Fantasy Focus: Getting off to a good start

A bargain buy in Fantasy Premier League - Chris Brunskill

This is the first column in a new series on Fantasy Premier League.

With 38 weeks in the season, Fantasy Premier League is a marathon rather than a sprint. Obviously if you have played fantasy baseball you understand the grind that setting your lineup day-in and day-out entails, something different than playing fantasy NFL, which mostly comes down to who has the best draft.

Fantasy Premier League isn't necessarily about who to pick, but what kind of players to pick. Look for bargains, but also be sure to go with players who you know will produce.

Setting your lineup each week is important, if your best player is on the bench, you will be wasting his performances, unless you have someone in your starting eleven who doesn't play. For instance, if you have one of Manchester City's main strikers (Sergio Agüero, Edin Džeko, Stevan Jovetić, or Álvaro Negredo) it is hard to get points since the team plays a one striker formation, meaning only one or two of them is playing every match. Additionally, know that you must buy players who you know are first choice to get the start every match. Players like Christian Benteke, or Gareth Bale or Luis Suárez (in the past) have been great players for one reason -- they are essentially one man teams. If they aren't scoring, they are assisting the goal. You will pay a premium price for the player, but you will also be expecting big returns. These players are the first name on the teamsheet when healthy, or not suspended, so pay attention to which clubs are reliant on which players.

Don't overpay for defence. Players like Leighton Baines are always good for a few goals a year from fullback, but honestly you should be going with three at the back. More and more goals are being scored by the season, so minimising the amount of defenders you have on the pitch mitigates the risk of a team conceding four goals and your defender losing two points, the same he gets for playing 90 minutes for a net score of zero. *cough* Rio Ferdinand of QPR, who cost the same as Ron Vlaar (two clean sheets for the season) at £4.5M.

Try to get players from all over the league. With the unpredictable nature of England's top flight, anyone can beat anyone at any time. If your random £5M Leicester City midfielder gets a hat trick, it counts the same as if £10M Yaya Toure does so. Spreading out your assets can also help.

This is just the first series in a weekly fantasy column. Be sure to comment on what you want to hear about for next time, and sign up for the 7500toHolte Fantasy Premier League group (code:1135519-27047) if you haven't, it's not too late!

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