2. Wrong Decision?

Gameweek 10 marked the first time this season I made an FPL decision that back fired on me.

I’ve always been one to go with my gut and try not to let people influence my decisions too much, which is how I’m going to continue playing FPL going forward.

I watched the Tottenham vs Manchester City game in gameweek 9 which ended 2-0 to Tottenham. My Manchester City asset was Riyad Mahrez, who had an awful game (to put it politely).

Heading into gameweek 10 was the first time in a while that I’ve actually stressed over a transfer. I didn’t have any Liverpool assets in my team, so I opted for Jota as I couldn’t stretch to get in Salah or Mane. I made the decision to get Jack Grealish out for Diogo Jota for my 1 free transfer.

Knowing how bad Mahrez was in the previous game and knowing about the famous ‘Pep roulette’ I had a feeling that Mahrez would be benched and rested for the Burnley game. As an FPL manager you cannot ignore the point potential for Man City against a team like Burnley, no matter how low in form they are.

Knowing I needed a Man City player in my team, I then made the transfer of Mahrez out for De Bruyne, which took it to a -4.

De Bruyne gets 2 assists and 1 bonus point for 10 points, but Mahrez decides to turn up and went on to get a hat trick and 3 bonus points for 21 points, the first time since gameweek 3 he’s had an FPL return, and its a massive haul.

Patience is key? If I’d have stuck with him for the one extra gameweek I’d have been laughing. But oh well.



To go with your gut:
”To trust or follow an intuition or instinct, as opposed to an opinion based on a logical analysis”

False confidence:
”When we are confident we are right, even when we are wrong”

MELONS

He’s happy and he’s dangerous. And guess what after another rank boosting game week so am I.

Mou-Mou loves a good analogy, I love a good decision – even better than I like other people’s bad decisions.

Here are some anecdotes on how I handled my huge melons this last few days.

I have to confess I’m not shy of bending and breaking the so called rules of FPL but my last decision sure made me feel dirty. I made a transfer early ; on Sunday night. And it was a sideways move. And I made it because of the noise being made on Twitter – it drew my attention.

I took Rashford out to bring Fernandes in.

Whilst gathering information for GW9, every single source was telling me Bruno is over performing in every variance, he is not a value pick, not a long term option, penalties are skewing his data.

Talking with my FPL wingman ( you know the one whose playing style contrasts mine, the details man, the sounding board, my go to) he makes what he considers a throwaway comment;

”Until Man United start playing, Bruno gets everything, he has no responsibilities and they all pass to him”

Aaah Bruno. So what if his numbers don’t add up his FPL points certainly do.

My first few seasons playing FPL were solitary and naive, then I found Twitter and this lead to me passively absorbing podcasts and (rare) blogs. Very vanilla, appealing to the masses, spoon feeding. When I joined my first Discord group I experienced a a substantial change in perspective. Talking in chat rooms.

Nothing productive comes from smiling and nodding. Debate is where it’s at.

Information is power, it’s good to listen to the opinions of others, however outlying they might be. Let them all speak, then take your own time to evaluate what was said and then make your decision. But a one sided conversation is no conversation, I like to be controversial, throw some random stuff out there, see what sticks.

How my team looked GW9

Before the deadline – and I did leave it as late as possible – I decided to favour rolling a transfer (again) over taking a -8 to reposition my team and remove the covid stricken Salah. I benched him and to cover Liverpool’s flourishing attack I swapped out Son for Jota, as luck would have it they both scored in GW9. This move also released some funds to regenerate my defence ( I need to boost my playing bench somewhat).

I also swapped my captaincy from Grealish to DCL. DCL needs Richarlison. Full stop. When I was sure the happy threesome ( DCL Richarlison and Rodriguez ) were back together again I knew where the armband should go.

Spurs fixtures toughen up for a period, and Mourinho’s set up against MCI is now however causing me to consider Kane’s place in my squad, 4-5-1 and he is not the 1. He certainly has the form and bar GW1 , regular attacking returns. But a Vardy punt looks tempting, and I somehow need to decide if I need some MCI coverage , and it won’t be any of their over priced midfield. I don’t fear not owning MCI assets but I am starting to fear not owning any Chelsea ones…

SUMMARY

Most decisions require a good understanding of the current state in order to understand all implications of the potential choices.As much information as possible should be gathered to build confidence that a decision has been accurately and appropriately formulated before additional analysis and assessment of alternatives begin.

Am I making good decisions? Well my arrows are green.

I know I am making responsible decisions, and luckily I haven’t experienced too many bad beats.

XVIII. Opportune

Why 2017 told us that Online Poker is Here to Stay

Is it the unannounced arrival of the moment that you wait for, or is it something you foresee and then seize when the time arrives? This, at least for me, is the lesson of GW9 and I can definitely say, I miscalculated.

Immediate or even eventual recognition of, combined with the ability to own your errors, is a trait fast deminishing in the world around us.

As the song says, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…”. How do we anticipate and recognise the moment though? Therein lies the skill (or lack of). That said, we all have the capacity to be phenomenal, there’s no obstacle that mankind has ever faced that someone hasn’t tackled head on and then excelled. Retrospection followed by application of the lessons learnt, is the foundation of conquering any obstacle faced. The willingness to acknowledge your shortcomings and not be defeated by them. Perfection is but a word, not an actual state of being. We strive for perfection, which is highly commendable and should always be your goal. However, do not become downhearted when perfection is not attained, because, to be human, is to be imperfect and I don’t see any of us becoming more than human anytime soon. 😄

In this game, the most we can expect is to have more green arrows, than red. Red arrows are an inevitablity, so, we go again. Put the disappointment aside and take the lesson with you, as taking the former will only hinder or even stunt your performance in the gameweeks ahead. Hindsight is a tool which provides clarity for forward movement, the accompanying disappointment can, if you want, actually be a spur which pushes you forward. Continued application of this cognitive approach will ultimately allow you to hone your timing and thus the seizing of the opportune moments.

Chance

A constant in the game which none of us have control over. Sometimes the Universe will fuck you straight in the arse 🍆 and you simply have to take it like a man/woman (well, it’s not like both sexes don’t!🤣). Naturally, you’ll be sore for a bit, but, you’ll get over it, ready for the next rogering whenever it comes. It can be inadvertantly fortuitous (a scored penalty retake giving your asset an attacking return) or frustratingly maddening (a 2nd minute injury, or 89th min loss of a clean sheet). The point is, it happens to us all and in the main is evened out in the long run.

Ego will tell you that it was your decision which awarded you a moment of fortune. If this is your stance, then surely when chance doesn’t go your way, it’s of your own making as well, right?! Well, sort of. It’s either luck or, “UNLUCKEEEYYYY!”😆 Enjoy it when you get it, suck it up when you don’t. Either way, it’s not completely of your own making. But, “You make your own luck!” I hear you say. This is myth, of sorts.

The optimistic mind interprets fortune as good luck, the pessimistic mind, as bad luck. An optimistic person tends to be someone who will take more chances, and thus exposes themself to a greater possiblity of things going their way, hence the saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. A pessimist, because they expect things not to go their way, does not make as many ventures, if at all. This lessens their exposure to opportunities, then when the inevitable bad thing happens, they say, why always me?!

Of course, again, you cannot discount the randomness of the Universe, sometimes you go on a bad run, no matter your default mindset. Just remember, it could always be worse and the opposite, going on a good run, is also a possiblity. Yin & Yang.

So, keep going, what do you really have to lose? You’re going to win some and/or lose some, no matter what! At the very least, taking the chance will build your confidence and when it goes right, you’ll be able to revel in your good fortune. This in turn will help you to take misfortune in your stride and move on to the next.

Simplez! 😹

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XVII. Sangfroid

It’s inevitable that the universe will do what the universe does. Is this not life?! How you react to the universe will depend on a myriad of things revolving around your experiences to date and how they have culminated in your hardwiring.

Preparedness can play a huge factor in your reactions, to the point where your equanimity allows you to stare back at the abyss, with no rush of blood to the head, but instead, clear and cool thought of mind.

Readiness does not necessarily need to be tangible, the hypothetical will do. In the absence of either of these, the ability to keep your zanshin will masterfully navigate you through the never-ending barage of new gameweek issues.

During this Irritable Belligerence of injuries, psuedo-injuries, positive CV19 results, dancing and… (drinking? 🍾), travelling, pointless and/or boring matches, inexplicable batterings (6-0!! 😳) and limp defeats, the toing & froing within the community has been a voyeuristic delight! 😁 Free transfers, minus 8s, minus 12s, Free Hits, price-falls, price-rises, “I’ll cap this player if…”, “I couldn’t give a shit…”, passive aggressive bullying, reminiscing of a time before monetising, “I’m thinking of leaving…”, exetera, exetera. It has been a 2 week cacophony, a veritable symphony of chaos and the sublime.

I do hope this trend continues for the next International Break in March, as the previous ones were utterly dull by comparison! 😝

So, here we are, about to chart our courses into the busiest and bestest part of the season. 8GWs over the next 6 weeks, immediately followed by the blank & double gameweeks, when we’ll arrive in GW20 with our ships either intact, in varying degrees of repair or ready for the knacker’s yard!

Luckily, I’ve emerged from the International Break with less of a Festival of Lights in my squad than many. A single flash of blood on my bench contaminated by the evil virus. At present the aim is to leave him there. I’m following my plan and my gut (miraculously aligned!) on this one. It is why I invested in such a strong bench after all. A minor irritation being rumours that Ricardo may be back sooner than I anticipated, which could be a threat to Justin.

I really need to sort those goal keepers out! Both of them. 😭

So Universe… what’s next?! 😈

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BEEEEEP

My best differential this season ? Other people’s bad decisions.

FPL is a game, a competition, bottom line, use whatever you can to get to the top.

I am driven by big picture thinking, I like the game play psychology, I enjoy a good three-pipe problem.

Stepping back from the standard FPL protocols, the decrees from the ‘experts’ ‘in the know’, the monotony of ‘choose my team for me oh great herd mentality’ polls – if ever there was a season to buck the norm this must be it, and that means thinking for oneself.

How quickly things can change. In last week’s blog I was boosted by the feeling things were returning to normal, the reliability of 8 week’s data, the demise of penalties and freak results with excessive goals, the rise of obvious candidates for selection… well that bubble certainly burst over the needless cross contamination flag inducing mess that was the International Break.

Instead of the full on fun of attack! attack! attack! my intuition says, back to square one we go, and that means patience and caution.

This is my blog, so you are reading my thoughts and takeaways ( by the way I focus on overall rank not mini leagues) , but I urge you to make your own conclusions and formulate your own strategy.

Covid positives, injuries and uncertainties, well we have had 6 months of it, so we know what to expect – the unexpected.

Grab your popcorn and enjoy the mayhem as the archaic minds living in the past of last season’s norms try to negotiate their way to the Christmas hiatus.

So, bottom line, you can check out here if you cba to evaluate my reasoning.

My strategy going forward ?

Defensive, low risk.Again.

In short, think hard before you hit, don’t waste transfers on short term players, keep one eye on team value (it could give you the edge later in the season), go semi template ie prioritise the premiums and attack, build a playing bench, keep motivated and keep evolving the strategy.

My Little Brain Attic **

Maintain your passion and purpose along with a positive mind for clear good decision making.

Transfers Retain transfers for dealing with crisis. Watch ownership levels, prioritise transfers to top 6 team template figures but not as you would when upside chasing, as a 1 week punt, hold them as long as possible. Get to a position of rolling a transfer every week as a safety measure.

Team structure Be balanced and flexible, look at 2 (?3) playing bench players rather than 1 – for me this means investing in defence at expense of MIDs : is there an opportunity to do this without weakening the attack ? Set up the team around core premiums and template players. Emphasis should be put on enablers who could be considered ‘season keepers’. Regarding bench positions 2 & 3, aim for budget options under 4.5m, how about looking at CB ?

Old school thinking. Are the traditional top 6 teams still relevant ? Look at the league table.

HITs is the zeitgeist changing ? Hits can be a positive when there is a genuine need to reposition the team for 6-8 weeks. Capitalise on other’s negative hitting (knee jerking for short term gain/points chasing) – how many times have you experienced a green arrow before a ball has been kicked? Is a hitting mind set the new band wagon?

Bench Bench Bench ! not only to cover injuries/covid but, fixture congestion (Europe,cup games and the Christmas period).

(Typical, just as I have come to terms with the ‘no money on the bench’ rule, now I have to put it back there in this anomaly of a season)

Fielding 10 players – might be a coping option, I need to come to terms with this.

Anxiety I feel like we’re back to ground zero again.How long will the chaos last this time ? How long is it going to take for the bubble around the EPL players to reform, 4 weeks ? 5 weeks ?

Will there be more goals again ? With teams patched together, trying to get used to each other, makeshift defences… more goals mean more points which could cover the cost of hits.

Will the 5 subs rule be re-introduced ? Some assets will become more tempting and some will diminish in appeal.

CONCLUSION

Circumstances are changing so quickly. Apply due diligence, be patient, be as safe as you can and accept things can still go wrong. Monitor and evolve.

I have several plays in mind for when Saturday comes – including a -8. Last week I rolled a transfer, I might even roll over again. Also in the back of my mind I have declared GW9 null & void, any points will be a bonus, this takes the pressure off. Whatever I decide I will wait until as late as possible.

My current team, yet to be prepped for GW9 – waiting until Saturday morning, (deadline 11.00) OR 711k.

** In “A Study in Scarlet” Sherlock Holmes suggests that man’s brain is like an attic. The fool will stuff all sorts of furniture and items in his brain attic so that the useful information becomes lost in the clutter. The wiser man will store only the tools that will help him do his work and have it organized so that it can be accessed quickly and easily.

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