Before the madness of the new Premier League season hits us smack bang in the face – and it will…We wanted to reflect on last season and give an insight into one of the top performers from the 2014/15 FPL season.
Massive kudos and congratulations to Ian Holliday for his Top 100 Finish overall. This is a significant achievement in itself with more than 3.5million teams in the competition – however… Ian wasn’t finished there! He only went and finished 1st in the FantasyYIRMA.com mini-league winning £100 cash and his very own FY limited edition t-shirt which in reality made the season worthwhile in its own right!!
The FantasyYIRMA Limited Edition t-shirt really is a prize money can’t buy…. Unless of course you actually want to buy one – then money will work perfectly well 😉
Anyway – I digress… We caught up with Ian to hear from him and get his take on last season and what made it such a success for him. Read on below as he’s summed up perfectly what he felt made the difference last season and passes on his pearls of wisdom as we anxiously await the arrival of the new fantasy season and the probable 472 team lineup scenarios which will be experimented with before the Gameweek 1 deadline.
We will of course be back in the coming weeks with details of the FY mini-league for 2015/16 and some additional announcements about this site and twitter account for the coming season
The FY boys asked me to write an article reflecting on the season just gone and so I thought it might be useful to go through what I did differently this season compared to previous seasons, and also look at the mistakes I made along the way too.
By Ian Holliday
15 starting players
In previous seasons I’d subscribed to the theory that there’s no point in having money sat on the bench, and had gone for the cheapest possible bench players even if they weren’t first team starters. It’s not the worst idea in the world as it does leave more cash to spend on the starting XI. However, it did leave me in trouble on a few occasions when injuries, suspensions or rotation struck, especially around the festive period and either side of big European ties. So this season I still went cheap for the bench, but spent a little bit extra on players that were certain starters (Boyd, Van Aanholt, etc.), which meant I’d still get a couple of points (or possibly more) if any of my starting XI didn’t play.
Historically I’d gone for a mid-premium keeper and a non-playing £4m one. There was a lot a talk on various FPL community sites around the benefits of rotating two cheap (but both first team starting) keepers and so I thought I’d give it a try. The benefits being that if you find two that rotate home and away you can always play the home keeper as most teams tend to pick up more clean sheets at home. Also, you’d have back up if one was injured/suspended, and you generally tend to get save points from the cheaper keepers even if they do concede, so it worked out quite nicely this season (Fantasy Football Scout has some good articles and stats around this too).
Über cheap defence
Rather than go for the traditional big hitter (Baines/Ivanović), a couple of mid-priced (Liverpool/Spurs) and a couple of bargain bucket players, I started the season with 1 x £5m and 4 x £4.5m that rotated well for the first few weeks – I only needed 3 of them to have half decent fixtures each week and it freed up cash for bigger hitters in midfield and defence. As the season went on and the cheaper strikers came on board (Kane & Austin for me) it freed up cash for a stronger defence and I was able to bring in Bertrand & Terry and have 3 cheapies rotating in the 3rd slot.
In previous seasons I’d just played week by week with no real plan of where my team was going in the medium term. This season I kept an eye on fixtures and tried to have a transfer plan for 5-6 weeks ahead. Obviously injuries, suspensions, etc. came into play and affected the plans slightly but I was generally able to get the players I wanted in time for a good run of fixtures without having to take a hit. As well as the obvious points loss from buying a transfer, it also affects the table rankings: if you finish on equal points with someone, the player that made the fewest transfers ranks higher – this meant I just managed to finish inside the top 100 (99th vs 106th).
Every fantasy manager has moments of madness in the season, I guess the main thing is learning from them. This season my main ones were:
- Bojan – Super cheap and with decent pedigree I figured he was worth a punt at the start of the season as it freed up cash for a heavy hitting midfield, and he rotated nicely with Sigurðsson so could be benched for Stoke’s tougher fixtures. All good in theory, but it took him a while to find his feet and so I guess the lesson is to try hold back on Premier League newbies until you’re sure they’re a Michu rather than a Forlán.
- Eriksen – Every season I seem to get stung by the Spurs midfielder. He tends to get his points in batches but I constantly miss the boat and end up with a run of 2 points from him (not even 1 bonus for a clean sheet with Spurs’ shaky defence!). He still ends up as one of the top few midfielders so the lesson is probably to have him in for the whole season or forget him.
- Benching Kane against Chelsea – The only comfort was knowing that I know wasn’t alone as pretty much everyone benched him (apart from Harry Kane himself: http://fantasy.premierleague.com/entry/1542437/event-history/20/ although even he wasn’t brave enough to give himself the captain’s armband!). The lesson here is a tough one as it’s something we’ll all probably do again, but if someone is in form but cheap then don’t bench him because of the price, instead be brave and look at look at the form and quality of the player.
I think that’s the main things I’ve learned from this season – well, I’d like to think I’ve learned anyway, but I’m already eyeing up potential Premier League newbies for my squad next season…
Thanks for reading.
Many thanks to Ian for his contribution and congrats again on winning the FY mini-league – we had over 5000 players in our league alone so thanks to everyone who joined in!!
ROLL ON THE NEW SEASON