To help you decide how to best approach the January Wildcard, FantasyYIRMA.com are running a series of articles looking at different perspectives.
Next up we are delighted to feature a guest post from the 2012/13 FPL Runner Up @K3LVIN
Kelvin’s team “Why Always Me?” finished second overall in #FPL beating out 2.6 million players which was an unbelievable performance. Not only that but Kelvin was the winner of the FantasyYIRMA mini-league !
Kelvin had an unbelievable season and is a genuine fan of FPL. Having led the overall game for large parts of the year the league was decided on bonus points following the final gameweek of the season.
JANUARY WILDCARD: PLAY IT YOUR WAY PART 3
The January Wildcard is now available for activation until the deadline for Gameweek 24 (7th Feb 11:30). There are arguments for and against playing it early or holding onto it a little longer, and in each case it comes down to each individual player’s circumstances. Here’s a few of things that are affecting my decision on when and how to use my January Wildcard.
Playing it early
If you’ve already activated the wildcard in preparation for Gameweek 21 there are some great advantages:
- Build team value – Active managers will all be transferring in similar players, either players who‘ve scored well recently (Harry Kane) or players who’ve scored consistently well over the season (Hazard, Fabregas, Sanchez). By playing your wildcard early, you can get these players in without paying the premium you would have to in a few weeks’ time.
The downside, is that by the end of January your team may look very similar to that of other players in your mini-leagues and you’ll struggle to find ways to either catch up or pull away with a lead without taking some risks. Other players will also come back from injury and into form, so by playing your wildcard early you’ll miss out on an easy way to get these players in.
- Balanced team – Playing it early is great way to remove injured players, players out of form or favour, and those players who’ve left for the African Cup of Nations. Of course you can still achieve this whenever you play the wildcard but by playing it early, if your team is struggling you can rectify those problems immediately then begin to focus on plans for the second half of the season.
Playing it later
- Injuries – One of the biggest advantages in holding onto your wildcard a little longer is the availability of more injury information, and in particular the return of Sergio Aguero. His form and points scoring ability prior to injury means he has to be in the team of anybody wanting to do well in the second half of the season.
The key is timing his return to your squad as he begins to get minutes in the team. By holding the wildcard, you’ll be able to predict when those minutes from the bench will become starts again – likely GW22/23.
Of course you can save money for his return with a different striker (e.g. Van Persie) then swap to Aguero, but if you’re playing catchup in a mini league some other returning players such as Sturridge or Ramsey will also help.
- Mini-Leagues – The later you leave playing your wildcard the more chance there is others in your mini-leagues will have played theirs. This is a great advantage as you can either cover or avoid their bigger name players, and it provides you with a route to either ‘block’ them and extend a lead, or ‘differentiate’ and try and close a gap knowing how they’ve played their wildcard.
- Fixture postponements – Both legs of the semi-finals of the League Cup are played after GW22 is completed. That means prior to the GW23 deadline we will know which teams won’t be playing in GW27 due to the League Cup Final. Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs are all still in the competition, which means the Leicester vs Chelsea, Liverpool vs Man City, and QPR vs Tottenham fixtures are all at risk in GW27 at present.
By holding your wildcard until GW23 you’ll know which teams won’t be playing, so can limit the number of players from these teams and plan how to handle these blank fixtures using normal transfers between GW24-GW27. When the fixtures are rearranged, remember these teams will likely play twice during a future gameweek.
- Avoid the ‘template team’ – Aguero and Hazard aside, the other 13 spots in any squad should be up for grabs. With everybody jumping on the same players and building similar teams, with the same big players it becomes difficult to make up ground and afford everybody. With a late wildcard you can make your own judgement calls as to how many of the template players you want to include, where you can make changes and how many risks you want to take with your own squad.
- New managers/players – It’s not just the players signed during the January transfer window that can effect teams, but also the managers. If Tony Pulis has the same impact on West Brom’s defence as he did on Crystal Palace’s we may start to see some more budget defensive options appear. New managers also mean new systems – different players in the ‘hole’, strikers pushed out wide and being less effective from a fantasy football point of view, defenders losing their places in the team. New player signings can also have similar effects on the dynamics of teams, the starting 11, set piece takers etc. Leaving the wildcard as long as possible gives you access to more data and facts on these changes to teams.
My personal strategy
GW21 – I have two transfer available, so will be managing my team as normal
GW22 – I’ll take a one week gamble on somebody with my transfer
GW23 – I’ll use my January wildcard
I’ll activate my wildcard quite early after the deadline of GW22 jumping on any early price rises and removing players who are dropping in value. There’s 2 weeks between GW22 and GW23 so I may be able to build some team value, even if it’s on players I don’t intend to keep. By the GW23 deadline I’ll know which teams have fixture postponements, which players have form and be able to build a team that I can work with for the next 8-10 gameweeks, by which time I should be able to plan for the inevitable double gameweeks and use my original wildcard to maximise points.