Our inaugural 2016/17 FF Titan Fantasy Premier League (FPL) private league was won by Gerardo Lopez Lozada from Mexico. He finished 358th in the world and is the TOP manager in Mexico and the whole of Latin America. We managed to find time to speak to him, hoping he can give us tips on how to bring our own game to the next level in 2017/18.
Gerardo is a 29-year-old is a professor at UNAM’s School of Philosophy and Literature in Mexico City.
FF Titan (FFT): First of all, tell us about your history in FPL and the Premier League.
Gerardo Lopez Lozaga (GLL): I had two or three dead teams before I won the league in 2016/17, so I can say it was the first time I played the game properly. I’ve been watching the Premier League for over 15 years and used to be a season ticket holder when I lived in London back in 2012.
FFT: Can you share with us your journey this season? What are some high points / some lows?
GLL: It was a fantastic season. My main aim was to finish at the top of the table in my country and I ended up as number 1 in Latin America, which was a nice personal achievement. Despite the fact I reached the top of most of my mini-leagues in December, it was not an easy route. I remember some difficult moments. One of them was when I signed Kane and captained him against Hull. He didn’t deliver. Then I sold him immediately after he blanked against Burnley and the rest is history. I missed out on two or three hat-tricks; at that point I thought I had bottled the league. However, I captained Sánchez and Lukaku when they returned big hauls. I also kept the faith with low-profile players like Pickford, Heaton – these are defining moments in an FPL season
Also, some of my differentials –– Son, Brunt, and Siggy, just to mention a few–– delivered when needed.
FFT: Share with us how you utilised your chips this season and how they panned out?
GLL: I used my Triple Captain (TC) chip in gameweek 27. I jumped on the Aguero bandwagon and it definitely didn’t work out, although it could have been a lot worse. Luckily this wasn’t the case when I used the Bench Boost chip. I used the wildcard one week before the big DGW (37) and it was a brilliant decision. Unlike some of my rivals, my team value was not that impressive and that got me worried. I wanted to have a very powerful midfield and couldn’t afford Sané. Nevertheless, I relied on Son he did amazingly well against Leicester. At that moment I knew I was going to win the FF Titan league.
FFT: The overall winner revealed that he refused to pick Liverpool players – do you have (silly) rituals as such?
GLL: None whatsoever. The only personal rule I have is to be objective regardless of my team (Liverpool)’s form and fixtures. Of course that is not always possible to achieve, but whenever I feel carried away I have a chat with both my dad and my girlfriend, who are also good FPL players.
FFT: What are some tips for our readers?
GLL: The key for success in FPL is being proactive and in order to achieve that you have to set objectives at the beginning of the season. My main objective was to get an average score of 58 points per gameweek. I aimed for a balance between well-known players and those unsung heroes whose form is likely to pick up. I don’t think going maverick week in week out is a good tactic; that is, I don’t recommend that you stray away much from the template recommended by the scout.
At the same time, you need to choose three or four players that are not highly owned. Sometimes those transfers that appear to be minor prove to be influential at the end of the season. For example, when Austin got injured he was in great form. At that moment the third striker slot was uncertain, as there weren’t many reliable options. The two names that stood out were Origi and Iheneacho; I opted for the former because many people started writing off a Coutinho-less Liverpool. My gamble definitely paid off.
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