Budget Buys: Interchangeable players to support your team core

PuncheonOver the course of the season, there are likely to be players consistently featuring in your Fantasy side. This core is composed of players virtually guaranteed to start – your Kompanys, Van Persies and Bales. It’s impossible to have a team composed entirely of such expensive mainstays, and it’s therefore important to supplement this spine with lower-priced players that nonetheless consistently gain points.

One method of maximising your points out of a certain area of the field is through the establishment of rotation pairs. Rotation pairs are players from two different teams whom you alternate every gameweek to optimise your point tally. It’s important to keep in mind whether your player performs better home or away – intuition says home, but our Home-vs-Away player index tells us this is not always the case. If you have two players who tend to perform stronger at home, then it’s important their teams do not play at their home ground in the same week. Alternatively, if you prefer a player who is stronger at home and another who plays better away, having them on the same schedule in terms of away and home games is more beneficial.

subsAs an example, I’ll use a sample midfield. Say I’ve decided I want to field Tottenham’s Bale, Everton’s Fellaini and Arsenal’s Walcott for the first game gameweeks – but, I also want to play three forwards, so I’ll have to play a fourth midfielder each week. I have around 13m available to buy my last two midfielders.

Using our game difficulty checker I’ve noticed that West Ham and Southampton have a good combination of opening fixtures;

Southampton: WBA (A), SUN (H), NOR (A), WHU (H), LIV (A)
West Ham: CAR (H), NEW (A), STK (H), SOU (A), EVE (H)

Picking the more favourable of each leaves me with: Cardiff (H), Sunderland (H), Stoke (H), West Ham (H), Everton (H)

For Southampton, one man effective at home was Jason Puncheon, who is available for £5.5m. West Ham’s Kevin Nolan was a fan-favourite at Upton Park, bringing in 98 points for his Fantasy managers – almost double his ‘Away’ tally. He is priced at £7m at most. I could bring in both for 12.5, just within my budget and with a set game plan for the opening rounds of the season.

Of course there are many more team combinations for the opening weeks of the season. I’ve drawn up a few below.

Goalkeepers & Defenders
These teams will, when rotated, face teams they have a good chance of keeping a clean sheet against. Note that Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool were not considered. Their players come at high prices, and if you have them should always be fielded.

Southampton & Everton: Cardiff (H), Sunderland (H), Stoke (H), West Ham (H), Everton (H)
West Brom & Hull*: Southampton (H), Norwich (H), Swansea (H), Cardiff (H), Sunderland (H)
Spurs & Norwich: Palace (A), Swansea (H), Southampton (H), Norwich (H), Villa (H)
*I do advise caution in backing promoted sides to keep clean sheets.

Midfielders & Forwards
These teams will, when rotated, face teams they have a good chance of scoring against. Note that Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool were not considered. Their players come at high prices, and if you have them should always be fielded.

Spurs & Newcastle: Palace (A), West Ham (H), Fulham (H), Norwich (H), Hull (H)
Southampton & West Brom: Southampton (H), Sunderland (H), Swansea (H), West Ham (H), Sunderland (H)

And that’s the essence of player rotating. For more help in choosing your players, do refer to our 2012/2013 Home vs. Away Index and Game Difficulty Checker.

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