As another Premier League season approaches, so another stint at winning your office or mates' Fantasy Football league beckons.
If you actually want to win it this season, you need to give it a little more thought than pressing Auto-fill 10 minutes before deadline.
We asked Mark Sutherns, owner of the brilliant FF experts Fantasy Football Scout to give us 10 killer tips for a stint at the title.
1 Know the rules inside out
Yes, I know, no man has time to “read the manual” but it does help to suss out the rules to the game you’re playing. Do assists matter? Is your clogger of a centre-back going to lose points for bookings and early baths? Be certain on the scoring rules and factor them in.
2 Soak up the player list.
It’s very likely that there’s at least one or two underpriced gems buried amongst the names. Above all, look for players who are wrongly classified and potentially playing further forward. A striker listed as a midfielder can often be the holy grail.
3 Take some time to check out the promoted sides. They might look like whipping boys but, equally, there may well be a saviour amongst their ranks. They’ll come cheap and allow you to spend big cash elsewhere and a regular starter with set-pieces might just earn you a few unlikely, but precious, points.
4 Don’t get sucked in by the circus surrounding expensive new arrivals.
Drown out the fanfare and consider sticking to proven talent. Let the new boys settle and then react once they’ve shown signs of bedding in.
5 Make the fixture list your new best friend.
Learn to love being in its company and plaster it on the toilet wall. Players with kinder schedules are more likely to bring in the points so look for patterns of easy and tough opponents and sort your transfers accordingly.
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6 Watch out for injury news.
You can actually make a long-term injury work for you if you can identify a cheap reserve player who is suddenly elevated to certain starter status.
7 Plan for Christmas.
The busy Christmas period is notorious for wrecking a Fantasy season so plan ahead to avoid coming down with the tinsel. The games come thick and fast going into the New Year so you’ll need a strong bench to cope with the rest and rotation whims of the real-life bosses.
8 Keep tabs on your rivals.
Study their lineup and try to anticipate their transfers. If they open up a gap at the top, you may need to take a few risks and bring in some players that sets your squad apart – a “differential” or two.
9 And get into their heads.
Don’t be shy to employ mind games on your opponents to tamper with their transfer policy and force a hasty move. A quick Monday morning taunt can provide the catalyst for a “knee jerk” transfer that they’ll regret come the weekend.
10 Watch a lot of football.
Your partner may not enjoy this crucial part of you strategy but needs must – this is “important research”. Scouting matches will give you a vital view on form and drive your transfers.
Get insider tips and news on all things Fantasy Football throughout the season at www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk