribution often made up for his persistent tactical errors in 2009-10. Like Koscielny, last season Vermaelen had a tendency to drift forward, to over-aggressively bite on plays up the field instead of holding a solid back line."

"With the experienced William Gallas or Sol Campbell to cover for him, Vermaelen was rarely exposed. With both out-of-contract veterans likely to sign elsewhere, Vermaelen would be called on to play mentor to a player a month older than himself whose positional play is equally shaky"

"Before joining Arsenal from Ajax, Vermaelen played left center-back, a position that was available for him upon moving to Ashburton Grove. Koscielny is a left center-back at Lorient. Who would move to the right side, and would either be well-suited to the new role?"

That's one guy's opinion, but it is sound to me. Also, let Kosci face some growing pains esp against good opponents and I don't see him as a 90 min starter until maybe later in the season.


greginho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greginho said...

who will start in koscielny's place?
if this writer's logic where applied to defenders around the world, there would be many considered liabilities. the biggest case in premier league is glen johnson. he rips forward at will causing havoc on liverpool's defense, but no one would ever suggest, he would not play for them. vermaelen is much better defender than johnson. maicon and lucio for inter are offense leaning defenders. maicon is as bad a defender as glen johnson, while lucio is probably equal to vermaelen. sergio ramos, is just like maicon and johnson, goes forward, never comes back and hurts there team. philip lahm goes forward and back, at will, is a great defender, but no one says that he should not play. puyol, zanetti, etc. there are many defenders around the world who go forward. the reason is that they often lead to goals or great chances, the team needs to cover for them, that is all.
vermaelen didn't cost his team, he didn't put his team at risk, it was his weak teammates flanking him, that cost arsenal. i remember so many times, vermaelen and alex song making decisive blocks, interceptions that where caused by the weaknesses around them. without these two, arsenal would have given up 10 more goals.

Anonymous said...

Right and Left Backs are expected to bomb forward. Maicon and Johnson, Lahm, Ramos etc. are supposed to be offensive.

When a Centre back does this, it creates a bigger hole. In fact, it's not just Vermaelen's offensiveness, it's also his defensive instinct to try to rush forward to where the ball is (trying to win it), leaving a space behind him that good teams exploit. This link shows pics of how Vermaelen is poor at positioning:

Apparently, Koscielny does similar things according to the bleacherreports guy. So perhaps having both Verm and Kosci at Centre back can lead to easy goals for the opponent.

They could both start though. In the case of Spain at this world cup, when Pique bombed forward Busquets covered for him nicely. So maybe it's not a question of who will start instead at CB, but who will be the DM that is intelligent enough to cover for them 2.


bean said...

@greginho/JJOKBOB - wenger has said clearly this week that he wants to sign another central defender and if djourou ends up fit, I would guess he starts (or the new signing) I don't know that much about Kosci, but I trust Wenger and his bloodhound nose for young talent, so I'm sure he has potential. He's young. He has very little experience, 1 year in Ligue1 and 2 years in Ligue2 is hardly experienced. So the transition to a better league, much better team, much better oponents, etc... and they're away to Liverpool. That's enough for me to wait and see, can always grab on the barndoor if he starts and Arsenal looks good at the back, which has always been a problem.

bean said...

great article by the way

Dr. Dave said...

Happy Birthday ToffeeDave. It's my birthday too!

Douchebag United said...

Sorry to cross contaminate the board but I'm looking to get on to league 5 and the password isn't working any help?

Douchebag United said...

Nevermind fixed myself

Anonymous said...

Created a fantasy league on yahoo.

id # is 266

password- pass

Feel free to join

Anonymous said...

Nice work everyone...

My current line-up is....


Boateng, Baines, Huth, Vermaelen

Etherington, M.Taylor, S.Larsson

C.Jerome, K.Davies. J.McFadden

But still finding a way to include Lampard in my line up. I have to admit, this is definitely the best fantasy blog. Well done AM!!!

SK said...

I think the fact that Wenger (of all people) still insists that his team needs another central defender means that he does not intent to pair Verm and Koscielny on a consistent basis at least at the start of the season. If Arsenal do land a CD of his liking, I think that player will start. I also think that Koscielny knows this, which could explain the papers claiming that he will work like a dog to get into Wenger's starting XI.

ToffeeDave said...

Greginho I completely agree, that JJOKBOB poster is completely ignorant with the game of football in my opinion. Vermaelen is in no way a terrible defender just because he popped up with an occasional goal on the other end and tried to play offensively. Teams are naturally moving towards 4-2-3-1 formations with the wing backs moving up and the defensive midfielders dropping back into a 3-4-3 formation when attacking (3 defenders 4 midfielders and 3 attackers). The two teams in the world cup final played this exact formation! does that mean im dropping koscielny? of course not! for his price as a guaranteed starter for a top 3 club at 5.4 I will buy him every day of the week.

P.S. just because you use the zonal marking website doesnt mean you know what your talking about

Naning said...

It is pretty funny that you discuss this topic, because Verm and Kosc played yesterday against Milan. Extra funny as the discussion started the exact same time as the game. Out of the two, Kosc is the one that impressed me the most. He made a few vital tackles and blocks for his team. Before the game yesterday I was unsure about him, now I will definately pick him up unless Arsenal signs a new defender.

Assistant Manager said...

Considering how little money Wenger has spent (in comparison to other clubs) since the Emirates Project began 6 seasons ago, I would be really surprised if he's gone out and blown £9m on a central defender with no intention of starting him. He's a straight replacement for Gallas in my opinion, and I'm pretty certain I'll be picking him in Week 1 at his current price.

I believe the extra defender he plans on getting in is to replace Campbell as back-up. He's probably thinking he can't start the season with only Vermaelen, Koscielny & the injury prone Djourou. But I could be wrong! :)

Kendo said...

I know you have posted tips AM about how to pick players but my dilemma always is do you stick with players who will perform home and away and hold on to them keeping their value, or do you try to go for match ups each week depending on what teams are playing changing a lot of your players. High performers last season seemed to opt for matchups dropping high profile players.

Am considering experimenting with two teams this season.

What does everyone else think????

Assistant Manager said...

Kendo - I know mate, it's one of the trickiest dilemmas in this game. I think there are some discounts that you keep no matter what (from last season Bale @ 2, Drogba @ 10, Verm @ 5), but other than that I think the best approach is to pick players based purely on the weekly fixtures.

Like you I noticed most of the Top 10 last year completely gutted their teams on a weekly basis, keeping only the most valuable discounts listed above, and I think it's an approach I will take this year.

Of course, we don't know who this year's star discount performers may be, but Charlie Adam at 5.40 could be a good start.

Kendo said...

Cheers AM be interesting to see I have an experiment with Drogs Verm Bale and Adam to hold on to fancy Brunt as well..

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