5 Tips To Avoid FPL Burnout
Written by Ash @FPLHints
Burnout isn’t something you usually associate with a game of fantasy. If anything, the former and the latter are a contradiction of terms. But even in the world of fantasy football you can have supposed ‘bad days’ for numerous reasons and even quit forever.
In my experience you are more prone to burnout if you are addicted to something or if you no longer find it fun. I should know as I have suffered from it at times to the point where I have said that I would ‘semi-retire’ from FPL (whatever the heck that means) or thought of packing it in altogether. Of course, one day I will quit FPL but I would want to do so on a high or at the end of an organic journey, not because I was fed up or hated the game.
I have been playing FPL since 2007 and have been a fully-fledged FPL addict since 2010. By addict I mean taking the game more seriously in comparison to a so-called casual manager. You would naturally think I would get better and better with this approach, right?
My overall rank actually got progressively worse the more I wrote about FPL and funnily enough when I finally took a break from creating FPL content I had my best every finish (Top 5K) in 9 years. Coincidence? Probably not if I’m being honest.
Naturally there is a correlation between a decline in my fortunes, being unlucky and not enjoying the game as much as I used to. I certainly don’t find FPL as fun as I used to. For instance Giroud’s red card, when I happened to captain him on Boxing Day 2014, was a watershed moment and in many ways took a fair bit of time to recover from. It was the point from which I stopped playing FPL with a risk-inclined mind-set to adopting a heavily risk-averse approach.
(ED. Funny as **** from a neutral, non-Giroud owning perspective though)
Aside from my own experiences, there are plenty of FPL accounts and websites that used to be popular which no longer exist, no doubt in small part due to burnout.
However, with everything in life, we need context. Less than 3 million managers played FPL when I finished 110th in the world, yet since then millions more play the game and every season it becomes even more difficult to finish in the coveted Top 10k. Probability would dictate that experienced managers’ overall ranks will go down due to the increase in managers. I think it’s a bonus in itself if my overall rank improves substantially from the previous season in which less managers played the game. I’m not ashamed to say that overall rank matters a lot to me in FPL. With that said, there’s no way I’m going to finish 110th ever again in FPL.
That’s enough of me banging on about my team. I wanted to share my experiences as I do at times suffer from FPL burnout. With this in mind, here are my 5 tips to allay burnout in the weird and unpredictable world of FPL:
1. Be sure to set realistic goals
You’re not going to hit every one of your FPL goals for a given season. And in this day and age you may not even come close to winning any of your mini-leagues. You need to be practical in what you’re looking to achieve. This is all the more true if you regard yourself as a non-casual FPL manager.
None of us are experts in the true sense of the word and we’re all prone to suffering from a below par season or bad run of form here and there. An achievable aim could be winning a small mini-league or aiming to finish in the top 1% of the overall rankings. I’m glad I have been able to achieve the latter on multiple occasions and to be frank this is one of my motivations at the start of each season.
2. Try alternative games to FPL
Without overloading myself, I’ve had the good fortune of playing multiple fantasy football and predictor games on the side when also playing FPL. Those games tend to be smaller and different to FPL. There have been weeks in which I haven’t done well in FPL, but done well in the alternative games. They serve their duty as a good release from the intensity of FPL A good example of this is Perfect Picks.
It’s played by hundreds of people rather than millions. It’s a multi-sport prediction game with an easy to navigate interface. I’ve found it simple to play and managed to become their World Number One at the end of last season which only served to boost my ego and to some extent complemented my anticipation skills.
Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.
You may be prone to burnout if you plan heavily in advance but then fail to achieve your goals with the desired amount of fantasy points or overall rank. You also don’t need to overcomplicate things by signing up to dozens of random subscription services or get lost inside a monochrome sea of spreadsheets. Is it really worth consuming too much content? Of course not. Have some sort of strategy but be prepared for unexpected events in FPL. Plan within reason and be aware of potential pitfalls.
Be flexible in your approach and consume knowledge from trustworthy sources but never overload yourself with heaps of content. Also, avoid getting lost in groupthink. You are in charge of your FPL team. Ultimately do what you deem is best and not what an FPL Twitter account is ranting on about as their opinion isn’t a single source of truth.
4. Take a break if you need to
I became addicted to FPL as I found it fun. It should be a window into the world of fantasy and escapism – away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you’re not finding it fun take a break immediately. If you’re really fed up of FPL and are only playing it as your online and offline mates are playing it, STOP.
There’s no harm in saying no. I took a sabbatical for two seasons (albeit to dedicate more time to other pursuits) and would gladly take another sabbatical. In fact, I found my more recent break from content creation to be very beneficial and it freed up time for me to concentrate on far more important things. If you can’t recharge your FPL batteries during the off-season take more time out and do what is best.
5. Focus on your mental and physical health
In some ways this may link to the previous point but without you necessarily putting a halt to playing FPL. Don’t let those pesky red arrows get you down. They don’t mean much at all in the wider context of things. You may see countless FPL managers sharing ridiculously high scores on your social media timelines and it may make it appear to you that you did terrible in comparison. But don’t let that echo chamber fool you. Hardly anyone is going to share their fantasy football failures so the better scores will always be more inflated in comparison and more so when you actually see the actual average for the week.
Use your time wisely. If your health permits, consider exercising rather than sitting aimlessly waiting for the game to update or watching a pointless football match on TV. You can achieve so much more with your fitness if you invest time properly than worrying about a make-believe game that you can’t control.
Finally, remember that for every bad Gameweek there’s a good Gameweek. For every Giroud red card, there’s Aguero scoring 5 goals. Dealing with reality should trump fantasy, always. You catch my drift? Of course, you do. Now go on and be the change you wish to see!
Ash, is the Chief Editor of FPLHINTS Magazine. He has been creating FPL content on multiple platforms since 2011. He probably couldn’t beat Ryan in a race but did beat him in FPL last season.