As the new football season approaches, millions of people are thinking about their Fantasy Premier League. When my kids started playing, I realised that there were some valuable lessons that come out of the game.
1. You can't have everything you want
Every player in the game as a set price, and every team starts with a fixed budget. This is designed so you can't have all your favourite players at the same time, and (initially) there is no way to acquire extra funds. This gives an immediate appreciation of budgeting and opportunity cost.
2. Even if you could have everything you wanted, you probably don't want to
Player prices are based on previous seasons, so every season, there are some high performers at low prices; and some expensive players who generate few points.
3. When the facts change, change your mind
Whilst carrying out many team changes will carry a points penalty, there is room to make changes.
We don't need to be held to what we thought in July or August. If we learn about a previously unheralded player, or a defender who now has a more attacking role, then make use of that knowledge.
4. The 80/20 rule
You could spend every waking hour analysing your team and who to put in it. But you'll probably end up with a team very similar to the one you had after five or ten minutes, but worse.
5. Focus on judgement rather than luck
In a game played by seven million people, there will be almost inevitably be someone who triple-captained the unknown defender who scores a hat trick, keeps a clean sheet and cured cancer in one afternoon. Frequently, several hundred thousand people will then switch from their previous choice to this new hero. This rarely goes well.
Sensible decisions will accumulate over time. This will play out better than looking for a lucky break. Don't worry about not predicting unlikely events.
6. Consistency pays
Many players take part in mini-leagues with family, friends or colleagues. One tactic is to use your triple captain and bench boost tokens early to uplift your score in the early weeks. The logic is that some of your rivals will see that you are far ahead, and then lose interest.
Similarly, there are often life events during the year which may cause you to not look at your team for a week or more. If that happens to you, you might then give up on the season. If it happens to your competitors, you may wonder why you have suddenly done better than them.
Either way, it's a long season, so don't be put off if things aren't going well.
Good luck for this season!