Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.
Tom Landry, Hall of Fame football coach
Principle. A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.
My FPL ideology revolves around reducing the variables (and maximising opportunity). So this season I am trying to get my team to build itself – subsequently minimising the decisions I have to make and in turn allowing me more time to focus on the positions I have considered differential.
keeping Ukraine on a lead for most of the first half…a second half that you could be forgiven for thinking had been scripted…An hour into a European Championship quarter-final, substituting important players to give them a breather for Wednesday’s semi-final…Another clean sheet, their fifth in a row in this tournament…so impressive as they simply overpowered Ukraine
Take the initiative and keep moving forward. Control.
Team structure planning is fundamental to getting a good start, so why I am I trying to be so detached ? So hands off. So formulaic.
Because now is not the time to follow your heart, to give into your need to possess the beautiful ones that the zeitgeist is shouting as must haves a whole 6 weeks before information becomes complete.
Now is the time for emotional intelligence, to determine a squad that allows you to capitalise on form and value players as they emerge over the opening game weeks. Getting the basics brilliant is key to FPL success.
After 5 years playing FPL, I bring considerable baggage, my own experiences coupled with the hypotheses gathered from listening to other managers, but what I have come to realise and Churchill said it best, (FPL) it is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
My game plan is shaped by a combination of statements, ideas, and tactics which are opposed to one another – that’s just how FPL life is.
Letting the team build itself, perversely paradoxical, yet ironically fitting.
But I am the one who is setting the parameters, getting the basics brilliant. And if I do this now, in a quiet considered fashion away from the hype that dictates the final hours before the game week one deadline, I can be objective.
Having a plan helps protect from ‘the noise’ , and the negative knock ons of knee jerk reactions, irrational and erratic behaviour.
Planning will ensure objectivity (sticking to the facts) rather than subjectivity (being driven by emotion and bias).
Having a team structure is more important in FPL than people realise. Keeping an organised structure can help build foundations of a good team and keep you on the right track to ensure that no major transfers are needed.
Where do I start the planning process ?
My principle of reducing the variables is my launch pad, to get my head in the zone I compile a list of don’ts, which of course generates a list of dos. This forms the basis of my plan.
Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do
Add in some team structuring factors devised from game play tactics, fixture difficulty ratings and stand out ‘value players’ (eg Raphinha), and the plan progresses.
This is how I build a blue print, a map for the great unknown the start of the season. It will keep me on track but offer me a degree of flexibility to move onto form players as they arise. Hopefully it will keep me up with the pack until the first wildcard.
I take control. But paradoxically I like to expose myself to the theories of others – it’s more efficient to borrow abilities and thinking
THE SQUAD THAT BUILDS ITSELF the story so far
Pre season planning started with analysing the fixtures to determine strong captaincy options, these will be my first additions to my squad, they help shape my team structure. 2 places gone.
Tactically, I like to use the player price point structure, choosing the most expensive outfield options in each position – this means I can move easily between assets with a single transfer. Another 3 places allocated.
To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” ― Leonard Bernstein, composer and conductor
Every new season is an adventure into the unknown, our only signposts are the fixtures. We all need a direction, some purpose, focus.
My blogging style is not to offer detailed advice on which player to select, but it is more muse like, to be a source of inspiration for creativity and thoughtfulness.
As I write this, we are hours from the second semi-final game in the Euros, where England face Denmark. I am English, I am an England fan, there is a national feeling we are on the brink of something.
Gareth Southgate, the ‘quiet man’ manager of the England team is emerging as a man of substance. No surprise then, that he is on my mind as I discuss the importance of strategy for a winning culture. Aim. Ethos. Tactics.
(as obvious as the Love Island plot twists this one)
Part of starting strong, is prioritising captaincy. Find the one, he scores double. Well actually find more than one.
Last season captaincy points accounted for 22% of my final tally – that’s worth some TLC and quality time.
I will make time to pour over the fixtures and identify a Mr Right for each week, then fill in the team around them.
Not being funny but, there’s the sauce you do with your mates, then there’s the graft that helps you crack on with O.R. Not to go extra, but this season I am following the science.
Heres hoping your GW1 team is full of beautiful bodies and that the pleasure they bring lasts longer than one week – don’t worry there’s always the wildcard.
Further (serious) reading for when you are on the beach…
CURATED IDEAS ON CAPTAINCY
Aim to captain the most popular captaincy pick each week – rise & fall with the pack
When there is no obvious captain, use this opportunity to go more differential
random captaincies away from the premiums have a very low strike rate so don’t indulge in them if you want to play smart. But i also want to play for fun and make FPL less boring so i’ll keep doing it when i fancy it. Plus i don’t like having rules
Captain the /premium talisman players. ”Premium players justify their price through captaincy. If captaincy didn’t exist they wouldn’t be as expensive” @FPL Guidance
Use bookies odds. Find the teams with a greater than 50% chance of winning, cross reference this with the top 5 rated ‘anytime goal scorers’.
Captain experiments rarely pay off. You should stick to your premium players and avoid the differentials unless you are chasing a rival in your mini league and need to take some gambles. But that’s why they’re called gambles: because they are risky. When building your squad make sure you’ve got enough potential captain choices in there – your bankers.
taken from Fantasy Premier League: Unlocking the Secrets to a Top 1% Finish, by Toby Margetts & Gianni Butticé
”some magic formula for picking a successful captain week to week – that, I’m afraid, does not exist”
fplconnect.blog is a free to access site that provides a quality weekly guide to captaincy, the above quote is taken from this article
Meanwhile, targeting opposition stats seems to be a more reliable strategy. The single most successful stat to target seems to be opposition shots in the box conceded.
All season I have been banging on about ignoring your emotions, being objective, making sound rational decisions, trusting the process, so how did I arrive at 5 assets that blank next game week (GW36) and ‘wasting’ a transfer on a sideways move where I ditch the highest owned player in the game ?
The power of enlightenment. Attaining a state of intuition.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition
I ended last week’s blog pondering the thought that there has got to be more to (FPL) life than this, more than watching matches, pouring over data, consuming other people’s content and then not selecting the perfect 11 every game week.
Reflecting on all the things I’ve done this season, exercising my mind has been the most rewarding.
I have benefitted from making time to think, learning to think and strangely enough the incredible power of reframing; thinking about things from a differing stance.
So this week’s blog revolves around the most enigmatic organ of the body, the brain.
Way back in August when I set out my aims, everything was driven by my goal of achieving the best rank possible – I see mini leagues and cup competitions as distractions. I was intent on strengthening my cognitive abilities such as memory, focus and reasoning, in essence being more like a very good CPU.
Our kryptonite when processing information, is that our thinking is subject to emotions, to bias and flaws, our genetic makeup determines behaviours, how we interact and respond.
An example of this, is our innate deep seated need to see patterns. When we try to interpret an event by simply squeezing it into an old pattern, we are likely to miss what makes it different—and take the wrong action.
The human mind itself, perhaps the greatest creation of all. We don’t know how it works; we just know that it works extraordinarily well.
This season we have all battled to decipher complex challenges rationally, digesting the data, buffering against the chaos even when that data was incomplete and the chaos torturous. We all have a super power to fall back on, we just need to relax, close our eyes, and let the magic happen – our subconscious mind will automatically deliver the right answer.
INTUITIVE understandable without the use of instructions
Being intuitive is to make a leap of faith, being able to unlearn and rethink, going beyond gut instinct and common sense, being more than intelligent and rational.
Believe in the transformative power, rise above the number crunching, the unwritten rules, the nay sayers, feel special, trust in your own self. Any idiot can run the numbers, but the gift of a good intuition — that’s reserved for the true FPL elite (and the occasional rocket girl).
Intuition does have a place in decision making—you should not ignore your instincts any more than you should ignore your conscience. It might well be an imperfect processor, but for me the the joy in playing FPL is the adventure of indulging one’s intuition.
But instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.
So, GW34 I got an insignificant small red arrow, the postponement of the Man Utd v Liverpool game meant I ended up fielding 9 players, current OR 117k. Poised. Luckily still having my Free Hit means I can hold my prize assets from Chelsea, Leicester and Man Utd. I took a -4 to make a sideways move, Bruno to Greenwood, so I could captain him for the triple game week, what ? Surely this goes against everything you have learnt this season ?
I just had a feeling
I would like my epitaph for this season to read : intellectually curious, rigorous in her pursuit of knowledge, and willing to challenge her own assumptions.
Sensible and respectable, suitable for a content provider.
But in private my soul sings : she flew on her intuition.
My partner once came home from work with a box. ‘Do you want a laptop ? No one wanted it at the office. It’s not what we use.’ I was left alone with a brand new MacBook Pro, and no manual. Once I had found the ON button the rest was easy, pure intuition. Last week I updated to a MacBook Air with the new M1 processor, it is so quick and powerful. The inspiration for this blog is processing, when you have a strong mind and up to date information, you can interpret and reach conclusions about phenomena without resorting to conscious thought – the more research I do, the better my intuition works.
My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements, and operate the device entirely in my mind.
start a diary or journal, open up the non conscious mind by writing down thoughts, feelings, emotions
let it flow without prejudice or criticism, be less rational
put yourself in the zone, create an atmosphere conducive to exploring your thoughts
The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.
Who am I? It’s like a riddle my mind cannot solve,I have no idea who I am anymore. This is going to take some time … Can you answer who you are?
A couple weeks off work and my mind has time for reflection, what have I done with my life ?
What happened to my sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others.
You only live once – but you can always be reborn.
Here comes the sun, step out of the shadows…
For now, do something that makes you feel young, happy and free. He’d want that for you
I don’t know where you stand on the FPL spectrum, flying, mehh, done for the season, other…but as in life, feelings are cyclical. I know I have spent far too many game weeks languishing in the void between depression and flourishing, but right now, I am satisfied, I am OK, hovering just outside 100K, relieved I can see the finish line and hopeful for the future.
We are born again when the new season arrives. We can choose to experience a new playing style, to prioritise winning a mini league over overall rank. There is always a new dawn in FPL.
Us crazy folk that are passionate about the game are already planning the next campaign
BREW ‘already planning …writing a list ‘
FIRETOG has shifted strategy and cites he will be ‘chasing money at the start’
BUFFY is going pioneer. He has reached the final 8 of the Super Cup and is theorising on how he can take his blocking strategy and exploit it for rank gain for 2021/22.
VINCE ‘I was planning to quit next season, but this week has changed my mind..I have not planned … I have rules & laws …like 10 points but I deleted (them) … bring in players you know and trust , oh FPL laws I found it…’
As the game weeks count down, in a ‘you say goodbye and I say hello’ mindset, I am gathering momentum and information for next season. But I am still thoroughly engaged with this one.
I just enjoyed my best game week rank so far 18,639, I chose to TC Kane as I realised just captaining him, with his high ownership wouldn’t be enough to make rank gains. Yes a shield play but it felt more sword when he got 2 goals.
6 green arrows in a row, now up to 149k from 219k.
Interestingly I was 90% template GW32, a stark reminder of how powerful the captaincy coin toss can be.
I am still learning about how to exploit the template, you can stroke it and tease it a little while it sleeps, but push it too far and awakes with a deadly bite.
I was contemplating where to concentrate my efforts earlier this week
And I agree with Harbourboy, gently does it.
So why with 2 FT in hand did I end up on a -4 this week ? As I have accepted defeat this season, I am able to play with more freedom, I can gamble on the fact that 1 playing bench is ok ( I am keeping both Kane & Son who blank this week). Safe. Rational.
But I just can’t help myself, I am addicted to danger, to prodding the sleeping dog.
The pressers made me reconsider, Phillips and Jota were a no show possibility, I would be down to 10..but so what ? Others might be in the same boat, really I should hold my nerve, hope they resort to hitting, I should use their -4’s…and so it goes. Torres, Ings and Phillips out . Maddo (good vibrations), TAA (Mate-choice copying) and Bamford (‘it’s all coming back to me’ ) in.
As I write, half way through GW33, I can’t stop fixating on improving my midfield
If you don’t go over the top, how are you ever going to see what’s on the other side?
Could the essence of mastering FPL be distilled into a 10 point plan ?
It’s possible. I am blueprinting mine as I type.The great and the good, the experts, the pseudo-sciencers , the chat room theorists, so many fountains of wisdom.
But it is beginning to dawn on me, that my needs might be more spiritual than factual. And that’s another blog.
What happened this week made the community contemplate its own mortality somewhat.
The storm in a tea cup which will no doubt bring about a sea change in how we experience football in the future.
This bloody game I don’t know if I love it or hate it.
Find the answer at the end of the blog.
When Jason (Elite CEO) gave me the opportunity to blog for a year, he was a little uncomfortable with certain subjects, if you are reading this Jase, I smell burning, is the shed on fire ?
Bottom line this blog is about passion, desire and promiscuity.
Head or Heart
As in life, FPL is a never ending struggle between head (logic and reason) and heart (passions and emotions). We like to think we are driven by competition but in truth we are motivated by feelings and needs, such as feeling involved and receiving rewards and attention.
Channeling my inner psychopath I can stand on the periphery, be objective.
I can use players when they are ‘hot’ (Jlingz), ‘fit’ (John Stones), ‘peng’ (silky Ilkay), I can even enjoy a one week punt on a guy.
And equally I can bin them off without a second thought – remember the one I said was a season keeper, my game week one success story, what was his name again, it doesn’t matter he is gone.
As an aside, in hangouts chat, conversation often turns to how do we know when a player is coming into form, how do we recognise that ? Well, maybe it’s more carnal than stats driven, wow, that’s interesting and that needs exploring.
So stats are the facts, the head. And the recognition, the ‘phwoar’ factor, the desire to have, is the heart, pure lust driven emotion… hey Dread, here’s one we won’t see on BlackBox 😁
In my FPL bubble this week, I have seen a lot of emotion, negativity, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and a disturbed atmosphere.
Many people announced they are quitting .
Heart on my Sleeve
Although I would like to think I have conditioned myself to be more psycho, I think I have only reached 80% completion.
I too have been a slave to my emotions, reviewing my blogs, I see the signs of how tortuous I was finding it a couple weeks back.
SHUCKS Feb 10 – ” I am not in happy place ”
TRUTH Feb 18 – ” I am sour ” ” I think FPL Fatigue is real and it’s happening now. ”
If your heart’s not in it…re-frame
FPL this season has been a war of attrition, an abusive situation, where our emotions have been exposed.
For me acceptance lead to liberation. I admitted my season was over, I had to let this one go. I took back control and shifted my goals to look for joy elsewhere – and that included my predilection for role play (oh please, behave) and exploring the human mind and how we can trick it into being a better version of itself.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference
It is not about being conceited, vain or selfish, it’s about confidence and belief, and strength of mind.
Respect yourself. Know your value.
The Heart of the Matter
My FPL team and my thoughts going forward.
Acts of defiance and small victories – I will take my endorphins where I can
Of course I am going to stand up and go my own way, I get a kick out of being contrary. But I will not stray too far from template. Low risk, just a couple maverick differentials, but if the mood takes me, I am open to temptation – options and opportunities….
Follow your heart but take your brain with you
So Dallas and I, back together again. This game week I left him 3rd bench, 17 points missed …again…oh the irony – you have to laugh.
Last time I owned him was GW20 I stood at 74K, I transferred him out and my life was never the same again.
We are living in the era of one of the greatest managers ever, who would dare to outplay him ?
Me, spin that roulette wheel.
I took a risk and went for Torres on a 2 week punt – whenever he has played 90 mins this season he gets a return and Pep told us he was deploying ‘fresh legs’.
He only went and scored
I also captained Ings, luckily it was a week to try a differential captain, it didn’t pay off. It didn’t hurt my rank too much.
WHY Ings? Watching him the week before, he had that swagger about him, I thought he was coming back into form, but I had underestimated Big Sam and the pride of the WBA players.
5 green arrows in a row does not soften the dissatisfaction of being stuck in the 200k zone, but small steps.
I am going to hide in the herd this week, captaining Kane (and after a coin toss moment, triple captaining him)
As the weeks count down, and the mind turns to reflection, it’s been a hell of a season, soon we will be seeing the haul of ‘so glad it’s over’ ‘never again’ messages, but over time I think we will look back on this season fondly, we were after all, all in it together and we got through. It will become a benchmark for seasons to come.
Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.
Our brains don’t see everything—the world is too big, too full of stimuli. So the brain takes shortcuts, constructing a picture of reality with relatively simple algorithms for what things are supposed to look like.
Magic is all about exploiting the gaps in human perception. And so is FPL.
Think straight or curveball ? Your season depends on you.
SMOKE & MIRRORS
Some game weeks are just anomalies, and should be eliminated from critical thinking. And some features of FPL are temptingly easy to fixate on, and so appear more significant than they actually are – blanks and double game weeks for example.
And perhaps the greatest illusion of all, player value…
Now you see it, now you don’t.
Not the greatest of platforms from which to launch the biggest game changer chip.
Wild card activated, understandably my head is a scramble of sampling and sound bites. It follows my blog will be too.
“Pump Up the Volume” is the only single by British recording act M|A|R|R|S.
Recorded and released in 1987, it was a number-one hit in many countries and is regarded as a significant milestone in the development of British acid house music and music sampling.
MARRS took samples from 26 other songs to create their masterpiece, I have a pool of 20 teams to create that elusive combination of a great melody and lyric. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the details of the music itself, such as which chords to use? How the melody should go? How should the snare drum sound? Sometimes the central concept of the song can often end up as an afterthought.
KISS – keep it simple stupid – it’s about a very simple hook, points.
So in a not so rare blonde moment, what’s the premise here ?
Buy maximum points on a budget – and try not to get sidetracked.
So my baseline, 15 players at 4.5M = 67.5M, each player plays 90 mins and gets me 2 points.
I don’t appear to have spent all the money, may I buy into some extra points (goals, assists, bonus) ?
Sure, points are points.
Now those of you who know me from Discord chat or from reading this blog, know that I am more Rocket Girl than Rocket Scientist, I am the muse, the adventurer, the opportunity hunter.
There are far better people to walk you through stats and player choices, I am just here for inspiration and re-framing, after all a change is as good as a rest.
Even if you are not activating your Wild Card, you should have some notion of how to attack the run in.
In an attempt to squeeze every point I can from the last 8 weeks, my head is a maelstrom. What follows are my thoughts, in all their chaotic beauty, on pulling rabbits from hats.
This is my fourth serious year and I have never held so much money in the bank. The wealth of great value high scoring options in midfield and forward positions means I have the luxury of considering ‘premium’ GK and defenders.
It would be remiss not to investigate GK rotation over a set and forget – but I am going to pass. I got Martinez for 4.6m, and it wasn’t many weeks ago Twitter was screaming season keeper, so I’m keeping. I did have a brief think about switching up to a premium, but 0.1 above the baseline with his yield seems a no brainer. Save money to spend elsewhere.
As for defence, this has been my Achilles Heel this season.
Dias picks himself. With both Rudiger & Christensen at 4.7M (ignoring the WBA debacle) I am torn about TAA, there seems to be a move towards getting him in, it I get TAA I don’t get Salah… I am getting triggered here, over thinking, STOP & objectify.
I’m not going to stress, it’s a waste of energy, I am going fairly template ( wisdom of the herd) but with an eye on price points. I will more than likely stick with a 3 at the back formation it’s just my style, and as I am not in contention to win the darn thing, I will take my joy where I can. But I am going to be deploying a very solid bench, to counter some rather risky outfield tactics.
Early transfers, this is something I have avoided all season, as a precaution against injury or illness, with a good budget I will be able to continue this – not an option every season, when risking an early transfer has to be done to avoid a shut out price rise.
Chip play timing. I have held on to both TC and FH. With potential double game weeks on the horizon, I feel powerful and hopeful this will be a low risk way to more points.
Double ups and stand ins. By this I mean, double Leics attack with both Vardy and Iheanacho, or double Liverpool with Salah and Jota.
When I use the term stand ins, I am referring to pairing off a lucrative but rotation risk player with an average scoring ‘plays every week’ hero. An example might be Stones paired with Andersen or Coady. Last year I enjoyed considerable success with a high risk rotation/rotation combo Mahrez/Foden so I am hoping to recreate this strategy this season – oh the joy of out thinking Pep.
Tripling up. This used to be a taboo tactic, but I love it. High risk but high reward when a team is juggernauting through some favourable fixtures.
The Knowledge. At the start of the season we don’t have much to go on, so fixture difficulty is a marker.
At this stage we have considerable insight into how teams work, and for me fixtures can be a trap, when a teams inconsistency is overlooked because on paper they have great match ups.
I know my fixture proof players, my set and forgets until the end of the season – and I know what teams I trust too.
Do you really need to be married to that highly owned player ? A big risk but …moving off first because you can be objective and don’t have any emotional attachment, well, very satisfying if you get the correct replacement. For me I employed No Salah No Fear back in GW18.
But things change, Salah is 29.8% owned, Fabinho is minding midfield and the fixtures are good…
Playing against ownership – is not for the feint hearted.
Ok here’s a thing, that I have been utilising this season, and it is a work in progress, reading the other FPL players and exploiting their ‘tells’.
How do you even do this when you can’t see body language ?
I watch them on social media.
Have you ever heard yourself say ‘ why?’ ‘are you nuts’ ‘yes please buy him cos it will help my rank’ these are not throw away comments, STOP and check the answer to ‘why?’
Look into them, if you hold a belief that it is contrary to the trending theory, and can back up your hunch with evidence such as stats, this might be the start of your differential story.
For example, due to their incredible fixtures, interest in Wolves is gaining momentum, particularly the defence – last season their defence was notably good. But that was last season and it is no guarantee of this.
”Having started the season considered as one of the best defences, they are now ranked only 12th best at home and 11th best away.”
Consider a technique used by the legendary pickpocket Apollo Robbins..researchers asked him about his devious methods—how he could steal the wallet of a man who knew he was going to have his pocket picked—they learned something surprising: Robbins said the trick worked only when he moved his free hand in an arc instead of a straight line. According to the thief, these arcs distract the eyes of his victims for a matter of milliseconds, just enough time for his other hand to pilfer their belongings. When we see a hand moving in a straight line, we automatically look toward the end point—this is called the pursuit system. A hand moving in a semicircle, however, seems to short-circuit our saccades. The arc doesn’t tell our eyes where the hand is going, so we fixate on the hand itself—and fail to notice the other hand reaching into our pocket.
Magic and the Brain: Teller Reveals the Neuroscience of Illusion
Strategise your pursuit system, focus on the end game. Know what is logical for your own team. Avoid deviation from the straight and narrow.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
I used @FPL_GFCT great article to help me with my Wild Card.
Interestingly, the Billboard hot-100 singles in1987 was topped by …The Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian…surely a sign ?