Marc Saba, co-founder and MD of daily fantasy football site Football Fanager, on why it takes a talented tactical mind to succeed at fantasy football.
Every August,football fans across Europe wake from a summer of transfer rumours, manager sackings and cricket hungry for the beautiful game to start again. It’s also the time when the fantasy football enthusiast can finally get back to doing what they do best – scoring points and beating their mates.
But why is it such a challenge to pick out that high-scoring unknown left back, or to have the insight to bring in a goal-dry Sergio Aguero on the night he scores a hattrick?
Fantasy football is a skill game that can excite and challenge the brain cells like no other. Getting the following right can be the difference between fantasy manager success and failure:
Striking a team balance takes skill
Football Fanager players entering our daily leagues currently have a transfer budget of £250m. Putting the big money where it counts and picking up the right bargains is crucial for your fantasy XI. Plump for Radamel Falcao for £52m, who might not even make the Manchester United match day squad, and chances are you won’t be successful. Take a punt on Harry Kane for a paltry £2.64m, then there’s an opportunity to spend big and bring in a bucketload of assists with Cesc Fabregas or Mesut Ozil.
The statistics matter
On our site, there are in-depth statistics from Opta to help the talented fantasy manager pick out a big scorer for his team.With 13 segments analysing everything from appearances and goals to clean sheets and games won, there is plenty for a seasoned eye to pick apart. However, the real challenge is seeing how those skills match up against their opposite number in a given week. Is the star striker up against the best defence in the league? And, if so, is there value elsewhere?
Spotting the trends takes a trained eye
The ebb and flow of a football season can catch out even the most experienced fantasy football manager. A footballer’s injury problems can be replaced by rampant goal-scoring in the blink of an eye – remember Aaron Ramsey at the start of 2013/14? Or take Harry Kane this year, who has gone from unknown to league top scorer, but will the scoring last? Joining the bandwagon just as the form book changes has caused heartache for many managers in the past, and will continue to do so.
Player loyalties must go out the window
Fans of fantasy football, first and foremost, tend to be fans of football. However, for the Everton season ticket holder, backing talismanic, yet low goal-scoring, central midfielder Gareth Barry is unlikely to win any matches or leagues across the course of the season. Likewise, a Geordie’s love of a battling Jack Colback could prove costly when he picks up 15 yellows (or -30 points on Football Fanager) for Newcastle across the season.
Know your opponents
Whether it’s a daily, weekly or season-long league, all of which are playable on Football Fanager, the tactical battle against opponents in the league can be high-pressure and exhilarating. In a small or head-to-head league, it comes down to identifying those differentiators versus your opponents, such as selecting the right captain, adding in an extra midfielder at the expense of a striker or sacrificing some transfer spend to take a punt on a cheap youngster who may or may not