Premier League: GW9 Retrospect

Just when you think it can’t get any worse…it does! Didn’t really think this free fall would continue for a third consecutive week, but it has. Right now, it doesn’t appear to matter who’s in the starting XI, no one is scoring. Talk about frustrating, Reading sites, listening to pundits and talking to other fantasy managers, it appeared I made some advantageous transfers (at a cost of -8 points) going into GW9. Yet those players yielded just 15 points! Again, I question, what the hell is wrong with my squad? In the last 3 weeks I have dropped 720k spots and for the first time this year saw a decrease to 101.8m (down from 102.1m). Scoring just 26 points, I was well off the average of  42, which has called into question my decision making skills or strategy as I continue to struggle finding a way to stop this bleeding.


At this point, I don’t even know where to begin. Over the last 3 weeks I have accrued just 100 points taking my season total to just 427, an average of 47.4, well off my goal of 60 points/week. Looking back to GW6 I was averaging 59 points/week and things were looking great! After holding my transfer from the previous week I was looking at a double transfer to improve my starting XI. Wanting to take advantage of a few match ups, I opted to introduce 4 new players and take another -8 hit for week, which has cost me 10 points the last 3 weeks.

With De Bruyne a surprise start last weekend, it was always my intention to bring him back after his injury in place of Sterling. He lasted just 45 minutes picking up a knock and scoring just a single point. No player had been hotter than Walcott, yet I pick him up for the start and returns an additional 1 point for a clean sheet. He was also my captain, so he totaled 6 points. He was part of the Allen transfer, which saw me move Snodgrass out after that 6-1 debacle versus the Cherries last week. Snodgrass had been high on my list of players I wanted, but hadn’t returned in 4 games, yet the schedule is still in Hull’s favor. Bringing Allen in saved me 0.7, which allowed for the Walcott pick up. Unfortunately Allen took a goose egg, as Shaqiri was all the talk in GW9. with Stoke’s favorable schedule, Allen will remain as a 5th midfielder. Final move for the week saw me jettison Collins of West Ham, who had not played in the last 2 games for Holebas, coming off a 15 points week, Watford was able to grab a CS and Holebas put up 6 points.

gameweek_history_gw9Defensively, my team is still in a shambles. Foster played well vs Liverpool, still gave up 2 goals, but did register 5 saves. Has Leicester and Man U over the next few weeks, which I will ride out. Valencia looked sharp for Man U against Chelsea, at least offensively with some great crosses and pressure up the pitch. Unfortunately, 4 goals conceded is a problem. Arsenal and Spurs are the only concerns over the next 10 weeks, so I am still considering keeping him in the starting XI. Williams and Everton continue to leak goals, one per week from GW5 through GW8, finally giving up 2 and losing to Burnley. Mixed fixtures and suddenly Williams is on the short list to be replaced or benched. My bench saw McAuley score his second of the season and go for 8 points, while van Aanholt played the full 90 minutes, but conceded a goal to the Hammers

As I look over my midfield, things aren’t as they appear. Four players have blue and stars next to their namegw9_leagues as top scoring players. Yet De Bruyne, Sanchez and Walcott totaled just 10 points, while I sat Capoue in favor of a third forward. Captaining of Walcott over Sanchez was irrelevant, as both scored 3 points. I selected Walcott who’s 3 points doubled to 6 points. As mentioned earlier, Pep substituted KDB at halftime, initially reported as a tactical change at halftime but KDB took a knock to the calf. Thanks for the single marker Kevin! As for Allen and Stoke, a nice 2-0 victory, but Allen didn’t feature in any points. This marks the third weekend my midfield has not scored a goal and just a single assist over that same period. Now wonder I am seeing red.

Up front the only positive I can take away is the fact I dropped Zlatan after GW6, off his first of his current run of no goals or assists in the last 4 games. The additional budget was then used used to upgrade the midfield and I picked up Rashford the followiung week, yet like his counterpart, he has picked up with Zlatan has left off, returning nothing on the pitch. The last 2 weeks I left Rashford on the bench in favor of Capoue, again a move that was irrelevant as neither scored. However, I take a bit of solace in knowing Rashford looked dynamic in at the Bridge on Sunday against Chelsea. At this point, he is potentially expendable, as Man U are now two EPL games without a goal. I had sort of counted on Defoe as my “ace in the hole” with a favorable schedule and my number two forward. No returns since GW6 against West Brom, Stoke or West Ham. Like Rashford making me reconsider his potential moving forward with the likes of Arsenal and Bournemouth in the next two.

At the start of the season, there was lots of discussion about fielding both Aguero and Zlatan on the front line. How managers would rather have Zlatan if he wasn’t returning than NOT having him if he hit big. Well, he hasn’t big…yet but conversely neither has Aguero, just 3 points in the last 3 games with a -1 point last week after missing from the spot. City is in flux, winless in 5 games with a loss and two draws in the last three EPL games. Aguero, for me, is still a must start. The City attack, orchestrated by the likes of KDB and Silva still go through Aguero up top. No goals in the last 3 games, but still a must start. However that 13.0m price tag is becoming harder to swallow the longer Kun goes without returning. Unlike Zlatan, I still feel more confident backing City than I do United. Aguero remains…for now.

So what does all this mean? F*ck if I know! I thought I had this game figured out, but how star players fail to score and return negative points is frustrating. I know I can’t be the only one wondering down the path less traveled, completely lost. Ask me about my FT for GW10, I haven’t a clue what I will do with it. It seems everything I touch or transfer in turns to shit; Rashford, Sanchez, Walcott, De Bruyne, Allen…the list goes on. There are no guarantees, only form, fixture and a hell of a lot of luck. None of which I appear to have heading into GW10. All I can hope is I turn things around and start seeing green arrows.

Premier League: GW8 Retrospect

What a disaster! Just 2 weeks ago as GW6 came to a close I was in the top 29k, following 3 green arrows and back to back 69 points. My team was averaging 59 points/week, just one off the 60 point average I am targeting for the season. Two weeks later, a poor decision on my GW7 transfer and an ineffective group of players and just when I thought I could not score worse than 24 points, I post another poor score. GW8 has me pegged with 26 points and Valencia going on Monday vs Liverpool. My team has drop 210k spots in 2 weeks down to 239k, but my value is holding steady at 102.1m.


After spending the better part of 2 weeks playing the waiting game, while the EPL was on their international break I had time to research, read articles and decide how to use my 1 FT for GW8. With defenses playing so poorly and inconsistent, I could not bring myself to spend more defensively, only to get less. Valencia is my highest priced defender at 5.5m and his time is nearly up. Foster and the Baggies have terrible upcoming fixtures, but just like defenders and the lack of clean sheets I couldn’t see replacing him. While names such as Grant, Boruc and Vertonghen were in my find, I wanted Walcott. However, with West Ham playing Boro I decided to give Antonio one more chance at success, after starting the season so strong. As we know now a 10 point difference between the 13 points scored by Walcott and the 3 points by Antonio. My 1 FT went unused this week as I could not pull the trigger and make a decision.

Defensively, Foster was better than expected conceding one goal, making 7 saves and recording 4 points, bestgw8_leagues score since GW3! I finally put Collins on the bench in hopes Van Aanholt would help justify his start. He didn’t, left after 39 minutes for 1 point. Everton was looking strong versus City after Lukaku put them up 1-0, but that clean sheet was quickly erased and Williams put together another 1 points performance. Valencia plays Monday and with Liverpool scoring at a good clip I haven’t set my expectations very high.

Defensively I am hoping to get to the Christmas break with the same defenders and goal keeper. Foster hasn’t been bad, but the Baggies have leaked one goal the last 3 games. This can be said for quite a few defenses, right on the edge of being a superior defense and just average. As for defenders, Spurs have been posted 4 clean sheets, while I don’t want to spend the money on Walker, Vertonghen currently tops my want list. After GW8, I am also looking at adding a Southampton defender, Fonte or Van Dijk. Valencia is on the short list, but I have been considering adding an Arsenal defender, but outside of Cech at 5.5m, it’s going to cost 6.0m to get Gunner coverage in Monreal or Mustafi. One defender I am considering highly, Cresswell, as he posted 6 points on his return to the pitch in his first game this season.

A once prominent part of my squad has left me scratching my head wondering where I went wrong. I probably rode Antonio and Capoue a week too long. Both players have been hit by the law of averages and are not returning as they did a few game weeks ago. On a positive note, both recorded 3 points by virtue of keeping clean sheets. Sterling (2 pts) and Snodgrass (1 pt) were both ineffective. While I intended on holding on to Snodgrass, Sterling will be dropped in place of De Bruyne who surprisingly returned for GW8, playing 90 minutes, recording a zero, as he missed a penalty. Finally Sanchez, whom I captained only returned 10 points, but that was my best performing player of the week thanks in part to an assist. As it stands now, Sterling and Antonio will make way for KDB and Walcott for GW9. Capoue will most likely fall to being a 5th midfielder.

Up front it was a nightmare! Defoe, boom or bust took the later and couldn’t score against Stoke City. Even worse the performance of Aguero, of all players. He did not start, missed a penalty and ended up with a -1. This is the same Aguero who hit for 5 last year in 20 minutes! What the hell is happening this year? I have no intentions of adding Lukaku or Costa, both players scored this week, however I am considering Austin to replace Rashford, which was potentially a “rash decision” to bring in just to get the price increase. He is not starting on Monday for me, as I played a 3-5-2 formation.

After 6 strong weeks I am sitting on 356 points, averaging 59 points/week. Just two week later I am at 399 points with a 49.8 points/week average (81 points short of my 480 points I was hoping to have). How the mighty have fallen…and quick. Still I am in a better position than I was last year at this time, but I am not sure how to stem this downward spiral and to turn things around. GW9 will see two transfer with a possible third at a 4 point cost. Although I have a hard time taking another -4 point hit it might be warranted, although in fantasy sports, there are no guarantees.

Coulrophobia and You

killer-clownsOctober represents the 4th year I have been in charge of designing and running the haunted house at Vintage Parkway Elementary in Oakley, where my son is in his final year. Over the years the teachers, administration and students have been very supportive when it comes to my endeavors in creating an integral part to the school’s harvest carnival. Prior to stepping up to take responsibility, another couple managed the haunt where guests could have a “scary” or “no scary” tour through. Needless to say, I got rid of that shit real quick. Why? A haunt is a haunt, part of the fun is to get and be scared, right? So non-scary made no sense to me. Sure it’s an elementary school, but my goal is to have every kid exiting the haunt crying. That tells me, I accomplished my job and the kids had a good time.

The last few years I began searching for a theme to unify the haunt. I wasn’t happy with a mish-mash of crap that may or may not scare kids. Originally, my idea began as a carnival or “carn-evil” theme to keep it in line with the harvest carnival the PTA puts on with booths, games, food and a trunk-or-treat. If I would have realized the need for a theme during the first year I believe I would be further along today, than where I am now. But that’s not why I am blogging today. My unifying theme was clowns or coulrophobia, the fear of clowns.

Social media has taken these otherwise innocuous reports and sent then viral, which the news media picks up and suddenly we have a revolution on our hands as Halloween rolls around. My first interaction with the clown phenomena was watching Dm Pranks Productions on You Tube. Absolutely sick and twisted, but hilarious to watch, the reaction of people running scared, away from what they just experienced.

Now I was realistic, knowing I would not be able to pull off a haunt full of pranks such as Dm Pranks, but the idea was genius! You can thank Stephen King, ‘IT’ and Pennywise in the 90’s for the term coulrophobia. While there are no hard facts and numbers of this phobia, estimates show from 12-15% of the American popular suffer from this. Chances are those numbers might be a bit outdated, thanks in part to social media and the news media blow many stories out of proportion, when individuals just want to have fun. But I am not here to debate the “fun” aspect over luring kids into a forest or van.

My enjoyment of clowns come from seeing the responses I get when others see me in the haunt. Startled, scared, maybe they begin to cry. It’s that satisfaction that tells me, “job well done.” Again, we are in a controlled environment, where none of the actors are going to touch or harass any guest. It’s purely ENTERTAINMENT VALUE! Unfortunately not everyone agrees.

To date, there has only been one incident in the haunt the past 4 years that involved closing it down a bit earlier than anticipated due to older middle or high school kids ruining the fun for the elementary school kids. Administration got involved, which was a good thing. Aside from that one incident, I have never been directed on what to create for the haunt when October rolls around. The administration and teachers have been very supportive of the time and effort I have put in to make the event enjoyable for the students and their parents.

Unfortunately you always seem to have that one parent who speaks out on behalf of the others than won’t saying, “…it’s completely inappropriate with everything going on.” Please, explain that to me. No child in our haunt has been touch, groped or fondled in the 4 years I have been in charge nor in the prior 2 years I was inside the haunt. So explain how dressing up as a clown is inappropriate? Would you prefer a flesh eating zombie? I mean, God forbid we have a zombie apocalypse in the near future, will you prevent your kid from seeing that as well?

“With everything going on…hoax or not this situation should be treated with caution when it comes to our children.” I could not agree more with you. Your child will be safe when they enter my haunt, no harm will come to them, but they might leave teary-eyed. If that’s wrong, then I suggest you and your child stay the hell away from the haunt. It’s scary…for some…but it’s done with best intentions. I am sure you have no idea how much money harvest carnival (which the haunt is part of) brings in for the school? The total amount collected (minus the budget to host the carnival) all goes to the teachers, which in turns goes to each student. Take this event away, both teachers and students lose out.

“I shouldn’t have to keep my son from doing school activities.” Uh, you aren’t. Come enjoy what the harvest carnival has to offer from games and food to trunk-or-treat! The PTA puts on an awesome harvest carnival! The haunt is just one aspect, if you find it inappropriate for you child, then by all means avoid it. No one is forcing to you face your fear of clowns, which has been reported by your local news and gone viral thanks in part to social media.

“This is unbelievable, you guys are worrying about the money you’ll be losing. What about children’s safety?” Above everything else a child’s safety is the most important factor when they enter the haunt. It’s my responsibility to make sure the haunt is built so walls don’t break or props don’t fall down potentially injuring a child. That would be absolutely terrible, something that no amount of apologizing could remedy. If I feel something is unsafe, then I look for another way to do it. When the haunt opens, child safety is still the utmost importance, as long as guests follow the posted rules, which include no running or touching of the props or actors, then everyone will get along and your child will exit. If they become scared and start to panic, we personally escort them out of the haunt.

As for losing money, you get your ass we would lose a lot of money for the teachers! This is one of the biggest and best fund-raisers of the year to close it down or worse, not have the harvest carnival would be devastating to the staff, administration and students of Vintage Parkway. While it wouldn’t be the end of the world, there would be a void in the school year at the end of October when fall rolls around and there is no harvest carnival, no haunt. Just a locked up, darkened school on a Friday night.

As for the clowns, this is my final year at Vintage Parkway. Please feel free to contact me and possibly volunteer your time and money to put on the haunt. To date, no one has stepped forward to take responsibility for next year. If you don’t like the theme, then make a difference, get involved and put together your own theme because this year isn’t changing. It’s coulrophobia and claustrophobia! Enjoy the haunt!

Volunteer For Your Child

The greatest responsibility an adult has is raising a child.

-Stephen Toumi

volunteeringIf that is truly the case, then why don’t more parents volunteer and support their children in their endeavors? Now this isn’t directed at one individual, but the masses, as I would guess a majority of parents don’t volunteer to coach their child’s team or work in the classroom or take a leadership role in scouting. These are just a few examples brought forth in this piece. Why though? Why don’t you take a vested interest in your child and pass along that knowledge and experience you have gained over your life on Earth?

To understand why, I think we need to explore the why not. First, it’s easier. “Let someone else coach my kid” or “I don’t want to participate in scouting” better yet, “PTA? Serious that’s for that’s for the hoity toity moms, not me.” Bottom line, too many people take a negative stand when it comes to volunteering as it relates to their child.

Why wouldn’t you want to be involved? It’s a great feeling passing along first hand knowledge to children who are ready to soak it up like a sponge and ask for more. For me, taking on the role of a Den Leader has been a big challenge, one which I didn’t think I was ready for, but wish I would have taken a year earlier. There is something to be said about leading a group of boys, eager to learn and be involved with each other. Scouting has put a new perspective on volunteering for me. That “one hour a week” is really more like 3 to 4 hours depending on what is on the scouting agenda. From camping trips to hikes to den and pack meetings, my role as Den Leader, as well as Quartermaster for the pack have kept me very busy over the last 2 years, but I don’t regret for one minute stepping forward to get involved.

If scouting for either boys or girls isn’t your thing and you take an interest in sports then step up and take on the role of coach or manager. Much like scouting, it’s a very rewarding experience. I’ve had the opportunity to manager baseball for 2 years and more so than scouting it had a bigger impact on me, as a person and as a coach. Why? As a youth I recall coaches I had growing up and there was always one, Keith Voigt, who sticks out in my mind as a coach I wanted to emulate. At age 10, I thought he was a baseball God, when it came to what he know and how he coached our team. I might know have known it then, but years later, standing on the diamond teaching a lesson to my wide-eyed ballplayers I now understand the reaosn why Coach Voigt was so passionate about the game he loved. Al Price of Big Al Baseball only reinforced that line of think when he said, “you develop the player and the person.” That’s so true when it comes to children, sports and life in general.

By far the biggest eye opening experience is being involved in the PTA. Growing up my mom was a big PTA support, sat on a few boards if memory serves me correct and was a regular parent volunteer in the classroom. As a parent, I knew no other way to be involved with your child and see them grow an flourish. Little did I know that reality is quite jaded, as many parents don’t seem to give a shit about further their child’s development or that of the school by being involved in PTA. Harsh? Probably, but it’s warranted, at least in my case.

Since my son walked through the doors and into kindergarten with Mrs. Gaul, I have been fully committed to his education and supporting the school. Why wouldn’t you want to be? Teachers at his school are absolutely amazing! Now if they were only paid justly for their duties and responsibilities, everyone would benefit! Why was I involved? Going back to my mom, I knew no other way. Volunteering in the classroom, paying my $10 PTA dues (you would be amazed at the number of parents who can’t come up with $10, but send their kids a lunch bag full of crap to eat, I am sure some how, some way you CAN come up with $10 to support your child AND the PTA.)

Going on my 6th year of elementary school, five of which I have served on the executive board, the support of parents or should I say lack of, never ceases to amaze me. You always see the same handful of parents stepping up to volunteer in class, going on field trips or work a PTA sponsored event. Why? Are you really THAT busy as a parent you can’t give your child a few hours of your time? Yeah, okay I hear you. You work, guess what, SO DO I! Eight hours a day, five days a week with a two hour round trip commute. Yet I still find time to pick my child up, talk to them and support them in their school functions and extracurricular activities. What’s your excuse now?

Until my son says he doesn’t want my support at school, I will continue to invest my time and make an effort to better his education by being involved. Actually, this year he told me he didn’t want me working in his 5th grade classroom, so I respected his decision and have yet to work a day in his class.

“Students with parents who are involved in their school tend to have fewer behavioral problems and better academic performance, and are more likely to complete high school than students whose parents are not involved in their school. Positive effects of parental involvement have been demonstrated at both the elementary and secondary levels across several studies, with the largest effects often occurring at the elementary level. Research shows that students perform better in school if their fathers as well as their mothers are involved, regardless of whether the father lives with the student or not.” (source)

To this day, I know of only one other day, I have met who has been as involved with his children, as I have with mine. He is an amazing dad, who has gone through a lot of pain and bad situations, but has raised two outstanding kids. So dads, what’s your excuse? The only time I have seen dads involve at our school is the PTA sponsored, father/daughter dance. Then again, all their dad has to do is show up. Really, it’s that simple. Outside of that, I have a really hard time identifying with any other dads who participate on a regular basis. Oh, that’s right, you are the moneymaker, you work and can’t help out at school or spend $10 to join the PTA. My mistake, guess I was looking for real men who care about their child, want to be involved and actively be part of their child’s developmental years.

Regardless of the “why” I still find volunteering and being involved a rewarding experience, one that no one can take away from me. I can honestly say I have had a great time over the last 6 years seeing my grow, thanks in part to the great teachers, leaders and coaches he has had. Parenting, like employment is a full time job, why don’t you look at working some overtime and volunteer for your child. Seeing a smile on their face is reward enough.

Premier League: GW7 Retrospect

Could it get any worse after GW7, as the EPL heads into the international break? I knew my squad and score were headed in the wrong direction after Saturday’s fixtures, Everton giving up 1 goal to Palace, while the Baggies conceded one to Sunderland, too bad it wasn’t Defoe bagging the goal. Just when you think everything is going your way after GW6 and you have the game figured out, you get socked in the jaw and wake up, dazed and confused. That’s where I am right about now, too bad a cold pint didn’t help the realization that I really only score 24 points this week. The average of the week was 42, as I was well off the pace to maintain my position in the global league, falling 142k places! Thankfully I can take solace in knowing that I am still better off this year, at this point than I was last year and there is still much football to be played.


I am done! Done chasing the clean sheet with respect to my defenders. If I would have played defenders based on their offensive abilities I probably would have been in a better position than I am currently in. That could be the pint (or two talking). Still through out the first 7 weeks I have only changed 2 starting defenders (McAuley and Williams) and neither move has paid off. With Valencia still my premier defender at 5.5m and yet to return, a Spurs defender could be in my near future. Van Aanholt picked up a goal in GW7, but was on the bench, while Williams and McAuley returned just 2 points a piece. Foster continues to mind the net, but another 2 point showing just deepens the frustration.

The midfield was happening, until GW7. Sterling picked up a knock in the 86th minute and was replaced. He didn’t score anyway. Antonio has now blanked 2 weeks in a row and the Hammers are looking dreadful offensively. Chances are high I will give Antonio a few more weeks with matches against Palace (A) and Sunderland (H) to get things turned around. Capoue…probably the fantasy law of averages catching up with him, after being the top scorer in fantasy. He too had a second week of no returns. This was a run for Watford that was supposed to be positive, yet a draw with the Cherries and concern has started to creep in.

My big move of the week after the KDB injury was a -4 hit for Sanchez. You would think would be a great match up against Burley especially how well the Gunners had been playing. Yet Burley at home played tough and conceded just 1 goal. Sanchez was also captained, yielding just 6 points. Talk about dismal! Aguero would have done no better IF he were given the armband last weekend. Snodgrass was on the bench, but I might consider a 3-5-2 depending on what I do with my forwards, who didn’t perform at all this weekend.

Good match up for Sunderland, Man U and Man City, yet just 2 goals from those 3 gw7_standinggames and none for Defoe, Aguero or Rashford, who was my FT after GW6. So much for playing the price increase in hopes he would return vs Stoke. Of all teams, Stoke and Man U can only get one by that defense. I will give Grant credit, as he was outstanding in goal for the Potters in a game that could have been 3 or 4 goals for United. What to do out of the international break with my forwards? The obvious, Aguero will remain as my top player and most likely my favorite to captain. Defoe seems to score in spurts, much like Lukaku, he’s the point of attack for the Black Cats, so he could potentially get another 2 weeks with Stoke and West Ham. Rashford, he’s young, talented, seems to be having fun but also a rotation risk. He really wasn’t a factor vs Stoke. With Liverpool and Chelsea out of the break, his time might be up after just 1 week. I feel there are better match ups to chance.

Two players that come to mind up front are Deeney (30) of Watford and Austin (23) of Southampton, both have been playing week recently and appear to have favorable fixtures coming up. I am not completely done with Rashford, as I did pick him up for Man U coverage upon selling Ibra, something I thought I wouldn’t do but 11.0m+ not returning wasn’t happening and I needed budget space to cover the KDB injury. At this point I don’t even know how I am going to get him back when he is fit and ready to play. Can’t play for future fixtures, must play for the now.

Overall 24 points was my lowest score in 3 years of playing fantasy football. Needless to say I took a huge hit and drop nearly 140k spots to rest at 168k in the global league. My squad sits at 376 points, 44 points short of my 60 point/week goal with a value of 102.1m. I was within 6 points after GW6, but that mountain has just got a bit steeper to climb after this pathetic performance. Hopefully it can be put behind as we look forward to the EPL after the international break.