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.

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.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/54975302

INTERMISSION

Achievement unlocked – you have survived to game week 8 and are still in touch with the pack.

I’m glad I purchased that heavy duty armour of patience, safety picks and logical planning when I went up against Captain Chaos (aka the 2020/2021 Football Season).

Now the great unknown is being unmasked by data and metrics, we are all starting to identify value players and up trending teams, level 2 awaits, further adventure, more rewards.

Time to re-equip and upgrade to a more flexible liquid body armour to go with my force field of confidence.

I had a stellar GW8, 78 points (average 55) my first 6 figure game week rank (330k). I moved up 500k in OR to 711,280, 473 total points.

Game Week 8 Team Selection

Knee jerk take aways – Son & Robbo need to go. Considered reaction, Son & Robbo look the weakest links going forward. Son because his fixtures change for the worse, Bale’s introduction and possibly an unknown factor, well he’s not performing in his natural explosive way. Robbo is not value for money and Pool’s strength is no longer in their defence. This week’s big decision, keep Kane or not ..?

So let’s get down to it, the crux of the matter is, how to move forward. My next target is to achieve a top 100k rank by the next natural break GW16, the last game of the calendar year. I am in a good place to be more attacking but I want to couple this with maintaining a low to medium risk.

CONSIDERATIONS

  • the future – the next 15-20 fixtures should be more normal by this I mean regressing to the norm stats wise, we still have Covid and the ensuing complications. The schedule will remain hectic.
  • fixture swings
  • the new NEW top 6
  • the Manchester players – worth their value or not
  • maintain team value – it’s worth it at the end of the season
  • template/ownership – time to monitor & react to
  • HITS – time to ease off now, but allow them one last time out of the break, to reposition the squad for the next push
  • differentials – players/teams/managers/formations

Zelda Explained – Dr Emmett Brown

Time to get the old grey matter processing over the International Break. Join me next week for total world domination.

PIVOTAL

The most important thing when you’re handling a risky operation, is you’ve got to be very cool under pressure, you’ve got to be focused. You can’t have too much empathy. If things do go wrong, the most important facet in a manager’s arsenal is decisiveness. You cannot freeze.

The pro’s to turning up the dial on certain psychopathic traits – lack of empathy, versatility, self worth and focus – is that your decision making confidence is boosted, so that adverse conditions will be redirected into opportunities, and quickly too.

Every game week offers a new risk, be it a fixture turn, bandwagon, injury or enigma. Stepping back from the noise, to look at the bigger picture and doing your own thing can inspire quiet revolutions.

On my mind this coming game week

Team Formation

In FPL, team formation, whilst not such a glamorous topic such as transfers or chip usage, is none the less vital for points generation. Mainly due to a glut of goals so far this season, my chosen strategy, bar GW1, has been to set up a 343.

Defence has been a minimum spend area for me. But I am watching the situation, because things change, and identifying the starting points to shifts leads to getting ahead of the curve, and differential points. Are the goals starting to slow down ? Last week I touched on the fact, less goals mean less points hauls, which means hit taking becomes riskier. Now I am considering a shift of funds into defence, but only if this downward trend continues.

20/21 Season Goals per Game Week

The Seminal Game

Looking ahead to GW8, the game of the round sees Man City host Liverpool, where one manager’s injury crisis has meant a reduced defence, and the other’s injury crisis has meant a reduced attack, both are benefiting from repositioning midfielders.

Klopp’s decision to spend £32M plus Ki-Jana Hoever to get Jota in, now looks good business, it gives Liverpool a new shape, and a new attacking dimension – and hopefully a new raised ceiling for goals scored. We have all dined out on their solid defence these past years, well 2020 is different, stay at home and take a long look at the attacking options instead – and how the points might be spread around more.

This is surely a must win game for City ? A spring board or a diving board ? Pep knows. He rested Laporte and Dias last night (in Europe) and gave Jesus a little run out (after 6 weeks injury). Since conceding 5 goals against Leics they have conceded only 3 in 8 games. City have only scored 9 goals in the league so far this season, extrapolated that becomes 57 for the season, in 19/20 they scored 102…upturn imminent ?

Value + Objectification = Easier transfer decisions..in theory ?

We are on the verge of being a quarter of the way through the season, statistics do actually mean something. We are also on the verge of major fixture swings. Now lets add a refreshingly large player pool of options…how to choose going forward?

There are some really tough decisions on the horizon, uppermost, shall we hold our Spurs assets ?

VAPM (Value Added per Million) allows you to compare players of varying prices and positions when it comes to your decision-making process. Objectification means treating your players like objects meaning you form no attachment to them and can transfer them out with no anxiety – inflating your godlike status of self worth along the way.

https://myfplanalysis.co.in/stats

The Hunt for Differentials

There is no magic answer, except to look everywhere. There are many ‘experts’ on social media who can help you. I like to look for myself too.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/tables

Rarely referred to in the FPL community, I often find myself in a Zen moment when I take my somewhat irregular look at the league table. I consider the team form as well as the individual when I make my choices.

Goals scored, non penalty – Spurs 16, Liverpool 14, Everton 14, Chelsea 13… might be useful to see the penalties table here

Penalty Goals Scored Table

Another take away from looking at the table is Arsenal – fewest goals conceded, already played some big guns…sitting mid table, transitional…might be worth a deeper dive investigation

The longer you look the more you see, this is no trick, it’s just a means to trigger reflection and keep you away from the knee jerk society.

Captaincy

Am I really that bad at picking a captain ? I need to put aside some time during the break to focus on this area of weakness.

GW7 average points 53 my score 57, small green arrow, up 100k to 1.2m. Captained Kane over Salah. Got in Rashford for an injured Rodriguez. I rolled a transfer last week and will do so again this.

Team Value is 102.7.

I’m doing alright, heading into the big push towards the halfway stage, it’s a solid foundation.

HALLOWE’EN

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. The presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

I decided to take a look back at my long dead GW1 team

whatever happened to Aubamafang?

Phew, I am progressing, my actual points 337, OR 1.3m.

GW6 Team, 57 points, average 48.

Very happy with my core team, I have 2 free transfers, and 2 injured defenders on the bench…

and indulge in some fortune telling

The Knight of Wands speaks of hope, positivity and taking action after careful planning. Be confident and enthusiastic when this card falls upright for you. It should energize you and motivate you to move forward headfirst into any challenging situation without fear.There is a warning behind the Knight of Wands, though, and that is to thoroughly weigh the pros and cons before making a big decision and to fully lay out your plans and do your due diligence before taking action on any major projects.

Uncanny

”affecting”

Through darkness in the abyss – I see light at the end of the tunnel! Your Overall Rank will go up and down the steam train but your points won’t just rain – they will downpour in gracious portions. By the end of the road and the dust settles – in the 21st year of the millennium – I predict 21k for you.

Mystic DrayZera

foretelling

TRICK OR TREAT

I can’t make my mind up over Man City this season, let’s face it we all know Pep can’t either.

He is driven, obsessive and frankly unnerving. He keeps Mahrez in a box for special occasions, and has some outlandishly freaky formation decisions (the latest being Torres central in a front three, with Sterling on the right – yes the right). I think he missed a trick not properly replacing Dilva. Injuries have been a nightmare already for him this season, at least Laporte has returned and KdB seems back to some fitness 47/58 successful passes last night as they won 3-0 away to Marseille, who, have now lost their last 11 UCL games.

So are we in for a treat goals wise away to Sheffield on Saturday ? Who can say, I for one won’t be rushing to get any City assets in this week, ownership is low in the community, so I’m not scared. (Sterling 7.4% KdB 15.2%)

FRIGHT NIGHT

Liverpool are down to the bones, defensively, the UCL game resulted in a hamstring injury for substitute VVD, Fabinho.

But let’s talk about the attack – no not the second string front three abomination that had to be totally replaced last night. Salah versus Mane. Is Mane a differential too far ? He is owned by 9.7% (Salah 47.6%) and doesn’t have penalties ( a limping Salah took a penalty last night with Milner on the pitch). Could I have them both ? Spurs fixtures turn soon, I was going to Kdb with the Kane money. Salah usually has a dip before Christmas, should I swap Salah to Mane now with my spare transfer ?

Ever hear of divination by apple paring ? One of the lesser known Halloween rituals is that women can find the name of their future husband by throwing apple peel over their shoulder. Would it help me with the Salah/Mane conundrum ?

I had to try it, now look at this…

Definitely 4 letters, must be Mane…oh hang on, is it upside down ? g-A-m-e yes the spirits are telling me, FPL is just a game.

MONSTERS

Monster derives from the Latin monstrum, itself derived ultimately from the verb moneo (“to remind, warn, instruct, or foretell”), and denotes anything “strange or singular, contrary to the usual course of nature, by which the gods give notice of evil,” “a strange, unnatural, hideous person, animal, or thing,” or any “monstrous or unusual thing, circumstance, or adventure.”

Wikipedia

there’s something strange
In the neighborhood

something weird
And it don’t look too good

Bhuna you think you can fool us with that ‘inject it’ cult, but I can see through you, that’s a syringe and you are intent on taking the life blood from the veins of the innocent and coercing the FPL community into doing your bidding.

People look closely at his logo …

EPILOGUE

It’s been a volatile opening six weeks to the season. Before the sobering 19 goals scored in GW6 the average was 34. No wonder those hits paid off, time to proceed with caution I feel, regression to the norm imminent.

What is normal ? Do we even want it ? Surely it can’t happen on the weekend that coincides with the most mischievious of celebrations.

The apple peel throw was genuine by the way, I was expecting to see an ‘S’ or some random ‘M’ shape.

LINES

Battle

A positive game week on my wild card, 72 points, up to 1.6m OR from 2.4m, returns from captain Salah, star player Harry Kane. I am recharged, born again – even if the wild card was played for the wrong reason, it was the right decision. And I have benefitted from a boost in team value.

The catch up line is 100 points away

I am now 92 points behind the top 10k, the probability of catching up falls as the number of game weeks falls. If I wait too long I leave too much to do. I need some maverick picks with fatter tails alongside my steady providers.

Upside chasing is trending in the community, aggressively targeting explosive players for single game weeks for (hopefully) instant points hits. Great stuff at the end of the season when you can afford the 0.1 cost per week, right now I need to temper this tactic somewhat.

For example, Son, I intend to keep him for only 3 weeks, he may continue hauling for longer, but I have more differential plans for his position.

So more maverick players means I’ll catch up faster – but in probability the benefit decreases the more I add, as the probability of low scores starts to offset the probability of high scores.

The further behind I get the more maverick I will need to go.

As it’s early days I am starting with caution. My optimal range is between 2-4, I am going with a low risk entry level 2.

Another premise I am exploring is maverick double picks.

Last game week I played my wild card, and opted for the 15% owned Son and Kane combo (current cost 20.1). I also considered the Mane-Salah pairing, at a miserly 1.9% owned (cost 24.2).

Luckily I chose the correct option, the Spurs duo got me 29 points, team Liverpool yielded 13.

I should be rolling a transfer this week, but I have just spotted an ideal maverick double pick…temptation.

Identifying Mavericks

  • POSITION goal scoring midfielders
  • COST high cost players score high more often, above 6m is my threshold
  • FIXTURES matter a lot
  • FORM a consideration, perhaps a greater identifier of budget players
  • ZEITGEIST the current situation. For example keep abreast of injuries/sickness, it may result in lucrative out of position players.

VAR versus Referees where do we draw the line ?

I don’t know where the line is

Klopp after the Merseyside derby.

Is it time for a rethink of who takes authority for running a football match ? The puppet on the pitch or the muppet at VAR HQ?

For me the officials on the pitch should take charge of the match, the continuous deferring to VAR undermines the authority of the referee and his assistants, and dare I say it, breeds complacency. Liverpool have asked for a review of the tackle on Van Dijk, the referee didn’t even look at the pitchside monitor during the match.

Respect is dwindling.

In your face referee crowding after an unsatisfactory ruling is commonplace, but not a new occurence.

Speaking in 2018, Pierluigi Collina called for this behaviour to be ‘killed’.

I would say it’s certainly coming from emotion, sometimes it’s also a lack of respect. Referees know that they cannot accept it. We have been clear with them. They know what they have to do. If they accept, this is their decision and they will pay for their decision.

Addressing this matter as well, by limiting approaches to the referee to just team captains, further empowers the on field officials.

No football player should ever put their hands on an official, whether they be female or male, Aguero did make a mistake on Saturday. I think it’s obviously worse by the fact that he put his hands on a female official, which he should never have done.

Gary Neville

Line crossed, nicest person you ever met or not Pep.

Bottom

33 weeks to go, plenty of time to make that top 10k target.

In last weeks results we still had plenty of goals, and our first 0-0, when Burnley travelled to West Brom, who’d have thought it – well we all did…finally something predictable.