A fantastic Premier League season is over and this means another FPL season has flown by. Marcus Rashford helped Dimitri Nicolaou claim the 2015/16 Fantasy Premier League title, despite a late Chris Smalling own goal. Dimitri managed to hold onto the number 1 spot despite challenges from Jack Manners (second) and Ed Masters (third). Want to know what it takes? Read on, as the FPL Champion reveals his secrets of success over the 2015/2016 season.
Here, Dimitri talks us through the highs and lows of his Fantasy Premier League season, which saw him replace Simon March as the reigning Fantasy Premier League champion.
Congratulations on your superb season, being crowned the FPL Champion and also winning the FPL Updates league. After going into the ‘second’ final day being tied with Jack Manners, how were you feeling on that evening?
Thank you so much. During the last few hours, I was quite anxious to be fair, but I managed to keep a cool head. I tried not to think of the worst case scenario and just remember that what will be will be. At the end of the day, I couldn’t envisage dropping out of the top 3, which was more than a success.
Where did you spend the final few hours of the Premier League season? What kind of emotions did you experience as the evening unfolded?
I watched the Manchester United vs Bournemouth match with the family. In all honesty, I was so happy to be ranked in the top 10 overall and I felt that was achievement enough. So emotionally, although being slightly anxious, I tried to keep relaxed!
How did the re-scheduling of the Manchester United vs Bournemouth fixture effect you? Did you fear players would be rested?
As I think most people saw, I had Rashford and Smalling left to play. It crossed my mind, and many other FPL managers, that both could be benched for the FA cup final, which is due to be played a few days after. I convinced myself at least one would play to give me a fighting chance. Luckily the line-ups were announced and both were playing!
At what point during the season did you begin to believe that you could win the league?
I think going into gameweek 33 with the wildcard and the first double gameweek made me realise it’s a possibility that I could finish in the top 10 overall. I could never have imagined finishing 1st, that was just a dream!
We noticed that your team, Dimitris Gavles, has no other season history. Was this your first season? You surely could not have envisaged this is how your first ever season would have ended?
Correct, my first ever season. I have played fantasy football on other platforms, but I couldn’t have envisioned my first FPL season finishing anywhere near first place. The aim was to try finishing top half of the mini league with my friends!
You were sitting on top spot since gameweek 34, which only left you with 4 gameweeks to hold on. Do you think that was an advantage?
I think being in front for a short amount of time had its advantages and disadvantages. The point cushion I created helped soften the blow when managers, who were not far behind captained or transferred in a huge point player. It’s difficult having to try and cancel out points from managers catching up rather than being creative and adventurous to gain points on the person ahead.
Throughout the campaign you only took 4 point hits for transfers. Was this a strict game plan? Is it a tactic that you always planned to use this season?
I believe if you don’t necessarily need to take minus points hits for your transfers, you should try to avoid them. Try working with what’s available and only take a hit when you have to.
You only played one wildcard over the course of the season, which was played very late in the season, gameweek 34. Was there a reason for this?
I didn’t need to use the first one. Simple as that. My team evolved and strengthened throughout the season enough to maintain high average points per gameweek, allowing me to ride the team I had for as long as possible.
What was your best decision made over the course of season? And what was your worst?
Best moment was sensing that Harry Kane would cause havoc against Bournemouth and captaining him. Worst moment was probably captaining Romelu Lukaku in the first double gameweek, even though I had a sneaky feeling he wouldn’t do much.
Most FPL managers had waved goodbye to all of their chips, as they used them in other gameweeks. You saved the ‘all out attack’ chip until the final week. Was this always the plan?
I think as the season progressed and the points tally was strong, I felt more inclined to save the chips for more critical times nearer the back end of the season. It just happened that the all out attack wasn’t needed until the last gameweek.
Going into gameweek 38, what effect did the late injury to Dimitri Payet do to your preparations? Did you consider taking a point hit to replace him?
It hindered the preparations slightly and it was a difficult decision of what to do. I had to weigh up the various choices I could make and in the end I decided that taking a point hit was the only option.
If you could change anything in FPL, what would it be?
Nothing really, it’s an all-round package. Well thought out!
Can you describe how your season has affected your day to day life and your relationships with friends and family?
It’s brought my friends closer, as the time we spend discussing transfers and captains was priceless.
Are you intending to play again next year? Are you going to play any differently?
I am indeed! I will probably take a similar approach I guess… Seems to have worked well this season!
Any tips that you stick by to give to everyone reading this?
Go with your gut. See what it’s feeling. Try to think outside the box!
Anything else, any shout-outs?
100% shoutout to my backroom staff; Daki (@Costa89C) and Nick (@nickygeeboss). There is no chance I would have gotten here without these two providing plenty of advice. Endless hours of decision making and planning helped me become the champion!
Good luck everyone for next season!
Written by Dimitri Nicolaou