An Interview With World No.2 – Fantasy Premier League Tips

As we mentioned in a previous article the title race may be over for Premier League managers, but for us Fantasy Premier League managers there is still so much to play for. Well, at least for some of us.

This week we’ve brought in a very special guest who is currently sitting second in Fantasy Premier League, arguably one of the most exciting overall position to be in at this stage.

Mr. Siddiq (or @thefantasyfreak as he’s known as on fplbet) and his team The Malouda Triangle currently find themselves in second place with two gameweeks to go.

We caught up with Mr.Siddiq to have a chat about his glorious season and find out some of his managerial secrets and Fantasy Premier League tips.

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fplbet:
Congratulations on your achievement this season, to be in contention of finishing FIRST must be very exciting.

A look at your previous seasons shows you’ve finished in the top 100k for the last three years on the bounce, the highest of which was 20,351st in 2012/13 season. 

Have you adopted a different approach this year and if so what is it you’ve changed that has made the difference?

Mr. Siddiq
Thank you for the appreciation; indeed it has been a special season. When I started off 3 years ago, I was a casual and didn’t know much about the rules of the game.

I started taking more interest from last season onwards and I think the lessons I learnt last season have culminated in the success that I achieved this season.

Basically this season I’ve been paying a conscious effort not to take many hits, to delve deep into statistics and to play my own game really.

fplbet:
You mentioned point hits and a quick skim through your gameweek history shows that you’ve only taken a point hit on three occasions.

Does this require careful forward planning?

Mr. Siddiq
It does. For example, when you have set up defender rotations for a specific number of game weeks, there isn’t any urgent need to disrupt it all over again. When it comes to attacking players, it’s all about picking the players on form.

Even if they have tough fixtures I’ve learnt to give them time.

For example, if you browse through my team history, I had Coutinho during February and March because he was on form. He propelled me to second in the rankings after two consecutive double-digit hauls against Southampton and Manchester City.

He turned out to be a great differential!

fplbet:
You mention setting up defensive rotations for a number of gameweeks, when it comes to planning this do you refer to fixture rotation tables on popular tips websites or create them yourself?

Mr. Siddiq
To start the season I prefer to go with players playing for teams that are traditionally solid at the back – Chelsea being a prime example.

As the season goes on, you get a general idea of how watertight teams are in defence and then you can make your changes gradually. But to start with, I prefer solid nailed on players.

However, for the January wildcard, I used the ticker on Fantasy Football Scout to create my own defensive rotations.

fplbet:
So if attacking players are based on form, how is it you define ‘form’?

Mr. Siddiq
Form is a combination of how threatening an attacking player looks and whether his team is attacking enough for him to play that role consistently. He may or may not be among the points, but his overall threat is there for all to see. 

fplbet:
So its fair to say an element of your judgement is based upon actually watching the match, and seeing stand out players?

Mr. Siddiq
Yes – and if I’m unable to do that, I trust the underlying statistics to bear me out.

fplbet:
Would you ever transfer in a player on a gut feeling after seeing them perform well, despite their stats not backing it up?

Mr. Siddiq
No – stats prevail over personal judgement and player reputation in my opinion.

fplbet:
Definitely a big tip for every amateur out there! Back on to the topic of transfers, do you pay much attention to beating price changes?

Mr. Siddiq
Yes – I think that is a key part of the game that you have to take into account to improve your chances of a better finish in the latter half of the season.

I have been monitoring them closely until March after which I believe they become less significant as the season draws to a close

fplbet:
When it comes to tracking price rises, what do you find is the most reliable source?

Mr. Siddiq
I used Fantasy Football Fix and FPL Statistics this season. Fix is more accurate for falls, and FPL Statistics is more accurate for rises, I believe.

fplbet:
Clearly transfers are a huge aspect to finishing highly, so lets discuss wildcards. When did you use your season wildcard and was it the best time to?

Mr. Siddiq
I used it in gameweek 7. I think it was the time when I had gotten an idea of what the teams were like, and how were they were going to set up for most of the season.

Having said that, the most important factor was that my team was in dire straits at that time – and I felt I’d plummet down the rankings if immediate action wasn’t taken. 

The key is to get the timing right – play it when your team really needs it.

fplbet:
We’ll all bare that in mind next year! Out of interest, are there any players who featured in your gameweek 1 team who still feature in your team today?

Mr. Siddiq
No – no one has managed to last the season this time. Joel Ward – who I refer to as ‘Wardinho’ – was there from first gameweek until the last the previous season though!

fplbet:
From the outside looking in it seems you’ve had a pretty flawless season, has that been the case or do you have a few stand out regrets that you still look back upon?

Mr. Siddiq
It sounds silly – but my biggest regret of the season is not to get an even higher score in gameweek 8, which was the highest scoring gameweek of my season.

I remember being away on vacation to Dubai that week, which is why I forgot to bring in Agüero for Costa who was an injury doubt at that time. I would have captained him as well, so when you consider he scored 4 goals against Spurs that gameweek, it is something I might look back upon if I don’t finish 1st.

fplbet:
WOW so even a holiday during the season could be the difference between first and second!  

Coutinho’s gameweek 26 and gameweek 27 spell seemed to aid your challenge for top spot, have there been any other big moments that have helped you this year?

Mr. Siddiq
Owning Tadić in gameweek 8 tops the lot I think. Very few people had him at the time. Also I captained Pellè when he scored a brace against Newcastle in gameweek 4, turned out to be another great differential.

Captaining Jamie Vardy last double game week is another one I’d like to mention. He did a fine job for me, considering that most went with Hazard.

fplbet:
We know we keep talking about it, but you now stand 27 points away from first place. Do you think you can close the gap over the next two weeks?

Mr. Siddiq
Yes, most definitely. There is still a chance if I take some sensible risks and come up with some decent differentials.

fplbet:
Is that going to be your strategy over the next two weeks then? Do you plan to play it safe captaincy wise and look at your differential players to make up the ground?

Mr. Siddiq
I don’t want to give too much away right now. Having said that, I’ll have to find a balance between caution and aggression.

fplbet:

That’s understandable, so when it comes to choosing your team, how much do you factor first place’s existing team and potential moves?

Mr. Siddiq
I haven’t been taking into account the moves of my rivals up until now. I don’t think I will look into his potential move(s) either. I trust my own game

fplbet:
Interesting, Mourinho would probably be weighing up every single possible outcome,

Lets discuss current affairs: In terms of Arsenal and Sunderland coverage for the DGW, you currently have Sánchez, Özil & Gómez whereas top has Sánchez, Giroud & Larsson. Do you think this DGW will be THE decisive factor in the title race?

Mr. Siddiq
I don’t think it will be – there is not much between these players if I’m being honest. I think captaincy will be crucial – both this week and in the next!

fplbet:
You currently have N’Doye, whereas top has Kane – both strikers are seemingly out of form and could be replaced by the likes of Defoe, Graham or Wickham.

Will you be considering this based on your previous DGW success with Vardy?

Mr. Siddiq
It’s something I am considering, yes. The upside could be massive. However, I am also aware that lightning doesn’t strike twice

fplbet:
This has also been a question surrounding the FPL community, so we’ll take this opportunity to get some advice from one of the worlds best players…

Pick 1: Defoe, Wickham or Graham?

Mr. Siddiq
Not much in it. I’d opt for Graham personally; I think he’s the main beneficiary of Sunderland’s new 4-3-3 formation as he is playing centrally.

fplbet:
Danny Graham it is then!

Thanks for taking your time to talk to us mate. The whole fplbet team wishes you the best of luck for the remaining two gameweeks, and we’ll be routing for a Jordi Gomez hattrick this weekend!

Mr. Siddiq
Thanks a lot for having me on board. Been a pleasure.

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You can follow Mr. Siddiq’s quest to finish first place on Twitter: @BigManBakar

5 Comments
  1. Thanks for stopping by mate! My favourite piece of advice has to be (regarding wildcards): “The key is to get the timing right – play it when your team really needs it.”

    • Yep, I can also relate to that. This season I made a conscious effort to hold on until DGW34. However, it meant I dropped too many points from not being able to transfer ‘in-form’ players in quick enough!

  2. I agree with Mr. Siddiq that there is no point in worrying over his rivals now. Concentrate on one’s own strategy and instinct – after all that has got him to 2nd position.

    • It’s very good to hear – though I do imagine world number 1 won’t be doing the same and will be blocking second place’s moves. Very unfortunate that Gomez has been ruled out – a big blow for Mr Saddiq!

  3. Great article really enjoyable read, I’ll definitely use some of those tips next season. He seems very calm to say he’s so close to winning it I’m sure I’d be a bag of nerves.

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