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, 8 top 10k finishes and has never finished outside the top 0.5% in every single one of his 14 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.

Rich's FPL record


In this three-part pre-season series, I am aiming to share my decisions and learnings from a very challenging 2019/20 season, illustrate how I approach and play the game and finally reveal my Gameweek 1 squad and strategy that will give me the most flexible start.

Planning for the new season

My approach for building an initial squad has always been quite a simple one. I put a strong emphasis on fixtures and divide teams' opening six games into 3 'Buckets'; Good, Mixed and Bad. From here I am quickly able to identify the majority of my initial squad - maybe 10-12 players whom I'll be happy to start the season with, knowing the majority will have favourable games. I will also make sure the squad is 'balanced' price point wise, with value and premium players across all positions. This allows me to easily move between players once form teams and players emerge from the opening matches. Finally, I'll look to apply some learning from previous seasons and the huge amount of great content out there in the community. This year, I'll be paying a lot of attention to captaincy planning and player rotation in finalising a first draft. After this, I'll keep an eye on the transfer market and check if any pre-season golden opportunities emerge before finalising my Gameweek 1 team. The last few squad positions will be decided here. That's it. Nice and simple.

The 'Science' behind the buckets!

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