Fantasy premier league managers – An interview and early draft team with new FFGeek Contributor Avishek Majumdar


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Here’s our fantasy premier league managers article where we introduce a new FFGeek Contributor Avishek Majumdar.  His last 3 seasons overall ranks are 13k, 45k,  and 64k.  The article also includes his early draft FPL team

Fantasy premier league managers – An interview and early draft team with new FFGeek Contributor Avishek Majumdar

I outline my FPL strategy along with 10 other FFGeek contributors in our new EBook.

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Thanks for agreeing to become an FFGeek Contributor.  Firstly tell us about yourself away from FPL?

First of all I would like to say I am delighted to be a part of this fantastic website. I can go on and on about how the articles on this site have helped me develop my game over the years and I hugely owe my recent success in FPL to Geek and all the elite contributors. I am honored to have been invited to be a contributor and I will try my best to help anyone who wants to improve on FPL.

I am a software consultant by profession, currently living in Chicago, IL.

I am originally from Kolkata, India which is known as the “city of joy” and also the Mecca of Indian football. Even with all the cricketing dominance around, you just can’t ignore the football frenzy if you have happened to be in that part of the world. Although, growing up, I was more into cricket, and in fact started off as a fantasy cricket manager in the IPL, I was forced into playing FPL by one of my friends after I came to the US.

So compared to a lot of other contributors, I am fairly new to the game and I only completed my 4th season this year. Outside of FPL, I am an avid sports quizzer, huge (and disappointed of late!) fan of FC Barcelona and a pet lover. One of the rare positives out of this pandemic has been to be able to spend time with my family including my two cats Gigi and Coco, who live with my wife in South Carolina.

We’ll talk about specifics later but do you have an overall strategy to playing FPL?

Overall, I think I am a fairly risk-averse manager who likes to avoid hits as much as possible and stick to the “template” for the most part. I know there are various definitions of template out there, but to me it is largely decided by the top 5 or 6 effectively owned (EO) players as calculated by the excellent site livefpl.net. These are the players that can hurt me real bad if I don’t own them so once I have them covered I try to be creative with the rest (difference makers and template replacement players in Geek’s words) and work on my rank. In a game of large uncertainties, what the template will prevent is a huge rank drop on a rough GW and only when you weather the storm with minimal damage are you able to gain back lost grounds quicker. Although there are managers out there who are equally or more successful following the unconventional route, personally I find playing the template more in my comfort zone.

Who’s your current favourite FPL player and your current nightmare FPL player?

It’s a close one between Salah and De Bruyne, but the Egyptian King slightly edges past the City workhorse. Not only statistically has he been the guy to return most points for me over the last couple of seasons but it’s also a delight watching him play. Granted it can be frustrating at times when he misses those sitters or goes off the BPS, I am still thankful for all the magic moments he offers as a captain, especially when a lot of FPL managers ditch him after losing patience. He is almost always the first name on my team sheet and unless injured he is most likely a season-keeper.

Nightmare has to be Harry Kane. I cannot count how many times I have brought him in for the best fixture of the GW and the pain he has inflicted on me by blanking and even getting booked. He was also my captain in that infamous Bournemouth fixture where he went off injured and, according to many, never came back the same player.

What was your favourite ever gameweek and least favourite gameweek?

Favourite ever has to be the DGW 35 in 2018/19 which fetched me 130+ points with 14 out of 15 players returning on bench boost. It came after a pretty underwhelming wildcard the week before, so I couldn’t believe it was happening. That DGW had propelled my rank by more than 100k, well into the top 70k and ultimately helped me finish in the top 50k for the 1st time.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few horror GWs I have endured over my short FPL career and honestly the memories are deliberately less vivid. While there have been GWs which yielded lesser points, that horror GW of Kane’s injury vs Bournemouth in 2017/18 is the one that still comes back to haunt me.

How do you approach team value and does it affect your timing of transfers?

It used to affect me initially when I would rush to make rage transfers during a GW to catch price changes and try to feel good about my team after a rough GW. While team value is important to afford the premiums and early transfers to catch price changes not only adds to the team value but also prevents taking unwanted hits, over the years I have come to terms with the fact that in most cases team news coming out of press conferences are worth paying the extra 0.1m, especially when there are midweek games. And I also believe if you focus on getting the right players with as much information as possible, team value will take care of itself. To me it is more of a product of quality of transfers I make, rather than something I would actively work towards.

What factors do you take into account when deciding on a transfer. Do you emphasize form or fixtures for example?

It has to be both in my opinion, but predominantly fixtures with a few exceptions. Since a transfer involves 2 players, before making a transfer I try to assess entry and exit points of the respective players by looking at the next 5-6 fixtures for both. The exceptions would be those who have proven themselves to be fixture-proof, or those who would be highly owned enough to hurt OR, despite lack of form. I would also look at the underlying stats of the players to assess if there is a haul coming or whether recent hauls would be sustainable in the near future.

One thing that I have tried to stop in the last couple of seasons is chasing previous GW’s points. It’s often tempting to get in someone who recently scored a hattrick, but to get that player you might have to sacrifice someone who is due a haul. I think a lot of managers will agree with me when I say the worst nightmares in FPL are related to the recently sold players hauling, rather than the ones you never bought.




How do you approach the question of hits?

As already mentioned, I try to take as less hits as possible. Of course, a hit is totally justified when you are trying to get rid of injured players out of your team, or when you are trying to get a highly owned captain option as a shield transfer. But to keep it to a bare minimum, I generally try to carry over free transfers whenever the team looks reasonably okay.

I think if you have a rough plan of transfers for the next 5-6 GWs, more often than not you will get opportunities to carry over, which in turn will allow you to bring down the no of hits. It also allows you the flexibility to play a “mini wildcard” where you can make 3 changes for just -4. I hate to start a GW with a red arrow before kick-off and whenever I feel tempted to take a hit, I look at the rank hit it’s going to cause and whether the hit has enough potential to justify it.

Do you have a captain strategy?

In spite of being hit with some hard luck in the recently completed season, I prefer to choose “rank shield” options as captains, so for instance, it has mostly been Salah and KDB with occasionally Sterling and Bruno in the mix. Only when I am ranked in millions, I consider differential captain options as means to gain lost grounds, but unfortunately those haven’t been memorable experiences.

Do you preplan your first wildcard?

I don’t look at a specific GW for the 1st wildcard, but typically I play it early, around the 1st or 2nd international break. Last season was probably the earliest when I played it in GW 3 as a desperate attempt to repair a dismal start to the season. This season I am planning to hold it as long as I can, even if it means taking a few more hits than usual. The whole pandemic situation makes things so much more uncertain, and who knows what future disruptions it might end up causing. Hopefully having a wildcard in hand will be more than handy to maneuver through unforeseen postponements.

Do you have a first draft team and how did you approach it?

This is definitely not the first or the last draft, but this is where it stands as of now.

 

fantasy premier league GW1 managers

GKs

In goal I have got Alex McCarthy who seems to be one of the few standout options at that price point. Nyland is the bench keeper I have gone for as of now, but I will eventually go with whoever seem to be the most likely 4m starting GK.

Defence

Alexander Arnold doesn’t need any explanation and while he hasn’t played much in the pre-season including the Community Shield, I have heard it’s mostly precautionary and he might already be back in training.

Next, I have gone for John Egan of Sheffield United who has some decent attacking numbers playing for a strong defensive unit. I am not absolutely sold on him right now, especially with no Dean Henderson, but I want someone in that £5-£5.5m price range so he can be a placeholder till a more compelling option emerges.

Vinagre and Justin could offer good value at £4.5m for the 1st few gameweeks owing to injuries to Jonny and Ricardo Pereira respectively. Wolves and Leicester also seem to rotate well in those early fixtures, with both fullbacks having reasonable attacking potential for that price.

Mitchell of Crystal Palace seems to be the likeliest £4.0m starter as of now, again, till Van Aanholt is back, so I am trying to make the most of the value on offer while it lasts.

Midfield

Salah, Aubameyang and Bruno Fernandes are the premiums I have gone with even though I could have gone with Son in place of Bruno who doesn’t have a fixture in GW1. Aubameyang could become De Bruyne in GW3 after two excellent fixtures, with a City double up along with Phil Foden. I honestly believe Foden is an underpriced asset at £6.5m, and if he gets the gametime he deserves it could be an absolute bargain.

Ideally, I would prefer my 5th mid to be £4.5m but the dearth of options in that price range meant Soucek of West Ham at £5.0m gets the nod. He has been on the scoresheet twice in the preseason and looks fairly nailed to start, which justifies him as a solid option off the bench.

Forwards

I have the Fulham talisman and championship golden boot winner Mitrovic who tends to start the season well and might be on penalties too.

For now, I have Werner as the premium forward, but again it’s more of a shield option given his ownership. While his numbers in the Bundesliga have been exceptional, I have my reservations over how quickly he will adapt to the Premier League and with all the Covid complications at Chelsea there is a certain element of risk involved. He might as well become Martial before the deadline, in which case Bruno might become Son as I need 11 starters in GW1.

Lastly Keinan Davis of Aston Villa completes the bench as the cheapest forward, who I hopefully won’t need off the bench.

As I said, this is definitely not the final draft and a lot will change over the next few days based on pre-season form, transfer news and injuries.

Captaincy

The armband right now is on Aubameyang, with VC on Salah, and I don’t see anyone outside these 2 as captain candidates for the opening week.

Lastly, I have 0.5m in the bank to avoid any early transfers owing to price changes. Again, I am a tinkerer till the last minute so I might not be able to provide latest changes to my team but I will do my best to at least share my thoughts, plans and the team as it stands on a Friday night through the contributor articles.

On that note, I would like to thank Geek again for this wonderful opportunity and doing all the great work he does for this website. I wish everyone the very best for the upcoming FPL season. Good luck and cheers!

Thanks for the interview Avishek.  All the best for your tinkering and we’ll talk closer to the GW1 deadline

See article 1 of the Contributors and article 2 of the Contributors and article 3 of the Contributors 

 

Other posts

GW1 Defender player rankings

GW1 Midfield player rankings

GW1 Forward player rankings

The best attacking defenders

The first draft FFGeek team

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