Archive for August, 2020

Ademir Ovčina – inside FPL success

Posted in Interview on 08/08/2020 by Saleo

If you follow the English Premier League, it is very possible that you have heard of the Fantasy Premier League (FPL). It is a cracking entertainment that accompanies the most exciting league in the world, a game in which you lead a selected team of 15 players with whom you collect points and compete with millions of managers from almost all countries in the world. The competition is fierce. The very thought of competing with almost 8 million players brings you down to earth. Can you end up among the best in the world? Maybe, but realistically, all odds are against you.

That is to say, if you are not Ademir Ovčina, a manager from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who finished sixth (6th!) out of a total of 7,628,968 managers in the recently concluded 2019/20 season of the Premier League! You may have thought that anyone can get lucky, but with Ademir it is definitely not the case. Two years ago he was 104th!

This is an interview with one of the best FPL players ever from Bosnia and Herzegovina in which he reveals his emotions, motivation, style of play and more.

1. The first question is probably of most interest to all FPL aficionados. How does it feel to be 6th in the world among nearly 8 million fantasy managers?

Ademir: The feeling is fantastic! It was only after a sleepless night that I realized what a result I had achieved. I have to admit that in the first minutes after the end of the season, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t finish in the top 3 as I was in the top 20 from gameweek (GW) 16, so my ambitions increased. Some little things have decided the outcome, but that’s FPL.

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2. You were in the top 10 for a long time, you almost missed the 1st place, but also the top 3, what determined such a development?

Ademir: In my opinion, GW35 was a decisive moment. Antonio and Sterling together made monstruous 47 points, none of which was in my team. I believed in Salah who got me only 2 points and missed everything that could have been missed in that game against Burnley. With that I lost 3rd place which I held 2 GW’s in a row.

3. When did you realize you were in the game for the 1st place in the world? Did you change tactics to aid your quest for the very top?

Ademir: I didn’t make any significant changes. The only tactic I had was to look for a player who, in my opinion, could make a difference, provided that no managers around me had that player.

4. You were quite unlucky at the start of the season considering that you were only among 2 million managers in GW1. However, by GW6 you were already among 2,000 managers. How is it possible to make such a meteoric rise in a short space of time? What exactly did you do?

Ademir: Most of us FPL managers make a hit and miss selection of players at the start of the season and most use a wildcard in the first 8 GW’s to “correct” themselves. That’s what happened to me. Only after first 5-6 GW’s I had a clearer picture of my team and then it really started to click.

5. How much risk did you take when making decisions? Did you have a strategy related to transfers, teams, fixtures? How did you choose captains and make decisions about chips?

Ademir: He who dares wins! Sometimes you have to take risks in order to get a good result. I bring in players and choose captains mostly following the form. Fixtures come second in that order. As for the chips, I don’t have a plan. As the situation unfolds with my team, I use chips accordingly. I don’t care which GW it is. The only thing is I always leave some of the chips for double gameweeks.

6. In the fight for the top, among the best managers in the world was Magnus Carlsen, probably the best chess player of all time. Magnus finished the race in the 11th place, 5 places behind you. Did you follow his progress? How impressed are you with the fact that you were in a race with such a grandmaster?

Ademir: Of course I was impressed by the fact that I was in the race with Magnus, but to be honest, I didn’t follow him through the season except in the last round when I was doing a free hit. Then I checked teams of all the managers in the top 10. I don’t have a habit of following other managers.Screenshot_2020-07-30-15-27-15-113_com.hsv.freeadblockerbrowser

7. You got involved in various mini leagues before the start of the season. Can you tell us what prizes have you won this season given that you were first in all them? Are the prizes the only motivation?

Ademir: Prizes are not the only motivation for playing FPL. I just love football, I love Liverpool, everything is closely related to each other. As for the prizes, some are cash prizes, I’ve got a free seaside stay and some symbolic prizes.Screenshot_2020-07-30-15-22-43-639_com.hsv.freeadblockerbrowser

8. Do people contact you through social networks regarding FPL?

Ademir: Of course. They usually ask if I am the one who is 6th in the world :) They congratulate, we chat a bit on the topic etc.

9. You are known to be following Liverpool and the Premier League for a long time. When and how did you start with FPL?

Ademir: I started with FPL in 2014 when I got talked into the game by my friend Aleksandar Todorovic (Republika Zimbatwa), who helped me a lot at the very beginning and introduced me to the game. Even today he helps me with important info related to FPL.

10. Considering that three seasons ago you were 104th in the world, the previous before this last one 9524th, 2 times the best manager in Bosnia and Herzegovina and now 6th in the world, can you tell us what is the secret of your obvious success in the previous three seasons?

Ademir: After every GW, I make sure to watch Match of the day (MOTD) and I watch every game I can live on TV. Based on what I see, I bring players into my team.

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credit @fplresearch

11. Looking at your FPL career, the first two seasons you had below average success comparing them to the last four when you were ending seasons at 300k and 450k. What happened after the 2015/16? How did you raise your game to a higher level?

Ademir: At first I wasn’t very serious about the game. I chose players which I personally like, even if they got me 2 points. The ones I didn’t like I didn’t bring to the team even if they might have played well. When watching the games it was more enjoyable (to have players I love).Screenshot_2020-07-30-10-32-55-921_com.hsv.freeadblockerbrowser

12. Do you use any of the FPL sites? How do you collect information? How do you make decisions?

Ademir: The only site I follow is Fantasy football scout (FFS). I collect almost all the information there and make some decisions directly based on the information from the FFS.

13. How much time a week do you spend on FPL?

Ademir: Very little time to be honest. Usually after GW ends I already have a vision for the next one and if nothing happens during the week, I just confirm the transfer an hour before the deadline.

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credit @FplProp

14. Given that you are a Liverpool fan, it is known that for a long period of time you did not have players from Manchester United. When did you change your decision to include them and how did that affect your ranking?

Ademir: I changed my decision when they’ve become insignificant in the battle for the top in the Premier League. After the restart of the championship I was aware of their good fixtures and brought in 3 United players for the first time. That affected my overall ranking a lot of course. I made a mistake in the last GW when I got rid of all three of them (De Gea, Martial, Fernandes). If I had left them, I would have finished 2nd in the world.

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15. With what motivation do you enter the new FPL season? Will it be difficult for you to motivate yourself to repeat a similar success?

Ademir: I enter the new season as every other, relaxed, without any special ambitions. There are a lot of people in the game to set myself some more significant goals.

16. Are there players you already know you will have in your team next season?

Ademir: Yes, there are. If nothing changes by the start of the season, they are Alexander-Arnold, De Bruyne, Aubameyang and Pulisic.

17. How much has FPL changed the way you watch the Premier League?

Ademir: It has changed a lot. I started cheering on clubs other than Liverpool. That’s why I avoid Manchester United players. Because of FPL I now watch some games that I maybe wouldn’t watch. I watch every game with more pleasure as a result of FPL involvement.

18. What advice would you give to the managers who followed your journey to the very top?

Ademir: Be sure to watch MOTD and as many games as possible to have a clearer picture when making transfers. The less thinking when choosing a player the better. Personally, whenever I thought about a transfer longer than 3 minutes, I was wrong. Transfer the first pick that comes to your mind without further thinking.

19. This is your first season to play FPL draft game. What is your opinion about this game?

Ademir: I was not that excited during the season as I couldn’t change the team much. Basically, what you get at the beginning is for the whole season. This is probably my first and last season playing draft.

20. Liverpool are the champions of England after 30 years. How did you live through this season considering the interruption and the corona virus pandemic?

Ademir: This season we were so good that not even having to face with dreadful corona pandemic could prevent us from winning the title! An unforgettable season in which I got annoyed only once and it was because of FPL, when Salah missed everything against Burnley, from soup to nuts.

Ademir Ovčina