Well, the first gameweek of the Fantasy Premier League season is complete. There’s plenty to digest as we get a first real evaluation of how teams are shaping up in reality and what the repercussions are in fantasy. There is no other gameweek during the FPL season that has more impact on deciding what to do with your team more than the aftermath of GW1 heading into GW2. It’s one thing while the season is in full swing to react to a transfer or two you’ve made, or what to do about an injury or a player losing his spot in the starting XI. But after GW1, you have to react and consider the selections of ALL 15 players you started the season with, while also considering the unpredicted players who shined in GW1 that you don’t own. Now you really need to consider building your budget, and that involves dropping and adding your players at the right time.
Generally, as a rule of thumb, you do not want to make your transfers for the week until as close to the deadline as possible. The logic is simple. A lot can happen between a player bagging a brace on a Saturday and the following week’s deadline — mainly, an injury during training. Customarily, managers of Premier League clubs hold a press conference on the Friday before their weekend match. Much information can be gleaned from these reports, as managers will either be kind enough to state if a player is available for selection or the not-so-kind will at least drop a hint to their intentions. Once all the “pressers” have been released, it’s safe to go ahead and make your transfer as there is little to no further information given from any club between then and the deadline.
Now, while it is logical to play it safe and wait until the last minute to make your transfers, sometimes it is worth it to take risks and make your transfers early. While the specific reasons vary a bit for doing this, there is one driving force behind taking this risk….MONEY. As mentioned in the introductory column, it is vital to gain an edge in this game over the casual player by monitoring the rising and falling prices of players, and planning your transfers accordingly. Each night, roughly around 9:45pm EST, the FPL game processes the transfer movement by managers in the game, and based on a combination of ownership percentage and movement of a given player, will increase or decrease a players cost by 0.1. Remember this: A player’s price cannot increase or decrease by more than 0.3 in a given gameweek.
Get to know the statistical filters offered by the Fantasy Premier League game on the Transfers page of your team. They are your friends. You can monitor two statistics in these filters that will give you an idea of players in the game who are about to rise or fall. Mainly, the “transfers in/out (by round)” filter will offer a clue as to who to expect to change in price, but you can get an even more accurate idea by comparing this filter for a particular player to the “teams selected by %” filter. The more ownership of a player, the more transfers in or out it takes to affect their cost. Conversely, the players with low ownership take less total transfers in or out to cause a price change. There are resources that provide daily projections/predictions for price changes out there. One I personally use is totalfpl.com. Bear in mind, information offered on this subject is not recognized by the FPL game as being official or accurate. Use at your own discretion.
Normally, the most transfer traffic is done within 24 hours after the deadline (as a reaction to the bulk of matches played on Saturdays) or 24 hours before the deadline. You may want to take risks, especially early in the season, to make your transfers early. And you can justify taking -4 point hits in the early gameweeks to risk early transfers to bring in “essential” players and removing your “mistakes,” before the bandwagons begins and player prices fluctuate like mad.
As a tip for this week, think about your Chelsea and Aston Villa players. Most managers invested in both of these clubs because of their opening Double Gameweek. Well, for every week a club gets a double, there will be a week where they get a blank. For these two clubs, this will occur in Gameweek 3. So for Chelsea, this means playing Manchester United away from home during Gameweek 2, then playing no one the following week. This will no doubt cause a surge of transfers out of Chelsea players between now and the Gameweek 3 deadline. Romelu Lukaku, thought to be Chelsea’s starting striker, has already dropped by 0.1 after surprisingly not getting the starting nod in either of the Blues matches, and will continue to plummet between his lack of playing time, their next tough opponent, and the blank gameweek that follows. Unless you want to lose a lot of money, this is an example of a player to drop sooner rather than later.
On the other side of things, managers love to pounce on budget priced players who put up great numbers before their price rises to the point where they no longer represent the value they had from the start. Defender Luke Shaw fits this profile and has already begun to rise in price as few managers started the season with him in their lineups. If you want Luke Shaw, hurry up and get him before he gets too expensive. This is why I personally justify early season points hits. Not only am I getting a player at his cheapest (4.5 for Shaw at the start), I am also now earning team value as each rise in his price gradually increases my team’s total budget. I am also rather certain that a large number of managers will play their wildcard after week 1, overreacting to a disappointing first week. This means even more player movement than usual, and as a result, more price changing. If you deem a player essential and it takes a hit to get him in now, you have my blessing.
Finally, a piece of advice on transfer strategies in general. Much like the majority of managers believe it wise to invest more of your money in attack rather than defense, the same principle applies to transfers. You should be making a large percentage of your transfers for the season in attack, less so in defense, and only if truly vital at the keeper position. When you bring in a defender, you should be thinking long term, say 6 gameweeks or more. A player that will start for you most if not all the time thanks to a kind run of fixtures. By minimizing transfers made at the back, you can use more of them without cost in attack where you can bring in the players who are at top form and offer the potential for some gargantuan point hauls.
May your arrows be green.
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