FPL Diary: August and September 2018
A new season begins. After weeks of drafting and redrafting my team, it’s time to see if my hard work pays off.
Game Week One:
Points: 82 (Average: 53.8) GW Rank: 195,260
This is my initial team for the new season. I was very tempted by under priced wing backs like Robertson and Mendy. In the end I stayed true to my previous philosophy of a budget defence to ensure I get the most important midfielders and strikers. The deciding factor was price points. My eight attackers are at eight different price points, all with good alternatives. If another player goes off, I can probably swap to them. These are the eight price points that excite me. Looking around the FPL community, I’m not the only one to espouse this approach. What makes my team a little different is that my budget defence allows me to have all eight of the exciting price points that I identified.
The big consequence of this price point theory is that I ended up with the big three of Liverpool’s players. I think Liverpool will score more goals this year than last year and I definitely want two of Salah, Firmino and Mane in my team. I couldn’t decide which one to drop, and with other players in those price points having tough fixtures or from teams weakened by the world cup, I went big on Liverpool. Fortunately they started the season in style.
This game week was memorable for the uncertainty surrounding players being rested after the world cup. It is always a very uncertain time of year, but this was extreme this year. In fact a large number of player returned early than most predicted and even scored. This meant casual players were rewarded for selecting some risky players like Alli and Vardy who were expected to be rested by more invested managers.
This was a very high scoring game week. The average is really high, and I ended well above it with 9 of my players returning. Unfortunately there is no TOP 10K yet, so I can’t compare myself to that. Normally 82 points would give a higher game week rank, but a lot of people use chips in the first week, which artificially inflates a lot of scores.
A lot of my players however were getting sold a lot so some price drops may come my way. Cedric on my bench only played 55 minutes for tactical reasons which worried me a lot. The strength of my first week however encouraged me to stick with players through any price drops.
Game Week Two:
Points: 67 (Average: 60.9 — Top 10K Average: 82.8 ) GW Rank: 1,715,328
This game week was a little memorable for Kane scoring in August, but mostly it was about a single player Aguero, and a single journalist writing a clickbait article for the Guardian suggesting he could be dropped. A lot of managers captained Salah instead of Aguero because of this spurious rumour and unfortunately I was one of them. I was travelling at the time, and unable to dig into the truth of the matter, I shifted the armband to be safe. Aguero went on to score 20 points making it a very painful decision for those of us spooked by the Guardian piece. Fortunately Salah returned so I ‘only’ missed out on 11 points.
My transfer this week was to shift out Jota from Wolves to Richarlison from Everton. I did this to beat the price rises even though Jota returned in week one and unlike others I thought Wolves looked like a good team and Jota was involved in plenty of action. Richarlison returned instantly, making me feel pretty happy about my first purchase of the season.
Game Week Three:
Points: 44 (Average: 50 — Top 10K Average: 49.1) GW Rank: 3,697,823
A terrible week for me, with Salah and Schindler really carrying the team. Frustratingly Salah and Zaha both dropped a lot of bonus points during the recalculations after the matches, so I was close to a more respectable 50 points.
This game week is memorable for being a complete contrast to the previous weeks. Players that had blanked for two weeks returned and stars of the early season like Richarlison got a red card. It was also another week where almost all the popular big money wing backs got returns. This punishes me badly since I avoid such players. My highest scoring player was Schindler who got his traditional nine point haul. He is such a bonus point magnet that he frequently scores nine points whenever Huddersfield keep a clean sheet. Unfortunately this isn’t that frequently recently.
I again made one transfer. I switched Bernardo Silva to Mkhitaryan. They both blanked so it didn’t matter. This was a tough call. I am expected B. Silva to get rotated at some point, or just played in non-threatening positions, where as Mkhitaryan has the potential to explode, especially as Arsenal’s difficult early fixtures are now over.
Points: 193 (Requirement for TOP 10K: 246 — 53 points behind the TOP 10K.)
Overall Rank: 639,997
After three game weeks last season I had thirty more points and was ranked 1,478 in the world. I can’t help but feel disappointed when compared to that. The gap between me and the TOP 10K already feels massive. This is however a marathon not a sprint. I am concerned though that a lot of veteran players are already firmly entrenched in the TOP 10K and that a lot of teams are quite similar this year making upward momentum difficult to come by.
Game Week Four:
Points: 56 (Average: 44.9 — Top 10K Average: 51.7) GW Rank: 884,526
This was a rather ordinary game week, but I ended up with a good game week rank. The biggest moment of the week was Cedric coming off the bench to replace Zaha and scoring 12 points. He got an assist, clean sheet and a full 3 bonus points. A lot of popular defences conceded keeping the average down. I bought in Walcott for the injured Richarlison, but he only scored one point.
This game week led into the first international break of the season. I could see that a lot of my players were injury risks and likely to drop in price. I decided to hit the wildcard button and try to turn a profit instead, while I pondered who to sign. I sold a lot of players and bought them back again at the end of the international break. Doing this for Firmino, Schindler and Zaha saved me £0.3 million. The transfer market this season has seemed very active and volatile. I speculated on a few players to rise in price multiple times over the break. This didn’t happen which is not surprising looking back at recent seasons.
Players like Lacazette, Hazard and Lukaku had all just scored good hauls, so they were in my thinking. In the end some injured players like Zaha were fit to play, so my final team didn’t look too different to the original one, making me question the wisdom of playing the wildcard. I was able to resign the suspended Richarlison as I knew I had a free bench spot for the next game week. This would save me a transfer the following week.
Game Week Five:
Points: 100 (Average: 47.4 — Top 10K Average: 57.9 ) GW Rank: 6,660
This was a game week to remember. Triple digit scores are always a special achievement and even better this was my second best ever game week rank. My wild card turned out to be a wild success. My biggest transfer was to bring in Hazard for Salah and captain him. The big story this week was Hazard getting a hat-trick and a 20 point bonanza. In fact almost all of my team returned points, with two budget defenders getting big scores, and all of my forwards getting either a goal or two assists. Hazard was not the only new player to get points straight away, with Knockaert and Maddison both getting points as well. This was a fantastic week!
Game Week Six:
Points: 43 (Average: 39.5 — Top 10K Average: 45.6) GW Rank: 4,554,703
Just like last season, a fantastic game week is followed by a terrible week. This was my worst game week rank in a long time and I crashed back out of the top 100,000 managers.
This was a very weird week in the build up. The captain choice was one of the hardest I can remember. All of the obvious choices had great fixtures, and the community as a whole was split. There were lots of interesting subplots with delayed flights and speculated line ups and a potential weakened opposition due to a virus in the camp. There were a lot of factors to consider. I could have happily captained Aguero, Hazard and Mane. Aguero was my choice and the highest scorer with 6 so in a sense I got it right. Unfortunately Salah was the highest scorer of the sensible choices, but he only scored 8 points so the difficult decision didn’t make a huge difference.
On top of that I had some great but unlikely scores on my bench. Knockaert scored a goal against spurs, whilst Fabianski had a heroic ELEVEN point performance against Chelsea, whilst I had played Begovic who conceded four against normally atrocious Burnley.
Game Week Seven:
Points: 77 (Average: 51 — Top 10K Average: 60) GW Rank: 173,253
As a reaction to the last week I made two transfers and they both returned. Liverpool have a few tough fixtures, so I swapped out Mane and Firmino for Sterling and Lacazette. I’m not sold on Lacazette, but Arsenal do look much better this season and Stirling seems to be criminally ignored this season. My transfers both paid off, while the players they replaced blanked badly.
With my low ownership players scoring well, and Liverpool blanking, I had a second great game week this month. My transfers in October seem to have worked really well. Richarlison is the main exception, but he is playing well up the pitch and Everton have a good all round attack.
Points: 469 (Requirement for TOP 10K: 489 — 20 points behind the TOP 10K
Overall Rank: 38,007
I went up 600,000 places this month, almost halving the gap to the TOP 10K. I had wanted to use my wildcard much later in the season to handle the craziness of the Christmas fixtures, but my transfers this month have done so well, it has worked out. My target for next month is to get up to 20,000 in the overall ranking.
I have avoided taking hits so far, but I may still need to make transfers this month. I made an Aguero to Kane swap that I am uncertain about, and Crystal Palace’s fixtures get much worse soon, so that will require two of my transfers. I am also interested in getting some of my Liverpool players back. Their fixtures also get much easier soon. On the other hand, I like the idea of trying to go a whole season with out taking hits. It wasn’t a goal at the start of the season, but I have a flexible set up so it may be possible.https://eclecticimagination.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=236&type=image&TB_iframe=1