The Footy Show did its internal Premier League player draft last night at a nearby bar. I was already a few sheets to the wind, and my total Premier League teem sheets were a disorganized mess. I didn’t get Danny Graham, but I did get David Silva. Joe Ross somehow thinks Michu is going to burn down the Premier League. James, who had his picks selected on his behalf, ended up with Arshavin and Shay Given, which was hilarious.
Not that any of that mattered, because I had a strategy. I don’t know how your pool is scored, but if it’s some variation on a basic point system for goals and clean sheets, you don’t need to do much work at all.
Ours was a straight up, unlimited budget snake draft. We had a 4-3-3 formation, plus seven subs in any position. Yours might be slightly different, but the basic principles should carry over. The general idea is NOT to pick “starz.” Or players that are generally good in a way that isn’t directly related to the points system. So if yours is based on “key passes” or “assists” then obviously pick as needed.
Generally though, you want defenders in a team capable of getting clean sheets. You want more strikers than midfielders, and you want midfielders who can a) score and b) generally play for teams who regularly put up clean sheets.
Some pointers by position.
This one’s easy. Rank by clean sheets by last season. If you like, you can weight over several added seasons. But don’t take Joe Hart as your first pick. The math doesn’t add up. You’re far better blowing it on a decent striker. Our pool didn’t require a goalkeeper at all. Think of them as padding.
If your pool requires players to play the full match in order to get the clean sheet points, make sure they’re ALL central defenders unless your pool forces you to pick full-backs (get out of that pool NOW). CBs won’t get subbed if they’re injured. Also, pick defenders at a club likely to get clean sheets (in other words, hold your nose and take Joleon Lescott).
As stated above, pick midfielders with a good scoring record, and if you can overlap that with a club with a decent clean sheet history, great. But goals bring in more points in this category, so err on the side of attacking mids. Ashley Young would be a good pick, as would David Silva or Yaya Toure, obviously.
Goals. A history of goals. I would urge you strongly to avoid brand-spanking new signings, as more often than not they go through protracted adjustment periods. Better to consider relative consistency rather than a single solid year, which is why I picked Wayne Rooney over Robin van Persie.
That’s it. Live a little too. Fellaini, Odemwingie, and Michel Vorm all made my team. You’re not going to win the pool (I won the Euro 2012 player pool, tied with James Sharman), so you might as well give yourself reason to care over the course of an entire season.