Tom’s good mate FPLGoops is writing an FPL blog for us this year from the perspective of an “FPL Everyman”.
He’s also teamed up with Jeremy, otherwise known as FPL Doodles, to bring you an exclusive “Doodle Corner” every week. Follow Jeremy on twitter @FPLDoodles1.
I’m so glad to be back.
I’ve missed football SO much. I’ve missed FPL a lot. I’ve missed interacting with you, the community, my faceless friends. I’m sure you’re as delighted as I am that the football season is back on track AND that we have games on nearly every day.
What a treat.
With the gameweeks packed in so tight I’m amending the format to give you bite-sized musings for the rest of this season. The picture will change too quickly to do this total justice. Let’s go.
Planning for the Restart
As soon as the announcement came for Project Restart, I eagerly awaited the edict from FPL Towers on whether we’d get a kicker to motivate the community to re-engage.
I was not surprised by the offer of Unlimited Transfers (UT), given the expected desire to reach out to the more casual base to maximise engagement.
Those of us immersed in the FPL bubble didn’t need this impetus and I was a somewhat amused bystander witnessing the FPL Twitter meltdown when it was announced. That part, I must say, I’ve not missed one bit!
Among my inner FPL circle, the ‘gift’ of UT was initially seen as a bonus but soon it became clear that many teams were well set for GW31+ after the returning DGW and that playing the Free Hit chip in GW30+ would be a sensible power play.
This seemed to take a while to trickle into the community as a whole – I think the idea of overlooking a gift horse like UT felt unpalatable.
Personally I didn’t want to get on board this bandwagon. I reviewed the fixtures and quickly realised I could set up a decent team for the Double Gameweek covering most bases whilst preserving my Free Hit to use beyond GW31+ where the fixtures would suit the ability to customise personnel and formation.
My returning team in GW32+ would require a bit of surgery but could be achieved through a couple of hits over the next few gameweeks. I don’t have the luxury of another wildcard.
I also had the option to Bench Boost too but the way I was setting up I had a few fringe players to preserve budget to accommodate heavyweights like Auba and Kun Aguero so the use of UT would have to be enough.
It felt right to me. As we all know, in FPL you can listen to the various advice givers but ultimately your team is your own and you have to run with what feels right.
Doodle Corner – Too much bloody choice
Jeremy (aka fpldoodles1) has continued to entertain the FPL Community with his sharp-witted Doodles pulling apart the weekend action.
Jeremy perfectly captures my initial confusion on which chip strategy to follow – there was merit with each but I did have to sit at the crossroads for a while and figure out what worked best for me.
Gameweek 30+ Review
Speculation around the uncertainty of Pep’s line up made it feel as if FPL had never gone away. KdB seemed essential and then it was always going to be pot luck on the other assets. Rumours abound that Kun Aguero might not start vs Arsenal became frenzied as the deadline approached but for me he was a must keep. Two really great fixtures in which he had a decent record.
In the end he only played 55 minutes across 2 games, injury curtailing his season, but still managed double the haul of a very disappointing Auba, who many had captained purely because he was guaranteed to start. Increasingly I find it’s generally still better to pick a City player even if uncertain on minutes.
I captained KdB because of that uncertainty around Kun’s minutes – and it turned out to be a good decision though a bit galling that KdB himself was then rested vs. Burnley, a game where I expected him to haul. Is NO ONE SAFE from the Pep-rotation?
All in all, I was VERY satisfied with the way my Gameweek 30+ went. 98 points without using a chip. And yes, unlimited transfers was not a chip (have you considered a job as a govt truth bender? Ed). It was a welcome back gift.
Whilst many achieved triple figures I didn’t feel as if I’d lost much ground by saving my Free Hit chip back to be used next gameweek. I’ve put all my eggs in that basket so hopefully that pays off but for now I have reason to be content that I kept in step with a lot of teams expecting a big boost.
My FOMOmeter was on overdrive re. Sterling – yes lockdown has done little to ease the famous Goops FOMO! In the end I got away with overlooking him. My set up with a team revert in 32 meant I was better off keeping Salah rather than the big City triple up. Salah not starting was a blow but I did at least get a clean sheet return from Lascelles off the bench.
My biggest regret was a late switcheroo taking out Dean Henderson to accommodate season hero John Lundstram. I watched in dismay as Denders smashed that first game back and I was already in chase mode.
Other than this, my other single gameweek players – TAA, Doc and Jiminez proved sensible decisions as I plan to keep them all for the foreseeable future.
It’s always annoying to miss the 100 club but I really can’t complain with a returning 98 and a 40k rank boost just up inside the Top 200k mark for the first time in, well, forever.
Goops’ Weekly FOMO
I’m curtailing a number of my usual features but feels apt as I play FH to reveal my biggest FOMO.
It’s a certain Everton striker – Dominic Calvert Lewin – long touted by me as a superstar option I continually find reason to overlook. And even again now I’ve reluctantly left him out in favour of Vardy, Rashford and Jiminez. Potentially potent in of itself but that Norwich defence is woeful and I can see DCL making hay. I’ve comforted myself with the Richarlison pick and will be praying I’ve zagged the right way on this one.
Gameweek 31+ planning
As mentioned, my strategy to use UT for the return relied on me using the FH chip in 31.
There were so many juicy fixtures I wanted players for that many others would not have covered.
Vardy for Leicester v. Brighton was right up in my thinking.
A large plethora Man United attackers against a depleted Sheffield United defence lacking Henderson (ineligible vs parent club), Egan (suspended) and probably John O’Connell (injured).
That’s the bedrock of the team gone and United well set to exploit.
I’ve gone with Rashford (what a guy) and Bruno. And could easily have made a case for Martial and Pogba.
The Wolves boys look essential against a Cherries side in freefall. I’m attacking this fixture with a Jimmy captaincy and double defence pivot of Doc and Boly (I always want to own the beast at least once)
Richarlison and Son are there as maverick attacking options and Salah keeps his spot despite concerns on his fitness.
The FH this week is the foundation of my Project Restart strategy so going with these heavyweights had better yield decent returns – I’m really excited.
I’ll be back ahead of the next gameweek with another bite-sized (you have a very different idea of this than I do – Ed.) blog to reveal how my Free Hit went. Wish me luck!
And of course good luck to you all and welcome back!