Here’s our 5th FPL manager interviews article with new FFGeek contributor Chris Tucker. Chris finished with an OR of 17k last season and an incredible 1k the season before. Here he talks about his strategy for playing FPL and his most recent draft team.
FPL manager interviews – Chris Tucker who finished 17k OR last season and 1k in 17/18
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Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time to do an interview. Firstly tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a 36 year old Tottenham Hotspur fan. Although I grew up in north-west London, I now live in Luton with my wife and three children, aged 4, 7 and 14. My kids are everything to me, even if they are as capable of ruining a weekend as FPL! I am a primary school teacher and currently teach in Year 6.
My life was turned upside down in 2015 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I had an operation and treatment, but unfortunately suffered a recurrence in the middle of the 2016-17 season, leading to another operation and further treatment; I conveniently always blame this, rather than bad decisions, for my lower rank that season! Anyway, I’m mentioning all of this because FPL has provided an important focus, distraction and escape during difficult times. It’s funny that the whole experience changed my priorities and perspective on many things, yet a bad week at FPL – which, after all, is just a game – still feels like a catastrophe and puts me in an unbelievably foul mood!
How long have you been playing FPL, how did you get into it and what is your motivation?
There was a season in the 1990s when my dad got into the top 20 in the Telegraph’s fantasy cricket. I remember thinking how cool it was seeing his name in the weekly rankings that were published in the newspaper. I think my love of fantasy sports started then.
This season will mark my tenth year playing FPL; 2010-11 was my first season. Back then, one of my mates organised a cash mini-league (The League of Gentleman) for our group of friends and invited me to join. Attempting to win this competitive mini-league was and remains my main motivation. However, over the last few seasons, I have paid more and more attention to my overall rank.
Let’s see your rank history
What is your playing strategy?
Generally I don’t like to deviate too far from the template. In particular, my differentials tend not to be premium players and my preferred strategy for captain choice is to go with the polls. I save my free hit, bench boost and triple captain chips for the blank and double gameweeks towards the end of the season. And I normally action my transfers shortly before the gameweek deadline. In this sense, I suppose I am quite a cautious player. However, I would temper this by saying that I am quite prepared to take hits if necessary.
I plan in six week blocks, which often means between international breaks. I analyse each team’s fixtures over that period and form a rough plan of my transfers during that time, identifying the optimum time to bring in form players from teams with good fixtures. Of course, there is a need to be flexible as circumstances change rapidly, but it goes to show the importance of playing the fixtures to my overall strategy.
Historically I have favoured a 3-4-3 formation. But I think this has changed as football has changed. Last season, I frequently fielded four defenders to reflect the increasing importance of the wing back.
I would put my recent relative success down to three things. First and foremost, a strong start. Owning, for example, Salah in 2017-18 and Robertson 2018-19 from the beginning put me on the front foot, enabling me to adopt a positive and aggressive approach. Secondly, linked to this approach, an early wildcard. By the first international break, I have watched enough football to know who I want in the period leading up to Christmas. This strategy gives the added benefit of building the team value necessary to fully exploit the second wildcard.
Finally, usually going with my gut instinct. I watch a fair bit of football and mainly use what I have seen, rather than underlying stats, to guide my transfers and line-ups. On the occasions that I go against my gut instinct (such as the Shane Duffy double gameweek captain pick last season), I have found that it works against me.
Do you have an early draft FPL team?
Playing the fixtures until my early wildcard. Hence no Wolves or Leicester at this point. Three Liverpool players is a must. Pretty set on Salah and Sterling as my premium choices. They will also be my captains for gameweeks 1-4. The rest is all subject to change.
Do you play any other formats of the game or other fantasy sports?
The last few years, I have played the FPL Draft with some mates. It’s not as fun as the main format, but I really enjoy draft night itself.
I also play the Telegraph fantasy football in order to compete against my dad as it is his preferred version of the game. But I tend to lose interest fairly quickly and focus my efforts on FPL.
Your best / worst FPL moment?
Sergio Aguero’s title-winning goal against QPR in 2011-12 meant that I beat off my main rival in the League of Gentleman and won that cash league for the first time. It remains my best moment, although reaching a highest ever ranking of 678 in the world during the 2017-18 season comes close.
I can’t think of a specific worst FPL moment. But any time my captain blanks certainly riles!
Your favourite FPL player and your nightmare FPL player?
Favourite FPL player has to be Aguero: as mentioned above, he helped me secure my first cash mini-league success and has been Mr Consistent since then. Saying this makes me nervous about not including him in my latest draft!
Nightmare FPL player: Any Tottenham player. If any of my Spurs assets do badly, it’s often because Spurs have done badly, and I hate that double blow!
Thanks very much Chris and enjoy further tinkering with your team!
Chris, like our other contributors and members can be found on the FFGeek Patreon site. Chris will be appearing on a podcast on August 1 which you can also only find on the Patreon site. He will talk about his strategy and last season in much more detail.
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