This article is the next chapter to the beginner’s guide of How to play Fantasy Premier League. The purpose is to give strategy tips for players, who are already familiar with the basic concept of the FPL game. You’ll get many useful tips to improve your fantasy football results. Once you have read this article, we have also more guides for you!
A good Fantasy Premier League manager must learn to look forward. FPL is a strategy game, where you must plan your moves many weeks ahead. FPL fixture tracker is a great tool for this purpose. You’d also learn the ancient art of rotation, where the idea is to maximize the potential of your squad. Players with high TSB percentages are also part of the strategic approach. Selecting or ditching players like Aguero should be depend on your league position. We also give example of some useful external resources, which are guaranteed to help improve your results.
Analyse the upcoming fixtures
The first thing you must learn is to look into the future. This might sound like a difficult task, but in fact, it isn’t!
FPL is a game of strategy. It’s just like chess or any other strategy game, where you must plan your moves in advance. Ignoring this is the biggest beginner’s mistake in a season-long fantasy football game.
The common newbie tactic is to build a team around your favorite players. There’s nothing wrong in having favorite players, but you must pick them at the right time. The second problem is to start the season by looking at the first-round fixtures. Then the poor manager is stuck to a team, which he must change with penalty points when fixtures get poorer.
There is just one free transfer available each gameweek. The penalty for an extra transfer is -4 points, which is worth a clean sheet or a goal (for an attacker). If you find yourself making more than 1 transfers week after week, you are simply doing it wrong.
Allfantasytips.com has created a perfect tool to help you with your planning. It is called Fantasy Premier League fixture tracker. The matrix is already sorted by the total amount of goals (or clean sheets). The very basic thing is to look at teams, which are higher or lower in the list compared to their true strength.
For example: if Bournemouth is expected to score more goals than Arsenal in the next six gameweek, it’s obvious their schedule is extremely favourable. The colour codes will help you further to spot the tough fixtures in-between the easy ones.
You must fill your Fantasy Premier League teams with players, who have favourable fixtures. When the fixtures turn bad, you make a transfer out.
You could pick a player knowing his next three games are extremely easy and plan a transfer already for the 4th round.
Using rotation is very much connected to the previous topic. In an ideal world, you’d only pick players with favorable fixtures in sight. Unfortunately, this is not really possible. It’s very typical that teams have fixtures like
EASY – HARD – EASY – HARD – EASY – HARD
EASY – EASY – EASY – HARD – HARD – EASY
Usually, a home fixture is followed by an away fixture, which creates the first example. The second example is more typical for a top team.
This problem can be solved by using rotation. Let’s say, that you are looking for medium-priced defenders. You need two defenders to your ranks and want to maximize their clean sheet probabilities. Look at the picture below to get an answer.
This image is taken from the FPL fixture tracker. It shows you two possible rotation choices:
- Everton with Leicester
- Wolves with Leicester
This means you’d pick one Leicester defender and pair him up with a defender from either Everton or Wolves. Let’s say you like Everton and have one of their defenders in. First, you put the Everton defender to your starting XI. Everton are playing West Ham at home, while Leicester have a difficult away fixture against Bournemouth.
Week after that you move the Leicester defender to your starting XI and Everton defender to the bench. Leicester is playing against Huddersfield at home, while Everton has a tough away fixture against Arsenal. And so on.
With this kind of rotation, you have a defender with high clean sheet probability each round. Rotation works the same way for attackers. Just look at the expected goals matrix.
Rotation is the key to getting the best out of your low and mid-priced players. It’s impossible to fill your Fantasy Premier League team with top players on each position, because you run out of budget. You need to have some players, which can be used practically each round, combined with low/mid-priced players. And these you must rotate, as explained above.
Players with a high TSB percentage
Now you have learnt how to look forward and find players from the most potential teams. Next, let’s look at individual players. There’s one common issue, which is causing headache even for the best FPL managers. What to do with high TSB percentage players?
TSB is an abbreviation from Teams Selected By. It tells you how many FPL managers have this particular player in their team. You can see the TSB percentage by clicking the [i]nfo icon of each player in the My Team page. You can also click the Statistic tab and sort players by TSB.
Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah are currently selected by over half of the teams. There are not many teams, who don’t have either one of them.
The TSB percentage is a strategic tool, which must be looked at from each team’s perspective. Your position in the overall game and friend leagues should decide your actions.
Case 1: You are doing well
If you think you are doing well, you can use these high-TSB players to cement your position. By selecting both Salah and Aguero and captaining one of them each round, you can make sure that your rivals won’t catch you when these players score.
You must also look a bit the teams in your own league, if you are competing against your friends. You can view every team after each round to identify the players other managers are using. If you want to play it safe, use the same players everyone else is using. This way you prevent your friends from catching you in rankings.
Case 2: You are not doing well
If you need to catch up the league leaders, you cannot do it with same players they are holding. In that case the TSB percentage tells you players to avoid. Instead, you must go for differentials. These are usually players with less than 5% TSB value.
There is still a balance to be had. Picking nothing but differentials is rarely a successful tactic. You could hit the jackpot, but it’s so likely you end up getting nothing instead. You have to find a balance and hold some high TSB players combined with differentials.
One good alternative is to pick a teammate of a high TSB player. If Liverpool is doing well but Salah and Mane fail to score, the goals would probably land to Firmino. Every single Manchester City midfielder has less than 10% TSB value. You could dump Aguero and pick Sane, David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne instead.
Use free stats and info to make better decisions
There is a lot of free information available to help you make better decision with player selections. Here are couple of useful examples.
Playerdatabase247.com has a unique player matrix, which shows you the starting line-ups of each FPL team. It also shows cup matches, which is very useful when checking the Eurocup fatigue. This matrix will also help you to pick a replacement for injured or suspended player.
Our FPL tips page is a great resource for finding the best FPL tips from the web. The page will fetch you new resources 24/7 from the best sites in the business.
Ben Dinnery is the best-known Premier League “injury guru”. He is following player news every day and reports his findings at @BenDinnery in Twitter. Premier League teams give their injury updates for each weekend at Thursdays. Ben is reporting the latest news of those as well. You can also check his website premierinjuries.com for a complete injury situation.
Whoscored.com is probably the best site for free player statistics. Select Premier League and click any team and you find Offensive, Defensive, Passing and Detailed stats of each player. This is valuable information and used by the pro players in the world. If you want to know more how to use these stats, look at the following articles:
- How to find the best Fantasy Premier League defenders
- How to find the best Fantasy Premier League midfielders
- How to find the best Fantasy Premier League forwards
Wildcards and chips
The beginning of the season is always easy, when it comes to special fixtures. Things start to change around Christmas, when Boxing Day and New Year rounds come into play. There are also special double rounds each spring, because Premier League matches are being postponed due to FA Cup. This means that there are gameweeks, where some teams have two matches!
As you have learnt from the Beginner’s Guide, there are so called chips available for each manager: bench boost, triple captain and free hit. Then there’s also the Wildcard. When should you use these?
Bench boost is simply a question of favourable fixtures. It’s impossible to say in advance, when the best opportunity arises for your team. It depends what kind of transfers you make, how your players get injured and so on. You must think each week if this would be your best shot for the bench boost. You can use the FPL fixture tracker to calculate the expected goals and clean sheet probabilities for your bench six weeks in advance.
Triple captain is also question of fixtures. It is usually used for players like Salah and Aguero, who you’d be captaining anyway. The ideal situation is a home match (not away!) against one the weakest teams. Note that there are always low-scoring and higher scoring teams in the bottom of the table. You want to pick the opponent, which is leaking goals.
You’d wait for a moment, when there hasn’t been an important Champions League match or international match right before your triple captain fixture. It’s very easy to go through all home fixtures of Liverpool and Manchester City for example and pick the most optimal dates. When the round comes, you just must pull the trigger (if the player is in full fitness) and hope you get paid off.
And then we have the Wildcard. You have one for the autumn period and one for the spring period. There is no doubt that you’d save your Wildcard for the double-fixture rounds in the spring period. These rounds can give you a huge advantage, if you are able to switch your squad entirely to those teams having two fixtures.
Many are using the wildcard after 3-5 rounds in the autumn period. It’s sometimes difficult to predict how new signings or new managers work in the Premier League. If you notice that you have done too many too bad choices in the beginning, it’s not the worst idea to just start fresh.
The free hit chip should be used in a situation, where you get hit by injuries and suspensions. It’s basically an alternative to the Wildcard. It’s very useful at spring time, where you should be saving your wild card for the late double-fixture rounds.
Learn from the best FPL managers
Finally, one more advice. Look at the top managers! You can check your friend league any time and look at the squads of the top managers in it. See what players they have chosen in the previous round. Do they have Salah or Aguero or both? It’s not a bad idea to make a compilation team of five or ten best teams. See what players are included in every one of them. It’s probably not a bad idea to use those players yourself.
You should also look at the Fantasy Premier League front page each week. This will show you the top player transfers in and out. It’s a great indicator of players, your rivals are likely going to choose as well. Use this information as explained above with high TSB percentage players.
Next, you’d go back to our FPL guide and check the individual positions. Learn how to find the best defenders, goalkeepers, midfielders and forwards in the Fantasy Premier League!
Image credit: Shutterstock / cosminiftode