Beat the Bandwagon
Written by @K3LVIN
One of the many terms fantasy football managers hear and read about on a regular basis is about jumping on “the bandwagon”. A term used to describe the effect where fantasy managers transfer in a player based on what others are doing, usually because the player has performed well in previous gameweeks.
One such example was at the end of April last season. Lucas Podolski, having scored a brace against West Ham in gameweek 34 and another brace the following gameweek against Hull was suddenly the “must have” player for gameweek 36 against Newcastle. Everybody was tipping him to score big, but he didn’t, and for the remaining two fixtures didn’t pick up a single goal or assist. An example of how “jumping on the bandwagon” can sometimes fail miserably.
Of course it’s incredibly hard to predict who’ll perform well and who won’t, and more importantly – when. There can’t have been many people who predicted Aaron Ramsey’s amazing form before last season started. If you jumped on his bandwagon early enough you’ll have been richly rewarded.
So how do you decide which bandwagons are worth getting onboard, and more importantly how you could beat the bandwagon, by picking players before they start scoring big and get off at the right time? It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, but if you’re looking for this year’s Michu or the next Ramsey to try and get ahead in your mini league I’ve a few ideas.
What should we be looking for?
A player with relatively low ownership, who’s kindly priced and has the ability to consistently deliver points over a number of gameweeks, preferably at the start of the season.
I’ve picked four players who I think could potentially do that this season and by taking a couple of gambles you could beat the bandwagon and get in on their points early.
Dušan Tadić, £7.5m, Southampton
A player I’d not previously heard much of until he signed for Southampton in July for £10.9m. Tadic has been fielded in a number of positions throughout his career – on both wings, behind the striker and even upfront. For his previous club, FC Twente, he scored 28 goals and made 29 assists in the space of just two seasons and 66 appearances.
A player who’s comfortable taking free kicks and penalties, he’s likely to be key to revitalising Southampton’s attack following the fire sale of last season’s key players.
- Aside from Liverpool in GW1, has good fixtures to hit the ground running for points
- Set pieces – Likely to take free kicks and probably penalties
- Low ownership, just 1.7%
- Guaranteed gametime
- Plays for Southampton. After their much publicised fire sale over the summer, nobody is quite sure how well Southampton will fair under Ronald Koeman this season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, £6m, Swansea
A player most will be familiar with from his first spell at Swansea, Sigurdsson was handed a role in the hole behind the striker where he scored 7 goals in 18 games for the Swans. Following his transfer to Tottenham for the start of the 2012/13, he managed just 8 goals in 58 appearances.
His return to Swansea brings him straight back into consideration if he can recapture the form he showed in his first spell. He looks assured of starts and is likely to be on set pieces and corners. Garry Monk has experimented with a couple of formations in pre-season, with Sigurdsson on the right of midfield in a 4-4-2 and behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1. If as expected Swansea start the season in the later formation, Sigurdsson’s eye for goal and creativity will be vital for Swansea.
- Set pieces and corners
- Decent pre-season – 2 goals & 2 assists
- Assured of starts
- 2 back to back home fixtures in GW2 & GW3
- Highest ownership % of my four suggestions – 6.8%
- Tough opening fixture at Old Trafford, then away to Chelsea in GW4
- May be pushed onto the wing if Swansea need to switch to a 4-4-2
Siem de Jong, £7.0m, Newcastle
Another player I knew little about until he signed for Newcastle at the beginning of July. Signed from Ajax, De Jong managed 7 goals in an injury hit 2013/14 season where he featured just 19 times. His preferred position is in the hole behind the striker, but has also played upfront at times during his career.
Prior to an injury, De Jong netted twice for Newcastle during pre season and started the Wellington friendly game upfront before being subbed off due to injury – an indication that Alan Pardew may consider him for this role again at times during the season. De Jong is expected to take direct free kicks and have a share of penalties with fellow new signing Rémy Cabella.
- Should be nailed on to play, and is club vice captain
- Plays in the hole and at times may play out of position as a forward
- Should take direct free kicks and possibly penalties
- Playing for Newcastle who only scored 43 times last year (only 3 more goals than relegated Fulham)
- Is currently injured and even if he is fit for the start of the season faces Manchester City in GW1
- Has a history of injuries – he was out on 5 separate occasions last season
Erik Lamela, £8.0m, Tottenham
Signed by Andre Villa-Boas last summer, Lamela arrived at Tottenham with high expectations. For a fee rumoured to be around £30m, a lot was expected of Lamela after his 15 goals and 5 assists in 33 league matches for Roma in the 2012/13 season.
But he failed miserably, picking up just one assist in 331 minutes of Premier League football. With the arrival of fellow Argentine Mauricio Pochettino, Lamela’s pre-season performances have begun to indicate what he’s capable of. Previously used as a wide player, Lamela has begun to flourish in pre-season in a role in the hole with 3 goals and 2 assists.
He’s a player I’ve had my eye on over the summer, long before pre-season had started. Whilst the World Cup was still on Lamela was undertaking extra fitness and training sessions back in Argentina and returned to training with Tottenham about a week before the rest of the squad. He was the first player I looked out for when the price list was released, but was really disappointed to see him priced at £8m.
- Pre-season form. Not just his goal scoring and creativity, but overall gameplay seems like he could be back to his best.
- Position – Has played most of pre-season in his favoured position, in the hole behind the striker.
- Mauricio Pochettino – A fellow Argentine to nurture Lamela and get the best out of him, similarly to how he did with Adam Lallana whilst managing Southampton.
- Price – With so many great options in midfield, £8m is too much for a gamble
- Christian Eriksen. Available for the same price, Eriksen seems the more logical choice given his set piece duties and consistency.
- Confidence player. A few bad games with things not going his way, Lamela’s performances and fantasy point returns would diminish quickly.
Given the difficult opening GW1 fixtures for most of the players mentioned above, and the injury to De Jong, I’ve decided to go with Gylfi Sigurdsson in my initial team. Those two home fixtures in Gameweeks 2 and 3 look irresistible given his pre-season form.
Beyond that, once the season is up and running, the player I’m most interested in is Siem De Jong. Fitness and injury pending, from around Gameweek 4 I’ll be looking to introduce De Jong into my midfield, either to supplement Sigurdsson and free up funds for elsewhere in my squad, or to replace Sigurdsson if I feel that’s that best time to make the switch.
As always, if you’re interested in knowing my team and transfers, or want some advice on your own team, follow me on Twitter (@K3lviN) and I’ll help out throughout the season as I have another go at becoming World No.1 again.
Kelvin’s team “Why Always Me?” finished second overall (!!!) in the 2012/13 #FPL season beating out 2.6 million (!!!) players which was an unbelievable performance. Not only that but Kelvin is a previous winner of the FantasyYIRMA mini-league !
Having led the overall game for large parts of the 2012/13 season the league was decided on bonus points following the final gameweek of the season.
Take nothing away from this man – what he displayed last season in terms of judgement and consistency was extremely impressive!
Big thanks to Kelvin for his time and contribution to the site with this excellent post. Make sure and follow Kelvin on twitter if you are not already on @K3lvin