Fantasy Premier League is back and so is the Dirtsheet!

Posted: August 16, 2013 in Game Strategy, The Dirtsheet

As I sit here on the eve of a brand new Barclays Premier League season, I am looking forward to getting back to the hobby that I enjoy along with the millions of other FPL fans around the world. I set up this account towards the end of last season to give out advice to anyone that cared to listen, and with 1400 followers behind me, I know that this work is appreciated. At the same time, I am appreciative of each and every one of you because I know you are following out of interest. Last season, one of the features that immediately caught on quickly was the Dirtsheet.

For the benefit of my new followers and a reminder for my older acquaintances, the premise of the Dirtsheet is a simple one. I look through the weeks fixtures and apply my experience as an FPL manager to give you my predictions for the entire week of Fantasy Premier League. I choose the eleven players I expect to do well in the formation I think is optimal for the gameweek in hand. In addition, I look at the best choice of captain and where I feel you should look towards for clean sheet opportunities. Finally, I choose three players who should give you an excellent differential for the gameweek.

So why follow the Dirtsheet? Well that’s entirely up to you. What I can tell you is that I am not an expert at FPL and I have never claimed to be. I can tell you that I won’t get it right all the time. What I can tell you is that, in the last three years I have placed very highly in the world each year (circa 4000, 5000 and 1900). I can also tell you that I have won or placed very well in most of the leagues I entered every year. I don’t boast to the world when I get something right, but I won’t sweep my poor calls under the mat either.

Now, you are probably wondering where the Dirtsheet is for gameweek 1, but first I want to impart a piece of information that not only explains the absence of a fully fledged Dirtsheet Article (a mini-version is available below), but will make you a much better FPL player starting tonight.

I find that too many people base their initial season squads on gameweek 1 articles like the Dirtsheet, the Scout Picks and the Dream Team. The problem with this is that these articles are only designed to provide the blueprint to a good score in first gameweek. One article is NOT to be used as a long term strategy guide. You as a manager needs to select a starting squad which will be strong for at least the first five gameweeks and not just the first one. This is the reason that I am playing down the role of such articles until we arrive at gameweek 2 and why I encourage you to select your own squad first before viewing the abridged Dirtsheet for Gameweek 1.

I’d like you to perform an exercise for me right now. Open up a separate tab and review your starting squad for the season. If you cannot tell yourself why you have chosen a certain player, you must find out why you chose that player. If you find they are worthy of a place, then retain his services. One of the main mistakes many players make is that they choose players simply because someone else told them they were good. Just because a random person says a player is a good FPL pick, that doesn’t mean that they are. If you find a player in your team that is there for a similar reason and you cannot see why he is a good choice, you need to find another player that is proven to be worth a place in your starting line-up.

Leading on from this, I also would like you to start actively analysing the advice being given to you by various sources, both in the real world (friends and co-workers) and online (Twitter and websites). Give everyone a chance to advise you more than once – there are many great sources of advice out there. If you feel that a particular persons advice is of poor quality, I urge you to simply not bother with it going forward. Your FPL time is precious. However, if you feel that the advice is great, then you need to take that source into consideration each week. Will I tell you who imparts what I feel to be good advice or who I feel gives poor advice. No. That is a question that you need to answer yourself.

We have over 12 hours before the deadline for gameweek 1. Sleeping aside, these are some of the most important hours you will spend playing FPL this season. Use them wisely. Once you have made your OWN decisions, then come back and have a quick read of the abridged version of the Dirtsheet below. The Dirtsheet (and all other articles like it) should only be used once you have done the hard work of whittling down your potential transfers to one or two selections. These articles can be used to either further reinforce or perhaps question your decision. At the end of the day, YOU are the Manager of your TEAM. Never forget that.

So if you feel that reading the opinions of a highly ranked and proven FPL manager is going to be of benefit to you, then I hope you tag along for the journey.

It’s also your final chance to enter my FREE PL League in association with @PrideWatches. The code is 568109-140075. The winner will receive £50 while the runner-up will receive £25. In addition, @PrideWatches will be giving a superb official Premier League watch to each of the top three managers each month! These watches are already gaining huge interest across the community. To further your chances of winning a watch, be sure to follow @PrideWatches. Each week, they will choose a lucky random follower to receive a watch right before the 4pm Super Sunday game! So be sure to give them a follow to maximize your chances of winning!

The first full Dirtsheet will arrive next Friday at 2100GMT. In the meantime, here is an abridged Dirtsheet for GW1 – remember, I strongly urge you to prepare your own team first before reading who I think will do well in GW1!

The ELEVEN (my choice of eleven players who I expect to do well this week):Formation: 3-4-3
GK: Mignolet (LIV)
DEF: Mertesacker (ARS), Lescott (MCI), Ivanovic (CHE)
MID: Hazard (CHE), Coutinho (LIV), Walcott (ARS), Mirallas (EVE)
FOR: Soldado (TOT), Lukaku (CHE), Benteke (AVL)

The CAPTAIN (my choice of player who I expect to be an excellent captain choice):
Eden Hazard – (CHE)

The CLEAN SHEETS (the clubs who have a good chance of a clean sheet):
Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal

The UNUSUAL SUSPECTS (my differentials for the week):
Turner (NOR)
Ramires (CHE)
Anelka (WBA)

Wishing you all the very best for the season.

FPLStrategist

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