Summer break over already?! Certainly seems so for fantasy Premier League enthusiasts. Togga has opened up the new season and FPL draft leagues are already being created. This year I’m going to use my blogs to give an insight into the workings of our main league which, if anything, might provide some inspiration for decision making in yours.

The Giant Fruit & Nut Premier League (GFANPL) is moving into its third season now and, while we have a few self-proclaimed ‘experts’, we’d like to think we’re at least at veteran level when it comes to the Togga setup. We are a 12 team league with a league entry fee of £50 and cash prizes distributed depending on each team’s final position. Prizes range from £250 for finishing first, down to £0 for last place. And with cash involved it means everyone takes it seriously (except Pecker… no surprise he finished last).

In the 12 team format the draft becomes even more important than normal with far fewer player available on waiver once the season kicks off. Although the snake format in the draft does even out the quality of teams, each of the 12 draft positions offers a variety of challenges and opportunities. This is where the first question of the season must be asked… Which draft position would you choose if you could?

We actually run a small knockout cup competition during the season where the winner gets to choose his draft position for the following year so the question of ‘which draft position offers the most value?’ has some relevance to us. In both this year and last year’s draft, the cup winner chose to pick position number one. But does this draft position actually offer the best value?

Picking first does ensure you get the player you want but when your next pick is 24th you also want to make sure that the top tiers of players are deep enough to offer value on your second and third picks. This perhaps wasn’t the case in previous seasons. Last season, the official Togga cheatsheet had only 23 tier 1 & 2 forwards and midfielders, the positions which you are likely to fill first. For 2017-18 it looks like that could stretch to around 26. This means that early draft positions could end up with three top tier midfielders or forwards while the rest have only two.

Also, the point difference between the top tier 1 players and the top tier 2 players is more than any other tier comparison. If players perform exactly as they did the previous year and are drafted according to those expectations then there is definite logic in the early picks having an advantage. As we know though, rarely is that the case. Still, it is highly unlikely that all top tier 1 players will under-perform and so there is still a high probability of the good success rate using an early pick

On the negative side, an early pick does place a lot of reliance on your first choice living up to expectations. Ozil was the first player on the GFANPL draft board last season after finishing top scorer the previous year. To say that his owner was disappointed with his performance would be an understatement and when your next highest pick is considered the 24th best player it really does limit the upside to your points total. The same risks don’t apply to a late pick where your second best player is considered a top 13 or 14 player.

A late pick also offers the bonus of having a good waiver position, particularly in a rolling waiver league where you can preserve your waiver right up until the summer transfer window closes. The earlier your draft takes place, the more beneficial this bonus becomes with a larger window for new players to arrive. There is, of course, no guarantee that any more top tier players will come to the Premier League but you would imagine at least two will be signed once the season starts (last year saw the arrival of Paul Pogba and David Luiz in August)

An additional risk in this season’s draft is the uncertainty surrounding some of the top tier players. This particularly affects those with positions 4 to 9 where these players would likely be picked up.  Those who took Payet last year will confirm how depleting it is to lose your best player, even after half a season. With Aguero & Ozil posing some doubt regarding their futures at their clubs, some of the earlier picks may opt to take a lower ranked player rather than risk losing their prized asset.

In Summary, an early position this season does look like it will offer value where it didn’t before. If your first choice player can survive the season without injury then this are definite advantages to being number at the start of the draft. That being said, as long as your draft takes place at least 1 week before the season starts then I think that is sufficient time to make pick 12 the best on the board given the waiver opportunity. The GFANPL made its draft draw last weekend and my team was drawn last so maybe there is some bias in my view but I’m feeling confident with last pick. I’ve provided a outline of my thoughts below.

 

Draft Position Pros Cons

Draft Position Ranking (1 is best)

1st

Guaranteed marquee player

Squad should consist of three players from tiers 1 & 2

If first pick gets injured then your next highest player is ranked 24th

No chance of marquee waiver signing

3

2nd – 3rd

Guaranteed marquee player

Squad should consist of three players from tiers 1 & 2

Similar reliance on first pick performing

No chance of marquee waiver signing

2

4th – 9th Guaranteed one tier 1 player and one reasonable tier 2 player May have to consider lower ranked player rather than risk taking player with uncertain future

Will only have two top tier players and little chance of picking up another on waiver.

5

10th – 11th

Waiver should be enough to pick up another top tier player

Should have two of the best tier two players

Unlikely to get tier 1 player.

4

12th First waiver should guarantee further top tier player

Squad will consist of 2 of the top 13 players

Best player is considered 12th in rankings

1