The official Fantasy Premier League game has returned for the new season. This is not necessarily good news.
This year, the opening day of the fantasy football season, which always kicks off long before any actual teams take the field, marks an important milestone in the transition from the high drama of the World Cup to the rather less dramatic mid-July horse-trading of the summer transfer window. (The online football community seems to think that this transition should be carefully stage-managed, lest anyone suffer the psychological letdown that can accompany the end of major tournaments.) Earlier this week, Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup final; the memory of Gotze’s winning goal is still fresh, and pictures of German players consuming alcohol in interesting ways are still surfacing on the Internet. And yet the Fantasy Premier League is already open for business. For better or worse, it’s time to move on.
For two years, I wrote a weekly column about the Fantasy Premier League for EPL Talk. Every Tuesday, I would dispense such pearls of wisdom as “Rickie Lambert equals goals” and “Nolan loves Big Sam.” Then my dutiful readers would log onto their accounts and make all the changes I recommended. Unfortunately, my fantasy performance declined considerably during the seasons I wrote the column; I hate to think of the damage my suggestions must have done to the mini-league prospects of the half-dozen people who took my advice-giving credentials at face value.
One of the first things I learned when I started writing about the Fantasy Premier League was that planning is essential: to score as many points as possible, you have to keep track of every injury, schedule change and double gameweek. One of the next things I learned was that updating an Excel spreadsheet with the latest adjustments to the Premier League fixture list isn’t a particularly exciting way to spend Friday afternoon. In short, success in the FPL demands a surprisingly high level of commitment, and most sane people are unwilling to put in the work. I could tell you to spend 10.5 million fantasy dollars on Wayne Rooney, but unless you are prepared to regularly consult reports on the status of Rooney’s hamstring, while keeping tabs on his fish-and-chips habit, my advice won’t help you.
It has certainly never helped me.
Stay tuned for information about In For The Hat Trick’s mini-league. Let’s all be mediocre together.