To help new fantasy managers and provide a refresher for all of us, Sir John has compiled a resource list and tips that hopefully will assist you in the weeks and months to come.
• The key to success is player, manager, and team information. It will be your best friend for competing and much can be found on the Internet. It also is vital to have players who are in the lineup each week. Future stars do you no good for the present.
• If there is one rule to always follow that is easier said than done is to manage with your head and not your heart. There is a tendency to stick with players you either like or who have performed well in the past but have lost a step or two.
• Also important, don’t make a change in your lineup until the night before a match. During the week of training, players sometimes come up with an injury, meaning you’ve wasted not one but two transfers if you bring in a replacement for the injured player.
• Under the divided fantasy season, you are allotted 20 transfers in each segment. Any unused transfers in the first segment do not carry over to the second half. Probably the best strategy is to save at least three transfers for the final week of the season and field your strongest team.
• Sir John lobbied long and hard for a return to ESPN Soccernet’s old system of fluctuating budgets and was delighted that the managers of the game have made that change. Everyone starts with a 100 million pound budget to spend on 15 players. Last season even if you had a player’s value increase based on his productivity, you were not rewarded for his higher salary and your budget stayed the same. Now if you buy a player for 9 million and his value goes up to 11 million, your budget increases to 102 million when you transfer that player. Conversely, if your player’s value drops from 9 million to 7 million because of poor performance, your budget will be 98 million when you dispose of him. The free enterprise system is useful in bringing in higher priced players as the season progresses.
• ESPN’s Soccernet.com has team pages, upcoming fixtures, player profiles, scoring history, and weekly previews.
• Google can take you to specific player information for the latest news stories. This is useful when a player has had an injury and you are waiting for updates that are not posted on the physio web page below.
• You can also do a Google search of newspapers in each of the EPL cities to read the latest in their sports pages. You will find wild, tabloid-type coverage of most of English football and few in-depth pieces.
Below is a list of useful web sites:
Usually have the projected lineups for the next day. Best to check late on Friday.
Reliable listing of injuries and expected return date for players on each team. New entries are usually up on a daily basis.
This is a quick preview of each game coming up with team news and predicted outcome. Often is not updated until late Friday of each week.
Good source of information on football around the world. Be sure and activate the English/United Kingdom version for EPL news. One feature that Sir John enjoys is when they give grades (1-10 usually in the 4-9 range) and comments for each player in the major matches.
This is a breezy web site with news about the beautiful game, complete with rumors, injury updates, etc.
Another source for information, not as easy to navigate as ESPN, but useful. One feature on this page is their Game tracker that follows a match with commentary much like Game cast on ESPN. It will list assists, yellow cards and other developments in a game.
This is a way to know what games are going to be on FSC TV for each week. ESPN got part of the TV contract last year and matches that will be televised are listed in their fixtures.
BBC Sport—Additional source for analysis. Click on “Football.”
This is a so-so forum not always up-to-date.
Another general information source.
Other things to remember:
We are in the summer transfer window now that goes from the end of the playing season to August 31. So, even though the season begins, there are two weeks when players can don new kits. Their move will not cost you a transfer.
However, the most fun happens in January. This is the only other time when clubs can bring in new players.
Outside these 'windows', Premiership clubs can only sign players on a permanent basis if they seek special dispensation from the Football Association. This dispensation is typically only granted for exceptional circumstances - mainly if a team has no goalkeeper available to play in their squad.
Players can be loaned out to non-Premiership clubs outside of the 'windows', but cannot bring in loan players. Again the special dispensation for exceptional circumstances is available.
Loaned out players from one EPL club to another cannot play against the loaning club (i.e. Emmanuel Adebayor could not play for Spurs against Manchester City last season).
Africa Cup of Nations
Managers should keep in mind from January 19 to February 10 there will be a handful of players who will be in South Africa competing in the Africa Cup of Nations. Sixteen national teams are entered and a select group of EPL players will be out of action while their EPL clubs continue playing.
You need to be very careful in not expending too many transfers early. Some managers replace a player competing in the Africa games and then transfer him back in; however, that strategy uses two transfers.
Good luck and have fun.