Fantasy Champ Man preview: Strategy Guide

With season three of Fantasy Champ Man set to start on Thursday 6 January, expert David (@FPL_Gills) is here to provide regular advice to the FPL community.


Excited about the new Fantasy Champ Man Season? Still not quite sure where to start after last week’s introductory piece?  Well, lets delve a little deeper into the nuances of the game. Hopefully, the advice will help you get a head start on the pack.

Essential content

Before putting a team together, I’d advise watching the videos on the official Fantasy Champ Man YouTube channel. This will give you an insight into which players have moved clubs over the summer, new injuries and any rolled over suspensions. 

I’d also highly recommend the excellent work carried out by Craig and Martyn from the Man On podcast. Their videos are well worth watching as they’ve attempted to sim the game numerous times and even have a predicted league table for the season based on their research.

Player positions – and why it’s important

Due to the nature of the game, players will often perform better in one position over another. Here’s a brief run down.

Goalkeepers – These tend to get poor average ratings and few bonus points. Similarly to FPL, it’s often best to get a £4.5m option although, if you’re wildcarding early, it may be worth targeting a more expensive keeper with high clean sheet potential in the first few weeks.

Defenders – Centre backs frequently score more bonus points and these are generally more reliable than full-back attacking returns. It’s important to identify the key centre backs for each team and have a few of these in your squad.  There are always exceptions though – Ian Harte (set pieces/penalties) and Ricardo Gardner (assist king) will get you plenty of points if they play regularly.

Midfielders – Those playing as a winger or as an attacking midfielder (AMC) behind the striker(s) are more likely to get attacking returns than those playing in central or defensive midfield. For example, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, popular picks amongst new managers, rarely do well for returns in CM01/02, as they don’t push forward. Kieron Dyer is listed as a central and right-sided defensive midfielder but he mostly plays on the wing, so is capable of hauling.

Attackers – These will be your main source of points as you can fairly often predict returns in easier fixture runs. Take Sunderland – from Gameweeks 5-10 they have four home games and two promising away trips – so Kevin Phillips should be firmly on your radar. Try regularly captaining a striker, especially at home.

OnThisBoroDay 2002: Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips linked with  controversial move to Boro - Teesside Live

Managers & Formations

Many managers tweak formations depending on quality of opposition and whether they’re home or away. For example, Graeme Souness plays about four different formations, including 3-4-1-2 at home and 5-4-1 (also known as 7-2-1) in tough away games. If you have a Blackburn striker, expect a few benchings. It’s important to identify which managers are more likely to rotate players and formations, as this will impact your starting eleven.

Which formation should you choose?

In FPL, we’ve tended to see 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 as the more popular options over recent years. However, in Fantasy Champ Man, three strikers is almost (dare I say it) ‘essential’ due to the predictability of their returns. It’s a similar story for defenders – centre backs such as Rio Ferdinand and Ugo Ehiogu will mop up bonus points on a regular basis. You even have the likes of Liverpool’s Sami Hyypia on penalties.  

As a result, some managers went 5-2-3 last season with three cheap £4.5m midfielders.  This is still a viable option, although identifying those budget mids early on won’t be easy. To mix things up this season, some decent forwards such as Henrik Pedersen have been reclassified as midfielders. 4-3-3 may therefore be a better, more balanced option if you are able to find a good £4.5m defender, or even a £4.0m option such as Coventry’s Gary Breen if he secures a starting spot. Perhaps look into 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 if a couple of rotatable £4.5m defenders become an option, and the reclassified attacking midfielders are returning regularly.

Fixtures

Teams at home are more likely to win than in real life – but there are exceptions of course. It’s important to target runs of home fixtures to maximise points. Arsenal and Leicester have three in a row between Gameweeks 7-9 for example. Some strikers perform better away, such as Middlesbrough’s Hamilton Ricard last season, as the home team are likely to push forward and be susceptible to counter attacks. Try to identify home games interspersed with easier away games, such as Leeds’ run between Gameweeks 7-10.

Hamilton Ricard Profile, News & Stats | Premier League

Players

CM01/02 can be a quirky game. Therefore Fantasy Champ Man players can be fantastic one season but terrible or non-existent the next! Steven McPhail of Leeds was a £5m bargain in season one, yet barely figured last year. Conversely, Thierry Henry was clinical last season but rubbish – by his standards – the time before. I’d advise not to always go by the previous season’s form, as this can often be irrelevant.

Season Three fixture planning options

Frustratingly, fixture planning is already complicated by three of the best four teams (Leeds, Chelsea and Middlesbrough) having a Gameweek 2 blank in followed by a double in Gameweek 5. Chelsea play away in three of the first four, Leeds have two home ties, while Middlesbrough are at home for all three.  

Many experienced players have discussed free hitting in Gameweek 2 and then wildcarding in Gameweek 5 to take advantage of the doubles by loading up on these teams’ best assets. This is a viable and likely popular option, with an opportunity to get a strong start. However, there are some issues with this approach which are worth pointing out.

Firstly, the game engine tries its best (and often fails) to work out the best first XI for each team in the first couple of Gameweeks, therefore it’s possible there will be some serious squad rotation in Gameweek 2. We saw this in season one, less so in season two.

Secondly, wildcarding in Gameweek 5 is rather early and the best value assets may not yet be identified.  The likes of Dion Dublin, Niclas Alexandersson & Freddie Ljungberg – all fantastic season two assets – had not yet emerged by this point. It may be worth considering holding the likes of John Terry, Miguel Zepeda (Boro) & Mark Viduka through Gameweek 5 & beyond, saving that first Wildcard for later on.

Dates for your diary

The final preview stream is tonight at 21:00 (GMT) and is definitely worth watching.

The Gameweek 1 deadline for is 19:00 (GMT) on Thursday 6 January, with live YouTube content on the official stream starting at 20:00. The games will kick off at 20:30 and run in real time both on the stream and on the official twitter account.

Finally, keep an eye on the scout account ChampManScarface on deadline day, as he’ll likely be tweeting out a few team leaks on the day!

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