Friday, August 11, 2017

Week 1: IEFSA Fantasy League 2017/18 Preview


Is it just me, or did that summer break seem to pass by in the blink of an eye? Barely have I had time to celebrate finishing fifth in the IEFSA league when Gameweek 1 rolls around and I’ve to cobble together a team to face @nikarg. It seems I’m not the only one who the new season has snuck up on. Spurs have sold four players and loaned out another four, but as of yet haven’t replaced any of them with a game against Newcastle looming. The Toon manager Rafa Benitez for his part has been complaining about his side’s lack of summer signings (they have only brought in seven players). Perhaps the summer break isn’t long enough and the Premier League should copy what happens in Germany, Italy and Spain, where everyone gets an extra week of down time in in order to entice Phillipe Coutinho into a transfer request? Or they could do what they do in Andorra, where the league doesn’t bother to start until the middle of September. That would have given me plenty of time to get an unbeatable squad together.

To see my thoughts on the IEFSA Fantrax draft from earlier in the month, please scroll down and read the previous post.

This season there has been a shake-up to the league. Instead of all 20 teams playing each other. The league has been split into two divisions of ten teams, with promotion and relegation at the end of the year. There will also be a Fantasy Cup which will happen during gameweeks that have midweek fixtures. Thankfully I’ve earned a bye in the cup until the second round. It should be a very interesting season.

@nikarg’s Team


Nik has a team which shouldn’t be short of goals. He splashed out $75 for the services of West Ham’s Chicharito to compliment the attacking threat of Bournmouth’s Jermain Defoe. In Midfield he can call on the talents of Christian Eriksen, who scored eight goals last season. @nikarg will be looking for Riyad Mahrez to rediscover the form he showed in Leicester’s title winning season, where he scored 17 goals. Elsewhere in Midfield he has Jesse Lingard of Man Utd, and Andros Townsend of Crystal Palace. Both players are capable of hitting the back of the net when given the chance.
If Huddersfield can score, Hennessey has problems.
Between the sticks he will have the Palace goalkeeper. Probably Wayne Hennessey for this weekend’s clash with newly promoted Huddersfield. The Terriers were the lowest scorers of the top eight teams in the Championship last season. They are actually the lowest scorers to gain promotion since Birmingham City in 2009. With all this in mind, it looks like Palace have one of the better chances of keeping a clean sheet on Saturday. In Defence, With McAuley out injured, Nik will have to start the trio of Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City, Rob Holding, Arsenal, and Leighton Baines, Everton.

What I Need To Happen


If I can’t score more goals than @nikarg, my players are going to have to out-work his to give me any chance of winning this match-up. Thankfully I have retained the services of the biggest workhorse in world football, Joe Allen. Helping the Welshman in Midfield will be this seasons star signing, the most expensive player in my squad, Tom Ince of Huddersfield. Another new signing in Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle will join an old face in Palace’s Luka Milivojevic. Up front I will have to choose between Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle or Swansea’s Tammy Abraham. Neither player is assured of a starting spot for their respective teams, so I will have to keep an eye on the matchday squads.
New Premier League  season excitement encapsulated in one picture

In goals this year will be Tom Heaton again. The Burnley stopper unfortunately has to travel to the champions Chelsea for the opening game of the season on Saturday. At the back, and hopefully pulling in a clean sheet or two, are Steve Cook of Bournemouth (a holdover from last year), Victor Lindelof of Man Utd (a new $34 signing), Michael Keane now of Everton (another survivor from last year’s squad), and Jose Fonte of West Ham (central defender who cost $15). Lindelof and Cook and not assured of starts, but Keane and Fonte should get 90 minutes. It would be great if three of those four could find their way onto the field this weekend.

Predictions


With so many changes after the draft it’s going to be difficult to call all this weekend’s games. I haven’t even figured out how the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer is clandestinely sabotaging my team yet! To keep track of all the action this season please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone.

@nealjthurman over @jforquer11

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

2017 IEFSA Fantrax Draft Recap

Two weeks ago saw the  IEFSA Fantrax draft happen in Las Vegas (and China, and Greenland, and Antarctica. It was online). Now that the dust has settled and managers get a sober view of their picks, let’s take a look at all the big moves, and some of the little ones. First up, let me explain the reasoning behind the four players I decided to keep in my roster from the previous season.

Tom Heaton was retained in goals. I didn’t want to pay much money for a goalkeeper after spending far too much to get Courtois two seasons ago and enduring a year where the Belgian only managed five clean sheets, sandwiched in between seasons of 12 and 16 clean sheets. It`s just as good to keep a competent No.1 who is kept busy, than a keeper from a top club where you become very clean sheet dependent. If you can get a keeper for $1, and stay out of a scramble for the scraps to complete a roster during the draft, all the better.
Can Keane handle Joe Allen on the opening day of the season?

Steve Cook of Bournemouth, $1, and Michael Keane now of Everton, $3, were both kept. These are two defenders who averaged over 13 points a game and who should be regular starters for their clubs. It`s vitally important to get a full roster playing every week and I didn’t want to take any chances with my salary cap on defensive players.

The final player I kept was Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic for only $1. He averaged a solid 13.5 points a game when he arrived in the Premier League in January and even chipped in with a few goals. I kept Milivojevic over last season`s player of the year Joe Allen purely because he was costing me less cap money. Allen was $4. But then…. during the draft I brought Allen back into the squad for $10 in some sort of Pogba-esque divine reclamation.
 
I would have paid double, nay triple, what he cost #bargain
For the draft itself I had my eye on a few players. Mostly new signings to the league as managers had kept a hold of their best assets. I also didn’t want to overpay for any players and had set myself a limit of around $50 because the big signings of the last few years for my side were not runaway successes. Paying over $50 for a player wouldn`t give you a huge advantage over a player you could pick up for $1 in my eyes. Only a handful of players, the Aguero`s, Hazard`s and Sanchez`s of the league are worth a big outlay in salary cap.

I would also bid up any players that I had last season. If I picked them up cheaper, then it was all good, as I had a pretty solid season last year. I was just making sure no one underpaid for them. Mkhitaryan went for $82, which was $11 up from last year, and I wasn`t too broken up to see him go.
The one that got away....

My first selection in the draft was a Forward, but I didn’t end up getting him as my phone had some early teething problems making bids. I was always frustrated last year getting a consistent goal scorer, or even a forward who would get consistent game time. I still wanted a way into an improving Man Utd side, Mkhitaryan I was happy to let go, Lukaku was held by @RotoZdroik for $30, while Pogba (last year’s biggest signing) was kept by @RotoWireAndrew for $125. With this in mind I really wanted to sign Marcus Rashford, but thanks to my fat thumbs, (ProTip: don’t draft on your phone) @jasonuk17 picked him up for a bargain $23. I would have happily bid up to $50 for him. When this happened I felt I had to chase a Forward because most of the goal scorers will be gone. As a result of this I ended up paying $37 for Dwight Gayle. Gayle was the top scorer for promoted Newcastle last season. As a backup, I took a chance of $19 on Swansea loanee Tammy Abraham. These are my only two forwards as you can only play two on any gameweek, but you must have one. It`s a waste of space holding too many forwards, so I hope at least one of these guys works out so I don’t have to go looking on the waiver wire in search of goals.

Gayle was not my most expensive player though, as I went for another newly promoted player in Tom Ince at $40. The Huddersfield midfielder has scored 25 goals in the Championship over the last two seasons (playing for Derby County) and I’m hoping he will have improved from his previous spells in the Premier League, which were with Hull and Palace.

My next big signing was $34 for Man Utd`s new defender Victor Lindelof. As I already mentioned, I believe Man Utd will improve this year. I also think Jose Mourinho is closing in on his preferred backline and perhaps Lindelof is the final piece. If the Swede does find himself in and out of the Utd side, I picked up Jose Fonte for $15 to fill in, providing that he cements his place at his new club West Ham.

My last big signing was in midfield where I paid $31 for Jonjo Shelvey. He proved he can score at this level when he played for Swansea, and as a vital cog in the Newcastle Utd team I know he will want to be on the ball a lot. To fill out my squad I have a number of $1 signings. Marcos Rojo is currently injured, but if he can fight his way back into the Man Utd lineup he could be a valuable addition. And lastly Gareth Barry at Everton; he is the player most at risk of being cast aside if I need to shake things up after gameweek one. Barry did start 23 games last season, but I expect this to be reduced with all the new signings that Ronald Koeman has made in the summer.

This season the IEFSA league has been split into two divisions of ten teams each. There will be promotion and relegation and of course a cup competition during the season. I find myself in the Primary League battling for the title. I`ll be honest though, I`ll be looking to avoid relegation. Looking through the squads, the side I assembled is the only one that features no players from teams who finished in the Top-5 last season. Every other team has at least three; @TRKingston could play a whole outfield of Top-5 team players! I`ve pretty much a shoestring side on a small budget, but I have kept a sizable salary in case a big new signing enters the Premier League before the end of August, or failing that, during January.

The draft did see some managers’ splash the cash like never before (must be the TV money). Eden Hazard went for $102. Lacazette for $113. Salah was snapped up for $116. But the biggest deal, and now the most expensive player in IEFSA is Alvaro Morata. The Chelsea new boy cost @SportsByGotti $126.
$126 doesn't mean he can take a penalty

The new season gets underway on Friday the 11th of August when Arsenal hosts Leicester. So remember to get your fantasy teams sorted before then.


@IEFSA preview coming later in the week. Good luck everyone.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week 38: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

My team is entering into the final game of the season on the back of a loss after they were unable to overcome the Phillipe Coutinho inspired @TomSunderland_. Tom posted the highest total of the week thanks to Coutinho earning a crazy 54.95 points from two goals and an assist away at West Ham. The 120 points my team posted would have been enough to beat 12 other sides in Gameweek 37, including this week’s opponents @EPL_MOstradamus.
An actual bubble making machine couldn't have done any worse than the West Ham defence last weekend

Chris and I will be in a straight winner takes all game for a fourth-place finish. Looking around the league, apart from winner @RotoZdroik and the two sides at the bottom, every other team can move up or down depending on their result. My squad currently hold the advantage over @EPL_MOstradamus because of Fantasy Points For (FPtsF) over the season, so if I can just avoid defeat, I can get my hands on the fourth-place trophy that everyone wants to win. Chris though will be out for revenge after I beat his side in Gameweek 19.

@EPL_MOstradamus’s Team


Minding the net for Chris is Watford stopper Heurelho Gomes. The Hornets have failed to keep a clean sheet since April 15th. That was a month in which Gomes kept three clean sheets in four games, but May has not been as kind to the keeper and Watford have slumped to five defeats in a row. They face a Manchester City side seemingly intent on finishing the season on a high. City have scored ten goals in their last three games and will be looking for a win so as to cement a Champions League place. On the flipside @EPL_MOstradamus does have Aleksandar Kolarov in his Defence, so will perhaps be looking for a nice boring nil nil draw. If there must be a goal, perhaps Chris will hope it comes from an unlikely source in midfielder Abdoulaye Daucoure of Watford. That’s if Daucoure can break into his starting Midfield.
Roberto Firmino could be @EPL_MOstradamus' Ace card this week

Lots of firepower going forward has helped @EPL_MOstradamus to 23 wins in IEFSA this season. In Midfield he can call on Lanzini of West Ham, Puncheon of Crystal Palace, and Heung-Min Son of Spurs. These three players have 20 goals between them. What’s surprising about that is Jason Puncheon has precisely none of those goals (he does have five assists). Puncheon has not gone a full season without a goal since his days at QPR and he did score on the final day of last season, so could be due a goal against a ‘depleted’ Man Utd side this weekend. Up front he has Puncheon’s Palace teammate Christian Benteke. The Belgian is Chris’s top scorer with 15 goals, but if he does find himself frustrated at Old Trafford on Sunday, he will probably get more joy from Roberto Firmino at Liverpool. The Brazilian faces a Middlesbrough side that were pretty much relegated the day they fell into the bottom three, and who have conceded eleven goals in their last three away games.

What I Need To Happen


Joe Allen had a bad day at the office last weekend against Arsenal. Stoke lost 4-1 and he contributed a paltry 5.7 fantasy points. He has gotten my side out of a number of scrapes this year, and I will be calling on the Welsh wizard once more to deliver away to Southampton. Unfortunately, his, and Stoke’s end of season form has been atrocious. They have only won one game in their last ten and Joe Allen didn’t even play in that game! To cap it off Marko Arnautovic went off with an arm injury in the Arsenal game and is a doubt for this Sunday.
Women want him. Men want to be him. Fantasy Managers  want to *******

Looking across my back-line; Kevin Long might have just started two games this season and conceded four goals, but that’s good enough for a call up to the Irish squad this summer. I’m hoping this recent good news will spark a flurry of fantasy points from Long, as it seems he will once again be playing in the place of the injured Michael Keane. Another of my defenders has a tricky away tie against outgoing Champs Leicester City. Steve Cook of Bournemouth has been solid all season and he averages 14 points per game. My final defensive spot will be a toss-up between Leighton Baines and Hector Bellerin. Arsenal play Everton at home, so if Bellerin starts, he may just get to nod.
Fabio Borini Hattrick 

Goals are the key to winning games, but I just can’t see where they will come from this week. Both Manchester United and Chelsea have bigger games to think of, so will perhaps not risk playing Mkhitaryan and Pedro. As I mentioned Arnautovic is an injury concern, but Stoke seem to have gone on their holidays already this season anyway. Fabio Borini is due a goal. Could he spring a hattrick to ruin Chelsea’s day and put himself in the shop window to be snapped up by one of the Champions League playing clubs? "Borini to Monaco" You heard it here first! Probably the best chance of a goal will be from the player who scored from the penalty spot last weekend. Milivojevic of Crystal Palace has two goals for the season and if , or when, Palace are gifted a penalty at Old Trafford by an error from one of the U-14 Youth team players Jose Mourinho has been forced to start because of the bias of the Premier League IEFSA Fantrax Fixture Computer (PLIFFC for short), then the Serbian is just the man to take it.

Predictions


Big improvement in predictions last weekend with seven correct from nine. It should be easier to call winners in games this weekend as all the Premier League games kick off at the same time. This means managers will have very little room for blame if they end up with someone who doesn’t play any minutes in their starting roster. The problem will be putting together your strongest starting team. Now, while everyone is not as spoilt as me in choosing between Borini or Arnautovic for the Forward slot, some tough decisions will still have to be made. To follow all the action please point your internet finding…. thing (there must be a better word?) to @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

It’s been an exciting, if occasionally skewed against my team, season. Here are the final gameweek predictions.

Good Luck Everybody


Friday, May 12, 2017

Week 37: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A 20-point haul from 'Player of the Year' Joe Allen was enough to help my side to victory over @nikarg. That win means I am guaranteed a top five finish. With @RotoZdroik having wrapped up the title with a few weeks to spare, the next four teams are separated by only three points, with @TRKingston being the man in form after winning nine games in a row. That is a ridiculously good run, when you see that the second-best run in the league is only four wins, by my side of all teams!
Bournemouth players all crowd around Joe Allen asking to swap shirts

This week the IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer throws my side up against @TomSunderland_. Tom would have beaten my side in the last gameweek as he posted one of the highest scores in the league thanks to a Kasper Schmeichel clean sheet and a Marcos Alonso goal. @TomSunderland_ might not be able to rise out of the bottom half of the table with two games to go, but he will be out for revenge after he lost to my side in Gameweek 18.

@TomSunderland_’s Team


Alonso of Chelsea in defence has been averaging over 16 points a game for Tom this season. Chelsea have a favourable fixture against West Brom this Friday and he should get close to that average again, and he might even add to his six goals and three assists this year. Alonso is only Tom’s second highest averaging player though. In Midfield Philippe Coutinho averages just shy of 20 points per game. The Liverpool player travels to West Ham on Sunday, as the Reds try to cement a top four finish. Coutinho has 10 goals and six assists in 29 games so far in 2016/17.
Jermain Defoe checks the year on the clock as he scores against Hull

Elsewhere on @TomSunderland_’s team you have some solid performers. In Defence, Hull’s Ranocchia and Stoke’s Bruno Martins Indi get double points every week and should be fancied to do so again this week. Patrick van Aanholt of Crystal Palace will face Hull on Sunday, and a nervy relegation battle could conceivably end up scoreless, earning him lots of points. Tom’s top scorer is Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe. He has 15 goals this season and even managed to score last week. Which was a surprise to Tom, who had left him on the bench.

What I Need To Happen


Not many goals around last weekend as sides are winding down the season, or are trying to avoid defeat in an effort to scrape 40 points and probable survival. Tom has lots of good defenders, so an improbable goal-fest would surely only help my team. Gameweek 36 saw a last minute change in my Defence as I was forced to bring in Kevin Long who played for the injured Michael Keane. Keane may return for Burnley’s game  against Bournemouth though, so Long will be sent back to Free Agency, despite a commendable 12.6 points scored last week.
Kevin Long (28) queues up to play Rock, Paper, Scissors against West Brom

Superstar Joe Allen gets to roam the midfield against Arsenal this week. But as always, it’s goals that win games in IEFSA. With that in mind, I will look to my top scoring players to perform. This could be a struggle though as both my Stoke City players are some of my top scorers and will have to crack an Arsenal defence who have kept two clean sheets in a row. Joe Allen and Marko Arnautovic have six goals each. My top scorer is Chelsea’s Pedro. He is probably a rotation risk as Chelsea have three games remaining, but only need one win to secure the title. Henrik Mkhitaryan has four goals this year, but is an even bigger rotation risk with Manchester United throwing all their eggs in the Europa League basket. United also have a tricky fixture away to Spurs, who have the best defence in the league.

Predictions


A horrible week for predictions last week as only three ties were correct. Lots of upsets at this stage in the season. Who would have though Sunderland would win? Who though @RotoZdroik would lose! Lots of interesting ties this week, so make sure you are following @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep tabs on all the action. Here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Week 36: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A touch of drama last gameweek as the ever eventful IEFSA/Fantrax points compiler decided to reset most teams’ rosters on Sunday. For some sides this was probably an improvement! But after all the dust had settled, come Monday night my side had earned the victory. But because of other results I am still left in fifth position battling it out for a top four spot. Another significant result saw @RotoZdroik take home the title after a Sigurdsson freekick and a Jakupovic penalty save was enough to win a high scoring match-up with @TAMc10.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand...... Sunderland are relegated 

This week the fixture computer doesn’t let my side have an easy ride. My side has to face sixth place @nikarg. Nik beat my side by nearly thirty points back in Gameweek 17. He won’t have an Ibrahimovic brace to fall back on this week though. But he still has players who can do a lot of damage. Hopefully it will be a closer contest.

@nikarg’s Team


Nik needs to win his last three games to have a chance to break into the top four and take home the coveted Fourth Place Trophy. He will have to do so without Zlatan, so he will have to fall back on his next two biggest signings. Christian Eriksen and Georginio Wijnaldum play in Midfield and cost $49 and $26 respectively. Eriksen averages 25.76 points per game and will need to be in top form away at West Ham on Friday night in order to keep Tottenham’s title hopes alive. Wijnaldum averages ‘only’ 14.59 points and can surely earn a similar amount as Liverpool chase a Champions League spot in a game at home to Southampton on Sunday.
Erikson helps cancel St Totteringham's Day 2017

If these two fail to shine then perhaps @nikarg will fall back on two players who cost the minimum of $1. Ashley Barnes has been filling Zlatans boots for Nik in the Forward position. Burnley have a favourable fixture at home to West Brom on Saturday, where Barnes will get a change to add to his six goals this season. Crystal Palace travel to play Manchester City and Andros Townsend will be trying to get the Eagles enough points to avoid relegation. Man City have not been on top form lately and are vulnerable to giving up the odd goal or two. Townsend averages over 15 points a game too.

What I Need To Happen


Most of my team is playing away from home this weekend, and most of them still have something to play for. The question is though, will some of these players be playing at all? My back three has remained unchanged for a number of weeks now, but with Michael Keane a doubt for Burnley’s game against West Brom, that means Hector Bellerin could well be called from the bench. The problem there is, that Bellerin has found himself frozen out of the Arsenal first eleven ever since he came back from injury and Arsene Wenger invented something called the back three.
Sunderland and Bournemouth were charged with not controlling their players. Although, when was the last time Sunderland controlled their players in any meaningful fashion?

On the attacking front, things are not looking too good. Battling relegation did not seem to bring the best out of Fabio Borini, so now that Sunderland are actually relegated, maybe the Italian will cut loose. Or more likely, with relegation confirmed, David Moyes will cut Borini loose and play Joshua Erowoli Orisunmihare Oluwaseun Maja up front. Henrik Mkhitaryan played for Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday night. He was subbed off with over ten minutes to go. He should be in United’s plans for their game against Arsenal, but more because of all the injuries the Red Devils must deal with, rather than any undroppable form he finds himself in.

Predictions


Six correct and three incorrect predictions last weekend. @RotoZdroik will be doing his victory lap against @FantasyYIRMA this weekend. Other interesting games at the top of the table include, @FuzzyWarbles (4th) facing @EPL_MOstradamus (3rd), and @SportsByGotti against @TAMc10 with a place in the top half at stake. Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter as we come to the business end of the season. Here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone


Friday, April 28, 2017

Week 35: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

An odd week in IEFSA last time out as managers scrambled to get a full set of players playing. My side was one of only eight teams who got nine scoring players earning points. And this was only after the late acquisition of Evandro at Hull because the previous weekends big signing, Tom Huddlestone, found himself on the bench. Evandro only contributed 4.65 points though, so I don’t know why I bothered. Especially since Joe Allen had made a miraculous recovery from injury and plundered 15.6 points away at Swansea. These points were lost to the bench. Allen got more points on his own than the playing trio of Evandro, and the normally more reliable, Arnautovic and Mirallas.
Joe Allen couldn't stop Stoke going down to Swansea last weekend

A low scoring week then, with the total coming to 100.2 points. This was enough to beat @FuzzyWarbles, who was hampered by the omission of Man City players from the gameweek. Steve can feel doubly unlucky, as he would have beaten five other sides with his total of 70 points.

This week could see the title being decided if @RotoZdroik can avoid defeat to @TAMc10. I don’t have time to worry about that though, as the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer has handed me a fixture with @nealjthurman. My side is still in fifth position, but with the right set of results, I could rise up to second with a win.

@nealjthurman’s Team


Neal is out for revenge after I beat his side by a slim 1.25 points in Gameweek 16. I had a Leighton Baines assist to thank for the victory that day, as a few of @nealjthurman’s team didn’t show up. Neal may have a number of players on the missing list this week too. He has four red flags to content with and a few players struggling for gametime with their respective clubs. Of course, one of those players that will be struggling for playing time for a considerable amount of time is Joey Barton. The Burnley midfielder has been handed an eighteen month ban for gambling offences. He placed 1,260 bets over a ten-year period, including 15 on games involving teams he played for at the time. Burnley travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, and someone else will have to fill Barton’s ‘Dafabet’ sponsored jersey for the game. In Neal’s team, that hole will probably be filled by Man Utd’s Ander Herrera, if he can survive the fickle hand of rotation.
What odds @nealjthurman keeping Barton in his squad until next season?

Building from the back is probably @nealjthurman’s best bet this weekend. In goals he will have Ben Foster of West Brom. The Baggies are usually stiff opposition at home, and face a Leicester side who have failed to ignite in front of goals this season. In that game he will also have Christian Fuchs lining out for Leicester. His other two defenders are Ben Gibson of Middlesboro and Andrew Robertson of Hull City. Those players average over 12 and 11 points per game respectively.

What I Need To Happen


Joe Allen is back, so that means Evandro will probably be dropped back to Free Agency (cue a brace against the Saints on Saturday now!) The other Midfield spots looked to be filled by Kevin Mirallas and Luka Milivojevic. I have a few choices up front. Marko Arnautovic missed a penalty last weekend, and surely won’t repeat the trick against West Ham this week, though he’ll probably be taken off spot kick duties. Fabio Borini will more than likely start from the bench for Sunderland again, although he is the last player to score for the Black Cats and might be called on again in a must win game against Bournemouth. Pedro is the other Forward option. The Chelsea man was only a substitute in the last game, but still gained an assist, and will surely get some minutes against Everton on Sunday.
Arnautovic will hope for an improved display at home to West Ham

Trying to stop Pedro doing anything positive will be Defender Leighton Baines. Averaging nearly 15 points a game, the left back will be in direct opposition to the Chelsea Forward in this gameweek. Elsewhere across the defence, we welcomed back Hector Bellerin from injury in midweek. Arsenal have recently changed to a back three though, and we have yet to see how this will impact on the Spaniard averaging over 12 fantasy points per game. Two Burnley players will face Crystal Palace and hopefully keep them from scoring. Keane and Heaton have been some of the more reliable players in my side this season, and will continue to be as long as Sean Dyche’s side don’t decide to head to the beach too early.

Predictions


Only four correct predictions last week as the fixture list really messed up some sides. Not @RotoZdroik though, who rolls on, and as mentioned, only has @TAMc10 standing between him and the title. To keep track of all the action, please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. And remember there is a Monday night game this week in the shape of Watford hosting Liverpool, so don't start etching the name on the trophy until then. Anyway, here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Week 34: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A Win! And with those three points the title race is not over yet! For another week at least. A Marko Arnautovic goal helped my side to the victory over @jforquer11 last gameweek. Unfortunately all the other big guns won, so my side is still positioned fifth on the league table. Being 15 points off the top means I need a little bit of a miracle in order to win the title. A loss this week and all those dreams will be shattered, leaving my side having to fight over the (probably more) coveted fourth-place trophy.

Preparations for this week have been thrown into chaos though with the news that Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for the rest of the season with injury. He gets injured at just the wrong time, as all of my injured reserve slots are full. This means he will be cast to Free Agency like so many other anonymous England internationally capped midfielders. And speaking of random England international midfielders, I have drafted in Tom Huddlestone of Hull City into my side to replace Wilshere.
Get your boots on Tom you're in!

This week will see all the Premier League matches stretched out over the whole week and not just the weekend. This means some sides will play twice (Man Utd, Middlesboro, Crystal Palace) and one team doesn’t have any fixture (West Brom). In Fantrax scoring, players can’t gain points from two games. Therefore, players will only earn points from the first game they play. Probably? But whatever way the IEFSA/Fantrax works out the points, it will probably be the way that impacts my team negatively the most. And my opponents this week? Second placed @FuzzyWarbles. A team that has already beaten me this season.

@FuzzyWarbles’ Team


Two West Brom players and only Luke Shaw means @FuzzyWarbles will not be impacted too much by the fixture kerfuffle. Shaw should only gain points from the game against Burnley on Sunday. That’s if Shaw plays at all, with rotation being a problem because of Manchester United’s Europa League commitments. A lot of Steve’s players don’t play until midweek. He has three Man City players, Tadic of Southampton, Vertonghen of Spurs, and Januzaj of Sunderland. The only player that represents his side on Saturday will be Tom Carroll of Swansea. Because I could have five players playing on Saturday, and will have built up such a lead, @FuzzyWarbles could be panicked into wholesale changes to his squad on Sunday as he frets over the fitness of Sergio Aguero.
Aguero faces a tough (really?) game against Arsenal in the FA Cup this weekend

Aguero has scored 17 goals this season and averages a healthy 16.92 points per game. He strangely hasn’t registered any assists so far though. Which is strange because, he had contributed 26 assists in the five seasons before this one. A sign of dropping standards? Or of Man City’s change of style under Pep? The other City players in @FuzzyWarbles’ side are Yaya Toure in Midfield and Nicolas Otamendi in Defence. Toure averages 14.12 and Otamendi 15.94 points per game. They do face a home derby with Manchester United though, which should hopefully blunt their normally heavy passing attacking style.

What I Need To Happen


Huddlestone is not exactly the quick fix I need at this stage of the season. But he does average over ten points a game and will be playing Watford at home this gameweek. He will, hopefully, be partnered in midfield by Kevin Mirallas, who is in good form at the moment for Everton. Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace will only have his points counted from the game against Liverpool on Sunday, I presume. While Henrikh Mkhitaryan can only gain points from the game against Burnley in the early Sunday kick-off.
Marko Arnautovic has scored six goals in the league this season

Burnley will face an injury hit Man Utd who have been heavy on ball retention but light on penetration. (Tell me about it! Story of the season) My goalkeeper Tom Heaton and Defender Michael Keane will hopefully rack up the points when the Red Devils visit Turf Moor. Last week’s hero Arnautovic will travel to Wales to play Swansea. He will have to score without the help of Stoke’s best player Joe Allen though, who is still side-lined with injury.

Predictions


A perfect set of predictions in the last gameweek was ruined by one of the upsets of the season. @DFS_Hambazaza picked up only his fourth win with victory over @jwl_15. This week @DFS_Hambazaza will be hard pressed to repeat the trick when he faces table topper @RotoZdroik. The tie of the round is probably @EPL_MOstradamus (4th ) against @wrigavin (8th). Don't forget, to follow all the action you need to be watching the Twitter feed of @THE_IEFSAHere are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone.