THE METHOD TO THE FPL MADNESS: HOW TO BECOME A BETTER MANAGER THAN ALL YOUR FRIENDS
by Mide Egbeyemi
NOTE: THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE FROM ABH’S MOST DECORATED FPL MANAGER
So you have chosen to be an FPL manager; congratulations are in order. I should remind you that this is generally not seen as a wise choice, and you still have 1 hour (and reducing) to reverse your decision and enjoy this new Premier League season with absolute peace of mind. But if, like me, you want your weekends to be filled with crushing disappointment and pain, stretch your hand and follow me into the addictive abyss and torture playground called FPHell.
A brief introduction for the first timers and casuals. Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is an online game where you select 15 different players from the Premier League teams, and their real life performances reflect as points in the game. For example, if Mohammed Salah scores a goal against Fulham, your team is awarded 5 points; if Joao Cancelo assists a player, your team gets awarded 3 points. Of course there are other rules, but that is the general essence of the game.
However, it’s not just a game, especially if you want to take your managerial ability to the next level. Once you transcend the status of a casual FPL manager, football would cease to matter to you. You won’t be impressed by the football anymore; “a beautiful game” would become history for you; the thrill of watching the matches would vanish completely. You won’t even know who won the league last year; All you would remember is that Salah scored the most FPL points. All you would want to do is crush your roommates and course mates alike in your mini leagues for that sweet bragging right, and more importantly, the sweet money you would take from them.
To transcend casual status, you have to tattoo these rules on your mind. When I adhered to these rules, I went from a casual rank of 700k in the previous season to a rank of 25k the next season. In that season, I was the highest ranked manager in Alexander Brown Hall, University College Hospital, as well as in the University of Ibadan.
So here’s the method to the madness:
DO NOT KNEE-JERK; THINK LONG-TERM
I’m not referring to the patellar reflex, but it’s quite similar. A knee-jerk reaction means that you respond to something in a rash and an equally unthinking way. Now in FPL terms: imagine you have Salah in your team, and he fails to score, but Fernandes scores a brace in his own match. What comes to your mind first is that you should sell Salah immediately to buy Fernandes…and immediately, you do this. Now, in the next gameweek, the opposite happens and the Salah you just sold has sealed a hat trick, with Fernandes only getting a yellow card. In your infinite wisdom, you then decide to sell Fernandes to buy Salah back. You would have successfully wasted two transfers, missed both of their points, and all you you would have to show for it is your tear-stained screen as you listen to your friends laugh at you.
Lesson: When you get such negative outcomes in FPL, you do not necessarily have to be influenced by it. Always ask if the thought process behind your decision is sound and valid. Do not knee-jerk!
PLAY YOUR OWN GAME
The most important thing in FPL is to always back yourself. Place trust in your decisions so that at least, when the decision ultimately turns out to be a bad one, you’ll have no one else to blame but yourself
Always back your thought process with stats and the eye test. If at times you feel a decision is based on a hunch, you can also follow it – but proceed with caution.
ALWAYS PICK A GOOD VICE CAPTAIN
Your captain can get COVID on the match day. He can also get hit by a bus. Pick the next best player in your team as the vice captain and avoid stories that touch.
PEP GUARDIOLA IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
It’s an hour to the match and the team sheet for ManCity vs Leeds is out. You rush to Twitter to confirm that your captain Haaland is playing. You skim through the lineup and you don’t see “Haaland”. Your brain quickly lies to you that “It’s not a problem, maybe they wrote his name as ‘Erling’ in the lineup”. You slowly skim through the names again and you come to the unmistakable realisation that your 11.5million captain has been benched by the Bald Fraud himself.
And just like that, your entire weekend is ruined. It can still get worse: all your friends captained Salah and you know he’s getting a brace and an assist. To cry or to cry? May the Force get you through that one.
WHEN IN DOUBT, CAPTAIN SALAH
Undoubtedly the best player the FPL community has ever seen, Mo Salah is almost always a safe bet for your captaincy dilemmas. Averaging about 250 points over the last 5 seasons, Mohammed Salah has a lot of avenues to points such as goals, assists, being the first choice penalty taker, and playing for arguably the most attacking team in the league. He is the definition of fixture-proof as he can score against literally anybody: from top teams like Manchester City, to bottom of the barrels like Manchester United or Fulham. No offence there. So when in doubt, remember Mo Salah.
You have now been given the keys to unlock the best version of the madness that is the FPL. Good luck to our ABH managers, and don’t forget to save your team before the deadline. Remember, you have made your choice. There is no escape; there is only FPL. May our arrows always be green. Godspeed!