Pod features: the Darksiders (anti-meta team)

This is the first of a few short pieces that highlight some of the key features for the WGTA FPL pod this year!

(nb we’ll also write about these on the blog to give a summary, but the majority of the detail will be given on the pod)

The concept

As FPL managers, we tend to all walk in the light. The light of high ownership, preferred players and an established template. There are some reasons why we tend to walk in the light of men such as Kane and Kaku (as mentioned in articles like this and also on the pod in reference the psych behind FPL), with the majority of us sticking to teams in which all players in teams you see are recognisably part of a narrow set of assets that could be in your team come GW1.

But what about those players who aren’t in the light?

What about those on the dark side?

The anti-meta team

Take a look at this team.

What’s wrong with it?

The answer is: not very much. At the moment, there’s little to say that the players aren’t viable alternatives to the many choices out there.

This is our team of Darksiders – those who are not being picked or looked at in the majority of sides currently. Their identity will change over the course of the season, but there will always be a substantial set of players who are either on the fringes of, or totally ignored by, the FPL community.

The key difference between this team and the one you’re used to seeing, then, is that this side features players who, on the most part, are under 10% owned and are the “scorned alternative” to what people are choosing right now.

In short, this is an anti-meta team. We’ll be running one this year (in a way that doesn’t contravene FPL rules, of course – this may have to be a simulation via a spreadsheet!)

We’ve been banging on about it for a while, but the meta is basically the herd’s received and imparted wisdom on what is the best way to take on the game’s challenges right now in terms of assets, formation and resource distribution. It’s basically “template plus”.

Think about what’s happening just now ahead of Gameweek 1, and how different challenges are being met with preferred players and preferred formations:

  • More “value” in defence? Go for 4 at the back
  • Crowded “premium” band for strikers? People mostly have Kane and Kaku due to ownership
  • “Covering” the big teams? Aside from Everton and in some cases Arsenal, the majority of “big clubs” have at least one representative in the majority of teams

Solving these problems tends to bring about a preference for a salient set of recognised players – so we thought it might be fun to go against this by running a team which is patently outside of the herd mentality this year.

The rules

We’ll finalise the “Darksiders” team before GW1* but, in effect, these are what the rules governing who comes in/out of the side will include:

  • Weekly transfers will be limited; 2FT will be the default in the bank, enabling us to react to the developing meta by making changes to our “anti-meta” side
  • We’ll keep it to 3-4-3 for now as midfielders and forwards are probably the most impacted by salience, and this allows the majority out on the field; we’ll keep it under review, though
  • A player whose ownership exceeds 10% will be transferred out
  • The exception for this rule is if the player is not appearing in RMTs across forums nor social media but is a premium asset -an example might be Sanchez, who we are thinking of including at the moment as he’s a prime example of this “anti-meta” idea
  • Especially for later in the season, a player who we judge to be included in many active squads but has not quite hit 10% will also be moved out
  • Injured/suspended players take the priority for removal
  • The captain will be the “best choice” as judged by us for the week
  • Hits will only be taken if a full XI cannot be fielded
  • Who is benched and played will be decided by who has the best fixtures according to FPL’s fixture ticker
  • We’ll have to figure out wildcards, but we’ll try to keep the low % ownership and anti-meta rule going on; we’ll explain what we’re doing when it comes to it
  • We reserve the right to tweak the rules throughout the season, as trial and error could show how we could do things a bit better

(*disclaimer: we might have to simulate the team’s results via spreadsheet so as not to contravene FPL rules, but will make doctored screen shots to show what the team’s performance week-by-week would look like, and calculate things like TV/SV on the side)

How we’ll update you

We’ll talk about the anti-meta side on the podcast each week as part of our review of the gameweek – it’ll be fascinating to see if our group of darksiders scores highly when the majority get a 30 point week, for example.

We’ll also do a short written summary each week of how the team did, picking out any points of interest and disclosing decisions around transfers and benching/playing/captaincy. We may run the occasional poll on social media if we can’t decide on the best decision.

We’ll have another quick article up in due course about additional features, but hopefully this will be interesting to track and feature throughout the course of the upcoming season!