Successful fantasy football manager and new FFGeek contributor Andrew Ferguson finished in the top 1,000 in FPL, TFF and Sky and 15k in Sun Dream Team. Here he outlines his strategy in the different formats and plans for the season with early team drafts
Andrew Ferguson finished in the top 1k in FPL, TFF and Sky – he talks through his strategy for the season and draft teams
Hi, I’m Andrew and absolutely delighted to have become an FF Geek contributor. I’ve been playing fantasy football for around 20 years and have had reasonable success across the 4 main formats played in the UK; FPL, TFF, Sky and Sun Dream team. Last season was my best overall season to date, finishing in the top 1000 in all formats aside from Sun in which I finished around the top 15,000. Outside of fantasy football I am a Software Test Manager, chase my young family around and try to play snooker.
My general fantasy football strategy has been to have reasonably-balanced teams with a minimum of 2 heavy hitting strikers. I like to have a flexible formation to begin with (3-5-2/4-4-2) and am generally a patient player. Whilst I probably won’t win any weekly prizes, consistent weekly average/good scoring generally keeps me climbing throughout the season. I try to give all my picks a few weeks to perform (I picked them for a reason!) and save transfers back as much as possible to make multiple transfers at once in FPL, and for a late burst from February/March onwards in TFF and Sky when everyone is running out quickly.
This season I am planning on taking a slightly different approach to early team structure due to the recent analysis on player value which highlighted that strikers last season had the worst points:price value across all positions particularly in FPL, TFF and Sky. This has led me to rethink where I spend my budget, taking some out of attack and investing more in goalkeepers, defence and midfield where the superior value potentially lies. My formations to start will generally be either 4-4-2, 3-5-2 or 4-5-1 depending on the GW fixtures. There are factors across the different formats which will affect specific choices:
* FPL and Sky having double-point captains
* Sky having pass/tackle bonuses
* Sun and Sky having MOM points predominantly for midfielders/strikers
* Sun having extra points for hattricks (again predominantly strikers get these)
I show my current rough drafts below but as they are changing every day with the ongoing transfer and injury news they will without doubt be different for GW1. With this in mind I will run through the key players I will be targeting across all formats along with the others I have in my watchlist.
As above, I plan on upgrading my goalkeepers this year so will either be targeting:
* Premium options such as De Gea, Ederson or Allison
* Cheaper moving keepers that would become cut-price premium options such as Schmeichel or Pickford if one of them moves to Chelsea
I am currently on Ederson for FPL and Allison in TFF and Sky due to player limit for one team restrictions in FPL. Due to Pope’s injury I may well go for Heaton in Sun due to their Europa League involvement at a cut-price 2m.
In defence I love attacking wingbacks and this season will be no exception aside from maybe getting another! Robertson is nailed in my team and I am currently on Azpilicueta, Van Aanholt and potentially Mendy although he hasn’t started a pre-season game yet. In FPL I do like Tomkins at £4.5m though a double up with Van Aanholt is probably a no-go particularly as I will probably have Wan-Bissaka as my £4m cheapie. I also like Van Dijk but he is pricey across all games (and I will be already having Robertson) whilst Davinson Sanchez at £3m in the Sun could prove great value. I am keeping a keen eye on Moses who could potentially be pushed forward with Sarri’s 4-3-3 formation…
I did fancy Coleman but Everton look dreadful in pre-season and I want to heed my own advice for defenders and that is to focus on clean sheet points first. I don’t like the look of United’s early team so will be avoiding and will also be monitoring how Arsenal’s defence line up under Emery; he does have a Potch-esque reputation for rotating full backs which has put me off Bellerin for the time being.
When Tripper returns for Spurs he could be gold across all formats although he does share his time with Aurier so again I will be monitoring this. Walker will also very probably come into my teams when he returns. Due to my strategy of investing heavily at the back I’m not really looking at lower teams although if a gem unearths itself early I may reconsider.
In midfield is my main captain option Salah, who is essential in my opinion due to ownership alone not-withstanding the fact he has massive points potential every week and great fixtures. I’ve gone big on the high scoring teams with Mane, Sane and Mahrez also making the cut across my teams. I expect them all to score well in the opening weeks with Mahrez potentially on dead-ball duties until De Bruyne’s return.
For my cheaper options I am looking at Watford’s Hughes; I watched him a few times last year and he looked very attacking when fit and Watford play 3 out of their first 4 at home. I am also looking at Maddison who arrived with at Leicester with a decent reputation, Jota who scored well in the Championship and Richarlison who is an exciting prospect for Everton although their pre-season form isn’t great.
After the opening couple of gameweeks I will looking at the Arsenal mids for their great fixture run and reassessing United, Spurs and Chelsea as their World Cup stars return. I don’t like spending heavily (eg above £9.5m in FPL and £11m in Sky) on any player I won’t regularly captain as I feel a lot of budget is wasted this way.
Onto strikers and I have included Zaha and Arnautovic in this section due to their reclassifications in FPL although they are different across the formats (as is Salah I should point out). I must say I fancy them both across all formats which is useful because as you may have guessed I don’t have much budget left (Sun aside) due to my packed premium defence and midfield. I do however think that Salah should be classified as a striker so I don’t feel I’m missing out too much on premium attacking players. Although Arnautovic has tougher fixtures he is a beast and actually has some decent home games in his first few.
I have been tossing up Tosun and am still looking at him with Mitrovic also looking a great signing for Fulham and a potential cheap forward. At the premium level I would love to able to squeeze in Aguero and/or Aubameyang but they are too expensive for me as I would only captain Aguero in GW2 over the first 3 GWs and wouldn’t captain Aubameyang at all. Lacazette is very interesting at 9.5m but again I will probably wait until GW3/GW4 following Arsenal’s difficult start.
I am leaving Kane alone from the start due to him maybe not starting the opening couple of games, his price across all formats, lots of Spurs players not back for a while, the stadium toing and froing and his general early-season form. It may come back to bite me but I feel the strength in depth of my overall team will compensate if he explodes. The budget is much more lenient in the Sun than the other games so I have managed to get most of the striker in I want from the off.
In summary, my GW1 drafts for FPL, TFF and Sky are shaped roughly along these lines:
* Allison, Robertson, Van Aanholt, Mendy, cheap def, Mane, Sane, Mahrez, Zaha, Salah, Arnautovic
and the Sun:
* Heaton, Robertson, Van Dijk, Sanchez, Mane, Sane, Mahrez, Arnautovic, Salah, Aubameyang, Aguero
I will confirm my finalised teams prior to the big kick-off and will be doing a weekly article with my captaincy options, transfers and thoughts across all formats.
My Twitter handle is @Fergi222 if you want to give me a follow. Happy planning everyone!
For Sun Dream Team you can see Simon Rowley’s first draft
Also interview with 17th overall finisher in FPL Prakhar Patel
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