Heart Over Head: When Emotion Ruins FPL

With less than a week to go before the 2017-18 Premier League season kicks off many drafts are getting under way. There are many mistakes that you can make in setting up your Fantasy Premier League team, but one of the worst is to let your emotions take over. There are three ways that this can happen when forming your team.

  1. Avoiding players you dislike

There are some players out there that are just really hard for some people to like. Perhaps it’s someone like Diego Costa or Jamie Vardy and you just don’t like their attitude, or maybe it’s a player like Ander Herrera and you don’t like how he is constantly pleading with referees that he’s innocent. Either way these are all players that put up fantasy numbers that will help your team. There are plenty of specific players out there that you may not like, but you will need to get through this if and look at the data first.

  1. Picking only players you like

Maybe your favorite player is Firmino and he will contribute to your team, but maybe your favorite player is Olivier Giroud. If that is the case then you have some decisions to make. Just because you have a favorite player or there’s a player that you really like, doesn’t mean that they are going to produce points for you.

  1. Refusing to pick players from rival teams

This is one of the biggest traps that players fall into, including myself. Not wanting to pick a player from a rival club can be a massive detriment to your team. This is where the heart over the head can really hurt. Unless you are playing in a league that has specific rules about which players you can take, do not fall into this huge pitfall.

Trust me, I get it, I don’t like picking players from rival clubs, but I also know that this can damage a fantasy season irreparably. I absolutely hate picking any player from a club I don’t like or from a team that is a rival. I don’t want to think about how they did well during a match, in fact, I want to root against them and having them on my FPL team means that there is some part of me that wants them to do well.

Last season I decided to go with my heart and started out by choosing Henrikh Mkhitaryn to start the season in midfield. There were many other better options out there with players that were going to get regular playing time, but they played for other clubs that I didn’t want to have on my team. In the end, this pick really hurt the start of the year and consequently the season as a whole where I was left playing catch up.

Whatever format of fantasy Premier League football you are participating in, it is important to disregard your feelings about a player and use cold, calculated, data driven decisions. If the statistics are close enough between two players you’re looking at then, sure, go with the one that your heart wants, but if it’s a choice between a top player from a rival club and a mediocre one from the team you support, go with which ever will get you the most points.