No matter your experience or expertise in relation to playing Fantasy Premier League, odds are your most essential objective is to finish as high in overall rank as possible. Naturally, anyone who signs up for FPL for the first time is automatically placed in the overall pool, and you can monitor their overall rank week to week. But as you begin to play, you may not notice that there are standard “mini-leagues” you can join or create in which the league is pared down to just a handful or several hundred managers, making the goal of finishing first not as ominous as competing for first place amongst nearly three million managers. At the end of the day though, the concept of the game is unchanged — it’s your total overall score against others.
What IS offered within the FPL game that is conceptually different is the Head to Head league. This type of league is similar to many who are familiar with playing fantasy American football. A league is made up of an even number of managers, the computer generates a schedule, and each gameweek, your task is to defeat the particular opponent you’ve been matched up against. Unlike American fantasy football, FPL Head to Head leagues use the familiar table format in tracking the standings, 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, zero for a loss. Throughout the season, tracking your Head to Head leagues adds a bit of role play in this game of fantasy. Now, instead of just saying, “Hey, I’m ranked 384,609th in the world,” which doesn’t sound all that impressive, you can say “Hey, I just won my 5th straight match, and I am now 2nd in the table”.
You may find that strategy in regards to transfer moves and captaincy choice will alter when taking Head to Head matchups into consideration. In a week where you are going to play against someone you know, and you want nothing more than to beat them, you will be prone to making managerial choices you would not have otherwise made.
For example, any team you are playing against in a given week can be and should be viewed closely by looking at that manager’s gameweek history and appraising the players they had from the previous week. As far as any transfers made during the week leading up to your matchup, you cannot see who your opponent has taken in or out, but you can confirm how many, if any, transfers were made during your opponent’s build up to your match by looking at the Gameweek Transfers on their team page. You may find when looking at your opponent’s team and comparing it to your own, that you do not like your chances that week. Perhaps many of your best players have tough fixtures, or you have been beaten by the injury stick. Instead of thinking in terms of “what transfer is best for my club in the long run,” (whether it be to get rid of a suspended player losing cash value on your team or making a point to get a defender who has not just a good matchup for the week you are buying him, but several good matchups upcoming to be useful for the foreseeable future), you plan for the short term, and do whatever it takes to beat your opponent.