Premier League: GW6 Draft Retrospect

It was the best week on record this season for my draft squad, overall points of 59, which pushed me up the table to second place. It could take some time, as I now sit 31 points behind the leader, but we have much football to play.

The return of Coutinho to my squad has been welcomed, with 5 weeks of no returns, he got on the board with 13 points. Dele Alli returned 2 assists after going scoreless the past 3 games. New boy, Matt Ritchie was quiet and didn’t return. It was Pedro, on my bench who struck for 8 points, which could potentially push him up the ladder to start in GW7 against City.

Up front, Kun Aguero got it done with a goal and assist for 11 points. Joselu, who’s got great underlying stats, still couldn’t finish. An injury to Benteke will have been scrounging the wire for a #3 forward. My 5-2-3 is in jeopardy with injuries an lack of consistency up front.

Defensively it was Azpilicueta and Stone providing 20 points. “Dave” returned 2 assists for Chelsea, while Stones picked up a CS. Unfortunately, Mendy left after 26 minutes with a knee injury, his stats is unknown. After back to back returns, Lascelles and Newcastle was quiet.

Mendy is the main concern and I’ve already gone to the wire to replace him. I am aiming for Wesley Hoedt at So’ton, as the Saints still have some solid fixtures through GW11. Lascelles might be shortlisted as they face Liverpool, which means I would look towards Mustafi, with hosting Brighton this weekend.

Premier League: GW6 Starting XI

It’s Friday morning in the U.S. and as of now, my fantasy lineup continues unchanged, as I have not used my FT for the upcoming game week. This after 534k managers have opted to bring Kun Aguero in bless him with the captain’s armband after a hat trick against Watford last week. Honestly, it’s been a fleeting thought to follow the herd, but I am against turning on Kane. Sure, he has returned in only 1 of the first 5 game weeks, but the underlying numbers are just to strong. So for now, I will continue to keep him in my starting XI and most likely give him the armband…again!

TRADITIONAL FPL STARTING XI

Continuing up front, with Kane a mainstay in my attack, the forward line is unchanged, with Firmino and Jesus rounding out my front three. The option for the FT, which I have been considering is bringing in Jamie Vardy for Robert Firmino. Missing Sadio Mane, as meant that Firmino was playing out wide and at times deeper to help create. Liverpool face Leicester this weekend and Vardy was a “super sub” for me last in, when Lukaku was failing to score on the road.

This week it could be Super Jamie to the rescue again, as he has posted some good numbers against Liverpool the past few seasons. Since 2016, in three games against ‘Pool Vardy has netted 5 times! Indications are strong he could continue this trend, as 4 of 5 goals were home fixtures. If his services are required, he would earn the captain’s armband without hesitation. Kane has continued to be a frustrating selection. At 10.8 % TSB, Vardy could be considered a differential to forwards that include Kane, Lukaku and Aguero.

The midfielder continue to feature Christian Eriksen and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Eriksen tasted his second no return weekend, last week, as Swansea frustrated Spurs, but he’s still the midfielder in form when compared to Alli. With Paul Pogba still sidelined due to injury, Mkhitaryan should feature as the attacking midfielder. He posted 9 points last week on 1 goal/1 assist. Against So’ton, I expect Man United to score early, then sit back and put the Saints away late, which has been a reoccurring theme this season.

After last weekend’s wild card activation, I look to build on a strong #5mandefence built around Alonso, Kolasinac and Davies. Many mangers lost out on Davies last week after his 14 point haul in GW4, as he failed to play last weekend. Against West Ham, he could see returns from both ends of the pitch. Speaking of West Ham, I was glad to welcome back Aaron Cresswell to the fold, as he was mainstay in my defense in 2015/2016 and 2014/2015. Tough fixture against Spurs, so something will have to give. Finally, the only hold over not to be given the axe, Phil Jones. United should have no problem defensively against So’ton, who can’t seem to muster a goal.

Between the pipes, I lost points last week after bring Lukasz Fabianski in, but no one could have predicted him to outperform Rob Elliot or Ben Foster, who I dropped. This week I turn to the Swansea stopper again, home to Watford.

FPL DRAFT STARTING XI

Unlike the traditional team, the draft team has continually undergone change since GW1, averaging 4 transactions a week! This week I look to maintain a similar strategy, running a 5-3-2 formation out, with 4 City players in the starting XI. For the week I brought in Matt Ritchie and John Stones to strengthen the 15-man squad.

Defensively, I could be set up for 5 clean sheets between Azpilicueta, Alderweireld, Lascelles and the City duo of Stones and Mendy. How these guys were still available was beyond me. Ederson gets the call in goal over Fabianski, which means I could be out a few bonus or save points, but City has the better chance at a CS.

Starting in the midfield, Alli and Coutinho, along with new boy Ritchie. Newcastle faces Brighton and Ritchie has been a hot commodity the past few weeks, so his prospects look promising. Pedro and Jese fill the bench.

Up front, I lucked out with Aguero, captializing on his big points hail last week. This week Joselu is introducded in favor of Hernandez. Much like Kane, Joslu tops that “goal imminent” table. hopefully this is the week he adds to his tally.

The 15-man squad is coming together nicely, but need a big haul in order to climb the table in front of me. While I don’t want to look ahead too far, I am already planning moves for next week.

Premier League GW5 Draft Retrospect

While I was unavailable all weekend, it appeared my starting XI were off to a great start on Saturday behind the foot of Sergio Aguero who fired home 3 goals against Watford. However “it got complicated” on Sunday and while I had a fair score, when compared to the other 7 teams in my league, I struggled to gain any ground on those above me. Prior to the start of GW5 I made 6 moves bringing in new talent in hopes of trying to gain an advantage to close the gap on the top three teams.

Gameweek 5 wasn’t too kind, as I introduce 6 new players to my 15-man squad, 5 of which were inserted to the starting XI. The only exceptiong being Fabianski, because of his match up away to Spurs. Little did any fantasy manager know he would shutout Spurs and gain 11 points on the day! It was my hope that bringing new players in would put me in a better situation it chip away at the leaders this week. In fact, I did gain all the three managers above me in the standing, which sees me 41 points behind the top spot.

On the day, nearly half my points came from Kun Aguero, scoring 20 points on his 3 goals/1 assist game. Unfortunately, his new strike partners failed to return, as I brought in Christian Benteke and Joselu. The Benteke move was more to prevent another manager from picking him up, while Joselu, like Kane had some great underlying stats.

In the midfielder, Philippe Coutinho made his first start on the season, lasting 78 minutes but not returning. From what I heard, his position was a bit deeper than where we saw him last season. He partnered with Dele Alli, who gained one addition point because of the clean sheet against Swans. Jese and Mooy, on the bench were both ineffective on the weekend. Pedro left at halftime, as he picked up knock, scoring just a single points. Change could be necessary in the upcoming week.

Much like my traditional FPL team I have leaned towards a #5mandefence for much of the season. This week I brought in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Charlie Daniels and Ben Mendy, all as starters. TAA was a punt against Burnley, but was left with no return as the game finished 1-1. Daniels was brought in for Yoshida (8 points in GW5) against Brighton looked promising, but the attacking defender was left with no return, leaving me in a -6 deficit. Hegazi out for Mendy in was a wash, as both finished with clean sheets (6 points). Elliot started the week between the sticks and even with a save bonus, he scored just 3 points.

Overall I have scored 202 points, with 57 for the current game week. As noted I did gain points on all the managers above me, but still have some transactions forthcoming in order to strengthen my team. As of today I have put in two waiver claims.  The first claim is to move TAA in favor of John Stones, doubling up on Man City defenders. Ritchie is still on the free agency list and has 4 assists in the last 3 games and and Brighton in GW6. If no other manager claims him, I will bring in and move Mooy out. Pascal Groß is currently the highest (32 points) midfielder on the free agency list.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE: GW5 STARTING XI

Gameweek 5 is on the horizon and I have just activated my wild card. Offensively, my starting XI is strong with the likes of Eriksen and Mkhitaryan in the midfield and the “triple threat” up front with Kane, Jesus and Firmino. Defensively it’s been a change since the decision was made to start the season with a #5mandefence in a 5-2-3 formation. Through 4 weeks it’s been a good start, now to figure out how this damn captaincy thing works.

There were also some big changes made to the draft squad this week, attempting to capitalize on good underlying statistics and players who were yet to be picked up off the waiver wire or free agency. Mendy, really still available?

TRADITIONAL FPL STARTING XI

With the wild card activated I overhauled my 5 man defense. The big changes were dropping all 3 So’ton and 2 Man United defenders, opting to go with prominent wing backs in order to maximize my attack. My defense is now led my Marcos Alonso, who suddenly anchors the back five. However, it’s been the play of Ben Davies that has seen him rise in price as manager scrabble to bring him into their squads.

Elsewhere in my defense, I was planning on Sead Kolasinac, but with a tough fixture against Chelsea this week, I decided to bring Ben Mendy into my sqaud instead. At £0.5m more, I somewhat limited myself. After the addition of Aaron Cresswell, it was a punt on Liverpool youngster, Trent Alexander-Arnold at £4.5m.  I am hoping to get 2 games out of TAA before I turn for Harry Maguire at £5.0 to replace him. Longer term plans have Kolasinac slotting in.

The midfield and forward line remain unchanged. With Paul Pogba now injured, it’s up to Henrikh Mkhitaryan to run the Red Devil’s offense. Hopefully he can capitalize on a misguided Everton defense that hasn’t looked all that impressive through 4 weeks. Eriksen’s up against Swansea City at Wembley. No concerns with these two. One change that won’t effect my starters, I dropped Jack Colback in favor of Jack Cork, possibly with a £0.1m rise in his future.

Up front, I am very happy to see all this Twitter and pod talk about going big up front, which I have done since GW1. My triple threat features Harry Kane, Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus. To think where I would be if I had gone with the majority and started Lukaku in place of Kane, known for his August hoodoo voodoo. Moving forward I think these three starters and don’t have much interest in bringing in Lukaku or Morata at this time.

I have gone with my head this week, not talking myself into Firmino again and have captained Harry Kane this week against Swansea. We will see how this starting XI pay off. I am expecting big returns from the defense. Hopefully the activation of the wild card will pay dividends.

FPL DRAFT STARTING XI

The draft team replace status quo last weekend in the 4th spot, but it was a poor week and needed some freshening up. I put in 6 waiver claims and was rewarded with 6 new players, of which 5 will feature in the starting XI this weekend.

Up front I had seen enough of Wayne Rooney and opted to bring in Christian Benteke. This move on the heels of Palace bringing in Roy Hodgson, hopefully it kick starts their offense. To partner with him up front, I added Joselu of Newcastle. His underlying stats, while probably unsustainable are strong and home to Stoke City could give him prime chance to pick up some good points. Aguero was pulled at the hour mark in their Thursday ECL match, so he could feature away to Watford this weekend. Might be a bit tougher than anticipated, as Marco Silva has the Hornets playing some good defense at home.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the red card to Sadio Mane last weekend will give Philippe Coutinho his first start of the season. Drafted #2 overall, I have been struggling in the midfield, but now he’s got a chance to shine home to Burnley. He is partnered with Dele Alli home to Swansea this weekend.

Defensively Azpilicueta and Alderweireld are the only starters to retain their positions, yet last week Toby didn’t feature in my starting XI, but reappears for the GW5 match home to Swansea. Charlie Daniels reappears since his first departure after GW2. Bournemouth still not fairing well, but Daniels is attack minded and the Cherries are home to Brighton. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Mendy both make their debut in the starting XI and both have favorable fixtures, home to Burnley and away to Watford respectively. Alexander-Arnold might not be a full time starter and if he doesn’t start I have Pedro lined up to replace him. This would mean I will be looking for another defender, possibly in the direction of Newcastle.

Hopefully these major changes in both fantasy squads pay off this weekend. I like the make up and feel of them, but would much rather all the luck in this word to put together a smashing weekend. Best of luck to all fantasy managers!

Premier League: GW4 Draft Retrospect

The FPL Draft game just isn’t doing it for me. Chalk it up to 37 years playing fantasy (NFL) football, but I find this version of the game boring. No other way to explain it. After 4 weeks I am 4th in my league on 145 points overall. For GW4 is was a score of just 30 points, which meant I didn’t lose my current ranking, but 5th place is creeping close, now just 6 points back.

Prior to the start of the weekend games, I made two waiver moves in order to better my starting XI. In hindsight, the moves only accounted for 3 points. With Britos on a red card, I picked up Phil Jones. Unfortunately United couldn’t keep a CS and drew with Stoke City, 2-2. The other move was dropping Dusan Tadic in favor of Aaron Mooy, who didn’t return away to West Ham.

Defensively I was led by “Dave” aka Azpilicueta, backed by his second assist scored 7 points to lead all defensive players. Hegazi, Jones and Lössl accounted for an additional 2 points. Needless to say, Hegazi is now on a short list to move out. Why I didn’t play Alderweireld against Everton, I am not quite sure.

Still holding onto Coutinho, who should see his first EPL start in GW5. Midfield is where I am struggling, as it’s been a rotation of players through to find someone who may hit, based on fixtures. Jesé, Pedro and the aforementioned Mooy accounted for 6 points, with none of them returning. Alli gets a small bump as Spurs kept a clean sheet. Of the 5 midfielders, he is the one I expect to perform on a regular basis.

Up front, it’s been a challenge with Agüero, Hernandez and Rooney. A pair of goals for the later two, but they haven’t done anything lately. Currently, I am on the verge of moving Rooney, but Everton does trail to Old Trafford, as Wayne faces his old team. Revenge factor? Hernandez hasn’t looked good, then again neither have the Hammers. But who in the free agency pool is better? Not much, but I’ve been considering a move.

That leaves Kun Agüero to pull his weight, scoring 9 points on the back of a goal and assist. However those are his first points since GW1. It also appears Pep favors Jesus as well. I still expect good numbers from Kun the rest of the season, so he will remain a starter.

For the week I have already submitted 5 waiver claims in order to strengthen my team and potentially take a shot at 3rd place this weekend.

City is coming into form with some good fixtures. While I don’t expect much defensively from Pep’s boys, I will be looking for offensive returns from Mendy. Daniels would make his second appearance in my squad, as I had him from through GW3, opting for Britos that week. Mooy or Groß? Call this a knee jerk reaction to his 18 point haul in GW4. Brighton does have some favorable games. Ederson’s injury is a concern, but it will be Lössl making way (the graphic isn’t correct).