Fantasy Premier League Tips 2013: Weekly Strategies to Strengthen Your Squad
Raise your hand if you've ever criticized a manager, owner or any individual in charge for their decisions concerning your favorite Barclay's Premier League club.
Since millions of hands are currently dangling in the air without recourse, now is as good a time as any to touch on one of the few ventures in the world in which everyday people get a chance to prove they could do it better.
Will you be playing Fantasy Premier League this year?
You guessed it—Fantasy Premier League action is back with a vengeance.
With only £100 million to work with, do you have the managerial skills to turn a 15-man Premier League fantasy squad into a championship contender?
Whether you answered that question with a yes, no or a resounding response of indifference, we'll take a look at some advice below that should help managers get the most out of their squad on a weekly basis this year.
*Advice and information based on rules from the Barclay's Premier League official fantasy setup.
Get The Most Bang For Your Buck
Putting together a championship squad without breaking the bank is no easy task.
Picking up a defender for cheap is a great move. Getting a defender for a good price that can contribute on the attack and play closer to the midfield is a move you should make 10 times out of 10.
From point contributions to keeping your financial situation in check, there's something to be said for managers who can find a versatile player at a reasonable price.
Conversely, getting stuck with a pricey player who doesn't produce consistent results can cripple long-term success. Although the fantasy setup at PremierLeague.com affords managers the chance to complete a free transfer each week, multiple transfers start taking points away from your overall total.
Remember—you have 15 spots to fill. If you decide to spend your money all in one place, it puts an inordinate amount of pressure on finding low-cost players who produce consistent results each week.
Finding one or two such players would be considered shrewd. If you're searching for seven or eight of those guys, you're just asking for failure. Be careful with your allotted money, though maybe not to the extent that Arsene Wenger has been this summer.
Choose Your Captains Wisely
Managers are given the chance to choose a captain and vice-captain for their weekly lineups.
A captain's points are doubled. If a designated captain does not log a minute of match time, then the designated vice-captain's points will take over in his stead.
As blackjack pundits everywhere will tell you, doubling down in the right moment can reap huge monetary rewards. The same idea holds true for Premier League fantasy points.
Everything from a player's fitness to their individual player matchup to the strength of their upcoming opposition should be analyzed before slapping a captain's tag on a big-name player. Robin van Persie might lead the EPL in scoring his year, but David Moyes could choose to rest the star against a lesser club when European competition sets in.
Choose wisely before doubling down on a player.
Whether you choose to employ a 4-4-2, a 4-3-2-1 or a more classic 2-3-5 formation, finding consistent players is undoubtedly more important than spending your money on a striker who is just as likely to record a hat trick as he is to sit the bench.
Particularly true in the attacking portion of a fantasy lineup, carrying multiple strikers and midfielders who take up big chunks of your allotted wages and don't have solid weekly point averages is a bad move.
Creative midfielders who don't score goals might not attract your attention to start, but upon closer examination of how points are awarded, they should. Assisting on goal nets is just one point less (three) than a goal scored by a forward (four).
If Luis Suarez is your cup of tea, you might be disheartened by the fact that yellow cards subtract a point from a weekly total. Red cards are triple that penalty.
In the net, spectacular saves on penalties draw the biggest reward (five points), but for each three saves a keeper makes, he earns a point. Conversely, it takes two goals conceded in a match to make a goaltender or keeper a liability.
On defense and in the net, keeping a clean sheet is rewarded heavily (four points), as is scoring goals (six points).
Add it all together, and you should see that your roster will be at its best when you balance a majority of consistency with the necessary risk of a striker or midfielder who could go off for big points at any moment.
If you could build your fantasy Premier League squad around one player, who would that one player be?
It's extremely difficult to put together a championship-caliber roster in English football—that much we know from watching the Premier League unfold on a yearly basis.
Given the keys to basically build a lineup from scratch, some would argue that it's even harder to build a Premier League fantasy team that will stand up to new challenges on the virtual pitch each week.
Hopefully these small tips help your squad score points, maintain a level of consistency throughout the grind of the season ahead and help give your ego enough of a boost to where it's fun to brag about what you would have done differently if in charge on the pitch.
That's what fantasy sports are all about.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.
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