Hello. I’m the FPL Helper and I’m here to help you with FPL.
WHAT IS FPL?
FPL is the Fantasy Premier League. It’s like the Premier League only it’s not real. It’s a game you play on the internet. You can enter and set up a team for free on this site: fantasy.premierleague.com. Then you can join leagues with your mates and have some fun.
My first tip: playing for money always makes things more interesting.
I’ll be joining in with my mates as usual in the “Clonakilty Langers” league. We all put in a tenner each at the start of the season and the winner at the end takes it all. I won it last year and used the 30 quid to buy some Hi-Tec football boots at the local market.
This year I think I will also join the Let’s Bet league and teach those guys a thing or two about FPL.
WHAT MAKES ME AN FPL EXPERT?
Last year in the FPL I finished very high up in the worldwide leaderboard. I don’t want to blow my own trombone but let’s just say that 150,000 is a nice number. Also, apart from winning the Clonakilty Langers league twice in the last seven years, I watch lots of football and I even record Match Of The Day every Saturday so that I can rewatch it the next Friday to prepare for the weekend ahead. That’s the dedication required to excel at FPL.
You have to make a strong start. If you make a slow start, you’ll get left in the blocks. Nobody wants to be left on the ropes and have to play catch-up from behind.
Don’t take too many chances with your initial squad of 15. Go for the proven players who produce the goods day in, day out, week in, week out, month in, month out, year in, year out. Sure, there’s always one foreign player who comes in that nobody has heard of who literally explodes all over the pitch. It’s ok to take one or two chances with your squad at finding that exploding player but don’t fall overboard.
MY FINAL SQUAD OF 15
After three months of solid research and hard work, I have come up with the following team:
Pepe Raina of Liverpool is my pick for first choice goalkeeper. You don’t need to look at the stats to know that he’s top quality. In fact, I never look at any stats anyway. I use my gut. You can use stats to prove anything but your gut will always be truthful to you. That’s just basic science. Raina always makes lots of saves and keeps plenty of clean sheets throughout the season. At a cost of 5.5m, he is great value.
The best advice I ever received when I was an FPL-newbie many years ago was to always have keepers who rotate well. That means you must have a keeper who can do a complete 360-degree spin and still maintain his balance. If you have a keeper who gets dizzy and falls down in the box, well, he’s just going to concede lots of goals.
Anders Lindguards is one keeper who I’ve seen rotate very well in the past. One time he did a full 720! He’ll make a handy backup in case Raina gets injured or suspended.
Rafael Silva (the handsome one of the brothers) has cemented his place as the Manchester Utd right back. He only played 16 minutes of the Community Shield last Sunday to keep him fresh for the season ahead. He can score big points both defensively and offensively and he goes straight into my back line for Gameweek 1 at a cost of 6.0m.
I have a mate who is a real expert in international football and he tells me that the big up and coming team to take over the mantlepiece from Spain is going to be Belgium. He says that even their defenders are classy footballers and they love scoring goals. When he said that, it literally hit me in the face like a wet kipper – defenders who score goals are like prime rib estate in this game! So my next free tip to you is: get Belgian defenders. I’m doubling up with both Vermaelen and Vertonghen and I recommend that you do too.
My next defender pick is probably the bargain of the year. Marc Muniesa is available for only 5.0m. He plays for Barcelona, even though he’s listed in the game as playing for Stoke. That’s obviously a mistake on the website as no player would ever move from Barcelona to Stoke. Barcelona (or “Barca” as they’re known in Italy) play possession football which means the other team can’t score if they don’t have the ball. This will result in lots of clean sheets for Muniesa.
Paul McShane of Hull is my last selection at the back. When I watch Ireland matches on the television, I hear the crowd singing lots of songs about him, sometimes even when he’s not on the pitch! I suppose he must be really good and at a price of only 4.0m it’s worth a risk to find out. I’m declaring him my “maverick choice of the week”.
Gareth Bale was the top scoring midfielder in the game last year. If you don’t have him in your team this season then you might as well not even play. He’s a must have. His left foot is so magical I read that there might be a film made about it starring Daniel Day Lewis.
James Milner is my favourite player ever and he goes straight into my team. I’m not sure why it is exactly that I love him so much – maybe the silky skills, the work ethic, the crazy goal celebrations or maybe that he looks a bit like my ex-girlfriend, Lucy. (I miss you, Lucy!)
Jonobi Mikel is only 4.5m! I can’t believe he’s so cheap. Every good team needs a quality defensive midfielder, someone who can make tackles and interceptions and protect the defence. Mikel is an easy pick at that price, allowing you to save money to invest in strikers.
Craig Gardner of Sunderland is listed as a midfielder in the FPL game but he actually plays as a right back. This is known as an “out of position” player and it’s important to take advantage of things like that. Welcome to my team, Craig.
Now we need a cheap 5th midfielder. My favoured formation is 1-3-4-3 which means we will never need a 5th midfielder, so we might as well buy a cheapie to sit on the bench and save our budget for elsewhere. That’s called smart thinking. At just 4.5m, I think Ruel Fox from Norwich is a good choice.
Luis Suarez is a marmite type of player – you either take a bite out of him or he takes a bite out of you. Haha, sorry, that’s just a little joke. Sometimes I like to break up the seriousness of FPL with a touch of humour. I hope that’s ok. But seriously, Suarez is amazing at goals and assists. Sometimes he makes a great assist and then gets on the end of it himself to score the goal. That’s how good he is. This selection is a no-brainer.
Wayne Rooney or Robin Persie? That’s the big question everyone has been asking all summer. The important thing to know is that Persie will cost you 14.0m. That’s almost 15 million gone out of your budget on one player! Madness! This is a case where you just have to use common sense and take Rooney at 10.5m. Common sense is very important in this game. And I’m sorry but you either have it or you don’t. You can’t learn common sense in school. That’s why I never really bothered with school.
I have 8.0m left to spend on my last forward. That gives me two options. Emanwell Adebayor or Roman Lukaku. Both are good players who can score goals. My motto is that if in doubt, go for experience. Wikipedia tells me that Adebayor is older so he’s my final pick.
Total team value: 100.0m
Some people take crazy risks with their captaincy but with double points at stake I think you should always play safe. And if you look up the word “safe” in a dictionary, you’ll see a picture of none other than James Milner himself.
Remember that nobody is perfect and my team might not score the highest in the world in Gameweek 1 but I am definitely expecting over 100 points. Here’s some other advice that will stand you well:
— A few of the Wigan players looked really good in the Community Shield against Man Utd and there might be some budget options in that team to take advantage of. Look out for Yordi Gomes and John McClane in particular.
— Gameweek 1 is a double gameweek for Chelsea and Aston Villa because they play twice in the week. Some people might advise you to put in extra players from those two teams but that’s a big mistake. Firstly, you’re not allowed to have extra players in your team. 15 is the max. Secondly, the Chelsea and Aston Villa players will be very tired in the second game and won’t do well at all. I once tried to play two games of Fifa 14 in a row but I couldn’t manage it. My hand was killing me!
— In fact, be careful with picking any Chelsea players. They have a new manager this season. He’s from a place called Portugal in South America, so it’s going to take him some time to learn English and to get used to the English game.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, leave a comment on my blog or tweet me @FPLhelper.