Saturday, January 23, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 21 Preview

I accomplished my revenge on @GalinDragiev last week as my team outscored his by nearly forty points. This was helped in no small part by half his team failing to show up! The most notable absentee was surely Raheem Sterling, who couldn’t then get in on all the points Manchester City were plundering against Crystal Palace. This weekend is set to be a tighter affair as I face off against the league’s in form team (5W) @FantasyYIRMA. Last week’s victory moved me up to ninth and I’ll need to gain another big points haul if I’m to keep my team the positive side of .500.

@FantasyYIRMA’s Team

@FantasyYIRMA has probably the best midfield in the league. All five of his midfield players have scored over 100 points. With two, Yaya and Ozil, quickly chasing down 200. Metut Ozil should be back from injury this week when Arsenal face an all at sea Chelsea. Ozil’s 16 assists this season is the same number as the rest of @FantasyYIRMA’s squad put together, and it’s five more assists than my squad have managed! Up front he has brought in Bournemouth new boy Juan Iturbe. The Argentinian is on loan from Italian club Roma and should get a few chances to open his account for The Cherries away to Sunderland on Saturday.
Iturbe averaged one goal every 13 games for Roma - 'The new Messi'
At the back @FantasyYIRMA has a couple of players playing against each other. He has Baines back from injury, which is a boost for him; couple this with Howard in goals, and if they shut out Swansea in the Sunday early kickoff a lot of fantasy points will be gained. On the flip side, he does have Ashley Williams for Swansea, but could choose to swap out the Welshman for either Kurt Zouma or Per Mertesacker, who might be a better pairing with Baines in the back three. Arsenal versus Chelsea is your main Sunday game, so if this is also a low scoring affair, @FantasyYIRMA could be tough to stop.

What I Need To Happen

It would be a miracle for my midfield to outscore the likes of Yaya Toure and Mesut Ozil this week. All my fit midfielders are playing away from home, and none have been very good all season on their travels. Perhaps it is up front where some goalscorers can keep me in the matchup? Arnoutovic is still an injury doubt though, as is Joshua King, while Memphis hasn’t started a game since the 26th of December in a game in which he was subbed at halftime. All these players play at three o’clock on Saturday though, so at least I’ll be able to rotate in and out any one of them who do manages to start.

A Chelsea clean sheet would perhaps go a long way to helping me gain the victory. Any points gained by Courtois would surely be points that would only end up being given to Ozil if Arsenal were to score. Looking around the rest of my squad for clean sheets might be a bit tough. Nyom does have Newcastle at home, so maybe a shutout is a possibility there. Moreno travels to Norwich with Liverpool in the weekends first game, I think I’ll be able to tell how my weekend will go by how many points he can bring in.


A number of topsy-turvy matchups last week, as I only managed three correct predictions out of seven. The bottom side @DFS_hambazaza picked up their second win of the season. And league leader @wrigavin was replaced at the summit by @cjradune. It’s getting very tight, but let’s try and predict this weekend’s games.

Good Luck Everyone, and remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of how each matchup is developing. As well as following me @GarryIrwin to see the tweets of a man who worries more about Bastian Schweinsteiger’s knee than is probably healthy.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 20 Preview

Happy New Year everybody. After a short hiatus for the FA Cup and the IEFSA Fantasy Cup, normal service is resumed with a preview for IEFSA Gameweek 20. To get you up to speed, my team has somehow managed to get into the semi-finals of the IEFSA Fantasy Cup, but I did lose out to @cjradune in the league over the New Year which leaves me on nine wins and ten losses for the season. This weekend my squad of players will face off against @GalinDragiev (who has an identical 9-10 record). The last time we met in the league @GalinDragiev kicked my ass by scoring more than double my points for that week. I think some revenge is in order!

@GalinDragiev’s Team

When his side beat mine in week 5 it was Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez who did the damage. In fact those two players outscored my whole team for that week! Thankfully neither of those two appear to be hitting their early season form in 2016. Mahrez and Leicester have struggled for goals over the last few weeks, while Sanchez hasn’t played for Arsenal in the league since November because of injury. This hasn’t hampered @GalinDragiev’s side though, because he has the more than capable Raheem Sterling as another one of his Forwards. Man City face a misfiring Crystal Palace at home this Saturday, and he would be expected to rack up some points.

If Sterling does find his way to goal, this could impact one of his Defenders. Pape SourĂ© has been playing consistently for Palace, but has only gained 4.6 points over the last two game weeks in match-ups where the Eagles have lost. This will mean @GalinDragiev could more than likely swap him out with Southampton’s Jose Fonte. Fonte gained 8 points when the Saints beat Watford 2-0 during midweek. Plus their defence would be fancied to try for another clean sheet when West Brom visit St. Mary’s this weekend. A number of his other players have seen reduced minutes, or have been rested, over the Christmas/New Year’s period, so I expect him to be keeping an eye on the team sheets as they are announced on Saturday.

What I Need To Happen

I too will be eagerly anticipating those team announcements. My side has a number of red flags beside players. Bastian Schweinsteiger has been ruled out for Manchester United, while Joshua King missed out in Bournemouth’s last game. Most worryingly of all, one of my star performers over the last few weeks, Marko Arnautovic was subbed off midweek and is carrying a knock. To win in the IEFSA League it’s crucial to get nine starters on the pitch. I may have to do some juggling of players come 2:45 on Saturday.
Bastian Scheweinsteiger will be looking on from the stands this week
Everton blanked last time out against Man City. I’ll be hoping for the same when they visit Chelsea. Begovic and Courtois between them have only managed six clean sheets this year. For a side that managed so many shutouts last season, that is an abysmal return. Speaking of clean sheets, none of my main defenders, Nyom, Moreno, Rangel, have kept one since the tail end of December. Surely one of them is due to pick up some points this weekend?

As I look for goals, if Arnautovic is injured, I’ll be hoping Wijnaldum keeps up his impressive run of goals at home when Newcastle host West Ham, and that Andre Ayew can find the net when Swansea host Watford. As for hoping Memphis Depay can score a goal? I’ll just be happy if he, by some miracle, gets into Manchester United’s starting 11. They do have a tricky away trip to Liverpool to navigate. Chances could be at a premium, and I’m not expecting Luis van Gaal to look to Memphis to turn in a superstar performance at Anfield.


Last time out I gave my predictions for the opening round of the IEFSA Cup. I managed to call 5 of the 7 ties. Let’s try for the full set of predictions this week. Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of all the winners and losers. Plus, follow me @GarryIrwin, who will hopefully be a winner this week.

Good Luck Everyone

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The Sony Open in Hawaii

The first PGA Tour event of the season with a full field of competitors begins this week in Hawaii at one of my favourite courses, Waialae Country Club. Last week saw Jordan Speith kick off the New Year by winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions by a whopping eight strokes. He won’t be teeing up this week, so we will have to look elsewhere for our fantasy points. But perhaps we won’t have to look too far? Last year’s winner Jimmy Walker won this event by nine and will be fancied to post another low scoring round. He won the year before that too, but no-one has managed to win this tournament three years in a row before. Could Walker be the first?

Before we take our usual look at the fancied golfers for this event, let’s cover what fantasy games we will be participating in and how the picks will be laid out. Selections will be divided into three groups according to Yahoo Fantasy Golf; A, B, and C. PGA Fantasy has done away with the simple ‘pick any four golfers’ game and is now solely represented by the AVIS Fantasy Golf game, where you select four starting golfers who gain points for you each round, and two golfers who you can sub in if need be before the start of each days play. You may pick any golfer from the field for this game, but you can only use a golfer three times during each segment of the AVIS game (of which there are four, this one finishes at the end of January). To replace the original PGA Fantasy, we will be now playing the Golf Channel’s Fantasy Golf game. In this game you select four players, one from each group. These groups are divided up by world ranking.

As I’ve said, selections will be shown according to Yahoo groups, which picks for each section underlined. Picks for the Golf Channel Fantasy game will have a (G1),2,3, or 4 after their name, corresponding to which group they were selected from. AVIS PGA Fantasy picks will have an (AVIS) or (AVISsub) after their name to indicate where they were picked in that game. Phew! I hope that isn’t too complicated.

So on with the picks. Jimmy Walker will be one of the favourites here having won the last two times he played here. It’s also his birthday this week, if you believe in that kind of thing. Russell Henley and Johnson Wagner won here the two years before Walker, and could well be in contention again. The second most selected player in Yahoo and AVIS is Brandt Snedeker. He finished last week in third and will be the highest placed finisher from that tournament to play in the absence of Spieth and Reed.

Zach Johnson is the third most selected player in Yahoo, probably because of his good record on Bermuda grass greens. But he has only finished inside the top 10 here once (T8th) so I’ll be avoiding him I think. Looking further down the list; Chris Kirk has had two top 5s here in recent years. Charles Howell III has an excellent record here spanning back almost 15 years. Plus he has the longest run in Golf Channel Fantasy Group 3 without missing the cut and is a strong selection there.

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

Group A

Russell Henley (AVIS)

Chris Kirk (AVISsub)


Group B

Brandt Snedeker (AVIS) (G2)

Jimmy Walker (AVIS)

Charles Howell III (G3)

Troy Merritt

Brendon Todd


Group C

Matt Kuchar (AVIS) (G1)

Graeme McDowell

Lucas Glover (AVISsub) (G4)

Johnson Wagner

Peter Malnati

Daniel Berger

Will Wilcox

Marc Leishman