The Evolution of a Fantasy Football Manager

A thread…. Thought I would try to give something back… rather than just posting sarcastic gifs on Twitter… settle down, grab a beer…. If you are reading this you will hopefully recognise yourself in this journey.

There are 3 phases of Fantasy Football manager I will outline – the three A’s:

  • Amateurs
  • Analysts
  • Authorities

And then I will provide some closing thoughts – which may or may not help you….

Phase 1 : The Amateurs

Based on the fact you know more about football than your immediate mates – you think winning £££’s at Fantasy Footy is gonna be a piece of piss.

You enter a limited number of teams and try to pick as many big names as possible. You pick players from your own favourite team because you know them. You don’t fully comprehend scoring systems. You use transfers quickly based on certain players who have scored well the week before, despite the fact the last goal they got was in the early 2000’s. You revel in your name appearing on early leaderboards. You are confused by 3-1’s, 4-2’s, xG etc. You pick players based on hunch, you ignore fixture difficulty, you don’t look at injuries,  you rely on intuition and knowledge of the game, you never ask for advice… and if you do you ignore it…. Because you know more about fantasy football than your immediate mates…..


Phase 2: The Analysts

OK – so you’ve been roundly spanked over the course of the season by a host of names you begin to recognise on the leaderboard of various games year on year. You recognise that if you are gonna win £££ you need to put the effort in…. the first 4 letters of this type of manager is no accident….

You research the games minutiae, you can quote player prices, PPG, PPM and the fixture schedule from now until 2028 is burnt into your retinas. You spend hours pondering fixture lists, fixture difficulty, transfer strategies. You set calendar reminders for transfer deadlines and squad announcements. You absorb information from every source, you revel in getting information from sites your mini league mates don’t know about. You pay more for your fantasy subscriptions than you spend on your own kids. You listen to podcasts about fantasy football in every waking hour. You understand enablers, you don’t pick players from your own favourite team just because.  To cover permutations and reduce variance you enter more teams, across more formats than is comprehensible to anyone with an IQ less than Steven Hawking. You are also completely unable to make a decision on your own, partly because all these numbers are confusing the bejesus out of you and because you don’t want to make a mistake. You employ various tools to aid your thinking and manage your growing number of teamsheets, transfer plans and games in play. Intuition is for amateurs, this is statistical optimisation, game theory, templates, risk aversion. You seek advice from the Authorities and hang off their every word, blaming them if their advice turns out pants…. You wonder why you’re stuck in the upper-middle reaches of the leaderboard like everyone else who seems to know what they’re doing.


Phase 3: The Authorities

OK – so you’ve graduated from the Analyst stage. You might have won a bit of money, which for the Analysts moves you not to just to Authority but Deity.

Even though you’ve fluked a win / have a well-trained clutch of fantasy specialists in your family, you can revel in the glory of finishing in the top 50 once and the kudos that brings from the Analysts. You can add your fantasy ‘success’ to your Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat handle and have considered it for your CV. You scoff at those who feel proud of once coming 57th in some obscure short format game and won £30. You now don’t just understand template teams, you fucking defined them. You produce blogs / pods / content and you try to monetise them – realising quickly that stacking shelves in Tesco would be more profitable. You have a following, you are a name in the game. You adopt a laissez-faire attitude to in depth analysis – this is shit you just intuitively know. You start to realise that giving away all your ‘secrets’ is creating a pool of folk who are also capable of fluking a win and thus beating you to any significant winnings. Fuck. You need to deviate from the standards you have set. Bollocks. When you do fluke a massive points haul on a random captain this is not the same as an amateur doing it through random pin-sticking but a calculated risk to go against the herd you are yourself shepherding. Haha suckers.  When you fuck things right up it is not cos you fucked things right up – it is because the fantasy gods did not align with your football IQ. You begin to realise your past success was as much about luck as being an Authority. You realise that mind games banned by various international conventions are the only way to give yourself the edge. You surround yourself with other managers who confirm your own thinking, you are not part of the herd…. well not that herd anyhow…. a specialist elite herd. As you recognise that everyone can play the game as good as you, you need to rely on your intuition as you think winning £££’s is gonna be easy….. you never ask for advice… and if you do you ignore it…. Because you know more about fantasy football than your immediate mates…..


The moral of the tale

Ok, so we’ve established this evolution isn’t a linear process, but a cyclical one.  Like all these shit reality shows ‘it’s about the journey’ and ‘being happy to have had the opportunity’. The old lags have been round this cycle dozens of times, the idea being you learn a little more with each iteration. Don’t get disheartened when you are not cashing 4 figure sums year on year, actually no one does. Stick at it, listen to everyone, listen to no-one – do what the fuck you want- but reflect and learn. Don’t just follow the herd without understanding why – you will never win. Keep your fingers crossed that one day that your evolving Fantasy IQ and the Football gods align.


Hope you enjoyed….


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