The 2012-2013 Barclays Premier League season is almost upon us. This can only mean one thing—Fantasy Premier League. One of the most beloved fantasy games available, the Fantasy Premier League has over 2.5 million players and allows you to create a squad of 15 players from the Premier League teams.
Leagues can be created amongst family members, friends and several communities all over the world, and bragging rights are claimed by those who accumulate the most number of points.
Each week 11 players are picked, and based on their performance, points are tallied up. There are several ways to score points, and here’s a brief overview, as per the website:
For playing up to 60 minutes
For playing 60 minutes or more
For each goal scored by a goalkeeper or defender
For each goal scored by a midfielder
For each goal scored by a forward
For each goal assist
For a clean sheet by a goalkeeper or defender
For a clean sheet by a midfielder
For every 3 shot saves by a goalkeeper
For each penalty save
For each penalty miss
Bonus points for the best players in a match
For every 2 goals conceded by a goalkeeper or defender
For each yellow card
For each red card
For each own goal
Obviously the first squad that you choose is the one that should be created with the most thought, as you are only allowed one transfer per week; you can make more transfer but that results in a deduction of four points per transfer.
But if you find yourself hopeless in the middle of the season, FPL also allows you to use two wildcards which gives you the opportunity to revamp your entire team at no extra deduction. One of these wildcards can be used anytime, while the other has to be used in January.
You can read more rules at the website itself.
Without further ado, let us pick a team for the first Gameweek.
As mentioned before, clean sheets earn you four points, so shelling out a decent sum for a keeper might be advantageous in the long run, as they continue to accumulate points. Last year three goal keepers stood out—Joe Hart, Tim Krul and Michel Vorm.
Another good option is Tim Howard who accumulated 12 and nine clean sheets respectively in the preceding two seasons.
Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s defences were suspect last year, hence there were quite a number of goals leaked. And David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard might be subject to rotation.
There are three criteria for picking defenders:
1. Pick a defender that starts regularly
2. The defender plays in a team that leaks very few goals
3. The defender is also known to score some goals
John Terry and Thomas Vermaelen are good options to have at defence. Both scored six goals last season, and their defences are quite ok.
A Manchester City defender is a must, and Vincent Kompany towers above all—he is the City player least hurt by rotation and can also score a few. Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards are also viable options.
Also picking full-backs on your team is a good idea, as they often foray forward and contribute assists and score regularly. Kyle Walker, Benoit Assou-Ekoto and Leighton Baines fit the bill.
For defenders, looking into bargain options is a must. Last year, Newcastle was the team that provided bargains, as their defence was stubborn.
Ryan Taylor’s defending is not the best, but he does contribute assists and also scores every once in a while. Put him in your team. Both Danny Simpson and Fabricio Coloccini are good options as well.
Jose Enrique is also a must.
Other good options are Angel Rangel, Martin Skrtel and Ashley Cole.
In the first week, Reading and Chelsea both play two games, so perhaps including players from Chelsea and Reading into the defensive mix might be a good idea.
Reading’s Alex Pearce was the player of the season for the club.
I usually like to splash the most of my cash here, as midfielders earn 5 points for scoring and an additional point for a clean sheet. Obviously goal scorers and regular starters should feature here.
The best options from last year were David Silva and Clint Dempsey. Two other fantastic options were Gareth Bale and Antonio Valencia—the latter is a must. Other good options are Gylffi Sigurdsson and Stephane Sessegnon.
Although players like Yaya Toure and Scott Parker feature heavily and are integral members of the squad, I am usually hesitant to include them. Especially the likes of Scott Parker, a player who breaks up defences and is quick to move the ball around to creative counterparts, should not be picked for such a game.
Frank Lampard might be hurt by rotation, and the same goes for other Chelsea players who play in midfield. Perhaps after an established pattern, a Chelsea player should be included.
With that being said, Juan Mata and Ramires should be starters for most games, and since Chelsea play two games in the first gameweek, it makes sense to put them into the starting lineup. I am also sure that Eden Hazard will have more playing time, as the flanks have been a problematic area for Chelsea.
I cannot say much about Oscar though, as he might not be thrust with starting duties immediately.
Nani usually gets off to a flying start to the season, so he too might be an option.
Scott Sinclair is an absolute must-have for any team. Victor Moses, too, is a worthwhile player to consider.
Alex Song has started to move up front, so he might be worthwhile at just 6.5 mn.
Steven Pienaar is also a must at only 6.5mn; he was on fire last season and will probably continue to light up Everton’s play.
Santi Cazorla might need some time to adjust, and 9.0mn is a little pushing it at this early stage.
More expensive options would be Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Sergio Agüero and Papiss Demba Cisse. Pick one from among them.
Nikica Jelavic is a must, and at least for the first game week, so is Pavel Pogrebenyak (plays two games in the first week). Grant Holt is another great option.
I reiterate again—Chelsea and Reading are playing twice, so try to pick three players from Chelsea and perhaps two from Reading for the first game. Adam le Fondre is a viable choice as forward for Reading; he scored 12 times last season, and he also takes penalties.
Let the fantasy games begin.
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