Regular commenter on the site Stephen Toumi continues his think differently series as he continues to fight against the temptation of the fantasy premier league template
fantasy premier league – Stephen Toumi continues his struggle to fight against the template
Two games weeks doesn’t make a season, but it appears pre-season planning has paid off, as I’ve started the season with a confidence and calmness I haven’t felt in the previous seasons. Patience is my mantra this season, trying to avoid that knee jerk decision to bring the latest bandwagon player or drop a player after their failure in a single game. I’ve averaged 66.5/PPW, which is a number that I would love to carry through 38 gameweeks. While highly unlike to remain at this level, the consistency has served me well to start the season.
Pre-season planning was strong, looking four gameweeks ahead with the intention of activating the first wild card during the international break after GW4. While there was some concern last week that I was going to struggle, before Manchester United and Liverpool played, I escaped the week finishing on 66 points, to go with 67 points in the first week. The decision was made to carry over the GW2 free transfer, going into GW3 with an additional transfer to resolve any non-scoring players.
For Gameweek 2 I ran out a 4-4-2 formation, featuring Alexis Sanchez, who didn’t make the trip to Brighton, due to illness. Tom Cairney was automatically substituted, providing no attacking return. His exclusion and 5-point return in GW1, exclusion from GW2 and the turmoil and unsettled feeling at United made him the lynchpin ahead of my transfer decisions. Even after his 10-point performance against the Red Devils, I had targeted Pascal Groβ as the other player who would potentially make way.
What happened next probably doesn’t follow my season mantra. Before GW2 ended, Sanchez was transferred out and I was not a Henrikh Mkhitaryan owner. Knee jerk move? He finished the week with 12 points (1G,1A, 2B), more importantly, he featured 90 minutes in the first two games under Unai Emery. Sticking to my transfer plan, Groβ made way for Everton’s darling, Richarlison. Much like Mkhitaryan, it felt like a knee jerk transfer, especially after the Brazilian has only had four goal attempts on 11 penalty touches. Last season, when Richarlison was at his best, he was unstoppable on the left flank.
The graphic above shows his consistency an 8-week period, which he was at his best, but outside of that run, Richarlison could be found on the side of a milk carton. While I have some legitimate concerns that his production will fall, I felt it was worthwhile to get him aboard while the going was good. His ownership is above 35%, he’s posted returns in both games, played at least 85 minutes and collected bonus points in each game.
These two free transfers allowed £3.8 ITB, as I looked toward the upcoming 4-week period and future moves, based on form and fixtures. Concern started to creep in that I was moving forward without a premium forward, a risk I took ahead of the season, but was comfortable with starting Marko Arnautovic and Wilfried Zaha, with a non-playing, Gary Madine.
I suddenly went from using my transfers to a -8 point hit in the matter of minutes, as I madly started moving players around, which appeared to strength my starting XI and bench, as I now had three starters. At the expense of Christian Eriksen (£9.5), his added two additional transfer on the week, without following through, as I sat, contemplating my next move. Now with £13.3 I added Sergio Aguero and Pedro to my 15-man squad.
Just two weeks into the FPL season and I was preparing to take multiple hits in order to improve my squad. Off the pace of the top 10k by 60 points, taking hits wasn’t making me feel, warm and fuzzy. As I continued to look deeper into the statistics, upcoming fixtures and the fixture difficulty ratings (FDR), I asked myself, “Is it too early to wild card?”
Looking over my team, I noted that David De Gea (£6.0) had been underperforming due to Mourinho’s defensive selections and the trouble stirring at Old Trafford. The budget ITB had me look towards my defence, to make improvements. Yet, I returned to the same bottom line, of being “too early” to wild card, knowing I would need to ride through the hectic holiday period in December without this option.
As I started clicking through my squad, I was real encouraged by my new starting XI. David Luiz, turned into Marcus Alonso and De Gea became Ederson and I swapped backup goalkeepers, introducing Ben Hamer for Artur Boruc. The void left by Eriksen was now filled by Pedro, as I was forced to downgrade James Tarkowski to Jeffrey Schlupp.
Reviewing my 15-man squad, there were potentially 10 players that could be considered “template” based on their TSB%, with Pedro (7.5 TSB%) playing as a “differential” in my starting XI. Looking ahead, scheduling was favourable for Arsenal, Everton Chelsea and Crystal Palace and Manchester City (10 players). While Liverpool faces Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City between GW5 and GW8, there was no intention to downgrade those players, regardless of FDR.
While I was not wanting to chase early price rises, missing out on Richarlison and Sadio Mane, the decision was made to activate the transfer ahead of GW3 and the potential of further rises midweek.
Pleased with my decisions and activating the wild card, there is a peace and calmness that once again settled over my squad. Looking ahead, I intend to roll the next FT, providing me two coming out of the international break.
See other contributor articles for ideas
See also top 1k finisher in FPL, TFF and Sky Andrew Ferguson with his GW3 plans and Stephen Troop with his FPL, TFF and Sun Dream Teams
Plus also see the players in the 10 top FPL managers teams I follow (last 3 years not finished out of the top 10k)
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