I've been a devotee of various Fantasy Premier League games for the past decade and have taken part in season-long leagues, draft-style head-to-head shootouts and, more recently, daily fantasy competitions. Each season and in every league, I've encountered at least one of the following managerial archetypes:
1. The Absentee
This manager can also be called the "one and done" or "set it and forget it" as they select their team at the beginning of the season and let it ride. This strategy rarely leads to any sort of success as injuries, suspensions and form limit the effectiveness of a Week 1 team over the course of a 38-week season. However, for the manager who's afraid of change or who simply wants to feel included among his or her FPL-frenzied friends, you could certainly do worse.
2. The Addict
On the opposite end of the spectrum from The Absentee, this manager can hardly spend a minute away from their teams, and often plays across multiple formats. Hardly an hour goes by when they're not checking their teams on their phone, their computer, their smartwatch, etc. As the fantasy deadline approaches, The Addict is consumed by team news and can be paralyzed by the myriad lineup permutations running through their mind. It's best not to feed them after midnight.
3. The Axeman
This manager has no regard for building team value over time (in season-long formats) and has no qualms dumping any player out of their lineup at any time, even if their price has increased significantly. Riyad Mahrez just put up double digits for the fifth match in a row but faces Arsenal away next? Gone. The chopping and changing continues from week to week, until the Axeman eventually prices him or herself out of the best available options and is stuck settling for players they'd rather not have heading toward the end of the season.
4. The Contrarian
This manager never would have had Riyad Mahrez in the first place. The most popular fantasy picks each week are the bane of The Contrarian's existence, as they search frantically for the under-the-radar differential that will definitely deliver this week. Or maybe not. The alternative options are alternatives for a reason, though, and the risk-to-reward ratio is extremely volatile. The Contrarian will deliver some huge weekly scores, but should expect at least twice as many dumpster fires over the course of the season.
5. The Copycat
This manager takes "expert advice" a little too literally, to the point that if their favorite fantasy writer happens to post their best lineup, they'll do whatever it takes to emulate that team. Most commonly found in competitions with unlimited transfers, but The Copycat also exists in extreme cases in limited transfer leagues, where they're even willing to sacrifice points to follow the advice of others. This manager is missing out on the best part of fantasy sports: the reward of making a tough choice and seeing it pay off.
6. The Enigma
There's always one manager in your league who seemingly has no managerial style whatsoever, and they can change drastically from week to week. One week they're all in on one team or captaining a huge differential, the next they've put together a balanced team and are betting on the consensus pick for the armband. You may learn that The Enigma has decided to select their team based on how aesthetically pleasing the layout is, or how fun the players' last names are.
7. The Hoarder
The polar opposite of The Axeman, this manager is all about the discounts, and will hang onto players whose values have increased in hopes of filling the remaining places in their squad with higher-priced options. This strategy is often very effective during and immediately following transfer windows, but can become crippling if The Hoarder is unwilling to part with their discounted players to make way for better options. There are even some instances where The Hoarder will keep injured or suspended players in their lineups so as not to lose the discount.
8. The Loyalist
Whether it's a proven fantasy stud or a hot-and-cold player with a lot of potential, this manager has that one player they just refuse to drop from their side. "Wayne Rooney hasn't scored in 15 matches? No big deal. He's undroppable!" An alternative form of The Loyalist is the manager who refuses to pick players facing their favorite team, or who will only pick players from teams he or she is a fan of, which is another strategy that routinely backfires.
9. The Natural
This manager plays by intuition and gut feeling, and inexplicably seems to get things right week after week. There's not necessarily a true strategy in play other than which players are crying out for selection when The Natural spends time on assembling their fantasy team. The Natural is also capable of putting a team together in just a few minutes and can be free to go about the rest of their week comfortable in the inevitable boon of points headed their way.
10. The Statistician
This manager is obsessive about understanding the reasons for why a particular team or player will perform well on a given day, and applies their extensive research to their team selections each week. Romelu Lukaku has scored in 7 straight matches against West Ham United and faces them this weekend? Time to buy. Chelsea always gets scored on by Newcastle? Better drop Asmir Begovic. The Statistician's decisions are often well-informed, but also fall victim to the volatility and unpredictability of Premier League football. It can be a frustrating, even infuriating experience to be The Statistician, but they will persist in the hopes of their research coming good in the end.
Do you fit one of the above archetypes? A combination of many? None of the above? Vote below, and let us know your style in the comments!