Hello EPL Talk followers and football fans alike….and happy holidays to all. I’m finding it difficult to not only think about the condensed fixtures and amazing games there are in the immediate future, but I’m trying to save some smiles for the crazy aunt and ten little cousins about to be parading throughout my house…but that is why we have our beer. More importantly, I am here to both introduce you to the game of Fantasy Football, and if you are already familiar with it, later advise you on how to get ready for the upcoming Gameweeks.
If you have never played Fantasy EPL before, let me try to hook you into playing while I give a summary of how it works. To begin, you have a set amount of funds to build your team. You will want to look at form, fixtures and many other factors in order to guide your decisions. After your team is selected you will receive points for each individual player determined by how they performed in their actual games. Goals, assists and shutouts are just some of the ways to gain points from your players. You pick a captain each Gameweek to receive double points for that specific player, and that is how you separate the men from the boys. Your total points will then be tallied and put up against everyone else playing, which is now right above 2.6 million people.
Getting a group of your mates together, watching your Gameweek captain dominate your opposing players, and rubbing it into their faces is something that never gets old. Fantasy football makes you watch games that wouldn’t be necessarily interesting for you, and will cause your EPL and overall soccer knowledge to expand. Besides making other games more interesting and having fun with your comrades, it is challenging to know who will perform week in and week out, but when you put in the effort, you will seep the reward of success. Even though the season is almost half way done, you can still be ranked according to your Gameweek hat you joined, so a late addition is always welcome. There is no time like now to join the fight of being the best manager around, maybe its you!
Now for those of you who are currently managing your team, you are no doubt looking ahead to a very tight game schedule where rotation and good choices are really going to separate the lead runners from the pack, all the way up until the new year. Looking back at Gameweek 17, we can see that both Manchester teams are rolling on and have no intention of stopping soon. This season has been a story of big names producing, and there is no surprise that Robin Van Persie is crowned king of Fantasy EPL for the first half of the fixtures. Here are some tips to guide your decision making:
- Rooney and Nani, with their next 4 fixtures being Wigan (H), Blackburn (H), Newcastle (A), and Bolton (H), seem to be needed weapons…and if you can’t find a way to get them in, get Valencia. With Van der Vaart being injured, some funds should open up for new big players to arrive.
- Man City are a different beast, with heavy rotation sure to be used over the next weeks. Silva is as nailed on as you can get, yet he might be rested at some point as well. Aguero second, with Balotelli and Dzecko fighting for the 3rd spot.
- Arsenal’s defense does not seem as strong as their managers would like, between injuries and Mertesacker not being quick enough to keep up with EPL strikers….they seemed doomed to give up goals. Vermaelen might not be worth his attacking prowess due to the Gunner’s defensive woes.
- Sunderland seems to be responding to the Martin O’Neil effect, bringing forth more focus and heart in a team that does have talent. Look for them to surprise. Liverpool’s defense is also silently making waves with 3 straight shutouts tallying 7 on the season.
- GW20 should be in the back of your mind as a manger as it brings a double GW for both Tottenham and Everton. These teams should be represented in your squad when GW20 comes along so plan accordingly.
- Make sure to have a good bench. There is no avoiding rest or injury rotation in the upcoming weeks, and a strong bench means a strong team. There is great value on Swansea or Newcastle players, and Stoke have a good fixture list heading into January.
I hope these tips will lead everyone to success during the holiday season, and I furthermore invite and challenge all football fans who aren’t currently playing to sign up and join the fun.