Gameweek 7 is upon us and league tables are already beginning to take shape. How’s it going for your team so far?
The good news is there is still a long way to go, the bad news being if you really want to do well you have to work at it. In fantasy football just like in real sport there is no such thing as standing still, if you’re not moving forwards you’re going backwards and the only way to improve your points total is to improve your team as often as you can.
In my draft league so far I’ve made 8 transfers and would suggest that unless you are sitting in 1st place with well over 300 Pts you are doing something wrong if you haven’t made at least 3 changes yourself. The fantasy landscape is constantly shifting with injuries, suspensions, loss of form and fixture difficulty and your squad should change with it to maximise your points return. The core of your team will remain but the fringes should be fairly fluid throughout the year.
Injuries are the most obvious example of a situation change. Did you draft early and pick Adam Lallana? What about Benteke? Lanzini? Zaha? How long can you bench these players and wait for them to return? Are you sweating on the extent of Paul Pogba’s injury? Please don’t tell me you picked Zlatan Ibrahimović up off waivers back in August.
Other players just haven’t yet hit the heights that were expected of them on Draft Day. Victor Lindelöf at Manchester United, Bernardo Silva at Manchester City, Everton trio Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez & Gylfi Sigurdsson are just a few to have scored less than their original draft positions might have predicted. Do you wait for them to settle in and hope they get a run of games or do you jump ship and turn to a less glamorous but more reliable performer? As ever the choice is yours and situations can change in an instant. The trick is to keep up to date with the news.
Gameweek 7 has a couple of examples of why you should have your finger to the pulse throughout the season, starting with Serge Aurier’s red card last weekend and subsequent suspension. His Spurs side travel to Huddersfield Town for Saturday’s early kick off and that has great potential for a clean sheet or an assist for Tottenham’s full backs. With Aurier’s enforced absence the natural replacement is Kieran Trippier and the Englishman helped himself to an assist in the Champions League in midweek. Because of his weekly rotation risk Trippier was a free agent in my mini league and I’ve picked him up ahead of GW7. Of course Spurs boss Pochettino could throw a curve ball by promoting 3rd choice right back Kyle Walker-Pieters into action but the opportunity of my teams 5th defender playing for a Top 6 side with a favourable fixture was certainly worth the risk.
Another headline from this week was the extended layoff of one of Manchester City’s major signings Benjamin Mendy. Full back is clearly an important position for Pep Guardiola as he bought 3 of them this summer for over £100M in total. Mendy’s long term injury opens the door for utility man Danilo who can cover on either flank and he is guaranteed to see more Premier League action because of it.
The more left-field beneficiary of Mendy’s unfortunate absence could be Fabian Delph as the former Villa man was deployed at left back in City’s 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night. Listed as a Midfielder he won’t pick up the same clean sheet points as other defenders but with his extremely low ownership percentage (0.2% on Draft Fantasy) if he can see some game time over the next few months he could be your angle into City’s starting lineup if you’re in a large league.
You should also be aware of players coming back from injury or in the case of Marko Arnautovic suspension. Having missed a couple of matches following a red card in Gameweek 2 he may still be off the radar for many managers but the Austrian is back in the side and primed for a starring role this weekend with Michail Antonio injured and unavailable. Arnautovic was drafted on average inside the top 50 positions but could well be a free agent in your mini league.
The search for fantasy value never stops and you should be checking the free agent pool regularly as well as trying to predict the implications of situation changes at the top clubs. As ever the best time to score points is last week, the second best time is now. Don’t waste Gameweeks holding onto average players that might or might not produce good numbers in the future. If you put a little effort in you can find the right picks and will see the rewards.
When it comes to Fantasy Football hard work works.
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