Inside the Mind of the Number 1 FPL Manager (Part 1): An Interview With James Egersdorff

You finished last year with yet another excellent rank of 4,150 overall. What did you personally find most challenging about last season? 

“Taking out Kane (with logical reasoning) before during the Christmas period when he hit back-to-back hat tricks as my replacements underperformed. Things also got a little tricky with rotation towards the end of the season given Man City/Liverpool’s progression in Europe and Man United/Chelsea getting to the FA Cup Final.” – Jay

If memory serves correct, you got off to a good start. How often do you manage a good start and how significant do you believe a good start is in finishing the season with a high overall rank?

“It’s crucial that you’re not cut adrift from the beginning and with some sound planning you can get off to a reasonable start which to me would be being sat somewhere inside the top million after 3-4 gameweeks.” – Jay. 

You can can view our advice on what we feel gives you the best chance to start well, here >> (https://fplconnect.blog/2018/07/20/fantasy-premier-league-tips-what-contributes-a-good-start-in-fpl/) 

Over the many years that you have played, have you found that you’ve changed your approach to the game, or has it largely stayed the same? 

“Stayed the same with the exception of changes brought upon by the Chips and changes in Wildcard windows. You need to play the game as it’s intended, which means you need to have a fluid approach and be willing to adapt to changes like injuries, suspensions and loss of form.” – Jay. 

Your consistency in this game truly is nothing short of brilliant. Based on this fact alone – not to mention many other brilliant managers out there who manage consistently high overall rank finishes year on year – surely this proves that skill plays a larger role than luck when it comes to FPL? Where do you stand on this debate? 

“There’s skill in enhancing the probability of your team doing well, there’s luck in transforming that probability into reality. Sure, there are elements of luck required over a season but as the saying goes it usually evens itself out. If you are well prepared and well researched then you’ll always stand yourself in good stead – the harder you work, the luckier you get.” – Jay. 

Whilst there are other brilliant managers out there who manage consistently high finishes, you are ranked #1 in the FFScout hall of fame. What do you think sets you apart from these other great managers? 

“In many cases it’s because I’ve played the game for longer. Having experience in certain situations can certainly help you stay calm and overcome obstacles like injury crisis or fixture postponements. There are some amazing track records out there from managers who have only played for a few seasons but I think it’s fair to say that to achieve strong results over a long period does require skill.” – Jay. 

I personally believe that managers like myself, and a lot of other FPL managers in the FPL Twitter community, have the knowledge of both FPL and football and the application of it enough to compete at a high level (top 50k/100k), but may not have the personality traits to elevate their game to the highest level (top 1k/10k). How important do you feel personality traits like discipline and patience are in achieving those high overall rank finishes? 

“There’s a distinction between personality traits and strategy. The difference between Top 10k and Top 100k is having a strategy; the discipline comes in being able to execute it. I think many FPL managers lack a clear strategy as a result of the vast amount of FPL information available nowadays; there’s a lot of data/opinion and this can be tricky to analyse and make use of without your own strategy clear in your mind. I read on social media about managers making “rage transfers” when I first saw that expression I thought to myself “is that even a thing!?”. It’s key to stay calm and allow yourself time to make rational moves. Also don’t make transfers when drunk…” – Jay. 

If you had to advise FPL managers on decision making, how would you advise? 

“This is quite simple. I’d say go with your gut and don’t be swayed by the opinion of others. If you think a call is the right one then go with it.” – Jay. 

How would you describe the relationship between emotion and rational thought in your decision making? 

“As a maximum, emotion would be 10%; you’ve got to remain rational and find logic and reasoning to support your ideas around transfers and squad selection.” – Jay. 

For a long time, 3-4-3 has dominated the favourite formation of choice for FPL managers, but in recent years, new systems involving wing backs (DEFs) and inside forwards (MIDs) like Salah, Mane, Sterling, have forced us to think on our feet with regard to formations. Will you be picking a formation and sticking with it throughout the season, or is it a case of being adaptable with it as the season progresses? 

“By the nature of the FPL game, you have to be adaptable. The pace of the Premier League is very fluid, so you need to be able to write and re-write (and re-write again!) your strategy if required. It makes sense given that midfielders have the most ways of scoring and aren’t penalised with minus points for conceding goals to have as many in your starting XI where possible.” – Jay. 

Tell us, why do you love FPL so much and has that enthusiasm for the game changed over the many years you have played the game? 

“It’s a level playing field, FPL is a prediction based game and there are no advantages. People ask me “what’s your secret?” “how do I beat you?”. The answer is simple, you can. The same information is out there and available to everybody. You just need to be prepared to look and know what to do with it.” – Jay. 

Lastly, gives us some predictions for the upcoming season Jay:

PL winner – Man City
Other UCL spots – Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs
Bottom 3 – Cardiff, Huddersfield, Fulham
PL surprise package – Southampton
Top goalscorer – Harry Kane
Top FPL point scorer – Harry Kane
FPL surprise package – Sean Morrison

Big thank you to James for doing this with us. For more excellent advice, you can follow him on Twitter at @JEgersdorff  where he produces free Youtube content or you can check out his new FPL Masterclass project with Patreon at www.patreon.com/FPLMasterclass

PPP

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