Saturday, November 28, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 14 Preview

Two goals last week helped my team see off @RotoWireAndrew by nearly 30 points. Andre Ayew ended a recent barren spell, while Memphis Depay found himself on the team sheet and then on the scoresheet for Man Utd. That victory puts my side to 7-6 and up to the heady heights of 9th! This week’s match-up is against a team three points and two places above mine.

Only nine points separate the top 11 teams in the league, so any victory is vital, especially at this stage of the season if you want to be in the mix for honours in 2016. Week 14 serves up a game between my side, off the back of two straight wins, and @RotoZdroik, who himself has rattled off three wins in a row. So far this season he has scored 28 more points than me overall, thanks to some of the star players he has lining out for him.

@RotoZdroik’s Team

In goals he has the third highest scoring goalkeeper in Heurelho Gomes of Watford. He has kept five clean sheets and made 40 saves so far. He is also one of only two goalkeepers to save a penalty this season. In defence he has two players who average more points per game than his goalkeeper; Eric Dier of the stingy Spurs backline and Man City’s Bacary Sagna. He has three other capable defenders vying for that third Defensive spot on his roster, but this week I expect him to stick with Damien Delaney of Crystal Palace, as they host Newcastle United on Saturday.

"I'm dropping you for Aiden McGeady"  *probably not going to happen
His other big star player, who is bang in form too, is Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian's 9 goals so far this season are only bettered by Jamie Vardy. This week Everton travel to the worst defence in the league at Bournemouth, where he will be fancied to add to his tally. He has plenty of other goal threats on his team too; Defoe has chipped in with four goals, Dier and Sigurdsson both have two goals each. Elsewhere in Midfield sits Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla, who has three assists but no goals so far, and will probably be extra determined to find the back of the net after doing everything but score against West Brom last weekend.

What I Need To Happen

Memphis Depay to keep his place. Although after a poor outing midweek in the Champions League, I’m in doubt as to whether Luis van Gaal will trust him in the top of the table clash against Leicester City in the Saturday evening kickoff. Bastian Schweinsteiger seems to have a more secure place in midfield. But I will probably put Arnautovic up front, Stoke travel to lowly Sunderland, and leave the flex OF position free until the teams are announced for the game at the King Power Stadium at 5:30.

The old adage of goals winning games will surely mean I need my side to outscore Lukaku. If Bournemouth could somehow keep him quiet that would be great. But if not, I will surely need Ayew to step up again; or perhaps Wijnaldum could rediscover his goalscoring touch as Newcastle battle to move out of the relegation zone. If not goals, then cleansheets could be the route to victory. I have two defenders playing at home, Moreno and Jenkinson, while the third travels to Aston Villa, who are the lowest scorers in the league.


Four correct predictions last week. Not the worst week, but not really anything to write home about either. It just goes to further prove how unpredictable this league becoming. Anyone can beat anyone, but that won't stop me from telling you who is going to beat who this week! So without further ado,

And please, don’t forget that to be able to keep up with all the scores in these matchups over the weekend, you simply have to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. Oh, and follow me @GarryIrwin!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 13 Preview

I hadn’t much time to celebrate my tight victory in week 12 when the international break came and tried to cripple my defence. Nyom is a doubt for this weekend after he missed both of Cameroon’s World Cup qualifiers because of a mix up with documentation and travel arrangements. The Cameroonian FF could prevent him from playing if they wanted, but they will probably let it slide. On a far more serious note, Jordan Amavi will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his knee while playing for France. The left back has been one of the few bright spots for Aston Villa and his absence leaves my side with only three fit defenders, unless I bring in cover from the waiver wire this week.
This week I face one of the few teams that sit below me in the table (I’m still 11th!), but @RotoWireAndrew’s two victories this season are a little harsh on his side. Andrew has had to face the most difficult fixture list in the league. He has the most points against at 668; compare this to @nikarg whose record is 8-4 and has conceded a much lighter 520 points. Andrew’s team has scored the most points of the bottom five and is surely best placed to make a run up the table.

@RotoWireAndrew’s Team
A spate of red flags and an Eric Lamela suspension has depleted Andrew’s options this week. But he does have a number of players with potential to turn in a star performance or two, and with goals being crucial to chances of victory in this league, Benteke and Wickham up front could well be due some goals.

Looking around his squad and he has a lot of names form the big clubs who usually turn in good average points per week.  Andrew is sure to miss his best performer this week in Theo Walcott though. The Arsenal man is still a week or two away from a return. His other Arsenal player is Monreal who averages nearly 6 points per game and is his top scoring defender. The Gunners face a rather goal shy West Brom this weekend, so a clean sheet is not out of the question. Another player who has a favourable fixture, so it would seem, is Pedro of Chelsea. He will be up against Norwich at home and will fancy improving on his 6.15 pts per game.

What I Need To Happen
Good news on the Memphis Depay front, as injuries to Martial and Rooney has left Luis van Gaal looking to his squad for goals. Memphis will need to take the chance any minutes afforded to him can provide. Watford away is a tricky fixture for most sides though; the Hornets have only conceded four goals at home all season. I’m hoping he’ll start in the early Saturday kickoff, otherwise I’ll have to rely on Ola Toivonen up front; and no one should have to write a sentence like that!
Are Goals imminent for Memphis Depay? Will he even start??

I cannot stress enough how important goals are in this league.  My two top scorers, Wijnaldum and Ayew have two home fixtures for their sides and I will be looking to them to spearhead my points tally for gameweek 13. If those two fail to shine, perhaps Stoke’s Marko Arnoutovic can add to his three goals this season when The Potters travel to Southampton. While goals are foremost in my mind, a clean sheet would not be unwelcomed, and Chelsea will be fancied to gain one at home to the Canaries for my goalkeeper Begovic.

Gameweek 12 was a mixed bag of predictions. Four right and three wrong just goes to prove how tough it is to cement a victory in this league. The first 11 teams are separated by only nine points, while a quick glance at the form table shows that @FuzzyWarbles and @Smokey_Loogy are out in front, but only on the back of three wins each.
Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone, and remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on twitter to keep track of all the Fantasy Football action.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 12 Preview

No goals and no assists last weekend saw my team lose by almost 15 points.  This leaves me still sitting in eleventh but 12 points off the pace. It’s proving difficult for anyone to get momentum together. @wrigavin has seen a league best three victories on the trot propel his side to three points clear at the top of the league. In second place is this week’s opponent for my side, @DanRiccio590, Dan’s team has scored the most fantasy points of the sixteen teams in the league. He averages 57.6 points a week, so I can’t go another gameweek with no goals and only three shots on goal!

My players are losing form at just the wrong time. Gameweek 9 the team posted the highest points total, the following week a win was secured with the fourth highest total of the week, then last week a defeat was all but assured with a points total that would have only beaten three other teams in the league. Since the start of the season I would have beaten @DanRiccio590 only four times out of eleven weeks. The fantasy gods are clearly out to get me this year, it will take a herculean effort from my team to get a win this week, but are they up to it?

@DanRiccio590’s Team
From Goalkeeper to Forward, Dan’s squad is ridiculously good. De Gea plays in goals for the meanest defence in the Premier League, while Wilfried Bony currently leads the line for the team with the most goals. He has two players who have scored over 100 points this season, Payet and Pelle. At the back he has one of the most inform defenders in Chris Smalling.

Looking at his midfield, either side of the inform West Ham man Payet, he has two players who have yet to show what they can do in front of goal this season; Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri. They face each other in Saturdays late kickoff. I’m hoping they don’t start a goalscoring stretch this weekend. Other players that make up his squad could easily come in and make a good showing if he needs them; Schneiderlin, Schlupp and Shawcross look to have favourable fixtures this week and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have increased their points average come Saturday night.

Another plus for Dan is that he only has to put up with one Aston Villa player, whereas I have to juggle three of them! Villa, who are bottom, host Man City, who are top, and if @DanRiccio590 is leading in our matchup by this game's kickoff on Sunday, I may not be able to turn it around if I have to cross my fingers for a big Villa win.

What I Need To Happen
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve three Villa players playing on Sunday afternoon. So, indeed I will be crossing my fingers that they can summon some of that new manager bounce with the appointment of Remi Garde. The Frenchman never finished lower than fifth after three years of managing Lyon. If he can replicate that with Aston Villa……. well, if he can replicate that with Aston Villa, he’ll have to be made a Saint, as that would be proof of some sort of divine miracle. If Garde is to be beatified by Christmas, he may need to beat Man City this weekend.
Remi Garde, Miracle Man?
Another small miracle this weekend would be to see Memphis Depay on the team sheet for Man Utd against West Brom. The Dutchman is just back from a slight injury and perhaps he will given some minutes at the weekend. I won’t be sending players out against @DanRiccio590 on a perhaps though, so Arnautovic will more than likely be leading the line for me. This is problematic though, as I have Begovic in goals for Chelsea, so it’s a case of wanting a nil all draw with lots of shots and lots of saves in that matchup. Though if Arnautovic was to break out and score 5 goals, I might see that as acceptable.

Goals are what my team needs. If you don’t score you might as well chalk another one down in the Loss column. With this in mind, I’ll need my top scorers Andre Ayew and Georginio Wijnaldum to find the net for their respective sides. Neither scored last time out, so at least one of them is due surely!

4 from 7 last week. It’s getting harder and harder every week to call winners in each of these matchups. @wrigavin is top with the longest winning streak of three matches, but he faces fifth placed @Smokey_Loogy this week, and he is after winning two games in a row. Regardless, I’m going to try and call the winners this week again! Good Luck everyone, and remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to stay abreast of all the action.