Here’s our 2nd FPL managers interview with new FFGeek contributor and regular commenter Andrew Whitfield. Andrew’s last 2 seasons have seen him finish with an overall rank of 6k and 19k. Here he talks about his strategy for playing FPL as well as showing his latest draft team.
FPL managers – an interview with Andrew Whitfield who finished the last 2 seasons 6k and 19k OR
Get additional content in the form of Podcasts, an interactive transfer and points prediction tool, 4 £50 prize leagues for the first 160 joiners and a Slack channel for discussion with members and contributors in our Patreon site. The first $3 monthly payment gets you in the prize leagues and Slack channel for the season.
Hi Andrew, thanks for taking the time to do an interview, firstly tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks I’d like to say firstly, its great to be involved on fantasy football geek this season as a regular contributor, a site that I have followed very closely for the last two years. I am amongst some very experienced and top FPL managers – dare I say that Yaniv is my personal favourite ??!!
Well about me – I am in my 50s, married, I have grown up twins, I left the world of banking last year after 35 years and circumstances allow me to now work three days a week, which I do with a local charity in Leeds. So extra time to spend on FPL !! I am a proud Yorkshireman. I like long walks and my ” semi retirement” means I now have more time on the golf course and to take advantage of the 8 Yorkshire racecourses and fill the satchels of the happy “on course” bookmakers. I am sure I have developed a tan from all my fresh air and time spent on my racing days and time taking divots out of all the local golf courses. I keep the green keepers happy and it keeps me fit.
My love of football started when my late father took me down to Oakwell, Barnsley being my local team , when I was about 7 years old. I started following them in the dark days of the old 4th division in the 1970s but its been very much mostly uphill since then with the last 20 years bringing a season in the premier league, an FA cup semi final, a JP trophy final win and three play off finals. Wembley is affectionately known now in these parts as ” Oakwell South” !! Like many clubs, we have a reputation for snapping up young up and coming players and selling them on, which can be frustrating, but we also have a reputation for playing good football the right way and Barnsley have spent more seasons in the second tier of English football than any other club. After promotion last season with a club record 91 points and going unbeaten at home all season, its good to be back where we belong this season. Incidentally, did you know that Barnsley have won on their last two visits to Anfield ?? – not many teams can say that !!
How long have you been playing FPL, how did you get into it and what is your motivation?
I got into FPL quite late. I played ” The Sun version” for a few years with mixed results, before switching to FPL as part of office leagues that sprung up. This is only my 4th year in FPL. My first season I made all the usual beginners mistakes and learned a lot about the game. My last two seasons I have managed to finish in the top 0.3% worldwide, OR 19162 and then with a personal best last season of OR 6783. There are over 200 players in my office mini league, and I have frustratingly finished 3rd and 2nd the last two years !! Pride has always been a bigger motivator than money. I have picked up cash in winning other mini leagues though last season when I gatecrashed the Harrogate Town supporters league – so I fully expect to be banned this season !!
Lets see your rank history
What is your FPL playing strategy?
1 – I would say I am a safe, cautious player. I am fairly risk averse. I like to have the highly owned or ” template players”. I try and own 5 of the top 6 owned players. You can’t win FPL owning these players, but you can lose it very quickly if you dont !! One of my favourite articles on fantasyfootballgeek on a Monday is the one showing which players the top 10,000 OR managers own !! I also tend to pick the most popular captain in the polls. If Salah is captained by 60% of FPL managers and you don’t, and he scores a hat trick, then prepare to fall down the table a long way. Yes you can take these favourites on, but you will lose more than you win. The captain poll favourite had attacking returns on 28 weeks out of 38 last season. I captained either Aguero or Salah on 24 weeks combined, and I had attacking returns on 19 of them. Beware taking on the template !!
2 – I don’t chase team value. I know many successful players ” buy early” before prices rise, to build team value. Personally, I think that if I put points on the board, team value will largely look after itself. I avoid making impulsive and bad buys, I avoid losing players to injury after my free transfer is gone, I am prepared to lose out on players if I have to. I tend to think over my transfers during the week, but wait until any midweek European or cup games, I wait until those vital Friday press conferences. I then make my transfer late on Friday, with a calm head, happy with my decisions. I also avoid making transfers on Saturday mornings – that leads to panic and irrational choices in many cases. Very little emerges on Saturday that we don’t know on Friday night. So I am always happy when I press that ” confirm” button on Friday nights.
3 – I think I take less “hits” than most ( for excess transfers over your free one ) I was surprised when I checked that I took 10 hits last season ( 40 points ). One thing that alarmed me – My average weekly score last week was 63 points. My average “net” weekly score in the 10 weeks that I took a hit was 57 !! Yes hits can be made to cover a few weeks ahead, but that’s made me more determined to avoid hits this season. You have your bench. I still find it surprising that people take hits to bring in defenders. Assuming your bench player scores 2 points, you have to land a clean sheet just to break even and cover the -4. People seem pleased in getting the clean sheet, but in reality, your defender needs to get an attacking return to be in profit. Unless your player coming in scores double figures, hits are going to cost points, unless you bring them in with future weeks in mind. I will be taking less hits this season !!
4 – The chips – I played them in the ” conventional way” last season, largely around the ” double gameweeks” when your players get two games instead of one. I got 107 points for the week off my triple captain, 109 off my free hit, and 106 off my bench boost. I managed to captain the Aguero hat trick. By saving my chips and playing them in the traditional way, I managed to improve my OR from 112k in gameweek 23 to OR 6141 in GW36. My early wildcard in the first International break didn’t work out last year, so I am staying flexible and setting my team up accordingly. Last seasons winner didn’t wildcard until GW16 !!
5 – If there is one word of advice I can give – PATIENCE .. Give your new signings a chance if you are happy with the reasons you bought them. Don’t panic and do things differently and chase things if you fall behind. Have a plan and stick to it.
6 – Follow fantasy football geek every week !! There is so much information out there. Filter it to what works best for you. I do study some stats but I do favour ” the eye test”. I learn a lot from watching games. As many as I can get away with !!
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to play the game. Quite often you listen to your instincts. I remember last years FPL winner saying – Pick the players you think will score the most points – easy !!!
Do you have a latest draft FPL team?
Here’s my latest draft:
I shared my first draft recently which explained my rationale for my picks … its early days.. I have made a few small changes.. its not the finished article. Unlike many people who are going without a premium striker this time, I want one in. As soon as Aguero or Kane start knocking in a hat trick, its going to be hard to change your shape and react. I feel by owning Aguero, I have a good ” price point” to flexibly swap around from Aguero to Kane and Auba and take advantage of favourable fixtures for those hat tricks.
Of course that means I cant invest as heavily in to defence as many are doing ( and I would like !! ). I want three playing strikers including a premium one, I want two Liverpool defenders, one from City, I want Salah. I really want a 343 this season. My six biggest scores last season all came from a 343 and I didn’t use it enough. My two biggest concerns at the moment are no Digne and no bench. I might need to dilute my midfield which I am reluctant to do when it looks full of goals. If I want a premium striker, I cant have it all. I can live without Digne. I might just need to shave 0.5m off my midfield to ensure I have four “playing ” defenders. Maybe a £4.0m defender will emerge from pre season games. Watch this space.
Do you play any other formats of the game or other fantasy sports?
I only play FPL and dont multi task with other fantasy games or versions. I spend enough time thinking about this one without thinking of others !! I am sure I work three days a week and spend the other two living and breathing FPL !!
Your best and worst FPL moment?
My best memories of FPL ?? Well playing triple captain on Aguero’s hat trick last season was sweet and turned my season around. Dare I say I enjoyed watching those tripling Sane squirming on the same double week as he tripled his 1 point. Which reminds me of my worst moment, tripling Kane for 1 point in his double gameweek the year before. Oh and captaining Pogba for his penalty miss last season and Son when he got sent off. Funny how we remember the bad ones more than the good ones !!!
Your favourite and nightmare FPL player?
My favourite FPL player is probably Aguero. He has served me well over the years. My least favourite player – Hazard – how that man has trolled me. I owned him three times last season and yet he reserved his three purple patches for when I didn’t !! If you saw my record of pain with Hazard, you would not believe it. As great a player as he is, and however we will miss his skills, I confess to having a beer to celebrate when he left !!
Good luck with your tinkering !!!!
You can discuss FPL with Andrew by joining the FFGeek Patreon site. There’s also additional content in the form of Podcasts, an interactive transfer and points prediction tool, 4 £50 prize leagues for the first 160 joiners and a Slack channel for discussion with members and contributors. The first $3 monthly payment gets you in the prize leagues and Slack channel for the season.
See the first FFGeek interview with Kev from Canada
There’s also the players form article at the end of last season
FFGeek FPL league code
Here’s our FPL league code: