Of supporting acts and knee-jerk reactions in fantasy football

By Azmin Mohd Khalib 18 August 2017 1448
Of supporting acts and knee-jerk reactions in fantasy football
Following the return of the Fantasy Premier League, I would like to discuss two issues this week: the importance of a strong supporting act, and be careful of knee-jerk reactions.

Firstly, sometimes in fantasy football we tend to place too much focus on our big guns, neglecting to place enough thought. This is constantly true for me, and my cheaper players get a lot less thinking time than my pricier ones. But neglect leads to suffering, and, as a result, it’s now just a good score instead of an excellent one.

Here’s my squad from last week:

As you can see, all my premium priced players (Sergio Aguero, Romelu Lukaku, Henrik Mkhitaryan, Mohamed Salah) delivered and I chose the right captain too. However, the supporting act (Manolo Gabbiadini, Dusan Tadic, Patrick Van Aanholt) all failed to rise to the occasion, making my score good rather than great.

Were there enough points to be had from cheap players? Definitely. A look at the week’s dream team shows quite a few could be picked cheap, and some had already been identified as potentially strong picks before the season started, at least for the first few matches. No one would have expected Sam Vokes scoring two against Chelsea, except die hard Burnley fans, while Ben Davies (5.5) was the cheapest entry into a strong Spurs backline (no one knew that a new edition of Kyle Walker would start).

Those of you who did enough research would have known that Granit Xhaka (now 5.6), despite playing in a holding midfield position, does take free kicks and is likely to do more in the absence of Mesut Ozil, not to mention he was much more disciplined towards the end of last season in terms of his card collection. And that Ahmed Hegazi (now 4.6), like Davies, would be a confirmed starter in a typical Tony Pulis team missing key regulars at the back. Steve Mounie (6.5) was always going to be a solid third striker option as well, given the fixtures. Unless you’re like me, who chickens out from selecting strikers from promoted teams.

These cheap players won’t be consistently scoring such points of course, but it’s important to have the right mix of cheap, regular starting players so that they will take turns bringing in the goods for you. Every now and then they’ll have to ride it out on the bench, dependent on fixtures, but should shine when given the chance. Don't waste your space on cheap non-playing players just to fuel your funding for the premium boys.

Secondly, you need to avoid knee-jerk reactions. A simple illustration is if you had Kevin De Bruyne (KDB) as your premium priced Manchester City player. The one player who scored for Manchester City last week was Aguero, while KDB got nothing. Would you take -4 to replace KDB with Aguero (since you effectively need to transfer two players at least to make it work, one mid and one forward)? It’s still too early for that sort of knee-jerk reaction.

Are you one of those people whose squad lost both Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas in one go and want to get rid of them immediately? Before you replace both of them, take a look at your bench. If your bench are practically guaranteed starters, why take a hit? Sure, they’re cheap, but, rather than just wasting -4 points to get points you aren’t sure of getting, you might as well transfer each one out, especially if you know the other one will likely start once he’s back.

Of course, there’s also the Harry Kane to Lukaku movement, which has been discussed in many an article elsewhere in the world. To be fair, the jury's still out on that one.

In any case, before you perform surgery on your squad, do a proper assessment. Not one fueled by emotions of despair watching the Kanes and the KDBs of this world not score last week, but one where you have analysed rationally, knowing that some of these players will come good. Don’t forget, when you set up your team before gameweek one, I’m sure you would have thought ahead for the next few fixtures rather than just for last weekend.

Of course, if you had Fabregas, Cahill, Wilfred Zaha, for some reason Jonjo Shelvey, and now possibly Sadio Mane in your team, then scalpel away!

Good luck for Gameweek 2!
Tip for the week: Southampton will concede, with Michail Antonio ready to go…

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Azmin Mohd Khalib