Welcome to Andrew Ferguson's Fantasy Football Diary. Andrew is a veteran all-round fantasy football player, with five consecutive
#FPL top 1% finishes (best 715th) and numerous top 100 finishes across multiple formats (Top 100 in #SkyFF and #TFF 18/19). He'll be covering his progress and tips through the season in Fantasy Premier League, FanTeam, Sky Sports Fantasy Football, Telegraph Fantasy Football and Sun Dream Team exclusively for Fantasy Football Hub members.
With the frenetic pace of all fantasy formats catching up with me, the international break came at a great time to allow me time to gather my thoughts and my approach to attacking the next month or two on all fronts. I have had a pretty good start across most games, contextually anyway, setting my bar against established and successful players and am genuinely excited for the weeks ahead where ranks will begin to solidify and become more predictable as the points gaps widen. I had a dreadful season last time out and I never had a feeling of being on the front foot for whatever reason, whereby this season feels different. Maybe I am making more of my 'own' decisions, making better decisions, having more luck or maybe a mixture of all three, who knows. For this week's article I am going to lay out my current thinking for all formats moving forward for my teams. I emphasise 'current' as in this season more than ever we have to be able to think on our feet with so many twists and turns including late fixture scheduling, the spread of matches, an increase in injuries, COVID impact, ever changing player form.... the list goes on. The successful managers this season in my opinion will be the ones who are more reserved, hold transfers back and basically sit on their hands the longest; all traits I'm not renowned for. Let's see if I can flatten those hands until Christmas.
Next 8 Games
Below are the next block of eight fixtures sorted by ease by the Hub's Fixture Ticker. These help give clues of which teams to target and when over the coming Gameweeks. I have highlighted the runs of matches that interest me from a fantasy perspective.
Man City - they haven't been scoring a lot of goals recently but surely they will arrive en masse given their fixture run from Gameweek 10 to 15 and with Aguero and Jesus likely back in the fold. From here I will be interested in Cancelo, Foden (who could start the easier games), De Bruyne and Sterling.
Aston Villa - a team in form and with superb fixtures through to Gameweek 15. A treble up is likely not out of the question! From here Grealish, Watkins and Martinez are the ones who interest me.
Leeds - from Gameweek 12 to 16 the Whites have a superb run of fixtures with Bamford the likely key target there. Klich and Ayling are others consistently performing well.
West Ham - great attacking fixtures for the foreseeable with Antonio top of my watch-list for the Hammers. Cresswell also looks a superb pick-up for this period.
Leicester - a lovely run from Gameweek 10 to 13 although you could argue they are fixture-proof. You just can't get Vardy down whilst Castagne's return will be interesting.
Everton - Gameweek 9 to 11 allows us to see how Everton perform with Richarlison now back in the team. I fully expect them to rediscover their goalscoring form with Calvert-Lewin, Rodriguez and Keane interesting me from a fantasy perspective.
Fantasy Premier League
Gameweek 8 Review
Overall Rank: 1m
A superb week with my faith in Fernandes being repaid whilst new signings Cresswell and Chilwell returned nicely. Is Watkins a suitable alternative for Grealish? As I have three Aston Villa players (including Steer) I have a decision to make there.
Gameweek 9 Team and Captain
Transfer: Kane > Calvert-Lewin?
With the fixture runs in mind, I need to make a rough plan for the coming Gameweeks on captaincy and transfers. I have already played my first Wildcard in Gameweek 3.
I have some difficult decisions to make as I really want Calvert-Lewin and Grealish in for their Gameweek 9 fixtures however, it would mean likely dropping the on-fire Kane which seems a bit counter-productive and also taking at least one hit as I need to move Steer out to free up funds for Grealish. I can't have everyone so I need to work a route out that allows me to get the majority of the players I want and have good captaincy options, but obviously bearing in mind the team I already have. I also want to make sure going into the hectic Christmas period that I have at least 13 playing players as there will surely be rotation and injuries. I am also going to apply my own level of discretion here and say that players who run in behind such as Son and Vardy perform better against 'better' teams who come out and play a bit, so whilst Leicester's short term attacking fixtures look very juicy, I don't necessarily think he is the best attacking option during that period. Son on the the other hand has stiffer fixtures which will suit him.
Gameweek 9 - the best captain option here for me is Calvert-Lewin or Fernandes. Thankfully I already own the latter.
Gameweek 10 - the best captain options here for me are Calvert-Lewin or De Bruyne. I currently don't own either of them.
Gameweek 11 - the best captain option here for me is De Bruyne.
Gameweek 12 - the best captain option here for me is Salah. Son and Antonio also have good attacking fixtures.
Note I haven't mentioned Kane or Grealish once here. This leads me to think that I could get by with selling Kane as I have Son, and getting by with Watkins over Grealish in the short term anyway as they will likely score similarly. I'm not saying I don't want Kane or Grealish, but with my team as it is I need to focus my transfers on De Bruyne and Calvert-Lewin whilst having a think about Gameweek 12. In Gameweeks 13 and 15 Man City again have plum home fixtures so De Bruyne will be the likely captain there.
Now, how and when to get them in. I do have 2.1m in the bank so have a little wiggle-room but not a lot considering the players I want to bring in. I plan on keeping Fernandes (who has four away games in his next six after West Brom), Foden, who for me is an ideal second Man City attacking threat at a cut price, and Son who for me looks a season hold. Podence to De Bruyne is the key move I need to make here. My current thinking is:
Gameweek 9 - Kane to Calvert-Lewin looks a good move and banks me significant budget. I would then have c. £5.2m in the bank.
Gameweek 10 - all being well I complete the double switch of Werner and Podence to Bamford/Antonio and De Bruyne which will involve a hit. This way I have captains covered for the next few Gameweeks in addition to cover for Kane and Grealish. Relinquishing my Chelsea attacker will not be easy but it's the only really way of getting to that well-rounded team with decent captaincy options. Double Chelsea defence could also be great cover here.
Gameweek 11 - potentially save or more likely put out an unexpected fire! I now have enough budget to upgrade my £4.4m fifth midfielder to Jota who could be an intriguing captaincy option in Gameweek 12 subject to him keeping his starting place. This could be my team come Gameweek 11/12:
As with all the best laid plans this may be subject to change as 'things' happen but it's a good starting point to work from! I will need to begin thinking about the double Gameweek period soon too, all good fun!
Don't miss me chatting every week on the The FPL Podcast every week with FPL legends Adam Hopcroft and Andy Green.
Gameweek 8 Review
Overall Rank: 11k
Gameweek 9 Team and Captain
Transfer: Likely save
Largely aligned with my FPL team above, my transfer plan will be very similar albeit I have Calvert-Lewin instead of Werner in my current team.
Sky Sports Fantasy Football
Gameweek 9 Review
Gameweek Points: 103
Overall Rank: 1k
Transfers Left: 33
My strong start continued into Gameweek 10 with another 100+ point week. I am frustrated I wasted a transfer by bringing in Wilson for last Friday evening's games which ended up in a blank and a hamstring injury but other than that I am with the pack and have a reasonable transfer count of 33 remaining. The only problem I foresee in my team is no easy route to Calvert-Lewin should I need to without taking out a key player; as above, I expect Everton to perform well going forward with Richarlison's return. I can however get to Antonio from Ayling which is good should a West Ham captaincy requirement arise. I feel my team is in a very strong position having spent my transfers to date (excluding Wilson!) wisely in order to get to a very strong backbone with all the big hitters to boot. At the time of writing the Premier League scheduling for Sky Gameweek 11 (FPL Gameweek 9) have not been announced so making concrete plans is tricky!
Gameweek 11 Transfer and Captain Plan
Captains: TBC - when fixtures announced
Transfer: TBC - when fixtures announced
If you haven't seen it the The Sky Podcast is live every Sunday evening at 9pm so please feel free to send me any discussion points or questions. The Hub Sky twitter account is here if you want to join in here too.
Telegraph Fantasy Football
Gameweek 8 Review
Gameweek Points: 47
Overall Rank: 28k
Transfers Left: 32
Gameweek 9 Transfer Plan
Well what a strange season! I feel fortunate I acted quickly on my awful start and am currently around 80 points up on my Starting XI team so at 10 points/transfer made I feel quite satisfied rising from around 80k to 27k since the first international break. I wouldn't say I am happy with my team but it could be a lot worse with only the dropped Saiss a real issue. The way I play TFF in the first half of the season is in 'blocks' as there are no captaincy requirements to be concerned about so the fixture ticker is reflective of where to focus my energies. The important thing in TFF is when to make transfers as we currently have the advantage of being able to make transfers between every match due to the current television scheduling.
As always, the key in TFF is finding value so with the fixtures in mind, the players I am interested in bringing in for the next month or two are Bamford (£4.2m), Calvert-Lewin (£5.3m), Antonio (£4.7m), De Bruyne (£6.5m) and maybe Watkins(£4.4m) or Grealish (£4.6m). Che Adams (£3.5m) also looks incredible value. I can't pick all these options obviously and also need to find a suitable replacement for Saiss (£2.9m). Reguilon and Tierney are not ideal defenders but they are playing most games which is all I ask for at the moment. With Spurs' fixtures turning I will likely move out Kane (£6.7m) to free up funds with Werner still looking a snip at £5.6m for the long term. I am tempted to take out Salah (£6.8m) too although this is a big risk; Robertson (£5.1m) or even Jota (£4.1m) could provide relative value longer term as goals continue to regress with the Scotsman also solving my third defender problem. Chilwell (£4.2m) also looks a superb defensive (and offensive) option albeit Chelsea's medium term fixtures are not that enticing.
The players I am definitely willing to take out are Saiss and Kane. The player I definitely want in is De Bruyne.
The players I am willing to take out for the greater good are Salah and Klich (subject to getting Bamford). The players I would most like to bring in are Watkins/Bamford and Calvert-Lewin.
With this in mind the likely changes I am considering making going into late November are Saiss, Kane and Salah to Chilwell, De Bruyne and Watkins. This would then leave me with 29 transfers and 1.3m in the bank which could allow me to upgrade Klich to Bamford or leave the cash in the bank for future upgrades. Alternatively I could also take out Son for Grealish which would then leave room for Calvert-Lewin instead of Watkins..... so many options! It is unlikely I will confirm my exact changes prior to the start of Gameweek 9 as everything is moving so quickly this season (and we don't get the fixture schedule until very late on!) it is practically impossible to specifically plan in advance. However these are my current thoughts with the potential team coming together below over the coming Gameweeks:
The latest The TFF Podcast is available and we will continue to record around once per month.
Gameweek 8 Review
Gameweek Points: 137
Overall Rank: 52
Transfers Left for the Month: 4 (November)
Gameweek 9 Transfer Plan
Again another superb week and it could have been so much better if De Bruyne had scored the penalty with him being surprisingly low-owned in the top 100 overall. Foden and Robertson are the only two not really performing but I expect Foden to get a lot of game-time in their superb upcoming run so I'm not very concerned with him. Liverpool on the other hand are struggling defensively so a move could be on the cards there albeit I've been burned taking him out before! Robertson to Cancelo could be a good move although Mendy is back in training so it will be a monitor for now. With four transfers available from the 21st November to 3rd December I can (as I have done throughout this season) hopefully set my team up nicely going into December to enable me to hold my December transfers back for when I need them, rather than for fire-fighting. Man City in particular have a stupendous run of fixtures.
I will update this article next week for Hub members with hopefully a more refined plan of action all round!
Good luck everyone for Gameweek 9!
Give me a follow on Twitter @Fergi222. The intention of the article is to share my thought process and teams at the time of writing. Team line-ups, last minute injuries etc may mean some of my line-ups and captaincy choices may slightly change come the deadline. Keep an eye on team news and make the decisions you feel are the correct ones for you in the circumstances.
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