Former HOF Number 1 FPL Manager Richard Clarke is an FPL veteran and has one of the most enviable best records out there, notching 2 top 500 finishes, 7 top 10k finishes and has never finishing outside the top 30k in every single one of his 13 seasons. His articles take a detailed 'longer-term' view of the approach and FPL strategy to achieve success in a season. The aim is to exclusively give Fantasy Football Hub members perspective on the recent/upcoming period of games and relate this to their own team's position. Rich articulates his learnings and FPL strategy as we move through each phase of the season where international breaks, chip timing and fixture turns all come into play.
Summary of my position @ the end of Gameweek 12:
Current Rank: 402k (-33k on GW12) (Top 5.5%)
Team Value: 104.4M (+1.3m on GW12)
#transfers made in last 4 weeks: 5 (1 hit)
(In: Tielemans, Jiminez, Mane, Alli, Kelly)
(Out: Salah, Greenwood, Sterling, Tielemans, Tomori)
#transfers this GW: 2
Chips played: NONE
FPL Strategy - Observations
- It has been very difficult to make any ground in recent weeks despite an upturn in captaincy choices and returns
- Many teams have a template feel with differentials (if you get them right) needing to return quickly before they become part of the evolving template!
- Managers have had to call upon their vice-captains and deeper benches already as rotation starts to kick in - particularly for the top teams
- Clean sheets remain a bit of a lottery so a cheaper defence with three at the back is a sensible approach with so many sub 5.0 options around
Looking Back (GW13- GW17)
There has been a frustrating lack of upward progress as far as overall ranking is concerned over the last five Gameweeks.
I began Gameweek 13 by making the transfers I should have made in Gameweek 12! Salah out for Tielemans and bringing in Jiminez for Greenwood for a 'necessary hit'. These were bolder moves I should have made before the break and actually worked out OK. Salah did not start Gameweek 13 and Jiminez scored seven points. I still felt a little behind the crowd on this one but the balance of my team and the extra funds put me back in control.
The following week (14) it was time to lose Sterling (who scored immediately after this of course) making the overdue switch to Mane. Sterling just has not been performing for a player of his value and his inconsistency of returns similar to players in the 6m-8m bracket. I admit to being late getting Mane in, but his price does allow me to move him on more easily as I look to take full advantage of my wildcard (more on this later).
After banking a transfer in Gameweek 15, the upturn in form of Tottenham, following Jose Mourinho's arrival made the transfer-in of Alli almost a default move in Gameweek 16. Alli duly delivered with two assists, so Tielemans had a shorter than planned stay in my side.
Wanting to carry two transfers into this coming weekend, I made a relatively dull move last week to bring in Kelly (for Tomori) to take advantage of Crystal Palace's continuing strong fixtures and defence. I finished Gameweek 17 with 71 points and a 120k rank rise to 402K - still on the edge of things but not where I want to be after Christmas!
FPL Strategy - Lessons learned!
These all look like sensible moves with an eye on the Christmas fixtures and making sure I maintain a full playing bench. This is something I would advocate for all at this time. I captained Vardy four times during this period and Mane once (BHA, incorrectly) very much staying with the herd. The learnings from this are that whilst I have not lost much ground, I haven't gained any either, so I'm looking to do a few different things over the next four games to progress.
I do feel better about this last period of games than the previous set - with steady Captain returns and a few examples of patience paying off a little? in the form of Mount and Abraham (scoring/returning quickly from injury) punishing those who were quick to ditch.
This does seem to be the season for making early transfers and not being punished by midweek fixtures or rotation. Some big team values have been built up as a result and this will come in handy later in the season for managers who have taken the risk to go early. Time will tell but I still personally prefer to wait for information late in the week before making my moves. There is enough value around to always give an option, so despite the mediocre 104.4m team value at this stage, I'm not too worried.
FPL Strategy - Ranking Targets (next period)
Gap to: Top 100k - 40 points (GW12 = 30); Top 1% - 56 points (GW12 = N/A), Top 25k - 70 points (GW12 = 55); Top 10k - 86 points (GW12 = 68)
I've added a new measure this time - Top 1% - this isn't because I'm giving up on the Top 10k, but want another (nearer) progressive target to aim for. 71,000th will get you a Top 1% finish these days and perhaps that's a benchmark for a 'good season' now?
The field is still very bunched around my current (402k) ranking with each point worth thousands of places so its definitely time to wildcard soon and try and maximise the flexibility and returns that gives me.
FPL Strategy - Christmas Planning
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