• Ojas Sharma

Fantasy Football: What formation to pick? Guide 2


In Guide 1, we discussed the basic rules of Fantasy Football. If you have not read that, then please check the Fantasy Football: How to get started? Guide 1.

Now let us move to the tricky part of who to pick as a player for your team. There are many sections you need to understand before you even click a button to select a player. First thing you need to decide is your strategy - by deciding your formation to build a squad. Considering you are new to the game you must be wondering how to go about it. Let’s get into the details.

Formation decides whether you will be playing with 3 defenders or 4. Whether you will have 4 or 5 midfielders and how many forwards will you have. In which position you will spend on premium players? To understand this, first check out how points are distributed based on the games played every weekend.



There are 3 main sources of points depending on the position of players: goals, assists, and clean sheets. Position of players plays an important part in goals and clean sheets. If a forward scores a goal then he gets 4 points, if midfielder scores a goal then he gets 5 points, and if defender scores a goal then he gets 6 points. When it comes to clean sheets, the forward does not get any points, the defender gets 4 points and midfielder gets 1 point. For assists, irrespective of position, everyone gets 3 points. In terms of price, forward is usually most expensive alongside midfielder, and defenders are the cheapest.

Defender

Till a few seasons back, it was a good idea to have more attacking options in midfield and forward departments and spend the least amount of money in defense and goalkeeper. However, now the trend has changed with the majority of Premier League teams having good wing-backs (defenders playing on the right or left and are more attack-minded) who play a crucial part in setting up goals.



Let us take an example. One of the Golden Boot winners last year was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He scored 22 goals, gave 7 assists, was priced at 11 million pounds, and got 205 points. Now compare him with Andrew Robertson who was priced at 6 million pounds and finished with 213 points. How? Robertson gave 12 assists and 21 clean sheets. Even though he did not score any goal, this combination of clean sheets and assists becomes explosive and gives you a higher score than many premium forwards.

So, it won’t be a bad idea to spend more on premium wing-backs who you know will get a lot of assists, goals, and clean sheets in the entire season and still get more points than premium forwards. Defenders are mostly rotation proof and only get subbed off if injured. The same can’t be said for all the forwards. My suggested combination will be to go with at least 3 premium defenders. You won't be taking a risk if you decide to go with even 4. In my opinion, there should never be a situation where you are playing with 5 defenders. So your 5th defender has to be the cheapest and should be on your bench always. Still, you should try and get a 5th defender who starts for his team despite being the cheapest.

Midfielder

Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling were few of the top points scorers last season. Since midfielders get one extra point for a clean sheet and one extra point if they score a goal, they again have a big advantage over forwards. In terms of spending, you need to have at least 2 premium midfielders and stick with them for the rest of the season. Midfielders are often better options for captain as opposed to forwards.

My advice would be that you need to have 2 premium midfielders along with 2 mid-budget midfielders. The 5th position you can go for the cheapest midfielder. If you are planning to spend less on forwards, then it won't be a bad option to get a 5th mid-budget midfielder and only play 1 or 2 forwards up top. So a 4-5-1 or 3-5-2 position would be played in these scenarios.

Forward

So far you have seen that forwards have fewer cost to points potential as compared to defenders or midfielders. However, it won’t be a bad idea to play with 1 premium forward and 1 cheap forward. Where you need to be careful with forwards though is that they should be rotation proof. Harry Kane is the sole forward for Spurs. Sergio Aguero, on the other hand, might be rotated alongside Gabriel Jesus for many matches. Nothing pains you more than to see a player, who you have spent more than 11 million pounds, come off the bench and only get you 1 point.

My advice is to think hard about the forward position. You might even select one budget forward and spend the rest of your money on midfielders and defenders. If you think it is too risky then go with 1 premium forward who will start every week. You can even go with 2 or 3 budget forwards and no premium forward to save money.

Goalkeeper

There are mostly 3 strategies which work for a goalkeeper. First is a set-and-forget strategy. You select any 1 goalkeeper who you think will do good this season. You set him as your goalie and forget about him unless he gets injured.

The second strategy is to buy 2 cheap goalkeepers and keep switching amongst them based on the fixtures. This way you ensure that you have a goalkeeper playing easy fixture (mostly at home) for the rest of the season.

The third strategy is to keep only 1 goalkeeper and buy the cheapest as the second. It will be a value add if the cheapest starts for his Premier League team. Now you keep buying and selling your main goalkeeper based on the fixtures.

Overall, what formation to pick is the most important decision that you have to take. This decides your entire squad's strategy and can set you to be successful.

Image Courtesy: Official Premier League Website