This is undoubtedly one of the most contentious positions on the pitch with anything up to five places to be filled depending on the formation you wish to play and this is where we suggest you start you planning if you haven’t already done so. With the forward line normally taking presidency due to the high potential points return the midfield can at times be over looked, however due to the “two man” rule fantasy manager will have to pay close attention to finer details in order to make the most of their midfield selection.
In this the first of our two part article on Midfield Strategy we look the options available to fantasy managers, the formation considerations and the link between the midfielders and forwards.
Hot Talent, Heavy Points?
The midfield positions have over the the season become notorious as the hot bed for fantasy differential value, where managers who make the right decisions at the right time are rewarded handsomely. The common mistake made time and time again when it comes to selecting your team at the start of the season is the temptation to overlook the big names in midfield so that the funds can be spent up front, however as stated with the midfield now showing a number of great attacking options (some cheap, some not) the likes of Clint Dempsey and Gareth Bale being just two, managers will have to think carefully about who is more likely to bring in a regular return for a price well below that of Aguero and Rooney for example.
While most fantasy managers I imagine will look to play with three midfielders and three forwards due to the common conception that the forwards will bring home the bacon therefore the more strikers the better, there is another way of looking at it. If you put both your midfielders and forwards in the same bracket you can begin to look for a good balance of big names and value throughout the ranks ensuring that you are well covered in the attacking third. Not only that but you can balance out the fixtures ensuring you always a number of players with decent fixtures at any stage.
But with midfielders offering a greater return for goals and assists it may be wise to go for a four man midfield and a two man striker force. Either way the objective should be similar to that of your defensive line up, to ensure that your selections alternate in fixture difficulty to ensure that wholesale changes are not need week in week out, which will allow you identify those differentials and bring them in or in some cases make changes where injury or suspensions have become an issue.
The objective of the game is obviously to have to best possible line up to deliver the greatest possible points return in every fixture week. Of course the budget and the rules come into play in a big way and it all becomes about having the best possible balance between cheap, mid and expensively priced players.
Just like selecting your defence you can plan out your team according to a season long projection or a short term window of 3-10 fixture weeks.
Attack Attack Attack
The first port of call is to of course to identify the teams you believe are going deliver the greatest number of goals in any given fixture week. So by identifying the teams that will perform best over your selected period of time you can now begin to identify individual players from these teams. There are obvious sources – United and City will surely be amongst the top scorers and are almost fixture proof. Spurs are another side who, with Andre Villas-Boas at the reins, look set to rely on attacking verve to balance defensive frailties. You can place Arsenal and, to an extent, Chelsea in the same category.
These teams have a number of obvious midfield choices for your consideration but as with anything in life price becomes an issue, not to mention the restrictions on the amount of players you may have from one given team.
In part two of our midfield guide we look at the value of doubling up on players from the same team, how to find value for your team and also where the best budget options are to be found.
Don’t forget if you register your team for The Irish Times Fantasy Premier League before Saturday you could be in with a chance of winning €200 for the best team name!