A successful season saw me finish 4,919th out of nearly 6 million players. An excellent run of form from GW6 to GW16 where I moved from 1.5 million to 26 k made the difference, helping me to my 2nd best finish in 12 years, and build on my finish of 854th the year before.
Read on for a GW by GW breakdown of how I did it. No magic formula was needed, just half decent planning, patience and sensible decision making.
GW1: 60 points. GR 1,763,162. OR 1,763,162
A solid if not spectacular start to the season. This is how I set up my squad:
GKs: Foster (4.5) and Myhill (4.0). I like starting the season with a 8.5 pair from the same team. WBR had excellent opening fixtures and were renowned for keeping clean sheets. Foster got me 7 points.
Defenders: Kompany (6.0), Daniels (5.0), Stephens (4.5), Suttner (4.5), Long (4.0). I like defenders with attacking threat (Kompany & Daniels) and Suttner was on set pieces for Brighton. Stephens had excellent fixtures. Long was bench fodder to free up budget. Kompany and Stephens both picked up clean sheets.
Midfielders: De Bruyne (10.0), Zaha (7.0), Tadic (6.5), Carroll (4.5), Loftus Cheek (4.5). I spent less in midfield than usual to afford three heavy hitters up front. This meant the 4.5 double pivot of Carroll and RLC was needed. Zaha was in electric form at the end of the season before, and I always fall in to the Tadic trap at least once a season. I had KDB down to have a big season. No attacking returns from any of them!
Strikers: Kane (12.5), Lukaku (11.5), Jesus (10.5). Three expensive strikers goes against my usual structure, and they showed me why! Kane and Jesus both got booked (Jesus scored a hand ball goal that the ref spotted) and returned 1 point. Luckily I captained Lukaku over Kane for a brace vs WHM and 26 points.
GW2: 44 (-4) points. GR 2,299,576. OR 2,061,755
Zaha ⇒ Mkhitaryan. Zaha went and got himself injured in GW1, 2 assists from Mkhitaryan in GW1 was enough for me to bring him in.
Jesus ⇒ Firmino. I corrected my team structure straight away. Liverpool look full of goals, and it was a mistake not owning one of their front three in GW1.
Mkhi paid back the hit with another 2 assists, Lukaku (c) scored, and Foster picked up another clean sheet.
GW3: 42 (-4) points. GR 2,480,133. OR 2,311,766
KDB ⇒ Eriksen. I lose patience with KDB, he’s playing too deep. Eriksen has 19 pts in his last 2 and a great run of fixtures to come.
Daniels ⇒ Davies. Davies looks to have a high goal and assist potential. I go all in on Spurs. Daniels decides to hit a screamer vs MCY.
Another poor week. Spurs draw 1-1 with BUR and Kane (c) blanks. LIV hammer ARS 4-0, 13 points for Firmino. Salah and Sterling score again putting them firmly on the watchlist.
GW4: 59 points. GR 573,380. OR 1,492,794
All my team has good fixtures so I save the transfer and finally have a half decent week. Kane is back in the goals (August is now over) with a brace vs EVE, and Davies is the star with 2A and 1CS for 14pts. I have no City cover though as they beat LIV 5-0 (Mane sent off for kicking Ederson in the head!)
GW5: 51 points. GR 3,543,848. OR 1,917,036
Kompany ⇒ Kolasinac. Kompany is now predictably injured. Kolasinac has great attacking stats, and an excellent run of fixtures.
Suttner ⇒ Jones. United look solid at the back and Jones looks good for bps.
I choose the wrong captain as Kane (c) blanks against SWA and Lukaku gets 1G 1A vs EVE. My 2 transfers pick up a a CS each, but it’s City’s 6-0 destruction of WAT that does the damage, and I still have no City cover! I miss out on an Aguero hatrick, luckily he’s not that highly owned.
Team Update: Foster, Myhill, Davies, Kolasinac, Jones, Stephens, Long, Erksen, Mkhitaryan, Tadic, RLC, Carroll, Kane, Lukaku, Firmino
GW6: 69 points. GR 1,426,921. OR 1,577,843
Tadic ⇒ Ritchie. My first transfer mistake of the season, and purely points chasing. Ritchie scored 11pts vs Stoke and I bring him in for Brighton away. He blanks.
I finally hit a Kane (c) score of 26pts. Lukaku (7), Eriksen (9), Jones (9) and Kolasinac (6) also chip in. I’m not sure why I have no City cover yet, they beat CPL 5-0 with a Sterling brace. Salah and Coutino continue to impress, while Firmino toils. Morata announces himself on the scene with a hatrick vs Stoke. These are the reasons for my lack of movement up the ranks.
GW7: 69 points. GR 496,409. OR 943,741
Stephens ⇒ Cresswell. A strange transfer on the face of it, but I planned to wildcard before GW8 and wanted to play a 4-3-3 so I didn’t have to play RLC or Carroll. My choice was between Cresswell (6pts) and Monreal (15pts). I chose the wrong one.
Despite the transfer error my defence all got a CS, Davies also hit 1G and 1A for 16 points, and Lukaku and Kane both delivered, moving me into the top million for the first time this season! City having a tough fixture against Chelsea and only winning 1-0 helped.
GW8: 56 points. GR 590,532. OR 593,491
Wildcard Played (pts in brackets)
Pope (4), Alonso (1), Ward (2), Davies (0), Hazard (2), Sterling (15), Silva (7), Richarlison (5), Kane (c) (4), Jesus (13), Joselu (2). Subs Elliot, Clark, Hunemeiser, RLC.
Tripling on the City attack worked straight away as they beat STK 7-2. Aguero was injured making Jesus the main man up front. Chelsea had some nice fixtures so I took a punt on the lowly owned Hazard, hoping he would explode. They disappointingly lost 2-1 at home to CPL! Richarlison was starting to look like the ideal 4th midfielder, and I went with the 8.0 GK combo. Burnleys defence looked strong, and Heaton was out for some time with a dislocated shoulder. The less said about Joselu the better. I went without any Liverpool as they had two tough fixtures vs MNU and TOT coming up.
The WC had an instant impact almost halving my rank!
GW9: 57 points. GR 1,577,962. OR 518,711
I like to save a transfer the week after the WC. An average week saved by going with Kane (c) vs Liverpool for 32pts. Hazard again disappointed with only an assist in a 4-2 win over Watford. Richarlison should have got a hatful in that game, but had to settle for just an assist.
GW10: 48 (-4) points. GR 2,313,113. OR 589,548
Kane ⇒ Lacazette. Kane picked up an injury against Liverpool, and was uncertain to start against MNU. Lacazette has an enticing fixture at home to Swansea and had good stats. He blanked.
Sterling ⇒ Salah. Sterling was left out with an injury in GW9 so I finally got Salah in for the home game with HUD and captained him. Salah missed a penalty, and Sterling came off the bench to score.
Davies ⇒ Otamendi. Rose was back in the fold making Davies look a rotation risk (he’d missed the last two games). Otamendi was looking a massive goal threat and City were picking up clean sheets. He scored 0 points.
Transfers were a bit of a disaster. But only a small drop in rank. Hazard finally came good with an 11 point haul away to BOU.
GW11: 57 (-4) points. GR 806,037. OR 460,015
Lacazette ⇒ Kane. Kane came back earlier than expected from injury so I had to reverse my transfer from the previous week. It was too risky to go without him at home to CPL with his high ownership. I captained him, he blanked, and Lacazette scored vs City.
Alonso ⇒ Daniels. I was hoping for an explosive haul from Alonso which never came. He was the makeweight for the Kane transfer. Daniels came in and got a CS.
Despite the Kane (c) fail it was a decent week. Richarlison scored again making him look a bargain, and Salah hauled with 15 points.
GW12: 85 points. GR 150,159. OR 186,888
Clark ⇒ Dann. A pointless transfer in hindsight. Clark had been dropped and I thought I needed a replacement. Dann scored 1 point and got injured.
However an excellent GW with only two of my players blanking (Dann and captain Kane). Looking back I don’t know why I captained Kane away to Arsenal over Salah at home to Saints. I guess I didn’t trust Salah with the armband just yet.
A good time for a team update (pts for GW12 in brackets)
Pope (8), Daniels (8), Ward (6), Dann (1), Hazard (18), Salah (16), Silva (6), Richarlison (8), RLC (5), Jesus (8), Kane (c) (2). Subs Elliot, Otamendi, Hunemeier, Joselu.
GW13: 58 points. GR 387,541. OR 121,879
No transfers this week. Kane hit as captain 16 points at home to WBR. The midfield all scored 6-8 points apart from Silva who got 1 (Sterling scored 13 making the swap tempting). I’m now playing RLC in a 3-5-2 so I can bench Joselu. Daniels continues his run of 3 clean sheets, but Otamendi worryingly scored 0 again.
With a third of the season gone I’m well setup to take a run at the top 100k in the lead up to xmas. If you can get in or around the top 100k by November time, and then inside the top 100k after xmas you are in a good position to get into the top 10k with your chips still to play.
If you read all of that you’ll notice that there were quite a few things that went wrong. Several transfers failed or got injured immediately, I didn’t own any City for their run of 5 and 6 to nil wins, and I didn’t own Salah until GW10. But I’m still in a good position just outside the top 100k with 2/3 of the seasons to go.
The key is to stay patient, transfer in players for the long term based on form and fixtures, don’t chase points from mid table players who do not have a proven FPL record, and don’t take too many hits after a bad week.
Parts two and three of the season review will be published soon.