Telegraph Fantasy Football Tips – 2021/22 Season
The Telegraph fantasy game launched in the last week with three notable interesting changes to rules, so I thought I’d kick off my first article this season with an in-depth look on what impact they will have (most stats courtesy of Frank @FFStuff3 and Carl @DarkishJungle).
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Rule change 1: Addition of 1 point per 2 saves for a Goalkeeper
Below is a table of the goalkeepers who would have gained most points had the rule been in place last season. Topping the pile was Leeds stopper Meslier would have gained an incredible 62 points, followed closely by Argentina’s recent hero Emiliano Martínez. Nick Pope, who many felt had an underwhelming 20/21 season, came in third with 50 points gained.
It is worth noting that with the addition of these points, Villa’s no.1 would have finished as the fifth highest for overall points for last season, with only Kane, Salah, Fernandes and Son finishing higher.
This is remarkable given Dean Smith’s men did not get past the third round of the FA Cup season last season, so there wasn’t the opportunity to advance on league qualifying points.
How will this affect my decision making though? I always look for the best value goalkeeper, regardless if they are the budget or premium end. I will be using P/£/G (points per million per game played) to see where I believe the most value is.
This is my preferred approach over the P/£ stats available on the TFF website because it fairly represents players who have missed large parts of the season through injury or having only become first choice. This results in the a top 10 for P/£/G as follows (note a minimum of 10 games played qualified):
I’m still not convinced with the Southampton goalkeeping situation, so I’ll be immediately ruling out top-placed Forster. However, my immediate attention is drawn to the next three, the aforementioned Meslier and Martinez, and Brighton’s keeper Sanchez.
Note that the Spanish keeper did not feature in the top 10 for overall uplift in points, mainly due to his 26 appearances coming when he displaced Mat Ryan as first choice. His Pts/£m are comfortably behind both Meslier and Martinez, but had he been first choice all season and scored similarly throughout, he would have provided better value using this season’s price as a gauge.
Note title winning City keeper Edersen, who went through that strong run of defensive point fruition last season, does not appear in the top 10 for value.
Rule change 2: Addition of 1 point per 2 successful tackles for a midfielder
For many fellow Sky fantasy managers, tackle bonus isn’t something new. It opens so many more options, which in my opinion is only a good thing. I saw the rule change advertised prior to seeing the player list and Hojbjerg, Ndidi, Bissouma, Romeu and Rodri were all players that I immediately thought may offer more value now.
So, how does the top 20 midfielders for overall value look after these recalculations?
TFF have done well to increase the potential player pool, with defensive tackle-minded midfielders now filtering through into the top end of value. With managers using their extra budget to invest in premium players who consistently hit high season scores, it opens up more budget-friendly options.
See below select midfielders from the premium range, along with the five players in my initial thoughts, with their corresponding P/£/g:
Rule change 3: The reintroduction of the 5-3-2 formation
With no captaincy in TFF, and the value in defenders (more on this further on), a lot of experienced managers were clamouring for the addition of a 5-4-1 formation at the beginning of last season. Telegraph Towers gave managers what they wanted, but at the expense of the popular 5-3-2 formation, however this has been reintroduced for the 21/22 season.
Why is this important? As you’ll see from the following table, defenders dominate the top 10 value outfield positions in the game for value (even with the tackle rule addition), with eight defenders, two midfielders and no strikers making up the numbers.
In addition, without the 5-3-2 formation it left the 5-4-1 option somewhat inflexible when looking to change formations with transfers.
Does this mean I’ll use value to pick my starting XI for the season? I’ll be using value, nailed-on-ness, fixture runs and having some heavy hitters in with the spare budget.
If we only use value as an indicator, we are not maximising points, an obvious example is Kane who finished top points scorer last season with 232 and a corresponding P/£/g of 0.90.
Filling our team with nailed-on value players along with big point scorers in attack has often been a recipe for success in TFF, and one I’ll be trying to replicate by utilising some of the above information.
Please note I’ll be following this article up with another where I create a shortlist of players using the criteria above and start to formulate my starting XI. If you enjoyed reading keep your eyes peeled.
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