Season long contests – avoid common mistakes when drafting your fantasy squad

Incredibly Fantasy Football has now been around for almost a quarter of a century. Luckily with the arrival of the Internet things have moved on from the days where postal entries or the dreaded premium line telephone rates were the only options for aspiring managers!

Most people with an interest in football will have got involved at some point whether it be an office comp or a tabloid entry. Unfortunately for most a regular pattern would inevitably ensue. Players would be chosen based on favourite teams and new transfers. With only one opportunity to freshen up the team most managers would have lost interest and be too far behind before the midseason window even kicked in! All this will change now with the arrival of Daily Fantasy Football where short term contests are played for real money but that’s a topic for a later article.

What we would like to do here is to highlight some of the common mistakes made when selecting a squad for a season long contest. There are 2 golden rules that you must understand – how points are awarded and the importance of playing time. To have any chance of success you must know the rules inside out and select players who will be on the pitch!

  • Understand the typical formations employed by any new managers and how this might impact on any new signings. Will they oust the old guard or is there sufficient room for all of them? The Radamel Falcao conundrum springs to mind!
  • Be careful with players who have notorious disciplinary problems. Negative points for cards plus reduced squad options if they are suspended.
  • Don’t take a chance on any player that has been classified as ‘injury prone’. Jack Wilshere an obvious example – it’s no coincidence that some clubs tend to have high levels of players injured constantly which suggests problems with their training schedule or is it just bad luck?
  • Watch out for new signings who may be stepping up a few classes. If they don’t cut the mustard they could be sat on the bench for half a season. They may have smashed goals in for fun in the Eredivisie or in the Scottish Prem but there is no guarantee that they will handle the higher level. This will come down to how good a judge of a player you are.

    Be wary of any players who tend to get ‘rested’ a lot by the bigger clubs The other obvious things to look out for include high scoring defenders who take set pieces e.g. Baines, players that may have been incorrectly positioned by the game developer and defenders who often play as an emergency centre forward. If you can afford them get them in your squad but look for a decent balance where every player is capable of contributing rather than banking on one or 2 hot shots which leaves you scraping the barrel to stay under the salary cap to complete your squad!

P.S Pay special attention to the number of African players you draft if the AFCON is scheduled to take place during the season. This is particularly important if there are restrictions in place on the number of winter transfers you can implement.

‘The Ginger Prince’