Going to the opticians | Fantasy Football Tips, News and Views from Fantasy Football Scout | fpl.wiki

This isn’t moneyball, this isn’t baseball, this is football!

Stats are one thing and while you may turn to them to be the truth-bearers, it’s clear that they never reveal the whole story. Don’t get me wrong, stats can be helpful but you simply can’t beat the eye test…said the angry optician.

If you want to succeed in FPL, you can’t get away from the simple fact that you have to watch as much football as you can.

Watching the beautiful game, you pick up so much more. To be the best, you have to watch, you have to analyse, you have to see what the stats fail to record. When a player scores a disallowed goal, does this appear in the stats? When a player slides a beautiful through ball to his teammate who misses it by a whisker, does this appear in the stats? When a player starts running less in the last 20 minutes of a game, does this appear in the stats? By now, you’ve probably guessed that the answer is no.

But all of that is so important, it lets you know that a player was a millimetre away from a goal, an assist, or may even be prone to an inevitable substitution or rest over a congested run of fixtures.

During this pandemic, I have turned to football as a brief and consistent escape, and in this time, I’ve learnt that football is such a complex game that we all struggle to understand. Reading Bielsa’s conferences in full, you realise that although football may seem simple, it has the potential to be a beauty beyond comprehension.

It’s easy to be led into an incorrect analysis of a game by pundits, commentators and so-called experts. Many of these people would fail miserably (or have done so) as managers or coaches so why we value their analysis, I have no idea. Journalists often offer more insight and have a much better sense of humour, which is why I regularly mute the commentary while watching a game and simply listen to a podcast like The Guardian Football Weekly or Football Ramble.

As an example, take the 2-0 victory by Spurs over Man City (back in November); watching the Match of the Day analysis, they spent the entire time fawning over Harry Kane’s performance. Granted he was spectacular in that game but they completely failed to mention the glut of chances (22 to be exact) City failed to convert. Going into the next gameweek, you may have overlooked City’s players and missed out on their 5-0 pummelling of Burnley.

Watching a game, you can see the ebb and flow, how momentum can swing, how a team can deserve more than the result or how a single performance can sway the subsequent analysis. 

So at this point you may be thinking, “But the stats would’ve told us that”. You’re right, they would have, which is why I fall back on the fact that stats are helpful. I for one, regularly review a couple of tables I’ve created in the Fantasy Football Scout members area on a weekly basis. I don’t watch every game and stats are a quick-fire way to see if anyone performed particularly well. But I take them with a pinch of salt, knowing that they provide a snapshot of a game but they don’t capture the entire picture.

I understand that you can’t watch every game, and even if you could, why would you, some are as boring as licking a paint can. All I ask is you don’t give stats more credit than they deserve. Agree that there is more to the story and agree that there is more to the beautiful game than just numbers and tables.

Whether you want to beat your mates or finish in the upper echelons of Fantasy Premier League folklore, one thing is for certain…if you spend just a little more time watching the beautiful game and trying to understand it, you’ll bring home more of those delicious fantasy points we all crave.

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