Here is a short guide on when, and when NOT to panic. (A silly title. Because you should NEVER panic)
It’s the evening before the onslaught of Premier League football. That mid-table midfielder differential who has been giving us ‘the eyes’ all preseason suddenly seems irresistible, and the new Premium Striker signing who has been in our drafts since day one suddenly looks like an insane, luxurious gambit.
Whatever we end up brazenly sending out into the unknown on Saturday morning, there is always, ALWAYS, a post-mortem on Monday night.
Especially when the only outfield player with more than 15% ownership to score over 5 points was Coutinho.
So. With Wildcards poking out of our pockets, when do we panic?
Popular Panic #1: Blanks FC
Spending big on an outfield that ALL had a sad day at the office, you end up with blanks pretty much everywhere.
Natural Reaction: Everyone I picked is wrong! Why did I go for a Sunderland defender, and why the HELL does Hazard cost so much?
Verdict: Look at the average Gameweek score. This guy is 12 points away from that average. Now imagine this is mid season, and you are just TWELVE POINTS from your rival. Not so big a mountain is it? This season’s Gameweek 1 was so low scoring that the ground to make up really isn’t much, and your rank does not express your squad’s potential. Those players you spent days picking WILL NOT blank every week. Calm down. Save your transfer, sort yourself out next week. Make sure you watch Match of the Day or similar highlights to see how your players PLAYED, rather than just looking at their blank score and imagining that they sat in the centre-circle eating a sandwich all game.
Popular Panic #2: The Scapegoat
You scratch your way through the weekend without much to thrill you. But then you look at the average score, and it’s not too bad. You still have ONE more premium player to save your week, you could even climb the rankings with a goal and some bonus Points. Monday night, that guy is 1-on-1 with the keeper… and ruins your Gameweek.
Natural Reaction: At first, this is a tough one to take. You looked into the slightly cheaper option from the same team (YY Toure in this case) and you also flirted with the pricier player (Silva-the-majestic). BOTH outscored your punt, due to a shocking miss or two. STERLING YOU USELESS CHILD.
Verdict: Most likely, you have this player from GW1 for a reason. Sterling in this case has pedigree when fit and now, surrounded by quality, is sure to make his mark. You need to understand that MISSES FROM 8 YARDS ARE GOOD THINGS. Sure, not this Gameweek, but the fact he had several shots in and around the box, broke away to get one on one with the keeper, and was indirectly involved with two goals means his overall goal threat was high. Don’t blame one man’s blank on your whole squad’s inadequacies.
Popular Panic #3: Thirty-Three Minuets in Heaven
Natural Reaction: He costs NINE MILLION and he doesn’t even PLAY!?
Verdict: It depends on how many players you have suffering from a bench start. This can’t be answered with broad strokes; we must use a case-by-case analysis. The questions are easy:
– Is the player fully fit? Walcott’s case, he’s obviously part of a wider rotation plan with Giroud. This complicates things from a fantasy point of view. Sanchez and Aguero on the other hand had Copa America and a late preseason.
– Do you have other options? If the player in question is on the cheaper end of the scale, and you have other options, then why not wait it out, especially if the time they DID spend on the pitch was reasonably fruitful. Ighalo, Gestede, even Memphis have more to offer than 10-70 minuits. The former two had points offerings, the latter had a decent(ish) performance against a tough team.
– How many were no-shows? If you had 4 or more sub or bench appearances, it’s possible you have gone about your squad construction in too risky a manor. Even in this case, all you need to do is aim for 11 starters the following week. The season is a long, long drive, and the wildcard is your free re-fuel. Think about how one to two choice transfers would affect your ‘Pick Team’ page for the next week, and build from there.
So tell me, O Calm One: When do I panic?
With the new wildcard system this season, an earlyish wildcard is no longer a horrific idea. But not Gameweek 1. The transfer window is still open, any results in the first week could be shocks that bear no relation to a team’s overall potential (Hello Arsenal Midfield).
A popular wildcard choice is Gameweek 4. It is the international break, which allows you two weeks in which to tinker, as well as deal with injuries from Internationals. You have seen a few weeks of football, and have an idea of the form and teamsheet of most teams.
Interestingly, last year I was in panic mode after Gameweek 1, and I was sure I was going to pull the trigger on an early Wildcard. I followed my own advice and waited. Gameweek 4 came, I had my own green light, but suddenly, inexplicably, I no longer needed that glorious transfer freedom. Teams had settled, injuries battled through, and form re-found.
A top 0.3% finish (10781) after a bottom 50% start is a testament to the following mantra:
Treat your free transfers the same in Gameweek 1 as you would in Gameweek 20. If you think individual players would be better picks, fair enough, have fun tinkering. If you are frustrated, panicked, or feel pressured by price changes, have a good look at your squad and think:
“Will these 11 players ever ALL blank at the same time again?”
Thanks to Jonathan Craze (@crazedfpl) for writing this, he will be posting intermittent articles this season whenever seems fit!