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Seconds out, round two

The second half of the fantasy season is underway and, as explained at length before Christmas, each and every manager will have to re-select their squad.

The values have been reworked based upon a number of criteria. The first of these is performance in the first half of the season. This means Arsenal striker Robin van Persie and Manchester City midfielder David Silva are the marquee players, both priced at £9.5 million.

Van Persie is actually is considerably lower than his price earlier this week, which was around the £11 million mark. Prices have been constructed to be more challenging, but at the same time there has to be the room in the price mapping for squads to be built. Van Persie started the season at £8.7 million, so there is still a large price rise from August.

• Click here to go to the fantasy game and pick your team

David Silva shows a far greater price rise, and that is purely because he was one of the early bargains priced at just £7 million. At the end of the segment his price was around the £9 million mark due to the consistent nature of his scoring but his true fantasy worth was always higher.

Other players to show considerable rises from the start of the season include Sergio Aguero, Gareth Bale, Edin Dzeko, Micah Richards, Emmanuel Adebayor (who had a Man City price tag), Mikel Arteta (Everton price), Demba Ba, Daniel Sturridge, Jose Enrique (Newcastle price), Clint Dempsey and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

This does mean it will take different approach when picking your squad for the second half of the season. There would be little point if you could just go in and reselect your squad with players at the same prices - clearly this would result in a vast number of squads being the same.

A rework of values does fix the common problem with an open transfer-based fantasy game. By this stage of the season most of squads are near identical, as everyone knows who the best players are.

If we look at the teams who finished in the top five in the first half of the season, three of the five teams have Brad Friedel; Leighton Baines is in every squad with both Jose Enrique and Micah Richards in three; Gareth Bale and David Silva are owned by all five managers, Nani by four and Clint Dempsey three; up front, Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor are in squads and Wayne Rooney three.

As these are all players who have shown considerable price rises, it will be impossible to keep the same squad together. There will be differences between which of the expensive players are chosen, as well as which cheaper, active players are used to fill up the squad.

If value players have become expensive, then it works in reverse too. At this juncture it is best to leave managers to work out the bargains for themselves rather than give suggestions which may lead to duplication. But no player is deliberately lowered in price to create a bargain - each price is based upon past performance, projected scoring and also the club they play for.

Every manager has unlimited transfers from now until the kick-off of Gameweek 21, which is on Wednesday when Spurs versus Everton kicks off. This means these clubs will both have two fixtures in the gameweek - Spurs with two at home and Everton two away.

This may be a factor in how you choose to build your initial squad, but remember to look ahead in the fixture list to see if it is worth overloading in the long-run. After the start of Gameweek 21, a new batch of 20 transfers will be allocated to every team and that is it for the season.

Oh, and don't forget those African players - such as Demba Ba - who are now away for weeks at the Nations Cup.

• Click here to go to the fantasy game and pick your team

First phase champion

The end of the first segment was full of drama, with the leadership changing hands three times in the space of just a few minutes.

As the Newcastle United v Man United game edged towards its conclusion "Le Gourou" was in control, a point ahead of the rest. But his fortunes turned in a moment when Phil Jones put into the back of his own net, the loss of three points sending him tumbling into third.

That own goal sent "A Poyet full of Posies" to the top of the table and when the final whistle went at St James' Park it looked as though the title was secure as he led Jose Colton's team on the tiebreaker. Or so he thought.

At the end of the gameweek the substitutions have to be activated, and that sent Jose's team on to 1293 points. But Tangerine Dragons also climbed onto 1293 with Tim Krul and Jose Enrique coming off the bench - which again sent us to the tiebreaker.

The decider is then the most points in the final gameweek of the segment, with Jose Colton scoring 60 points to Tangerine Dragons' 55 - and that secured the segment title. Jose is the only team in the top 11 who has not given his team a name - let's hope that changes.

Anyone with any outstanding questions on the Segment 2 switch can email fantasy@soccernet.com.

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