FPL: The Comeback Kid – How to recover from a bad start

Comeback

You’re wallowing in your FPL mini league, your overall rank has far too many numbers in it and you’re more of a laughing-stock than Theresa May and her Brexit plan. It’s not been a good season. But I’m here to tell you not all is lost…

You’ll find my entire gameweek history from the 2017/18 FPL season, along with chip use, from last season at the bottom of the article. At the end of GW8 I was 1.7 million, by GW38 I was 5k. A comeback like this can be done! And I’m going to tell you how.

If Newcastle can come back from 4-0 against Arsenal with, you can still beat your mate Dave in your mini league. Then you can celebrate like Cheick Tiote (RIP) after scoring one of the greatest goals ever

The first Wildcard

You can find more detail here but your first Wildcard can be a powerful tool in aiding your comeback. If you’ve already used your Wildcard, fear not. My Wildcard actually saw me drop even further down the rankings. Plenty of managers, however, have used it to kick start their recovery.

A comeback wasn’t built in a gameweek

FPL shares many traits with various forms of gambling, so here’s an analogy:

A man bets on horse racing. Usually he makes around £500 on a good day out. After a few bad races he’s £1,000 down with just £50 left. He’s got good sources, and they tell him there are some good options in the coming races at about 4/1. Instead, he puts his £50 on a 30/1 long shot. The horse is actually an overweight Shetland pony ridden by Susan Boyle, but hey if it comes in he’ll be back on top!

This is what I see when a struggling manager is trying to make their comeback by choosing ‘differential’ captains. They take big points deductions, picking players completely out of form because “they could bang mate”. Be patient. Consistently good to average weeks are just as effective as one brilliant week, and it’s far less risky. There’s less than 50 points between 500k in the world and 50k at the moment, there’s no need to panic.

Accept you might be wrong

There’s a fine line between patience and stubbornness in FPL. Realising that the latter has caused you to stick with one player, or ignore another, can be the key to improving your FPL fortunes. I learned this lesson the hard way, when during the 2012/13 season I refused to bring in a certain Gareth Bale until it was already too late. I thought he was too expensive (as he’d gone so far up in price), was in too many teams (I felt I couldn’t make up ground by picking him) and he didn’t have a history of scoring a lot of goals. Of course, I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Bale scored 21 PL goals for Spurs in 2012/13 on his way to winning PFA Player of the Year and a big money move to Real Madrid

Last year I backed Mane to be the dominant midfielder and opted to start with him over a certain Egyptian teammate. I learned from my previous Bale mistake, bit the bullet and jumped on the Salah train. I was late to the party, but at least I arrived before they started kicking people out.

Players you might have neglected up to this point that I really think you should be considering as season keepers: Aguero, Mitrovic, Salah, Alonso, Robertson.

Save those chips!

Fans of the Fast & Furious movies (all 29 of them) will be aware of the ‘Nitrous boost’ that the racers use. For those of you lucky enough not to have witnessed said movies, they push a button that makes them go really fast for a limited amount of time. Traditionally someone Vin Diesel is racing will use their boost to get ahead of him, at which point he’ll turn to them and say something like “Too soon, b##ch” before using his right at the end to win the race. Something like that anyway, I try to block it out. Your chips are your nitrous boosts. Be Vin Diesel, don’t be a b##ch.

The face you pull when your captain hits the post

There’s no definite right or wrong time to use the chips. They shouldn’t, however, be used as a quick way to improve your ranking. You should plan when to use them in advance and structure your team accordingly. In my experience, it’s best to save them for the double and blank gameweeks near the end of the season. We will be posting an article in relation to these nearer the time so keep an eye out.

Future planning and fixture swings

We don’t have the luxury of hindsight in FPL. It’s important, therefore, to find ways of being proactive as well as reactive when trying to make up ground. One of the ways to do this is by monitoring the upcoming fixtures with a view to predicting who will perform well over that period. There’s an FPL adage: “Form follows fixtures” and I think this is true to some extent.

Players that maybe aren’t included in many teams because of lack of form may have been going through a particularly difficult patch of fixtures. On the flip side, players that have done well up to now could have a difficult run to come. This fixture change can result in a change of fortune for some players, and offer you an advantage over other managers. This is particularly useful for teams outside the top six. Examples in the near future below:

Good: Newcastle GW9 to 19 (Yedlin, Dubravka, Kenedy), Leicester GW7 to 16 (Maddison, Vardy, Chilwell), Bournemouth GW7 to 11 (Fraser, Wilson/King, Cook), West Ham GW11 to 22 (Arnautovic), Brighton GW8 to 17 (Dunk/Duffy, Murray, Knockaert)

Bad: Palace GW10 to 13, Bournemouth GW11 to 14, West Ham GW7 to 10.

Stay calm and make better FPL decisions

My most important piece of advice, which we expand upon in this article.

So, there you have it, now you have all the tools to mount a successful comeback! Let us know your comeback stories in the comments.

My season history from 2017/18 in full:

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