FPL Manager – Josh Dowling Profile
We speak to Josh Dowling, who penned our series of FPL team preview. He is from Australia.
Firstly, tell us a little about yourself?
I have been playing Fantasy Premier League (FPL) since 2012.
I watch as many premier league games as I can, but I still won’t call myself an expert. In my opinion there is a lot of luck that comes with playing FPL, unlike other fantasy sports for example AFL fantasy (Aussie rules) you can pretty much pick players who have been good for a number of weeks and know that they will score you a bucket load of points.
In FPL, managers pick players who are in good form but then the week they pick them they can only get you two points – it does come down to a lot of luck and lots of strategic planning.
Apart from FPL, I play AFL Fantasy, AFL Super-coach, BBL SuperCoach, ESPN NBA, Draftstars, Moneyball (new engine on its way) and DraftKings.
Outside of the fantasy world, I also coach football causally at the moment and my team recently finished top and went all season undefeated. We won the league by 5 points with a goal difference of +37. I play futsal twice a week.
Why do you support Liverpool?
This question is very difficult to answer, I remember when I was younger I was always dressed up in Manchester United stuff as that’s who my mum and my grandad went for, but as I got older and smarter, my dad who’s not a big Liverpool supporter introduced me to Liverpool.
I remember the first game I watched on TV was Liverpool vs West Ham in the FA Cup Final of 2006.
Ever since then I have loved Liverpool and honestly no matter what time of the morning the game is on I get up and watch it. There is always a rivalry in our house as my brother supports Manchester United and he would always give me the big “uns” as they were doing very well and we weren’t doing as good as them, but now it’s the other way around.
Now I have been telling him so many times, it’s more fun watching the grass grow than watching Manchester United play. There are times I’ve sat there and tried to watch it with him either before or after Liverpool has played and most of the time I fall asleep, they play boring football.
Unfortunately living in Australia has limited me from seeing them live even though they’ve come twice. They went to Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane and on all three occasions I didn’t get to see them live.
One day hopefully after this pandemic has passed I’ll get to watch them at Anfield.
If I ever get asked who’s my favourite player currently, I would have to say I wouldn’t have one, they all are equally great and they get the job done, unfortunately not on the weekend that has just gone by but that only happens once in a blue moon that we play as terribly as we did. We will bounce back big time.
What is your overall FPL strategy (gut feel, statistics, etc?)
Do I have one? Possibly not!
Most of the time I pick players on how they performed the previous season or if they are a “star” or “big name”.
I started off the season very poorly by my standards, my lowest ever opening GW score since I started FPL, but I had a look at my team before GW02 and thought to myself, let’s back them in!
I learnt from the way I played AFL Fantasy this season, I finished my worst rank in a few years due to not being able to get to grips of “corona ball”. The phrase “be the butter mouse” was thrown around a bit when listening to podcasts about AFL for the AFL fantasy season, so I thought to myself, let’s do it! Let’s be the butter mouse, back my players in, bank a transfer for GW03. In doing so I scored 80 points.
It would of been more if I had chosen a better captain but it doesn’t matter I moved up the ranks. I started at OR 3,000,000 and I thought to myself it’s a long season, plenty of ground to be made up. I backed my team in and I only transferred players that were injured or had difficult games coming up.
I would say henceforth I would transfer players ONLY if the fixtures are unkind, potential of getting benched after 3 poor performances or the obvious one only if they are injured. Don’t be too reactionary with your big players, especially because you’ve picked them from the start for a reason, back them in, they are the price they are for a reason.
Some early thoughts about the 2020/21 season?
It has been ridiculous and unfortunately there have been no fans to enjoy all the craziness of season 2020/21. Hopefully soon we will get to see fans as they do play an Important role in a game. We all know that if it there were fans in the stadium, there would not be as many goals as there are now.
Would there be as many penalties either? Possibly not.
Now If you have read my Gameweek previews and reviews, you might have read my rant about the penalties that have been given this season, most calls in my opinion have been diabolical, maybe I’m being biased a little but still, there needs to be some common sense involved.
I remember a tweet from Gary Lineker, last season when there were numerous times where there was no penalty given even though it was stonewall handball. His tweet said something like “no matter what part of the hand or arm it (ball) touches, it’s a handball and it shouldn’t matter where it has been made on the pitch”. He mentioned that as he believed that referees were too gutless to give a handball penalty even if it was stonewall. I do agree with him somewhat when he tweeted that, but now I feel like he should of minced his words.
It’s a bad sight for football. Lots and lots of people are also saying VAR is ruining football. But now I am going to put my own two cents worth in for this debate. VAR isn’t ruining football, common sense from the match referee is ruining the game. The referee has to understand what actually is going on in the game, for example: Matt Doherty handball versus Southampton. That was an incorrect decision by the referee, yes it has hit his hand but it was in a natural position plus there was no time for him to move his hand as it has ricocheted off his teammates boot.
The same thing happened last year in the Manchester City vs Liverpool game before Fabinho scored his rocket. The ball ricocheted off a Manchester City player on to TAA arm, which was in a natural position and the referee waved play on plus the VAR didn’t intervene. The referees need to have common sense when they run over to their little monitor to make decisions based on advice from the video assistant referee.
Every season the quality of signings and players in the premier league improve tremendously, I always get excited to see which players will adjust very quickly to the league and which players will do well for my FPL team and for future FPL teams. Like Werner will be like 7.5 next season if he doesn’t perform well this season and I reckon he will be a bargain and second year in the premier league, he might be able to perform.
Who do you think will do superbly this season over 38 GWs?
Mohamed Salah is the easy answer, so far only one blank against Chelsea – he very rarely has only a 2 point week. The other might be Harry Kane who hasn’t played a full season in a while, if he stays injury free he will be very consistent and has the potential to win the golden boot and score over 250 points.
Who do you think will flop awfully?
Biggest flop so far is Timo Werner, he hasn’t lived up to the hype yet, but I guess that’s due to Lampard playing him out wide. If Werner continues to play out wide then he will be a huge flop unfortunately even though I like him as a player.
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Josh Dowling js from Australia and has been playing FPL for 9 years. He follows Liverpool fervently and is passionate about the Beautiful Game.
He is currently coaching and getting his FFA C license.
He blogs regularly as well, so do check it out!