Here’s our telegraph fantasy football pundit Stephen Troop with his season review focusing on his own TFF teams
Telegraph Fantasy Football – Season Review
This is the final instalment in my 2017/18 Telegraph fantasy football series. I will review how my teams performed overall, what went well and what didn’t go so well. I will also detail any lessons I will take into next year.
I also apologise for a lack of monthly articles towards the back end of the season. The articles take a fair bit of time to complete and I have to use my work computer after work hours and simply ended up busy with other things. I will be working on an alternative format for next year to make it quicker to create and better for the readers.
For those that followed they will know I had 4 main teams I was doing the season long game with. The top two of those finished 1.1k and 1.2k which I’m disappointed with. I was hovering around 700-800 until the final two weeks which were a bit of a disaster. I won the mini leagues I was in which was the main aim but I was hoping to be much closer to the top 100 after a good start. The other 2 teams tailed off due to me concentrating completely on the two teams with the highest rank (plus FPL, Dream team and other formats).
What went well
Without going into all the transfers I made, these are the main areas I felt went well this season.
1) Starting xi – Whilst not achieving great ranks in the starting xi league overall I had a good start with one team reaching 40 in the starting xi league after around a month. Having Salah, Lukaku and Bailley in all teams from the start was a great help. I also had Kane and De Bruyne in all teams from the start. My cheaper Southampton and West Brom defenders/Goalkeepers had a good start capitalising on their early good fixtures.
2) Goals – My golden boot league ranking was 153 in my highest team, much higher than my overall rank meaning attack wise I made good transfers over the season.
3) Sterling – I got Sterling in fairly early noticing his underlying stats and heat map positions in games. Unfortunately I didn’t do this in what was my top team at the time. That team went onto fall through the rankings.
4) Firminho – On boxing day I swapped Kane for Firminho on the back of a 3-0 in terms of fixtures. I think the Spurs game was re-arranged. Firminho racked up a good number of points for me and I actually kept him a lot longer and brought Kane back in for someone else. This helped with a big boost in rank.
There were other moves I made in individual teams that worked out well but without doing full team reviews it makes no sense to list them.
What went wrong
Similarly, these are some overriding things which I felt cost me rank over the season
De Bruyne – After selecting him in my starting xi teams convinced he’d have a great season after underachieving compared to his underlying stats last season, I got itchy fingers too soon and swapped for Eriksen in a few teams when Spurs played a late game against a Swansea side conceding lots of goals. Eriksen went on to give me around 10 2 point games whilst De Bruyne went on the form of his life. Weirdly I did keep Jesus much longer when he was missing odd games and Aguero out performing him in games he did play.
Richarlison – at the start of the season he was scoring/assisting and getting the underlying stats. I brought him in to a few teams, not expecting him to keep up such form but at least to outscore his 3.0m price over the season. I think I only got 1 goal out of him and because of his awkward price to replace had him for a number of months. Most others I knew opted for Doucore who also slowed down in terms of goals/assists however at 2.0m it meant the extra million could have improved my defence. Speaking of which…
Defence – I got very few clean sheets over the season, or it certainly felt that way. The premium defenders were much better value for money and I never had more than one in a team. The consistent clean sheet points do add up and I was stuck with a lot of deadwood in defence from teams that spend most of their time in the relegation zone.
Christensen – Complete fantasy football troll. Looked excellent value and secure of starts at one stage. He then seemed to miss a lot of the games where Chelsea kept clean sheets and then fell out the first team entirely.
I think some of these were bad luck (Richarlison/Christensen) but the other two were entirely my own doing and could have been avoided.
What will I do differently
I think the main lesson I will learn is to try and have at least 2 defenders from previous teams with attacking potential in my teams. This will save transfers over the season against rotating cheap defenders and give a more consistent stream of points at better value.
I will also try and give every team the same consideration. I often found myself short on time so only did the full research and planning on teams higest in rank. This is fine at the end of the season but not mid way through when rankings can easily change.
Early Thoughts for next season
- Salah – It will be interesting to see if Salah remains as a midfielder in Telegraph and what price he will be. If he’s a 6.0m midfielder (generally max midfielder price) then I can’t see me not starting with him. Whilst I don’t see him replicating what he did this year, Liverpool are so good attack wise he will still do well.
2) The World Cup – With the world cup it will be tricker to predict the first few weeks. Players reaching the latter stages normally get an extended break and start pre-season late resulting in a slow start. Whilst this isn’t normally enough to prevent me from getting a player from week 1 in the Telegraph game due to the limited transfers it is worth bearing in mind that some players e.g. Aubameyang are not going to the world cup so will be fresher.
3) Burnley – I think Burnley will become stretched with Europa league meaning their domestic results may suffer and their budget defenders won’t be as good value next season.
4) Wolves – They look to have some tasty potential budget options available even outside the obvious Diogo Jota. However some of these are loanees with a small uncertainty of making permeant moves. It is also expected that Wolves will spend big in the transfer window making the line up more unpredictable.
5) Fulham – Ryan Sessegnon, if a defender, could also be a bargain with his assist potential should they win the play off final. I don’t think I will even contemplate a Cardiff player.
6) Chelsea – Without Champions league last time helped them become champions again. There does however seem to be a real chance of Hazard and willian leaving and we don’t know who will be in charge making their assets currently a risk. Alonso is the only player I think I would contemplate starting with at this stage.
7) Relegation favourites – My favourites currently are Huddersfield, Cardiff and Fulham/Aston Villa. I think Burnley will be down there but have enough to escape. Bournemouth I think will also struggle unless they can improve their defence. Newcastle could struggle if they can’t find themselves better striker options although if Rafa stays I think they will be ok.
All these are early thought and there is a lot of transfers and managerial changes to come I’m sure. For now I will have a couple of weeks break from fantasy and prepare for the world cup game then.