Mike’s FanTeam Blog – GW1 – AND NOW THE TIME HAS COME…

It is time, deadline day is here, we finally must draw a line in the sand and nail our colours to the flag. Some of you are locked in, happy, confident that the cash will be yours and glory awaits. For the rest of you (and probably me), we’ll be cursing our picks and looking to tear up our squads in desperation ahead of GW2 and wondering what the hell we were thinking!

Season long fantasy football is a game of patience, a game that requires a plan, a game that requires us to follow through with our decisions with conviction and take ownership.

Luckily for us Fanteam players we get as many bites of the cherry as we want, we can even late reg! For the purposes of this blog, we won’t be entering a Late Registration, but it can be a great option to wait and see.

As I’ve highlighted in the pre-season series of blogs (check them out if you haven’t already!), I’m running a little experiment through the Fanteam season game focusing on three very different approaches to playing the game.

1ST XI

This will be “my team”, it will be a blend of template, data, and differential picks that I’ll have full control over, no rules or restrictions attached. This is me trying really hard to win some money lol!

This is also the team I’ll be entering in the DreamTeam Tonic Fanteam mini league (£5 to enter! Come join us!)

ALGORITHM

This is a team purely selected on Data. Although I am going to apply some rules to the Algorithm e.g., optimal use of budget (basically having fodder on the bench) and no premium GKs (£5m is the max).

I’ll be using two primary algorithm sources, one from a more official FPL background in @AlgoAllstarsFPL and the other using data from @foomnianalytics who have a specific Fanteam optimiser. Check both out!

DIFFERENTIAL

This team is the anti-template. For all those gut feelings, punts, and alternative picks. We won’t be seeing Salah, Bruno, TAA or Shaw in this team, unless they drop out of the current template. This is a team I’m super excited about, it’s a team playing with freedom. No EO, no form vs fixtures, no debates.

Time to have a look at the teams we’ll be kicking off the season with!

1st XI – The Squad

The squad comes across as very solid, although you could argue if I have enough 90-minute men, at this point we really don’t know. I’m not going to worry about this too much currently as an early wildcard looks likely once we know where Kane will be playing and when Lukaku will be upto speed for Chelsea. There is also the international break coming up, injuries and fixtures swing post break are key considerations planning post GW5.

There are a couple of decisions I’ve been toying with this week Wilson or DCL, and whether March would come in over Dunk. Also, I’m aware of a lack of Man City and Leeds Utd players. I want to see how they get on first before committing.

With £2.0m in the bank I’ve left a lot of room to be flexible and react to anything unforeseen and I have nice easy movement at different price structures e.g., Benrahma and ESR are easy switches to Harrison or Raphina. Wilson and Ings can be easily switched to DCL or Bamford. Coufal easy switch to Maguire or Shaw.

The only issue is I’m £0.5m off an instant upgrade from Ings to Lukaku, and way off Kane. But I have my two premiums in Midfield and I’m happy with Salah and Bruno doing the heavy lifting to kick the season off.

ALGORITHM – The Squad

I set a couple of rules to include a £4.0m GK & DEF in Woodman and Amartey. I also wanted to exclude Alisson and VVD from the options, I just felt too much money was being allocated to the defence. We’ve already seen from the pre-season blogs that the money really needs to be in Midfield and up top.

I ran the Algo over GW1-GW6 and some interesting options popped up. Zaha I can understand as we established, he’s a 90-minute man who plays out of position up front, despite the tough start fixture wise it’s a pick I don’t completely hate, I just disagree with. In defence the only surprise is to see an Arsenal GK featuring but the other defensive options all look like similar picks I’ve seen drafted out there. Notable exclusion of Dunk and my favourite March.

Salah, Bruno, and Harrison are comfortable picks, Pogba being the shock inclusion in Midfield, not really been considered but on his day plays the whole game, can get a return and is likely to be on the winning side more often than not.

Up front Bamford is a nice change up especially with the Leeds fixtures later on and the fact that last season they could literally score against anyone. His partner in crime, Richarlison. He’s flagged as a doubt so I’m going to keep an eye on this up until deadline so there maybe a change here. Toney offering the back up from the bench was slightly behind Harrison on predicted points over the 6 games. No money left in the bank on this one.

DIFFERENTIAL – The Squad

This team definitely hits different. Opened to Pep Roulette with Mahrez and Cancelo getting the nod. Can Mane and Jota cover Salah and Greenwood be left to fight it out against Bruno. Up front DCL (who I was 50/50 with Wilson on the First XI with) and with Rom not featuring this week Werner should get a run out and hopefully get something in return. I’ve left Bamford on the bench in this one, the decision is between him or Benrahma and I’d argue the latter has the easier fixture. Mane picks up the armband and there’s £2.5m in the bank to help move to the next new shiny thing we’ll want next week no doubt!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Let me know your thoughts on how the squads have shaped up, I definitely get the feeling looking at these teams I’ve covered most bases and, in some cases, bases I would never have considered e.g., Pogba, Zaha and Laca just a few players I’ve gone absolutely no where near on FPL or my first team.

Good luck to everyone this season! Remember to play the LONG game! One week doesn’t define your season!

Feel free to reach out to me on anything Fanteam, FPL or Football related on Twitter @FPL_Harriers I’m always up for a chat!

Thanks for reading! Likes, Comments & Retweets all appreciated.

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