Footstock Meet the Manager: Matt Parkins
In the Footstock Meet the Manager series, we profile some of the platform’s most active managers. Today’s manager under the spotlight is someone who focuses on the bottom end of the market, Matt Parkins.
1) What is your name?
My name is Matthew Parkins and I go by parkinsm2012 on Twitter and the Official Footstock Slack Chat.
2) How long have you been on Footstock, how did you hear about it and what is your Footstock-related background?
I’ve been on Footstock since the 5th of May 2020. Last year I made a lot of money matched betting/casino/Betfair trading and came across Footstock from a matched betting site due to the opening offer. I was that impressed with Footstock that I decided to stay around and try and earn money from my analyst background and FPL knowledge.
The customer service from the owners is by far one of the best I have come across. I like the gambling side of it, but also that you can use skill and football experience to earn money. The Freakonomics podcast did an episode regarding Draft Kings in the US: they found that the fantasy sports skill level is up there with being good at a top sport.
As for my background linked to Footstock, I started by playing FIFA on the Sega Mega Drive at eight years old, then switched to Championship Manager 2, Football Manager, FPL, sports trading and gambling over the years. I have a number of years’ experience as an analyst and want to use this skill together with my football knowledge. I see Footstock as a bit like Football Manager but with actual cash prizes. It’s also replaced my addiction for FUT.
3) What is your collection size and structure?
My collection size is very small compared to a number of players out there. It’s currently worth around £650 when you remove the bonus players. I hold about 90% Basic and Common cards. If a card rises to Rare from Common and doesn’t look like it’s going to drop I will look at selling, as it doesn’t fall into my current plan.
One of the things I did from day 1 which allowed my collection to grow was invest in youth players. I also review players who I thought were undervalued (either down to injuries or not currently performing to their potential) and invest in them. As for the breakdown, I don’t own more than one of a player. I am not looking at making money from trades (with the market up and down all the time), but want to make money from the tournaments.
4) What is your strategy?
Due to not having a large budget I am focusing on the Beginner tournaments. There is no way that I can compete with the Pros and also struggle with the Amateurs due to the prices of the top-scoring players. I have two different strategies based on the type of tournament:
I analyse all the players playing in that match and then add up their win rates to see which team I believe will win. Then I select the players with the highest goals/assist rates in their PPGs. I have won a small amount of money from virtuals, but I am not a massive fan. The biggest win was £32 from winning a free roll with a full Chelsea team. I think I scored the highest score in a Beginner free roll when I did (to be fair, I played on the factor that Footstock forgot to put any restrictions on the tournament).
This is the one I enjoy the most. Once again, unlike a lot of people, I focus on the Beginner tournaments and only look to put 1 or 2 teams in. People may think the Beginners are not worth entry, but I disagree: for £1 entry you are looking at £100 plus profit (100-1 odds). In the first week of football being back I entered all three tournaments and placed sixth and second. On both occasions Pep cost me, by leaving Sane out in the first game and then Sterling out in the second. In fact, my second position was down to 0.5 of a point, with minutes played making the difference.
My strategy going forward is to review the fixtures and then enter a team of players from two teams where I think they have a good chance of winning by a strong margin. I like to pick a goalkeeper and then 4/5 outfield players. People may not like keepers, but the Common keepers are very good value and can give you around 17 to 30 points return, which is better than most defenders. Ederson is worth it just for his passing stats and clean sheet potential.
Once I have selected the team I think are going to win then I will use Fantasy Football Scout data (this is in the members’ pages) to look at recent games and see who stands out. A great example of this was Matt Richie with his 48 points. The data was showing that he was getting into a number of strong shooting positions before the break and having a lot of attempts on target. I watched the Sheffield United game the other day on TV and thought they were poor, which is why I took a punt on Ritchie. My long-term strategy is to hopefully build my collection from tournament winnings to allow me to strengthen my squad to compete in the Amateurs (I have entered two of these and have done shockingly bad).
5) What do you like about Footstock?
I love the tournaments. The Slack community is great and the company has fantastic customer service. I believe that the platform will grow and hopefully have a market share like Draft Kings in the USA. I just hope that they don’t try and rush the growth and take their time before introducing new leagues.
6) Which players do you presently think are the best value and why?
For Beginner tournaments and the potential of price rising fast I love Sterling and Foden. Sterling being a Common card is crazy. If he hits a run of form he should be scoring 20+ on a regular basis. I have only just started watching EPL really since football came back (it doesn’t help that the two teams I support are Scarborough and Leeds), and I was blown away with Foden. He has so much potential and will be running the Man City midfield next season.
I want to own a Pogba and I am gutted I didn’t buy him when he was down at £17 when I first joined. A lot of people will think that these players are overpriced with £20+ price tags, but if they play you must have one of these in your team to be able to compete in the tournaments. As for lower-priced players, I think Vardy is good value if he can re-find his form. Dele Alli’s stats show that he should start to bring in a number of attacking returns.
7) What advice would you give a new trader?
If I were to do it again I would do the following before spending a penny:
1. Sign up to the Slack group and read everything on there.
2. Listen to podcasts and watch YouTube videos from people such as IMLeithall, Holly from FF Community, Footstock blogs and John Nellis.
3. To have a better chance of winning I really recommend having an account with at least one data provider regarding football, these include the Footstock partners FantasyFootballHub and WhoScored, as well as Fantasy Football Scout, Sofascore and Transfermarkt.com.
4. If you can, watch the EPL content on TV, either via highlights or watching the games live. A great example of this is that watching Sheffield United vs Aston Villa and Arsenal vs Man City allowed me to build teams in future games due to the weaknesses I identified.
5. On game days, make sure that you are looking at all the Premier League information out there regarding starting lineups and injuries. Trust me, your selection not playing can be the difference between £160 cash prize and £100.
6. Pick a tournament level based on your budget and build a strategy for it. Don’t just buy random players: make sure you look into data on the players first! The best move I made was to focus on the Common and Basic players. By doing this I also managed to bag myself a free Foden in the rewards.
7. Keep away from roulette unless you have looked into the data sets on players and know which players are best to pick. Don’t forget this is largely a game of chance and it is always possible you will lose.
8. Ignore the collection value. The market will go up and down. You have to not allow your emotions to run away with you and sell when the market drops. Trust me, you may wake up and see your collection drop by 20% on some days, but don’t forget you have only lost that money if you sell now and don’t hold.
8) What has been your best/favourite roulette win or swap?
After a week of playing Footstock with my initial investment of £40 I was getting fed up and looking to leave. This all changed on a big roulette win: I was using McLean from Norwich and won a Kevin De Bruyne. My biggest regret was selling this back then for £65 vs what it’s worth now at £110.
9) What are you most looking forward to about Footstock?
Footstock branching out into other leagues. I think that you could really focus on one of the less popular divisions and make profit.