10 Principles for a Successful Season – How to win at Dream Team

It’s been a while since I last covered the basic strategy that I use to approach the game. As a result, I thought it was worth a quick reminder of the principles I’ve generally followed over the past seasons to secure a finish around the 1,000th mark on the leaderboard. This is a strategy I’ve followed and it’s often the basic advice I give out when people ask “How do I win at Dream Team”.

  1. Pick players from the big clubs who are involved in European competitions

Generally speaking, more games means more points. The bigger clubs are often involved in the Champions and Europa League and as a result the top point scorers every season are made up from players at these clubs. 

  1. Study upcoming fixtures

It’s an obvious one really but players have a better chance of scoring bigger points against easier opposition, study which big clubs have the easiest run and opt for their players. Also bring in players who have more fixtures, such as those in Europe. 

  1. Don’t make knee jerk transfers and have patience 

If you missed out on a hat trick, it’s often not a good idea to simply opt for that player in the next game they play. The chances are you’ve already missed the boat. Unless of course, it was a glaring mistake to leave the player out in the first place. Unless something is drastically not working, try to have patience. We all know someone like Mahrez is going to hit 200+ points per season (typically), but at the same time he can be very hit and miss with his form. Sticking with him means if you take a short term hit, but the points should even out eventually. 

  1. Try not to over think your decisions

I think everyone falls victim to this at times but often the easiest way to make decisions is going for the obvious moves. If a big name player is coming into some form, with good fixtures, just bring them in.

  1. Generally just remember to check line ups and keep on top of your transfers

From my experience it’s often enough to win mini leagues to just remember to keep on top of your team management. Most people forget to make transfers and don’t check starting line ups. If you simply keep on top of this, it will give you a massive advantage over most casual players.

  1. Don’t blow your transfers too early

Too often I see people using 5 transfers as soon as they are available. This can give you the upper hand if you’re shrewd with your moves, however, if you pick up an injury or two, you could be chasing your tail for the rest of the month. If you make good long term decisions, you shouldn’t find yourself desperately waiting for transfers at the end of the month.

  1. Don’t risk it too often with differentials

Bit of a controversial one, but I personally think picking a differential often won’t yield long term success. The key to having a good season is picking consistent good performers, which sadly tends to be the same selection of players. The reason most players are differentials is generally because they don’t have a high probability of scoring big points week in week out. Points on the board matter more to me than being different.  

  1. Don’t worry too much about team value

Another controversial one, but I don’t spend too much time thinking about team value. If you prioritise points, team value should follow. There is next to no point putting in a curve ball player who scored a hat trick last week just because they will go up in value. The chances are they will probably blank for several weeks after. 

  1. Consider player ownership

I think it’s important to at least acknowledge ownership when considering players as it helps with risk management. If the vast majority of people own a big name player and you don’t, you’re running a tight rope if that player has a massive week.

  1. Use block/or semi block defenses

This is a tactic I don’t use enough, but if a big club has good fixtures, having a block of their defenders can often yield high reward. High reward does come with high risk though. This is why I tend to play it safe with never more than two defenders from one team. This has worked in the past to guide me to a decent finish, however, I may explore the block tactic more this season.

19 thoughts on “10 Principles for a Successful Season – How to win at Dream Team

  1. brilliant post Paul. if I had not panicked after the first week by
    doing 5 transfers straight away things might have been different.
    every thing you say makes sense.
    I will be following your logic to the letter this season.
    good luck to one and all this season.

  2. Sound advice as always Paul. I’d also add to that list:

    -Try to avoid players fresh back from long/medium term injury.

    It often takes a few games for these players to get that match sharpness back so I’d avoid them until that are up and running properly again. If a player has missed a game or two with something minor though I wouldn’t apply the rule then. They can often hit the ground running again in these cases and the small rest can sometimes do them good.

    Perhaps some other managers on here could add a few of their own personal rules that they tend to follow?

    1. must say I tend to look at new players on u tube to watch
      there goals,mind you did not do much for me last season.
      using my 5 transfers the first week made it impossible
      to recover. players I got rid of all came good within weeks.
      plus all the price rises the next transfer month done me good and proper. 👊

    2. That’s a good point, often new players to the league can make a slow start as well. It would definitely be useful to hear other people’s thoughts as well

      1. Don’t do youtube at all. They only show the best bits – even Werner looks a must have and world class if you see his videos from Germany and maybe the Chelsea’s ones as they kept the best bits and edited out missed one on one chances or penalty misses. I seem to recall a real life manager watching a youtube of a player an agent was trying to sell and was impressed by what he saw and then played in a game and after 10 minutes he realised he was not good enough. I would say watching youtube is the very last resort for me (didn’t see any player video highlights in the two years and don’t think it has done me any harm) if I don’t get time to compile my scout report or not seen the player in a live game. Even then I am prepared to wait to see how they settle.

    1. Potentially but it’s not someone I’ll be looking at just because I tend to stick to the big names from the big clubs.

    1. Not sure myself Don. It will probably be the last position I fill, so I’ll wait and see who jumps out based on what I’ve got left.

  3. Do you think there is value to be had by starting with a United block of maybe Henderson/De Gea, Shaw, AWB & Maguire.

    Comes to a total of £15m which is £2m/£2.5m cheaper than City and Liverpool similar blocks.

    I can see a genuine title challenge coming from United this season and they have decent fixtures until October (in the PL at least anyway). Probably entering a team with a United block as part of the possible ten teams we can create.

    1. That’s the block I’d go for as well. Who starts in goal though? We won’t have the chance to see before hand. Good value if we can pick the starter though

  4. I get most of my tips for a successful season from RR’s guest articles covering strategy (as player selection is 50% part of the game) and his comments over the years in the blog. Honestly I do go back to read the old stuff here – maybe my memory is not a good as it used to be.

    1. Great to see you back old friend! Can’t wait to bounce ideas off each other once more mate.

      Bit confused by this comment in truth though old boy. You get your tips from your own articles and comments over the years? You say “his comments” like it’s not you. Nothing wrong with a bit of self-promotion though I guess. 😉

      Anyway mate, great to see you back in the fold. 👊💪

      1. Good to see you back Chris. Well I am getting people to look at different ways of playing the game (myself I am open minded in my approach I been learning a lot from Brentford and Norwich in pre season) and the articles that I wrote certainly help me in my game and my tactical approach to the game has paid dividends and been successful over a statistical method. Looking at my comment on Man Utd that I wrote when they had 6 games in May (more than any team) I said I won’t bring in any of their defenders after doing some research and sure enough they failed any clean sheets in that month. I like reading my stuff because I try to make it interesting to the reader so I put a lot of work into it plus it is a reminder for what I was thinking at that time and on reflection I can see what worked and didn’t work.

        So if you want to be successful at dream team, for me the first step is writing a fantasy football diary. I written one since day one. My 5k finish in 18/19 when I finish below you and DTT was the only time I didn’t write one. Even Sun winner Ferguson writes one and covers all formats and if I would ask him if it is useful? I think he would say it certainly helps a lot. It keeps you focused and certainly allows to make better decisions as you put ideas from your head onto paper or screen.

        Lastly, aim big. Last season I aimed for top 100 finish and got there. That was driving me on all season. So aim high. Like I say to my eldest son ‘Aim to the stars but if you don’t make it least you landed on the moon’. He is competitive, he wants to be the best in his favourite subject Maths. I am trying for something similar in dream team. So for me to be successful, the standards I set myself are high, I am not going to make it if I don’t put the hours and hard work in.

        1. Well if your son takes after his old man then he’ll succeed mate, that’s for sure. You’re one of the hardest working FF managers I’ve ever come across and I always look forward to reading your posts.

          I might pinch your diary idea just to jot a few thoughts down as the season progresses. I’d imagine it’s a good way of avoiding common pitfalls that may have bitten you in the past.

          I’ve stopped delving so deep into stats now myself but I do pay attention to the stats spoken about on podcasts and those produced by Paul for instance. I do enjoy listening to FF podcasts and I’d recommend doing so to any newcomers. They have really helped me get to grips with the game and the intricacies of it all.

  5. Great link this is men.

    Every day is a school day.

    Love reading comments from Paul, Sutton_Chris and RR.

    I’ve forgot the transfer rule.
    Is it 5 a month.

    Good Luck everyone in your DT cash leagues

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