Tom’s good mate FPL Goops is back to launch the new season of his blogging for us!
Follow him on twitter @FPLGoops.
You can just feel it, can’t you?
With just 10 days to go until the season kick off, GW1 team drafts have completely overtaken my Twitter feed and the burgeoning excitement is palpable.
It’s time to make those last edits and take those final gambles to ensure a fast start.
There is literally nothing worse in FPL after all that planning than to make a catastrophic start.
It’s season over before it’s begun.
So which way will you go?
Will you play it safe and stick rigidly to template, or pack your team with differential picks?
A blend of the two, is of course, ideal.
The Longest Preseason
Like most of you, I was genuinely shocked at how early FPL Towers opened the game.
It was still June (unbelievable!) and we hadn’t had nearly enough of a break.
After the initial euphoria of being able to build a draft, realisation dawned that we still had a whopping 7 weeks to wait until the proper business end of planning.
I’ve got next to no willpower to resist the odd tinker – but I did attempt to leave things be for the first few weeks once I’d assessed what sort of squad I could realistically build.
I’m part of the WGTA Slack group, so it’s been impossible to avoid regular discussion on the best formations and how to balance our squads.
Plus, of course, it’s been impossible not to consume an overwhelmingly rich catalogue of content on Twitter from the excellent FPL Community.
The Sorting Hat
The closest way to describe the process I’ve been through to get close to my GW1 draft is the Hogwarts Sorting Hat.
Voices in my head keep changing my mind about which direction to take!
Will Harry ‘Potter’ Kane instantly find his Gryffindor Lion form or retreat snake-like into his barren August shell?
Will Seamus ‘Finnegan’ Coleman manage to ‘Raven’claw his way back to the marauding full back of yesteryear when he was comfortably the best RB in the league, or will he ‘Huffle’puff his way through Everton’s great early fixtures in Digne’s wake?
And will Victor ‘Krum’ Lindelof finally be paired with the right partner to restore Man United to defensive solidity, and make 5.5m worth every penny for DDG back as our premium goalie?
(Tom note: I can only apologise for these)
Team formation and thinking
Here’s a little insight into my squad planning.
I’m going 4-4-2.
I’ve always been a 3-4-3 kind of player.
I think it’s more fun to pick players who might get attacking returns than clean sheets.
I’m sure many of you are the same.
However last season was a real breakthrough for defenders – mainly marauding full backs – with multiple routes to points with cleanies, assists and the odd goal.
The whole Liverpool defence scored an unprecedented set of high scores, yet how many of us doubled up at the back over the season?
You had to own one of Salah or Mane, and often both.
I think that will absolutely change this season.
I’m deliberating it from the start in terms of doubling up with the Reds defenders.
I know over the season it would probably pay off, but part of me still wants to spread the funds – even though I know it’s going against the work done by people like Tom, for example, in his recent Value piece.
I have made one key decision though, and that’s the switch to 4-4-2.
I will definitely be going Big At The Back. Perhaps not as big as I’ve seen from many others, but there will be 3 assets over 5.5m for sure.
Choices choices…and a couple of conundrums
I feel my team is a bit template right now.
You can only go with the fixtures for your GW1 set up.
Pre season form is not really a barometer.
That said, Everton’s lukewarm pre-season is making me reconsider whether I need two of them – but wow their fixtures are decent and they ended last season so well.
Here’s how I’m set up.
Liverpool and City are doubled up.
I can’t resist doubling down on Everton and Bournemouth either due to their great fixtures.
The teams I’m hardly covering at all for good reason are my team Man United and Chelsea.
Their assets are collectively very well priced –no assets above 8.5m across either top 6 team is quite something – however they can’t be anything more than on the watchlist in the early stages of the season until we’re confident how Ole and Frank will set up.
The fact they meet GW1 helps us to avoid and just assess.
The final stretch
So, nearly there. Less than 2 weeks to go!
Remember to follow me @fplgoops and look out for my ‘everyman’ FPL weekly blogs here on WGTA to see how my season unfurls.
I’m just like you – a player who takes heed of the Community advice but ultimately follows his gut – for better or worse!
Have no regrets!