Master the Fantasy Football transfer

And finally top your league table.

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It doesn’t matter that you’re sat on the sofa with no credentials, we all think we can do better than whoever's guiding our beloved football team to a third-straight defeat. Fantasy Football is our opportunity to put our frustrated football talk into practice, with the game letting us take control of our own team.

But what do you do when your results inevitably take a dip? Do you switch out your star signing because they had one rocky week, or do you mix up your back line in the hope of racking up some impressive clean sheet bonuses? Oh, and what about that crucial captain’s armband?

Don’t just rely on that ‘gut feeling’ you’ve got. Ben Crabtree, champion of the 2016/17 Fantasy Premier League, has a few words of advice for those of you looking to make the sort of transfers that would get Jim White all giddy with excitement.

It's not all about the money, form is crucial to securing the best transfers.

“It’s best to track a number of players from different positions,” Crabtree advises. “This helps you remember players you feel are good options to bring in. It’s good to have a range of players here, from cheap options who free up money to be spent elsewhere, to the high-scoring players that you’re concerned you don’t own. It’s wise to keep the list to around 15 to 20 players and dismiss players as their form or fixtures diminish.”

While that might sound like a lot, the champ insists that simply looking at marquee signings, or those players worthy of a spot on the next FIFA cover simply isn’t enough.

“Look for effective players, not just great ones,” Crabtree says. “An attacking midfielder who is the best player at a poor team is a better option than quality players like N'Golo Kante because they are much more likely to be involved in goals. For £0.5m or £1.0m more, they’re definitely worth it.”

It’s not just the players that you should be keeping an eye on, either. Timing is crucial to maximising your limited transfer options, and bunching your transfers together can have a major effect on your points potential.

Monitoring a player's weekly performance helps narrow down reliable picks.

“Work on avoiding two points ‘hits’ on transfers,” Crabtree explains. “Saving two free transfers puts you in a strong position. I’d argue that spending four points, along with two free transfers, offers the best value as you’re getting three new players. That can drastically change the potential of your team.”

Ultimately, balance is key to a strong team and maximising the impact of transfer targets. “I look to get in a couple of 'big hitters' – star players who bring in lots of points – then fill my midfield and attack around them. If I’m torn between two players, I’ll often go for the cheaper option.”

“Having one expensive player in each position, bar the goalkeepers, does come with an advantage as you can probably then afford any player by using just one transfer. If Harry Kane or Sergio Agüero are showing form, you don’t want to be having to tear your whole squad apart to get them in.”

Tracking multiple players for various teams gives you options when injuries occur.

It’s not just transfers that you can utilise to freshen up your squad either. That subs bench, y’know, the one you’ve probably filled with budget players of questionable talent, is OK to be utilised as something of a budget saver, but be prepared to rope players in to the starting line-up midweek.

“For substitutes, I prefer to rotate two cheap keepers and have two definite starters playing in outfield positions,” Ben explained. “I don’t normally mind my bench being weak as I see it as more important to maximise the strength of the starting eleven.”

“A good attacking player with a difficult game is preferable to a poor attacking player with an easy one.”

See, it’s that simple. Being a top flight football manager really is as easy as it looks.

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