Welcome back guys. The season is almost here (just under 3 days and counting) so its time to get down to the nitty-gritty of picking out a team. Today I’ll be running through the underlying process before eventually revealing my selections – hopefully on Friday once any post transfer deadline day adjustments have been made.
The fluidity in which you can move between formations in Sky means that there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy to start the season with. If a 4-4-2 isn’t working, a single transfer of a defender to a forward instantly transforms your team to a more attacking 3-4-3. However, as I discussed in the previous post, the problem with FPL is that it is a far more rigid system, and the exact same change would require at least two transfers; a downgrade in one area to upgrade another. I’m still deciding how to combat this with the self-imposed transfer limit, so there’s currently a poll on twitter for the community to get involved.
In the meantime though, it may be better to pick a formation and run with it for a while. One that worked particularly well for me (and I’m sure many others) last season was 4-5-1, as it gave a lot of flexibility in switching between the premium options in midfield and up front. Plus, it is also one that is seemingly supported by many of the ‘value’ based articles we are currently seeing in the community, with midfielders and especially defenders giving the most value for money, while forwards surprisingly provide the least.
Considering its Sky success last season, I think I will stick by this and base my initial starting 11 on this 4-5-1 formation. However, with changes to this looking difficult, I haven’t totally ruled out opting for a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 if it appears to improve the level of flexibility.
Contemplating Team Structure
The ability to switch formations back and forth with ease means that any initial starting 11s will inevitably vary in Sky. Yet, if you were to look around at the majority of Sky RMTs of seasons past and present, you will start to notice some familiarities in terms of structure:
The value argument is beginning to change the perspective here, but generally the majority of the budget will have been spent on premium assets in midfield and up front, as these are perceived to gain the most points and will be essential for the captaincy.
They pose the same dilemma in Sky as they do in FPL – do you go premium for the greater chance of clean sheets, or take a budget option who will get you saves? I would tend to go more budget in Sky due to the Man of the Match bonus potential (Burnley keepers have been magnets for them), but it’s a personal preference and one I’ll be leaving until the last depending on the budget I have remaining.
Defenders can be a source of frustration in Sky as they, along with goalkeepers, are the only positions where you can accumulate negative scores with somewhat regularity if you get it wrong. Plus, the limited transfers format means it’s unlikely that you’ll want to risk too many changes on this area. This has led to much debate in the community regarding the benefits of filling the team with set and forget premium options, and there’s no denying that this strategy has much merit.
In my experience though (and much like FPL), the top players will always tend to look to find a combination across the various price points; hunting out the regular bonus earners, providing flexibility, and saving money where viable. In particular, they are always on the look out for that elusive ‘uber’ cheap starter who, despite a lack of significant points returns, will be essential in releasing funds further up the pitch (thanks for last season Jonjoe!).
By comparison, it’s a rare sight to see a 4.0m defender perceived as anything other than bench fodder in FPL, but should that always be the case if such an option presents itself?
This is where the cash leagues are won and lost in Sky! With the top 2 (and 5 of the top 10) scorers in the game coming from this area of the team, it would make sense to pack the team with as many star names as your budget will allow. Players who offer goals, assists, and bonus MoM performances are essential, as they present excellent captain opportunities. FPL is certainly no different in that respect.
However, it’s the ability to identify the under-priced options (see Salah, circa 2017/18), or the cheaper defensive midfielders that keep the team ticking over with a regular stream of tackle and passing bonuses, that make all the difference in Sky.
This is a task made all the more difficult for an FPL player, as these types of player often go unrewarded for their craft. Many of you who have played both games may have already anticipated the big differences when in comes to the bonus points allocation. I’ll cover this when making my eventual picks, but the basic idea will be to try to identify the players who might overlap.
Not much to say on the Strikers as generally they are the most straight forward position in the team to choose. Whether it’s from goals (Kane), or their all around attacking play (Firmino), they’ll be a heavy hitter capable of double-digit scores and huge captain hauls on any given day.
FPL does trump Sky for flexibility of price points in this area though. Obviously you have the elite guys like Kane (approaching 13.0m in both formats), but then you also have the opportunity to compliment that with a Firmino (9.5m in FPL), or a Marko Arnautovic (7.0m). Those two would set you back 12.2m and 10.1m respectively in Sky, which represents the vast points potential differences between the two games.
I will certainly be looking to exploit this if I need to change from the suggested 4-5-1 formation above.
As noted in the previous post, Sky’s first overhaul period will correspond with the first international break of the season, which takes place after gameweek 4.
Many managers have deduced that all the players affected by late returns from the World Cup should be fully available at this point, if not before. We should also have a better idea of who is likely to play regularly and be on form, so I will be looking to utilise my first Wildcard at that stage to get some key players in and set me up for the long haul.
That being said, there seems little point in creating a team to last beyond the first 4 gameweeks. I will mainly target players with seemingly good fixtures during that timeframe, so expect to see plenty from the likes of Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Burnley, & Everton in the final team.
I hope the above has provided a bit of an insight into what I’ll be looking for when creating the team from a Sky perspective.
I must admit, I’ll be glad to see the season get underway now. The build-up is always so time consuming with research, friendlies, multiple teams to draft etc., that I’m just looking forward to watching some actual football.
I’ll be back on Friday with the blog team reveal for gw1 and to explain my selections. But after that, I’ll be looking to provide more of a weekly post as I consider the teams development and document its performance.
Thankfully, the team is almost there now. We just have the small matter of the transfer window closing on Thursday to navigate first…….