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TRCH July

A Canadian on Fantasy League Football

3 August 07 words: Rob Cutforth

"Here are a few tips on winning Fantasy Football when you know exactly two things about football; 'Jack' and 'Shit'"

Are you interested in learning more about English football? An expat with English fans as friends, perhaps? Or maybe a housewife who wants to make her husband look foolish? If so, here's a few tips on winning fantasy football when you know exactly two things about football; “Jack” and “Shit”.

I joined four leagues last season and won three (and came in third on the last one). Not bad considering it was the first year I entered. Did I win all those leagues by chance? No. Am I a closet football guru? No chance. Did I watch every game? Nope, I only saw three full matches all season. Did I cheat? Not exactly, but I did have a system.

The site I play on is the official Premier League site. Many of the following tips can be used for any fantasy football league, but this site is a really good one. The tips below will not guarantee you a league win, but they will definitely keep you off the bottom, which for the footy novice is a good thing.

Tip #1

Make your trades on the Monday immediately following a weekend’s games. Pick up players who have just scored and you will get their value increases because they’re not set until midweek. I did this all year and ended up with one of the most expensive teams in my leagues. This also works well because footballers are streaky. If they scored one week, chances are they will get a confidence boost and will continue to rack up points for awhile. Just don’t get too cozy with them because every player always has his slump. Dump slumpers and injured players IMMEDIATELY. I made two trades a week every week... it was worth the four point deduction almost every time.

Tip #2

Leave your team loyalties at the door. I don’t care how big a Liverpool fan you are, if you don’t pick Ronaldo, you might as well quit right now.

Tip #3

Put most of your money on your midfield and skimp out on the strikers. The midfield players have a much better chance at getting points. Frank Lampard was probably my most consistent player all season not just because he scored a lot, but because he got a lot of assists and tons of bonus points (more on bonus points next).

Tip #4

Bonus points. To be honest, I still have no clue who gets bonus points and for what, but they seem to always get awarded to certain players. As the weeks progress, you’ll notice that certain players get awarded bonus points all the time. The site simply favours certain players over others. Last year, Ronaldo, Lampard and especially Rooney got tons of bonus points even in games when they didn’t score or have an assist. Rooney finished as the striker with the most points last season even though he was a pretty mediocre player compared to the likes of Drogba and Berbatov.

Tip #5

Always look three weeks in advance to see when teams play twice in a single week and make damn sure you have a couple players on those teams. This is where the leagues I played in were won and lost. After about the halfway point of the season, most people’s teams start looking the same. Making sure you have players on teams that play twice is the key to moving ahead in the latter part of the season. I use ESPN’s fixture schedule site because it lists them by week.

Tip #6

The Pundit. Read it and do what he says. It’s especially good for warning you of upcoming weeks when certain teams play twice. You can read it even if you are playing on a different site, the advice he gives is worth its weight in gold.

Tip #7

Defender tips. Pick Defenders that take penalties, ESPECIALLY if they are the captains of the teams. Dunne on Manchester City made me a shitload of points because he took the majority of the penalties. Defenders get lots of points for scoring. Also, pick mediocre defenders on good teams. Wayne Bridge gets just as many points for a clean sheet as Ricardo Carvalho and he plays almost as many games.

Tip #8

If you’re winning, make your team look as close to the guy’s in second as possible (try especially hard to have the same captain), if you’re losing, make it look as different as the guy in front of you. Obvious tip maybe, but a good one nonetheless.

Tip #9

Watch Match of the Day religiously. Doesn’t really help your fantasy football picks that much, but it’s a great show.

 

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