As the FPL game grows in popularity, reaching one of those coveted top 10k finishes is becoming increasingly more challenging: in fact the top 50k has now become a more realistic target, or even the top 1% (likely top 90k if we see another 9 million managers in this campaign.)
With the wealth of information now on offer for fantasy managers, it's strategy where you are most likely to get an edge over your rivals now. Here are my seven tips for a successful FPL season.
Once you have finished reading these superb tips, don’t forget to check out our Ultimate FPL 2021/22 Guide which has everything you could ever need be a successful FPL manager including guides, team previews, player picks, strategy articles, tools, stats, expert team reveals and much much more…
1. Balance of Big Hitters
Every season I fall into the same trap of selecting one too many big hitters for Gameweek 1. I can't help seeing my team as a big jigsaw, with a Wishlist in tow and a desire to tick off almost every single element. I must follow my own advice this campaign, and not overdo the number of big hitters in my side. It's my most important tip for the FPL season ahead.
This season we seem to have a severe lack of options when it comes to premium strikers, with just Harry Kane (£12.5m) and Jamie Vardy (£10.5m) priced over the £10m mark. Therefore, I find it might be much easier to achieve this campaign!
As I look at my first draft, I've currently got just two premium players signed: Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) and Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m). In an ideal world, three big hitters is often the sweet spot, especially with captaincy to consider and to allow for greater flexibility using free transfers going forward.
If you go too heavy on big hitters, you'll find yourselves stuck when it comes to switching between assets easily. If you go too far in the opposite direction, numerous early captain blanks could derail your fantasy season before it has even begun. I usually recommend having two big hitters in midfield and one big striker.
2. Key Captaincy Contenders
Tip number two is intrinsically linked to tip number one: during the very early stages of the season, it's important to select the reliable big name players as your captain for the opening gameweeks. For this reason, having two or three big hitters who are reliable captaincy candidates on a weekly basis and reasonably fixture proof, should stand you in good stead.
Ownership has to come into those considerations too: at the time of writing, there's a pool of big names dominating the "Team selected by %" metric. Mohamed Salah, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Kane and Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) are those with significant ownership from the traditional big six clubs. You would expect those names to dominate the most captained statistics across the opening weeks.
Crucially for this pool of players, they all look likely to be on penalties for their respective clubs, which is a hugely influential factor. For me, I'm expecting Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool to be the key teams at the start of the season, regardless of fixtures, so owning a player from each of those sides who you would trust the armband with, is a key strategy.
3. Timing those Transfers
Transfers and points hits are key elements within the game and getting those decisions and more crucially the timing right, can save you points over the course of the season. I'm an advocate of making transfers as close to the deadline as possible.
Traditionally, press conferences for a standard FPL Gameweek take place up until 5pm UK time on a Friday. For that reason, I usually make my transfers on a Friday evening or Saturday morning ahead of the deadline. That strategy works best as you have a full picture surrounding injuries and availability.
There are situations when an early transfer is necessary though, particularly when you have exact funds to make your moves. Trying to bank a transfer where possible is very valuable though, as it does allow greater flexibility. Having two free transfers gives you the option of making one, two or three transfers without suffering a significant points hit. I tend to take less than 10 points hit a season, with anything above a -4 a rarity.