How Do They Do It?

Posted by John Culea

Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty ImagesFantasy managers who selected Theo Walcott as their GameWeek 23 captain reaped a huge reward - 42 points!

Fantasy managers often tell me it is virtually impossible to be in the elite group of managers competing in fantasy football. While it is extremely difficult and some degree of luck is needed, obviously it is not impossible to be in the Top Ten. A look at those managers for Rounds 23 and 24 reveal commonality in their success.

Their double-game week scores in Round 23 ranged from 87 to 118 points.

1. Nine out of the 10 managers had three defenders in their starting XI. The fourth-place manager had four.

2. Five of the ten managers played five midfielders, with manager No. 4 playing four midfielders and two forwards.

3. Five managers played two forwards and the other five played three.

4. The single biggest factor in fantasy success is the designated captain for each week. In Round 23, all ten managers selected Theo Walcott for their captain and he returned a massive 42 double points.

Through Round 23, the season total for the 10 managers ranged from 1,515 to 1,591 points.

In Gameweek 24, three new managers moved into the top 10. The week’s scores for the top 10 ranged from 63 to 77 (77 shared by two).

1. Six of the 10 managers chose Robin van Persie (6 double points) as their captain, two went for Gareth Bale (18 double points), one selected Juan Mata (24 double points) and one picked Clint Dempsey (6 double points).

2. Half the managers went with five midfielders and the other half had four.

3. Half the managers played two forwards, the other half played three. All ten deployed three defenders.

4. A look at the 10 managers also shows they understand the value of not burning too many transfers early in the segment. Here are the ten managers, the number of remaining transfers and available budget:

1. 15 unused transfers, 0.1 budget left
2. 14 unused transfers, zero budget available
3. 15 unused transfers, 0.7 budget left
4. 17 unused transfers, 0.7 budget left
5. 16 unused transfers, 0.5 budget left
6. 17 unused transfers, zero budget available
7. 15 unused transfers, 0.5 budget left
8. 10 unused transfers, zero budget available
9. 16 unused transfers, 0.6 budget left
10. 15 unused transfers, 2.0 budget left

Through Round 24, the season total for the 10 managers ranged from 1,584 to 1,658 points.

Bottom line: the top ten managers got off to a roaring start in Week 1, made wise selections for Segment 2, did well in the three double-game weeks, started only three defenders each week, picked their captains fortuitously, still have plenty of transfers left and had good luck.

Not surprisingly, the most popular players on nearly all the teams include Leighton Baines, Walcott, Mata, van Persie and Santi Cazorla.

To find the leaders on the ESPNFC game page, click on Leaderboard and you will see the top 100 managers, their players and how they fared.

Note: After a respectable Segment 1 (No. 473, 99.5%), Sir John is off to a wretched start in Segment 2. Through three rounds, Sir John’s Lads have 208 points, which is 16th in my 30-team league and ranked (very rank, as in stinking!) at 5,546. For the season, I am 697th worldwide but falling faster than an Aston Villa cobblestone.

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