How to win at Fantasy Football (and succeed as a leader?)

I like Fantasy football. I love it. Why? I’m brilliant at it. I’m the reigning champion at threesixty and I take pride in rubbing this fact in the face of my colleagues. Especially Phil Young.

But why should Mr Young sit up to attention and realise my achievements when the FA so clearly failed to do so? Fantasy Football is indicative of our own working environments? Instead of winning a holiday abroad, a caravan or speedboat, should the best Fantasy Football players not be placed on a fast track to greatness?

Fantasy football recognises expert leadership. This is a fact. Let me explain . . .

Let’s first dismiss the myth. Fantasy football isn’t all luck. It involves a mix of skill, preparation and fortitude. It’s not necessarily something that can be taught. Some people are born leaders. Fantasy football is all about getting results and it’s the job of a leader to ensure their team succeeds.

This said, there are some tricks of the trade that once learnt, can help those succeed along the way.

Pick a well-rounded team of players

Leading teams is all about picking the right people and placing them in their best position, and like in any team, you’ll have a mixture of ‘hot shots’ and ‘steady eddies’.

You only have so much money to play with. £100 million doesn’t sound like much these days to buy a squad of 15 players, but fortunately you can pick up the likes of Alexis Sanchez for a mere £10.4 million as opposed to the £35 million paid by Arsenal this summer.

It makes sense that the most points are won by your most skilled (and thus, most expensive players), so you must pick these first. Start with your attackers and attacking midfield players. They score and set up the vast majority of goals and ultimately score the highest number of points. These I refer to as your hot shots, and frankly they need managing. They cost more, and their form sees numerous highs and lows throughout a season. To get the best out of your attacking selection you need to decide who’s best to play and when.

Steady eddies keep things ticking over reliably. They score a steady flow of points throughout the season without the need for much management. These are your defenders. They score points for turning up to work and keeping clean sheets. They rarely go forward and score a goal. They require less management and score a steady but low number of points week in, week out much more predictably. They generally cost you less too. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend spending a fortune on your defence. Instead, ensure your team is not exposed and buy reasonably priced defenders from different clubs, in the same way you would recruit a team of people with differing skill sets. This way, you limit the risk of your team being on the receiving end of a drumming.

Try to avoid trouble makers.

Avoid idiots all together, unless of course they are Louis Suarez. I guess, if like last season, the troublemaker in your team scores the majority of your team’s point’s week in week out, they are worth the risk. If not, by including trouble makers in your team you’ll play at a disadvantage.

That hungry, sharped toothed member of your team will disrupt the harmony you have so carefully built within your squad, and will cost you valuable points along the way. In our league, a red card costs you 3 points. In business, a front line trouble maker could destroy your reputation. In an office environment a trouble maker could disrupt, upset or influence your other staff and their performance.

Know when it’s time to let someone go

Never suffer incompetence for too long. Of course, don’t terminate someone’s employment upon their first mistake, but if your guilty of keeping Marouane Fellaini in your fantasy team last year, hoping he’d ‘come good’, well . . . you know what happened to David Moyes.

Sometimes leaders get emotionally involved with their squad selection. This may be because a player plays for their favourite team or in Fellani’s case, has a fancy haircut. They think that if they give them a little more time, they will break their performance slump. But to ensure your team scores the most points possible, a leader needs to recognise what is best for their team, take charge and make difficult decisions.

Take time to learn about your players

Keep up to date with injuries, and statistics. If you know which of your players are playing well, through squad selection you can instantly gain an advantage over your competitors who may be left with a team of bench warmers.

Leaders must take an interest and accept that change happens. When ‘change’ happens to people at work, it can affect their performance. Taking an interest and understanding what a person is going through is invaluable to bringing them out the other side, rising their performance and ensuring your teams scores stay on track. If you learn of any reasons a player might not be on top form, its best to side line them until they are better. It’s not always easy to know when. It takes time, understanding and dedication. This is what makes the best leaders.

Learn from your mistakes

When your team suffers a setback, it is important to take the time to understand why it happened and learn how to prevent it from happening again in the future. Ask yourself, what is Stewart Downing doing sat in your midfield? Was Torres an expensive mistake?

If you find yourself looking at your team mid-season and wonder, ‘how did it come to this?’ it may be time to play the ‘wildcard’.

Essentially in Fantasy Football the use of a wildcard (a max once per season) lets you start your team selection again from scratch. Though if you think you need to use your wild card in the real world. It could be time to step down.

For any of you wondering. Here’s my fantasy football team!

fft

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