Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Transfer Tips

Fantasy Football – Transfer early or not?

There is a lot of debate raging on twitter at the moment about when is the best time to transfer players in fantasy football.  Some people will swear by making transfers as early as possible but of course you then run the risk of injury or suspension if it is a domestic cup competition game week.  Of course, the other option is that you wait until the last minute to make the change meaning that you will be taking less of a risk in terms of injury and suspension but you do also risk the possible price increase – however there could be a decrease which would be a double benefit.

Today we had comments on twitter like:

“I need to make changes early as I had a shocker of a game week”

“Never make early changes #amateur”

Both of these quotes were from so called fantasy football experts so it is clear to see there is not one defined approach that is sure to find you fantasy football success!  As we know, there is no winning fantasy football formula to success and as always we have to take a number of variables in to account.

Who you are buying/selling

The fantasy football player who you are looking to buy or sell is crucial in making the decision as whether to transfer early or not.  What you need to consider is how likely other fantasy football players are to want to make the same transfer.  Let’s look at Sergio Aguero at the end of game week 8 – he scored 4 goals that week and had an ownership of around 22.6% - the following game week he was due to be playing against West Ham and so it is a fair assumption that based on this fixture and the 4 goals he scored the week before that he would be in higher demand for game week 9.  Now we all know that the more fantasy football managers who transfer a player in will increase the ownership percentage and therefore increase the value of that player.

Now in this case of Aguero between game week 8 and 9 – the Monday after his four goals he was £12.4m, BUT he was likely to play in the Champions League in the midweek (which he did), following this game he came out unscathed and his value went up to £12.5m – as more fantasy managers put him in their teams.  However, some managers who tend to leave their transfers until the last minute would have then found on Friday evening that his value had rocketed up to £12.6m – a whole £0.2m more than if making the same transfer on Monday – the very same game week.

So, the cost of ensuring an injury free week was £0.2m – but there was still no guarantee he would play and he only scored 2 points – so you would be pretty miserable had you waited and then bought him at £12.6m.

The other side of this is selling – of course no-one wants to take a hit on a transfer sale, but if it is due to a long term injury you MUST sell as soon as possible as the price will only drop once the managers who realise sell that player.  Again, if you are selling based on a fixture for the following gameweek – say for example you have Mario Balloteli  and they are due to play Chelsea the following week you may consider either benching him or transferring him out a bringing in another striker.  Anyone else who has this player would probably be thinking the same as you and a mass transfer out will reduce his price – so there could be an argument here to make the transfer as soon as the next game week becomes live – e.g. Saturday afternoon.  If you combine this philosophy with the first example and buy a player who is likely to become more sought after then you could find yourself making a tidy profit and improve the value of your fantasy football team.


Searching for those differentials in fantasy football

Do you base your fantasy football team on the weeks fixtures or do you look for those differentials each week?  Of course, you cannot take a big hit on transfers each week so to an extent we have to play a mixture of long term, mid term and short term squad strategy, but we are talking about short term squad strategy here.  If you are looking to real unspotted or unlikely differentials then waiting as long as possible is probably the best scenario – again the chances are that the player will decrease in value and you will grab yourself a fantasy football bargain player, save yourself money to invest elsewhere and have the possibility of gaining points on your rivals as the differentials will be better in your favour.   This is going to be more of a gamble but could pay off – for example, in game week 9 if you had put Charlie Austin in for QPR at the last minute you would have bagged two goals, points that not many other players would have scored and an absolute bargain at £5.7m (£0.1m less than the game week 8) and a massive 13 points differential as he was selected in 0.5% of teams!


Know your philosophy and stick with it

The philosophy of making late transfers or early transfers both have their own merits and own disadvantages in fantasy football.  Whatever you decide doesn’t really matter – what is important is that you stick to your philosophy as the pros and cons will usually even themselves out.  What would be an absolute disaster is if one week you made late transfers and lost money followed by the next game week and making an early transfer and getting a player injured.

Each week we run the possibility of our big name players not playing – like in game week 9 when we had no Diego Costa and no Falcao due to injury – and many fantasy league managers lost out here, but these things happen.

Personally, for me – I will always want to make sure I don’t overspend on a player as this will just have a knock on effect for the rest of the season but I know some very successful fantasy football managers who have the opposite view point and do very well.  I would love your own comments below on when the above strategies have worked for or against you – or just what you think.

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