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Drafting Strategy 101 - The Fantasy Stalwarts

Not too long to go before we are ready to launch. That means we should all start thinking about our drafting strategy. This will vary from league to league and a lot of it will come down to the makeup of your competitors although a few of the key concepts will apply in every scenario. Over the next few articles we shall go over the obvious and less obvious drafting tactics. As we have mentioned before, the draft will make or break your season so you had best go in with a plan!

We will kick this off with going over the strategy that will come as a first instinct to pretty much everyone. Basic stuff but important:

The Fantasy Stalwarts

We all know these players. You can rely on them every season to bring home the bacon. They are consistent, fixture-proof, good captain material - the all-stars of the fantasy football world. In salary-cap leagues, they are without a doubt the players present in every squad. If you have them, you are able to keep up with those around you, if you are silly enough not to have them (the differential heroes amongst us), then 9 times out of 10 it leads to you losing serious ground on your rivals.

That entire concept changes dramatically in draft style leagues. The first round or two of the draft pick will be littered with these fantasy stalwarts and for good reason. Load up your priority lists with these guys quick and try and snag as many of them as you can. They are season keepers.

Is The English Premier League to Blame?

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I read an article recently (which I can't currently find) that talked about the evolution of English soccer/football. The English Premier League is arguably the most competitive of the major European leagues (La Liga in Spain, Ligue 1 in France, Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy, Eredivisie in Netherlands). However, the quality of international play has suffered. As of this post, the English national soccer team is ranked #14 in the FIFA World Rankings. Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands are in the top six.

Critics have pointed to the dominance of the English Premier League as the cause of the demise of the English national soccer team. The argument is that so many foreigners have come to the league that they have pushed the local English out. More than two-thirds of the players in opening matches in the Premier League were foreigners. Club owners rightfully want the best for their club. If they have the option to chose between a star foreign player or an Englishman a little worse, the former will be chosen. This has caused Englishmen not good enough to play in foreign leagues or those below the Premier League. The quality of play in these leagues are often second-tier and so these players do not experience as high quality play as they could be.

Now personally, I'm all for keeping the Premier League the way it is. I don't think it's the main reason of the demise of the English national soccer team. The Premier League is a global brand, and it needs to stay that way. It's the Mecca of world football. Germany's Bundesliga and Spain's La Liga mainly feature local players, but the Premier League is the most recognized worldwide because of its diversity. To be honest, this benefits England more than the national team's success. Club soccer is bigger than international. Honestly, there are very few hardcore fans of an international team. And by that, I mean the fans that religiously follow the team year-round (not every fourth year during the FIFA World Cup). They should not sacrifice the popularity of the league at the expense of the international team.

Also, the increased quality of play in the Premier League simply means that the English players in that league compete against stronger opposition. Theoretically, this should mean they play a higher quality game and improve more than second-tier players. They are playing the leaders of most international teams on a weekly basis during their club fixtures. Shouldn't this be adequate preparation? I mean, if most of the players in the Premier League were English, the players would be at a disadvantage when they play international teams because they are used to only competing against their own countrymen and not the top players in the world.

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