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A Newbie’s Journey into FPL, Episode 1: Rate My (Brand New) Game-week 14 Team

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Once upon a time, a humble football fantasy enthusiast decided to sail the vast sea of EPL by joining the millions across the world who play FPL. His journey will be chronicled here.

Jose Mourinho - Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Introducing the Newbie

With the UEFA Champions League group stage over, my thoughts began to drift to the English Premier League — should I increase the seven-digit number of global FPL players by one more? The staff at NMA encouraged this idea, and so I spent the last few days cloistered in study, researching players and forming a squad of 15 in time to start the journey by the deadline for game-week 14.

Fiorentina’s goalscorer Gabriel Batistuta celebrat
One of the game’s GOATs, Gabriel Batistuta celebrates Fiorentina’s victory over Arsenal at the conclusion of their UCL match on 27 October, 1999.
Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

I’ve been a football fan since I was six years old, and for me the stars of football have always been either in Spain or Italy. There was only one European league being broadcast in my country in the early 1990s, so I fell in love with the play-style of a certain forward and his Italian club. I became more and more interested in analyzing the tactics of each team and how their managers approached each fixture. Following every minute of my favorite Italian club’s progress in the Champions League opened my eyes to the realization that there are actually many leagues out there with shining stars and interesting styles of play.

It has been around 25 years now, and my favorite club won the Coppa Italia twice, the Super Coppa Italia once, went into bankruptcy (a dark period when I did not watch a single football match for a couple of years), and returned to Italy’s top flight in 2004.

Tottenham Hotspur v Fiorentina - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Dele Alli vs the late Astori
Photo by Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images

It was 2015 when Fiorentina faced Spurs in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, and even though Fiorentina generally dominated, the English team captured my attention. Both teams once again found themselves facing each other in the Round of 32 in 2016. Tottenham destroyed La Viola in the return leg 3-0, and I have been a Spurs fan ever since.


The Plan

So while I am one of NMA’s authorities on world football and the Champions League, the only EPL team that I have followed with any regularity is Spurs, and I have no experience whatsoever with the EPL’s official fantasy game. I therefore devised a system to track my progress as I endeavor to become a competent FPL manager.

Name: MiQsters

Self-imposed criteria to become “Competent”:

  • 10 Points: Prepare for GW14 and select initial 15-player squad
  • 10 Points: Score more than 50 points in one GW
  • 10 Points: Score more than 60 points in one GW
  • 15 Points: Score more than 70 points in one GW
  • 10 Points: Successful selection of Captain/Vice Captain 2 GW in a row
  • 5 Points: Play a total of 5 GW
  • 10 Points: Play a total of 10 GW
  • 30 Points: After 70 points are collected, NMA blog readers to vote MiQ as a competent EPL fan and FPL manager (90%)

Current Level: Newbie 10/100

Current Rank:

  • Globally: Last
  • Own Country: Last
  • NMA: Last

Baby Steps

My pseudo-familiarity with Spurs is not going to be nearly enough for me to succeed at fantasy EPL, so I researched fantasy sites, analyzed the statistics, and ran the math. Here is the preliminary team that my selection process generated:

Goalkeepers

It seems that Hugo Lloris of Spurs is on top of the list, but I went for three Tottenham players in the outfield, and FPL rules will not allow me a fourth player from the same club. Mendy was my top choice based on his low price and his performance in the UCL this season, where he kept four clean sheets in six matches. The West Ham stopper on the other hand has a good point return and some relatively easy upcoming fixtures.

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Defenders

The players I chose automatically were Eric Dier and Andrew Robertson. The rest of the players were selected for their combination of low value, high ownership by other managers, and high form score.

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Midfielders

Since Spurs and Liverpool are on top of the EPL, I went in thinking I should buy three players from each of those clubs right away. Two thoughts quickly stopped me from doing that. Liverpool players’ prices are too high and half of my team will end up as nobodies as a result. I wanted to leave room for a few famous names such as Timo Werner and Bruno Fernandes. After choosing Son, Bruno and Georginio Wijnaldum (this one needs focused follow-up to predict when he will start), Pedro Neto and Tomas Soucek (I had to Google their names to become familiar with their faces) came up naturally in the midfield as good performers with low prices.

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Forwards

I had no doubt that I would be bringing Harry Kane and Werner into my team. They may have a few bad matches but are in general difference-makers and will most probably be my main earners this season. With £6.2M left in the bank after drafting those two, the best remaining option was Chris Wood.


Transfers and GW14 Fixtures

Since this is a brand-new team that I just created, I still have the option of unlimited transfers up until the deadline for GW 14. Consequently, this newbie would highly appreciate any help he can get. For starters, I did not plan on having three West Ham players, and I really wanted to find a place in my team for Ben Chilwell.

I have no idea how this new voyage is going to pan out, but it is an exciting new adventure for me and it could be for you as well. Do not consider yourself a reader and someone who is just going to give me an idea or two, On the contrary; I invite you to become a shareholder of this team, helping to guide me around the traps and pitfalls that you’ve already learned how to avoid.


To be Continued...

I will be documenting my newbie journey into FPL in a series of articles here. Tune in for the second episode as soon as GW14 comes to an end!

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Please help me select the best possible squad, and tell me how I should arrange the Starting XI and the subs. Are there any tricks I should know? What mistakes should I avoid? There are many questions, but there is little time, so I anxiously await your help!

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