Making a successful jump from FPL to FanTeam
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Coming over to FanTeam from FPL can be rewarding but you’ll need to shift your mindset to make the jump successfully.

As I said in another article FanTeam will feel immediately familiar to FPL players and you’ll certainly have a headstart on the platform if you’re used to the basics of fantasy football. I came over to FanTeam feeling pretty bullish about my chances but I soon learnt the hard way about the things that can trip you up if you’re not used to DFS platforms.

I’m still finding my feet here but what follows below is the advice that I’ve been given, and the things I’ve learned through the mistakes I’ve made, all of which should help you get the best possible start on your FanTeam journey.

Go hard or go home

The most important piece of advice I was given is that you should play FanTeam aggressively, putting as many eggs as you can in the same basket. This is not a game where you want to hedge your bets (which is generally what I feel more comfortable doing!).

This is quite different to FPL where teams evolve slowly over time and tend to settle around a ‘template’ of the key players, regardless of who they play for.

Just as with FPL, you can have up to 3 players from the same club in your FanTeam lineup. If you’re playing to win, you’ll want to take this to the max and have players from only 4 or 5 different clubs in your lineup. You have to take a chance here and decide on results you want to back, rather than going for a scattergun approach of players from 7 or 8 different clubs.

This approach is called ‘stacking’ and it works because of basic probabilities. Think of clean sheets - difficult to predict but a huge points advantage if you get it right. Predicting one club to get a clean sheet is hard enough but the more clubs you choose in your defence, the less likely it is that they’ll all end up with a clean sheet. Picking fewer clubs maximises your chance of success.

This is such a good hack that FanTeam has imposed a ‘stacking penalty’ to avoid things becoming too predictable. If you pick more than one defensive player (goalkeeper or defender) from a club, the points you receive for a clean sheet will decrease by 1 point for each additional defensive player from the same club. This rule means it’s usually not worth picking more than two defensive players from the same club.

The same stacking principle applies at the other end too - but without any penalty. It’s easier to predict that a club is likely to score than it is to predict which players will have goal involvements. If you think Liverpool are likely to get goals, then putting both Mane and Salah in your team makes more sense than having to pick between the two of them. Similarly for Kane and Son - when one of them has a good game, the other tends to as well (their performances are positively correlated).

This is a ‘go hard or go home’ strategy, so you have to accept that sometimes it will backfire. But when it works, you’ll have a great chance of placing in the money.

Build your team around likely winners

FPL teams are fairly static because of the limited number of transfers available, so it’s quite common to have players in your team that are playing against each other. This can be a very bad strategy on FanTeam as it means you’re immediately cutting the number of points you can play for.

This is a particular issue if you’ve got defenders from one club up against midfielders and forwards from another. You’ll be rooting for your defenders to get a clean sheet, while hoping that the midfielders and forwards have a goal involvement. As they can’t both be successful, this immediately caps the points available to you.

Another thing to consider here is ‘impact points’. FanTeam doesn’t have the same sort of ‘bonus points’ structure as FPL, but instead players get awarded or deducted ‘impact points’ based on the team performance while they are on the pitch - +1 if the team wins the period, -1 if the team loses.

So selecting players from clubs that are playing each other means that you’re likely to cancel out any impact points. This is not a smart move when every point counts.

Look at the odds in advance and centre your FanTeam lineups around the clubs you think have the best chance of success - stack your team with their players. If you’re really not sure, the best way to hedge your bets is by submitting different teams, not by mixing up the clubs within one team.

Manage your bankroll and play according to your budget

DFS games are really hard to crack. It’s a skill game but there’s also a lot of luck involved. Bear in mind that you’ll be playing against some people who take this really seriously and have the bankroll to back it up.

The FanTeam tournaments generally pay out to the top 20% of entrants, with higher finishes resulting in higher payouts. In real terms, this means you’ve got to plan for losing a lot more often that you win and therefore you’ve got to think about your bankroll a bit - something that will be familiar to anyone who has ever played poker or been seriously involved in betting in the past.

It’s possible to enter multiple times into the same tournament, to maximise your chance of success, and this is something many people will do. Which tournaments you enter, how many entries you make, and what they look like, probably depends on your appetite for risk as well as the bankroll you’re playing with.

If you’re on a tighter budget, you’ll probably want to stick to the £1.80 tournaments, as the £18 entries will very quickly eat into your available cash if things don’t go to plan. Remember this is a gambling platform so you should never be playing with more than you can afford to lose.

If you want to try a slow and steady approach, aim to enter a handful of different teams, focusing on the obvious big hitters. This will give you a better chance of finishing in the money, although you’ll probably hit the tail end of the paid places so the payouts will be smaller.

If you want to try a bolder strategy, go for fewer entries but mix up your teams with some differential picks - players that are likely to have a <10% ownership. Think carefully about your captain and vice-captain - picking differentials here could make all the difference. With this strategy, you’re likely to win less often but get a bigger payout when you do.  

Following the advice above will get you started on the right foot but the rest is up to you. Above all, remember that it’s meant to be fun! Yes, it’s a challenge to place in the money but seeing your hard work and knowledge pay off is what we’re all playing for.

Just like FPL, it’s also an incredibly social game, whether you’re cheering on your mates or secretly hoping that your captain choice comes off better than theirs. You can even create your own tournaments on FanTeam and play directly against your friends.

Look out for future FanTeam Focus tournaments where you can take me and the rest of the team on - we’re looking forward to the challenge!

Football mad female, long-suffering fantasy football player.

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