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Telegraph Fantasy Football Tips

BEFORE YOU START. Make sure you know the rules, especially any new changes for the new season. Be aware of what prize money is available and target correctly - ie. choose a league that has fewest teams in. Purchase teams at start of season for cheapest deal. One rule easily overlooked is the fact that FA CUP GAMES including any premiership side count as valid fixtures. Be aware of them! It is well worth returning to these tips every few weeks and refreshing your memory, especially where deadline dates for competitions are concerned.

Ammendments for the 2011/12 season are shown in RED

Brand new this season From Tuesday, January 3, 2012, teams that have used their max. allowance of 30 transfers will be automatically entered into the Tinkerman League. More a competition than a league, in fact, each team has its ponts wiped at the start of the week (Tuesday in TFF parlance) and the team with the most points at the end of the week wins 100.

Also new this season is the introduction of the Super 20s cup knockout phase in the latter half of the season; commencing Tuesday, February 14th 2012 to be exact. You have to qualify for this knockout stage by finishing in the top 4 of a league of 20 that all play each other once. Watch out for this interesting new development. More on the Super 20s below.

1. Clean Sheet points is NOT the way to go. Very few clean sheets in the season 2010/11. There are even less this season as Man City are now playing more open football and Birmingham, the 2010/11 clean sheet bankers are now relegated. Even Stoke appear to struggle for away clean sheets in 2011/12. Swansea have kept many a clean sheet at home and even away on occasion, but dare you risk defenders from a team that might at any time concede a hatful?

2. Watch out for players classified wrongly such as Bale who in the 2010/11 season played midfield and NOT defender. Also many players often played as strikers were/are classified as midfielders. Good examples are Nolan (no longer playing in this league), Dempsey (Fulham), Malouda (Chelsea), T Cahill (Everton), Etherington (Stoke) Sessegnon (Sunderland). Lastly, never overlook Frank Lampard of Chelsea who tends to get 20 goals a year from midfield - better than most strikers.

3. When you do use up your valuable transfers, transfer players in who are showing good form AND are playing in a team that is showing good form.

4. As the season goes on you're going to end up with many players the same as other teams (eg. in 2010/11 Andy Carrol due to cheapness and surprising effectiveness plus a combination of top scorers from the big four). This means that your secondary players may be the ones that make the difference in head-to-head clashes in the "Super 20s Cup" League.

5. Beware picking players that do not always start in the bigger squads. 2 starting points EVERY game adds up over the season - though see point 13.

6. Beware players with a history of bookings and sending offs. They don't just lose points when playing, but also through suspensions.

7. Penalty takers are not the plus they used to be now missed pens are penalised so much.

8. Make transfers at the right time - be aware of injuries, especially at the start of the season. Avoid the temptation to make transfers straight after matches, instead make a note and then review before the next set of matches. Make sure you have good sources for this injury list info.

9. If you are seriously aiming for a chance at the Starting XI prize you must be aware of players that may be recalled for the Asian Cup (2010/11) (eg Cahill of Everton and Lee of Bolton) or the African Cup Of Nations 2011/12 eg Drogba, the Toure brothers, Demba Ba and many more.

10. To qualify for the new tinkerman competition ensure that your team has used ALL 30 transfers by Tuesday Jan 3rd 2012. You know what the tinkerman league is because you carefully read all the rules and terms and conditions before you started team selections, didn't you?

11. Have a separate team for the Golden Boot prize (ie. sacrifice any thought of clean sheets.) The new 3-4-3 formation looks perfect for this.

12a. Have a sleeper team for the second half 'division' with plenty of transfers left (why not all 30?) 1000 to be won this season (slashed to just 500 in 2011/12). Lots of people start new teams for this BUT divisions are divided by points so brand new teams on zero points will all be clubbed together. The optimal situation will be to aim for division 8 or 9 (work out how many are in the whole thing and divide by 10 - top 10% go in div 1 next 10% div 2 etc) then slam in top players leaving around 20 transfers to take advantage of 'extra' games. If you want this team to also compete in the new Super 20s cup you'll have to ensure they are in the top 204,800 teams on TUESDAY September the 13th

12b. Idea: In your starting team select top INJURED players who should come online after 3 months or so. This will save on some transfers later. The aim is to land in a division where most players aren't very active or have ceased to have an interest. There used to be some element of luck here because when the divisions are picked you can just as easily end up in position 1 on day 1 or position 20,000th already tens of points down on the division leader BUT in the 2011/12 season everyone starts on zero points in each of the ten divisions. At this point in the new year FA cup round 3 starts and all replays count as extra games for teams. VERY IMPORTANT.

13. Even though they may play a lot of games, holding midfield players are no good as a rule - too many bookings, sendings off and few, if any, goals or assists.

14. 3-5-2 was the best formation for the 2010/11 rules (but be aware of the new formations available for 2011/12) - although even best midfielders can't compete with best strikers points suggesting 4-3-3 if it can be afforded.

15. Manager of the week prize could be won by leaving one team aside then targeting one saturday, one sunday and one monday night game that is predictable, using all transfers - If carerfully selected might give a chance for manager of the month also. The first winner of manager of the week this year was won by a team named "Week 1" suggesting that there are people who do this. This strategy is even more viable this season because you can use all your transfers targeting a particular manager of the week competition in the first half of the season and that team is not then spent but becomes a force for the new tinkerman league.




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