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Fantasy soccer is a great way to add excitement to the competitions you follow throughout the season. Choose your line-up from the league’s finest, follow their progress and make managerial decisions accordingly. But the key to success in fantasy football isn’t as simple as picking a winning side. Follow these 6 fantasy soccer tips to get ahead of your rivals.
#1 Choose your Site and Know the Rules
There are many different fantasy sports websites around, and choosing the best site for your fantasy soccer league will help you enjoy the experience even more.
Here are a few to consider:
- MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager – Major League Soccer’s very own official fantasy league game, for fans of North America’s premier competition
- Fantasy Premier League – The official fantasy game of the English Premier League, which runs from August to May each season
- Draft Kings – Soccer leagues from the leading provider of daily fantasy sports
Like real money bookmakers, fantasy sports sites have different features, weaknesses and points systems. Some also have cash prizes and bonuses to tempt you, but there are just as many sites which charge an initial fee, or subscription to join.
Once you’ve decided to register for a league or contest, get familiar with the point scoring system. These can vary significantly between sites and are used to calculate the rankings. Remember, you want to be right at the top!
#2 Manage with your Head, not Heart
If you’re serious about trying to win your fantasy league, don’t let sentimentality rule your roster selection. If you select players based solely on whether you like them or not, you’re gonna be propping up the standings real soon.
So if you don’t like Player X for whatever reason, learn to put those feelings aside and choose based on productivity. If the guy is delivering points, you want him on your fantasy team.
This works both ways: of course you want your home team heroes to do well, but if they don’t get the job done, you have to be ruthless and change your line-up. No rose-colored glasses here!
#3 Don’t get Caught Up on Formation
Your fantasy team is an imaginary combination of players, so worrying about how the team would play together is a waste of time. For example, if you feel that you have 4 strong center backs, there’s no need to shoehorn in full backs just to fit your chosen formation.
Sometimes player categories can be exploited to your benefit. Think of the high-scoring or high-assisting ‘midfielder’ who in reality plays a forward role most of the time, or the attacking wing-back who racks up points for assists and also helps his team secure a clean sheet in defense. These players will be worth their weight in gold in your line-up.
#4 Avoid Troublemakers
Some soccer players are known for their poor disciplinary records and should be swerved when it comes to your fantasy league. Take Real Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave for example; he holds the all-time MLS record for career red cards.
Not only do cards cost you points, you will also have to adjust your line-up in the event of a player being ruled out of the next game. For that reason, avoid including players who are one card away from a suspension.
#5 Identify your Go-To Guys
Of course it’s impossible to completely fill your roster with the star men of the league, due to their elevated salaries. On the other hand, these impact players are often the highest point scorers and are likely to be owned by up to 50% of your competitors, so leaving them out can be too risky of a strategy.
You need to build your team around a few stars and then look for value in the other positions. Try to identify exceptional performers as early as possible in the season, to avoid too much chopping and changing.
#6 Use Transfers Wisely
In fantasy soccer, how you manage your roster and use transfers always has a big impact on the final standings. Free transfers are valuable currency as they are usually limited to one or two for each round of games. Beyond that, any additional transfers can incur a point penalty, which of course damages your chances of winning.
It goes without saying that you must keep your team updated each week, even if we’re just talking about one or two changes. Do this as close as possible to kick-off, to make use of information from pre-game news conferences, like players being rested or late injuries changing the line-up.
Some fantasy league operators have a season-long transfer limit, which gives greater flexibility. In this case, try to save around 60% of your transfers for the second half of the season. Don’t forget: it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
So you’ve passed fantasy soccer tips 101, huh? Here’s 5 other things you didn’t know about fantasy sports.