GW15 – Bench….What Bench?

Blog Team, Posts

Transfers Remaining: 30/40

GW14 Summary

Not a bad week for the team considering the rest and rotation that was mooted going into the weekend. Concerns over Hazard’s injury meant that I took the plunge and moved him on for the in-form Raheem Sterling. The City winger has been imperious in recent weeks, and despite maintaining a place on my watchlist for months, had been ignored for far too long. He could easily turn out to be this years Mo Salah and given how that turned out last season, it’s a train that I didn’t want to miss.

With house renovations underway though, I do regret rushing into the decision. Not in terms of getting Sterling in (he outscored Hazard by 3 points so I’m already up on the deal), but in terms of who I was removing. Despite the doubts, all the information suggested that Hazard would play against Fulham, so in hindsight I can’t help but feel that Salah may have been the way to go. Klopp looks to have changed things at Liverpool, having reduced the levels of pressing and tweaking the positioning of both Firmino and Salah. But despite it gaining the desired results, it just doesn’t seem to favour either player in an FPL sense. For the first time this season, I feel like he’s just not producing enough for his £13m outlay, and considering the value available elsewhere, will be something that will need monitoring going forward.

Regardless, an overall score of 66 was a pleasant surprise given that captain for the week Aguero missed out through injury. It’s becoming a bit of a theme for the blog team now, but it was the defence that once again bailed me out with a massive 37 points, helped in part by Wan-Bissaka replacing Aguero from the bench. And what can I say about that Van Dijk assist with practically the last kick of the final game of the weekend? Totally unbelievable (even he had given it up), but I’ll certainly take it. Just a shame his teammate Salah couldn’t contribute as my vice-captain. No matter though, 17 points above the average pushes me back towards that top 1k after drifting out of it the week before.

Rotation Ahead?

Two days on and we’re already back to it as the Christmas fixture pile-up begins in earnest. Including last weekend, there are SEVEN gameweeks for us FPL managers to navigate throughout the month of December; eight if you add-on the usual New Years day games. And that’s just the Premier league. There’s European and domestic cup ties to be fitted in amongst that!

Even by Premier League standards, that’s a ridiculous stretch, and its the period of the season I’ve been dreading the most. Changes will be made to line-ups en-masse as the likes of Pep, Jurgen, Jose et al. attempt to keep their teams fit and fresh, and all you’ll hear from experienced FPL managers in the community is to “make sure you have a good bench”. It’s great advice, if not common sense, and it’s definitely something I’ll be looking to do in my personal team (Aguero and Bennett are out for anyone that’s interested).

However, having taken the Sky FF approach for the blog team and completely ignored the bench since the Wildcard after GW4, this month is going to be a pretty big problem. I got lucky with Wan-Bissaka this week having had him since GW1 anyway, but the likes of Danny Ward and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are unlikely to provide much in the way of back-up. Arguably the money saved on such a budget bench has helped get the starting XI to its current rank, but I have the feeling that December will be a case of taking any slide on the chin as the more flexible teams around me prove their worth.

If I can offer any wisdom at all over this period, it’s to accept that rotation is inevitable and realise that it’s not just your team that suffers. If one of your big name players misses out, chances are a big proportion of active players are in the same situation and you’re probably no worse off for it. The Sky game forces you to learn that fairly quickly, and the sooner you’re able to make peace with it, the less stressful the game tends to become.

Watchlist

I’ve not managed to maintain the watchlist of players as much as I’d hoped recently, so I apologise for that. The list of players has also dwindled slightly as the team has taken shape, so that will be something I need to review in the coming weeks. However, the players on there do still appear to be relevant so I’ll continue to base my transfers upon this group. The not so recently updated list can be found here.

GW15 – Transfers

Due to the sheer number of games coming, I’m fairly glad that I’ve managed to keep the self-imposed transfer limit to a minimum up to now. As stated above, December will be difficult for everyone, so with 30 transfers remaining there should be enough scope to make a few changes and keep the team as competitive as possible this month.

That being said, I have two in mind for this week. Firstly, I think I need to address the issue of Sergio Aguero. He missed out on the weekend, and looks almost certain to miss out again midweek. While Pep has given little indication that there’s a serious problem, the fact that he seems likely to now miss two games on the bounce suggests there might just be something more to it, much like the Mendy situation earlier in the season. Plus, with such an able deputy in Gabriel Jesus waiting in the wings to ease the burden anyway, it seems wise to alleviate the risk and move him on for now.

The obvious replacement at this time would seem to be Harry Kane. Spurs have excellent fixtures and has little/no risk of rotation, making him a strong captaincy option each week. His underlying stats have been improving, and also has a history of hat-tricks during the Christmas period. No brainer right? The problem is, I removed him from the watchlist a few weeks back as something just doesn’t seem right with him, and nothing I’ve seen recently has changed my opinion of that. He hasn’t been the same since his injury last season, continues to drop deep to collect the ball, and seems to be shooting from distance in the main. For £12.4m, that’s not good enough at the moment, especially while some of his peers are performing for less.

So who comes in instead? That would be the only Gunner on my watchlist – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Since coming to the league almost a year ago, he’s played 27 games, netting 20 goals (nobody has more), 7 assists, and 28 bonus for a total of 178 FPL points. Narrowing that timeline further, he has 10 goals, 3 assists and 16 bonus in his last 11 matches – not bad for someone still relatively new to the league! Fresh off a brace against Spurs in the North London derby, he’s the form striker in the league and comes in at a more budget friendly £11.0m at the time of writing, making the move from Aguero a simple one. Arsenal also have a fixture swing coming now, which see’s them face Man Utd, Huddersfield, Southampton, and Burnley in the next four. It’s very feasible that he could match Kane through this tough period so I’m happy to take my chances with Auba until Kane can convince me otherwise.

The second transfer is one I wasn’t planning on, but feel could now be necessary. I generally hate making goalkeeper transfers, but the form of Wolves has forced me to rethink the position. There’s no denying Patricio is an excellent GK, but teams apparently seem to have finally figured Wolves out. The fixtures are mixed at best for the forseeable future, and there have been no clean sheets in the last six games. The losses to both Huddersfield and Cardiff in the last two have only served to compound my thinking that he needs to be moved on.

It’s an easy decision here though. Lukasz Fabianski has outscored Patricio this season, despite only registering 2 clean sheets thus far. He’s a monster in terms of saves, having made 57 for a total of 16 save points. Given that the West Ham defence give up so many chances to opposing teams, that also means that he’s always in contention to pick up bonus points, leading the way for goalkeepers with 8, and second only to Anderson and Arnauovic (9 each) within the Hammers lineup. As highlighted by the watchlist, what makes him the stand out GK now is his fixtures. West Ham top the fixture ticker for defensive difficulty between now and GW21, which would comfortably see us through the festive period and into mid-January.

Captaincy

An easy selection given I’ve avoided the temptation to get Kane. Mo Salah is 2nd for goal attempts behind Aguero this season, and comes up against a Burnley side that have conceded 37 more shots, and 27 more shots in the box than anyone else in the league. Surely that should present the Liverpool forward with plenty of opportunities to get back on the scoresheet, and the bookies tend to agree having him as 1.73 to score anytime. Only Kane has shorter odds this week.

B2BF4810-7D96-4D18-8A5C-7A07FF698286Transfers Remaining: 28/40

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GW8 – Time for Kane?

Blog Team, Posts

Transfers Remaining: 35/40

GW7 – Wildcard success….continued

After a week of consolidation in GW6, it was great to see the team kick on again in GW7 . A score of 68 was 17 points above the average and enough to push the team up around 8,500 places in the overall rankings. It’s also the 3rd consecutive green arrow since wildcarding, which tells me that the timing of it was well suited to this particular team.

In attack, Eden Hazard maintained his excellent form with a goal and 3 bonus points against Liverpool. He’s now the no.1 player in-game and has managed 33 points in the three weeks since joining the blog team. His scores have often been inconsistent in the past, but he seems to be thriving in Sarri’s system and another 200-250 point season is not beyond the realm of possibility on current form. In my opinion, he’s as close to a must own as you can have at the moment.

As for the rest of the team, they continued to pitch in from all areas. Aguero kept up his consistent start to the season with another goal and 2 bonus points to extend the teams 100% captaincy record. Zaha and Wilson both managed an assist a piece, and maybe should have got more. Trippier pulled in the score that he came so close to getting the week before, and although I hadn’t expected much from Robertson and Alonso in defensive terms, it was disappointing to lose Alonso’s clean sheet so late on.

One of the most pleasing things to come out of the wildcard has been the form of Rui Patricio. I discussed the issue of premium goalkeepers prior to wildcard game, and the Wolves stopper has done nothing but reaffirm my belief that the money can be better used elsewhere. A combination of clean sheets, saves, and bonus points has seen Patricio out-score the other top 10 goalkeepers over the last 3 gameweeks. Only Ederson of City has been able to match his 19 points over that timeframe and it’s taken a perfect record of 3 clean sheets, so there’s very little justification for the extra £1m outlay.

Transfer deliberations

Last weekend went down to the wire in terms of my transfer for the gameweek. I weighed the pro’s and cons, followed the news, and watched the forums right up to the deadline, but in the end I just couldn’t shake the nagging doubt over David Silva and Pep’s rotation roulette. At the time, bringing Richarlison in as a replacement made complete sense given his plum fixture against a leaky Fulham. Unfortunately, despite registering 5 shots on goal, he was unable to make his mark and the transfer provided a zero point net gain as Silva duly started for City without return.

That’s not to say the transfer was wasted, as the Brazilian is a relatively long-term pick for the team. In retrospect though, I do feel that I could have shown greater patience with a player of Silva’s quality, and I undoubtedly would have under normal circumstances. However, with me taking the Sky approach to the game of not having a bench to provide cover, I felt the increasing pressure to remove that element of doubt. By the time the deadline had ticked down, I had cracked and make another precious transfer.

Watchlist

I’ve now managed to review and maintain the watchlist of players based upon the stats I gather, as well as those who pass the eye-test from the games I get to watch. Anyone who follows me on twitter will have seen the updates I made after last weekend, but for anyone who missed it, the updated list can be found here.

GW8 – Transfers: The Sky v FPL approach

As with last weeks transfer, it’s becoming increasingly obvious just how much the Sky approach to transfers actually differs to that of a normal FPL player.

Up to this point, most of the transfers I’ve had to make have been reactionary and have been dictated by injury, suspension and rotation worry. Yet this week provided the opportunity to finally attack the fixtures with the emergence of Harry Kane. While the other major captaincy options from Liverpool and Man City face up to each other on Sunday, Spurs come up against a Cardiff side that has conceded a league high of 16 goals, 14 of which being in the last 4 games. Couple that with the fact that Kane seems to have picked up some form in recent weeks (3 goals in his last 2 games) and he’s the obvious pick for the armband. So, with money in the bank to spare, bringing him into the blog team was a no brainer right?

Again, had this been a standard FPL approach, then Kane would now be sitting front and centre as the focal point of the team. In fact, I even took a 4 point hit to bring him into my personal team last week in anticipation of his games against Huddersfield and Cardiff. However, with transfers at a premium under the Sky approach, a more careful consideration was required.

Not owning Kane could really hurt the overall rank come Saturday afternoon, but bringing him in now would have to come at the expense of one Sergio Aguero, who is currently spearheading a free scoring City team that is capable of decimating anyone on their day. Yes, I could transfer him in just for the Cardiff game, and then bring back Aguero further down the line……no problem. But that would cost me 2 transfers at least, while tying up the extra £1.3m that could be used to strengthen the team in other areas.

Also, a big focus of the Sky game is on the captaincy, and looking ahead at the fixtures I just can’t see myself captaining Kane after Saturday. It would take until GW15 before he would be a consideration for the armband ahead of the likes of Salah, Aguero, and Hazard. So can spending £12.5m on a future non-captain option be justified for the sake of one week? I guess I’ll find out on Saturday after coming out from behind the sofa, but for now I’m sticking to the longer term game plan.

That being said, the transfer for this week is with the future in mind. Wilf Zaha has yet to set the league alight with his usual explosive performances, and is now entering a horrific run of fixtures that includes Wolves, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Man Utd. With Palace yet to score a single goal at home, it’s difficult to see fortunes improving for Zaha, so he has been replaced by a new addition to the watchlist in Marko Arnautovic. The talismanic Austrian is in fine form after dominating Man Utd last week, and in total contrast to Palace, West Ham’s fixtures are easing considerably. Of last seasons big 6, the Hammers face only Spurs & Man City between now and early January, so they have the perfect opportunity to extend their improving results.

Captaincy

A fairly straight-forward decision on the captaincy this week. For the first time this season, the Aguero/Salah rotation will be broken as Eden Hazard takes the armband. Games like Liverpool versus City can go either way and are extremely difficult to predict, so despite being top scorer in the game, the Belgian gets it by default against a Southampton team that has conceded 7 in the last 4 games.

AF7A7167-2F6F-4367-BC85-271B65091640

Transfers Remaining: 34/40

GW7 – Catching up……

Blog Team, Posts

Apologies for missing a few weeks guys. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes work (and life in general) just gets in the way of fantasy football.

Anyway, this will hopefully just be a quick catch up post to fill you in on how the blog team has been doing these past few weeks.

GW5 – Wildcard Success

Readers who also follow me on twitter will know that I deliberated long and hard over the FPL overhaul team during the international break, and was aware that many of you were doing the same. Therefore, I hope my last post managed to address some of the relevant issues and maybe provided some help along the way.

In respect of the wildcard team itself -and following on from that post – I ditched my premium goalkeeper in Ederson, bought into the left-back revolution by getting Alonso, and held on to Mo Salah. I backed the watchlist heavily by bringing in Patrico, Hazard, David Silva and Callum Wilson into the starting eleven, while also tidying up the bench.

Now, I realise that part of this whole SkyFF strategy was to ignore the bench, as that format doesn’t have one at all. However, one of the first points I noted when starting out on this experiment was that minimal funds would be spent on the bench, in order to allocate the maximum funds available to the starting eleven. Therefore, with the emergence of another playing £4.0m defender in Ryan Bennett, along with the value lost by Hojbjerg in the opening weeks, it meant it was possible to get another £0.6m onto the field. As far as I’m concerned, it would have been remiss of me to use the wildcard and not take that opportunity.

E2BB56DE-17A2-4ABB-94F8-1F90AF3910BA

A score of 83 was an ideal start for the new lineup. With the average being only 47 for the GW5, that saw the team leap a considerable 70k back up the rankings to sit around 23k overall, and correct its recent slide between GW3 and GW4.

While Eden Hazard blew Cardiff away with a hat-trick and Sky MoM performance, almost everyone else pitched in with at least some sort of return. The unlikely trio of Alonso, Robertson and Salah were the only ones who struggled, but I’ll admit that I did get somewhat fortunate with Bennett coming in for Mendy. There had been no reports or suggestions of an injury to the City left-back at that point, otherwise he would have been ditched on the wildcard, so to still get a clean sheet in his place just goes to highlight the strengths of a fully playing bench…………regardless of whether you aim to use it.

GW6 – Consolidation

After the highs of GW5, I was happy to see the team just about manage to consolidate the gains by finishing just 8 points above the gameweek average.

 

 

Transfers Remaining: 36/40

Maintaining that rank would once again come at a cost though. Frustratingly, it seems like I’m making a transfer every week just to cover some sort of injury or suspension, and that curse struck again as the Mendy situation rumbled on. Was it his knee, his ankle, his 5th metatarsal? Only Pep knew and he wasn’t telling, so at the very last-minute, Trippier was drafted in from the watchlist for his games against Brighton, Huddersfield, and Cardiff. It would have been a perfect move too had Spurs kept their heads deep into injury time. Still, I’ll take the assist points thank you very much.

It’s becoming repetitive now, but the defence continues to pull me back from the brink on a weekly basis. However, it’s not the ‘Big 3’ that have impressed me the most, although they’ve undoubtedly played a big part. No, it’s young Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Palace that’s stolen the show ahead of his premium counterparts. GW6 saw him register his 3rd clean sheet and maximum bonus, as well as a 3rd tackle and 2nd MoM bonus in Sky. In fact, he’s currently averaging 5.6 points per appearance and that includes a sending off – amazing value for a player that started the season at just £4.0m.

As for the captaincy, the Salah/Aguero rotation continues to reap rewards. It was a close call between the two (as is always the case), but the team is yet to come out on the wrong side of that choice with Aguero not quite as prolific away from the Etihad. Given that so many people took the ‘No Salah’ option on their wildcard, I’m actually a little disappointed that he didn’t further punish those that lost the faith in the Egyptian, especially having seen the opportunities that came his way.

Watchlist

I’ve been maintaining a watchlist of players based upon the stats I gather, as well as those who pass the eye-test from the games I get to watch. Many of these players came into the side on the wildcard so it’s taking some time to re-form, especially as I was away last weekend and didn’t see any football. For anyone that’s interested, the previous list can be found here.

GW7 – Transfers

Going back to Pep and City, they provided yet another source of frustration last weekend by leaving David Silva’s magic touch on the bench in a game where they duly ran riot over Cardiff. The fact that he was deemed surplus to requirements in a game that they were expected to win big is a now a worry, especially as his replacements cleaned up in his absence. With a must win game in the Champions League on Wednesday, and a trip to Anfield to follow, will Pep even bother to risk him against Brighton in GW7? Another week, another City based headache!!!!

With the wildcard played, and a transfer already used on Mendy since, I had hoped to preserve my transfer count over the coming weeks. Strictly speaking, I should be holding onto Silva against lower league opposition as there’s every chance that if he plays, he scores well. That’s the smart play, but that nagging feeling of doubt is there and I can’t seem to shake it.

The other problem I have, is that his likely replacements have their own good fixtures this week, ramping up the pressure to the move earlier than anticipated. Richarlison returned from his ban against Arsenal and looked impressive, taking 4 shots with 2 being on target. In GW7 he comes up against a Fulham side that have allowed a league high of 43 shots on target, and only Cardiff & Huddersfield have conceded more than their 13 goals. With Marco Silva talking up his potential to play as a striker, he’s definitely a huge draw this week.

The other player catching my eye is Heung Min Son. He returned to the Spurs starting line-up last week after his exertions with South Korea, and I expect him to keep his place with Eriksen having been ruled out through injury (note: reports since are suggesting Dele Alli will also miss out). He had 3 attempts on goal versus Brighton, and comes up against Both Huddersfield and Cardiff in the next two. As stated above, they have conceded the most goals in the league so Son couldn’t ask for a better run to get his season underway. The only problem with Son is the competition he faces for starts from the likes of Lucas Moura and the fit again Erik Lamela. In a limited transfer game, that makes him far from an ideal target, but could those immediate fixtures offset that?

As of yet, I’m yet to make either move as I stubbornly debate the merits of holding onto David Silva. That steadily reducing transfer number is really putting me off, but should I make any moves then I will post this on twitter nearer to the deadline. Another week going to the wire!!!!

Captaincy

Another straight-forward decision on the captaincy this week. No player has taken more than Sergio Aguero’s 31 shots and his record at home is unrivalled. In his last 10 starts at the Etihad, Aguero has registered 14 goals and 3 assists, and comes up against a Brighton team without a win in their last 16 away games. With my other captaincy options facing each other this weekend in Hazard and Salah, Aguero is the obvious choice to improve on his 4 goals so far this season.

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Transfers Remaining: 36/40

Team Selection

Posts

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.

Formations

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:

Budget

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.

Goalkeepers

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

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?

Midfielders

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.

Strikers

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.

Initial Strategy

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.

Future Posts

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…….

 

The Sky FF Approach

Posts

Firstly, let me just say thanks to everyone who has shown great support for the blog already. It just goes to show how great the SkyFF and FPL communities really are, and I can’t encourage people enough to get involved with some of the amazing accounts out there.

As many of you have already seen, in my first post I made the statement that I would be playing FPL the Sky way. In the short time since it was published, I’ve recieved a few comments asking what exactly that means, and how it’s possible given the games obvious differences?

Both very valid questions which I think require further explanation:

Team Selection

Sky’s budget is set solely for picking a playing team of 11, as opposed to a squad of 15, so I fully intend to do the same. The idea being that by essentially writing off the bench and allocating minimal funds to it, that should allow me to focus all my time, effort, and budget on getting a high scoring starting 11 each week.

It may go against the normal FPL consensus of having a fully playing squad, but you can only get points from 11 players so why not try and max them out to the fullest extent!!

Transfers

This will be the main contentious issue in this little experiment of mine, as the process behind transfers is very different between the two formats. However, with Sky being a limited transfers game, patience is an absolute must and I hope to apply the same logic here.

Let’s be honest, even the best players know how easy it is to rage transfer someone out in haste, so if I can limit myself to the same 40 transfer limit, it should in turn force a similar level of patience.

I do envisage a problem here though, in that FPL is nowhere near as flexible as Sky. A simple formation change using 1 transfer in Sky, will be completely out of the question and I don’t mind admitting that I’m a little unsure how to combat that. Can I give myself an added allowance for this without compromising what I’m trying to achieve???? If anyone has any ideas, hit me up on twitter as I’m open to suggestions.

Captains

Sky’s daily captain changes are a big part of why I love the game so much. By default, it forces a real strategic element to plotting your team selection, and gives the planners amongst us a real edge.

I am however, quite thankful that it won’t be an issue for this as I’m applying enough restrictions without having to find 3 players a week to take the armband too!!! I will attempt to include enough captaincy options to cover the main protagonists each gameweek though.

The Overhaul   

Last season, Sky introduced the concept of the ‘Overhaul’ i.e. the Wildcard in FPL terms. The difference being that they have to be used during a given week, as opposed to having a choice.

The first one this year is in week 5, which actually lends itself well to FPL this season given that many of the leagues star names will be taking extended breaks after their exertions in the World Cup.

Plus, it also happens to correspond with an international break so it will provide that extra bit of thinking time to formulate a plan to see me through to the new year.

Chips

This is probably the main difference between the two games, and something that will be extremely difficult to apply a Sky strategy to.

The Triple Captaincy and Free Hit chips will just require me to be opportunistic in their use, whereas the bench boost will prove worthless unless I can generate enough team value during the early stages of season to improve the bench at the 2nd Overhaul. Given that prices remain static in Sky though, I will be giving them little heed and makes this tactic unlikely at this stage. However, a good bench boost seems to only generate around 16-24 points so it’s not a huge loss in the overall scheme of things.

I think the above has covered the basic premise of what I’m trying to achieve with this blog, but if anyone has any suggestions then I’ll be happy to discuss them over on twitter (see the links page for details, or use the shortcut below).

Future Posts

I have our annual Fantasy Draft scheduled for this week (I can’t recommend the head-to-head draft format enough if you’re one for having bragging rights over your mates on a weekly basis!!!), but I’m hoping to get another 2 blog posts out before the big kick off. The first will note my thoughts on team structure and formation, with the second coming nearer the deadline and revealing the team I’ll be starting the season with.

Please be assured, not all my posts will be this long so a big appreciation from me if you’ve stuck with it this far. Remember, the deadline in most fantasy formats this season will be Friday so start getting your teams set and I’ll be back early next week.

An Introduction

Posts

I’ve always been a player of FPL (since 2006/7). For a long time, it was my fantasy game of choice and last season I scored my best ever finish at 7.6k. Prior to this however, my level of success in the game has been rather inconsistent. No matter what variables they introduce, it seems that I just can’t nail down a strategy that works for me.

Like many in the community, the Sky game was much more of a recent find. I think I saw and advert for it on TV a few years ago, signed up, and I’ve never looked back since. Whether it’s the static player costs, or the increased level of planning required, the game just suits me. I’ve managed to cut my rank every single year, culminating in a 37th place finish last season which was far beyond expectation. It even won me a few quid from some cash mini-leagues……..bonus!!!

Now, this variation in results between the two games has got me to thinking – what would happen if I took the strategies that have served me so well in Sky, and applied them to FPL??

Immediately, you might be thinking that they are two separate games with completely different rules and scoring systems, and on that basis you’d be correct. In fact, there are plenty of great articles out there that go to great lengths to highlight them for anyone wanting to make the transition.

But yet in some ways, when you break them down, they are also pretty similar :

  • Squad or no, both require a team of 11 players to score as many points as possible.
  • Your captain scores double points.
  • Sky’s bonus earning actions (saves, tackles, passing) are the same actions that help contribute to the calculation of the BPS system, while the MoM awards can be indicative of who gets the 3BPS.
  • There are two ‘Overhauls’, or ‘Wildcards’ available during the season.
  • A limited 40 transfers, compared with 38 free transfers for the season in FPL.
  • A certain level of patience required.

So, with the new season just over a week away, I’m going to investigate if these similarities are enough for me to be able to create a successful FPL team, using the same principles as I use for Sky.

Over the course of the next 7 days I’ll be starting to create the team, so I’m hoping to use this blog to note my plans, ideas, thought processes and strategies before embarking on the season ahead.