Fantasy Football Gameweek 1 Review: Don't Panic

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City with his teammate Erling Haaland

De Bruyne out, Halaand a must in? Credit: Brendan Moran - Sportsfile/UEFA via Getty Images

So how did your Fantasy Football team do in Gameweek 1?

It was a high scoring weekend with an average of 66 which means it would take something in the mid 80s to get you inside the top one million of the Overall Rankings.

Personally, I hit 74, which has me around the 1.8 million mark. Not disgraceful but nothing to celebrate either.

And so I find myself in a sort of halfway house for the indecisive, where my safe picks paid off and my funky punts didn’t.

In short, it was a template gameweek when playing a safe game paid off, while maverick player picks or seeking that cheeky differential probably didn’t.

The tone of Gameweek 1 was set early when Man City scored in the opening minutes against newly promoted Burnley and cruised home to a 3-0 win with talisman and game-breaker, Erling Haaland, scoring twice in the opening half.

Not only did his 13 point haul punish the few Haaland-refusniks out there, but anyone who had him but didn’t put the captain’s armband on him will feel equally chastened.

And this has been the dilemma in the build up to the 2023/4 FPL season. To template, or not to template?

No one likes having the same team as everyone else, but no one likes getting left behind either. It felt like there were only two roads, and that your whole season may depend on which one you chose.

And with a bumper scoring Gameweek for those that chose the safer route it may indeed feel that way to others who saw possibilities outside a Haaland captaincy, or indeed a team lineup that veered off the popular picks.

With Gameweek 1 behind us the key question now becomes how we respond to it.

Some will have activated wildcards, which is totally fine if you find yourself genuinely needing to clean out your team. But I would urge caution.

Do you need to ship out the those who fell victim to injuries?


If you have Mings, De Bruyne, or Timber they need to go. And if you had Nkunku or Kane, well, they should never have been there in the first place.

On the other hand, if you had Arsenal centre back Gabriel, that was just bad luck, and similarly with John Stones of Man City.

The chances that these players have been abandoned by their managers is almost zero and don’t be surprised if both start this weekend.

Gameweek 1 is not just a time for FPL managers to test the waters. The actual managers will have been doing likewise.

A perfect example is Erik ten Haag starting Garnacho in Man Utd’s midfield against a troubled Wolves team.

Garnacho, at just £5m, was an interesting punt pick for managers who wanted a cheap but exciting, attacking prospect in a midfield predicted to score well in the new campaign.

But long before the final whistle blew on United’s somewhat fortunate 1-0 win, the young midfielder would have fallen off many FPL manager’s list for GW2… and possibly off Ten Haag’s as well.

But is it a smart move to transfer Garnacho out of your FPL team?

That depends on what else you have to do. The priority should be to make sure your starting XI doesn’t contain any players you know will not play. 

And I must emphasize, ‘know’. If you think a player won’t start, that doesn’t count.

Now you need to consider players that maybe didn’t impress you in Gameweek 1.

It’s time to have some faith, and maybe a bit of patience. You picked these players for a reason so give it another week before plunging into the transfer market.

Taking transfer hits - the four point penalty for each transfer beyond the one that you get for free each Gameweek 1 - this early is tempting but not always wise.

To return to our example, Garnacho may well be tried again by Ten Haag. And if he is, there’s every chance he’ll find the mojo that everyone knows he has and put together the kind of haul that will have you howling at the moon if you chuck him out too soon.

Gameweek 2 may well turn out to be another template rewarding weekend, but it may also see good players who were a bit quiet last weekend stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight.

So play the game your way, do what you feel needs to be done, but take a moment before you do and ask yourself if, truly, honestly, the changes you’re about to make really need to happen.

My advice? In the words of Corporal Jones form the classic English sitcom Dad’s Army, “Don’t panic!”

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