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Premier League 2022/23 Season: Are you new to FPL, or waking up to the game again?

The 2022/23 Premier League season begins on Friday 5th August 2022 with Crystal Palace hosting Arsenal at Selhurst Park. The start of the latest season brings about what will be a unique experience in the Fantasy Premier League game as there are a few real world circumstances and league changes that will impact the FPL game – such as the Qatar World Cup in November and December. Rob Austin provides an easy-to-digest guide on how to navigate the FPL if you’re a new player, or a returning player that needs a refresher course. All aboard.

A new season beckons for FPL players:

It’s been a long time since I’ve put pen to paper with any FPL content, with our team deciding to cease on all fantasy football related content during the Christmas period last year. So for me, like many others, it is a good chance to renew my vows with the game and get up to speed with some of the minutia of FPL as we wake up to the impending Gameweek 1 deadline this Friday.

Let’s cover the absolute basics of the FPL game:

You have a budget of £100.00 million.

You have to pick a squad of 15 within the budget.

11 starters. 4 on the bench.

You have to play a recognised formation with a minimum of 3 defenders.

Ahead of each round of games at a weekend, there is a ‘deadline’ to make transfers, which is 90 minutes before the first game.

You can make one free transfer each Gameweek.

Making more than one transfer? That will cost you -4 points.

Talking of points, they are earned by numerous ways – playing time, goals, assists, clean sheets, saves (for a GK) and bonus.

Bonus points are dished out to the top performers from a single game. The game has an index measure called the BPS System to calculate this.

You can select a ‘captain’ and a ‘vice-captain’, with the (C) earning you double points.

On a more customised stance, you can create your own team name, kit colours, and join classic point scoring leagues and H2H leagues.

The main aim is to achieve bragging rights over your friends, though there are prizes for being the best player (out of millions) for a single Gameweek as well as for winning the overall game.

What are some common themes of FPL having played the game for years?:

· Popular Formations: The 3-4-3 formation is very common place in the ‘FPL Community’, and has been a staple formation of the masses for years. This season though? There are a lot of alternative formations going around.

· FPL Community: The above mentioned FPL Community, like most sub communities, is one tailored towards fantasy football. There are big communities on Twitter and Reddit in particular, and the easiest way to voice an opinion.

· Transfers: Regarding transfers, player prices to up and down, seemingly at random. The general rule of thumb is that if players perform well, generate lots of points and bonus, that they rise in price. Sometimes they don’t rise at all, whilst in other instances they rise price too quickly. There is a randomness as if someone just presses a button in the office when they can remember that dictates prices as there is no clarity… What is for certain though is that prices on the whole stay high and there is a reluctance to lower prices, particularly with popularised or heavily selected players.

· Set-Piece Takers: Taking a corner? Stepping up for a penalty? Great at dead balls or loves a key pass? Find out who these players are, they are your friends in FPL. Penalty takers reward you with more goals, and set-piece takers gift you more awards. It’s a very simple game in this respect.

· Content Creators: There is A LOT of content out there. Videos, blogs, thread on Twitter, general opinion, in-depth written articles, statistical analysis, cult of personalities around a few popularised figures, among other things. Some charge money for their work, some put it out for free. Some people are annoying and wrong, some are less wrong and less annoying. There is no perfect truth about playing FPL – it is a game of judgement and inkling, mixed in with stats and historical facts.

· Paying for FPL content: I’ve never personally done it, and I have very strong reservations against the monetisation of the majority of content. Not all content, just those to align themselves with seedy betting companies that push betting to people in what is an unregulated market ripe for exploiting vulnerable people. Moreover, the stability and business practises by a few ‘high profile’ accounts and businesses have made me distrust the service, the quality of work, and what they are doing it for. Anyone aligned with these types of businesses do not care about the people they are pushing their content onto, so you shouldn’t care about them… There are a few exceptions though, where advice is very good and the countless work is of the highest quality, which then I don’t mind if they ask for a few £££.

· Your Game: You will hear the advice of ‘play your own game’ and after many a year within the game, this is the one solitary statement that you should follow. It’s very general and basic, but as is life with other things, live life by your own rules and understandings. Make gut calls on transfers, or follow metrics, follow the stats, whatever makes you feel most comfortable with.

· Template Teams: You will come across talk of having a ‘template team’ or following a template. This means that your team is like most others, typically by having the most highly selected players in the game in your squad. You have the same pricy attackers, the same captains each week, and are making the same transfers. This can happen in the FPL Community, a small pack of the overall player base are in a bubble, making similar moves based on their overall group consensus, getting wrapped up into ideas and transfer tactics based on who they interact with.

· Player Prices: From a personal standpoint, player price rises season-on-season have become ridiculously high and the inflation of players is causing more players to have less viable options to pick from, which creates more ‘template’ teams as you have less opportunities to differentiate your squad. Other people reading this might disagree with me, but the statistics don’t lie, the game has naturally inflated player prices over a decade for top-end premium players.

· Captaincy & Vice Selections: A couple of points. The first is a basic one, but remember to set them. If you have a busy life just double check. More advanced, I believe it is always a good idea to captain a player from a different game compared to your captain. If you captain Mo Salah for example, my habit has been to never put the vice captaincy on another Liverpool player or from an opponents team facing Jurgen Klopp’s team. If the game gets postponed, or if the game is poor, there are large bouts of Covid or illness, it is always nice having a ‘Plan B’ from another game. You can go the other way around it, and stack Liverpool assets in a game, again it is just a habit having played the game for years.

· Taking a Hit: You will hear people say that they are ‘taking a hit’, which typically means that they plan to drop points to make 2+ transfers ahead of a Gameweek deadline. You can have weeks where your squad doesn’t need much maintenance, then some weeks when half of your squad is injured or not playing. It can happen and you have to adjust accordingly to make sure your squad is still competitive.

· Budget Management: Players of the game typically like to see their squad value rise in price, which is why they jump on the hype of players in form. The FPL game is littered with dead or fake accounts that aren’t actually playing game, or simply trying to get a massive budget, so some of this data is massively skewed. You will at times in the season be tempted to bring in a red hot player for the sake of their price increasing. Conversely, you will likely dump a player with bad form knowing his price will go down.

· Don’t Neglect your Bench: If one of your starting players doesn’t play, you will have to rely on points from your bench. Just as a gentle reminder, you can order your subs, so put your most promising prospect at the front of the trio or risk having him last on your bench and not being utilised.

· Chip Strategy: You can only use ONE chip per Gameweek. You can’t wildcard and play your bench boost. Really straight forward stuff, and something that I have seen flash over the heads of many, many, many players in the past…. Similarly, once you activate your Free Hit or Wildcard, they can’t be undone. Once you press confirm, that’s it. No going back – and no, the game won’t ever restore it for you. Never has, never will, and I’m not even sure they read the countless emails they must receive when a player says they did it by accident – it’s not their problem.

I am about to draft my first FPL team, where should I start?:

I’ll run through some of the basics of what FPL players tend to look at when picking their chosen squad of 15 players ahead of the Gameweek 1 deadline.

Pre-Season Considerations:

New Manager’s, new additions to the squad, new tactics, they all have a bearing throughout pre-season that may (not for certain) play a feature in how clubs will set-up. In cases where there are new Coaches in, Erik ten Haag is one example at Man United when it has become apparent that Anthony Martial is likely going to occupy the Number 9 role to start the season as he has been an ever-present during a productive pre-season. Other clubs have seen Wilfried Zaha (CRY) and Miguel Almiron (NEW) flourish with a host of goals and assists. Start with your own club if your knowledge of the league isn’t extensive, or use really good tools online such as Rotowire which have a firm grip on expected line-ups (not perfect, but at least gives you a strong indicator).

Fixture Guides:

Look at who has a good run of fixtures. The FPL has something called the ‘Fixture Difficulty Rating (FDR) which is this mythical chart that spans from light green to dark red, signalling how good an opponent might be. Overall though, try stacking teams with more favourable fixtures, and only when you know which players will be a-ok in bigger fixtures can you trust them (the likes of Salah, Alexander-Arnold, and De Bruyne for example are good to play in every game).

Set-Piece Takers:

I will reiterate my point. You will need some coverage of set-piece takers to get by. Penalty kick takers will come at a premium typically, but it can’t be stated enough how important

Historical Performers:

Start with what you know works. I've mentioned Mohamed Salah several times throughout the article, but start with what works in the game. The best player in the game currently, a top player to watch, and commands penalties for a team who are regularly fighting for the Premier League crown. You can get a good idea of this simply by looking at points of players over the last few years - FPL is simple. You follow the points.

Understanding Double Gameweek’s & Chips:

Double Gameweek’s:

When a team and your players get to play twice in the same round of games. They take place when games are postponed and later rearranged. One certain DGW is when the League Cup final takes places in February, you have some games moved around to accommodate the final, and then are added in or around the Gameweek 30 mark – all depending on when there is an opening in the fixture schedule.


- Triple Captain’s triple your points instead of double them, for your chosen captain.

- Playing your bench boost gives all 15 players a chance to score points.

- A Free Hit is a one-week overhaul of your squad, which then reverts back the following Gameweek. This is a good chip to use when you are desperately short of players for a week and need a get out of jail card.

- You can ‘Wildcard’ twice, which gives you a chance to reset your entire team with your budget.

- There is an additional Wildcard chip to be implemented in the 2022/23 season, used before the Gameweek 17 deadline, due to the World Cup in Qatar being in winter. This chip will likely change FPL strategies due to the mid-season reset.

If you want to build a strategy for the season, it is best to start with when you plan when you will be using your chips. You have international breaks, the World Cup, and more importantly some rocky roads in the 20-30’s due to Double Gameweek’s and reduced Gameweek’s, so I have typically always favoured one approach: use my first wildcard early on once the season has settled (usually between Gameweek’s 3-5) and then use my chips during the Double Gameweek period later in the season.

Signing off with a clear reminder: Don’t let FPL consume your life!

We here at The Hype Train started as a sports website that mainly wrote about FPL and its inner workings. We have hundreds of articles and fancy graphics ranging back from 2015 and now it is 7 years later and the actual game itself has not changed.

Sure, the Premier League have advanced the website, added some new colour, and added other divisive tools such as the Fixture Difficulty Rating and the player performance index, and statistics such as XG and the whole stat-padding culture has taken over large communities of football fans across social media – but none of these have actually altered the rules of the game, instead have served to flesh out (where it can) the base game as it is.

The above statement isn’t meant to be a negative, but instead as we’ve grown up with the game and it’s static state, it is great winning mini-leagues and rising the overall tables, we just collectively believe that the game shouldn’t be obsessed over to the level of minutia that you find nowadays online for hour after hour, day after day – especially when you consider it takes about 1-5 minutes to actually make changes to your team, it is the bits of research prior that might take up your attention. Mental and physical health matter and there is honestly more to life than being worried all week about if one of your squad players will be in FPL – just ty to find a balance if you get hooked to the game as we have been witness to countless examples of people online and in person getting so ludicrously angry with a goal scored or conceded.

What the FPL does well is add an extra gravitas to any game if you are a neutral and have a player from the game – and what the game does well is bring a community of people together for bigger causes in life, such as raising money for charity, or having a creative outlet for talented individuals and groups.

If you’re a new player to FPL, feel free to message me on Twitter at @HypeTrainRob, I’m always available to offer advice throughout the season!

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in general football and Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles. We won both Goal of the Season Awards in the Berkshire and County FA regions, with Callum Parr-Jones winning the Berks & Bucks FA award, whilst Martin King won the PlaySport UK award.

In 2021, we formed the Reading Sunday Social League (RSSL), a competitive Sunday League involving 8 teams in its debut season. During the 2021/22 season, we won our first-ever trophy, lifting the East Berkshire Football League's Presidents Cup!

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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