Jay-Jay Okocha has proven his managerial talent by picking a side ranking 19th in the overall Official Fantasy classification after 13 matches of the season. - © DFL
Jay-Jay Okocha has proven his managerial talent by picking a side ranking 19th in the overall Official Fantasy classification after 13 matches of the season. - © DFL

Fantasy Manager: how Jay-Jay Okocha's 11 reached the Top 20


Jay-Jay Okocha is sitting pretty in the Official Fantasy standings, with his team Okocha's 11 currently 19th after 13 matchdays. Here's the secret to the Bundesliga legend's success…

Okocha's 11 came racing out of the blocks, with a Matchday 1 feast thanks to Bayern Munich's 8-0 humbling of Schalke, and the fact Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane were all in his team. All three had a hand in three goals, and this was one of the first secrets behind the 75-times Nigeria international's picks: top-club performers.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Okocha picked players from a team expected to do well, but maybe his selection of more than one player from the same club in the same position will come as a surprise, with both Lewandowski and Gnabry leading his attack for this particular match. For those who only picked the world footballer of the year, they will have missed out on the bounty of Gnabry's extra seven points, earning Okocha a sizeable advantage.

Cast-iron regulars with studious rotation

It was only on Matchday 13 that Okocha climbed back into the top 20, having previously been within points of the top 10. Like at the start of the season, his success on the final weekend of Bundesliga action in 2020 came from his top-team performers, with eight members of his team coming from sides playing in the UEFA Champions League.

Up front, he once again picked two Bayern players in Lewandowski and Thomas Müller; in midfield, two Dortmund players were in his squad with Jadon Sancho starting, but Gio Reyna remaining on the bench.

Watch: The first 251 Bundesliga goals of Official Fantasy star and The Best FIFA Player Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski and Sancho are, together with RB Leipzig's Angelino and Freiburg's Florian Müller – the cheapest No1 goalkeeper at the start of the season – regulars in Okocha's team, remaining part of his squad since Matchday 1. Lewandowski and Angelino earned by far the most points for him, with 239 from the Bayern striker and 212 from Leipzig's wing-back. Interestingly, Okocha's next best points-earner was a long way back, with Dortmund forward Erling Haaland bringing in 102 points. This shows how much rotation takes place in Okocha's squad.

The trend Is your friend! Focus on the fixtures

In addition to the players from Champions League clubs, and first-choice keeper Müller, Okocha recently struck it rich with another Freiburg star, in Vincenzo Grifo, and Wolfsburg's Maxence Lacroix, as well as Werder Bremen's Ludwig Augustinsson. The trio impressed with 18, 14 and 10 points, with form a factor in their selection: both Grifo and Lacroix had been delivering consistently, while the choice of Augustinsson was made more with Bremen's opponents Mainz in mind.

Unsurprisingly, many of Okocha's team feature in the Official Fantasy team of the season so far. - DFL

When the Bundesliga gets underway again, Okocha's team is likely to be filled with players from Bayern and also Borussia Mönchengladbach, who have what on paper appear to be favourable fixtures in 2021, against relegation rivals Mainz and Arminia Bielefeld.

But that is not the only consideration. Since Bayern play on Sunday evening, eight of the weekend's games will already have been played after the transfer deadline ends. That means 16 different teams with their potential for points, and alternatives to assess, will have put their points in the bank already before a decision must be made on whether to stick or twist, for Bayern stars. And a week later, Gladbach face Bayern, so further rotation will be needed for that fixture.

So, picking players from top teams, even several from the same club in the same position, and having a few regulars while rotating regularly, based on form and fixtures – these are Okocha's secrets to picking up points on a regular basis. There has been plenty of chopping and changing and careful consideration given to Okocha's selection, but it has paid off.

When he was recently 32nd, he set the top 20 as his goal. Now Okocha belongs to the 20 best managers, he doesn't want to leave his lofty status. With more tinkering and tactical nous, Okocha's 11 have even greater goals to aim for in 2021.