Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Week 19: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


I’m not sure what got into my players at the start of this festive season, but they went a bit goal crazy during Gameweek 18. Six goals were scored by my squad. Which is crazy considering they only managed fifteen in total from the previous 17 gameweeks! Unfortunately two of the more spectacular goals, Fabio Borini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s efforts at Old Trafford were scored while sitting on the bench. Luckily the 50+ points which didn’t contribute to my weekly total were not needed, as I managed to overcome @TomSunderland_, who could only respond with a James Ward-Prowse assist and two defensive clean sheets.
You can't be offside if you flick the ball from behind you, it's in the rulebook
The @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax fixture computer is clearly not happy with my team gaining a tenth win for the season, and on top of the injuries, will be adding suspensions to my selection headache going into this gameweek. The standout player for my side was Chelsea’s Pedro last time out with two goals. I’ll have to do without him this week though, as after picking up a yellow card, he will now miss a game. He joins Arnautovic on the bench who is also serving a suspension. This will leave me very light in the Forward position when I play against @EPL_MOstradamus this week. @EPL_MOstradamus was the front runner in the league up until recently. He has gone three games without a win and has dropped down to eighth.

@EPL_MOstradamus’ Team


Despite my glut of goals recently, I’m still a few shy of Chris’ sides 26. Benteke missed a penalty last week, so is hardly going to repeat the trick two times out. In fact, Chris has three players with more goals than my current top scorer, Joe Allen (5). Benteke has eight on the season, closely followed by Firmino of Liverpool and Heung-Min Son of Spurs, who both have six. Next on the list of goal scorers is Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United, with three. He has been in and out of the side lately but faces a tempting fixture in a trip to out of form Leicester City on Saturday.
Benteke with a weak penalty, helping Gomes earn some points
Christian Beneteke may have missed his spot kick in the last game, but @EPL_MOstradamus picked up the save points thanks to having Watford’s Heurelho Gomes as his keeper. The Brazilian averages 8.14 points a game. In fact, if all of Chris’ players hit their averages this gameweek, I will need my side to score more than 127 points to beat him. Something my team hasn’t managed to do in the last eight gameweeks. You still think @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax fixture compiler is not out to get me?

What I Need To Happen


The ‘Claudio Yacob Experiment’ is over. Please welcome the new and improved ‘Ibrahim Afellay Experiment’. The Stoke City player has just returned from a knee injury, and while he may not get much joy against Chelsea this weekend, he may do enough in the coming gameweeks to force his way into my Midfield. His inclusion does mean if you divide my squad by the divisor of ‘Stoke players’, the resulting quotient is ‘Too many Stoke players’. If Afellay is to be included going forward, it could be at the expense of a Mr Jack Wilshere. The Bournemouth player is still due that elusive first goal for the Cherries. If it doesn’t come against Swansea on Saturday, I may just have to give up on it happening at all!
Afellay made sure he was wrapped up warm for his few minutes against Liverpool
If @EPL_MOstradamus’ forwards can be kept quiet in tricky fixtures against Man City and Arsenal, that would be a good for me in this matchup. Benteke will be determined to make amends against the Gunners, but perhaps Chris will get more points from Firmino at home to Pep’s, Man City. City may have kept a clean sheet against Hull, but Liverpool are on fire in front of goals. In my side, looking for goals might be a thankless task with Pedro being absent. Lingard and Mkhitaryan will surely get chances against Middlesbrough, but the question is, will either of them start the game? The first game of the gameweek is on Friday night when Hull City host Everton. With Baines and Mirallas in my team, a positive result here will surely put Chris on the back foot.

Predictions


The league is still really tight. The current top 7 all won in Gameweek 18, which means that @RotoZdroik remains six points clear. A whole host of teams are only separated by points scored. The table may even be tighter than it looks. When @SportsByGotti gets the points owed from the performance of Joel Robles for Everton against Leicester, he would leapfrog bitter rival @RotoWireAndrew and be in ninth position. Also, the transfer window opens soon, so expect a scramble as most managers make crazy bids to take Fabio Borini off my hands.

Five correct and four incorrect, in what was a repeat of the predictions from the week before. The predictions are not getting worse, which is a good sign. Will this week’s be any better? Let’s see. Follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep up with the three days of Fantasy Premier League action.

As always, Good Luck Everyone, and Happy New Year.









Saturday, December 24, 2016

Week 18: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


The Fantasy Footballing Gods came down hard on my team last gameweek in my loss to @nikarg, and they show no sign of letting up as we head into the Christmas fixtures and @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax’s clearly biased fixtures computer has me facing a resurgent @TomSunderland_. I would have beaten eleven other sides in Gameweek 17, but @nikarg’s third highest score of the week helped by an Ibrahimovic brace totally blew my side out of the water. That result put me down to ninth, with the only consolation being that most of the sides at the top of the table came unstuck too, resulting in only six points now separating second from fifteenth. With everyone in close proximity to one another a win over this festive season is even more vital. But to do this I’ll have to see off @TomSunderland_’s side, whose star players are slowly coming back from injury and into form.
I've never seen Santa and Zlatan in the same room together. Just saying...

@TomSunderland_’s Team


Philippe Coutinho might still be side-lined for Liverpool, but Tom did welcome back Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez recently with two goals away at Bournemouth. This should sort out his Forward position as his other two players eligible for that slot, Martial and Stuani, have only managed to start seven games each this season. In Midfield he could also welcome back another player from injury this week in the shape of Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, and when the midfielder plays he averages nearly 17 points a game. The remaining Midfield spots will more than likely be taken up by a combination of Spurs and Saints players; two teams who face each other in the Wednesday night kickoff. Sissoko of Tottenham, with Ward-Prowse and Hojbjerg of Southampton making up a formidable trio if Tom needs his team to get back in the tie come Wednesday evening.
@TomSunderland_ will be wearing his Southampton Christmas jumper this week
He may not even need them though, as he has three of the most in form Defenders in the game making up his backline. Marcos Alonso averages 18 points per game and has been collecting clean sheets for fun at Chelsea recently. While, both Seamus Coleman and Patrick van Aanholt have been racking up to points thanks to their goal scoring exploits, despite playing in two teams struggling to find form. In goals he will rely on Leicester stopper Kasper Schmeichel. The Dane has only two clean sheets in nine starts, but does welcome an out of sorts Everton side at three o’clock on Boxing Day.

What I Need To Happen


That old adage that goals win games means I’ll be hoping that Tottenham can find a way to stop Rodriguez from finding the back of the net again this week. With potentially three Saints players in Tom’s side, a nice boring, but with lots of yellow cards, nil all draw, would do very nicely. Speaking of goals, if my players could find some in the fixture between Leicester and Everton, that would be great. At the back, hopefully the ball ends up at Leighton Baines’ side of the pitch rather than Coleman’s. If Kevin Mirallas could find a way to place the ball in the net that would be great; yet if he could find a way into the Everton starting eleven first that would be a bonus.

I do have a dilemma up front as Pedro did not start last time out for Chelsea, while Arnautovic is still out through suspension. Should I bring back in Fabio Borini, what with Sunderland making a daunting trip to Old Trafford? And if I do, that surely spells the end for Claudio Yacob. But can I afford the jettison the West Brom man when I’m unsure of the chances of a starting spot for Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mirallas, Wilshere, etc? Regardless of who starts, it looks like I will have to fall back on Joe Allen to dig my side out of whatever hole they have dug for themselves. The Stoke City midfielder heads back to Liverpool on Tuesday with a point or two to prove, and will hopefully pick up about forty fantasy points in the process.

Predictions


Five correct and four dead wrong predictions last Gameweek. Getting more right than wrong is a positive I guess, and I’ll aim to end the year on a high with a clean sweep of correct predictions. Here goes! Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of the ups and down of each match-up.

Good Luck Everyone, Plus, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.









Saturday, December 17, 2016

Week 17: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


The fantasy gods threw injuries, penalties and red cards against my team in midweek, but fortunately my players were able to overcome and eke out a win. 27 points leaves me 9 points off table topper @RotoZdroik and stuck in a tight tussle of teams separated by only six points between fifth and eighteenth. The fantasy gods do not take these slights lying down though, so this week the IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer pits my side against a team with three of the most in form players in the Premier League. A team that scored the highest points total in Gameweek 16 with 178 points. @nikarg can call upon nine goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic (my whole team has only managed 16!), West Brom’s Salomon Rondon who is fresh off a midweek hattrick, and Christian Eriksen who only scored two goals midweek. If you were a betting person, I might struggle to convince you that I had a chance in this matchup. It seems like @nikarg has been given a slam dunk here!

@nikarg’s Team


I’ve already mentioned three of @nikarg’s strongest players, but even if one or two of them have an off day, he has a few more names to call upon. Liverpool’s Georginio Wjnaldum has started most of the Reds games this season and has added a goal and two assists so far. Elsewhere in midfield he can call upon Marc Albrighton of Leicester or Wayne Routledge of Swansea. Both these players have started over ten games for their clubs, and they average around ten points each.
Can Boruc claim a fifth clean sheet this weekend?
At the other end of the pitch he has Bournemouth’s keeper Artur Boruc. He will be up against Southampton at home this weekend. The Saints have been rather goal shy of late so the Polish international should have no problem reaching his average of over eight points per game.

What I Need To Happen


I simply need to get a fully fit squad of players out onto the pitch. This may call for the need to play four Defenders again. With Mykitaryan still out injured, and now Arnautovic missing through suspension, my side will be missing some of its most potent goal threats.  Joe Allen does not seem to get forward as much lately but may be able to get some joy against Leicester on Saturday. Second top scorer on my team (3 goals), Pedro heads to Crystal Palace with his Chelsea team and could have a shot or two if he plays.
Fabio Borini getting stuck in against Chelsea midweek
Looking elsewhere for goals, Fabio Borini got about ten minutes midweek and can surely force his way into the Sunderland side. Jack Wilshere had one of his better games for Bournemouth midweek but is still due to score a goal. With all the players I have sitting on the IR, Claudio Yacob still finds himself in my squad, will he do anything that makes him worth keeping? Only time will tell.

Predictions


Only three of the nine matchups predicted correctly midweek. @RotoZdroik has opened up a six point gap at the top and has the longest current winning steak with five victories in a row. @jwl_15 has lost his last two games but still hangs on in second place. It’s very tough to call these games, but I’ll give it another try. To see how good, or bad, I do, please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Good Luck Everyone









Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 16: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Please let me tell you of my latest tale of woe in fantasy football. With a 40 point lead on @FuzzyWarbles with only two Liverpool players to play, I felt safe that I might just sneak a win with my total of 103 points. Even if Milner and Mane hit their average I would come away with the win. But the fantasy gods had other ideas. The IEFSA and Fantrax points computer must have awarded points for every touch because a combined 42 points later and I was staring defeat in the face.
James Milner reminds me how many points I lost by in Gameweek 15
I’ve fallen one place down to seventh and I’m due to face @nealjthurman for this group of midweek fixtures. We both hold a record of eight wins and seven losses. Neal won at the weekend as his two biggest signings came good. Dimitri Payet scored for the first time since the beginning of October, while Islam Slimani contributed two assists in Leicester’s win over Man City. All this and my star player was stretchered off injured. Can I fight against the huge bias shown against my side everyweek?

@nealjthurman’s Team


Outside of his highest signings, the rest of his team has been chipping in with points. Ander Herrera added an assist on his way to claiming over 30 points against Tottenham on Sunday. Sofiane Boufal of Southampton popped up with his first goal of the season at home to Middlesbrough for Neal too. Luckily for him, all of these four players mentioned will be facing opposition in the bottom half of the Premier League table this midweek, so he will be expecting another big haul.

At the back he has some top defensive performers. They were unusually off form at the weekend, where two of them posted less than double figure scores. The one who didn’t was Christian Fuchs, and despite Leicester having a less than stellar season, he has been averaging a healthy 16 points a game. In goals he has West Brom’s Ben Foster. Only two fantasy points on Sunday; @nealjthurman will be looking for him to bounce back at home to Swansea on Wednesday night.

What I Need To Happen


After months of waiting for my star signing Mkhitaryan to get into the Manchester United first team and gaining some substantial points, he only gets injured after a rather innocuous challenge from Danny Rose towards the end of the game at Old Trafford at the weekend. If, as expected, the Armenian misses the game against Crystal Palace, I may have to implement the ‘Claudio Yacob Experiment’ again!
Pictured: @FuzzyWarbles carrying away three points here
Looking around for where the points could come from in my team I see that Wilshere didn’t start last weekend, Pedro couldn’t last the ninety minutes for Chelsea, Jesse Lingard doesn’t seem to be in Jose Mourinho’s thoughts at the moment, Santi Cazorla is still out injured, Kevin Mirallas hasn’t done much for Everton lately, while Joe Allen has only posted double figures in two of Stoke’s last five fixtures after a run of nine games where he was averaging over 24 points. But at least Fabio Borini is back from injury…..

Predictions


A hiccup a few days ago as I only predicted eight of the nine matchups. I did get five of those eight correct though, so there is that. The league is beginning to stretch out a bit now. @RotoZdroik is alone at the top, and 24 points below him is @DFS_Hambazaza alone at the bottom. They face each other this week, with surely only one outcome? To follow all the midweek action make sure you click on @THE_IEFSA Twitter page.

Good Luck Everyone









Friday, December 9, 2016

Week 15: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


A return to winning ways sees my side move up the table to sixth. It wasn’t a vintage performance by any means as I struggled to 109.5 points. It was a pair of defenders getting on the scoresheet that turned the tie in my favour over @jforquer11. Leighton Baines and Steve Cook left it late to score equalizers for their teams on Sunday, and the twenty plus points they each scored was better than what Pedro, Wilshere and Yacob put together managed for my side.
Baines slots home his penalty with ease
And with this victory, what has the IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer saw fit to do this week? Why it’s decided that I should play the highest scoring team in the league, because it doesn’t want me winning too much. That high scoring side belongs to @FuzzyWarbles. If our sides had met every week this season he would have ten wins to my four. So once again I’m up against it. There is one green shoot of hope though, as @FuzzyWarbles will be missing his top goal scorer Sergio Aguero through suspension. But even this doesn’t help much, as even without those ten goals, his side have outscored mine 21 goals to 15 after fourteen weeks of the season.

@FuzzyWarbles Team


Aguero will miss the first of four games this week. Steve has a number of choices in who will deputise for the Argentinian. He has three other Forward players who could slot in. Fischer of Middlesbrough, Bojan at Stoke and Lucas Perez with Arsenal. None of the three are guaranteed of a start but perhaps after his hat trick in midweek, Perez will get the most minutes this weekend. Although Viktor Fischer did start last week for Boro, and could keep his place for the trip to Southampton. Elsewhere in his team the goals have mostly been supplied by the Liverpool pair of Sadio Mane and James Milner. Twelve goals between them, and they face a West Ham team that shipped five goals against Arsenal recently.

At the back @FuzzyWarbles has gotten three goals out of Gareth McAuley this season, but the West Brom defender faces a stern test in trying to breach the Chelsea backline this Sunday. Another West Brom player in his side, and  onethat has had positive recent form, is Chris Brunt. Brunt has found himself deployed further up the pitch in recent games, yet will probably have to do more defending than he’d like when his team head to Stamford Bridge. Steve might get more points in Midfield from the return of Yaya Toure. Pep Guardiola will have to shake up his starting eleven for the trip to champions Leicester, with the Ivorian perhaps gaining one of the attacking midfield spots.

What I Need To Happen


With @FuzzyWarbles having Hugo Loris between the sticks, I’m hoping that my Manchester United players earn the start and cause him problems. I’m more optimistic about Mkhitaryan getting game time than Jesse Lingard though. Any goals created by the Armenian will doubly hurt, as @FuzzyWarbles also has Jan Vertongen in Defence. My Top scorer Joe Allen was a surprise omission form the Stoke line-up last week, with the Potters heading to Arsenal this week, perhaps Mark Hughes will adopt a more defensive approach and use the Welshman in midfield where he will be kept busy while racking up the points.

The red flags all over my team seem to be abating somewhat going into Gameweek 15. Leighton Baines returned last week and it looks like Hector Bellerin could return this week. If he does return in time for the Saturday three o'clock kickoff, that would mean the end of the ‘Claudio Yacob Experiment’, as the West Brom midfielder would have to be jettisoned. Despite West Brom having some positive results of late, the Argentine has not been doing enough fantasywise and failed to get into double figures for the last two games.

I have two pairs of players playing against each other in the Bournemouth Burnley match; a goalkeeper and defender for Burnley and a defender and midfielder for Bournemouth. A nice boring scoreless draw would be perfect here, but that’s not going to happen, because as we all know, Jack Wilshere is due a goal.
It's tight at the top (and the middle, and the bottom)

Predictions


An improvement to six correct from nine predictions last week. The league is very tight, with everyone bar the bottom two sides within six points of the top four. Hopefully things go a little better this week. To see how every tie is progressing follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Good Luck Everyone.








Friday, December 2, 2016

Week 14: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


An embarrassing defeat to @RotoWireAndrew last week continues my side’s slide down the table. Fans are surely getting restless after three losses in a row, while the board are probably scratching their heads asking ‘What’s a Claudio Yacob?’ Things don’t get any easier this week in the @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax Fantasy League as the fixture computer (which hate’s me by the way) throws me into a matchup with @jforquer11. Both our teams have 21 points and are in danger of dropping down to the lower reaches of the table this week if things don’t go their way. @jforquer11 has a fully fit squad to select from though, whereas my players just love that treatment table.
A wild Yacob appeared.

@jforquer11’s Team


A good spread of teams in Joel’s squad. Only Stoke City supplies him with two players; the goalkeeper (currently Lee Grant) and the left back Erik Pieters. Luckily for him also, is that most of his team will be playing on Saturday. He might sweat over the inclusions of Gareth Barry or Daley Blind in the Everton versus Manchester United game on Sunday, but could fill his Defence and Midfield with players with Saturday fixtures and save himself that headache, while more than likely opening up a sizable lead in our matchup! His top scorer, Burnley’s Sam Vokes, does travel to Stoke though, so while these players could keep each other busy, they could end up taking points off each other, so that even the sting of a Vokes goal will be tempered by the points Grant would lose.

Elsewhere in his squad he will be looking to some of his more reliable players to gather him points. His highest salaried player, Man City’s Fernandinho, averages nearly 17 points a game, but does have a tricky game against Chelsea in the opening fixture of the weekend. Joel spent big in defence and will perhaps be disappointed with the returns so far from Wes Morgan (Leicester City) and Jose Fonte (Southampton). These two players do have fixtures with some of the Premier League’s lesser teams in Sunderland and Crystal Palace respectively. Complementing Vokes in attack he will have to choose between Shinji Okazaki and Joshua King. They have started 18 games between them, but have only managed three goals, so they are perhaps due a goal this week.

What I Need To Happen


Speaking of being due a goal, Jack Wilshere will return to the Bournemouth side this week. The Cherries host Coutinho-less Liverpool, and a clean sheet there rake in the points for my side. Steve Cook also owes me a solid 90 minutes after last week’s horror show. Another player returning this week is Stoke’s Joe Allen. Fresh from suspension, Allen will hopefully rediscover the form of a few weeks ago. The Stoke versus Burnley fixture will include Allen as well as Arnautovic for the home side, against Michael Keane and the Burnley goalkeeper with the away side. Last week Paul Robinson found himself in goals after Tom Heaton was ruled out with a toe injury. A highly entertaining nil all draw would be ideal here. But a boring draw that ends up shown last on all the highlight shows is more likely.
Has Mkhitaryan done enough to earn a start?
Another game that will include four of my squad will be the Sunday four o’clock kick-off between Everton and Manchester United. Though if all four players do play, I will be genuinely surprised. Baines does seem to have settled back into the side after injury, but Mirallas has seen himself fall out of the side after a number of anonymous performances and a run of poor results for the Toffees. The Man Utd team is even harder to predict. Lingard and Mkhitaryan have been in and out of the side over their last four fixtures, with perhaps the Armenian midfielder more likely to gain a starting berth this weekend.

Predictions


12 points separate the top 18 sides in this league. The longest win streak is only three games, by @FantasyYIRMA in 17th. Any team can beat any other, so even a fixture between top (@jwl_15) and bottom (@DFS_Hambazaza) cannot be predicted with 100% certainty. Only three of nine matchups correctly predicted last weekend. Are things going to improve in Gameweek 14? Follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to find out.

Good Luck Everyone









Friday, November 25, 2016

Week 13: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


My side’s time rocketing to the summit of the league table seems like a distant memory now, as I drop to fifth thanks to my second defeat in a row. Last weekend also saw my team post their lowest score of the season, coupled with the largest margin of defeat so far. It was embarrassing from Saturday right up until Monday night. But the pain doesn’t seem to want to stop. Almost half my team (and definitely half my goals) will be absent through suspension, injury, or just sitting out while his current side face his parent club. The fantasy gods really don’t want me to win this week, as I face @RotoWireAndrew, whose only dilemma is which players to leave out! The IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer is determined to see my side plummet down the table.

The league itself is really getting tight now. Amazingly only six points separate the top 15 sides. @jwl_15 is the current leader thanks to his overall points total. @wrigavin in fourth is the form side, having reeled off five wins on the trot. It has been relatively low scoring the last two weeks, a goal or assist either way could swing a tie. With this in mind it’s vitally important to get all your players starting for their teams.

@RotoWireAndrew’s Team


If we faced each other every week we would currently both be with a record of 6-6. This suggests a tight game. Andrew’s team does have more luck in front of goal though. 17 goals for his team compared to 12 for mine (six of which will be missing this weekend).  Charlie Austin and Theo Walcott have five goals each, and both have tasty home fixtures on Sunday. In fact apart from Erik Lamela, who is injured anyway, all his goal scorers will be playing at home this weekend. What is surprising are his assist stats. Walcott is his best provider of these, yet has only contributed two. His biggest signing Paul Pogba has taken the most shot in his side with 34. Hopefully this isn’t the week where a few of these shots start finding the net.
Paul Pogba finding space in a packed midfield here.
Andrew is sixth in the league and has had a very up and down season so far. Some weeks his players run up a high one hundred plus figure score, and others he struggles to reach 80+ points. It’s all down to getting players onto the pitch. Unfortunately for me it looks like some players who were rare starters a few months ago are now more assured of a start. Marcos Rojo at Man Utd looks like being one of their centre backs with Bailly and Smalling out injured. Ahmed Musa only got 12 minutes last week but could be in line for a start on the wing for Leicester this week. Andrew may have to slot Musa in ahead of Bournemouth’s Jordan Ibe who is still recovering from illness, in the OF spot. Ibe is playing on Sunday though; will Andrew leave a slot open for him until then? In goals he has the West Ham keeper. The Hammers head to Old Trafford in the late Sunday kick-off, so he could be in for a busy afternoon. With three possible United players in his line up, Andrew will be watching that game closely.

What I Need To Happen


The United/West Ham game is one I will be monitoring the line-ups for also. With Mkhitaryan seemingly back in favour and Jesse Lingard having scored midweek in the Europa League, I will need both to play considering the list of players that will be missing for me this gameweek. Both of my Arsenal players are out, Bellerin and Cazorla. The other Arsenal player on my roster, Jack Wilshere, will have to sit the next game out. He is not allowed play for Bournemouth against his parent club. With Joe Allen missing because of suspension, I’m struggling to get three Midfield players to play. If things go really pear shaped, I could end up with no players starting for their clubs.
Jack Wilshere won't add to his goal tally (0) this week
Tom Heaton in goals had a below average week last time out when letting in four goals. Things might not get any better when Burnley entertain Man City in the first game of the weekend. If he and team mate Michael Keane can keep Aguero and co. quiet, it would be a good start for me in the matchup with Andrew. I am worried about my Midfield though. Kevin Mirallas is not exactly assured of a start and perhaps it would be prudent to push a player into Inj. Reserve while drafting in a midfielder from the Free Agent list for one week.

Predictions


Four correct from nine predictions last week. The league as I mentioned is getting really tight. When three quarters of the managers have designs on the title how am I supposed to predict the winners every week? I’ll continue in my pursuit of the perfect week in the face all this though. To see how well these predictions pan out, please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Good Luck Everyone.









Friday, November 18, 2016

Week 12: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


No preview last Gameweek as I was delayed during a flight from China. Was this the doing of @wrigavin as he edged out my side by 2.1 points? More than likely. Unfortunately my time at the summit of the league table was short lived and I now find myself in second place, right behind @EPL_MOstradamus, who managed to get a victory (by less than two points) over third placed @jwl_15. It’s getting tight in the scramble for the title going into Gameweek 12, as only six points separate the top 11 sides.

This week the IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer tries to screw with my team again, as I’m pitted against one of the only sides in the league that is injury free, while my side is struggling to all get out on the field with all the red flags in the way. My opponent @Smokey_Loogy may have lost his last two games, but he would have beat out winners in three other matchups both weeks. He is waiting for his luck to turn so he can start moving up the table. Hopefully it won’t be this week.
All my Arsenal players are out injured. Thanks Arsene.

@Smokey_Loogy’s Team


If his players all play to their average scores, it will take a haul of 120+ points for me to be victorious this week. It is in Midfield where @Smokey_Loogy spent most of his budget and it should be where he gains most of his points. Riyad Mahrez has had a quiet start to the season, but still averages over 14 points a game. Nathan Redmond is his top scoring midfielder with three goals. Southampton have a tough fixture at home to Liverpool, but the bright spot for Redmond is that the Reds rarely keep clean sheets. His third Midfielder is only recently back from injury, but he could be playing up front for West Ham. Andre Ayew scored plenty of goals for Swansea last season; this would only be his third start this year if Slaven Bilic puts him on the team sheet.

Up front @Smokey_Loogy relies on a trio of Watford players. Deeney and Ighalo have four goals and two assists between them and they face a lackluster Leicester City at home on Saturday. If he needs he could also include Nordin Amrabat, who himself has two assists to his name. The rest of his points could come from his goalkeeper. Jordan Pickford may not have kept a clean sheet yet, but he does get lots of save points, and he surely won’t get a better chance to stop his net bulging for 90 minutes than against Hull City at home.

What I Need To Happen


When Hector Bellerin was ruled out for up to four weeks with an ankle injury it looked like I might struggle to fill all my Defender slots. Leighton Baines may be able to get the start at Everton this week though and that would solve my defensive problems. Last week it was having too many players who failed to start for their clubs that cost me any change of three points. I can ill afford this happening again this week.

Joe Allen had a below par week away at West Ham. This week he will face Bournemouth at home, and with the aid of Marko Arnautovic back from suspension, I’ll be hoping Stoke can continue their unbeaten run of form. In search of goals I will have to take a gamble on Jesse Lingard doing enough against Arsenal, or waiting until Sunday to see if Pedro can start for Chelsea away to Middlesbrough. If those two fail to score, I can always fall back on the goal that is due from Jack Wilshere.
One of these England stars will score this weekend.

Predictions


As I mentioned above, the league is really tight and the games are even tighter. The team with the most fantasy points sit in eighth (@FuzzyWarbles), while the team who has conceded the least fantasy points (@SportsByGotti) are down in fifteenth. So how is anyone supposed to predict these matchups? I got seven of nine right two gameweeks ago, here’s hoping for a similar strike rate this week. Don't forget to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of all the action.

Good Luck Everyone









Thursday, October 27, 2016

Week 10: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


Battling against the odds, my plucky squad have climbed to second in the table. I said last week I would need 130+ points to win against @cjradune, and thankfully a Pedro goal and assist pulled my team over 150 points, and when Sturridge failed to take the field for C.J., I knew I was within touching distance of the win come Sunday. A positive from last weekend was that all of my nine players posted double figure scores.

A glance at the table this week and you would be forgiven for thinking that as I’m facing second from bottom @FantasyYIRMA, I should be favoured to pick up the three points. But sometimes the table does give a false impression this early in the season. @FantasyYIRMA has scored more points than eight other sides and if his players hit their fantasy points average, I will need 128 or more points to win. As usual the IEFSA/Fantrax fixtures computer tries its best to hamper my team, as both of @FantasyYIRMA’s highest scoring players have enticing fixtures; Dele Alli is at home to a Leicester side that don’t seem to bother playing away from the King Power Stadium; while Mesut Ozil faces bottom of the table Sunderland, who don’t seem to bother playing anywhere.

@FantasyYIRMA’s Team


Alli and Ozil are joined in Midfield by two players who average around fifteen points a game, and both play at home on Saturday. Juan Mata scored midweek in the EPL Cup against Man City, so he will surely fancy his chances facing Burnley. Wilfried Zaha hasn’t had the same luck in front of goal lately, but still has goal and two assists in seven starts this season. The only problem here though, is that if Zaha does get on the scoresheet, he will be taking points away from @FantasyYIRMA’s Liverpool goalkeeper. In his squad is another Palace player who could return from injury and take over the Forward slot that is currently up for grabs with Wayne Rooney’s injury. Loic Remy is trying to shake off a thigh injury in a race to be fit for the Saturday evening kick-off.

At the back @FantasyYIRMA can count on the return of Jonny Evans from suspension. The West Brom defender will get a chance to rack up the points against a Man City attack determined to stop a slide of no wins in their last six games. Evans might not be assured of a spot in @FantasyYIRMA’s back three though, but with two defenders facing each other in Reid (West Ham) and Williams (Everton) he may be forced to choose one over the other. His remaining defender is Bournemouth’s Simon Francis. The Cherries kept a clean sheet last week against Spurs, so should be fancied to do the same again against Middlesbrough, who haven’t scored since October 1st.
One of these players is due a goal

What I Need To Happen


Stoke are at home this week, which can only mean one thing….. Joe Allen getting himself back up the scoring charts. The only problem here though is that Stoke face Swansea on Monday night. I guess I will have to hold a roster spot open for both Allen and Arnautovic. But can I afford to? Pedro is coming off the back of his best game of the season, but has an awkward fixture away at Southampton. Kevin Mirallas was back in the starting line-up for Everton last week, but after that game was lost I would not be surprised to see Ronald Koeman change his first eleven. Elsewhere in Midfield I have two Man Utd players. Jesse Lingard could possible take the field against Burnley, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan appears to be on the missing list. My biggest summer signing has barely 25 points to his name this season. I don’t expect that to improve on Saturday.
Juan Mata will look to keep Man Utd in the hunt for seventh place.
Thankfully a number of @FantasyYIRMA’s players face each other and could cancel each other out. Ideally I’d like his players to have a quiet day and let others do most of the work. Big hitters like Dele Alli, Ozil and Mata having an off day on Saturday would help a lot. Come Sunday night I’m thinking that if my side is within 80 points, then I can just sit back and watch Joe Allen drag me back into the tie, and hopefully to victory.

Predictions


The league seems to get tighter and more difficult to predict every week. It really is wide open and anyone can beat anyone. The predictions last week saw only four correct from nine. A number of intriguing games this week doesn’t make things any easier. The leader @EPL_MOstradamus plays last week’s high scorer @TRKingston. Who will win that battle? Well, you’ll just have to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to find out.

This week’s predictions. Good luck everyone.









Friday, October 21, 2016

Week 9: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


My squad bounced back from their biggest defeat of the season to record their biggest win last time out. @Tamc10 felt the backlash as my side pulled away by nearly 80 points; in fact it was the first time this season that my team recorded the highest points total for the week (179.95) in the league. All this means that I’ve moved up to 3rd and if results were to fall my way this weekend, I could go top. Eight other teams will be thinking the same thing though, and one of those is my opponent @cjradune.

After falling down the table thanks to three losses on the spin, @cjradune is still just one big win away from top spot. If we played each other every week so far, we would have four wins each. Therefore it should be a close fought contest this time out. But in further proof of the Fantrax and IEFSA’s fixture computer's bias against my side, the top three points scorers on @cjradune’s team are all playing home games this week. It looks like I’ll need the Welsh Pirlo to put in another stellar performance away to Hull City to have any chance.
Not every Defence is as kind as the one at Sunderland

@cjradune’s Team


It looks increasing likely that C.J. will have to be without the services of Toby Alderweireld for a few weeks as the Spurs defender recovers from a knee injury. This won’t bother his team much though, as despite being his most expensive signing at the back, he was actually the fourth highest scoring Defender on his roster. His cheapest signing in Defence ($9) is currently his sides highest points scorer overall, Hull’s Curtis Davies.  In goals he can call on Arsenal’s Petr Cech. The Gunners are at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday in a matchup that screams ‘Clean Sheet!’ The Smoggies are averaging less than a goal a game.

Attack-wise, @cjradune has had to rely on the form of Raheem Sterling. The Man City man has four goals this season, but has been a little quiet of late which has coincided with Pep’s side not winning any of their last four games. C.J. would have presumed that most of his goals would come from one Jamie Vardy. The England frontman has only two goals to his name this season after eight starts. He will get a chance to rectify this at home to Crystal Palace come three o’clock on Saturday. The Eagles have yet to keep a clean sheet in eight league games. Elsewhere in @cjradune’s squad is Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge. Like Vardy, he has yet to hit the heights of last season, but will fancy his changes at home to West Brom in the Saturday evening kick-off, if he is called upon by J├╝rgen Klopp.

What I Need To Happen


If @cjradune’s side all hit their fantasy-points-per-game average, then I will need 130 points to beat him. My team has only managed above that mark twice this season. Like last week, I will need someone to step up and score a couple of goals. Joe Allen hit two last time out, and while Stoke head to freefalling Hull City, I can’t expect him to do that every week. Hopefully Marko Arnautovic can chip in with a strike this week. Or perhaps it’s the turn of Pedro or Kevin Mirallas to add to their respective goal tallies. Of the two, Pedro is at least getting on the pitch for some game time, though he does have a tricky matchup against Man Utd. But I’m not worried too much about those players scoring this week, as I’m almost sure Jack Wilshere only failed to score last week when Bournemouth knocked in six, because he was saving his goal for this weekend, when the Cherries host Spurs.
One of these players is due a goal...
I’m currently staring at five red injury flags, so perhaps I will just be happy to get a full squad to play. Having two Bournemouth, two Arsenal, two Burnley and two Stoke players means I’ll be looking for positive results from those teams. I also have two Everton players, Baines and Mirallas, but I doubt they will get much game time between them. My two Manchester United players have barely been on the field together this season also. Big signing, Mkhitaryan has only started one game, while Jesse Lingard is at least fit and coming off the back of a good game midweek in the Europa League.

Predictions


A lot of very close games last week, so I only managed a paltry two accurate predictions from nine. The league is really getting tight now; a win could shoot your team right up the table. There are some interesting ties in Week 9; two of the bottom three meet; leader @EPLMOstradamus is trying to prevent a third loss in a row; while in form side @jwl_15, 4 wins on the trot, faces second placed @FuzzyWarbles. To keep track of all these scores please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Here is this week’s attempt at predictions. Good luck everyone.









Saturday, October 15, 2016

Week 8: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


The international break couldn’t come quickly enough for my side after the loss in Gameweek 7. @SportsByGotti handed me my biggest loss of the season thanks to goals from Chelsea’s Willian and Callum Wilson of Bournemouth. A Matt Phillips assist was just the icing on the cake, as my side were humbled by nearly twenty points. The (biased) fixtures computer pits my squad against that of @TAMc10 in Gameweek 8. @TAMc10 would have beaten out my side if we had faced each other in each of the last five gameweeks. Will this week be any different? I’ll need an improvement from my players to upset the odds.
A World Cup without Joe Allen is not one I want to watch
As usual with international breaks, most squads will now be fretting over the fitness of many players. My side is not immune from this, and the biggest red flag this week is hanging over the most in form player in my squad, Joe Allen. The World Cup qualifiers did throw up some questions about some other players in my squad. How come Arnautovic has scored more goals for Austria this season than Stoke City? Jesse Lingard acquainted himself well with England, can the 1m signing become a regular starter for my fantasy side?

@TAMc10’s Team


Tate will be fretting over a number of players before Saturday. One of his highest points scorers, Adam Lallana, is still recovering from a groin injury. He’ll have to decide is it worth leaving a roster spot open for the Monday night game between Liverpool and Manchester United, or use up his players during the weekend games. He also has Marcus Rashford in his squad; can he risk leaving two spots open to play before Monday?  This really becomes a conundrum for Tate as both his other Forward players, Alexis Sanchez and Abel Hernandez are playing at three o’clock on Saturday.

Three players he won’t have to think too hard about including this gameweek are a Midfielder and a pair of Defenders that have been putting up consistent double digit scores. Azpilicueta and Koscielny at the back both have home fixtures that look like possible clean sheet opportunities. Burnley travel to Southampton on Sunday, Steven Defour already has a goal and three assists this season, but all of those came at Turf Moor and The Saints have kept three clean sheets in a row at home, perhaps Tate will rotate his fourth highest scorer to the bench.

What I Need To Happen


While @TAMc10 has two Arsenal players, I have two of my own, Bellerin and Cazorla. If the Gunners can breach the Swansea rear-guard and dent the points total of @TAMc10’s goalkeeper, I hope the Spaniards are the one’s doing the damage. Unfortunately I also have two players competing in the Monday night game, both for Man Utd. But should I gamble on the fitness of Henrikh Mkhitaryan? Should I try and second guess the starting eleven of Jose Mourinho? Will it include the Armenian, or Jesse Lingaard? Not only is the Fantrax fixtures computer against me, but the Premier League fixture makers are out to screw me over too!

I need Joe Allen to be fit. I need the Welsh wizard to be playing. I need Stoke to let loose against Sunderland in their relegation six-pointer. If Joe starts and doesn’t score 40 points I’ll be severely disappointed. Yet if Allen cannot overcome his hamstring niggle, I can fall back on the goal that is inevitably coming from Jack Wilshere….
Wilshere scoring away in Slovenia                   (16 months ago)

Predictions


The previously undefeated @EPL_MOstradamus suffered a first reversal of the year which tightened up the league, and just goes to show how hard it is to predict a winner between all the managers. Anyone can beat anyone. Not only did I get that matchup prediction wrong, but got four other predictions wrong too. Leaving only four correct. Not a great week, but if you follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter you will see this week’s predictions all come true, probably.










Good Luck Everyone.