Friday, September 30, 2016

Week 7: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

Another Joe Allen spearheaded victory last week, as my side move to 4-2 and into 5th place. Unfortunately news out of Stoke is that the Welshman has a slight hamstring injury and will need to be assessed before the Potters head to Old Trafford to face Man Utd. That the game will be played on Sunday because of United’s Thursday night Europe League exploits does not help my team selection. Do I chance leaving a spot for Allen at the expense of someone who starts on Saturday?
Stoke City are basically a one man team now
Unfortunately any dropped points from my team will be exploited by this week’s opponent @SportsByGotti. Mike might have lost three games, but all those games were mighty close and with the rub of the green he could just as easily be sitting on the top of the table. @SportsByGotti has also managed to concede the fewest points in the league in his match-ups. His side has more shots, more assists, and more goals than mine; which is just further proof of the clear fixture bias against my team. His top scorer also has a favourable home game this weekend. It really is a horrible time to be playing against him if I can’t get a fully fit squad on the pitch.

@SportsByGotti’s Team

His top scorer is one Michail Antonio of West Ham. The Hammers host Middlesbrough on Saturday, and will look to get out of the relegation zone and above ‘Boro with a win. His top scorer fantasy points-wise might be injured in Kevin De Bruyne. But Man City face a tricky weekend away at Spurs and perhaps he would have found more joy with Matt Phillips at Sunderland or Callum Wilson at Watford anyway. Duncan Watmore might even be an option for him with Sunderland as they chase goals in a, almost, must win game against West Brom.

At the back his team will start getting points from the Friday night game. Stekelenberg in goals will be facing Pardew’s rejuvenated Crystal Palace. If he keeps a clean sheet my side will be on the back foot. It will be a bit of a double blow too, because I’ll be watching it knowing that Baines is contributing nothing as he sits in one of my injured reserve slots. Elsewhere at the back his best chance of points is probably with David Luiz. The Brazilian has averaged over 16 points in the two games he has started for Chelsea so far.

What I Need To Happen

Hull turning Chelsea over on Saturday would be a fillip to my side. Unless of course Pedro somehow finds himself on the team sheet. Even in that unlikely event, Hull giving Mike’s two players the runaround would be no bad thing. We have a number of players from the same sides; Stoke, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Everton. It will just be a case of hoping my players putting in a better display over the 90 minutes.

While my backline is pretty secure, red flags and rotation haunts my players in Midfield and at Forward. It’s looking like I’ll have players with a combined 330+ points this season sitting it out this weekend. It puts more pressure on those that do start, but apart from Santi Cazorla no one has lit the Premier League alight this season. Hopefully this will be the weekend one or two of them do. Plus, as I say every week, that young scallywag Jack Wilshire is due a goal.
One of these players is due a goal.


Some more really close games last week, two pairs were separated by less than a single point. As for the predictions, they went a lot better than the previous week’s. Seven correct to only two wrong. Can we out-do that this week? As always, follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of the scores.

Good Luck Everyone

Friday, September 23, 2016

Week 6: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

Last weekend’s matchup was a real rollercoaster. It had ups and downs and twists and turns right up to, and beyond, the final whistle. I knew the odds were stacked against me when I was up against last year’s table topper @RotoZdroik, and going into Sunday’s games I was down on points and only had two (Stoke City) players to play compared to Adam’s five. But Joe Allen covered every blade of grass while getting near 30 points and Marko Arnautovic banged in a late goal to get me with my nose in front.  A bit of adjusting of the score tally by Fantrax, and a premature awarding of the tie to @RotoZdroik by @THE_IEFSA on Twitter, and I had picked up my third win of the season, to move into 8th place in the standings.
Joe Allen was pretty much the only Stoke player trying against Palace
This week sees my side face off against @DFS_Hambazaza. There are a number of positives for Hesh though, because while his side currently prop up the league, his team has never actually scored the lowest points total in any week; plus he has a total of eight goals in his squad compared to my side’s meagre four. Also, @DFS_Hambazaza would have won last week if he had swapped in George Friend for the benched Phil Bardsley, that mistake is hardly going to be repeated. So what I’m saying is, yes, the fixture computer is doing everything in its power to screw me over again this week.

@DFS_Hambazaza’s Team

I’ve already mentioned two of his defenders. The remaining pair are Charlie Daniels of Bournemouth and Fernandez Federico of Swansea. Friend might be his highest points scorer at the back, but four into three doesn’t go and you have to weigh up how busy a defender will likely be in order to score points in this league. Will Friend have enough on his plate against a Kane-less Spurs? All his defenders will kick off at three on Saturday, so if only three are starters anyway, his choice will be made. In goals he has Southampton’s Fraser Forster, fresh off his best performance so far this season. He does have Ryan Bertrand on Injured Reserve though, if he wanted to do a bit of juggling and go with two Saints players.

In the Midfield and Forward positions nearly every player has scored for him so far. Those to miss out have been Deulofeu of Everton, who has only started two games; and Sam Clucas at Hull, who plays mainly in front of the back four. Getting most of his goals has been his other Hull player, Robert Snodgrass. Three goals so far this season means he is a certain starter, but he does have a tricky tie away to Liverpool on Saturday. Looking elsewhere for goals then, he will have James McClean heading to Stoke, who can barely keep from letting in four goals a game never mind just one.  Andre Gray of Burnley will look to score his second league goal against Watford on Monday night. @DFS_Hambazaza might just keep that one up his sleeve in the OF position if things aren’t going his way on Saturday.

What I Need To Happen

I have the Burnley Goalkeeper and a Defender in Michael Keane playing in that game on Monday night. If I’m still in the matchup by then I’ll be happy. Of course Hesh could have played all his players by then and be out of sight. I’ll need to pick up some points in the early games. A strong performance from my Stoke players would be a good start. I also have a couple of Everton players traveling to Bournemouth, and if they were to score a goal or two against Charlie Daniels, I might get a little edge in the tie come 4:45.
One of these players is due a goal......
A trio of Arsenal players round off my team. Two of them host Chelsea in the Saturday evening game. Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin. While the third will be playing for Bournemouth, and is due a goal (or an assist) any day now. My bench pretty much picks itself, as Pedro can’t get into the Chelsea side, while Mkhitaryan and Lingard can’t dislodge Wayne Rooney from the Man Utd team, so another week in the wilderness beckons.


Five correct and four wrong last week for the predictions. Lots of really close games again, but there was also a few blowouts. @SmokeyLoogy got 165.5 points, but @nealjthurman topped that by getting over 190. I predicted both of those sides would lose of course! To follow all the action please seek out all these guys on Twitter, and @THE_IEFSA will also keep you up to date with all the scores. To hear about how the system is trying to keep my side down, you can also follow me @GarryIrwin

Good Luck Everyone

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Week 5: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

It’s barely been four days and the next round of fixtures in the IEFSA Fantasy League on Fantrax comes around again. An agonising loss last week saw my side slip from ninth to twelfth with a .500 win percentage. @BenDinnery might be the go to guy for Premier League injury news, but how long to recover from a broken heart Ben, how long?? I thought I had done enough on Saturday to keep my side in front, before Diego Costa popped up with two goals to crush my dreams, as Ben’s team streaked off into the distance. Everton’s emphatic win on Monday night only served to fill me with false hope as a late rally from Baines left me short by a soul crushing 1.85 points. An interception or a blocked shot and some accurate passes away from the victory. Heart breaking stuff.

This week the IEFSA fixture bias against my team continues, as I’m to face 3-1 (fifth place) @RotoZdroik. He has won his last two games and is the fourth highest scorer in the league. His Forward line has also contributed five goals to his team, while my Forward line has provided the grand total of zero.

@RotoZdroik’s Team

That Forward line is led by Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian hit a hat trick last time out and will be home to Middlesbrough on Saturday evening. His back-ups are more than capable too. Jermain Defoe returns to old side Tottenham on Sunday. Wilfried Bony will try to open his Stoke City account against Crystal Palace, while Fernando Llorente heads with his Swansea teammates to Southampton. Adam’s Midfield is full of real work horses who love hoovering up points around the pitch. Idrissa Gueye averages over twenty points a game for Everton. Granit Xhaka will be part of the Arsenal squad that travels to Hull on the back of some good recent form. Gylfi Sigurdsson adds some guile to his midfield; and if any of those three are not fit to start, he has Aaron Ramsey and Leroy Sane waiting in reserve.
Lukaku won't get everything his own way against Middlesbrough
His star in defence has been Kyle Naughton. Averaging over 19 points a game, he wins his fair share of aerial duels, as well as putting in a number of accurate crosses. His three other defenders are playing at home though, so he may be tempted to rotate them in to one of his three defensive slots. Cahill will be kept busy by Liverpool. Zabaleta might get to raid forward when Man City entertain Bournemouth. Damien Delaney plays on Sunday in the clash of Palace and Stoke. Finally in goals will be Hull’s Jakupovic. In the opening four games the Bosnian has made 16 saves to three goals conceded.

What I Need To Happen

If Arsenal could put a few past Hull at three o’clock on Saturday that would be good for my squad, which includes Bellerin and Cazorla. Before that game though, perhaps it would be good (if not a minor miracle) on Friday night if Pedro were to actually start a game for Chelsea.  He hasn’t done a great deal since joining the Blues and faces stiff competition to break into their starting eleven. More than likely joining him on the bench will be my two Manchester United ‘stars’ Lingard and Mkhitaryan. Playing these two last week more than likely cost me any chance of victory, but the chances of them starting this weekend against Watford are pretty remote. Although we will know more after the dust has settled on Man Utd’s Europa League game.

This will leave the rest of my squad to pick up the slack. Burnley holding champions Leicester to a clean sheet would benefit my goalkeeper, and defender Michael Keane. Two Stoke players, Arnautovic and Allen, need to help the Potters off the foot of the table, and any win away to Palace will surely hurt Delaney’s points tally. My ace in the hole though is tricky Jack Wilshire, who is due a goal when Bournemouth head to Man City. No clean sheets yet for The Citizens means a brace or more is not out of the question.


It’s proving really difficult to predict winners in this league. @cjradune overcame @TomSunderland_ by only 0.2 points in Week 4's top of the table clash for instance. A respectable six correct and three wrong from last week’s predictions though. As usual, to keep track of all the games from this week, make sure you are following @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Here are this week’s predictions. Good luck everyone.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week 4: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A weekend of international fixtures is not really a time of rest for fantasy managers, but a period of worry and apprehension as you wait for news of your players as they play games in far flung corners of the globe. Will they come back injury free? How many minutes will they play? Will Kevin Mirallas come off the bench for Belgium in Cyprus?? These kinds of questions have been keeping me up all night. And of course some of my worst fears were realised when my star signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan limped off after 38 minutes in a friendly against the Czech Rep. Mirallas didn’t get on the pitch against Cyprus though, so a small plus point there I guess.

In Week 3 my side picked up a tough victory against @jwl_15 to get to six points and remain in ninth place. A Cazorla goal and consistent double points hauls from most of my players saw me beat out Hazard and Fer goals, and a Courtois clean sheet, by just over six points. My lowest scoring player was Fabio Borini. The Italian played just over an hour and is now injured for three months. My most expensive forward will need to be replaced. But I don’t need to mention injury tales of woe to this week’s opponent @BenDinnery. His side currently has five players on the sidelines.
Fabio Borini is a 'Spot The Ball' generators dream

@BenDinnery’s Team

Outside the injuries, Ben’s starting side average over 12 points per player in the right combination. Injuries will restrict his options this week. But Ben loves injuries, this won’t faze him! He has come up against three tough fixtures so far and is looking for his first win of the season. Spearheading his attack will be in form Forward Diego Costa. Costa has a good record against Swansea and Ben will be hoping he can continue his good run at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday. The only other player to score for his side is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Arsenal host an out of sorts Southampton side. If these two players do score though, it will hamper his backline as he has Amat (Swansea) and van Dijk (Southampton) in Defence.

His Midfield is very Hull heavy. Livermore and Meyler are two of the handful of fit Tigers players that have made such a good start to the season. They travel to Burnley this weekend and will be facing off directly with my goalkeeper and one of my defenders. A goal from either of these players would give him a leg up in our match-up. Even if they do not manage a goal between them, they still put in a lot of work that has helped them average over 13 points per game so far this year. Speaking of work rate, his highest scoring midfielder is Stoke’s Glenn Whelan, average over 15 points a game. This weekend the Potters host Spurs.

What I Need To Happen

As I’ve mentioned, Burnley keeping Hull out would give me the advantage in the tie. I will also need my Arsenal and Stoke Players to outperform those belonging to @BenDinnery. Cazorla is my highest scorer to date and will surely get more opportunities for points against the Saints. Marko Arnautovic still has to get off the mark this season and it would be most welcomed if he did so this weekend. With Mkhitaryan red flagged with injury, I’ve drafted in Wanyama of Spurs. With lots of options in Midfield I will reserve judgement on the make-up of my three M and one OF slots until team sheets are announced.

Now I know what everyone is thinking this weekend. With Borini out injured, where will the goals for my team come from? Arnoutovic has so far drawn blanks and Pedro is struggling to get into Chelsea’s starting 11, but I have an ace up my sleeve. You see Bournemouth have secured the services of one Jack Wilshire. England’s most promising midfielder will be pulling the strings for the Cherries attack for the rest of the season. Hopefully he can return to the form of 2013-14 which saw him score three league goals…


Four correct and five wrong for the games two weeks ago. It’s not getting any easier to predict these matchups in @THE_IEFSA Fantasy League on Fantrax. All eyes this weekend will be on the game between first placed @cjradune and top scorer (4th placed) @TomSunderland_
Follow all these guys on Twitter to keep up with the action.

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