Jackpot finishes 5th overall in Telegraph Fantasy Football

In addition to long-time fiso member, dead parrot, who finished 1st overall, a number of other fiso members finished in the top 100 overall including admin (who finished 5th overall in the One League) and Jackpot.

This is Jackpot’s story in his own words of how he finished 5th overall in TFF.

I thought it was worth looking back at how my Jack of All Trades team achieved a top 5 overall finish.
Dead parrot might do a similar write up of how he won which will probably be of more interest to many of you, but I hope this review is also beneficial and I’m sure will show that there are many ways to succeed in this game and challenge the top few places. If anything, it will allow myself to highlight the transfers and decisions which were successful (and those that were less so!) and how I can improve my strategy for next season’s competition…

A quick bit of background on my TFF record……
– I’ve only been playing TFF for around 3 or 4 years, I finished 4th overall and 2nd in the One League in the 2014/15 season (when Kane only cost 3.8m!) but made a mess of my last few transfers to probably cost me overall glory…
– My best team in 2015/16 finished just outside the top 200 (I was very late on the Vardy and Mahrez bandwagons thinking their form couldn’t last, although did get on board Dele Alli early when he was only 2.7m!).
– This season I had around 40 season long teams of which 6 of them finished in the Free Top 100 Leaderboard and 8 in the Premier Managers Top 100. I managed to win the Two Foot Challenge and FISO25 leagues in my first season entering them as well as topping the FISO Forum League.

My Jack of All Trades team was one of two that I entered in SamD’s Two Foot Challenge League at the start of the season with the other team, Master of None, finishing in 97th overall. Here is a month by month breakdown of how my Jack of All Trades team got on:

Starting XI:

B Foster
L Baines, C Dawson, J Evans, S Cook
E Hazard, C Eriksen, R Barkley, A Sanchez
S Aguero, Z Ibrahimovic
£49.8m …… Total Points: 1716 …… Starting XI Position: 216th

Pretty good starting team, tried to maximise the big hitting midfielders and strikers by going cheap at the back. I gambled on a West Brom semi block in defence (although sadly no Macauley) and as a Bournemouth fan Steve Cook was in almost all my starting teams as I knew he was nailed on at only 2.2m.
Barkley stands out as a poor pick but he did reasonable in the first few games…

August …… 160 points …… 2,426th overall …… 39 transfers left …… 53.33 overall points per week (ppw) …… 4th in Two Foot Challenge (TFC)

1) Eriksen Valencia – lost patience with Eriksen after three blanks at the start of the season, felt Valencia was good for clean sheets and a few KC’s, poor transfer in hindsight especially as I moved Valencia on pretty soon afterwards. Think the extra transfers led to more early tinkers than I normally do…

Team still got off to a very solid start thanks to two West Brom clean sheets – top 3k at the end of August with only one transfer used…

September …… 288 points …… 5,086th overall …… 35t …… 48.00 ppw …… 14th in TFC

2) Foster Steklenberg – Freeing up funds as Stek looked nailed on at only 2.5m, timed nicely for clean sheet vs Sunderland
3) Aguero Lukaku – Aguero got a three match ban for elbowing Reid, timed this move perfectly for Lukaku’s hat trick vs Sunderland
4) Ibrahimovic Aguero – Ibra’s early season form was beginning to tail off, City had made an unbelievable start to the season and Aguero back from suspension, immediate 12 point return
5) Evans Holebas – Breaking up the West Brom semi block, Holebas looked good for attacking returns and the odd clean sheet at only 2.6m. Thought I’d unearthed a gem as he got 30 points in his next four games, turned out to be a yellow card magnet after that though!

A good August was followed by a relatively poor September as the team dropped outside the top 5k. Rather heavy transfer usage early on as the extra available subs led to some excessive tinkering. Missed out on KDBs early points burst but Lukaku and Sanchez scored well…
Team at end of month: Steklenberg, Valencia, Baines, Dawson, Holebas, Cook, Hazard, Sanchez, Barkley, Aguero, Lukaku

October …… 445 points …… 1,091st overall …… 32t …… 49.44 ppw …… 4th in TFC

6) Baines Mane – Liverpool scoring for fun and Mane at the heart of it, turned out to be a great move
7) Valencia Walcott – Arsenal in good goalscoring form and Walcott had secured a starting role in their fluid attack, not the best transfer but did get his 15 point haul vs Swansea
8) Barkley Milner – Further increasing Liverpool coverage, should have gone Alonso really but Milner did get a couple of pens and KCs while in my team

October saw the team shoot back up to just outside the top 1k. Outrageous performances from Hazard this month with 48 points from 4 appearances including 21 vs Everton. Cheap defence had poor clean sheet returns but Cook and Holebas did grab a goal apiece…
Team at end of month: Steklenberg, Dawson, Holebas, Cook, Hazard, Sanchez, Mane, Walcott, Milner, Aguero, Lukaku

November …… 583 points …… 2,087th overall …… 30t …… 44.85 ppw …… 7th in TFC

9) Walcott Firmino – Briefly tripled up on Liverpool attack before dropping Milner; Firmino and Mane double up worked wonders for me points wise
10) Milner Alonso – Liverpool penalties had dried up and with them Milner’s attacking returns. Chelsea were a clean sheet machine at this stage so Alonso looked a no brainer given his wing back position and price, staying in my team for the rest of the season

Team mainly treading water this month, with a slight drop back to 2k. Chelsea had started their clean sheet streak and my team was handicapped by only having Alonso at this stage…
Team at end of month: Steklenberg, Dawson, Holebas, Cook, Alonso, Hazard, Sanchez, Mane, Firmino, Aguero, Lukaku

December …… 886 points …… 1,072nd overall …… 26t …… 49.22 ppw …… 5th in TFC

11) Aguero Kane – Aguero picked up a 4 match ban for red card vs Chelsea in the early kick off, timed this perfectly for Kane’s 15 point haul vs Swansea in the 3:00 ko
12) Lukaku Costa – Lukaku going through a poor spell and Costa was getting returns every match, poor transfer as I only got two goals from him before he picked up his elusive fifth yellow card and 1 match suspension
13) Costa Ibrahimovic – Costa got his suspension, another nicely timed move with Ibra getting me 29 points from 3 matches
14) Ibrahimovic Aguero – More striker rotation, Aguero back from his ban and back in my team

A reasonable Christmas period moved the team just outside the top 1k again, Chelsea blocks preventing any further upward movement. Managed to hit most of my striker rotation transfers, and went into the New Year with 26 transfers left…
Team at end of month: Steklenberg, Dawson, Holebas, Cook, Alonso, Hazard, Sanchez, Mane, Firmino, Aguero, Kane

January …… 1,152 points …… 646th overall …… 20t …… 48.00 ppw …… 2nd in TFC

15) Steklenberg Grant – One gaffe too many meant Stek finally lost his place, so swapped one cheap goalie for another
16) Mane Benteke – Mane off to AFCON, avoided the obvious Alli move at first and gambled on Big Ben under Big Fat Sam at home to a poor Swansea outfit on a Tuesday night, got what I deserved with a BIG FAT TWO POINTS and gave him the shove the following evening!!
17) Benteke Cahill – Decided to finally double up on Chelsea defence just as the clean sheets dried up and they started to leak a single goal per game!
18) Firmino Alli – Alli’s stellar form meant I couldn’t leave him out of this team any longer, and Liverpool had started to self-destruct with Mane gone
19) Aguero Costa – Arrival of Jesus had seen Aguero consigned to bench warming duties, another poorly timed Costa move only got me 8 points from 2 games before I moved him on again
20) Holebas Gibson – One booking too many for Holebas finally saw me to transfer him out, the nailed on Gibson who was still in the FA Cup coming in

Heavy January transfer usage saw the team enter the top 1k for the first time, sitting just inside the top 650 by the end of the month. Despite using 6 transfers, only the Cahill and Alli moves really paid off long term…
Team at end of month: Grant, Dawson, Gibson, Cook, Alonso, Cahill, Hazard, Sanchez, Alli, Costa, Kane

February …… 1,313 points …… 443rd overall …… 16t …… 45.28 ppw …… 2nd in TFC

21) Costa Ibrahimovic – More striker rotation, but this move only gained me 14 points from 3 games
22) Sanchez Pedro – Loading up on Chelsea for their nice run of fixtures, think this was a 4-1 and brought Sanchez back pretty soon after
23) Ibrahimovic Costa – Didn’t realise just how much flip-flopping I did between Costa and Ibra, seemed to hit most of Ibra’s big points whilst avoiding most of Costa’s
24) Cook Azpilicuelta – Finally got rid of my enabler Cook for Azpi, tripling up on Chelsea def. Not a great move really as this was when they were conceding a goal per game and most of the teams above me were Chelsea heavy so this move didn’t gain me much ground

Team stayed in second place in the Two Foot Challenge competition. Alli and Kane were gaining me plenty of points but by the end of the month my team had 6 Chelsea in it and seemed to be stagnating just outside the top 400…
Team at end of month: Grant, Dawson, Gibson, Azpilicuelta, Alonso, Cahill, Hazard, Pedro, Alli, Costa, Kane

March …… 1,582 points …… 96th overall …… 10t …… 49.44 ppw …… 1st in TFC

25) Pedro Sterling – Man City had a 4-1 with great fixtures, I remember some people piled into them but I went fairly conservative with just Sterling and Aguero
26) Costa Aguero – 4-1, timed nicely for returns of 15, 7, 2, 7
27) Aguero Llorente – Another poor move à la Benteke, had him in for 2 matches for a whopping 4 points, don’t know what I was doing here
28) Sterling Sanchez – Sanchez coming back in after the 4-1, think I only missed 5 points from him all season
29) Kane Costa – Kane suffers his FA Cup ankle injury, reluctantly moved to Costa on the Monday night for the FA cup tie vs Man Utd
30) Azpilicuelta Son – Chelsea defence poor, brought Son in who got me 30 points from 3 starts and 1 sub appearance!

I finally cracked the top 100 with this team at the end of March, and still had 10 transfers left going into April. Further big hitter rotation had netted me a lot of points, I was also now top of the TFC league…
Team at end of month: Grant, Dawson, Gibson, Alonso, Cahill, Hazard, Sanchez, Alli, Llorente, Kane, Son

April …… 1,860 points …… 14th overall …… 3t …… 50.27 ppw …… 1st in TFC

31) Costa Aguero – Costa had been back in my team for 3 games and scored 1,1,1 … couldn’t get him back out my team quick enough…
32) Llorente Eriksen – Amazed it took me this long to get him in this team, turned out to be a fantastic move as he got me a whopping 76 points in the last month and a half
33) Cahill Holgate – Not a great move looking back but was freeing up funds for attacking upgrades
34) Son Lukaku – Timed this move well, got me 12, 7, 2 before moving to Kane
35) Lukaku Kane – Kane back from injury and straight in my team, tripled up with Alli and Eriksen until the end of the season
36) Gibson Stephens – Middlesbrough defence fell off a cliff in the last few weeks and Sot had extra games
37) Grant Caballero – Butland back from injury to take Grant’s place, Bravo got injured so Caballero was nailed until the end of the season at 3.1m and City had awesome fixtures

The team motored through the Top 100 Leaderboard in April, and had entered the top 20 going into May. The Tottenham triple attack was working wonders, and I seemed to be hitting most of my final few transfers…
Team at end of month: Caballero, Dawson, Stephens, Alonso, Holgate, Hazard, Sanchez, Alli, Eriksen, Kane, Aguero

May …… 2,239 points …… 5th overall …… 0t …… 53.30 ppw …… 1st in TFC

38) Aguero Jesus – Aguero got injured vs Boro, Jesus felt like a no-brainer
39) Dawson Cahill – Loading up on Chelsea for the cup final
40) Holgate Holding – 3-1, extra games and loading up for cup final

The team got some crazy weekly scores in April and May … 42, 139, 46, 51, 88, 56, 72, 145, 18…

18 was the cup final score but the last couple of full game weeks saw me shoot up into the top 10. I was sitting in 6th going into the cup final but my 18 points was enough to see me comfortably finish 5th by 7 points, 32 points behind dead parrot in first…
I also managed to complete a Two Foot Challenge 1-2, with both teams finishing top 100 overall…
Team at end of season: Caballero, Cahill, Stephens, Alonso, Holding, Hazard, Sanchez, Alli, Eriksen, Kane, Jesus

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Although not my best ever overall finish, it certainly felt like my best ever TFF season. Looking back at how this team got on it shows that you can make some absolutely horrendous transfers (Benteke, Llorente etc… ) and still finish close to top. I think the key is rotating the big hitters and hitting the hot streaks: I nailed Liverpool’s early season form as well as Spurs at the back end, while Hazard and Sanchez were mainstays for most of the season (Hazard 228/228 points and Sanchez 275/280 points)…
I managed to get a lot of the big hitting striker points too:

Aguero…………..177 points out of 218 (81%)
Kane…………….197 points out of 252 (78%)
Ibrahimovic………74 points out of 155 (48%)
Lukaku…………..97 points out of 220 (44%)

The exception was Costa who I unbelievably transferred in and out a whopping 4 times (8 transfers total) for just 42 points from 12 matches (20% of his total points!!)…
Bar Alonso, my defensive points were quite poor; I avoided B Davies from January onwards as I kept thinking Rose was going to come back each week and I missed out on a lot of high scoring defenders…
I also normally stick with one keeper season long but got suckered in by Steklenberg which resulted in 3 transfers effectively wasted on keepers…

Plenty to mull over and consider ahead of next season, I hope this review has been interesting and not too long winded!!