Premier League: GW6 Retrospect

Starting the week ranked in 55k in the global league with a team value of 101.6m brought a smile to me face, then I faced the reality of the situation knowing I was going into GW6 without Aguero. I mismanaged my transfer funds and used 2 FTs I was saving to bring Aguero back leading up to this week. While my hands weren’t tied, it was going to cost me. Cost me  -8 points to accomplish the moves necessary to bring back the cornerstone of my squad. All week, I spent time reading, writing and analyzing the data on different fantasy football sites, which made the decision just more muddled. If GW5 taught me anything this early in the season was to let the team ride, lock up a FT in anticipation of future moves. It wasn’t until I read a reply from James R on Fantasy Football Geek, he confirmed what I already knew, “You need to get Aguero back, he’s going to rack up the goals.” I knew this and with a few clicks of the mouse, made it happen.

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James R offered up a few transfer scenarios, but neither worked, leaving me with a deficit of more than 2.0m. I didn’t want to lose City coverage, with Sterling and De Bruyne already on my roster, Aguero would make it three, feast or famine in terms of points. I decided to move Ibrahimovic and Cazorla in favor of Aguero and Snodgrass, which put 1.0m in the back when all was said and done. At 59% TSB (teams selected by) it was a risky move but with Man U not playing well it was a gamble I was willing to make. At some point in the near future I will bring Zlatan back, probably for Lukaku. It felt right having Aguero back in my starting XI but the cost was -8 points to my weekly total.

Unable to watch the early Saturday matches I checked the scores and wasn’t too pleased with what I was seeing. Although I cracked a smile when saw 4 games by Man U, none of which scored by Zlatan. It wasn’t until all games were final that I logged into Premier League and saw my overall score for the week of 65 points! I was thrilled to see my total and examine the break down, but one look and the -8 point to bring Aguero in had paid off. Being captained, knocking in 2 goals and receiving 3 bonus points resulted in 26 points, tops on my squad. Not to be outdone, DeBruyne and Sterling chipped in with 10 and 6 respectively for a grand total of 42 for City’s 3-1 thrashing of Swansea.

What’s happened to West Ham? They’ve conceded 14 goals in 4 matches, but they were still scoring, 2 against Watford and 2 against WBA, but nothing against Southampton. Antonio still looked dynamic on the outside, even when dropped to right defender, he was finding himself in the attacking third of the field and still appeared to an asset. This is his first blank since GW1, which I am willing to let slide as the Hammers face ‘Boro (H), Palace (A) and Sunderland (H) in the next 3 games. The potential to come away with 4 goals is still there for Antonio and with Payet orchestrating the midfield, I still think Antonio is a strong play. His 2 points today will hopefully be overlooked.

Being talked up as one of the strongest defensive teams in the league, now with Lukaku in form, I dropped Costa in favor of the big Belgian a few weeks back. While it looked great last weekend with a goal and assist, his form dipped this week resulting in just 2 points. His consistency is terrible, more so than any other big name forward in the EPL in recent years. Everton’s 1-0 lost to Bournemouth just calls into question the inclusion of Lukaku at 9.3m. Thankfully is was Defoe to the rescue bagging 2 goals and 3 bonus points for the Black Cats as they lost 3-2 vs Palace. Now on 36 points he draws even with Zlatan and trails Aguero by a single marker. Depending on the Monday match with Watford visiting Burnley, Deeney is on a very short list to replace Lukaku in the next few weeks.

gw06-standingsWhile I haven’t given up defensively, I am not going to continue chasing clean sheets. I plan on running with Foster, Valencia, McAuley and Williams as my starters, while Collins and Van Aanholt come off the bench. Yet with PVA (5.0), I should probably downgrade and save 0.5 to be used elsewhere on the pitch. The GW6 starters totaled just 8 points, another disappointing returning with each team giving up just a single marker. So close…yet so far, but with only 3 clean sheets in GW6 (to date); Arsenal, Southamption and Bournemouth, I am not the only manager looking to turn things around defensively.

With Monday’s Burley v Watford still to come, I am already looking forward to GW7. Unfortunately De Bruyne sustained a muscle injury that reported will keep him out 4 weeks. Price at 10.7m, with 3.4 ITB bringing in Sanchez would be a logic move. Arsenal face Burnley (A), Swansea (H), ‘Boro (H) and Sunderland (A). Some great looking match up for the Gunners and Sanchez! Only problem I have for GW7, I used my FT to bring in Rashford, in anticipation of a price increase at the cost of Ibrahimovic, this the 3.4 ITB at the time of this writing. Amazing what moving Zlatan does to potentially improving other positions. While no determination will be made on KDB until Tuesday, I am ready to pay the -4 hit and get Sanchez.

At the completion of Sunday I have 354 points, averaging 59 points/week, which is just 1 point off my weekly goal for the season! With just 2 points today from Antonio for a weekly total of 67points, I jumped up to 26k in the global league and maintain the top spot in both my classic leagues. Team value has increased to 101.7.

Flashback Friday: Shoutcasting

tsnStarting in 1999 I became an avid gamer while living in Chicago with a roommate who introduced me to the PC game, Quake II. The rest, as they say is history. Never in my wildest imaginations did I think I would find so much enjoyment, meet gamers, developers and friends from all walks of line brought together because of video games, which has become a culture. In 2000 on an invite from id Software attended my first LAN event, QuakeCon as an amateur developer for Silicon Ice Development, the team behind the Quake 3 modification, Urban Terror.

Since that time and experience my online persona, Oswald or Oz, was taken in many different directions, but one thing remained constant. Video games were the central focus. Looking back years later on what I accomplished, makes me wonder what could have been. Riding a wave of success in 2000, our first meeting with Activision, on the heels of QuakeCon didn’t quite go as planned, but it could have changed my life.

Running the development team as a project coordinator and promoting the game as public relations, I met with some interesting opportunities. Trips to Boston, Colorado Springs, Irvine and Los Angeles were just some of the requests as part of an online community known as shoutcasters. As defined by Liquipedia, “a caster is a person dedicated to the broadcasting side of esports, providing commentary for games. Casters often double as hosts for tournaments, conducting interviews and player introductions among other things.” Over nearly 10 years I worked with two online stations, TsN, the Team Sportscast Network and Radio iTG or Inside the Game. Both featured some of the same personalities and brought video games to life through their knowledge and coverage.

While this was the next step, it was an unknown personality (to me) named, Blankz aka “DJ Too Pimp For You,” who interviewedme in May, 2001, while part of Silicon Ice Development that got me interested in shoutcasting. It wasn’t long after the interview that I preempted Anything Goes with my own 80’s radio show called Radio Oz. It was really nothing more than playing tunes on request from the 80’s. Very little talk or conversation but that all changed.

itgRadio Oz as it was know morphed into Urban Radio, which debuted on December 21, 2001, which featured music and information on the game Urban Terror. While not at the apex of development, the radio show was a success with the online community. The two hour show was written and produced by myself each week through 2008 and featured prominently during release cycles that brought new game files to the Urban Terror community. This took support to the next level and broadened my horizon as a shoutcaster.

On May 7, 2002 I began providing commentary and coverage for ClanBase, one of Europe’s largest and most respected gaming leagues. Coverage began with Urban Terror, which my was expertise providing Open Cup, Nations Cup and ladder based gaming. Along with CB I provided limited coverage of CAL, FMFS, OGL, STA and TWL but my first love was European coverage.

With a falling out at TsN, I followed a small group of devoted casters who built a new station, Radio iTG or Inside the Game. The format was similar, associated with specific online gaming leagues and LAN events, but the format wasn’t all games, all the time. We were able to expand and do individual shows, Just Push Play was born.

Premier League: GW5 Retrospect

GW5 didn’t start off well, as I had four games streaming on NBC, only to see my players doing nothing on the pitch, thought there would be more 2 point performances. Thankfully I got called away, which was probably a blessing in disguise, as my players seemed to turn things around. Why is it? This seems to happen to us when we don’t watch our fantasy players? In 35+ years of playing fantasy (NFL) football and now 4 years of fantasy (EPL) football, my team ALWAYS does better when I don’t watch. Regardless, after I saw the final scores and ran down the scorers I decided to fire up the Premier League see just how poorly I did. To my amazement I had scored 52 points during a week the average was 26 points. I was quite pleased with the shift my team had put in for GW5. Sunday I still had three players remaining (2 from Man U and one from Watford), which would hopefully add to my total and put me further over the weekly average and another green arrow.

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Prior to GW5 I was dead set against a transfer, but the more I read and researched, the more I wanted to offload Costa, more for his piss poor attitude on the pitch (can’t knock his talent) than his performance and replace him with Lukaku because of Everton’s upcoming fixtures. Doing so would cost me in the weeks to come, as I would not be able to get Aguero back without taking a point hit. Instead of playing for the “later” I played for the “now” and made the transfer. It didn’t look good when Costa scored in the early game on Saturday, but Lukaku did not disappoint, as I gave him the armband! A goal, an assist and 3 bonus points for 24 points set things right. The move paid off, even more so as his value increased by 0.2!

With the Aguero transfer on hold for GW6 I changed my formation for GW5, going with a 3-5-2 and giving Capoue his first start since I picked him up for GW4, when I used my WC. Defoe (7.2) found himself the third forward, out of the starting XI. This move paid off as Capoue found the back of the net for the 4th time, beating DeGea, as Watford finished off Manchester United 3-1, ending a horrid week for Jose, 0-3 in all competitions. Antonio remained a “must have” with a goal in the 61st minute, assist from Payet, who remains on my watch list for now. Sterling also remained in great form, matching KDB (received 3 bonus points) with a goal and an assist, clean sheet and 2 bonus points. Both players are in the sort of form you can’t ignore but can you afford to have both AND Aguero? City has a good run of fixtures through GW13, outside the tilt with Spurs in 2 weeks. Push me for a decision now and I say De Bruyne stays and Sterling gets sold, at least that is my plan in a few weeks to get Aguero back as my top forward.

Defensively my team, as well as many managers have been frustrating with the lack of clean sheets. Tteams and match ups you figure are a guarantee end up resulting in that 1 goal that kicks chaos into your defense. That is where my defense is about now. When I used my WC  I brought in Collins, Williams, McAuley and Van Aanholt, with Valencia as the sole survivor. Did I give up too soon on Stones and Morgan? I don’t believe I did, as Stones still hadn’t done anything to validate his position on my squad. He didn’t start in GW5 and I could not see having a 5.0 defender on the bench. The Foxes weren’t winning and while Morgan is the stalwart of that defense, I was not happy with their upcoming fixtures. While I am fine with my defense, Collins and the West Ham defense has given up 8 goals in 2 weeks, Slaven Bilic has to gthinking of a defensive change, Collins might be on the way out (for Ogbonna), there goes a starting 4.6 budget defender. Thankfully Amat is still around and 0.5 cheaper, starting and jsuust 6 points off the 15 points Collins put up through GW5. Valencia, while dynamic for Man U, isn’t getting any offensive points and has only registered 2 clean sheets. His spot on my squad, at 5.5, might be in jeopardy to a more lucrative defender from Spurs or Everton, with 0.5 ITB, I might have a few better options.

Forwards haven’t been returning as anticipated, Zlatan scored his 4th last week, but missed some very good chances to add to his tally. This week it appeared to me that 11 individuals took the pitch for the Red Devils, but they failed to play as a cohesive unit. No better example than the collision in the box between DeGea and Smalling. That defined the day for Jose. Zlatan, was not Zlatan, he was flat, his play, unimpressive. His 61.9 TSB%  tells you many managers still believe in him and it’s better to fail with him than be without when he goes off for a big return. He is still the top forward (34 points) but a case could be made to transfer him in favor of Aguero, while retaining the services of Lukaku and Defoe. Next up for the Red Devils, Leicester, who have kept but one clean sheet on the year. Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs could frustrate Zlatan owners through GW15.

If I plan to run a 3-5-2 formation, then I cannot warrant Defoe being benched at 7.2 and feel the need to free up some money to improve the team defensively. As I mentioned, Spurs and Everton have a good run of games and it might be time to offload the Man U coverage. Budget forwards under 6.4 are plentiful, but none have been scoring reguarly; Wilson, Gray, Hernandez, Llorente and Austin are all possibilities that would allow me to free up money.

As for Aguero I might run without him through GW8. After a GW6 match up versus Swansea he faces Spurs (A) and Everton (H), the two best defenses in the league. Can they slow down Pep’s offensive machine? Sure I would give up a favorable game this week (as City plays Swansea twice) but the 9.2 on Lukaku and addition of DeBruyne might be a stronger combination than moving for Aguero.

To reacquire Aguero I would need to free up 12.4, as I have 0.5 ITB. Moving Zlatan (11.7) or more likely Lukaku (9.2) would still require a second move, either Sterling (8.3) or Defoe (7.2) and a budget forward or midfielder to replace them. Lukaku and Sterling free up 18.0 (including the 0.5 ITB). Moving Lukaku and Defore totals 16.9. This puts me in a bind to bring even a budget player in at either position. Snodgrass is 5.7, which means I am short 0.6 to bring back Aguero. The same plan fails if I attempt to transfer Diomande (4.6) in as my budget forward. While my team value has increased to 101.6 the budget won’t allow me the necessary moves to bring Aguero back for GW6. Moving Zlatan and Sterling would would get me Aguero and Snodgrass, which isn’t a better combination but still leave me 0.8 short if I wanted to reacquire Zlatan when their fixtures are more favorable.

With my GW6 move already completed last night, bringing in De Bruyne in order to get the price increase I will run out Zlatan and Lukaku for a second week in a 3-5-2 formation. Defensively Collins will be benched in favor of McAuley vs Stoke City. Valencia’s start is still questionable with van Aanholt and Collins as my remaining options.

Premier League: GW4 Retrospect Update

The scoreline will reflect a 3-0 victory for Everton over Sunderland with 3 goals in the span of 11 minutes for Lukaku. For me, starting and captaining Defoe, it was a risk that didn’t pay off. However he got me 4 points as a captain, which is 3 more points than I would of had with Hazard. How’s that for a positive spin on a bad situation?

The thought, although a fleeting one was to find that difference maker at captain, Lukaku was a great example of this in GW4. However with just 3 points through 3 weeks, I could not justify introducing him to my starting XI, especially over Costa and how well he had been playing. I was hoping for a goal from Defoe, but the chance never materialized and I missed out on by goal of 70 points, finishing GW4 with 56 points, which was still 17 points above the average.

Another green arrow and I am now in the top 135k with a value of 101.2! Currently first place in both the mini leagues I am, but well down the rankings in the Fantasy Football First league (363) and the Fantasy Football Geek (1269). Based off last year, this is a much improved start to the season.

With my WC already played, it’s time to figure my plan to reintroduce Aguero to the squad when his suspension is over. Reading some articles, one manager decided Aguero isn’t needed, captaining the likes of Ibra and Hazard over the course of the season, while spending elsewhere that 13.0 you would tie up in Aguero. The logic, while sound is something I won’t consider for my team. As long as Aguero remains healthy he is a “must start” and his ownership (like that of Ibra) reflect it.

The original plan to return Aguero to the lineup seems to have gone awry. The original plan was to drop Costa and Defoe for Aguero and Diamonde but I am now coming up 0.3 short, which means I might have to keep Defoe an additional week and drop Sterling to free up enough money. Shipping Sterling doesn’t bother me but could result in a -4 hit if I can’t find an acceptable plan before Aguero’s return. A bit surprise not to see Aguero’s price drop by 0.1 or 0.2. It might still happen, which would be helpful.

Premier League: GW4 Retrospect

With the international break, managers and players alike had an extra week to rest, relax before making their next moves for GW4. My intention before I found out Aguero would face a suspension due to an elbow to Reid in GW3 was to use exchange my WC for unlimited transfers for GW4. Much like last year, when Aguero returned from international duty injured I was forced to WC sooner than I liked. I am off to the best start in the 4 years I’ve been playing fantasy football with my weekly goal being to score 60 points a gameweek, which breaks down to just 5.45 points per player, 2 of which you get if you start and play a majority of the game. As I’ve mentioned in earlier articles scoring 60 points a week would result in 2280, which would put you in the top of the top out of some 3.8 million managers. Not too shabby. Heading into Monday as Everton visits the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland I am sitting with just 46 points, 14 off my goal but 10 points better than the weekly average. Does that tell you just how bad the weekend was for many? Fortunately I have Defoe (captained) and Williams playing.

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It was a very busy WC week, as I waited until Friday before I confirmed my use of the WC, missing out on a few player price increases earlier in the week. Money that could be well spent as I team is a bit behind at just 100.6. At this point I had hoped to surpassed 101.0 to allow some more player movement, but I am pleased with the current progress. Out of 15 players on my squad I transferred 11 out retaining only Foster and Zlatan in the starting XI.

I retooled my defense, opting to sit Valencia in GW4 due to the Manchester Derby, appeared to be a valid move until I saw results from the rest of my defenders. Starting defenders included McAuley, Collins and Williams. Foster and McAuley lost their clean sheet late in the 79th minute. I think the Hammers are still wondering what the hell got into Watford, giving up 4 goals after going up 2-0 in the 33rd minute only to walk off the pitch at halftime at 2-2. A combined 5 points with Williams going today.

The basis for the WC move was the lack of production from my midfield, at a time when my defenders were putting up clean sheets and forwards were scoring, my overall points were taking a hit with many low, single digit returns. Mahrez, Tadic, Barkley (owned just 1 week), Ramirez and Fletcher all saw the door. There was some thought in keeping Mahrez based on the GW5 match up with Burnley, but a nasty run upcoming sealed his fate.

I made a valiant attempt to secure the services of Sanchez in my starting XI along side Hazard, Sterling, Antonio but my budget wouldn’t allow the 11.0 midfielder. After reading Arsene might sit him, I moved in another direction and brought in Cazorla instead. A move that paid off, as he found the back of the net from the spot to beat Southampton. The final piece of puzzle was the red hot Capoue, who continued an amazing start finding the back of the net recording 13 points! I had not planned on starting him because of my 3-4-3 formation.

Hazard and Sterling disappointed in their matches, especially for those managers who overwhelmingly supported Hazard with the captain’s armband and a total of 2 points. Sterling equaled Hazard with a single point, being pulled after 59 minutes. Two players in very good form who came back to bite many mangers in GW3. Cazorla and Antonio on the other hand excelled! Antonio on the back of two goals and a bonus point scored 13, while Cazorla rescued the Gunners and his performance taking all 3 bonus points for a total of 9, second week in a row!

Up front many scrambled to find a valid replacement for Aguero. I made the decision to replace him, but wanted to figure out how I was going to Aguero back in my starting XI before transferring him out and burning all the additional money I suddenly had. After reading articles on some of my preferred fantasy sites and comments in different thread I decided to bring in Costa and Defoe in the interim to replace the missing Argentine.

Costa worried me, already on 2 yellows in the first 3 games, the likelihood for another yellow was possible, but in the end it didn’t discourage me from starting him. At 9.7 it was a solid decision, 2 goals and 3 bonus points, picking up 12 points and his third yellow on the season. He is just a fill in and regardless of what he does won’t have a starting position when Kun returns to the City line up. I understand a player like Costa is someone you want on your team and not going against your team. He’s a talent on the pitch, but I don’t like how he plays the game, the dives, the calls, the “hotheadedness” he brings turns a fantastic player into a schmuck at times.

With the money I had remaining, I decided to take a chance on Defoe for Sunderland, the man who continues to get it done for the Black Cats up front with 2 goals on the season. With 2 goals vs Everton in his last three meetings, I just have a gut feeling the 33 year old will get it done and bring home a goal or two. Defoe is also wearing the captain’s armband, so I could feast on points or come up very short. One thing I do know, he can’t do any worse than what Hazard returned with nothing to lose today I am pushing to get to 70 points on the week.

Update on Tuesday!